Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's get shallow OR Shallow is as shallow does

Let’s talk about being shallow. I would like to submit that we’re all shallow, like it or not. At least all the people I know are shallow, anyway.

I define “shallow-ness” as liking a person for superficial reasons. I think that is a good definition.

For example, my sister had a roommate who was always into guys for the wrong reasons. She’d go on a date and come back all glowing and say things like: “I love his truck, his truck is sexy,” or “He smelled so good,” or “I loved his shoes,” or “He’s going to medical school!” Stuff like that.


Then my sister would say, “That’s fantastic! But do you get along? Do you have things in common? Can you talk with him about stuff?”

She’d say, “Um, I guess so.”

She always wondered why her relationships failed. I submit that when a relationship is based on trucks, smells, shoes or careers, it is bound to fail. I could be wrong, though.

Besides gold digging, another way that people mess themselves up is basing a relationship on looks. They want to find a man or woman that looks a certain way. They run all around looking, or stay in crappy relationships with attractive people. A girl I knew blew off a perfectly good guy because he wasn’t a perfectly attractive guy and she couldn’t “take him home to mom.” I call that shallow, and I guess that makes her mom shallow, too. A guy who treats your daughter with respect is better than a good-looking guy in the grand scheme of things. Basically that mother/daughter duo needs to get their act together.

If you break it down, “attraction” is at the very most a matter of socialization, and at the very least an evolutionary impulse.

In the case of “attraction” defined by socialization, a society tells you that in individual who looks just so is “attractive.” And they tell you that enough times and then you believe it.

In the case of “attraction” defined by evolution, you are controlled by your evolutionary urges. This dates way back to caveman times and means that deep down all you want to do is perpetuate the species. As a man, you look for a woman with all the right reproductive qualities to bear you many children, know what I mean? This is all on a subconscious, evolutionary level, mind you! As a woman, you look for a man who can protect you and your young, so you look for someone who is strong and can wield a spear and provide resources or whatever. I don’t know exactly, but that’s the gist of it.

Either way, sociology or evolutionary psychology, we should be smarter than that. We should like people that we get along with and have things in common with, and attraction should not be such a big deal.

This is not to say that I am not shallow, because there are things that are totally superficial that I totally love. Some examples: I love Latin girls. I love girls with British accents. I love girls that can play musical instruments (a cool musical instrument, that is, like guitar or drums, not a piccolo or something like that). I love girls that go to bookstores. There’s other stuff I flip for, but I’m not going to tell all my secrets.

So the moral of the story is: don’t be shallow. And if you know any hot Latinas that speak with British accents, play drums and frequent cool bookstores, please send them my way. I make a lot of money.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Friends don't let friends text and drive

I want to say something controversial. More controversial than the zebra, and more controversial even than that one time I said that the American version of The Office is overrated.

But what topic could be more inflammatory than a morbidly obese Zebra? What could offend more than just incessant Michael Scott quote-ers?

I hate text messaging, that’s what! Hate. It. There, I said it.

I know a lot of people live for it, but what set this whole thing off was the other day some absentminded texter almost ran me over in the store parking lot, which sucks because they don’t let you into Heaven if you die in a text related car accident. St. Peter says, “You died how? That’s ridiculous, get out of here!”



I can tell you this much: people who text and drive do most definitely go to hell, of that I’m sure. Pretty sure that’s in the Bible, Qur’an and all other religious texts, and I think atheists believe it, too. And although they don’t let you into heaven if you get killed by a texting driver, they will, however, let you into the Guiness Book of World Records for “Most Pointless and Depressing Way to Die.”

I will admit that text messaging has its merits in a few select situations, like short, informational messages. And there’s the optional post-date wrap-up, which is always nice. Sometimes after I go out on a date with a girl she will text me and say, “Hey, I had a really good time.” Like I said: quick and informational.

But for general communicating and socializing, I think text messaging is a waste of life.

For one, text message “conversations” stretch on for hours and into days. They will bleed into weeks, months and years if you let them. Generally it’s not even anything important, just nonsense.

Sometimes I get a random text from somebody I haven’t heard from in a long time. They say they’ve been meaning to catch up, but a few minutes into the “conversation” I realize they just got bored while they were waiting in the doctor’s office to get a mammogram and there weren’t any good magazines. With the miracle of texting you can get messages all day from people who don’t really like you enough to call you, but will send you messages that are 160 letters or less.

