Tag Archives: work

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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How many times have you heard someone say “I’d rather die than give a speech” or “If you don’t MC my wedding I will kill you”? I know I have heard these, and variations of these comments many, many times.  Somewhere along the line ‘public speaking’ and ‘death’ become intrinsically linked.  It is almost common belief that there is a certain level of ‘being embarrassed’ where you will actually kick the bucket and that this can be triggered by having to make a wedding toast.

Of course, despite people’s morbid fear of standing up and prattling off a few anecdotes it is an exaggeration – like saying you ‘love’ your car, you’re a caffeine ‘addict’ or that you ‘literally want to shag’ your internet service provider – strip away the hyperbole and you’ll realise the link between speech-making and shuffling off of this mortal coil is a grossly inflated untruth.

Sure, some people have died as a result of making speeches – notably, U.S President William Henry Harrison died a month after taking office as a result of making an inauguration speech so meandering and verbose he caught pneumonia in the process. The thing was though, Harrison actually enjoyed making speeches. He wasn’t the vaguest bit embarrassed at all. He liked making speeches so much he forgot to wear a coat. So really the only evidence there is that making a speech will kill you is if you enjoy doing it so much you forget to dress yourself.

President William Henry Harrison: So long-winded he died of pneumonia

President William Henry Harrison: So long-winded he died of pneumonia

Not only will you not actually leave the mortal realm simply because you feel a bit shamed, making speeches is really, really easy; you just need one or two ‘templates’ up your sleeve and you’ll be ‘Pulling a Harrison’ (Making speeches, not dying of pneumonia) without ‘totally Harrisoning out’ (dying, not making speeches).

Tell a Risqué Story

When you were at high school, the most interesting people were always the people who had ripping tales about getting ripped in the weekend or had ribald tales of sexual conquest.  In this, like in most areas of life; nothing has changed since high school. The Falstaffian Sex conquistadors of our society are always the most interesting because of the tales that they tell.

One of the advantages to telling a risqué story in a speech is, due to societal mores, you are supposed to use euphemism and implication to indicate risqué behaviour, rather than being direct.  For instance, the crowd at a wedding would be aghast if you, as a bridesmaid charged with making a toast said:

“Tabitha is getting married today. Last week at the Hen’s Night Tabitha got drunk and had sexual intercourse a stripper in a manner so vigorous that she broke the end of his penis”

Even though this is a literal and dispassionate list of events, it would still be inappropriate.

However, if you were to say:

“I don’t think any of us have had a drink since the Hen’s Night last week. Put it this way, there were a few sore heads the next day…”

You imply a degree of licentiousness without being literal and everyone would have a good old laugh.  This works as a euphemism, but it could also be used to imbue a relatively tame evening with innuendo.  You could simply be referring to Tabitha buying one too many craft beers and waking up with a mild hangover.

Litter with Cliches

Everyone thinks they know what “You’re only young once and at the end of the day you can’t put the shit back in the donkey” means, but this is because it is simply a list of idioms they have heard many, many times before.  It might not mean anything at all, or it may be a pleasant way of justifying something extremely horrific. Regardless, you will get a laugh if you say it in a blokey voice and it’s the sort of funeral where the surviving family members say “He would have wanted a party and not a sad sort of funeral”.

Steal jokes

One of the reasons that stand-up comedians are among the highest paid individuals in our society is because of their in-demand skill of being able to turn even the most mundane speaking engagement into something akin to a riotously funny episode of The Big Bang Theory.

However there is a good chance that you and your friends aren’t comedians.  The way you can tell is, when you go to comedy shows, you don’t have a microphone.  Even if you make loud jokes during the show, that are objectively funny, its still a case of ‘no microphone, no comedian’.  The best you can do is to nick bits of a comedy routine and make them your own.

This is why Brides are so often accidentally referred to as ‘Louis C.K’ during well-lubricated wedding receptions.

