August 2002 Archives

The Top 100

100 Things About 100 Bloggers (via her Meeshness)

  1. I was born in Hong Kong.
  2. I haven't lived in a house (i.e. a free-standing single-family residence) since 1989.
  3. My accent shifts slightly depending on where I live.
  4. The best place I've ever lived is probably New York City. Or Paris. Hong Kong's nice, too.
  5. I have lived in 7 cities on three continents.
  6. I expect the numbers in #5 to grow.
  7. I once worked the 6 a.m. shift at Jack-in-the-Box in Tempe, AZ. For a month.
  8. I want to be a member of the idle rich.
  9. I hate the idle rich.
  10. I buy lottery tickets.
  11. My favorite sandwich is thin-sliced roast beef on a baguette section with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and mayo.
  12. It's virtually impossible to get a good roast beef sandwich in East Asia. I know, I've looked.
  13. The best salad dressing ever is good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  14. I like chocolate.
  15. I don't like chocolate ice cream.
  16. I also don't like mint chocolate.
  17. Some day, before I die, I'm going on an eating tour of France.
  18. There are no great dim sum restaurants in New York. I know, I've looked.
  19. If I could only eat one cuisine for the rest of my life, it'd be Chinese.
  20. I don't know why they call English cuisine "food". It's not.
  21. I know a great $13 California pinot noir.
  22. I like the taste of coffee, black, no sugar.
  23. I don't drink coffee.
  24. I get The New York Review of Books, MacAddict, and National Geographic in the mail.
  25. I wear a chef's jacket when I cook because I hate wearing aprons.
  26. I like football.
  27. I like opera.
  28. I think that an opera about football would be a terrible idea.
  29. I haven't driven a car on a daily basis since 1994.
  30. I like sending postcards. People don't get enough real mail in their mail these days.
  31. I have bought things off of Amazon wishlists for people I've never met.
  32. The only truly essential piece of cooking gear is a really sharp knife.
  33. I prefer my $20 chinese chef's chopper (actually made in Japan) to big expensive German knives costing ten times as much.
  34. I wouldn't turn down the gift of a Global knife, though.
  35. I need a job with more vacation days.
  36. My favorite European city is Paris. It's a food thing. Budapest is nice, too.
  37. I hate flying on airplanes. They take all the romance (19th century usage) out of travelling.
  38. Road trips rule.
  39. I have started collecting fountain pens.
  40. I am a certified AOW diver.
  41. Both of the previous two hobbies are really expensive so I don't get to enjoy them as much as I would like to.
  42. Brown eyes.
  43. Brown hair, for the time being.
  44. I think that Tiger Woods should make more of a deal about the fact that he's half asian.
  45. I am alleged to snore very loudly. This is something that I have never been able to confirm.
  46. English is not my native language.
  47. I've completely forgotten my native language.
  48. I'm a pack rat.
  49. I like shopping on-line.
  50. I'm not very good at dating.
  51. I would be a francophile save the fact that I don't speak French.
  52. I have seven stitches on my left index finger.
  53. I have six stitches above my right eye.
  54. I have never broken a bone.
  55. I still have the first CDs I ever bought.
  56. I think that people who wear flip-flops in New York are stupid.
  57. I believe the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.
  58. Margarine is the work of the devil.
  59. I used to think that Wil Wheaton was a dork until I read his blog. Now I know he's a dork. But in a good way.
  60. I own every full-length Saint Etienne CD released in the US except for one.
  61. The only two TV series I've made a point of watching every week are Star Trek: The Next Generation and Farscape.
  62. Sunday afternoons in the fall were made for the NFL.
  63. I'm a lousy pool player.
  64. I'm a better poker player than I am a pool player.
  65. I don't think that I'd like myself if I met myself.
  66. My freshman year in college I lived in a dorm with a guy who looked almost exactly like me, but we never met.
  67. I like organ music.
  68. I like films with subtitles.
  69. I like films with big explosions.
  70. I really like films with subtitles AND big explosions.
  71. I don't know why I like techno.
  72. I lived without a television for five years.
  73. Getting a cable modem changed my life.
  74. I hate being tickled.
  75. Most of the joints in my body will pop on demand.
  76. Living in New York has greatly increased the percentage of my wardrobe that's black (or close enough).
  77. I can't drink like I used to.
  78. My favorite color is red.
  79. My lucky number is 8.
  80. I know how to throw a fastball, a circle change, and a curveball.
  81. I consider being hapa to be a blessing.
  82. I don't know enough about chinese cooking.
  83. I was on the speech and debate team in high school.
  84. The idea of settling down and putting down roots is foreign to me.
  85. I'm tallest member of my family.
  86. People think that I'm shorter than I am.
  87. This is partly because I often don't stand up straight.
  88. I have never been arrested, though I came close once.
  89. I believe that Marx wrote the most penetrating critique of capitalism ever.
  90. I believe that Marx was wrong about most of the other stuff, particularly the bit about the workers' paradise.
  91. I own a t-shirt that says "I am an acquired taste". Yes, it's black.
  92. I wear it in public.
  93. I haven't listened to commercial radio in four years. Except for 1010 WINS and 880 WCBS. The radio in New York City blows huge chunks.
  94. Attractive women seem to be allergic to me. Unless they're married.
  95. My drugs of choice are caffeine and alcohol.
  96. For a laid-back kinda guy, I carry waaaay too much tension in my back and shoulders.
  97. I want to see a fully-staged production of Einstein on the Beach.
  98. I don't know why on earth anyone would willingly use Windows.
  99. I stopped eating hamburgers for a large number of months after I left Jack-in-the-Box. It was a great sacrifice for a 17-year-old.
  100. I have a highly-flawed and impractical (yet strangely compelling) plan for world domination.

