September 2010 Archives

and now, on to less hairy ear wax

Okay, men only. Rate the following hygiene problems in terms of their repugnance.

i need a noun

I'm writing a post about integrity, and there's a certain type for which I know of no name. You know the people who buttress their lives with comforting fictions? They don't like themselves, they don't like their lives, whatever—so they just decide to spin a bullshit narrative instead? Of course you do.

What do you call a person who unflinchingly doesn't do that? No spin, no varnish, no selective truths. It's a special kind of integrity.

and i thought the ear wax thing was sarcastic

Turns out several women said it was really, truly gross. Me, I can't remember ever noticing another human being's ear wax in my entire life.

Unbrushed teeth - By far the runaway winner, which isn't all that surprising

Wearing dirty clothes - A woman originally suggested that I include this runner-up. I didn't expect this one to fare as it did. If there was a breakaway surprise, this was it. Boys, you cannot overstate the vehemence with which women hate our sniff test. And true story: when I was reading their rantings yesterday morning, I was wearing the same clothes for the third day in a row, and a woman dropped by my house.

Visible booger, greasy hair, doesn't shower every day - All fell into the second stratum of repugnance, and none of them surprised me.

Neck hair - Dead last. No one but Dorkass cares.

Farting in front of her - Due to my coding error, stats on this were not collected. That's not a self-referential joke. It just reads like one.

Dandruff - If there was a stunner for me, it was the support dandruff got. The women were overwhelming in their disdain for guys with dandruff, which until this week I thought was purely an invention of shampoo commercials. Dandruff barely registers to me. I can't remember ever noticing it.

Everything else - Got some votes, but not enough to form a trend.

And there's more! - Nose-picking received some write-in love, curiously always from women who also professed to hate visible boogers. (If that's not the very definition of being in a relationship, I don't know what is.) Nasty toenails got a couple mentions, as did something I hadn't thought of but wish I had: filthy bathrooms. Bacon strips on underwear were mentioned a couple times, which to me vaults from subjective hygiene preferences into "This baboon doesn't wipe his own ass." I think we can agree that chunks of fecal matter might diminish attractiveness.

Tomorrow: the comparable survey for men, about women

ear wax epilogue

Ordinarily I'd be posting survey results today, but the responses are still gushing in. I'll roll them up tomorrow. Trust that Dorkass' neck hair thing is proving as bizarre to you as it was to me.

Next, I'd like to do a comparable survey for men about women. Here's the trouble: I can't really remember any female hygiene infractions. Like, ever. I think this is because women generally aren't reeking, molting slobs. So help me out, guys. Shaved legs and armpits are in. What else? And no, I'm not including anything with the word "Brazilian" in it.

damn, i forgot ear wax

The weirdest compliment I've ever gotten from women remains "you have great hygiene." By that, you might expect that I shower more than once per day or brush my teeth more than twice, but no. I am nominally hygienic. And apparently this vaults me to the top of their romantic histories.

A conversation about this curiosity led to a list of Dorkass's male-hygiene peeves. For her, it's hair on the back of the neck. I have to say I never even considered the hair on the back of my neck. I'd assumed the barber took care of these things, like I assume the groomer takes care of Dex's nails. I will say this, though: I think of my neck hair now. All too often.

Ladies, kindly rank your peeves. Gentlemen, as always, I really don't care what you think.

neutered

How do you handle it when someone you've never met before says something fantastically stupid? Me, I usually point it out, for sport.

But what about when it's on a mutual friend's Facebook wall? The rules of propriety change, no?

I usually ignore it. But what if they're rude to your friend? Is it okay to leap into the fray then? Or do you just "hide" the jerk under all circumstances?

orbital

Cross-state drives being an inexact science, I'd arrived at Sue's house about an hour early. Sue seemed flustered as she greeted me, and Lynn looked downright guilty about something. Odd. Were they just talking about me?

I hugged Sue hello. She tried to rotate me. It was like a toddler trying to move a couch up a flight of stairs. That's when I noticed what was on her dining room table.

"Who the hell sent you a dozen roses?"

"Oh dear," Lynn said.

"No one!" Sue chirped, breaking our embrace and rushing the vase into the closet. Yeah, that ought to make me forget. I have the memory of a housefly.

I stared at Sue. She stared back. Sue was old-mule kind of stubborn. I knew I would get nothing out of her. Not unless I went for her weak spot.

"Lynn, who are the roses from?"

"A GUY IN SAN FRANCISCO SENT THEM BUT SUE'S NOT SURE IF SHE WANTS TO DATE BUT HE WON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER AND HE'S TOTALLY SWEET ON HER AND SENT HER FLOWERS TWICE BEFORE AND HE'S TRYING TO TALK HER INTO VISITING HIM NEXT WEEK."

