Friday, April 28, 2006

Sad little boys and the women they heckle

Three days ago, I got this charming email from some dude called Tom. The subject line said "Bacon":

You say you work and "date" in L.A....I'm sure you mean "pork" the guys and therein lies the problem with your whole life.

Lordy Lord. The stench of self-satisfaction coming off of that message reeks to high heaven.

I have to say that when I read this email, I laughed out loud...and then forwarded it to most of my friends, who laughed even harder. "Bacon" is most definitely the best subject line for that email, since any guy who would send this kind of message to a complete stranger is a total pig.

This guy has no knowledge whatsoever of my sexual history, and there won't be any details about it on this site. That's not my style; I'm private about that. I started this blog because I've had so many funny/crazy encounters with men that friends and family started to beg me to write them down. So far, blogging has been really fun for me; I'm Irish to the core, and my people love nothing better than to tell a good story. Dear Readers, why do some men always stoop to the "attack her sexuality" low? If she's secure enough in herself to *gasp* enjoy sex when she wants, with whom she wants, call her a whore! If she's secure enough in herself to *gasp* go for an extended period of time without dancing the horizontal boogie, call her a prude! Such women are unnatural and must be pilloried! Jesus tapdancing Christ, Tom, this is 2006! The Madonna/Whore dichotomy is so 1326. Catch up to the 21st century, already.

But, but, but...we can't have women freely enjoying their own bodies, or taking a break from sex whenever they want! Anarchy will surely ensue! The sky will fall! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria!* Innocent Readers, that kind of self esteem is so offensive that it's enough to make me clutch my pearls and faint from the vapors. NOT.

Dear Tom, I am not angry with you. Really. You labor painfully under the delusion that all women fall into one of two camps: sluts and prudes - and therein lies the problem with your whole life. Each woman is an individual, whose constantly evolving sexual history is uniquely shaped by many factors that affected her directly, not you. If you would back away from the porn surfing for just a minute, you would understand that.

Besides, I have a feeling that if I were a man, and you thought that I had "porked" everything within a 100-mile radius, you'd probably hi-five me. Asshat.

*Quoted from Ghostbusters (1984)

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Why does this not surprise me?

Your Quirk Factor: 67%

You're so quirky, it's hard for you to tell the difference between quirky and normal.

No doubt about it, there's little about you that's "normal" or "average."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ask Ginger

Hello dear readers, and welcome to the premiere of my brand spanking new advice column! Many friends of mine have been at me to start one of these for months, and I'm finally acquiescing. Apparently some people think that dispensing sage advice is one of my better skills; how very flattering! I like to keep my readers happy, so let me try this out and see how she flies. If I get a positive response, I'll try to publish one column every month. Before we get started, here are my ground rules:

1. Know that I am not a professional psychologist or counselor. This column exists as much for entertainment as it does for actual advice-giving.
2. If you email me a question, and you'd like to remain anonymous, please give me a pseudonym to use. I will not reveal your identity to anybody, except to specify your gender.
3. Think my opinions are crap? Air your grievances in the comments section.
4. You can ask me about any topic whatsoever, as long as the question isn't vile.
5. I decide what's vile.

That should be simple enough for everybody, right? Okay then, here I go!

Q: Dear Ginger,
Since ALL men cheat, or think about cheating in their relationships, wouldn't it be easier for women to just set up the rules around it? That way, he doesn't have to sneak around, and you control when and where it happens, and everybody is happy.
PS - Men do have sex without happens.

Here Entertaining A Theory Encompassing Relationships (male)

A: Dear Entertaining,
Wow, that's an extremely bleak picture of your own gender you're painting! Not all men cheat, and while there may be plenty that do, it's not fair to paint all guys with the same brush. I will admit that the numbers don't look good; one study that I read suggested that 50% of husbands cheat on their wives. That's pretty startling, but I have some sobering news for you; female infidelity is on the rise, with about 40% of wives cheating, and the the gap is closing. Women are so often painted as paragons of fidelity, creatures who can only have sex when in love, who must therefore take it upon themselves regulate the insatiable male sex drive. Let's put the smackdown on that nonsense right now. We're right behind you guys in the cheating stats, and we are, from what I've seen, far less likely to get caught sneaking around. I had a friend who cheated on every single guy she had ever been with; she decided to get married to her first husband when she realized that she had managed to date him for a year without screwing around. A year after they married, she cheated - and he had no knowledge of the affair until she left him. She also racked up $20,000 in credit card debt. Obviously, they are now divorced.

I'm sure that infidelity rates are even worse among single and cohabitating people, but let's face it - if you love and respect your partner, you won't stray, because you won't want to risk losing them for a quick cheap thrill. I've never cheated on a partner (no, really!), so I'm no expert, but from what I have seen, men tend to stray out of insecurity, women out of boredom or for revenge. In the end, it isn't as much fun as it looks, and just makes a mess. To answer your question, no, I am not a fan of the "Sex Police" approach to relationships. Having one gender set up the "rules" to regulate the other's sexual activity is dehumanizing for both. It is not one party's responsibility to constantly monitor the other's behavior. If you're over the age of, say, 20 (I'm being very generous here), where you put your genitalia is all on you, as are all emotional and physical consequences that follow. Setting up "rules" that "allow" your partner to be with other people may give you a vague feeling of control, but come on. If you have to put a handcuff on somebody to keep them next to you, you have to wear the other handcuff at all times. Doesn't that make you a prisoner too?