T-shirt of the day

As seen on my way to work:


EXPIRING FOR LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL BUT STUPID

El Tigre

We're coming and we're unstoppable. El Tigre is our leader. And now Thailand is succumbing to the onslaught.

Or something like that.

Hey, anybody want to buy a T-shirt? All proceeds go to funding my inevitable and inexorable secret plan for global conquest and world domination.

Classics. Like Coke.

A couple of classics from craigslist (I'm doing research, yes, really I am):

And as for the men... well, ladies, there are some real winners out there!

It's a wonder than anyone is actually able to reproduce....

Some more Relationship Month Roundups

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In the continuing saga of American (and Canadian) women vs. British men, I am pleased to report that Gywneth Paltrow has, in fact, been asked out on a date by an Englishman. The lucky (brave?) fellow is a rock star by the name of Chris Martin (no, I've never heard of him either -- I guess that's what I get for being an ol' fuddy-duddy). I think that I saw a report about Heather Graham not having problems with the hospitality of the English male, but I couldn't find anything in a quick web search (help me out, guys?)....

. . .

Field Correspondent Jane Galt reports on a British study that suggests that shorter women are more successful in attracting long-term mates than tall women. Hmmm.

. . .

I'm sure that by now you've all read the heart-warming story of how a single Instapundit link lead to true love for Chris Kanis. But let's face it. Didn't we all start blogging in the vain hope that we'd be able to pull? (true story: I built the first version of this web site to impress a girl. And it was a very impressive website for 1998. The only catch was that I'm pretty sure that she never looked at it. C'est la vie, eh?) Hell, let's face it. The reason why most men do anything is in the hope that it'll impress a girl (unless you're the sort of fellow who prefers the company of men, in which case it's to impress a guy).

. . .

This just in from Jane Galt: hot chicks (and hot guys) have an unfair advantage in life. In other news, the sky is blue, the moon is not made out of cheese, puppies are cute, and beer goggles aren't just a product of your imagination. Film at 11.

Yummy

I'm really liking Jaguar. Yum.

News From The Knight

In observance of Relationship month, The Gentil Knight sends in this link: Too Much Self-Esteem Damaging to Relationships.

