Tag Archives: society

Asking about sex (part two)

In the previous weblog communique we covered that a good way to acquire sex is to mask fairly straightforward intentions beneath a creative layer of euphemism. We demonstrated three of the most common sexual metaphors to use in this euphemism: business metaphors, sports metaphors and historical/animal metaphors. (Note, other useful metaphors for sex include ‘Car/sex metaphors’, ‘Alcohol or drugs/sex metaphors’ and ‘Anti-Vaccination Movement/sex metaphors’).  The problem with euphemism is in order to engage in delicate ballet dance of suggestive meaning you probably have to be familiar with the person you are talking to.  Simply walking up to a stranger and saying “Want to come back to my musty basement and share anti-science conspiracies?” is likely to make that stranger think you are so weird that they’ll probably not bother to even attempt to decipher your lustful code. If the object of your thirstful desire is a complete stranger you are going to have to actually introduce yourself. This, however, can be a fertile garden in which to plant the seeds of licentious promise.

Be unusual

Former U.S Secretary of State Henry Kissenger once said “If you can’t be interesting or clever, be weird” and he knew a thing or two about all three of those things as the man who normalised relations between the U.S and communist China if you get my drift. Which you almost certainly don’t. The thing is, leaving a lasting impression by being slightly odd works for good looking, pleasant and interesting people as well.  Introductory conversation is such a fecund area for being slightly off the wall because by and large it is formulaic and boring.  Most introductory conversations begin with someone giving their name and inquiring of the other person’s name.  They will often then ask “what do you do?” or “why are you here?” which, while the information these questions furnish can be useful it is not exactly a memorable line of inquiry.  You may remember the answers were, respectively, ‘Nancy’, ‘new media’ and ‘I got the wrong bus’ but it is unlikely Nancy remembers vividly the questions you asked.  Instead of the boring old ‘name/job/reason’ trifecta try instead:

“What cheese do you like?”

“Have you been to France?”

“Do you prefer The Smiths or the colour green?”

“Where did you get that impressive top hat?” (This really only works as an interesting question if the person you approach and ask isn’t wearing a top hat. It is best if they aren’t wearing any hat at all: there’s a fine line between ‘interesting’ and ‘coming off as too stupid to correctly identify types of hat’)

It isn’t actually necessary to ask a question by way of introduction at all; the point is not to acquire information about the apple of your coital eye it is to make them think ‘Well, she was a bit smelly but she was certainly intriguing’.  Simply walk up to the stranger and say something slightly unusual.

“I like rugby league”

“It’s disputed how much time Hannibal spent in Asia Minor.”

“Cake is better than biscuits except for red velvet cake which is not as good as biscuits”

Now, it is important to add at this point that this approach walks a bit of a knife-edge between ‘amusingly quirky’ and either ‘out-there strange’ or ‘probably on drugs’. While people on drugs are definitely interesting and quirky, and you can add to that list the other qualities of edgy and cool, but they are usually also temporary. If she suspects you are on drugs she will likely be thinking ‘Well he’s interesting and cool and edgy now, but what if the ketamine wears off and he asks me something lame like what my job is?’ and you don’t want that.

You also don’t want to go so far as to attempt to wear anything to appear interesting. The cold, hard, aroused fact of the matter is people don’t actually like people who wear ‘unusual clothes’ or ‘have signature facial hair’.  The guy who wears golf shoes and a Kaiser Wilhelm mustache to the party usually goes home from said party alone. No matter how wacky they are, clothes all look the same when they are crumpled on the floor next to the bed, car or lavatory.

END OF PART TWO

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Serious for a moment

This is essentially a comical weblog but I am going to be serious for a minute if I may. Hey, it’s my blog, I’ve given you warning in what, the first sentence, and it won’t be long.

Once upon a time I used to think the reason I didn’t get offended by things, and lots of other people did, was because I was a relaxed and easy going guy.  I say ‘once upon a time’ but if I’m honest I can actually pin-point the time, it was the middle of 2012.  What became apparent to me quite suddenly was that there was a very good reason I didn’t get offended by ‘offensive’ humour and it had very little to do with the fact that I was a ‘good person.’ I discovered the second part of that first in fact; I discovered a lot of the people who believed they were better people, or right, because they didn’t get offended were actually bad people.

