1. During a discussion with one of my many platonic female friends, I mentioned that I’d seen a cute girl at the gym. Normally, when I see a woman that I want to meet, I strike up a conversation with her. As long as the lights are on, it doesn’ t matter to me whether or not she’s sweaty (within reason, of course). I guess what I’m saying is that I wouldn’t think twice about talking to a girl at the gym. My friend had said she wouldn’t date anyone she met at the gym; that she just goes there to work out and that’s it. What are your thoughts on this?
2. Whenever I read one of those “what do women look for in guys” type polls, “sense of humor” is almost always one of the top three qualities. Why, then, do so few women have a well-developed sense of humor? I’m sure they’re out there, but I’m not meeting them. Very few women can tell a good joke. And the ones that can are usually married. Why is that?
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.)
“Sense of humor:” it’s in pretty much everyone’s top three requirements for a mate, and fair enough (though I say hey, don’t settle, go for “grasp” of humor, or heck, “mastery”). But when it comes to getting laughs, do men (or, OK, lesbians) face a tougher crowd? A New Scientist article about the neuro-circuitry of comedy contains this interesting morsel:
“Men and women…seem to process jokes slightly differently. Although both sexes laugh at roughly the same number of jokes, women show greater activity in the left prefrontal cortex than men (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 102, p 16496). “This suggests a greater degree of executive processing and language-based decoding,” says [researcher Dean Mobbs]. As a result, women take significantly longer than men to decide whether they find something funny*, though that doesn’t seem to spoil their enjoyment of the joke. Indeed, women show a greater response in the limbic system than men, suggesting they feel a greater sense of reward.”
I met this guy in my home town through a radio dating service. The quintessential blind date, but wait, here’s a bonus: he’s adorable, has his own business, has no children, no ex-wives, no psychological problems to speak of but … he has zero sense of humor. He is about as dry as a piece of wheat toast. I think I intimidate him because I got about an inch over him in the height department. And I have a strong personality. Okay, here comes the problem: I blew him off a couple of months ago because it was too difficult being witty all by myself. But get this: I get a call asking how I’ve been and all that — and that now he knows it’s me he wants to be with. And that he has had this soul-searching revelation, and he doesn’t want to grow old alone, blah, blah, blah. But he still hasn’t acquired any personality traits that I can see. What should I do? I mean he is terribly sweet, and a kind person, but just as dull as a board. Am I a shallow person? I mean the usual dregs that I fall for have me grabbing my side with hysterical laughter — and later clutching my heart trying to keep it from falling to pieces because they have dogged me out. Help me please — all my girlfriends think I’m crazy, and that I should lock him up and keep him to myself. What do you think? Am I crazy?
It’s sort of a necessity once you hit the age — you know, the age between “boys/girls have cooties” and “I’m pregnant!” — that your school district (one hopes, anyway) starts flooding the lesson-plan infrastructure with talks about SEX and CONDOMS and VAGINAS. OH MY GOD. (My mom used to call them “pookies,” by the way, so from my childhood on, anytime I met a furry friend or stuffed animal with that name I burst into hysterics. Nobody got it.) Anyway. Planned Parenthood, as you may know, also — especially where schools and other grownups drop the ball — tries to help teens muddle through the skeery, scary world of sex. (Free condoms are part of the deal too, so I’ve heard.)
But have you seen their latest sex-ed videos? Wow, are they not the usual “If you respect me the way I respect me you’ll wait.” They include: a goofy sense of irony, a doofy mustachioed man, and — somehow — the line, “Hey, a horse is a majestic creature!” The allure lies in … well, not Mustache Guy, but in the meta-: the (finally!) successful attempt to bring humor to oodginess and taboo. Win/win: Planned Parenthood gets their message across, and teenagers across the nation sigh deeply with relief knowing that, armed with this knowledge about STIs and more, they can totally tune out their parents.
It’s the clothes that make the man…brave enough to talk to a woman! Spotted on the blog at Wired.com: the CyranoSuit, which, as Wired describes it, “uses a series of sensors embedded in the arms and chest to detect physical interaction with a woman and then a hacked receipt printer delivers romantic lines [such as “I love your hair”] straight to the breast pocket of the shy would-be Lothario.”
Man, you know, if a nervous nerd made this much effort just to talk to me, I’d totally give him a shot. Sure, cutie, let’s hit Staples for another roll of paper, ’cause I could read you talking about me allllll night!
Anyway: gasp! A gaggle of cartoonists (including BG idol Roz Chast!) on a mission to figure out this whole love thang? Sounds like BG’s got a backup team! Much of the group’s discussion actually centered on whether or not men and women find different things funny, and why that might be. (No final conclusions were drawn, but everyone found the discussion funny, so I guess that’s saying something.)
Liza Donnelly, the book’s editor — and a staff cartoonist at the New Yorker (thus a superhero of sorts) — also mentioned to me that she is working on another book of cartoons about marriage with her fellow-cartoonist husband. Will it be full of actual solutions? Probably not. But is it fun to imagine the two of them hanging around their apartment saying things like, “You don’t have to go to this party. It’s ‘Men Optional,'” or “Now that our last is off to college, could you tell me who the hell you are?” Oh yeah.