Random Linkage

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Dear Noted Relationship Expert,

Dear Noted Relationship Expert,

I'm involved in a play relationship. I'm in my late twenties, as is he. He has a serious long term girl friend who brought up the open relationship idea. They both have a separate relationship outside their main one. Him with me, she with another guy. I'm the only other girl he's seeing, besides the serious one. In our play relationship I'm the submissive one, the slut. Mainly I pleasure him. In fact his current rule is no pleasure for me until I take him in [word normally used to describe sporting equipment, begins with "b" (this is a family website, you know)] deep. I am working on this, though it's hard with the gag reflex. It is starting to wear at me. No one in my life/world knows I'm doing this.

So my question I guess is - how do I focus bringing some pleasure to myself, seen as how [sporting equipment] deep still eludes me. And how do I sort out my bad self from my good self, do I tell people in my day to day life? Or should I wise up and stop all this fun?

Thanks,
The Masochist.

Dear Masochist,

Interesting choice of words.

The logical course of action would be to walk away. But as logic rarely has a role to play in relationships, we can safely ignore that advice. Besides, I suspect that you've broken it off before yet gone back.

What to do about this guy (does he have a name? For our purposes, we're going to call him D--)? I would humbly suggest that you change the rules. "But I can't!" you cry. Well, are you really sure about that? Knowing next to nothing about the relationship, I'm going to make the suggestion that every relationship is a two-way street, to a greater or lesser degree. Maybe you can't -- for reasons of temperament, for reasons far beyond my ken -- just come out and say it (in any event, the direct approach seems to be not the best one). But there are other ways to massage, to shift, to nudge things more towards your liking.

It seems that this isn't just a hidden affair, like so many others, but that you've divorced this behavior from the rest of your personality, what with this "good self/bad self" dichotomy that you've got going. You're attempting to separate that behavior, what you do with D-- from the rest of your existence. Can you?

"It's not me!" I can hear you exclaim. But I beg to differ. It is you (unless you're suffering from alien mind control). After all, it's you who is doing it. And it's not a part of you that you can easily divorce. I'm not going to go into Freudian theories of the mind (lots of links here that cover that), but I'm going to suggest that you'll be much happier when you accept it really is part of you -- maybe not all of you, probably not most of you -- but it is you. This "good girl/bad girl" stuff? Those are entirely social constructions. Who's to judge if you're "good or bad"? Don't worry about being "good" and don't worry about being "bad". Just be.

Or you could just work on your gag reflex.

Your call.

Date A Blogger...

Jessica (now no longer long-distance) weighs in on the whole dating a blogger thing. She's not so hot on the idea:

Imagine enacting such a dysfunctional ritual online, with the unhappy couple leaving snippy comments in each other's comment sections. Y'all know it would be spectacularly ugly.

Dear Noted Relationship Expert,

Dear Noted Relationship Expert,

Why will a person stay in a relationship that makes them unhappy? They say for love, but who wants a love that makes them miserable?

Signed, Don't Get It

Dear Don't Get It,

That's because Love is a wonderful, transporting, magical emotion that takes mature, intelligent adults and turns them into friggin' idiots.

That's Not A Hint, Is It?

Two different friends sent me this story about how to write for the living web. I don't think they're trying to tell me something. Are they?

In A Good Way, I Hope...

I make some people laugh. This is a good thing.

For Ken

This one's for the InstaDonk:

Ho-oooo.

That is all.

Had To Call The State Militia

Free Davezilla!

Won't You Take Me Down To Memphis?

More on Relationship Month:

Over at Capital Influx, Elizabeth Spiers explains why she'll never ever write about dating on her blog.

Of course, she already has, if only in the context of missing out on a date because she had been felled by food poisoning, but consistancy is the hobgoblin of small minds, right, old chap?

Anyway, Elizabeth links to a piece by Shelly Powers about dating how a blogger can be a good idea. She says yes; the open book nature of most blogs means that you'll get a pretty good feel for who the object of desire really is. I say... well, I say that there's a certain level of self-selection among bloggers, so if someone says that they have a blog, well, you know that there's a certain level of intelligence and a certain ability to communicate (albeit via the keyboard and not face-to-face, which sometimes could be a problem....)

