February 2009


Because my friends are far more clever than I and a gchat status is the awesomest way to indicate your mood, level of wit, and general lovability;  a rundown of status messages I have loved today:

Rachel

“monogamy is for taxes” Erica

Also Rachel

Not like the cream of the crop… More like the 3rd tier of corn 😉

Anna

figures she should win the science fair, rule the kingdom and get the prince as an afterthought

This one was tecnically Mine, but Claire said it

Hamlet: When Lesbian Nuns Attack!*

*For your reference, the concept has since been changed to – Hamlet: An Island Adventure…call telecharge now!

(or at least expecting the answers to the Valentine’s FAQs)

Photo by cuorhome via flickr.

Photo by cuorhome via flickr.

What Special Foods Should I Eat/Serve on this Holiday and How Can they be Obtained?

You could take the traditional approach this Valentine’s Day by consulting the Slashfood list of some romantic foods or the Times reference section on chocolate. Or, take Grub’s Street’s advice and just eat…heart. Or, yah know, don’t.

If, by chance, you are trying to seduce someone like me, you know that your best bet is cheese. Or, if you are really trying to get me out of my pants as fast as possible, go for a chocolate and cheese combination.

But there is no need to get fancy this Valentine’s Day. Nothing says “I love you and I’m cheap” quite like toast.

Finally, if you are single…or taken…or human, what you’ll really want to be eating this Valentine’s Day is Girl Scout Cookies – nothing says I love you like the sentence “take another one of my Thin Mints and I swear to god I will punch you in the face…again”. Unfortunately, the Cookie Gods are not a benevolent bunch (and apparently a nationwide troop of little girls doesn’t have the good sense or business acumen to ensure that people can have the option to pay obscene amounts of money for a little box of less-cookies-than-last-year in advance of Valentine’s Day) you will have to steal them.

What Should I Give The-Love-of-My-Life/This Dude (or Gal) I’ve Met Twice/My Hetero Life Mate/The Object of My Bromantic Affection this year?

Valentine’s Day is a gift-giving holiday. Like Halloween, a day engineered to encourage otherwise sane adult females to wander the streets of New York dressed like skanks, Valentine’s day allows you to go sailing across that fine line between gifts that are well thought out and gifts that are useless, silly or down right dirty.

For your single gal pal (or gay best friend) try these “Happy Valentine’s Day here’s a dude crying” magnets or go the good the old fashioned route with a sex toy. Sex toys are also the right choice for your lova’ (cause lets face it, who doesn’t love a gift that loves them back?) but this year you can also use your gal (or dudes) name to customize some word porn. Or, yah know, not.

If, like me, you’d like a big ol’ nerd to call your valentine I suggest this gift. Or, for your more sartorially minded nerds: these or these. Should your love be more bromantic in nature try one of these tshirts instead. Although, newsflash: if you are buying him clothes this isn’t a bromance, so maybe stick with beer.

If you are too cheap..errr romantic…to buy a gift this Valentine’s Day, why not compose your lady a love poem?

Hate someone this Valentine’s Day? Let them know by getting them a giant dead snake or, as Trojan suggests, give them the gift that keeps on giving – the clap.

What is the Best Course of Action if I’m Single this Valentine’s Day?

Spending Valentine’s Day alone this year? Not to worry, there are still lots of ways to be cuddled up by the end of the night! For starters you can buy your very own “Hug Me Pillow”, tear stains not included. If you’re interested in something a little more social  pack up your Hipster dating kit and head out to find yourself a beautiful single lady with straight bangs and plentiful tattoos, comes complete with a pleasantly hungover brunch the next morning. For those of you in New York (but outside of a one mile radius of Brooklyn) I suggest the oldest of Valentines traditions, tequila, preferably of the free variety.

Rachel Sent You Most of the Links Included in the Answers to the FAQs, does she ever work?

As far as I can tell? No.

Photo by mozzercork via flickr

Photo by mozzercork via flickr

A brief word before we begin: as you may have heard, I have recently become interested (read: obsessed) with Entourage, all the more so since someone told me that Adrian Grenier owns an eco-friendly house…in Brooklyn…with his mother. Swoon. Therefore, our heartwarming, vaguely current, only marginally related lead-in today comes from the mouth of none-other-than everyone’s favorite potty-mouthed philosopher king, Ari Gold. In the second episode of season 3, as the viewers watch eagerly to see if HBO can actually get Toby Maguire on the show so that the guys can tell him to suck it, Ari tells E to “manage your client’s expectations”. Granted, I don’t particularly want to take Ari’s advice, because I don’t particularly want to find myself shotgunning beers at a high school party in the valley – but this week, they may be words to live by.

