Category Archives: Uncategorized

Asking about sex (part one)

There are a number of reasons why you might talk to another person.  You could need a refrigerator but, unwilling to pay full price for a new refrigerator, you wish to purchase one second hand off of someone wishing to sell their refrigerator and thus need to negotiate the sale.  You might be religious or political and wish to make another person as religious or political as you are by talking to them.  You may be drunk or you may just wish to establish friendly relations with another person. While the need for refrigeration, religion, politics, drunkenness and friendliness are all pretty common none are so central to our survival a a species as sexual reproduction.  Far and away the most common reason to talk to someone is to establish some chance of bedding, bathrooming or traffic-islanding them for the purposes of sex.

One of the problems with advanced human societies such as ours is we have moved past the point where we can simply walk up to someone you wish to make action with and say “Do you want to have sex with me?” even if you know them from work or the bus, and even if they are actually keen on the idea, it is likely they will find the approach pretty rude.

I often opine loudly at parties upon the human condition which has enabled us to make keeping out milk cold easier, but negotiating the fruits of lust more difficult.   One of the reasons I am no longer invited to parties is it is difficult to make out what I am yelling about but what I mean is that, rather than simply seeking consent and going about our merry ways, we insist on tying the whole activity up in idle chitter-chatter and small-talk.

Many people find this the hardest part of the whole sex process – they are good, or at least passable, at the mechanical stuff but totally rubbish at remembering five minutes of sports trivia to rattle out to new people they meet. Not only this, but before they can even launch into the sports trivia they have to go through the daunting process of introducing themselves cold to a complete stranger.  It is a wonder the species continues at all.

Like anything though, introducing yourself for the purposes of negotiating a sexual liaison isn’t impossible.  In fact, like anything there is between three and five ways of doing it which can make the formerly daunting task of saying your name and not falling over as easy as simply falling over.

Euphemism 

I did mention earlier that it is unlikely if you walk up to someone and ask “Wanna root?” it is likely to be seen as rude or offensive.  This is largely because people tend to read the lack of effort you put into disguising your intentions beneath at least a passably creative layer of subterfuge as lazy.  If someone is lazy in attaining sexual gratification, something it is likely they enjoy very much, they are likely to be even lazier at earning enough money for a cab-fare home’ or ‘remembering where they live’- things usually seen as mundane necessities.   However, a certain amount of directness can be useful; you don’t want the person you wish to bump uglies with thinking you are trying to buy their refrigerator because you are unclear.  Metaphor and euphemism are your friend, but don’t go overboard:

Person of Average Looks at a party: “How you like to adjourn this meeting and go back to my boardroom for a mutually beneficial deal?”

Now Person of Average Looks here used an obvious business-themed euphemism cover but it was clear that they meant “Why don’t we have sex?”.  However, it was still slightly confusing. For a start, Person wasn’t actually clear where they wanted to have sex if they didn’t mean a boardroom.  There was also no reason to believe that they didn’t literally mean a boardroom. Boardrooms, unlike castles or unicorn stables, are quite common.  Person of average looks should have been a bit clearer, like our next person ‘Woman with Hat’ at work drinks:

Woman with Hat: “This innings is about over, want to come back to the locker-room for a rub-down? I am pretty sure I can apply painkillers and muscle-relaxants to your very badly damaged and probably career limiting shoulder injury.”

Woman with Hat used a sport euphemism scenario which was strange enough to be clearly a euphemism.  By not being clear and potentially mixing up sporting codes she also made it clear that she was not talking about actual sports.  However, the introduction went on too long and it generally not a good idea to remind your potential suitor of the potential for shoulder injuries during sex.  Shoulder injuries are a good reason not to have sex with someone as they are painful and very common between conjugal partners who are not experienced in the bedroom-arts. Ditto point ‘career limiting’.

Goeff from Sales has the right idea, using a non-specific historical euphemism but tying it back to the here-and-now, sex negotiation

“I was watching an interesting documentary about the use of elephants and war. I’ll tell you what else has a long trunk. Me. And by trunk I mean penis. And much like the half-way point of Hannibal’s long march of conquest through Asia Minor,  its getting hard.”