It's So Hard To Believe This

I Suspected Nothing

Sasha Castel gets the Dawn Olsen Interview Treatment.

Apparently she's holding auditions...

On A Fog-Bound Morning

Dear Noted Relationship Expert,

Older men dating younger women is nothing anyone usually takes notice of. But a woman dating a younger man usually is. How much younger of a man can a woman date without being called a cradle-robber? Tonight, I was hanging out with a 21-year-old woman who was interested in a guy who is 19. I tend to go for older men myself, but I'm a little interested in a guy who is 21. (I'm 24.) And I'm holding back from showing interest because he is younger.

What should we do, oh wise one?

'Maggie'

Dear Maggie,

Your letter seems slightly premature, as it's still mid-August and late September is still a ways off.

But anyway.

I tried calling up some expert witnesses but both Dustin Hoffman and Rod Stewart were unavailable.

It's curious that this summer has seen two films about young men getting involved with much older women (Tadpole, which got bad reviews, and The Good Girl, which got good reviews). Is this an older woman/younger man revolution?

Beats me. (I know, that was really helpful) We've certainly come a long way from the days of George and Martha, though.

I don't think that a couple of years either way make much of a difference. I know a 29-year-old woman who went out with a 22-year-old guy for a few months and certainly no-one thought much of it. Eyebrows might have been raised if she'd been 39, but I don't think that it would have made that much difference.

So my advice is go for it. Go out, get have a few drinks, feel up his knee, let nature take its course. Youth has its advantages.

Of course, youth also has its disadvantages: I wouldn't expect either of them to be paragons of maturity and responsibility.

(then again, I'm the guy who said that all men are basically pigs, so I don't really expect men, as a class, to be paragons of maturity and responsibility)

Oh No, No Sugar Tonight

Dennis Mahoney at The Morning News discusses The Joy of Internet Dating.

Don't Forget To Catch Me

Maureen Duffy writes in with more advice for Crusher:

A gentleman asked for an appointment with me yesterday to talk about the Master's Program that I direct. He wanted to do a dual M.S. degree.

"How long would that take?" he inquired.

"About 3-4 years part-time," I responded.

"Goodness," he said. "I'm already 45 years old. By the time I finish I'll be almost 50."

"Yes," I said, "but if you *don't* go ahead and do it, in four years you'll be almost 50 anyway -- and degree-less."

Good advice indeed. One hopes that Ensign Crusher is reading this.

The Ticket's In My Hand; The Train Pulls Down The Line

Dawn Olsen's Hit List I seem to have made it on to Dawn Olsen's list of potential stalking victims (see the massive huge image to the right, yes, that really big one there). I'm not sure what I did to deserve inclusion, but hey, I'll take it. Now I wonder what I have to do (what? who?) to get farther up that list. Heh.

Don't You Think That It's Time?

Dear Noted Relationship Expert,

What qualifies you to be a "Noted Relationship Expert"? Do you belong to the union?

A Curious Party

Dear A Curious Party,

Yes.

Rain Falls Like Elvis Tears

My brother has some interesting things to say about race and ethnicity. I've certainly had deal with some of the same things he does, though I don't think that I get quite as frustrated as he does. Maybe that's because I've had more practice dealing with it.

I Heard She Drove The Silvery Sports Car

Dear Noted Relationship Expert,

This is kind of embarrassing, because I've never written to an advice columnist before. I've got this crush on a girl at work. Huge. Massive. I could go through the rest of the thesaurus (elephantine, gigantic, grand, immense, mighty, monumental, mountainous, tremendous, vast), but I'll spare you. J-- is tall, she's beautiful, with this gorgeous short strawberry blond hair and beautiful slate eyes that seem to go on forever. She's smart, funny, creative, dresses well, an apple-cheeked cherub with...

Yeah, we get the picture. Get on with it.