Planning something over text messages takes FOREVER. The process of “What do you want to do?” plus the “who/what/when/where” of young adult social planning equals approximately 20 texts minimum. By the time you decide on something and get the logistics worked out whatever was happening has already gotten over.

The most tragic part of the texting epidemic is that some people just can’t stop. Their phone becomes part of their hand and they seem to never be able put them down because they are constantly texting a thousand people all the time. You can’t carry on a normal, in-person human conversation with them using primitive things like voices because they are so intent on whatever nonsense they are tapping out on their phone.

One girl tried to have a serious relationship talk with me over text messages, like, “So where do you think this is going?” This is how I responded: “Seriously?”

I just don’t think it hurts for human beings to talk to each other once in a while, especially if they can manage a face to face talk. We have to hang on to our humanity somehow.

So don’t text and drive. It’s not cool.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's the end of the world as we know it (And I feel fine!)

The other day I was wondering if the failing economy is having a negative effect on dating and I decided that this recession probably spells the end of the human race.

How? Well dating takes money, right? So if people have less money, they are probably dating less. And if they are dating less, it probably means they are reproducing less and that means the human race will die out shortly if we don’t do something fast!

I submit that what we need to do is change how dating is done. As if dating weren’t already awkward enough, somebody had the bright idea to make the man pay for everything. I hate the guy (oh, wait it was probably a girl) who thought up this archaic practice. Or maybe no one thought it up and it just evolved from primitive mating rituals or something. Cavemen always paid for their dates, I’m sure.


To me, the injustice of it all is this: if a date goes bad for a girl, at least she usually walks away with some free stuff. A free meal, a free movie. Something. But if a date goes bad for a guy, he just paid a bunch of money to get his ego bruised.

And think about how much money has been spent when a man has dated a woman for a long time: that is quite an investment! Of course, that doesn’t mean that just because you’ve invested a bunch of money into dating someone and it’s not going anywhere that you should stick it out. Any good investor will tell you that when a stock’s value is dropping you’ve got to sell, sell, sell!

I love the Dutch people because they invented “going Dutch,” which means “paying for your own stupid self.” The ever-reliable Wikipedia tells us that in the Netherlands “it is not unusual for people to pay separately when going out as a group.” Sweet! “However, when dating in a one-on-one situation, the man will most commonly pay for meals and drinks.”


WHAT!? Say it isn’t so! But how did the expression “Going Dutch” come to be? As it turns out, the expression was invented by the English centuries ago to perpetuate negative stereotypes of Dutch people. Stupid white people! They are always discriminating, even against other white people.

Be that as it may, I once went on a misnamed “Dutch” date with a girl (it was her idea, bless her heart) and it was amazing! It was like two dates for the price of one because we got to do twice the stuff you usually do for a date because we had twice the money because she was paying for herself! Hallelujah! And she got to order whatever she wanted on the menu and didn’t have to worry if I could afford it, and I didn’t have to worry if I could afford it either.

Call me cheap if you want, but fair is fair. If you ate it, pay for it. If you watched it, pay for it. But rest assured that, in spite of the economic hardships that surround me, I will still do my duty and date and probably pay for everything, because telling some girl to pay for herself would be risky.

For future dates, I’m thinking of someplace with a dollar menu, and then writing poems on our napkins. That’s frugal and romantic.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm just one of the girls

Let me tell you something horrible: the other night I was working on a project with some of my female friends from the social work department and they invited me to a “Girl’s Night Out.”


Needless to say I was devastated. Crushed! Shattered! Heartsick! I am not a girl! Don’t get me wrong, though, there’s nothing wrong with being a girl. It’s just, well, I’m not.

And I declare, with whomever is reading and the rest of Internet as my witness, that I am one hundred percent heterosexual (even though some say this is a controversial statement to make) and I totally like girls. I would hang out with other men in the social work department, but I am afraid there are none. It’s just me, swimming in a sea of estrogen.

“I’m not a girl!” I said, stupidly and obviously.

“Yeah, we’re not saying you’re a girl, but you’re cool,” they said, a little too soothingly. “You’re different. We like hanging out with you. You’re not like other guys.”

What the heck is that supposed to mean? I was livid. I think I felt like a dog feels when he gets neutered. It was awful. Somewhere, somehow I had lost something very precious to me and I wanted desperately to get it back.


“So what makes me so different?” I asked defensively.

“Well, for one, you don’t jabber about sports all the time.”