By introducing the subject, elephants and war, Geoff was able to control the narrative of the conversation to drop in a humourous reference to his penis being like an elephant trunk, and in the process hinting at its size.  from this he was able to segway nicely into a slightly-ribald reference to Johnson’s impending engorgement and then back to the conversation about elephants and war.  Nicely done Geoff from Sales, you’ll be writing ‘had sex’ as a Facebook status update by three-am tomorrow!

END OF PART ONE

 

 

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Self-care

There are some terms that you simply cannot help but chuckle when you hear them. Innocent terms like ‘pulled pork’, or common phrases like ‘polishing the Kaiser’s helmet’ contain sublimated double entendres which the brain cannot ignore.  Such is the case with the term ‘self-care’. In fact the first few times I heard the term, I thought the person saying it was literally referring to the onanistic arts without even the smokescreen of a euphemism.  Of course, self-care is only partly about rubbing one off, and or out.

In order to understand the full girth of what self-care is, we must first take a look at where it came from.  Millennials, defined by science as the generation born after drugs became harmful and before computers became cool, are the tallest generation in history.  With all this height comes a lot of stress.  Millennials are thus, not only the tallest generation they are also the most anxious.

Unlike their parents, millennials are raised to see their towering stature as a ‘privilege’ which is why you don’t ever hear millennials complain. So, where as their parents’ generation might have used complaining, alongside ‘buying rental properties’ and ‘The Beatles’ as an outlet to relieve stress, Millennials prefer other outlets.

These outlets might include ‘making short and pointless ‘Vines”, ‘growing a beard’, or ‘talking about being a vegan’.  Stress relief might also might involve doing little things for one’s self that makes one’s day a little bit brighter and thus releases a little of that pent up tension.

Drinking and taking drugs

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Beer.

The most common form of self-care is still ‘getting wasted by yourself.’  Alcohol is probably the most convenient and accessible way to do this, but pretty much any intoxicating substance will do.  As long as said intoxicant moves you from the state of ‘being anxious and/or stressed’ to the state of ‘closing off, or befuddling, the parts of the brain which generate these responses to the point where the brain no longer remembers to be anxious and/or stressed’ it will enable you to do self-care.

I like to incorporate drinking into other activities to enhance the self-care capabilities of alcohol, so I sit in the dark sending cryptic text messages to people.   The sensory deprivation of the darkness, the intoxicating effects of the alcohol, and the delicate mental gymnastics of coming up with bizarre non sequiturs to text to people is like a massage for the soul.

Now, I know what you’re saying “But doesn’t this encourage dangerous behaviour?”

To this I answer: “yes”

I also hear you saying, this time in a silly high-pitched whinny: “But I get high on life”.  Well my answer to this is “No you don’t; that’s not a thing.”

So go ahead and sooth your soul and expand your mind. Expand it so widely that it expands all the way out your mouth and all over the table in KFC.

Irritating people

They say that a trouble shared is a trouble halved. Well, the same Dearest Reader, applies to anxiety and irritation.  What you’ll find is, if you are feeling a bit annoyed yourself, annoying someone will make you feel a bit better and annoying everyone will make you feel great.

Irritating people is actually very easy.  This is because most people have very thin-skins and are basically powder-kegs of explosive rage. This of course, makes it all the more fun.  The best kind of ‘irritating people’ is the sort where it isn’t instantly obvious that it is intentional.  This way, people can’t rage at you and must simply turn the rage in on themselves, seething until they develop an ulcer.  This is the best outcome because no-one punches you.

Try ‘whistling tunelessly’ – whistling is basically the most casually irritating thing you can do without props.

Try ‘making clicking sounds with your tongue on the bus’

If you live in a flat with somewhat priggish house-mates, try ‘going to the toilet with the door open’.

You could even try ‘replying to everything someone says with “really?” but in a funny voice so the person you are speaking to can’t quite work out if you’re mocking them or not’.

Twitter

We’ve already talked about masturbation, but there is actually more than one way to ‘grease the family pig’. Obviously, sexually gratifying oneself manually is a good time and all, but what about the Choking the Chicken…of the mind?