We're friends (not close ones, thankfully), and until now, I've been able to keep this feeling under control. But I feel that I'm sliding down that slippery slope (there was this dream last night -- it wasn't explicit or anything, so get your mind out of the gutter), and she's taking up more and more of my brain time. I haven't done anything about it, but it's driving me crazy. But there are a few problems. First, she's got a boyfriend. Second, well, it's at the office, and my pappy always said, "Son, don't dip your pen in the company ink". Also, I'm afraid that J-- finds me physically unattractive. I'm not a small fellow, and I've still got my hair, though it's started the inevitable process of migration off the top of my head. I afraid that I'm falling once more into an age-old pattern I have of falling for smart, sexy, and completely inaccessible women. What should I -- what can I -- do?

Signed, Co-Worker Crusher

Dear Crusher (is that a Star Trek reference? Ya freak),

You know that sound that AOL makes when you have email? You've Got Mail! Boy howdy, my friend, You've Got Issues!

First off, the whole self-image/self confidence thing. Is "big fellow" a euphemism for "fat"? No matter what you really look like, I'm sure that there are plenty of women out there who would find you attractive (lord knows that I see lots of hot women out there with total freaks (I don't know what they see in them, but hey, file under things I just don't get)). If it really is a problem, well, get to the gym and eat right. I know, much easier said than done, but it's definitely doable.

Second, you don't actually talk about trying to hook up with this girl. Wassup with that? She's the Girl Of Your Dreams (literally). You've got this huge (monumental, prodigious, stupendous, towering, tremendous) crush on her, big enough that you actually write to a Noted Relationship Expert for the first time and you don't even ask about hooking up? What kind of bullshit is that? Not that you're asking, but here's is how you should do it:

  1. Drop by her desk/office/cubicle/workspace.
  2. Say, "Hey, I've got a little dinner party thing going on this weekend. You want to come?"
  3. Wait for her reaction.
  4. Dazzle her with your intelligence, charm, and wit.

Pretty simple, eh?

It's probably pretty obvious that you're fond of her (at the least). Men are usually really bad at hiding these sorts of things. What's the worst that can happen? She says yes?

The "problems" that you mention? It sounds like you're trying to find an excuse for not doing anything. Not dipping your pen in the company inkwell is still good advice, but it's hardly a hard-and-fast rule. Hell, the way most of us work, we never meet anyone outside of the office anyway. Boyfriend? A bigger problem, but true love knows no boundaries. In the unfortunate event that the boyfriend is the true love, well, chalk it up to it never having been meant to be.

Let's face it: there's a 90% chance that nothing will happen (attraction is far too often a one-way street). And that leaves you pretty much where you started. So you go, you ask her, she says, very nicely, thanks, but no thanks. And then what? Well, then you let it go. You get on with your life. You did what could. Maybe the two of you will eventually meet again. I can't predict the future (well, I can say that I'm going to go each lunch when this finally goes up). You can't predict the future.

If nothing happens, the key thing, the most important thing, is to move on. The thing about a crush is that you're not falling for a person; you're falling for the idea of the person. It's not necessarily her (or as you call her, J--) that you're interested in; it's the idealized can-do-no-wrong construct that you've built up around her. And maybe, just maybe, she's interested in being herself, not someone else's idea of herself. Because at some point you have to remember that behind the pining and the crush and the glossy fiction that you've created ("Apple-cheeked Cherub?") is a real, live, human being with her own hope, her own fears, her own uncertainties, and her own life.

What are you afraid of? Maybe she might be persuaded to make room in that life for you. Maybe not. Yeah, rejection sucks (been there), but it's better to know for sure than to hang on, deluding yourself that maybe there might be a chance. There's only one way to find out if there might be a chance. Don't be afraid of it. A life lived in fear is a life half-lived (or something like that). So go out, do what I tell you to do, get on with your life. Spend your time being funny and sociable, instead of being hunched over a keyboard, tapping out letters to electronic agony aunts. Live a little. It's not going to kill you.

[letters may be edited for length and content]

Coming soon on Relationship Month: Dating: Why It Sucks.

These Memories Can't Wait

We're taking a break from He Said She Said month today, and that's because we have a contest winner!