OK, that’s true. I haven’t a clue about sports. I certainly am not interested in watching them. I just don’t see the point. And I don’t like to play sports either. Maybe a little racquetball here and there, but that’s it. This is not to say I don’t like to exercise, because I do. I will gladly bike, run or hike, and I try to do so on a regular basis. But when it comes to angry, yelling, cursing dudes playing basketball and throwing elbows, you can count me out.

“So does that make me less of a man?” I asked brokenly.

“Oh, no!” they said. “You’re very manly, it’s just that you listen and you don’t run around continually trying to assert your male dominance.”

Hmmm. That’s good, I think? But still, I don’t want to get turned into a woman by default. Can’t I be a man and a non-jerk at the same time? I’m confused.

I guess there will always be stupid dudes who want to prescribe what a man can and can’t do, and if that prescription includes sports and guns and being super-aggressive all the time then I just won’t fit in. I guess my father got a lot of grief from his father for helping change diapers and for sharing the cleaning and cooking with my mom because that was all “woman’s work.” I think I will follow my father's fine example and just do my own thing.

As silly as it sounds, I do worry a little about losing some masculinity. All through high school and college I worked at Jiffy Lube and fancied myself a “Man’s Man.” I wore a uniform and got grease, oil and gasoline on me every single day. I lifted heavy stuff and got burned and used power tools. The only subjects we talked about were cars and women and that was it.


Now I’m going to be a social worker, and let’s face it: social work as a profession is pretty much all female. How will I persevere? Am I going to turn into a woman and lose all of my masculinity? What will become of me?

Maybe I can take testosterone supplements or something.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Smile for the camera, sucker

It’s not safe to shop these days because everyone is trying to steal you naked. Just so you know. It started with “Do you want fries with that?” and now it’s not even safe to go to the dentist.


I hate "upselling" because pretty much everyone wants to sell you more stuff than you need. It's one thing to offer some services but it's another to present them like they are needs.

Here’s how it all went down: The other day I went to get my regular 6-month cleaning and checkup at the dentist. I’m new in town, so I just looked in the phonebook for dentists and found Dr. So-and-So, the Best and Most Accredited Dentist in the Southwest and Border Region. That all sounded impressive, so I went in and got my teeth cleaned without incident.

Luckily, I worked at Jiffy Lube for a while to support my college habit. The management was always trying to get us to sell more stuff to the customers and having been a predator I am constantly on my guard so I don't become prey.

After the hygienist cleaned my teeth they put me in a room with walls covered in pictures of people with flawless smiles, all handcrafted by Dr. So-and-So, the Best and Most Accredited Dentist in the Southwest and Border Region. Then a hot dental saleswoman came in wearing a snappy conservative pantsuit and high heels who started to tell me about all the great things Dr. So-and-So, the Best and Most Accredited Dentist in the Southwest and Border Region, could do for my smile, all at the best prices in town.


Her pitch went a lot like this: “You don’t have dental insurance? No problem! We have financing options. We also accept Visa and MasterCard. And firstborn children. Do you have a firstborn? They’re good for one whitening. We also deal in organs. Listen to this: we’ll trade you one veneer for one of your healthy kidneys! How about that? You have to admit, that’s a smokin’ deal!”

I finally got her to stop talking long enough to say, “Look, I’m a college student. Just to afford this cleaning I had to empty my checking account, steal all my roommates laundry quarters and ride my bike here to save money on gas. All I wanted was the cleaning. Do I need all this other stuff?”

“Well… define ‘need,’” she said.

I was annoyed. “Ok. ‘Need: a requirement, a necessity, something that one cannot do without.’”

“Use it in a sentence, please,” she asked politely.

“Ok,” I said. “‘I needs to get all this ridiculously expensive dental work done or his teeth will fall out.’”

“Oh, well when you put it like that, no,” she admitted. “You don’t need it. Your mouth and teeth are perfectly healthy. You brush and floss like a person who doesn’t have dental insurance. But we want you to have a beautiful, Hollywood movie star smile.”


Ouch, my poor smile.

So I gathered all my courage and said, “Look, I would love to get bleached and veneered but I almost got run over by a Hummer riding my bike here and there’s a guy at my apartment who can’t wash his clothes now, and it’s not pretty. So I better just take my busted up grill and go home and eat the last of my ramen noodles.”

Some day I will look back and laugh and smile about all this, but not right now.