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Five Things I Learned in Vegas

8 Jul

Since it’s almost the weekend, how about some life lessons from the partyingest city in the Western US? Yes, I went there. Of my own free will. It’s true! I have proof. Since I’m a paragon of virtue and all, I thought you could benefit from some Tips For Vegas (from me):

5. Bingo and Blackjack are fun.
4. Slot machines are boring
3. $20 drinks are worth it…
2. …but free jagerbombs are better
1. Hookers and blow are harder to get than you’d think.

That’s all folks! What are y’all doing this weekend?

Five ways to save time. For realsies.

11 Aug

I have a confession: I subscribe to Real Simple. There are several reasons I should not do so, the most readily apparent of which is that the very title of the publication flies in the face of one of my raison d’etres, namely, defending the integrity of the English language. Seriously, Real Simple? You couldn’t call it “Real. Simple.” instead? Just two little periods, or even one of those funny lookin’ pipe | thingies could do your rag a world of good. But no, you had to abuse an adverb, just like the “Eat Local” army. Fine. Whatever. I’ll eat delicious food that grows locally while you sit down to a four course meal of intangible adjective.

Along with syrupy prose contributed by its college-educated female readership who’ve chosen to stay home with the bratlings and wax poetic about cheese sandwiches or whatever, one of the magazine’s regular features is lists upon lists of time-saving tips. The tips are often pitched with a Pollyanna-esque, “If you can do your makeup in only 30 minutes, you’ll have more time for YOU!” What, pray tell, would a woman who spends more than 30 minutes on hair every day do with that extra time? Spend more time on lipliner? My advice to them would be: Stop doing your hair. Voila! 100 percent more time for you!

So in the spirit of mean-spiritedness, and since Real Simple won’t be informing its readership how to actually get more time for themselves anytime soon, leastwise without plugging a $40 bottle of face cream and reinforcing some serious heteronormativity and serving as capitalism’s and classism’s little glossy handmaiden, I came up with some more realistic time-saving tips for the less credulous among us. Written for the typical Real Simple reader, who, I imagine, is female, at least 30, white, upper-middle, with a husband, 2.5 kids, a dog and a picket fence:

1. Ditch the Hubbie
Ever get snippy with your doting spouse? It may not be the stress of planning all those complex dinner parties and thoughtful holiday gifts — he’s probably just using up nearly half of your special you time! He always wants to talk, wants to cuddle, wants to put it in your butt. Those things take time, my friend — get rid of the geezer and you’ll automatically gain plus-10 you-time points!

2. Don’t have kids.
Seriously, ladies, did you know it’s actually illegal for you to leave these little time-sucks alone for up to TWELVE YEARS? You don’t want to spend the best years of your adulthood in drudgery, watching insipid childrens’ television, cleaning up excrement and/or Cheerios, and trying not to shake your offspring to death, do you? If you’re unfortunate enough to already have one of these, take heart: In Nebraska, you can abandon your children no matter how old they get!

3. Live in a van.
Garden got you down? Lawn putting you to shame? Garage organization projects keeping you up at night? How much time do you really spend weeding, whitewashing, mopping and coming up with innovative storage solutions for all your crap? Sell it all and move into your suburban assault vehicle. Cleaning a small space is a snap, and entertaining’s out without an outdoor dining set.

4. Quit your job.
Forget the Pomodoro Technique. It doesn’t matter how much you prioritize, how many 100-calorie snack packs you stash in your desk drawer or how many green tea breaks you take, you will never, ever be caught up at work. Instead, quit. Live off all that money you’re making by contributing syrupy prose to milquetoast organizing magazines.


5. Get ugly.
Without a husband or a job, why bother spending even that measly 30 minutes blow-drying and heat setting your hair? Come to think of it, you probably can’t afford that $40 face cream, and there’s no outlet for a blow dryer in a van. But, now that you’re ugly, poor, unmarried and childless, you probably finally have enough time to sit down and read Real Simple cover to cover, and realize it actually only takes 10 minutes to blow through the whole thing, ads included.

Basketball fans: Man up and stop breeding

25 Mar

Men! Wondering how to prevent yet another batch of squalling brats from interrupting you while you shout unintelligible yet impassioned directives at large-screen televisions, guzzle malt beverages and pick beer nut detritus from your hipster beard? Well wonder no more, my friends: Take advantage of the latest in promotional outpatient surgeries: Get a March Madness vasectomy!

