We held off on this one, since we figured not that many first dates were happening on Valentine’s Day. But now here we go. OKCupid, always ready with the best questions for blog posts, asks, what are the best questions for first dates? Actually, they put it a much better way: “What questions are easy to bring up, yet correlate to the deeper, unspeakable, issues people actually care about?” Yes! Easy and deep-y. And did we mention easy? See, because what you don’t want — as with first “lines” — is something gimmicky, interviewy, or otherwise annoyingy. (“So, tell me, Sam. [Leans closer, significantly.] Would you rather be a cloud, or a grape?”) What you want, OKCupid determines, with the use of several handy bar graphs, is “the shallow stuff to ask when you want to know something deep.”
OK SO LIKE WHAT? Well, then we get into some frankly fascinating correlations (derived from their vast database and some fancy math). If you want to know if you two have long-term potential, ask if he/she likes horror movies, or would like to chuck it all and live on a sailboat. Couples who agreed on such Qs were correlated with couples who lasted. If you want to know if your date is religious, ask if she/he is annoyed by spelling and grammar mistakes; “If your date answers ‘no’—i.e. is okay with bad grammar and spelling—the odds of him or her being at least moderately religious is slightly better than 2:1.” Hooray for teh tolerance! Want to know if you have the same politics? Ask if your date prefers the people in his/her life to be simple or complex. The latter preference is correlated with liberal politics. JUST SAYING. (Also: clouds and grapes CAN get along!)
Read the whole piece for great fun and info, plus Kevin Costner in fingerless gloves. (The apocalypse kind, not the golf kind.)
For sheer pith, of course, nothing can match Breakup Girl Haiku. But Morning Glory of Jezebel has given us a veritable Valentine of (swollen) purple prose, by pointing us — through this post — to the Tumblr Romance Club. There, as MoGlo puts it, “sometimes embarrassed but always funny consumers of erotic literature…write book reviews summarizing their paper conquests.” The sheer hilarity of these descriptions is BG-post-worthy enough (“Larkspur is a fair maiden on the Chrystal Isle in the Avalon Sea whose father is a dolphin shifter [he can take both forms]. This is pretty irrelevant to the plot, but they mention it, so I thought I would too.”); go now and read through the whole site. I’ll wait.
OK. See, what I adore about those Tumblr posts — and frankly, what makes for the best humor in general — is the (heaving, pounding) heart behind them. These writers are fans, fans who get what’s funny about these books and who get sincere unironic pleasure from them. They don’t kid because they snark. They kid because they love.
But anyway, so the original Jez post took to task a recent USA Today article that advised gentlemen (PAY ATTENTION!): “If you want to show the woman you love how much you care, take a page from a romance novel: look into her eyes, focus on what she says and really talk to her.” This gave MoGlo pause. “Wait a second. What? Act more like dudes in romance novels? Aren’t dudes in romance novels kind of… rapey?”
She’s referring, in part, to this Romance Club review:
BUT! When it comes time for the sexxing, Kit decides that he’s had enough of the wooing, and straight-up says that he will have her, even if it means raping her.
Now, to be fair, Rue gets into the whole thing, but STILL. YOU CAN’T JUST DO THAT. It’s gross, and not only that, it’s totally unnecessary. Kresley Cole has a sh*tload of paranormal alpha heroes, and not ONCE is there even a hint of coercion. Our girl Zoe Archer has paranormal historical alpha heroes, and they do not rape. Because unlike Kit, they manage to be both hot AND not a total f*cking *sshole.
I was enjoying the book up until this point, since there’s a lot of really awesome historical dress and house pr0n, lots of fun Independent Woman action from the heroine, and lots of dragons. But at this point, I don’t care how much Rue likes this dude. He dropped an r-bomb. That is not sexy. Ever. No.”
First of all, I am totally borrowing “*RECORDSCRATCH*.” Second, amen. Third, an update. I’m pleased to note that Romance Club responded to the Jez post with this caveat: “…[T]he rapey review I posted this morning was a complete coincidence, and really, the genre has for the most part moved FAR beyond those kinds of plot devices. Free sh*tty books, while always hilarious, are not the best examples of the genre. I’ve reviewed several books I’ve absolutely loved, and none of them have any kind of forced sex whatsoever.” Good to know. No. really!