Caryn Solly submitted the winning entry:

"The old man at the frontier lost his horse"

One sunny day, a tired old man kept watch over his florist stand, blooming with roses, daisies, lilies and other fragrant flowers that filled the street with springtime scents.

The bright mood of the bustling street was interrupted when several local bullies crowded in with their horses.

The old man immediately recognized one of them as his beautiful oldest daughter's new suitor. He did not want her to marry this boy because he was from a poor family. The old man wanted his own family to be taken care of and wished her to marry rich.

The suitor was aware of the old man's displeasure and sauntered over to his cart. The other boys started mashing flowers in their hands.

"Old man, you cannot stop your daughter and I from marrying," the suitor said, and with that, he picked up the old man and threw him over the back of a horse. Hopping on a horse himself, he gave the steeds a few good whacks and soon they were running toward the forest. The old man, fragile in his age, could do nothing but hang on for dear life.

Hours after he'd been dumped onto horseback, the old man was able to swing a leg over the horse and right himself. He was so tired and couldn't believe he hadn't fallen. He was deep into the woods and the suitor was nowhere to be found. The old man, whose dementia was worsening each day now, was lost.

He got the horse to water and looked around. He had not noticed whether they had ridden into the forest north or south of his town. Since he was at a stream, he decided to follow it downriver.

The woods got wilder and wilder as he and his horse followed the creek. Unseen animals growled in the dark. The old man was not getting any closer to home, but he kept on, knowing this water must lead to something.

While the horse was stopped for water, the old man hopped down and drank some himself. As the cool water dribbled over his lips and chin, a wolf crept out of the woods and spooked the horse. He reared onto two legs and his whinny echoed through the trees. The old man choked and clambered to reach the horse's reins. His wet hands slipped through the leather straps, as the horse ran to escape.

Now, hungry, lost and cold, the man was face to face with a wolf.

"The old man at the frontier lost his horse" means "Things can always get worse."

As usual, Caryn wins a Fabulous Prize!

I'm Stuck Here In My Seat

It's either a coincidence or a conspiracy:

Margaret Berry writes about dating etiquette for the Morning News. The executive summary? Don't be rude.

There's A Party In My Mind

I could hardly answer the question of Men are pigs: yes or no? without expecting to be asked the converse:

Women: Are all of them psycho?

Well, the short answer is it depends.

What do you mean it depends? Isn't that a wussy answer?

Um, let me explain.

You see, it really depends on what you call psycho. Thing is, two of the major differences between women and men are

  1. women tend to be much more in touch with their feelings than men (we do have them, but they're often ignored)
  2. women tend to be much more aware of subtle, non-verbal cues than men (not all men are oblivious, but most are)

Why? Who knows? It is, once more, a nature or nurture question that I can't really answer (probably a little of both, but I'm not wearing my behavoiral biology expert cap today). What's important, though, is that these are real differences.

And these are the difference that cause these sorts of problems. Let's look at a sample dialogue (our players are M (for Mike, Mac, Malcolm, or Mark) and F (for Fiona, Francine, Flora or Faith)):

M: Hey, look what came in the mail. An invitation from Alex and Jordan. Looks like they're gettin' hitched.

F: Really? When?

M: Ummm. Looks like next month.

[a short time later, during which F has attempted to signal her thought process (see below) non-verbally]

F: [lower lip trembling slightly] Do you think that this relationship is going anywhere?

M: WTF?

See, the problem lies in the thought process the two go through. For M, the thought processes goes something like this:

next month? guess i better remember to reserve a tux.

And then he goes on to think about the rest of the mail that arrived that day.

But for F, the thought process is a little more complicated:

getting married? already? let's see... they started going out... wait, they started going out when we did... well, where does this put us? are we falling behind schedule? should we even be on a schedule? my god, i'm already... which means if i want kids... does he even love me anymore? it's been a while... so am i just part of the decoration already?

So, as you can see, there's a serious gap already, and that's even before anyone has even opened their mouth.

So clearly, there's a very large difference between how men process information and how women process information. Not only that, but how they present information is totally different, too.

To M, F's question about "The Relationship" came out of nowhere. Most men would agree with him. However, to F (and most women), it's a perfectly logical question to ask.