Self-aggrandisement

It is one thing to make a speech well, it is another to make it passably funny but it is another thing still to make it advantageous.  Making people think sex thoughts won’t pay the bills and no-one gets paid for making jokes unless they are a licensed and city-bonded comedian.  The way to get ahead is to self-promote.

This is not as easy as simply standing up and saying “Hey guys, you know who is great: me!”. This only works on Twitter.  No, the key to self-aggrandisement is to be more subtle than that.  Rather than talk about yourself directly, look for an opportunity to insert yourself and your real or imagined achievements into someone else’s event.

I use the example of a farewell morning tea in the office to illustrate my point.  The boss asks if “anyone has anything else they want to say” and you could say:

“Gandalf has been a credit to the team and, even though we all thought he was a bit of a bell-end when he changed his name, he’s a solid team player (cliche) and we’ll miss him…. *pause for applause* “…and here’s hoping his old mum doesn’t kick him out  the house (familiarity, light humour). *pause for laughs*

Perfectly servicable speech, sure. Doesn’t really say much about you though does it? No.

Let’s try it again, this time with a bit more of a go-getter attitude

“I am reminded of a nickname that I heard The G-man and I used to have when we first started here ‘Ten Percent Above Target Twins’. It was a while ago, I  don’t know how many of you will remember that but it was definitely a thing people said. Anyway, we used to have a laugh. G-Muzza with his references to the live action role-playing he did, me with my consistently high work rate and few sick days. We were quite a team.” *pause for awe*

In that speech you subtly reference your high performance and good record of bothering to show up, while also vaguely dehumanising the supposed subject of the speech by giving him a silly nickname then forgetting it, and giving him another one.  That’s how you get ahead in this world if you’re not a comedian.

Don’t forget to bring a coat.

 

Life Hacks: Clean the Microwave

One of the main reasons people bang violently on my door at three AM is to breathlessly ask for some mean life hacks.

This is only in part because “life hacks” is code for “ten nitrous oxide bulbs”; it is at least forty per cent because your weblog administrator is a veritable life haxxor.

In ‘normal people parlance’ a life haxxor is someone who has amazing little tricks to make the small, yet apparently important, aspects of life that much easier.  Kind of like a ‘guru’ but instead of focusing on humanity’s big questions or all-encompassing philosophies, I am sagely in all that is run-of-the-mill, trite and pedestrian.

Join me, Dear Readers, for a brisk jog through a bunch of shit which saves you thirty to forty seconds and/or a minor embarrassment of sorts.

The first in this series is:

Clean the microwave

Let’s say you heat up last night’s righteous curry for your lunch in the work microwave and it explodes a bit while you are returning it to edible temperature.  The curry, while still totally edible, spunks curry sauce all over the inside of the microwave and the door.

Now, the passive-aggressive sign next to the microwave says “Please leave the microwave as you found it, your mother DOESN’T work here” which you know means, in a round-a-about and cowardly way, ‘clean the microwave.’

The thing is, you can’t be arsed cleaning the microwave because life’s’ too short.

Problem is, Greta the office nerd who wrote the sign (and loads of other ones around the kitchen), is five and a half minutes away. If she sees you’ve spunked the microwave with your curry she’s probably going to make you clean it. Worse still, she will equally likely talk about how she always cleans the microwave but she “might as well do it again…sigh” and this will make you feel bad.

Hack!: Fill a glass with milk, place it in the microwave, and cook on ‘high’ for five minutes or until the milk boils and explodes. By the end of the five minutes it should have spunked all over the inside of the microwave, disguising your curry sauce and even, in some cases, dislodging chunks of it.

Then take out the glass and what remains of the milk.

When Greta comes in to heat up her organic boiled vegetables she will see the inside of the microwave is spunked with milk and really gross. She will ask you what happened, sure, but she’ll also see you are eating awesome curry and she’ll see that the mess is milk.

Off the hook! Hacked!

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.

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’.