Now, some people just aren't suited to monogamy, and that's fine, as long as they're up front about it. In any kind of relationship, you'll have the fewest problems with partners who want the same things you do. Of course, if you like the idea of having a stable of partners, you might want to move to Utah and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior. They'll give you as many as you like, if you're a man. Personally, I don't think polygyny is ok unless we accept polyandry too. Women are the ones who have multiple orgasms and babies; we're the gender that's most likely to appreciate the convenience of multiple partners!

P.S. Women do have sex without happens. All. The. Time. We call this "maintenance sex". If I had a dollar for every woman I know who at one time kept a man around just to keep Ye Olde Feminine Pipes lubricated, I'd be a very rich, very retired woman.

Q: Dear Ginger,
Is is appropriate for a woman in a happily committed relationship to flirt with other men? Why or why not?

I Just Like To Be Friendly (female)

A: Well Friendly, I personally think that flirting is healthy and fabulous. I see that you made a point of saying that you're "happily committed", which speaks volumes. You're faithful, not dead, and certainly not blind; the world is at least half populated by men, and a good portion of them are damned attractive. Noticing this won't dull your affection for your beloved. In fact, enjoying the sight of other cute guys can put an extra spring in your step, especially if they look back. Enjoying your own sexuality, and some friendly attention from the opposite sex, tends to boost one's confidence. Your partner will notice, you'll seem even more attractive to him, and you'll probably get frisky more often. So it benefits you both, as long as you look but don't touch.

With strangers, eye contact and a smile will usually get a positive response, and should be enough if you're in a relationship. With coworkers and acquaintances, you can add occasional compliments (these should be genuine, and don't pile them on). Open body language makes you approachable; don't cross your arms across your chest. If you're sitting, cross your legs towards the person you're speaking to. Flirting is mostly nonverbal and non-physical (body language yes, touching no). I say "no touching" because mixed signals can be a problem, and turn a good conversation very bad very fast. On one hand, a man is socialized to see the world in very sexual terms, so touching could look like a come-on, and cause him to move in on you when that wasn't your intention at all. On the other hand, high rates of sexual violence in our culture can make a woman rightfully cautious, so if a man touches her, she might freeze up or become defensive, when he didn't mean anything by it. If the person you're flirting with is also in a committed relationship, they'll probably have some physical boundaries that should be respected, although most people are comfortable with hello and goodbye hugs. Use discretion; unless the person knows you well, and knows that you're solid with your partner, keep your hands to yourself. If the person you're flirting with ever seems uncomfortable, gracefully back off with a smile and a parting sentiment such as "It was so nice to talk to you! Take care." It's called the "art" of flirting for a reason; it should be lighthearted and fun! So go forth and flirt!

Q: Dear Ginger,
Are you a natural red-head? If so, can you prove it?

One Of Your Future Freak Dates (male)

A: Aaah, the old "carpet and drapes" question. If that's how you introduce yourself to a lady, we won't be meeting up anytime soon. Sorry, but I'm going to have to stay mum on this one; the true color of my pubes is known only to my - ahem - "intimates", close friends, and family. What I will tell you is that I'm Irish, my mother had red hair, and the color suits me perfectly. But you'd have to be a lot closer to me to know for sure!

Q: Dear Ginger,
I went to a wedding where I had to fly across the country to get to it. I paid for my hotel room, and it wasn't in the most inexpensive city as well. When I got there, it was made very clear to me that the bride did not like my haircut, and that I should get it cut "normal". By the way, I wasn't in the wedding, I was a guest. Should I have cut my hair?

My Own Hair Always Wins Kudos (male)

A: Dear Kudos,
I'm very sorry to say, you were a victim of "Bridezilla Syndrome". This sometimes happens in a culture that inexplicably takes a normal woman and turns her into a "Princess For A Day". It's HER DAY, dammit, and she wants everything JUST SO! IS THAT A NICK IN THE ICE SCULPTURE??? THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!! SHE WILL HAVE EVERYTHING JUST SO! OR ELSE!!! AAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Whew! Brides like that are exhausting, and there seems to be no pleasing them, but I do believe that they're in the minority. Kudos, I have to tell you that I have been a bridesmaid several times, and thankfully have never personally dealt with a Bridezilla. I've seen a few in action, though, and it's not pretty. I think that Bridezilla Syndrome is born from a culture that puts too much emphasis on a woman's marital status. Many women are raised almost from birth to believe that they're not "complete" until they've found The One. When The Coveted Engagement finally comes, the urge to make The Big Day perfect can overwhelm one little tulle-and-satin-clad woman, which may result in a kind of fit-throwing, unreasonable-demand-making temporary insanity. Interesting how our culture puts so much energy into that one day. It's an important day, no question, but what about the marriage that comes after it? We seem to spend a lot less time preparing ourselves for the following 50 years, which might help to explain our soaring divorce rate.