Now this little discussion was about something really very straightforward. You can see how something like this could get far more complicated in a very short period of time (common issues include other men doing things for their significant others, friends/relatives having kids, co-workers of the opposite sex, and so on).

Combine this with the female tendency to invest these moments with emotion (as countless men have observed, men have no defense against tears), and you have the classic male response: that girl's just nuts!

So you see, when I say that the answer depends, it really does depend. What is entirely rational and sane to one partner often appears completely nuts to the other.

(Of course, if you start boiling bunnies for breakfast, well, that really is psycho)

(I mean, I think that a little ragout de lapin can be quite tasty, but making it with pets is just wrong).

No You Don't Remember Anything At All

As part of He Said She Said month, I'm happy to present an on-going series of Q & As with the noted relationship expert, me. Our first question deals with the subtleties of the male psyche:

Are all men really pigs?

Boy howdy! A tough one right off the bat. Um, the short answer (and take it from me, I'm not only a noted relationship expert, but I'm also a man) is yes.

Thing is, every man is entirely capable of spectacularly boorish behavior. Doesn't matter how educated, how intelligent, how cultured he is (some of the most famous philanderers in history have been otherwise highly respectable and erudite gentlemen of society). [a particularly leering and lascivious sentence detailing what can cause piggish behavior has been deleted] Evolutionary biologists have speculated that swinish behavior has a primordial, genetic root: the evolutionary need of the male to pass along as many of his genes as possible in a competitive setting.

This, however, does not excuse this sort of behavior. One of the differences between homo sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to understand ourselves and to resist our baser instincts (indeed, it could be argued that this ability is the basis of civil society). Simply put, men should not be given a free pass because of behavior patterns that were evolutionarily advantageous a million years ago.

Another cause is perhaps because men really don't understand women and have a great deal of trouble relating to them as people. This is an unfortunate state of affairs (which is not helped by the ever-increasing sexualization of gender roles that we've seen over the past decade). In English, this means that men are shallow and often read a book by its cover. A side effect is that men who have been wounded in affairs of the heart often blame the entire female sex for their woes and subsequently act accordingly.

In the interests of fairness, there are plenty of women who act as enablers here. I simply cannot comprehend (perhaps the fault lies with a failure of imagination on my part) what kind of thought process goes through the mind (on the other hand, perhaps I am making an unwarranted assumption here) of a young woman who agrees to participate in a so-called 'wet T-shirt contest' (so-called because T-shirts are often absent entirely from such events). At a minimum, she is not contributing to the advancement of The Cause.

On a more general note, men are simply not as emotionally available as most women are (they're not 'in touch with their feelings'). I don't know if this is a problem of nature or nurture (probably both). Thusly, what a man may feel to be perfectly acceptable behavior (going out until 2 a.m. in the seedier sections of town) would probably not pass muster with his more sensitive partner.

Quite frankly, given the track record of my gender, I'm surprised that any women at all take a chance on us.

The Streets Of Town Were Paved With Stars

Since August seems to be turning into relationship month here (or maybe I should call it "He Said She Said" month), here's some blatant link pimpage:

  • Edie Singlton's Adventures in DatingA Mating Call in the Concrete Jungle. Funny, well written.
  • Mil Millington's Things My Girlfriend and I have Argued About, which is not only sidesplittingly funny, it's all true (and has been turned into a novel, coming soon to a retailer of taste and discernment near you). Be sure to check out Mil's One Millionth Visitor contest.
  • The Name Says It All, Part I, The Bitter Male Chronicles.
  • This Fish Needs A Bicycle, by the well known writer A. N. Onymous. Clever title, conventional (albeit well-written) blog.
  • What is the relationship between industry and the individual? Samsung Means To Come, a love story of sorts.
  • Sarah Hatter's joy.blogspot.com isn't about relationships per se, but she writes about them a lot anyway.
  • Jessica at the Blog of Chloe and Pete touches briefly on the subject of LDRs. I'm personally pessimistic on the subject. Every one I've ever seen up close has eventuallly collapsed, the victim of either a) the distance and the absence, or paradoxically, b) the reunion. Modern technology can help close the distances in the case of a), but b)'s a real killer. The problem is that while you're in an LDR, the times that you see your partner are concentrated, intense spurts (mostly shagging and PDAs, but that's another story). You don't have to deal with your other's dirty underwear on the bathroom floor, their disgusting habit of picking their nose at the breakfast table, the really annoying way that they parallel park. And even if you had been in close proximity before the LDR portion of the relationship, the time apart can -- and will -- change a person, so that when they come back, they aren't always the same person, and that can cause problems. Don't get me wrong, I wish Jessica and hers all the best. But that's just the way I see it. Maybe I'm a cynic.
  • The Name Says It All, Part II, Boys Kill.
  • Second funniest personal ad I've ever read. From craigslist.
  • And last but not least, Marie is doing a documentary about Men from the woman's perspective (well, at least Marie's perspective, which, as far as I can tell, is pretty darn appreciative).

Check 'em out.

Poor Puzzled Moon

This is cool: a brief history of the Frankenstein name.

I should point out that I'm not related to of the people mentioned in the article.

There Were Angels Dining At The Ritz

That Certain Night

Don't forget the contest.

We're Cloudbursting, Daddy

Why do I keep wanting to type 'July' up in the date field?

Like The Sun's Coming Out

I am no longer a sandwich. Instead, I've been transferred to InstaDonk's Rotisserie Links: Hot, Fresh, and Frequently Rotated. Sounds tasty.

And on a side note, the Donk has also put together a price list for back issues of his blog.

Just Saying It Could Even Make It Happen

The illustrious Ken Goldstein has re-arranged his links as if he were the proprietor of a delicatessen. I seem to have been classified as a "Thinly Sliced Pastrami on Rye", which is a fine sandwich indeed.

I Won't Forget

She says that English men don't know how to treat women (the same article I linked to a few days ago, actually).

He says, bollocks.

I'm with him on this one. Particularly with regard to the behavior exhibited in his penultimate paragraph.

But Every Time It Rains

Kevin, Play Me Some Of That

Can I say that the Dog Days are officially here? It's August, right?

You're Like My Yo-Yo

| 1 Comment
From the <i><b>I must be doing something wrong file</b></i>:
In North America, it is generally understood that men chase women, and women, in turn, leave themselves open to being chased. This is why a corny book like The Rules … has sold more than a million copies since it was first published … In essence, it is a handbook on how to play hard to get (don’t call him, let him pay, make him wait, etc.).

Thus writes Leah McLaren in the Spectator (thanks to Edie Singleton for the link).

Now, here’s the thing. I don’t necessarily mind making the first call (not that I’ve done that in a while but that’s another story). And I actually like paying for dinner/movies/whatever. But this whole playing hard to get thing is, quite frankly, baffling to me. I mean, if I call a girl, and she doesn’t call back — well, I’m going to figure that she’s simply not interested, and thus drop the matter. If she did find me interesting, then well, maybe a return call at some point (sometime in the next 3 days would be good, I think) would be a normal thing to expect, right?

I know that no-one knows the mysteries of the heart and all that mumbo-jumbo, but is it really that hard? Pick up the phone, punch the numbers, say "yeah, maybe this weekend, I could be free". Make a plan, stick to it.

Thing is that there are a lot of guys out there (ok, maybe it’s just me) who couldn’t tell ‘playing hard-to-get’ from ‘I’m not calling for a reason’ (and in any event, you can probably figure the odds on any relationship that’s founded on the manipulation one of party by the other) if the fate of western civilization depended on it. Maybe we’re stupid. Maybe we just don’t get it. Maybe we’re oblivious. Maybe we’re just tired of getting burned.

I mean, I have chased women who really weren’t interested before, and, quite frankly, it’s not an experience I’m in any hurry to repeat (phrases like ‘horrible’, ‘embarrassing’, ‘humiliated’, ‘depressed for years’ come to mind).

On the flip side, maybe I’m just not that interesting.

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