Category: Culture

Why I won’t date Adi, a girl who travels

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Adi, who probably gets away with a lot of bullshit because she’s kind of hot

The short answer is because I’m married, though I suppose if I wished to date someone on the side a transient would be an ideal candidate. The longer answer is that as evidenced by this post on Medium (which is apparently like the Thought Catalog but possibly worse), people who describe themselves as “travelers” have an insufferably high sense of self-importance. Wanting to see the world is one thing. Considering yourself an entirely superior class of person because you sometimes like to go to places that aren’t the place you’re currently in is another. It’s the same with men who attach far too much self-worth to their beards. Congratulations asshole, your accomplishment was managing to avoid doing for two weeks something that no man enjoys doing anyway.

Let’s look specifically at why Adi doesn’t want you to date her

Don’t date a girl who travels. She is hard to please. The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her. Her soul craves for new experiences and adventures.

You pig. Why would you take a girl to dinner when BASE jumping is always an option? You are SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF HER WITH YOUR BANALITY. Also, what adult does dinner at the mall? I’m thinking Adi hasn’t been on a date since high school.

And she will never pay over $100 for Avicii because she knows that one weekend of clubbing is equivalent to one week somewhere far more exciting.

To be fair, I’d endure a transatlantic flight, food poisoning AND pay $100 if it meant not having to listen to Avicii. Maybe I do need to date a girl who travels.

Chances are, she can’t hold a steady job. Or she’s probably daydreaming about quitting. She doesn’t want to keep working her ass off for someone else’s dream. She has her own and is working towards it. She is a freelancer. She makes money from designing, writing, photography or something that requires creativity and imagination. Don’t waste her time complaining about your boring job.

This paragraph is I think what pisses me off the most about this exercise in verbal autofellatio. Look: I’m a freelancer myself. I’m aware of the freedom it brings. But to suggest that preferring to spend your paycheck on travel means you’re more creative than or somehow “above” regular working stiffs is fucking outright insulting. You know what working people do? They take those steady paychecks and save them so that they don’t spend 15 years of their lives living in squalor. You know what they do after that? They do some traveling of their own, only they do it better than you because they aren’t impetuous 20-something shitbags.

She’s not sure when the next paycheck is coming. But she doesn’t work like a robot all day, she goes out and takes what life has to offer and challenges you to do the same.

Ooh, such challenge. Yes, because some people choose to allocate a little more time to sustaining themselves, they’re WASTING THEIR LIVES. Hey, did you realize I can work somewhat normal hours and still get out there a little myself? The naivete of 20-somethings who think that this is their “only chance” to travel kills me.

Oh wait, Adi is the co-owner of a little surf hostel. Looks like she knows exactly from where that next paycheck is coming.

Her days are ruled by the sun and the moon. When the waves are calling, life stops and she will be oblivious to everything else for a moment.

So, she’s an easily distracted animal, like a cat, maybe?

She cooks well and doesn’t need you to pay for her meals. She is too independent and wont care whether you travel with her or not. She will forget to check in with you when she arrives at her destination. She’s busy living in the present. She talks to strangers. She will meet many interesting, like-minded people from around the world who share her passion and dreams. She will be bored with you.

Travel: The secret key to the success of feminism. My takeaway from this isn’t that you shouldn’t date Adi because she likes to travel. You shouldn’t date Adi because she’s a self-absorbed shithead who would seemingly be an intentionally terrible friend or girlfriend. How does “living in the present” mean that she’ll “forget to check in with you?” It doesn’t. It means the act of being somewhere that isn’t here is more important to her than you, because she is the most important thing in her life. Don’t “share her passion” for staving off adulthood, or do you even go so far as to make the pesky suggestion that she could turn her interests into a means of sustenance were she just a little more structured? I can smell your boringness from here.

And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.

She’s all yours, fellas.