We have discussed Twitter, or ‘cheep-cheep’ as it is often known, in a previous weblog bulletin but not in depth and we didn’t discuss strategies for using it.

Rather than using Twitter to read about important things babyboomers are doing, or keeping abreast of the latest pop music, Millennials seldom look at the ‘timeline’ area of Twitter at all; instead they simply stare at their own profiles while posting things as they come to mind.    This release acts as a type of self-care in both the double and single entendre senses of the term.  These are the three main ways to use Twitter for self care:

Non-specifically Positive Tweets referring to real, imagined or anticipated but equally non-specific achievements. Such as finding a sex partner or swimming with dolphins

Non-specifically Positive Tweets referring to real, imagined or anticipated but equally non-specific achievements. Such as finding a sex partner or swimming with dolphins

Equally non-specific vague and cryptic Tweets designed to hint at menace but not really . Designed to make real or imagined enemies or people who corrected your grammar ask "was it something *I* did?"

Equally non-specific vague and cryptic Tweets designed to hint at menace but not really . Designed to make real or imagined enemies or people who corrected your grammar ask “was it something *I* did?”

Tweets telling everyone still up that you are going to quit Twitter. You have better things to do. Etc. And you'll really do it this time.

Tweets telling everyone still up that you are going to quit Twitter. You have better things to do. Etc. And you’ll really do it this time.

Go to the gym

It’s 4AM, everything is shut, but there’s a vending machine at the gym.  They have those weird biscuits you like. Well, you don’t like them per se, but you will eat them.

 

Gifts for people you don’t like

There are many reasons to give a gift to someone. Maybe you want to show that person that they are special, maybe you feel guilty about running over their pet snake or sister.  A gift can be used to deflect attention form some other aspect of your life: the sparkle of a diamond ring or sheen of a new pet snake can figuratively blind someone to your more nefarious behavior.

Of course we all know what to give as gifts to people we like, love or wish to deceive but what about gifts for people we either don’t care about or don’t actually like.

“Why would I buy someone I don’t care about or don’t actually like a gift you total spanner?” I hear you mumble through a mouthful of complimentary biscuits.

Well, we all have to that’s why. Stop eating all those biscuits. While I know there’s no sign specifically saying ‘Only Take One Biscuit’; it is sort of implied by social convention.

Quite often we are faced with having to buy a gift for an estranged family member, colleague, client, friend-of-a-friend, or local baron that we don’t actually like.  For reasons of social convention, pecuniary advantage or familial loyalty, however, we have to keep them placated and the best way to do this is to buy them something.

Graphs I have seen show that over fifty percent of all capitalism is insincere gift transactions.  Without them, the system would fail, or at very least flail.

Insincere gift-buying however, is this weblog contributor’s specialty.

Extremely expensive gifts

The thing about buying presents for people you don’t like is you want them to feel uncomfortable by the gift. An expensive give can make someone uncomfortable by making the recipient feel ‘ashamed’ and ‘indebted’.

Toyota hatchback

Toyota hatchbacks: Not just convenient, ‘zippy’ and reliable cars; they are built to make people uncomfortable.

If someone bought you one of those pointless desk toys with balls on strings that bash together, sound like a metronome, and always end up getting tangled up; you buy them a 50 inch television.  Someone gets you a set of ‘very designy’ coffee-cups that look good for about a week, but the design fades you immerse them in detergent; you get them a Toyota hatchback.

The reason you do this is so they, firstly, feel ashamed that their gift was so paltry and secondly, feel a little bit uncomfortable that someone they hardly know/don’t really like bought them such a lavish gift.  Next will come the creeping suspicion that you may want something from them and that they are, by accepting your gift, very indebted to you.

Help egg this feeling on by mentioning the very expensive gift each and every time you see them.  If you have a thespian streak, try incorporating an intense look into the mix every time you remind them of the gift.  This will freak them out like its nobodies business.

Pointless tat

Toe shoes

Toe-shoes: When you have ceased to manage and ceased to care.