"Thank you."

"You are seriously useless, Lynn," Sue noted, still staring at me.

I sat on the couch, processing the news aloud. "Sue. Dating."

No amount of shaking my head could disjoin those two words. "Sue. Dating."

"Dammit, I should have put them in the closet earlier." Sue said. "I knew they were going to put him into orbit."

"It seems so soon after George..." I said.

"George, my husband who died six years ago who you didn't even know? That George?"

"I am so not ready for Sue to date," I continued, as though she weren't standing right next to me. "Old people should just stay home and bake. Knit. Clean. Light candles next to pictures of George. Maybe watch some golf on TV. What they decidedly shouldn't be doing is checking the expiration dates on condom wrappers."

"AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!" Sue shrieked as she fled the room. I would never hear about her love life again. I like to think that was for lack of news to report.

sue's song

Miss Sue died at home this morning. Even though I knew it was imminent, I'm crushed. The world is substantially less good today. I won't even try to convey my grief.

sue.jpg
Sue Tanaka was the creative writing secretary when I was in grad school. More importantly to me, Sue was the custodian of Sue's Newspaper, for which I waited impatiently every morning in her break room. Between the newspaper and her computer, which I bogarted, I fairly lived in that room for two years. It was because of me, I'm proud to say, that Sue hung a NO WHINING sign there.

But she especially cringed at my profanity. One day, my buddy Phil and I were in fine form. The department had screwed us repeatedly, and we were erupting in Sue's breakroom.

"I hate these cocksuckers," I snarled.

"And I can't wait for the cocksuckers to get the buttfucking they so richly deserve," Phil snapped.

"JOHN! PHIL! You're horrible! My God, watch your language!" Sue yelled from the public area.

A few days later, Phil and I went camping. Newly widowed Sue had implored us to go to her house and take her husband's firewood. "Take it all. It's birch wood," she said. "It burns great!"

And so Phil and I crammed so much birch wood into the trunk of my college car that it bottomed out on the slightest hill. Once we were on the dank, moist Oregon coast, we set about the business of lighting a campfire. I cannot emphasize enough how "great" Sue's birch wood did not burn. No amount of kindling aided in the ignition of this wood. Thus did we crawl around on the moist ground, blowing in vain at what I'm charitably going to call an ember. Alas. It was like throwing mason blocks on the embers. There would never be a campfire.

Soaked through, we ate cold hot dogs "cooked" on a wire coat hanger. We shivered through the chilly March nights, not sleeping. Finally, on day three, with me having contracted a hideous cough that would persist until July, we packed it in.

Delirious from lack of sleep, we drove back to Spokane, a seven hour trip. In his squeaky falsetto, Phil sang the song "Memories" from Cats while I drove. Over and over. Making up lyrics as he went along. I contemplated whether our speed was sufficient to kill us. No, wrecking the car would probably just maim us. Not good enough. Phil sang on.

Kit-ties.
Down the stairs by the furnace.
They are peacefully sleeping.
Unlike you and me, John.
Then he got a gleam in his eye.
Sue Tanaka—
Phil pointed to me, pantomiming Take it, John! I did, through clenched teeth.
—your cocksucking birch wood has buttfucked us allllll.
For the next ten minutes, my car swerved all over the interstate, as Phil and I indulged in what remains the longest, hardest laugh of my life. I nearly pulled over, so afraid was I that I would pass out. For the remainder of the trip, we composed what would become known as Sue's Song.
Midnight
And the fire's not burning.
It is lit yet not lighting.
It's just a-smoldering soot...
Sue Tanaka,
Your cocksucking birch wood has buttfucked us all!
Down in Newport,
Oregon.

Hot dogs.
They are smoked but not cooking.
Just ice cubes on a hanger.
Botulism abounds.
Sue Tanaka,
Your cocksucking birch wood has buttfucked us all.
Down in Newport,
Oregon.

Birch wood!
It's contemptible tree shit!
We'd torch a whole fucking forest,
If fe-ces could ignite.
Sue Tanaka,
Your cocksucking birch wood has buttfucked us all.
Down in Newport,
Oregon.

There were several more verses, but you get the gist. We were inordinately pleased with ourselves, and come May, we printed and framed our composition. "For Sue, on Mother's Day," it read. Revolted, she threw it in the trash.

"Hey! We worked hard writing that!" I said.

"Why? It only had three words!"

I swore to Sue that I would publish it.

"You will not!" she said.

How about after you die?

"Fine."

Godspeed, Sue.

this might just be genius

Smirking about his latest conquest, Mike sipped from some fruity drink and waxed about the virtues of gayness.

