Recently in survey Category

mind the gap

I asked this question a couple years ago, and the response was so counterintuitive, I've never really accepted it. In a unisex public bathroom, would women prefer I put the toilet seat down like usual, or is that just inviting the next guy to pee all over it and I should therefore leave it upright?

I recalled this yesterday while in a Chinese restaurant's unisex bathroom, which added this twist: the gap.


Ladies, to men, this is a double-dog dare. Your odds of sitting in pee just went up by an order of magnitude. When we see this configuration, we think only one thing: "I can totally thread that."

I remain befuddled that 2 of 3 women would prefer that I leave that seat down. Is this a function of not understanding men and simply hoping for the best...which is really the same thing?

survey: the most annoying accent

In the coming weeks, we're going collectively to determine the most annoying accent in the English-speaking world. In the interests of thoroughness, I'm taking nominations. International readership, I especially need your help. If there's a difference between Vancouver and Toronto accents, I can't detect it.

Send me your nominees at the below address. Please identify your region of origin and anything I need to know about the offending accent. There's only one rule: yes, non-native speakers can be annoying. Please leave them out of it. Besides, who needs the Japanese when we have Scots?


gender equality

Boy, was that anticlimactic.

And the runaway #1 peeve men have regarding women's hygiene is...the same one they have about us. Kinda makes you wonder who it is who isn't brushing their teeth. Transgenders, maybe.

For the most part, other biases mirrored my own. Unlike with women, dandruff didn't much register, and dirty clothes didn't get a blip at all. Greasy hair was a clear number two, and too much perfumey odor was right up there. Armpits, legs and mustaches, we didn't care much about.

The "letting you discover for yourself that it's her time of the month" option was the result of many write-ins. Many horrific write-ins. I shall share the most printable, from Stank troll Adam:

I've had this manifest as "hey, why is there a mouse tail, or maybe a kite string, coming out of your... oh." (best case) to "oh God, why do the sheets look like someone stabbed a hooker?" (worst case)
If I had a rooting interest, it was in "too much perfumey smell." If we're in a car together and I roll down my window to breathe, even in a downpour...this is what you're going for? Really? I'm not crying because I'm sensitive, you know.

and now, on to less hairy ear wax

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

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.

ui survey

On an exceptional survey, 50% of you respond. On a typical survey, 5% of readers respond. On the Worst Survey of All Time, .0015 of you responded. I shall now abandon that material with all haste.

the dumbest ui

Have you ever used a product and known in the first five seconds that it was never tested? You non-Microsoft types are no doubt making Windows jokes right about now, but believe me, if you ever saw a pre-release version of Windows, you would thank your Almighty for its testers who, I assure you, missed very little.

No, I'm talking even dumber. Some of the most ill conceived user-interfaces ever designed.

An honorable mention goes to every guy who ever thought we need another kind of screwdriver. Phillip, you asshole, I hope the gates of hell require a hex key to unlock.

For sheer, audacious "they did this on purpose!" stupidity, I give you my runner-up: the Logitech diNovo keyboard. Note the missing button where Backspace would ordinarily go. It was ripped off in anger. Logitech saw fit to put a disc eject button here. Every time I made a typo, I would hear a clunk, followed by the gears of my DVD drawer straining against the inside of the desk. Asinine enough, but then they allow you to disable several keys except this one. For their next trick, the space bar will be replaced by "missile launch."

logitech dinovi.JPG

But still champion is the Chevy Cavalier, which I rented once in Los Angeles. There's nothing quite as exciting as flipping down the sun visor during rush-hour on the Santa Monica freeway and having it not only hit the dash, obstructing your view, but wedge into the dash. Violent removal again ensued.

Surely someone can top this. Lay it on me.


Responses to the survey the other day didn't go where I'd intended, which is always a lovely surprise. Of the responses that I did favorite fictional woman you'd love to be compared to was Liz Lemon, Tina Fey's character on 30 Rock. Smart, funny, pretty, strong without being bitchy. Yeah, at first glance she's a loser at love, but if you look closer, she's generally the one ending comically bad relationships. Note perfect.

I got just as many responses from men as women, mostly cynical predictions. Since I snarked about Elizabeth Bennet, I suppose I can't criticize. I suppose this goes without saying, but these predictions were unfailingly wrong.

There were also several thoughtful dialogues from women lamenting that they couldn't think of a Rick from Casablanca for their own gender. "Female lit and film characters are unfailingly weak or shrewish," summarized one woman for all. "They still don't know how to write a woman."