_____________________

I’ve run out of essay to pick at, but God dammit is this girl the worst, most oblivious fucking person alive. At the very least, she’s an archetypal example of the worst, most oblivious fucking people alive. What makes it obnoxious is that it’s all a matter of choice. It’s not like she has a job that requires her to be away from home 3/4 of the year. That would be one thing. “Reasons why it’s hard to date a traveling salesperson” would be an interesting read.

But no, she chose her life, and then decided she needed to write a thinly-veiled missive about how her life choice is superior to anyone else’s. Obviously, we all feel that way to some extent, because we need to justify our choices to ourselves. But there’s a difference between quietly reassuring yourself that you’re doing what’s right for you and dismissing 90% of the population as less than you in a public forum.

Even more disconcerting? The comments/annotations on the article. Apparently, lots of like-minded people think Adi has hit the nail on the head:

“I want to be this girl.”

“Fantastic! You managed to capture the essence behind the lifestyle.”

“Preach! This is the story of my life.”

“I am this girl. But I love sharing my life, love being inspired by what many may call the mundane. I love grounding myself in a modern city and hanging out with worker bees.”

Look at that, people. You banality is downright inspiring to your travel-minded overlords! I look forward to the post ten years from now titled “Don’t date a girl who has nothing to show for her time spent traveling in her 20s.”

Also, don’t worry: Someone did you the favor of writing a genderless version of Adi’s post.

Fellas: This young lady would like to talk to you about your chest hair

85e54b8072d4a24e3d9dffb5ecae7077Gentlemen. Dudes. Do you think an awful lot about your chest hair? Do you feel pressured by the media to conform to a certain standard of male beauty, a standard that begins – and ends – with your chest hair? No? Well, Stephanie Karina, author at The Thought Catalog, has your back. You may recognize The Thought Catalog as the premier thought leadership blog for twee 20-somethings, and for good reason. Behold:

The media grossly pressures you into adopting certain standards of beauty that are unattainable, save for a few lucky souls who have won the genetic lottery. They, the chosen ones, are as naturally hairless at 20, 35, or 47 as the day they first emerged from the womb, bald and ready to embrace the world with chubby arms.

Who among us hasn’t lamented the good fortune of our hairless brethren? It’s as though there aren’t enough shirts in the world to contain our shameful chest scourges.

You need to know that you are more than just your chest hair. I’m going to place full blame on the media for causing some of you to think otherwise.

Puhreach, sister.

Actually, their chests may not be as smooth as we are led to believe — thanks to cunning photographers and art directors who are adept at misrepresenting reality.

I would alert the media, if BIG MEDIA wasn’t already behind the conspiracy to make us all into hairless waifs.

Now, you and I both know that these media sweethearts don’t really represent the average American man. Yet, they cause some of you to remain ashamed of what you ought to consider a gift from nature. 

I’m starting to wonder if this is satire. [reads other posts] Nope, pretty sure it’s not.

For example, one close male friend recently waxed his chest. Bulbous, pus-filled boils began to appear up and down his torso and sides a few days later. He discovered that he was allergic to the wax that the aesthetician had used to remove his chest hair.

One time I shaved my chest in advance of a pool party, and I received a keloid scar resulting from an ingrown hair as my prize. I blame the media.

If you want, flaunt your man fur! It is prime for cold winter months — during which it could serve as an additional layer underneath your clothing. It could buffer you against bitter winds or sloshy snowfalls — which will prove useful as global warming progresses in its current direction. That is, if global warming isn’t a lie made up by Al Gore and hippie liberals in an attempt to plot world domination! 

See, I still don’t know if this is satire, meant to somehow draw a parallel between a non-existent issue and the real body images issues that women are often face. The thing is, that only works if the issue (or proposed solution, or whatever) in the satire isn’t real, or is totally unreasonable. No, manscaping isn’t a “problem,” but it’s a thing people do and I’m sure a certain type of guy might feel some amount of “pressure” to look tan and smooth like a Men’s Health cover model. Instead, she’s (ostensibly) drawing parallels between a minor, fringe issue and a real one. That doesn’t work, and is yet another example of why the The Thought Catalog is an absurd, unmitigated shithole for hack writers who put exactly zero thought into the shit they spew out onto the only site with little enough self awareness to actually publish these articles. The sad thing? This is probably one of the more readable pieces they’ve published in a while.