"Yep. It's damned convenient to have your buddies fall into your realm of sexual preference," he declared.

This felt decidedly untrue to me. "I don't know. Anytime I've gotten romantically entangled with a friend, it only screwed everything up."

"You're doing it it again," he said.

"Doing what?"

"Viewing gay relationships through the straight-guy lens."

"What other lens is available to me?"

"A fair point. Nevertheless, to understand, you have to stop viewing gay men as woman-analogues. These aren't women."

"No shit."

"These are men," he continued pointedly. "With the ethics and memories of men."

"Good....god!" I exclaimed, truly getting it for the first time.

the pathology of ugly

When I walked into her place of business, she had her back to the door. I caught the tail end of her talking to her co-workers. Sheepish and embarrassed, she was retelling how she'd caught some teenage boys checking out her ass. Everyone nervously giggled. Everyone but me.

Nope. It's hard to buy "sheepish and embarrassed" when I've heard her tell these tales so many times before. Celebrity propositions. Guys on airplanes. Guys around campfires. Work. Work parties. Customers. Husbands. Wives. Teenage boys. Seems that she's pretty much everyone's ideal woman, nay, ideal human—much to her own sheepish embarrassment, of course.

If there's anyone more repugnant than someone constantly talking about how coveted they are, I haven't met 'em.

vomitous

I'd embed this video taken by a guy climbing a transmission tower, but for full queasiness, you should really see it in the largest dimensions possible.

My first palpitation was at 1:35. Yours?

ahoy hoy

I scored 110 on yesterday's test (not counting the infinity cheat), for those who asked. And for those who objected: ya know, it's entirely possible that the scoring isn't scientific. Simmer down.

• • •

As for the Pirates, I am their collateral damage. I do not care about the Pirates. Yet there's no listening to Pittsburgh media without accidentally hearing suicidal lamentations about this franchise. I can't decide which analogy is more apt, so I give you two to choose from:

  • You know how you feel when you're watching the Olympics and curling comes on, and before you know it you've been watching Latvian women's curling for a precious hour of your ever-dwindling life? This is worse.
  • My dog Ed would flip your hand atop her muzzle, commanding you to pet her. And so you scritched her pretty ears, and she sighed appreciatively, and five minutes later you look down and realize that she's turned around and now you're scratching her ass. Same feeling.

stank's seal of authenticity

Football season, lamentably, is also douchebag season.

This year's model claims to be a diehard Steelers fan and talks—and texts!—endlessly about them, never once betraying the slightest familiarity with the team or the sport. I'm not talking about him not knowing what constitutes a low block on interception return. I'm talking about him having never heard of the Steelers' former and current starting quarterbacks.

"Who the hell is Dennis Dixon?" he texted me yesterday. ca-CHING.

It's not the not-knowing that bugs me. It's the decoupling from reality. These folks don't know how they're coming across. I don't walk into a conversation between auto mechanics and venture opinions about engines. Know why? Because I know I'd look like an idiot. This is a healthy fear.

Toward nudging douchebags toward such a handy level of self-awareness, I've devised the following fandom scale. If you hit a score of 100+, you're an authentic fan and may address me as a peer. You sub-100 people, shut up and stop eating my wings. You can have the celery.

Your team hasn't won a championship for over half your life but you never miss a game anyway: +25 points

Your team hasn't had a winning season in ten years, and you can name all 27 starting quarterbacks during that time: +100

You can't name more than 5 active players on your team: -150

Owning season tickets: 0

Using season tickets: +25

You change teams when you change boyfriends and refer to the teams as "we": -10,000

PINK_PHOTO_2.jpgYou own pink team apparel: -40

You own tattered, dated team apparel, e.g., an orange Broncos jersey. +50

You record a game, find out that they lost, and watch it anyway: +15

When your team gets screwed by a bad call, you get mad at your team for being in a position where they could get screwed by a call: +10

You throw batteries at opposing players: -20

It's Ray Lewis or Ben Roethlisberger: +20

You throw batteries at your own underperforming players: +30

You bear grudges against players that no one else remembers: +25

You have zero respect for Lakers fans: +10

You instinctively hate the Patriots, Heat and Yankees: +20

You play fantasy anything: -15

view_316504_1_1233547447.jpgYou throw a battery at Brenda Warner: +15

You have ever stood with a cell phone to your ear and waved to a friend during a game: -20

You do the above, sarcastically at home: +20

You don't remember that Mike freaking Tomczak was the starting quarterback on "your" team ten years ago: -100

You love your team so much, you occasionally find yourself accidentally listening to Pirates coverage: +infinity

who's the straightest guy you know?