One of the reasons I didn’t get offended by very much was I was a white, straight, middle-class male.  I still am, just for the record.  Off-colour jokes, and racist or sexist or homophobic stereotypes created for the purposes of comedy, and all the other things I used not be offended by were not about me. Or rather, they were about me; they were developed by me, or people like me, and pointed like weapons at people who weren’t straight, white, male and middle class.

My point is, I suppose, two-fold.  It would be nice if people didn’t say horrible shit about other people but I am living testament to the fact that we’re a long way from that.

I actually think a lot of people are, and should always be, open to and openly ridiculed and I sleep soundly at night doing it.

The powerful, the pretentious, the arrogant, the silly, those who choose to be dull, irritating, wear polar-fleece, go to garden centres in the weekends, listen to crud music, anthropomorphise animals, and dwell on silly middle-class problems are fair game.

No, its not the same as picking on those who have done nothing wrong and are made outsiders by the mainstream of society, or by centuries of oppression. Don’t be such a moral relativist. You muddy the debate.

However, it is paramount to not being a monster arsehole that you aren’t sanctimonious with it, and use it is some kind of virtue that you can see the funny side of joke to which you aren’t the butt.

You don’t win the argument simply by not getting angry.

The second point is that people calling you out for being an arsehole is not them picking on you (or misandry, or reverse discrimination, or ‘political correctness’).  It’s not an infringement of your rights being told not to infringe on another’s right to feel safe or included. If your only jokes are ones that achieve their humour by belittling someone’s race, gender, culture,  or sexual orientation then you should find something else to do because you are being an arsehole.

It is a learning curve and I drop the ball all the time.  Guys like me, who think we are funny, have the ability to be easily weaponised because we get off on other people having a laugh and that is sometimes by any means necessary. I’m not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me (“boo-hoo, poor middle-class white guy who needs his fix of validation”) but it is a fact and something *I* have to remember more than anybody else.

Conversation

Quite often I hear people lament that they don’t like small talk.  There is a kernel of reasonableness in that; quite a lot of small talk is pointless, boring, tedious and relies upon a good degree of pre-prepared responses to questions that you know, based on the law of averages, you will be asked:

“See the game on Saturday?”
“Yeah…” *makes derisive snorting noise and then chuckles a bit*

Actually, quite a lot of small talk isn’t talk at all; it is guttural or nasal noises, and awkward laughing.

However, in my humble opinion small talk is actually usually better than the alternative. Rolling your eyes and saying “Man, this weather eh…” is actually preferable to launching into a conversation with a stranger in an elevator about how the reason you find enclosed spaces unnerving is because your cousin tried to drown you as a toddler, and you also think that this contributed to your failing law school.

What a lot of people call ‘small talk’ is actually just ‘conversation’.  What a lot of people call ‘really talking’ is ‘really talking about their feelings and you listening actively.’

The thing is though, conversation is hard.

However, readers of this weblog are fortunate that I, your weblog bulletin comptroller, am an expert conversationalist. In fact, I can engage in conversations with most people, and at least one of the genders, without clamming up or falling over.

The key is to know what to talk about.

Clichés

You can have a conversation entirely using pre-prepared clichés that are largely meaningless.  If you don’t believe me, watch the news.  Politicians and professional sportspeople do it all the time.

You see a reporter ask a footballer about their team’s victory they will invariably respond with “It was a team effort and we all pulled together”.  Without even thinking, the sportsperson is engaging in a conversation.  A newshound will ask a politician “Why is your party performing so poorly in the polls?” they will oft respond with a smile and say “The only poll that matters is on election day.” See, conversation.

Being a sportsperson and a politician is hard and involves mental agility. They have to always be thinking about other things. Using clichés they can have a conversation while devoting all their brain-energy to thinking about how much cocaine they are going to do in about fifteen minutes time, or whether that cute staffer will spill the beans to their wife.  Since your life is no where near as hard or as important, there’s no reason you can’t come up with a few ‘zero-level’ clichés to make conversation easy.