Do you. Do no one else. 

Thanks, Stephanie. You do the same.

Chris Kluwe might be right, but he’s still a douche

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If you haven’t been following the saga around former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, here’s a quick synopsis: In 2012, Kluwe was approached to speak on behalf of some gay rights activists groups, which he accepted because it’s an issue about which he feels strongly. Deadspin published a letter he wrote to a Maryland delegate chastising him for trying to suppress Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s support for gay athletes. Minnesota management didn’t like that, and tried to keep him quiet while he continued his activism, including tweets about the Pope, etc.

It was all pretty unoffensive stuff, but Kluwe was released in May of 2013. According to another letter he posted on Deadspin, Kluwe can’t be 100% certain it was because of his public activism, but he’s pretty sure it was:

However, it’s clear to me that no matter how much I want to prove I can play, I will no longer punt in the NFL, especially now that I’ve written this account. Whether it’s my age, my minimum veteran salary, my habit of speaking my mind, or (most likely) a combination of all three, my time as a football player is done. Punters are always replaceable, at least in the minds of those in charge, and I realize that in advocating noisily for social change I only made it easier for them to justify not having me around. So it goes.

Here’s my thing: I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s right, and it’s all pretty fucked up if he is. On a certain level, everyone is entitled to their beliefs, and they ought to have the opportunity to voice them. On the other hand, I’m annoyed that Chris Kluwe, who himself presents several good reasons why he’s not worth hiring, takes to a wildly popular sports blog to complain about getting axed because he does so under the blanket of championing civil rights.

What Kluwe doesn’t understand is that it’s impossible to entirely divorce himself from his profession in the eyes of the public. His whole stance was “these statements were my own, not the team’s, so they shouldn’t have cared.” It doesn’t work that way. Ask anyone who’s been fired for tweeting things with which their employer didn’t want to be associated – sticking “all opinions are my own” in your twitter bio doesn’t cut it. In Kluwe’s case, it’s even more pronounced because being employed by an NFL team is the only reason his words carry weight and influence. Him saying that he supports gay rights as an individual will always be reported as “Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe says he supports gay rights.” In fact, it wouldn’t be reported otherwise.

To me, It’s not an issue of whether or not the Vikings agree with him; it’s an issue of him pulling a football team into a discussion they don’t have to be a part of by virtue of opening his mouth. Yes, you can argue (and I would agree) that a football team, with their unique ability to reach millions of impressionable fans every Sunday, could use that influence to support Kluwe’s message. Hell, given that it’s a pretty basic issue of human rights, maybe they even should do that. Could, and should, but don’t have to.

I realize that a failure to act is almost as bad as acting negatively, but if we don’t want to treat corporations like people, we shouldn’t hold them to the same standards of activism as people, either. I don’t want politics mixed with my sports, and while I agree with Kluwe and commend his courage to speak out, having a more progressive world view than some people in the NFL isn’t exactly a major accomplishment. The Vikings didn’t want to get involved on a national scale, but he gave them no choice. If that’s really why they let him go, again, that’s fucked up, but I don’t entirely blame them.

Enough with the Restaurant Renovation Shows, Already

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Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Restaurant Stakeout. Bar Rescue. Restaurant: Impossible. Odds are you’ve seen at least one of those shows. I’ve watched them all, and I still do, to an extent. It’s good television. If somehow you’ve managed to never see one of these shows, the premise is that a business owner (either bar or restaurant, depending on the show) is on the verge of losing everything, and is reduced to calling in an expert for help. The “expert” comes in, yells at everyone, makes an absurd amount of changes in a needlessly short amount of time and finally everything works out in the end. The business reports higher sales and staves off bankruptcy. Like I said, it can be compelling television, because everyone loves a predictable story arc. Last night I watched a new show on the Food Network called On the Rocks (get it!?), featuring yet another British “expert” telling business owners how stupid they are. I think, with this final straw laid upon the camel’s back, we should all agree to let the genre die.