Three satellite games at once, baby. Satellite TV, Media PC, iPad. (I would have used a vastly superior Android tablet instead, if only it existed. Google's acres of Ivy Leaguers are still busily chipping off Apple logos with ice scrapers, so sit tight.)

We'll look back on this last weekend, I think, as the moment when viewing sports changed. In terms of technical achievement, it was nothing special. In terms of milestones, it was huge. DirecTv streamed every game live over the Internet. How long until the NFL wonders what they need DirectV for anymore? How long until we can PPV our favorite team instead of buying the "right" to watch the Rams too?

i *heart* when fame whores get their wish

She ain't no Laser Doberman, but Watermelon Lady has addictive properties of her own. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a ridiculously good weekend of football for which to prepare.

a little salt with my steak

I had a crap day yesterday, and for some reason I thought it might be made less crappy if I ventured into the outside world. Always a mistake.

I grabbed a book and went to a restaurant for dinner. Nothing relaxes me quite like being brought food and drink while I'm reading. The young hostess beamed at me, whirling and asking how I'm doing. By the time we reached my table, she was on the verge of tears. She had just caught her boyfriend cheating mere hours before, you see. The smile had been a paper-thin facade that had snagged on the slightest human engagement.

And so she sat. She sobbed at my table, and I empathized, careful to reserve a not-small amount of pity for myself. She finally gathered herself after about a half hour, leaving me alone and wondering why I ever leave my house. House, hell. My bed.

quantifying ryan murphy

Stank favorite Ryan Murphy has announced that the upcoming season of Glee will feature a fundamentalist Christian joining the glee club. I wonder if Murphy will actually succeed in making me feel sorry for fundamentalist Christians. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but the man could make me hate crippled bunnies. I also wonder if this Christian character's worth will be measured by her acceptance of Kurt. Of course, I also wonder if October will happen again this year.

Murphy created an occasionally entertaining show, but the guy requires open-handed bitch-slaps. If he's not calling for boycotts over straw men he invented, criticizing Modern Family (which beat Glee for the Best Comedy Emmy) for not doing what Glee also didn't do, he's singing his own show's praises. You see, he wasn't sure if uncultured America would "get" such a revolutionary concept as hot kids singing hit songs in a high school musical. Because the concept is Just. That. Daring.

One might think that setting the show in Lima, Ohio would limit Murphy's opportunities for pretense about diversity, but one would underestimate his capacity for pretense. I'm all for a diverse cast, but may we please keep it within the realm of mathematical possibility? I think there are more Asians in the glee club than I met in my 26 years in Ohio.

Where Murphy no doubt sees laudable cast diversity deserving of kudos and statues, I see my intelligence being insulted. Let's break it down. In reality, Lima is literally black and white. On the show? Not so much.

Demographic Percentage of Lima population Percentage of glee club population
White 71.3% 58.3%
Black 24.5% 8.3%
Asian .97% 16.6%
Latino 1.97% 16.6%
Jewish .4% 16.6%

All right, now for the statistic that, as I type this, I do not yet know myself. The stat I wondered about while I was marveling at Murphy's continued detachment from reality. The odds of the Lima, OH glee club actually having this demographic makeup:

1 in 68,194,217,130

One in 68 billion also being the approximate odds of Murphy accepting criticism gracefully.

the sport of kings, better than diamond rings

It's like getting a new puppy. You tell yourself you remember how awful the last puppy was, but you don't. Not really. If you did, you wouldn't be considering another puppy.

Every year is the same. I get excited when the first NFL preseason games come on, but within 10 stupefying minutes of the first quarter, I'm wondering why on earth I fall for this every single year. Tonight will be more of the same. Ohio State kicks off their regular season, Dirt and I shall commemorate it with a lovingly prepared pizza, and before that pizza is gone I will already be renouncing my Ohio State alumniship. Normally my disgust with the Steelers would follow a week later, but this year is special. The revulsion started in March.

Thus today, along with the ritualistic pizza party, I obey another fine tradition: I've reset the countdown clock. Only 364 days until next football season.

indispensibility

Former boss Flo looked at the text message described in the preceding post. "Why the fuck is 9 in quotes?" she asked, genuinely perplexed.

"That's the issue you have with it?" I replied.

I was in Flo's office yesterday to teach her how to do her job. For the last five years, she rather enjoyed not having to pay attention, but now she's screwed. Utterly.

It reminded me of nothing so much as when I first moved to Washington, leaving Maddie in the Midwest after our six years of living together. I'd been out here a few months when I got the call. "Um, this is kind of embarrassing," she said awkwardly, audibly digging her toe. "But what kind of maxi-pads do I get?"

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