Which is, come to think of it, why I couldn't think of a female Rick, either.


"I watched Casablanca the other night," she said. "Have you ever seen it? Rick totally reminds me of you."

It's the second time I've heard this. Turns out saying this is guaranteed to make me fall instantly in love with you. Which is really un-Rick-like, and it could be troublesome if a dude ever says it to me, but let's gloss over the pesky details.

It made me wonder, though. Comparisons to what female fictitious character, if any, would be similarly flattering to women?

Note: Elizabeth Bennet is not a valid answer. Read a second book, already. And Keira Knightly and Jennifer Ehle are actresses, not fictitious characters. See a second movie, already.

silence stew

Over 90% of the responses to yesterday's question about handling bigotry-blurters indicated that yes, it also happens to people whose haircuts Allie favors. I didn't really see a pattern geographically. The retorts ran the gamut from "stewing in silence" (you) to "telling the stranger you hope he dies really, really soon" (me). Amazingly, I've never been punched in the face in this particular circumstance.

I didn't employ this the other night, however, as he was a volunteer and I was there in an official capacity. I felt like my hands were rhetorically tied. It was very much like when a girlfriend's parents spew bigoted crap.

"Honey, do I have your permission to—"


"But what if I only—"

"Fuck no."


The dog park meeting last night hadn't broken up for three seconds before some Old White Fart with an Overdeveloped Sense of Entitlement (OWFOSE) had me trapped in a conversation, literally pinning me to the wall by blocking my escape. I'd never met him before, but man, did he ever have opinions he thought the guy who contributes nothing but wisecracks should hear. Racist opinions.

How, you might reasonably ask, do racist remarks rear their head in a community meeting about dog parks, in a five-minute conversation between strangers?

Allie says it never happens to her, which given how hermetically sealed my life is (for JUST this sort of reason, I might add), surprises me. "It must be the way you look," cheerfully offers the #1 critic of my shaved head.

I'm not buying it. So I throw it open to you. (Note to Mike and d'Andre: bigoted things I say don't count.)


Astonishingly, Stank trolls largely saw the "What do you do for a living?" survey as a means for mocking. That's so unlike you people, really. I've attempted to classify the responses.

Anti-Microsoft (I think)

"I work at a sewage treatment plant, 'cause all I do is process their crap."

"I shovel bullshit."

"I am a truth launderer"

"I translate dork into human."


"I overbill professionally."

"I am a grammatical mercenary on a long term contract with a large corporate client that prefers anonymity when it comes to our business arrangements." (I think that covers technical writer for hire, for an evil organization that probably dislikes claiming you as an employee almost as much as you dislike claiming them as an employer!)

"I am an ethically challenged Microsoft-mooch." (Allie)

The obscure and even more boring than the truth

"I am a Forensic Epistemologist."

"I am a Didactical Pathologist."

The outright lie

"I don't write software documentation, that's for sure."

"I write software documentation...for space."

The fuck you

"I'm a technical writer. Got a problem with that, bitch?"

"I own my own company doing technical writing for MS. *haha* Yeah, it sounds boring, but it allows me to work from my hot tub and watch whales, so THAT'S okay." (Mister, you don't generally go to meetings. I would do technical writing for the Southern Baptist Convention if it meant I didn't have to go to meetings. Fuck'em and feed'em fish heads if they don't recognize the sheer brilliance of your arrangement.)

The winner

"It's classified."

working for a dying

Back before poker rooms were utterly ruined by the advent of TV poker, I would go to Vegas and play for days. I learned not to say I worked at Microsoft, 'cause then someone would want to vent about Microsoft or, worse, ask me technical questions about some product. One day, Seattle's other big employer popped into my mind.

"Boeing," I replied, in front of someone who turned out to be a incessantly shop-talking aeronautical engineer at Boeing. As I squirmed, I witnessed a miracle: something was actually more boring than what I did for a living.

What I do, exactly, is write software documentation. Those Windows 98 and Windows 2000 books that you used as coasters? Those were mine. (And Dorkass's. The parts that were spelled correctly were mine.) It's not a thrilling living, to be sure, but my god, is it ever a conversation killer. I live in dread of someone asking me what I do.

"What do you do for a living?" said the gorgeous woman at the dog park a few months ago. I told her. "Well, that sounds....interesting!" she said, bursting into laughter on the last word.