Personally, I go with:

“Kicking arse and taking names” – which means nothing but if I say it with a knowing smile it confuses people, and “TGIF, brother/sister, TGIF”.  Actually, the latter works well if it isn’t in fact Friday: the surreal nature of your not realising it isn’t actually Friday will create a sense of intrigue around you.

Work

Everyone likes to talk about their work, and everyone likes hearing about other people’s jobs.  You can talk about work while you are at work, for a sense of camaraderie, or you can talk about your work when you are outside of work to impress people with how busy, and thus important you are.

The key is, of course, to always be ‘busy at work’.  No one has ever successfully conversed about work with someone where they didn’t at some point mention how busy they are.

It just doesn’t work.

Even if you spend your days masturbating in the toilets or writing Post-it Notes to stick on things in the fridge that you think are, or should be, yours, you are always ‘busy.’

Another popular topic of conversation is how much, or how little, money you earn.  Everyone likes to boastfully hear that you make a lot of money, almost as much as they like to hear you complain about how you make a lot less than everyone else at your work despite the fact they are all stupid/lazy/not as attractive as you.

Stuff you’ve spent money on

An extension of boasting about how much money you make is talking about things you’ve spent money on.  While cars and emus are interesting topics of conversation, the best one is places you’ve travelled to.  The reason for this is that going some place instantly makes you an expert on everything to do with that place.

If you have been to Thailand, even if you spent most of your trip at a full-moon party stumbling around covered in sick, should the subject of the Thai Government’s debt restructuring come up, you are entitled to an informed opinion.

Since the subject of the Thai government’s debt restructuring quite often comes up in conversation amongst my friends, I have booked a holiday to Thailand specifically for this purpose.

Sexual conquests

Most adults have had sexual intercourse; some of them, like myself, upwards of six times. This makes the topic relatable.  Everyone loves a loud, ribald tale of how you took a chap home and he shat himself on your duvet, or to hear you loudly list the names of all the women you have slept with.  The risqué nature of sexual subject matter makes the conversation fun and conspiratorial.

Another reason it is good to discuss sexual adventurism is that future sexual liaisons will be more attracted to you.  People are more attracted to people who loudly go on and on about the other people they have had relations with; it makes them seem more desirable because they can illustrate that other people have, for a few hazy minutes at least, found them desirable. The same goes for drunkenly ranting about your ex.

So now you know how to have a conversation.  Throw in a few guttural noises, laughs, funny snorting sounds, and the odd “Tell me about it” or “Ain’t that the truth!” and you are set to becoming one of those people who are ‘good at talking to people’.

Living alone

Having just filled out my census and being an avid follower and consumer of the ideas espoused on  Twitter I have taken note of a lot of talk about how depressing it is to live alone.  Obviously a lot of this was tongue in cheek – a healthy sideswipe and the foibles of modern life. Some of it was probably fishing for dates; as if saying “Hey, I have my own dwelling. Come and remove my pants in a loving yet non-committal way!”

Some of it though appeared to be genuinely heart-felt. It seemed to me that some people were genuinely upset by the fact that they lived alone and by association were alone and it had taken filling out a form about the number of people living in their dwelling for them to realise this.  Or, more likely, they were upset some time before the census forms arrived. In fact, the census form arriving was probably a glimmer of hope because if they received their forms in the way I did, they were actually delivered by a real-life Other Person.

The thing is; they have it all wrong. Living alone is totally righteous. Maybe they have forgotten how righteous, or maybe they just don’t have their head in the right thinking-scape and maybe they need reminding.  Maybe they don’t too, but we won’t address that option because as you have probably worked out by now, I am going to do a list of reasons why it is righteously badarse and palatable to live by yourself.

Before you say what I think you are going to say I will glare at you and, remind you that this is a family weblog.  I’ll also add that I used to do that in the lounge when I lived with other people anyway so it’s hardly relevant.

Having no pants

As I have posited in a previous weblog entry pants are a bit, well, pants. Not wearing pants is better than wearing the most amazing pair of pants and I think this is a pretty well established fact.