In Oregon, you can take part in “Snip City” (a clever play on the Trail Blazers’ motto “Rip City,” which is only slightly misleading since March Madness is college ball and the TBs are a pro team). In Texas, you can pay a visit to the friendly urologists pictured at right.*

It’s about time someone started marketing birth control to the menfolk. Shunting the birth control responsibility to women is unfair, selfish, and counterproductive. Besides, the side effects of a vasectomy are far fewer than near-lifelong hormonal birth control, which range from depression, bone density loss and high to cervical cancer, embolism and ectopic pregnancy.

According to popular perception, these are acceptable risks for women. But the main “risks” of vasectomy are well-known, and it’s commonly understood that men won’t get them, no matter the health benefits to their female partners. It’s common to hear jokes on television shows about how “emasculating” vasectomies are. No matter that there is a direct causal link between depression and hormonal birth control, and the “negative psychological effects” on vas’d men are speculative.

And to top it all off, vasectomy is the second only to abstinence when it comes to effectively preventing those squalling brats.

The rub is that in our culture, women bear the burden of all sexual responsibilities, from preventing the spread of STDs to childbearing (or not childbearing). It’s women’s bodies that need to be modified and it’s women that drug companies are trying to cash in on. Commercials for hormonal birth control don’t even talk about preventing pregnancies anymore — they pitch themselves as “period control.” Since periods are disgusting and need to be controlled. Just like women! Sarah Haskins made a funny on the topic:

http://current.com/e/89157733/en_US

While the marketing campaign for March Madness vasectomies may need a little finessing, it’s good to see that someone out there is trying. Even if it’s for selfish reasons (more vasectomies = more money for urologists), I hope that capitalism does the job it was meant to do, and levels the reproductive playing field a bit.

Extra Credit: Send me a picture of yourself (or your man) in a pro-vasectomy pose (be creative — perhaps a strategically placed bag of frozen peas? But SFW, please) and I’ll send you a batch of reproductive-system-themed dessert items. Click here for my contact info.

*Picture from a deeply amusing blog, via a deeply amusing ladyfriend.

Related posts: Balls, balls, balls; Breedin’; Biology is Destiny; Pregnant Women are Smug; Science Proves Men are Unnecessary

Call and response: Tips for the hollaback girl

20 Mar

How many of you have someone in your life who says little things from time to time that rub you the wrong way? Mine can be filed neatly into two categories:

The “blatantly-sexist-but-hey-it’s-a-joke-ha-ha category”:

• “Sarah makes better coffee than Steve. It must be a woman thing!”
• “I hear the phone ringing. Why doesn’t Sarah answer it? She’s the only woman around.”

And the “seemingly innocuous-but-actually scary” category:

• “Smile! It doesn’t cost anything.”
• “You must work out! You have such a nice figure”

The two categories call for two very different types of responses. Let’s address the former first, shall we? The sexist jokes are blatant. But when people say them in a joking tone, they expect you to take them as a joke. You don’t want to come off like a shrew, so you play along, right? Telling people outright that they’re being rude has a tendency to alienate, and you can’t always afford that – what if the “joker” is your boss?

But you can’t brush them off, or they’ll just get worse. When I was younger, I used to play along because I wanted to be liked. Now I make an effort to point out what’s wrong with the comments in a way that mimics the tone of the conversation. It takes practice, but it’s a worthwhile effort.

The second type is trickier:

• “Smile! It doesn’t cost anything.”

The smile directive sounds innocuous enough, but it’s inappropriate for the simple reason that no one has a right to dictate another person’s facial expressions.

If you need an object lesson in what’s wrong with “Smile! It doesn’t cost anything!” all you have to do is respond with “Don’t tell me what to do.” Sit back and watch how quickly that “friendly” comment turns nasty. If you respond this way to the wrong person, you can risk actual physical harm.


Case in point: A man sitting on a stoop, drinking out of a paper bag, ordered me to smile one day as I got out of my car (“Smile, it can’t be that bad” were his ironic words). My lack of response was rewarded with him spitting in the general direction of my shoes before I skedaddled.

The second comment, “You must work out! You have such a nice figure!” is one that can go either way. Coming from a close friend, it is usually a genuine compliment. Coming from anyone else, it’s a creepy red flag. I had a landlord who said this to me, and often. One day, I told him he was making me uncomfortable with his constant remarks about my figure (I lived alone. He had a key to my apartment. Of course he was making me uncomfortable!). Thirty days later, my apartment was “reclaimed.”

Unlike the other “innocuous” comments listed here, the “you’re hot” variety has no grey area. When it comes from someone other than your sister or best friend, it is never OK to brush it off. Like with my landlord, the person who is saying it has ulterior motives, and no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise, you know it. The sooner you tell him or her to shut it, the better off you are.

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