I told the dog-park story to Sarah's friend last month, and I could see boredom sucking the vitamins out of her bloodstream. "Yeah, that...doesn' all."

Which brings us to today's survey. What, exactly, do I tell people? Especially gorgeous women at the dog park? Nowadays I own my own vending company that performs these services for Microsoft, but the alternate answers of "I'm self-employed" or "I'm a freelance writer" sound to me like, respectively, "I'm unemployed" and "I live with my mother."

I leave it to you.


Wow. I mean, like, wow.

These names are so much better than anything I came up with, it's a certainty that a Stank troll will choose Dex's middle name. Believe me; that hurts me much more than it hurts you.

I've narrowed it down to the ones that seemed to flow best when interlaced with profanity. Also, I combined all Percy-derived entries into simply "Percival."

Place yer bets.

poindexter ________

I just realized that Dex's first birthday is next month. Is it ever too soon to begin dreading the geriatric years and their incumbent expenses? I think not.

I'm also mortified that I've yet to perform a rite of critical importance: bestowing her middle name. What on earth am I supposed to yell when I discover Dex chewing the thumbsticks off my X-Box controller?

" yer ass over here!"

This travesty cannot continue. I leave it to you trolls. What middle name goes with "Poindexter?"


Yeah. Doing a survey over a holiday when my hits go down 98% was pure genius.

I thank my couple of Jewish readers for their responses.

break a leg. break two.

In last week's "this actor almost ruined an otherwise fine movie" survey, one person took exception to my saying Tom Cruise ruined Jerry Maguire. Each to his own, but I think his performance is unwatchable. To me, he's always Tom Cruise acting. The man cannot connote vulnerability. The man cannot connote normality.

One I can't believe I forgot: Jamie Lee Curtis in A Fish Called Wanda. If there's ever been a bigger talent disparity between one actor and the rest of the cast, I've never seen it. My god, the rope-humping scene. My god.

Speaking of Cruise, Katie Holmes was the most nominated actress. She wasn't very good in Batman Begins or Thank You for Smoking, to be sure, although one could make an argument in the latter that she was playing an insincere actress of sorts, so false notes served the character. Yeah. It's not a bug; it's a feature!

Keanu Reeves was the most nominated actor, male or female. His offenses are legion, but one voter remembered a chestnut I forgot: his turn as Don John in Much Ado About Nothing. Shudder. I was unable to find a quick clip from the movie, but in this interview you get to hear his English accent. Or not.

Remember: it's remarkable acting.


I've been laid out with a cold for a couple days, and I've been excited to press the streaming TV into service. I've watched quite a few Netflix movies. Last night: Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Is there a good movie more marred by a single performance than Four Weddings is by Andie MacDowell's? She's just dreadful. Her leaden line readings suck the life out of not only her own scenes, but out of adjacent scenes. And it's bloody impossible to believe that Hugh Grant would wreck his insides over her. You have to work hard to imagine it.

I think the answer to my question may well be Jerry Maguire. Tom Cruise is cringe-inducing in what's otherwise a good movie, but considering that he's in every single scene, the impact is lethal. He needs to play a man verging on insanity, but it's a bizarre, clueless portrayal by an actor who hasn't known "sane" for quite some time. The first time I watched that movie, I couldn't help but wonder how much better it would have been with John Cusack or, better yet, Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. Any real actor, really.

Honorable mention: baseball "expert" Susan Sarandon in the batting cage in Bull Duhram. Yikes. Keep your eye on the ball. Put your weight into it. And for the love of God, wear a bra.


I once nearly wrecked a car from laughter. Phil and I were driving from the Oregon coast to Spokane, and along the way we tweaked the lyrics to the song "Memory" from Cats. It was an inside joke about and amongst friends, and the laugh won't translate, but the result of our riffing on one another's lyrics was, in fact, the biggest, most debilitating laugh of my life. Other cars backed off 1000 feet. They were that scared of my suddenly erratic driving.

Oddly, the second-biggest laugh was also at the Oregon coast. I was in our rental house, watching the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. Don Imus was speaking. He was typically unfunny. He wasn't even trying to be funny, really. He was listing the many virtues of right-wing nutcase Pat Buchanan, and I was semi-tuning him out. And then...

"Did you know, most people don't know this, but did you know that a relative of Pat Buchanan's was killed at Auschwitz?"

I tuned back in. What?!?