Of course, buying an extremely expensive gift for each and everyone you don’t like or care about, but , for reasons of social cowardice still have in your acquaintance circle, could get very expensive. There’s also the possibility that the person doesn’t feel embarrassment or shame. It might be why you don’t like them.  Just as an aside, a good way of telling if someone doesn’t feel embarrassment, shame or really anything, is if they are wearing ‘toe shoes’.

This is where pointless tat comes in. This is a gift that not only does the recipient not want but nobody has ever wanted. Here’s some main ones:

Scented candles – extra points if the ‘scent’ is either overpoweringly pungent, or actually some sort of ‘organic and all-natural’ pesticide.

Scented candle

Scented candle: This one is marketed as having the enchanting aroma of five-day-old, Dominos deep-dish pizza

Cushions – Nobody who doesn’t already own cushions wants cushions.

Rustic food preparation devices that have long since been replaced with something better – We’re talking ‘lemon squeezers’,  an ‘on-stove whistling kettle that can’t turn itself off, just keeps boiling and boiling and eventually burns your house down’ or ‘a mortar and pestle’ (especially if the recipient doesn’t take, sell, or manufacture drugs.)

Any nick-knack described primarily as being ’funky’ or ‘kitsch’.

Vouchers

This is a hackneyed one, so we won’t dwell on the fact that you are nominating someone’s exact worth in a currency that can only be spent in a handful of places.

More trouble than its worth

This is the gift that seems thoughtful on the surface but is, in actual fact, a lot of commitment.  This includes kites, any model anything, anything you have to plant, tend to, or slaughter yourself and any very potent narcotic or psychedelic drug.

If the intended recipient is over twenty-five years old you can throw in any musical instrument or sporting goods – extra points here because these things may just remind them of their fast-fading youthful dreams.

Snark

Most of the gift ideas in this weblog bulletin have focused on very general gift ideas: gifts that will generally make someone uncomfortable, ashamed, make them put in a lot of effort, or are generally thoughtless or pointless.  The thing that will really get under the skin of someone you are giving a gift to though, is something that is calibrated to their personality.

The best gifts are calibrated to the intended recipient’s character failings

If someone is painfully shy, get them a toy loud-hailer. On the surface of it, a funny, practical gift.  The thing is you can then make them use said loud-hailer in the office.  That will make them very uncomfortable.

If someone is unadventurous with food because of dietary issues; get them a gift certificate for a lovely ethnic curry.

If someone thinks going to the theatre is for drop-outs and communists; get them tickets to the longest, most avante garde, and most French play you can find.

If someone doesn’t like poor people or Africans; get them one of those things where rather than giving them a gift you use the gift money instead to buy a starving family in Africa a goat or a duck or something.

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The Home-made Gift Certificate Hinting at Something Missing from Someone’s life: No gift is so bitter-sweet.

For a while, amongst caring people, there was a fetish for making up ‘gift certificates’ for things like ‘hugs’ or ‘compliments’ or entitling the bearer to have ‘one nice thing done for them.’ The gift certificate idea can be used for less cloying purposes though too, particularly if the gift certificate is for something the person receiving it needs, but cannot possibly redeem.

Working hard

IMG_1049[1]Since the 1980s it has been widely accepted that being a hard worker is a virtuous trait. It shows you can be relied on, that you’ll pull your weight and you’ll do your share.

Assuming your name is Phillipa, people will say “Phillipa is a GOOD hard worker. She’s an asset to the team and she always signs for courier packages because she’s always in the office and doesn’t whinge about it, even if they are heavy and clearly nothing to do with work and someone is just getting all their packages couriered to work because its easier.”

Hard work makes you GOOD.

Like a lot of things that are good though, working hard isn’t much fun.  For a start, working hard isn’t usually compatible with the things that people commonly associate with fun: drinking, taking drugs or properly listening to Slowdive records. Working hard isn’t even as much fun as the other sorts of working: ‘working slowly’, ‘working ineptly’, or ‘looking like you are working but you are really just sitting on news websites posting racist comments’.