At least in my young mind, this entire genre was made possible by Simon Cowell during his American Idol stint. That is, I can’t recall a time before that when someone actually criticized people on national television before an audience of millions. Whether or not Cowell actually pioneered it, he definitely created the template: Have an accent, be an expert, and deliver (sometimes unnecessarily) brutal criticism under the guise of “wanting to help.” That character was confined to competition-type shows for a while, but it didn’t take long to figure out that people love watching other, normal people get belittled on television. Now, we have angry men yelling at restaurant owners. We have reached our saturation point.

My problem isn’t really that I doubt the expertise of the stars of these shows. Everyone knows that Gordon Ramsay is both a talented chef and successful restauranteur. I don’t doubt that John Taffer hasn’t owned and operated a bunch of profitable bars. I don’t know much about Robert Irvine, but he’s the most irritating of the bunch. Instead, my problem is that making good television and actually helping a business are two diametrically opposed goals, no matt how hard you try to mesh them. I used to work as a consultant, and I can assure you that at no point were we allowed to call our clients or their staff “fucking idiots,” even if the work was pro bono, as it is in the case of these shows. Producers have to create story arcs complete with underdogs, heroes, and antagonists, none of which are necessary (or, you know, beneficial) for improving a business’ bottom line.

To see what I mean, watch an episode of the BBC version of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. He goes in, spends most of his time in the kitchen (he’s a chef by trade after all), helps the owner on the business end, and uses his fame to help with the marketing. There are no heroes or villains, just a kind of boring “behind the scenes” type look at how a restaurant ticks. Note that he does all of this relatively quietly. The US version, on the other hand, is a circus. He yells and curses at the top of his lungs. There’s dramatic music. Instead of just going in and offering simple advice, he completely tears down the restaurant, its menu, and the employees. Bar Rescue does it. Restaurant: Impossible does it. Everything is re-built in a manner of days, as though three days and a facelift is enough to change the fundamental issues that plagued management in the first place (it’s not, if you search around online you’ll see that nearly every place that’s been “saved” has ended up closing anyway). The result is a program that’s, while certainly entertaining, exhausting. Exhausting to watch. Exhausting to invest in, especially in 2013 when you can pull up a bar on Yelp!, see that it already closed, and know that the episode you’re watching was for naught.

Once the “reality” aspect of the show is dead, is there really any point to them anymore? They’re all the same, and as producers fine-tune what does and does not get ratings, they’ll only become more scripted and less realistic. More than anything, they’ve become avenues for the “experts” to promote their personal brands. I love Bar Rescue, but I’m tired of hearing John Taffer have the audacity to blame a bar’s failure on menu design, the secrets to which, of course, only he knows. Restaurant: Impossible has nice pacing, but enough with Robert Irvine using it as a platform for his “my cooking is better than your cooking; follow my instructions to the letter or you’ll fail” bullshit. These shows had their moment in the spotlight, but it’s time to let them die a dignified death (if Car Lot Rescue didn’t already ruin the chances of that).

Recent Grads, Beware of “Marketing” Companies

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Though I’m by no means a recent college grad, like many of them I find myself nosing around for job opportunities so I can do things like pay my rent, feed myself, and drink with reckless abandon. Finding a job can be one of the hardest things in the world, but sometimes you think you’ve hit the jackpot – you apply for a position, and within days the company can’t seem to get ahold of you fast enough. They, despite having a name along the lines of “XYZ Business Consultants,” inform you that they’re a “marketing company.” Well shit, how cool is that?!? Everyone wants to work in “marketing,” right? Well, I’m here to tell you to watch out for these companies, because nine times out of ten, they are bullshit.