 

For reasons that I can’t explain (lest a certain crazy Editor discover that I’m talking about his Journal and link his blog to mine), several of my coworkers are periodically responsible for sorting through a considerable number of photos of social scientists from around the world. It sounds like fun already, no? But it gets better! Because they’ve taken to playing a little game that I’m going to call The Managed Expectations Dating Game. The essential narrative of the game is as follows: there comes a day in your life when you have to lower your expectations, we think that day is today, we have identified a potential match for you accordingly. Nothing brightens up a Thursday afternoon like suggesting that someone date Dr. So-and-so with the coke bottle classes and offensive nose hair or Dr. Whats-it with more than twenty years experience studying the hallucinogenic effects of certain species of mushroom on Holstein cows in Bolivia. Want to find true happiness? It’s time to Manage Those Expectations!

 

February is a prime month for managed expectations, like New Year’s Eve or your high school prom (if you are a character in a movie marketed primarily to ‘tweens), February 14th is a High Holy Day on the Should’ve-Managed-My-Expectations Calendar. It’s exactly the kind of holiday where you get your hopes up only to have them dashed when  a) it turns out your next door neighbor hasn’t been carefully monitoring your work schedule so that he can surprise you with flowers and declarations of his undying love (after he introduces himself) as you climb the stairs after a long day, or b) your boyfriend wasn’t asking if you thought his sister would like that necklace for her birthday (back in October) because he was secretly running it by you as a potential VDay gift, or c) despite advice to the contrary, your fiancée decided that a second wii would be the most romantic gift this year.   

 

 For the sake of honesty I have to admit, I’m not a VDay Hater. New Year’s Eve I could live without, and Christmas and I have some major beef with, but Valentine’s Day and I are pretty much cool. I’ve had some really romantic ones and plenty of perfectly lovely single ones with the girls – I highly recommend chocolate covered strawberries and The Cutting Edge…in either case. But, nevertheless, over the next couple days I am going to try to post some tools for managing your expectations this Valentine’s Day even though, for once, I don’t think the reality of my expectations need too much management…although it is a strange coincidence that Adrian Grenier and I are both living in Brooklyn this Valentine’s Day…right?

…I mean she is, but we pretty much stalk everybody this way.

 

 

Photo by gerlos via flickr.

Photo by gerlos via flickr.

 

Gentlemen listen up, cause I’ve got some news for you – we are stalking you. Yes, yes – I am speaking on behalf of my entire gender, including the hot ones and the really chill ones: ESPECIALLY the really chill ones – we are ALL stalking you.

 

Here’s the scene: you’ve been seeing this girl for awhile and it’s going really well. She has a birthday party this weekend and she’s asked you to tag along and meet her friends. You meet them and they all seem really nice – curious to meet you and interested in what you do, right? WRONG!!! Rewind to six weeks ago, when you first met this girl at Pottery Barn, or puppy-and-me yoga, or wherever you fellows meet the nice ladies these days. Now, fast forward by 5 minutes, stop. Right there, see it? You have only just successfully made off with her number, but she has already texted your name to three friends – they know your social security number and the name of your fourth grade teacher. They have in turn passed that information on to a network of girls who have analyzed your taste in movies on myspace, reviewed your recent tweets, and judged the last four girls who wrote on your facebook wall. The group of people you are “meeting” tonight know more about you than your mother, and it is only because they pre-approved you that you got to take this girl on that awkward first date (which they all know about, in detail) to begin with.

 

Am I exaggerating? Well, maybe – but not as much as you might think. A close friend just started online dating (let’s just call it the bar pick-up for the new millennium). In situations like this you have the option to get to know people slowly, a little bit at a time. She has exchanged several emails with a promising catch and she’s learned a handful of interesting things about him. But guess what sir: I know as many things about you as she does – and so do 4 of our other friends. The coworker of a friend recently met a great guy: hot, successful, sweet – awesome. After their first encounter she went back to her office and found out that he’s engaged. Oh my god, how did she know? She knew because she said goodbye to you, sat down at her desk and googled your ass – she’s no fool! So now, not only do you owe an explanation to this girl who you just asked on a second date (and maybe your fiancé, jerk), but also this story has already been heard by this girl’s coworkers and friends, and their friends’ coworkers, and their friends’ coworkers’ friends (and now some people on the internet, you’re welcome!).

 

So, girls are crazy? Yes! Of course girls are crazy, but this isn’t necessarily the evidence of that. We’re not obsessed with you and we don’t want to marry you and have all your babies – heck, 99% of the time we don’t even want to see you again! This is simply how girls process information. We talk to each other. We’re not sheep, and we’re certainly not incapable of making our own decisions, but you better believe that we’re going to entertain ourselves by sending your facebook page to eight of our friends before we agree to go on that first date. And if you don’t want our roommates and gym buddies to know that you “secretly heart The Notebook” you’d better take it off your Match.com profile, and quick! Our internet stalking is, first and foremost, skillful in ways you can’t imagine. But it is also quirky and endearing and, every once in awhile, totally awesome.