"Yeah. One of his uncles fell out of a guard tower."

I completely lost control of my tear ducts. It was ten minutes before I could draw a breath. This was bloody genius, right down to the five minutes of tedium beforehand. I couldn't have been sucker-punched better.

I've shown you mine. Show me yours.


It's with no pride whatsoever that I can say the following: the times in my life when a woman has told me she had a crush on me, it took me by complete surprise.

"Me? Seriously?" is usually followed by a thoroughly baffled "Why?"

Significantly, seldom has the woman used the present tense. The crush is always in the past. As in "I used to have a crush on you." I can't help but mentally complete their sentence.

...but then you opened your mouth and ruined it.

What's the "used to" about, besides giving me a complex? As always, I have my thoughts, but I want to hear yours first.


Blondage points out that in yesterday's survey post,

The latest Staff of Perfection, attached to a 33 year old, is said to stay aloft for three hours or more

should be amended thusly:

The latest Staph of Perfection, attached to a 33 year old, is said to stay aloft for three hours or more
When you're right, you're right.

ye ol' fakeroo

Fair warning: this post is not for prudes, either.

Yesterday's survey was the most lopsided in history. Granted, my empirical studies prof's heart would have exploded at the leading way in which I phrased the question, but still. The results:

Fake: 99.47%
Plausible: .53%
For grins, let's put that into pie chart form.


What fun!

Sampling of reader comments:

he's 1 hour away from a trip to the ER.

Having sampled more than my share of cocks, none of them "perfect" (although many of them quite delightful in their own way) I would say that not only is "Jane's" latest pestle using pharmaceuticals, I'd be willing to bet Jane is abusing a substance that affects her perception of time.

Fake, but I wouldn't burst her bubble. Well, yes I would; it's what pricks do.

This particular superpower is reserved for 13-year olds, I'm sorry.

possible in the way that its possible for there to be a tiny invisible teapot orbiting mars right now, sure!

His entire life? I bet he gave his parents a shock the first time he did that...

And my personal fave:

BASF doesn't make the cock. BASF makes the cock better.

Dorkass checks in, not realizing that "Jane" is someone she's met and already pronounced nuts:

Not in my experience. She sounds like a nutcase.

P.S. I've been told that I have a perfect cervix.

I'll tell you about the cervix joke on Monday. Or maybe Tuesday. First I have to answer the oft-asked "Why did she show you a picture? Why did she HAVE one?"

up, up and away!

Fair warning: this post is not for prudes.

A semi-friend who I'll call, oh hell, let's say Jane, is the only person I know to use the word "cock" casually. When I use it, it's to degrade, and it's invariably prepended to another word. Not so with Jane. Any time she has a new boyfriend, he has "the most perfect cock." Every single time. To drive this point home, she'll show us a picture of it on her cell phone.

"Honestly, it looks like every other one I've ever seen," I'll say. "Except for the herpes sores, it looks pretty much like my own. I couldn't tell them apart."

"BULLSHIT!" Jane yells. "You're just jealous!"

Mind you, I'm not arguing that Jane is a well person.

The latest Staph [sic] of Perfection, attached to a 33 year old, is said to stay aloft for three hours or more, every single time. He can ejaculate multiple times without it losing any of its blood-gorged glory. Every single time.

"Nah, that didn't come from a pill," I said.


"And you know this how?"


"Yeah. Kinda like I'm jealous of how much work Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are able to knock out in one evening."

But I put it to you, fair readers. Is this superpower plausible?

cheating beauty, part deux

Responses to the cheating beauty survey have been predictably few but thoughtful.

A sampling of thoughts:

I suppose it's also the same mechanism that makes death worse when it's someone young.

I wouldn't have that reaction. I always think it's crappy when someone is cheated on. How beautiful they are makes no difference. Nor does gender. How good they are might make a difference to me, though. Like if someone cheated on a cheater, it wouldn't be as bad to me as if someone cheating on a loyal partner.

Most people don't realize that relationship issues are a result of unresolved subconscious issues. People cheat because mommy drank. People cheat because mommy said sex was dirty. We pretend like it can all be fixed once we have a grown up house and a beautiful spouse. But guess what, beautiful spouse guessed it, MOMMY!!! So we punish Mommy or try to escape her. The fact that someone is beautiful brings this issue more to the surface because it isn't about physically, it's pathology. It's harder to deny that we can escape our feelings of inferiority and that the world we live in is an illusion and a projection!