Now, I have tended to walk around in my undergarments when I have lived with other people and I imagine most of you have too so you might argue that you can still have this luxury while also having someone else chipping in on the internet bill. Well, okay, you are right, but how many flats have you lived in where you could walk about not wearing anything? Any? Okay, any flats where you didn’t wake up six months later with your bank accounts emptied, a sense you had been taken for a ride both spiritually and financially, and a feeling that even mainstream religion was better than this cultist nightmare?

No, no you haven’t.

“But I live with my partner or significant other and he/she is totally groovy with my naked body” I hear you warble.

Okay, point taken, and I’ll keep that in mind as we move through the list.

Just a note about the ‘no garments on the lower half’ thing: if you tell people that you do this you may find that when these people are guests in your home they may be reluctant to sit on sofas. People tend to equate ‘not wearing any clothes’ with ‘inadequate wiping’.

Not cleaning things up

When you were a child you asked yourself and any authority figure who requested it of you, why do we even need to clean up when we just make a mess again? No matter what answer was given to you, it was wrong.  Yet somewhere along the line we came to accept that cleaning up after yourself was necessary and, as part of the socialisation process, we came to accept that regardless of its futility we needed to be tidy for other people.

Well, if you remove yourself from the socialisation process then you no longer need to tidy up. Fact.

“What about hygiene, what about disease?” I hear you shriek unreasonably.

Well, okay, don’t get to the stage where there is a rotting horse carcass in the lounge and the toilet is backed up and belching human waste all over the mezzanine.  Thing is though, there is a massive middle-ground between ‘fly-blown scum pit’ and the level of anal tidiness people have come to expect in shared living spaces. For instance, you don’t need to do dishes, and you don’t need, really, to vacuum or clean the floor, yet most people I have lived with have required this of me and it is a bit poo.

Being loud

When you live by yourself you can be as loud as you want when you want. If I want to come home at 6AM with people I have met at a night-club to get twisted as a cockroach and blast minimal techno I can, there is no-one who can stop me and no-one to complain. Conversely, if I have no friends because I am always jerking off in the lounge and positing my weird opinions and I want to play The Sopranos at top volume and wail loudly about my loneliness, I can. No problems, no-one to tut-tut me.

“But what about the neighbours?” I hear you mutter. Like a dick.

Firstly, why are you asking me all these questions and what are you doing here? Secondly, the cold hard fact of the matter is no-one actually cares about their neighbours. I mean, sure, you’d care if they were murdered or they were trapped in their house while it is burning but beyond that you don’t. Unless they are your friends and if they are your friends they get you and thus don’t have a problem with any of the aforementioned activities.

Let’s be honest, it’s no skin off their buttocks how noisy/annoying/off your head you are because there is a wall and (hopefully) no internal door between you and them. If they do, they are a dick. Therefore, you don’t care what they think.

Logic my dear Watson.  Is your name Watson?

It is now.

No silly arguments

The thing about living with people is you always end up fighting about dumb things. The thing about living by yourself is you don’t.

All the adages like ‘never flat with mates’ or ‘don’t screw the crew’ or ‘people get weird about you watching them sleep’  stem from the fact that if you live with people there are terse boundaries that are volatile and hard to negotiate.

Normally reasonable people become obsessed with how much hot water there is, who gets the most use out of the Sky Channels, and who ate the Black Forest Gateau in the fridge that had a Post-it note on it saying ‘Don’t Eat Fuckwads! This is for my mother. Who is in hospital’. Live by yourself, and the stress of these confrontations melt away like so much cake-icing left on the bench on a hot summer afternoon.

Being weird

The best thing about living by yourself is you can develop all sorts of weird idiosyncrasies that would annoy, intrigue, or arouse mockery from, other people.

If you want to go to the toilet every hour, on the hour, you can. No one says anything.  If you want to turn your whole house into a giant war-game where you play every battle of World War Two simultaneously with yourself; using plastic soldiers and to-scale maps, you can.

“But I live with someone who really gets me, we are soul mates” I hear you annoyingly chime in again.

Well, no. No you don’t. You live with a person who gets you within certain parameters. They may even love you outside of those parameters, nice.

However, if you watch every episode of the West Wing back to back for as long as it takes and insist the only breaks in the viewings are to order pizza, which has now become your staple diet, see how long it is from this point that they want to live with you.

Then tell me about a successful relationship that continued after one party moved out of the shared home.