Working hard actively involves things usually associated with a pretty rubbish time: silently focusing, lifting, spreadsheets, not dancing, and holding in farts because it’s quiet.

it is hardly surprising then, that since 1984 people have been looking for a way to look like they are working hard, so as to receive the credit and accolades, but not actually be working hard at all, so as to continue enjoying themselves.

The problem is, most of the old favourites like “Leaving your jacket over the back of your chair so it looks like you are at work when really you are at the taco shop” and “Going into work on a Sunday to send an email to someone and then leaving” are a bit played out.  Most people see a jacket over the back of a chair nowadays and they think ‘taco shop’.  You send an email from work on a Sunday you are probably more likely to get a “I told you you aren’t allowed to sleep in the office anymore, get an actual flat” response as you are a “You’re working hard, have some stock options” response.   You need to be more original. You idiot.

Always wear work clothes

If you are always at work, you pretty much would only ever need to wear ‘work clothes.’ The fact you never change out of them indicates how little time you have to change. Because you are working.

There are some issues with this as a sole strategy: if you work and a rendering plant you are going to find the smell of your over-alls socially debilitating. Conversely, if you work in an office people might not think you are wearing a suit on a Saturday because you are on your way to the office; they may just think you are the sort of berk that gets up on a Saturday and puts on a suit because they think it makes them look like Don Draper.

Asinine idioms

Candle

A candle: Burning at one end. You burn the candle at both ends.

People who work hard don’t have time to be original or interesting and this reflects in their patterns of speech.  People who work hard talk in silly idioms and dumb sayings because the main part of their brain is thinking about spreadsheets and how to build a garage. These idioms should also usually nod towards the strain of having to work hard.

Try peppering your speech with: “Another day, another dollar”, “Working hard or hardly working?” “Burning the ol’ midnight oil” or “doing more working than twerking these days.”

Humble brags

Asinine idioms are all well and good but occasionally you will have to engage in more specific conversation. All conversation has to have something to do with work, how hard you are working, and relating the trials and tribulations in your life back to work. For instance:

“I am such a bad girlfriend; when the fridge fell on Dustin he had to drive himself to the emergency room because I was in the office burning the ol’ midnight oil.”

or:

“I have been so slack at the gym since the one in the basement of MY OFFICE stopped being open TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY.”

Or even:

“I didn’t come to your daughter’s Christening because I was digging a pool.”

Get a nickname

All hard-working people have nicknames related to their jobs because their job is most of their identity.  You can stand around waiting for someone to give you a nickname, sure, but if you aren’t a hard working person you might end up with a nickname that refers to non-work related aspect of your life. You might, for instance, end up being called “Munty Jim”, Mindy Car-crash” or ‘Phil the Screamer’.

Desk

The desk that Major Desk took his nickname from. Because he’s always sitting at it. Working.

No, you will have to give yourself a nickname to control what it is, and make sure it refers to your work. Try ‘Danny Spreadsheet’, ‘Water-cooler Joan’, ‘Sally Leaf-blower’ or ‘Major Desk’.

LinkedIn

Until 2009 hard working people didn’t use online social media tools unless their job was specifically ‘social media expert’ (which isn’t a real job), ‘professional networker’ (a function of all jobs but not one in and of itself) or ‘Mark Zuckerburg.’  This was evidenced by the number of boring people who used to say ‘I don’t have time for Facebook’ or ‘Twitter? I hear enough twittering around here thank you very much.  Pass me that toner cartridge please.  No, not that one, the other one.”

Then along came LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a social media tool for people who work hard.  If Facebook is approaching someone at a party and saying “I like that band too, let’s smoke this”, LinkedIn is approaching someone at a party and handing them your business card. To look like you are a hard worker you need a LinkedIn profile, and you need to constantly send everyone who is in your email directory invitations to be a ‘connection.’ Like, all the time.  Never, ever stop.

So now you know how to do it and I have even run the numbers on all of these ‘life hacks’ (actually, that’s another thing – hard workers always say things like ‘life hack’ or ‘TED talk’) and in total, the amount of time you will spend doing all these things is ‘one day’. The rest of the time is yours. Except the LinkedIn stuff. That’s going to take up most of your life.