What they usually end up being are MLMs, or Multi Level Marketing companies. That’s just a fancy name for a pyramid scheme. This is how they work: As an employee, you go door to door, six days per week, selling something. It could be coupons, sports tickets, or services for a “known” company. You work strictly on commission (usually about $10 per sale), but your main focus is on advancement. You do this by doing well enough to warrant them sticking new recruits underneath you. The company grows not through the sales you make, but by the number of people you’re able to add to the base of your “pyramid” – that’s what makes it a MLM.

The interviews go something like this: You go to the office, and the “manager” speaks to you for around 15 minutes about the company, overhyping what they do and downplaying the real nature of the business (note that the script they follow makes them come across as very candid). If they like you (they will), they send you to the second “interview,” which is just you going out into the field with a salesperson. At any point, if either you decide you’re not interested or they determine you “don’t have what it takes” (there’s a lot of ambition/work ethic shaming that goes on), they will leave your ass in the middle of nowhere. I’ve seen this happen myself, when I was dumb enough to think these were legit opportunities. When the other “candidate” with me decided he was done, the salesperson just pulled over and left him somewhere in VA Beach. If you make it through the “interview,” you go back to the office around 8pm, where they’ll offer you the “job.” I declined, because I don’t entirely hate myself.

The “marketing” buzzword is how they draw young people in, so it’s important to know how that whole part of a business works. There’s advertising, which is what you see in print, the internet and on television. It’s collateral designed to compel you to take action and drive you into the arms of a salesperson. Usually, this is contracted out to large agencies that are very clear about being creative advertising firms. Then there’s sales, which is pretty straightforward. Whether inbound or outbound, the goal of sales is to get the customer to agree to a purchase. Finally, there’s marketing. Marketing can do a couple of things. One aspect is the creation of internal collateral. This can be anything from website or catalog copy, or brochures used by the salespeople. It’s their job, once a potential customer is compelled by an ad, to provide more information and act as the final push to get them into a sales situation.

The other function of marketing is for metrics-based sales planning. They’ll take sales results, online data, focus groups, and various other tests to help determine how and to whom the company should be positioning their product. This is the primary function of external “marketing” firms. They either already have data that would otherwise be costly to obtain through primary research for a company or, in the case of smaller firms, they have the capabilities to collect this data that the company simply does not. This is why a lot of recent grads, after joining a legitimate marketing firm, get jaded with the practice. It’s not glamorous and creative like they hoped. Instead, it’s pouring over spreadsheets to see which people, of which age group, in which geographic area purchased a given product or service.

The MLMs have gotten slick with their own marketing, and can appear as legitimate businesses. The one that contacted me recently had a nice looking web page where they even featured their management team, had a well-written (but vague) mission statement, and included links to their Facebook and twitter pages. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you’re being courted by a MLM, but here are some giveaways:

  • They call themselves a “marketing” company, but their website makes little to no mention of their process/strategy. Even more telling, they don’t tout any kind of metrics-based approach. Remember, that’s the primary function of external marketers.
  • They talk about being a “sports,” “entertainment” or “business” marketing firm. MLMs want to attract type-A, competitive people (particularly men), and know that these are desirable fields for those types. Be especially wary if they say something like “You’ll do well here if you’re a former athlete.” In the sports and entertainment industries, the marketing is typically done in-house. Don’t think for a minute that it could ever be so easy to be considered for a marketing position with the Washington Nationals.
  • Their entry level position is called something like a “Junior Executive.” The people who glom onto MLMs tend to have a very inflated sense of self, while at the same time are too dumb to realize that what they’re doing is a scam. What kind of person could call themselves a “junior executive” while selling crap door to door with a straight face? That’s right, a self-important, go-getting moron.
  • They’re only hiring for entry level positions. This isn’t entirely unheard of, but realistically no respectable company has only ONE type of opening, and when they do they’ll usually come out and say that it’s entry-level sales (thereby disqualifying them as a marketing firm). When you see that, it’s a good indication that the only way to advance is by climbing the pyramid from within.
  • The management team seems young. At the place that contacted me, the “president” of the company couldn’t have been more than 25, and he only started there (at the bottom, of course) in 2010. His LinkedIn profile refers to the firm as a being in the “Marketing and Advertising industry,” while the “CEO” (only 27 himself) lists it as “Management Consulting.” In no way are two under-30 dipshits from middling schools equipped to run legitimate marketing firms.
  • They place heavy emphasis on “entrepreneurial spirit,” “unlimited income,” “a team environment” and “passion for advancement.” The first two are just codewords for “this job pays by commission only.” No reputable company would take a fresh college grad and place him in a commision-only sales position, because sales is a nuanced field that takes time to learn. The last two refers to the cult-like atmosphere MLMs cultivate. They do chants in order to get “psyched up” every morning. It’s a tactic used to promote group-think and hide the fact that you’re working six days per week for little pay for a sham company.
  • There are no real qualifications for getting hired. Real marketing firms look for people with genuine quantitative abilities. MLMs make their requirements, if they have any, intentionally vague and universal. They need to cast a wide net in order to find the few who will drink the kool aid.
  • Rather than emailing you to set up a phone interview, they call right away, or email and ask you to call them. The people who “advance” within the pyramid are by default the slickest talkers, so their odds of recruiting people increase when they can speak to you one on one, when you don’t have much of a chance to process what’s being said.

I’m sure there are more indicators, but these are the ones I’ve noticed. The bottom line is, use your common sense. If it seems too good to be true, and they’re a little too eager to talk to you, it’s probably a scam.

How To: Never Get Laid

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Generally, I love and encourage commenters, both good and bad. As a writer, it keeps you honest. Sometimes they offer valuable, critical input. Other times, they don’t. For example, a comment from my latest article about advice:

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He caught me red-handed. Here I was, thinking I was positing helpful advice acquired through years of experience, when all I was really doing was tossing another log onto feminism’s testicle consuming fire.

Before I even start the advice column thing, here’s some to get you started: talking shit about feminism will never, EVER get you laid. Not once, not ever. A woman doesn’t have to be a bra-burning, armpit combing feminazi for her to be turned off by your disdain for the movement that affords her just about all of the political and social freedoms she enjoys today. Yes, there are likely some “feminists” out there who would like to see men subjugated the way women once were, but those aren’t most feminists, and not even “real” feminists. Modern feminism is, above all, about equality. Things like not being talked down to in the workplace, or not having politicians tell them what to do with their bodies. Equality is not a zero-sum game. Men do not have to give up anything to afford the kind equality most women seek.

I don’t even consider myself a feminist, but most of the things they ask for just seem like common sense to me. If you, as a man, can’t see how AT THE VERY LEAST not taking offense to that benefits you as someone who wants to meet women and maybe touch their lady parts, then you’re blind.

No one’s saying you have to agree with my (or anyone else’s advice). Just don’t be a jerk about it.

AskMen is Making me an Advice Columnist. Please Solicit my Advice.

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So, AskMen decided they’re going to have a go of making my regular weekly column into an advice column, and I’m stoked. I’ve been providing advice in various corners of the internet for a couple of years now, so it will be nice to do it on a larger platform like AskMen. In order to introduce the idea, this week I shared a few things I’ve learned from giving dating advice (mostly women). Namely, behaviors that guys think give them an advantage, but actually turn girls off. Via AskMen:

The Behavior: Reluctance/refusal to DTR (define the relationship)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, amirite? You’re spending a lot of time together, you’re obviously exclusive, so what’s the problem? Even without the label, it should be obvious to her that she’s your girlfriend. I mean, why else would this still be going on if she wasn’t?