And just to circle back to the top, it turns out — if this study is any indication — that women are more attracted to pirates who really listen men whose feelings are unclear. NOT BECAUSE WE “LIKE” TO BE JERKED AROUND. But simply because when you’re not 100% sure if someone’s into you, you spend more time thinking about them, which in turn only heightens your interest. (Clearly this gargoyle did not get that memo.)
Whether withdrawal of consent is what actually happened here is impossible to tell, so I’m not suggesting that Assange is a rapist or that these charges are 100% definitely on-point; I have no idea. But neither do the commentators who are saying that Assange did nothing more than have sex without a condom. And it’s important to counter the “haha sex by surprise those crazy Swedes” media narrative with the fact that actually, non-consensual sex is assault and should be recognized as such by law. Consenting to one kind of sexual act doesn’t mean that you consent to anything else your partner wants to do; if it’s agreed that the only kind of sex we’re having is with a condom, then it does remove an element of consent to have sex without a condom with only one partner’s knowledge. To use another example, if you and your partner agree that you can penetrate her, it doesn’t necessarily follow that she has the green light to penetrate you whenever and however.
I’m not particularly interested in debating What Assange Did or Whether Assange Is A Rapist, and I’d appreciate it if we could steer clear of that in the comments section. Rather, I’m interested in pushing back on the primary media narrative about this case, which is that women lie and exaggerate about rape, and will call even the littlest thing — a broken condom! — rape if they’re permitted to under a too-liberal feminist legal system. In fact, there are lots of good reasons to support consent-based sexual assault laws, and to recognize that consent goes far beyond “yes you can put that in here now.” It’s a shame that the shoddy, sensationalist reporting on this case have muddied those waters.
This has gotta be one of the best examples of art imitating life we’ve ever seen: Ships That Pass is, to use the site’s own verbiage, “a collection of fake, imaginary and literary missed connections posted to Craigslist and then re-posted here [at Ships That Pass’ Tumblr page] with real responses.” The brainchild of Brooklyn-based poet Brett Fletcher Lauer (who’s written an awesome guest post about the endeavor here), it’s what an online performance-art installation commissioned by Margaret Mead might look like. Or a post-millennial, dot-com remake of those Griffin & Sabine pop-up-ish epistolary epics of my romantically angst-addled adolescence. (Anybody else remember those?) [YES!!!! Sob! — BG]
Here’s how it works: Myriad poets, writers and artists craft ersatz missed-connection posts, complete with the fictitious posters’ ages and the appropriate tag (m4w, w4m, m4m, w4w). These are uploaded to Craigslist as any real missed-connection missive would be; simultaneously, they appear on Ships That Pass. Should any unsuspecting Craigslist readers reply to the post, those emails are readable on Ships That Pass as follow-ups to the original. On the flip side, should a suspicious Craigslister flag a post for removal — as has happened a handful already — news of that post’s untimely demise is likewise reported. A missed connection that receives no action at all (overwhelmingly the case) is earmarked with a little sad face like the Zoloft mascot, informing Ships That Pass readers of “Another Missed Connection Missed.”
As anyone who’s read missed connections for sport knows, it’s the unknowable of “But did Girl with Nose Ring Wearing Military Jacket ever hear from Guy Reading The Tender Bar on the Uptown 2 Train?” that feeds their addictiveness. That, and the messages’ unbridled sentimentality. Whereas Craigslist’s other alt-personals, Casual Encounters and Misc. Romance, can depress the hell out of anyone hoping for a shred of flirtation, intrigue, chivalry or grammar to hang onto, Missed Connections is a bastion of well-intentioned, intelligently penned, old-fashioned courtship. One’s for nutjobs; the other’s for l’amour fou.
Enjoying the newly-habit-forming element of “Is it live or is it Ships That Pass?” probably won’t bode well for anyone’s to-do list. And then there’s the question of whether Missed Connectioning under false pretenses is ultimately setting up a stranger for disappointment. Judging by the responses so far, though, it seems that what drives people to reply isn’t the expectation that they’ve been identified/fancied/remembered. It’s their complicit understanding that the heart wants what it wants, and their immutable belief in art for art’s sake.