How to win a debate

In a previous weblog we discussed, very articulately I might add, how to win a conversation.

The hyperlink is here but I will recap for those of you who made an arbitrary rule never to click on hyperlinks when using the internet.  I know I did, back in 1997, and while it makes using the internet hard I have never caught a Trojan virus from the world wide web and neither has my computer.

But I digress.

You win a conversation by scoring points based on glib retorts and insults.  When the conversation is ended, the person who got the most ‘zingers’ in, wins. We all know that this works for day to day tete-a-tete but what of a more high-brow discourse?

A ‘debate’ is different to a conversation. For a start, it is usually on an important and serious subject like politics, economics, whaling, or which Smiths record is the best. You will be talking in a different voice too; probably a concerned voice or a put-on British accent. Even if you are British you will probably put on a better British accent.

The principles of winning a debate are different too: the aim of a debate is to win by forcing the other person to agree with you or to make them stop talking.  When you win a debate you are correct,  the other person is wrong, and there can be no further debates on the subject ever.

Winning a debate then, is more important that winning a conversation with your friends where the only real prize is the knowledge that you insulted them more than they insulted you. Like anything in life that is worth winning however, a debate is hard.

However, like anything hard, I can tell you in approximately five bullet points how to wriggle around it without putting in any real effort.

Statistics

Until 1995, if you had statistical evidence to back up your argument in a debate you automatically won.  This was because all statistics came from the one book and there were no variations.  The problem back then was the book was seldom on-hand when you were having a debate; no bars, restaurants, bus-stops, or student unions had a copy, so there was always a possibility that the person quoting the statistics had got them wrong and there was no way of checking.

Nowadays statistics are on the internet and because the internet is available all the time from your phone, tablet computer, lap-top and even some cuts of meat, you can find statistics any time.  The problem now is that, rather than there being one big book with all the statistics in it, there are now lots of websites and Tweets with DIFFERENT statistics in them.

In a lot of ways, statistics are pointless unless you frame them in such a way as they are vague enough they can’t be refuted:

“The number of whales maimed, killed or cyber-bullied by the Japanese increased over 20% according to the most recent figures.”

That statement firstly uses a non-specific figure: “over 20%”. That could be pretty much anything not LESS than 20%.  Secondly, the reference to “most recent figures” means, even if someone has different statistics, you can argue yours are the newest ones.

The key to statistics debates then is never be specific.

Anecdotal evidence

Research is hard and dorky.  It is also totally unnecessary for formulating a debate argument. Why bother finding specific and referable examples to support your arguments when you can just use anecdotal examples waffly and fuzzy enough never to be really refutable and based on experiences you can’t really qualify?

The three main types of anecdotal evidence are: the ‘general example from your own life’, the ‘overseas experience example’, and the ‘amputation’.   I will explain with examples:

General example from your own life

“I run a business and employ 12 people…” Okay, this only works if the person doesn’t actually know you very well, I forgot to mention this… “so I know that most of my employees actually PREFER not to have paid sick days.”

Perfect for the internet-based debate, this statement first sets up your vague, unverifiable qualification, then makes a vague reference to a numerical preference.  We all know it is UNLIKELY this statement is true: what if one of the employees gets diarrhea or breaks their foot? However, we don’t know who these employes are either, so we can’t really refute the statement.  Debate gold!

Overseas experience example

“I lived in Britain for 10 years and I never saw any crime. People in this country have no respect.”

Okay, we’ve all seen Kidulthood so we know that this statement probably isn’t true but the person saying it lived there. Lived experience is anecdotal gold because, lets face it, the person may not have seen any crime. We don’t know, were we there with them?

No.

Also, the crime statement sets up the vaguely drawn conclusion: I never saw any crime there people here (where presumably there is crime) have no respect (which is a bad thing, and crime is, apparently an indicator of that.) Boom.

The “I lived in Britain…” line does not work for culinary-themed arguments.

Amputation

The Other Person: “A flat income tax rate would encourage investment and stop the wealthy fleeing overseas.”

YOU: “I had my leg amputated.”