Why it drives girls nuts:
For all the progression we’ve seen in modern society, you’re still expected to be the one to make this overture. Sorry. In your mind, you’re thinking something similar to the above paragraph. In her’s, she’s thinking something more like, “OK if we’re so invested in one another, why wouldn’t he call me his girlfriend? If he’s comfortable enough to leave the bathroom door open while he poops, why is that so hard?” And, face it, fellas, she’s got a point. The funny part is that she essentially agrees with you that the label itself isn’t necessarily important. But, if you’re unwilling to do something simple and apply a meaningless label, she’s going to question whether or not you intend to apply further, more meaningful labels down the road. Would you want to live with that kind of uncertainty?

How to fix it:
There’s no denying that having a DTR conversation is up there with talking to your parents about sex in terms of discomfort. In fact, proposing marriage was the easiest DTR talk I’ve ever had, because at least the script is simple. That’s why it doesn’t have to be a drawn-out affair. When my wife and I were dating, I defined the relationship simply by referring to myself as her boyfriend in passing. I didn’t even really think about it, but it stuck. NInety-nine percent of the time, actions speak louder than words in relationships, but this is one case in which they matter, no matter how trivial they may seem. Have a drink or two and lay it out there for her. If by this point she hasn’t rejected you as a human being, she’s unlikely to reject the label.

So yeah, that’s what I’m doing now. Hopefully, it will be in the standard “Dear Abby” question and response format. I think it’ll be good for both the site and the readers, because one thing that AskMen lacks is any level of engagement and interaction with their consumers. Instead of reading fake questions answered by “Doc Love,” now you can send them in and see your real question answered by a real person (me).

Of course, that can’t happen if we don’t get a steady stream of questions. Send your questions to editorial@askmen.com, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Also, by no means does the question have to be about dating or sex. In fact, I’d prefer if at least some of them weren’t. Ask me about etiquette. Ask me about what to wear to the office. Ask me something hypothetical. Ask me a “would you rather…” type question that makes me cringe. Literally, ask me anything.

The 10 Best Beer Gimmicks

The big beer manufacturers (particularly MillerCoors) are always looking for new and exciting ways to attract new customers. One easy way to do that without fundamentally changing your product is to offer the same bland beer in “innovative” packaging. The following are what I consider the 10 best, ranked in order from shittiest to most effective.

10 – The Miller Lite Vortex Bottle

vortex-bottle1Oh man, was this thing ever a turd. I distinctly remember ordering one at a bar in Stamford, CT where I almost exclusively drank draught PBRs (they were cheap) because I wanted to see what it did. In a word: nothing. Not a damn thing. If you’re not familiar, it was an otherwise normal glass bottle with what looked like “rifling” inside the neck. And it was supposed to…. hell if I know. I guess maybe the beer was supposed to spin like a football as it came out, but no one bothered to think a) why anyone would want that, and b) the limits of fluid dynamics that make said action impossible. It didn’t cost any more than a regular bottle, but man what a bait and switch.

9 – The Coors Light Frost Brewed Liner

155086898_bca56a1e64_m These were supposed to “lock in the refreshing frost brewed rocky mountain taste.” What they really did was turn the tab, inside, and top lip of the can blue. When I look into my beer can, there are several things I don’t want to see. Bugs and ashes are chief among them, but an eerie blue tint is up there. Hint – you don’t need a special liner to “lock in” the taste of prospector piss.

 

8 – Anheuser Busch Aluminum Bottles

budlightalumI get the motivation behind these. Glass is not only expensive, but dangerous as well. It’s harder to dispose of. It’s translucence can “taint” the beer (which kind of tastes like taint anyway). The problem is that these combined the worst parts of a bottle and a can. Like bottles, they were difficult to open (I think most were pop tops), and they were a real motherfucker to crush when you wanted to trash them. Like a can, their aluminum construction meant they cooled down quicker, but their narrow mouth and 16 oz capacity meant they warmed up before you could finish them. Plus, they were really tall and skinny, so no normal coozy fit around them. If there’s any theme here, it’s to not fuck with the great American longneck.