I digress. Anyway, I'm sure that the bride in question is back to normal now. You were absolutely right to leave your hair alone. Personal style is just that - personal. Even if you had been in the wedding party, you would not have been obliged to cut your hair "normal" just so that she could be more satisfied with her pictures. That's insulting. What is "normal", anyway? Besides, you were her guest, and that is simply not the way to treat a guest, especially one who has done you the courtesy of travelling long and far to see you. Kudos to you for keeping your cut!

Hope you enjoyed the column! Got a question? Hit me up!


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Did Grizzly Adams ever get any play?

Guys will compete with each other over anything. This quirk of the male character never ceases to amaze me or crack me up.

The scene: Boston, April 2001. The place: Applebee's. I was out to lunch with four of my male coworkers. Two of them - we'll call them Ted and Bob - were getting a little, shall we say, "scruffy". I don't mean growing-out-a-beard scruffy; I'm talking about unkempt-mountain-man-who-hasn't-seen-a-woman-in-about-a-decade scruffy. Untrimmed, ungroomed, unclean. Bob's beard was starting to resemble a collection of little dreds. On a skinny white dude, this is not a good look. Now, it's not unusual for guys who live in cold climates to grow a beard in the wintertime, but it was spring; the weather was getting warmer by the day, as the hair growing out of Tim and Bob's faces got more and more grizzly.

"Aren't you guys hot under all that hair?" I had to ask. "What gives with the cave dweller look?"

Ted and Bob looked at each other and shared the conspiratorial "huh-huh, huhuhuh" laugh that guys have when they're doing something just to see what happens.

"We've decided to see how long we can grow our beards before they drive us crazy and we have to chop them off," said Ted. "We're trying to see who can go longest before shaving." Bob nodded his head in assent.

"Oh, I get it," I said amiably. "You're competing to see who can go the longest without getting laid."

Silence from all four guys. Then: uproarious laughter all around. "Uh, dude," said Bob, "we might want to rethink this."


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Monday, April 03, 2006

But of course!

You Are New York

Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you enjoy the newest in food, art, and culture.
You also appreciate a good amount of grit - and very little shocks you.
You're competitive, driven, and very likely to succeed.
Famous people from New York: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Woody Allen, Lucille Ball

What other city could I possibly be? You can take the girl out of New York....yadda yadda.

Let me call you Sugar Butt

"Good morning, sweetheart!"

I was in the middle of my morning routine, toasting two slices of whole grain bread for my breakfast. My office building rocks becuase it has a fully stocked kitchen, and I take advantage of it. I make myself toast every day, and wash it down with a raspberry Snapple. I never deviate from this routine, except on Fridays, which is bagel day. Native New Yorker that I am, I cannot resist the call of the bagel, particularly if it's poppyseed or pumpernickel. I know carbs aren't very trendy, especially in LA, but bread is my crack. If it had street value, my ass would be broke.

I digress. I was buttering my toast when a gentleman who works in my building walked into the kitchen and greeted me by calling me "sweetheart". He and I had never officially met or worked together, although we certainly recognize each other and nod "hello" in the hallway to be friendly. Dear readers, I'm a very friendly woman. I chat with a lot of people that I don't work directly with, and since I work in a creative field, a certain amount of informality is perfectly acceptable. "Sweetheart" is beyond the pale, though. I'm quite sure he didn't mean any harm by it, and that he didn't mean to offend or condescend to me when he said it, but I'm an adult woman, and a professional. He wouldn't have called a man that, so he shouldn't be calling me that. "Sweetheart" is a term of endearment best reserved for children, significant others and elderly family members.

I had to call him on it; in my ten years of work experience, I've learned not to let such things pass, as they can sometimes lead to more serious infractions. I realize that I might sound reactionary, but dear readers, various incidents in my work history have made me cautious. Better safe than sorry, but like I said, I'm a friendly gal and he seemed basically harmless. I decided to have fun with the situation. So I turned to him and said, with a big smile, "Good morning, Sugar Butt!"

He burst into laughter. "Now that's a great comeback," he said with a good-natured snort. He knew I was calling him out, and thought it was funny.

I laughed too, mostly because I'd finally been able to call somebody "Sugar Butt". Johnny Depp calls Eva Mendes "Sugar Butt" in the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and I've been storing that nickname in my mental Rolodex, waiting for the perfect opportunity to spring it on somebody. Mission accomplished!

"Well," I said pleasantly, "I don't really do the 'sweetheart' thing with complete strangers."

"Yeah, how have I not met you?" he replied as he poured milk over his cereal. "We've never been formally introduced."

"Ginger," I said, extending my hand.

"Kale," he said, shaking it. "So, can I call you 'sweetheart' now?"

"Nope!" I said brightly, walking out of the kitchen with my toast and Snapple. "Have a nice day!"

UPDATE: Ever since this "incident", the gentleman in question has addressed me by my name every time we've seen each other. Goes to show that if he's a decent person, he'll get the hint!



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