On the surface of it, your leg, amputated or otherwise, has nothing to do with ‘flat-tax policy’. However, if you have no leg, you automatically win the debate. Even with the most heartless of people. Even, in fact, with people who argue for a flat income-tax policy.

Note: If the person is in the room with you when you use the Old Amputee Slam-dunk you may have to pretend your leg is a prosthetic. Unless you have, in fact, had your leg amputated.*

Make out the other person is angry

Winning a debate is not like ordering photocopying paper over the phone: losing your temper will mean that far from getting what you want, you will lose. This is why smug, emotionally disconnected and privileged people usually win debates: unless the debate is about the price of cravats or how to get port wine out of tweed they have nothing to get wound up about so they seldom do.

The problem is, most people know this and will keep their cool even when debating a subject they are quite hot about.  To win a debate quite often you will have to imply that your opponent is losing their temper when they are not. This is easy to do, and an easy way to win a debate when there is an audience you can appeal to:

Your scarf-wearing opponent: “‘The Queen is Dead’ is a far superior album to ‘Meat is Murder’ which is full of dinky little novelty tunes.”

YOU: “Woah, woah, buddy, calm down. Shit, I was just expressing an opinion, no need to get angry” *looks at other people at the table smugly* “What’s with this guy? Is he crazy?”

Your scarf-wearing opponent: “I was only expressing an opinion too but…”

You: “Hey, hey, don’t hit me!”

You win because you implied the other person had lost their temper, even if the measure of temper-lose-age was entirely established by you.

Get personal

While a debate is generally considered to be a high-brow exchange of reasoned arguments there is, in fact, some room for a well targeted jab of white-hot spite.  The key is you get one shot and it has to be a surprise. If you just keep lobbing insults at the other person like they are potatoes you are going to look like you are lowering the tone, and if it is expected it may be parried away like a rusty, sword in a duel.

If, like me, you are a generally spiteful person, people will be expecting you to use aspects of their personal life against them to win any argument regardless of how important it is so they’ll be ready for you.  What you must do then, is make something up.

The other person. They have a stupid pony-tail: “But what is ‘fascism’ really? It is just a well-ordered state that defends its people against outside invaders and parasitic internal forces.”

YOU: “I had sexual intercourse with your wife last night.”

The other person. They have a stupid pony-tail: “Sorry, what?”

YOU: “You heard me. By the way your pony-tail makes you look like a snake is eating your head from behind.”

Pony-tail there, was making a point about fascism and you cold knocked him off his stride with the ‘wife sex’ call. That’s how its done!

So now you know how to debate, and whats-more, you know how to win, and what’smore-more you know how to do it with the ease of a stroll in the park and a warm shower afterwards.

 

 

*Never get your leg amputated to win a debate

Pets. The Fake Cat Issue. Part Two.

As I recently discovered, pet ownership is widely considered to be a good thing. They provide companionship, they make great earthquake detectors, and they provide cardigans with an almost inexhaustible supply of fluff. However, there are downsides to pet ownership.

Firstly, you cannot simply leave a cat or dog for several days to fend for itself. If you leave a bowl of fish for too long it rapidly becomes either one big fish or loads of dead fish. Snakes? What are you doing with snakes in the first place you nutter! Since animals that can fend for themselves, or in fact even thrive when left to their own devices, like flies, cockroaches or worms are not usually considered ‘pets’ you are basically stuck coming home every two to three days to feed them and talk baby talk to them.

This can be severely limiting. What if you are at an after-party and it just doesn’t really finish? What if you pass out and someone puts you on a train?

Secondly, pets are expensive. We all know how expensive it is to keep a monkey or a rhinoceros, but what they don’t tell you is the hidden costs of owning even a 2013 model cat. They don’t tell you about the food, and the weird crystals it needs to stand on in order for it to go to the toilet. Depending on the type of crystals you use, this can cost anywhere between $30 a week and $457,000 a week.

When you consider these limitations, it is easy to see why some loud wedding guests have called into question the value and virtue of pet ownership and started drunkenly slurring “Why own a pet when you can just tell everyone you’ve got a pet?”