“I’ve always thought that, as a country, we do a lousy job of addressing how we can do divorce differently — and better. Especially when there are children involved. That’s why I’m so excited about the launch of HuffPost Divorce.”
Anything that can help families cope with divorce is a good thing. Better still, a considered collection of personal, legal, practical, and psychological pieces that approach and elucidate divorce in the myriad ways… now that sounds really kinda awesome! Inspired by Nora Ephron, fleshed out by family law professionals, essays and advice, and authors of topical books.
It’s almost impossible not to feel a tiny tad jaded, thinking about divorce-affected people as a publishing niche, but that’s exactly what we are. Half the population! I wonder if this is the beginning of more like this.
Meanwhile, I welcome the story and information sharing that may well become a resource for one of life’s most changing events. As a person who went through a starter marriage in her twenties, and who is a child of divorce herself (actually, once I counted and there have been no fewer than 12 divorces in my immediate family) I’d love to dip in now and again to say, find ways to manage doubled parental visiting guilt and the impending holidays!
Filed under: blogs,Holiday — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:13 am
Well, it’s November 3. Are you, or have you ever been ditched by, a Halloweenie? Cindy Chupack once coined the term in order to designate (if BG recalls directly) folks who break up with their partners by October 31 in order to avoid (a) awkward family Thanksgiving dinners, and/or (b) buying gifts. (All while giving yourself plenty of time to find someone to smooch at New Year’s.) Boo!
But according to new (and highly imperfect, but still entertaining) data from Facebook (via Mashable), just because you made it through Halloween doesn’t mean you’re set for 2011. David McCandless and co.:
…scraped 10,000 status updates for the phrases “break up” and “broken up,” and made the following discoveries: 1). A ton of people break up before social occasions like Spring Break and the summer, 2). Mondays aren’t just the start of the work week — there’re the end of many a relationship, 3). People have the decency not to dump their significant others on Christmas Day.
Yah, but look at the graphic. While you’re safe on December 25, breakups appear to peak in the couple of weeks before, matching pre-spring break levels. If this is even somewhat accurate, I’m betting it’s not just about saving money on loot. It’s about the holidays feeling all cozy and meaningful and stuff. If you don’t feel cozy and meaningful with your S.O., you’re not going to look at them and feel all mistletoetastic. Forces the issue, in a way. You know? Fa la! What about you: any breakups precipitated by calendar events? (Or have you ever stayed together for the present, if you will?)
In case you didn’t already know this, Scarleteen is the source for real sex education in the real world. It’s deserving of a shout-out of far more than 140 characters; it’s run and supported by people “who want better for young people than what they get in schools, on the street or from initiatives whose aim is to intentionally use fearmongering, bias and misinformation about sexuality to try to scare or intimidate young people into serving their own personal, political or religious agendas.” And right now, there’s a extra push for cash going on to help Scarleteen keep doing the honest, empowering, and irreplaceable work they do. Read recent testimonials such as “How Scarleteen and Sex Ed Saved My Life,” and “Accentuating the (Sex) Positive: Discovering Scarleteen” — and maybe you’ll be inspired to show Scarleteen a little love yourself.
Gay issues have been in the news a lot lately, from the debate over same-sex marriage in Congress to a sickening rash of gay-bashing here in New York City. We see a lot of emotion out there, instead of information, and we wanted to provide some data-based context on sexuality so that people might make better choices about what they say, think, and do.
We run a massive dating site and therefore have unparalleled insight into sex and relationships. Here’s what we’ve found, in numbers and charts…
Their data-based results include: gay people are not out to bed breeders, gay people are not “promiscuous” (even on a dating site), and a whole lot of people are gay-curious. (BG: Possibly, in some cases, those who are gay-furious.) Anyway, just go read it. It’s quite important, and also very funny. That’s it. I just wanted to give the report, and its mission, an even bigger high-five than I could in 140 characters. VOTE CUOMO!