Because we assume that beautiful people are automatically more sexually desirable. And since cheating is assumed to be about sex, why would someone cheat on someone who is very sexually desirable?

Beauty is always considered more valuable. "She's so beautiful!" implies she is worth more as a human being, regardless of her character or moral standpoint. What if she is a bitch? Does that imply she "deserves" it? What if the man is an asshole? Is he more likely to "deserve" it? If it is a "beautiful man" cheated on, most women would react with a "how stupid was she?" Maybe the "beauty" is the problem.

Last question first: I don't think the first stereotypical ideal we assign to men is his the long run, anyway; and certainly not if he's in a heterosexual relationship. If he's cheated on, we tend to think of his value and what the crazy bitch (because, that's what she is now, right?) doesn't deserve... Obviously, there's a certain cultural value placed on beautiful women; regardless of whether or not they actually deserve a special place in the pecking order. This being said, I've heard plenty of my guy friends say, "Show me a beautiful woman, I'll show you a guy who's tired of f**king her."

These graze what I was thinking: we assume cheating is about sex, for the man anyway, and along those lines we can't imagine why he'd want to stray from a beautiful woman. But when I flipped the genders, I couldn't think of an example where I thought "She's an idiot. He's so beautiful." No, to evoke this sentiment I had to use things like how well he provides for/takes care of her. Which is how many of us measure value: women for their beauty, men for their money and security. It's a generalization, of course, but I'm pretty comfortable making it.

cheating beauty

Blondage and I were talking about a mutual friend, whose boyfriend cheated on her. Blondage's first reaction mirrored my own: "That's insane! She's so beautiful! What an idiot."

Her second reaction was also the same as mine: "Why does beauty make it worse?"

I have a theory as to why we react this way, but I thought I'd solicit your thoughts first. Also, is it different if the genders are reversed and it's a beautiful man who's cheated on?


First of all, whereas about 15% of my total hits normally respond to a survey post, some 90% of you responded to a survey about dog crap. What's wrong with you people?

Until I posted that no, it wasn't Percy, almost every single guess was a variation on "That bastard Percy put it there." Once I waived people off the P-train, the guesses stopped coming almost entirely. My favorite:

I'm not sure if I could come up with something feasible even if Ed was still alive - that's pretty high up. But I'll give it a go. Dorkass/Allie/Sarah/Beth/Somebody wanted to give you a Valentine. She knows the thing you loved most in the world was Ed, so when she stumbled across a fossilized pile in the far corner of your yard, she couldn't resist. Since you were about to do a February pruning of the bush we can see to the right of the frame, she knew you'd be getting in the tool shed soon. She shoveled it up there and stuck a little note with it, too, that said - just droppin' a note from pup heaven, love Ed.
That's fairy tale nonsense, of course. No one ever does anything for me for Valentine's Day.

No one guessed the real story. And really, who could? Who could imagine laziness like mine? For you see, a year ago, I scooped up Ed's droppings and placed them in a paper bag. Not wanting to dispose of them right away due to the aforementioned laziness, I placed said paper bag on top of that shed. Six months passed. Ed died. Six more months passed. And finally, the wind blew the bag down, leaving desiccated Ed crap atop the shed and, for the briefest moment, intrigue.

Yes, it's still there.

dook, dook, dook

Reader contest!

This pile of Ed droppings just appeared atop my tool shed, six months after Ed's death. Let's see if anyone can guess how this came to pass. Addendum: No, it wasn't Percy. He's in Arizona. You can stop guessing that.


(This survey is over.)

your cheating heart

Predictably, by far the most common answer to yesterday's survey was "cheating." You also mentioned rape, incest, lying of any kind, lying about money, prolonged unemployment, physical abuse, cruelty to animals, drug addiction, porn, and strip clubs, among others.

With regard to cheating, men were categorical about it. No cheating of any kind. Period. Fini. We're simple that way. Women, however, often qualified it: not if it's serial, not if it's more than once, not if it's more than one partner, not if it's love. Much allowance was given for a single drunken mistake. I'm tempted to write one Stank troll's husband and let him know he's got one "get out of jail free card" coming to him.

It's not often I identify more with men than with women, but here I toe the gender line. One and we're done. The details don't remotely interest me; in fact, after the Big, Stinky Detail is revealed, I'd rather not hear any more. Does that make men less tolerant than women? More possessive? Less inclined to rationalize away betrayal? Maybe.

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