No one checks

The thing about cat ownership particularly is there’s no standardised way of knowing how many cats there are and who owns them. Unlike with dogs, hand-guns or children, there’s no registration system that you have to participate in.  Therefore, if you say that you own a cat, it is difficult to prove that you don’t. Furthermore, social convention dictates that the onus really falls on the person who questions your cat ownership.

Most of the time people are going to take your word for it.  Imagine what a massive arsehole you’d feel if someone said they had a pet cat and you said “You don’t have a cat you berk”.  Even if you were right and they were lying, chances are you’d still look like a knob and if they stuck to their guns there’s little you can do to conclusively prove that they don’t own a cat.

You can still have all the pet paraphernalia

While ownership of a real pet is expensive, having a pretend pet is relatively inexpensive. You can bolster the cat owning story by simply buying a plastic bowl and a tin if jelly-meat that, because it isn’t being used, can sit in the fridge indefinitely.

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The plane in the picture isn’t a Spitfire

You can carry a picture of your cat around with you by simply going to the internet and printing off one of the twelve cat pictures that are on there. No one will know.  Another option is to draw a picture of a cat and carry that around with you. Cats all look roughly the same and can be drawn from memory. Nothing says ‘Awww…cute’ like a barely competently drawn cat. It makes people think: “He loves his cat so much he is prepared to look like a total bell-end carrying that, lets be honest, fucking awful cat sketch around with him.”

Be the talk of your friends

When people come over to my house I like them to not only have a good time, but I like them to also feel slightly unnerved.  Sometimes I’ll pretend I have Whooping Cough, or I’ll pretend I’ve become very racist.  I like to see the expression on their faces: Do they say anything? What’s he up to? That sort of thing.

Once I started trying to beckon an imaginary cat called Biggles. Now, I’ve been to loads of people’s houses and met countless pets. Some have been interesting but a lot, lets be honest here, were below-par and not worth another mention.  However, when my friends left my humble abode that night all they could mutter nervously under their breath was “What was the shitting deal with Dan calling that cat? There was no cat! What the hell was that about?” My imaginary cat therefore, was of more note than virtually every real cat I have encountered.

Now imagine if you continued a charade like that for many months? What if you had actually purchased cat-themed products and carried a crudely drawn cat in your wallet? What if you were not the sort of person who normally did stuff like made up imaginary pets so it was all the weirder when your friends started to suspect but didn’t quite know? That fake cat would rapidly become the talk of your social circle while all those expensive ‘real’ cats barely warranted a mention.  Hardly seems fair. But what is fair? And what is real?

Return to Part One

Pets. The Ugly, Damp, Acrid-smelling Truth. Part One.

At a wedding recently I made a speech where I pondered, in the form of an anecdote, what is really so great about having pets.  The response I got to my asking this question astounded me:

“Who the fuck is that?”

“Why is he facing that way?”

On my way out of the reception shortly afterwards I realised that, for all the negativity about my speech, none of it addressed the points I had raised.

“What is he even doing here?”

“What in the shit was he on about?”

“What time is the band starting?”

None of their small-minded and puerile questions even came close to addressing mine: What is so great about owning pets? I even considered the rancorous abuse I received as I attempted to re-enter the wedding reception a sign I’d touched a nerve that needed touching.  As I collected my shoes and jacket off the cold concrete of the car-park I was warmed by a sense I’d scored a moral victory.

The next day my head was fuzzy with thoughts, my mouth dry with a sense of injustice and my jacket was covered with an acrid-smelling dampness that I knew represented oppressive silence.  There was a similar dampness on my trousers, I’ll let you imagine what hat was.

Hard done by…ness.

What is the point of owning pets? Everybody thinks it from time to time, but clearly no-one wants to hear it spoken out loud, heavily intoxicated, during an unplanned wedding outburst. When you’ve been warned several times already.

We have all had the benefits of owning pets drummed into us through the oppressive paternalism of our upbringing: the provide companionship.

Well what about a plant?

They are cute and soft.

What about a cushion with a smiley face on it?

They provide something to talk about with even your dullest colleagues.

Why don’t we address that in ‘Part Two?’