 

Take for example, my coworker’s roommate. She recently became enamored with one of those local celebrities who become known, more or less exclusively, for doing hilariously nerdy things on camera. After putting in the obligatory time scanning the New York Mag blogs and the YouTube clips, she found him online. After all, in an age where you can reconnect with an old college friend when you find them in all their glory on XTube, how hard (no pun intended…really) can it be to befriend someone you see filming in your neighborhood on  YouTube? Suffice it to say that the lady in question is a crafty and a charming one, and that her nerdiness and stalkitude are of the most adorable variety. It therefore comes as no surprise that she 1) decided a witty self-designed someecard was the best way to make contact, which she had obviously already figured out how to do, 2) immediately intrigued him with her clever and coy note, 3) and will be having his babies by next Wednesday, even though they’ve only gone out once! Kidding! I am just kidding! But she did see the gentlemen in question last night and I think it is pretty safe to say that he is just that in to her, in all her stalker glory.

 

…or at least responsible for keeping him from becoming a Trappist?
Photo courtesy of Drew P. Baldwin via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Drew P. Baldwin via Flickr

I am going to go ahead and use that old stand-by of middle school guidance counselors across the country when I say I know someone who is apparently doing alright for himself in the area of amateur porn. Now I should preface this by saying two things. First, the kid was obviously doing alright for himself in the area of his pants to begin with, which is probably contributing to his interwebs popularity (and more on how I know that in a moment). Second, and before you all start accusing each other of producing pornographic matter that you’re not sharing with the group, I am using the word know in the loosest possible sense. Know as in: I went to college with him for a minute like 5 years ago. The same way I know a former professional dominatrix and a girl whose left butt cheek hung suspiciously lower than her right one (and who wore short enough skirts to let us all know) – suffice it to say that college was a *very* interesting place to make friends and influence people.

So anyway, as I was telling my peer leadership group, I know someone who: is jerking it on the net. And not only is he engaging in the distribution of his own homegrown web-wanking, he is doing the dirtiest deed of all: he is showing his face. Which brings us to my aforementioned knowledge of the state of the union south of his border; if this were a camcorder-in-the-bathroom-shooting-from-the-neck-down-until-I- well you know, we’d be none the wiser. But as it happens, a certain friend’s late-night surfing led to a hilarious text message, which led to phone calls and texts and retellings and word spreading until the gossip had my sweet innocent roommate trying to find the internal search engine on a porn site (for a least a second…before she realized who she lives with and decided it was MY job to navigate for porn…maybe I should put that in the special skills section of my resume…).

 

 

His performance is not particularly impressive, although, as I mentioned, he does make a sizable contribution to the field, what’s really interesting is the fact that we know someone who does this. Full disclosure, I am a pretty sex positive, pro-porn kind of feminista lady. I’m sure that for a lot of people the fact that he does this, and the fact that platforms exist to help him do it, is horrifying or, at the very least, terribly confusing. I more or less think it’s awesome, more power to him; my concerns are of a more practical nature – I have questions! What if his brother (I have no idea if he has a brother) is perusing the site? Does the whole family suddenly become aware of the situation or is the fact that his brother is embarrassed about visiting the site enough to keep it quiet? Does one brother confront the other or does he keep it to himself? Is finding your sibling when you’re looking for porn enough to turn a brother into a Brother in a remote monastery in the Alps? As an aspiring fellatio Fellini (sorry, I couldn’t resist) are you obliged to warn your siblings before they find you (see the previous hypothetical where they are then driven to a monastic life of silence and contemplation) in all your web-star glory?

The “brother” line of thought is one of a hundred hypothetical scenarios this could lead to; what if it isn’t your brother that finds it? What if it’s your professor? Or the woman who is going to interview you for a job tomorrow? Or someone who will go on to be an important member of Congress on the day before the day you have to bow out of your Senate confirmation hearing because of “unpaid taxes” – a proven track record in the areas of health and human services indeed! The point is, anyone could see it. But the question is: who cares?

In an age where technology is everywhere, the slow creep of technology into our sex lives was more or less inevitable (and awesomely blogged about by Regina Lynn until she left Wired…now I cry every Friday). And while, thanks to Sex and the City, sex toys are becoming an increasingly common and acceptable aspect of our collective lady conversation about sex and technology, most of society is lagging pretty for behind the awesome Miss Lynn and her colleagues in the Sex/Tech world.  Similarly, while web porn is literally only seconds younger than the internet (why do you think Al Gore invented the thing while Tipper was out censoring anything that stood still long enough to take it?!), American society still has some pretty antiquated notions about sexuality, and about sex and technology especially.

Ultimately, the video that we saw of my former fellow student was probably a personal expression of healthy sexuality- it is a fully consensual sex act between him and the viewers (in this case the viewers are half the internet and 97 giggling fools he went to college with). Engaging the internet in your sexuality is going to be an increasingly common form of sexual expression; so maybe its time that Americans not have to worry about the effect it might have on their lives if a professor or an employer finds that video…it might still be nice to warn your brother though.