7 – The Coors Vented Widemouth Can

ventBig points here for trying to address a real need and coming up with a solution that could theoretically   work. Why yes, I would love to consume my cheap American lager in a faster and smoother fashion!  Unfortunately, it’s a poorly executed idea. The wider mouth is fine, but everyone knows those vents are just a token. Look at the opening as close to eye level as possible, and you see that the vents aren’t really vents at all. Still, they get consideration for daring to cut a wider hole in the top of the can.

 

6 – The Coors Light Cooler Pack

Coors18CoolerPackThis was back when Coors was trying to push their plastic bottles on us, which were an atrocity in their own right. Those fuckers were squishy and slippery. More interesting, though, was the way they packaged them. It was a normal beer box, but the inside was lined with a blue plastic bag so that you could ice them down right in the box. Again, a great concept. Why lug a cooler to the beach/tailgate/public hanging when you could just pick up a case of refreshing Frost Brewed Coors Light and a bag of ice? If you ever owned one of these, you know why they sucked. They leaked, almost immediately. Also, it’s a testament to the shittiness plastic bottles that they were forced to design a package that required extra input in order to keep them cool from the store to the destination.

5 – Current Generation Aluminum Bottles

Lite Alum PintI know MillerCoors is sold this way (particularly at sporting events), and I think Anheuser might have come around as well. Unlike the old Anheuser bottles, these offer 16 oz of refreshing hooch in a more reasonable package. The bottle is wide enough to fit in a coozy. The wider mouth means you can drink it before it gets too warm. The replaceable top is great for keeping out… I don’t know, bees or whatever. It’s no one’s first choice, but it’s still more convenient than walking around with, say, a pint of beer in a Solo cup.

 

4 – The Bud Light Write On Label

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Sara wants a trip to the Bone Zone Cafe, where funnily enough they serve Miller.

These were not only kind of fun, but hold the distinction of being a gimmick that didn’t even bother pretending that it somehow enhanced the beer or the drinking experience. They were useful, for example, for writing your name on your bottle if you were too much of a pussy to finish it before setting it down in a crowd. It was also really handy for making sure you were roofie-ing the right person (I kid, I kid). It was also fun at a bar to buy one, scratch something like “I wanna cover your tits in safflower oil,” send it to a girl, and then have the bartender claim your unsuspecting buddy was the one making the overture. Good times.

3 – The Coors Light “Cold Activated” Bottles and Cans

CoorsLite_ColdActivated_2StageCoors has a knack for coming up with gimmicks that seem to come from a place of good intentions. I mean, why not a visual indicator of whether or not your beer is “cold as the rockies?” The problem is that the mountains are a good indicator of the temperature of the package, but not necessarily the beer within. Aluminum is a good conductor of heat, so if the mountains on a can indicate coldness, there’s a good chance the beer isn’t far behind. But bottles? Not so much. Glass is an insulator, so all the blue mountains mean is that the label is cold. Besides, if you’re too stupid to pick up a beer and determine if it’s adequately chilled, you don’t deserve one anyway. On top of that, now they have stripes for “cold” and “super cold.” That’s just insulting. Still, if it made it into a Little Big Town song, it has to count for something.

2 – The Heineken Textured Can

heineken-can I just found out about these, and I like them. They’re simple. They don’t claim to fuss with the flavor of the beer, so it comes out tasting as skunky as you’d expect. It’s your basic can, only with some raised knurling around the outside. It’s definitely easier to hold on to, and I would assume acts as an extra temperature barrier between your skin and the can, however small. It’s one of those things you pick up and say “why isn’t everyone doing this?”

 

– The Miller Lite Punch Top Can

Punch CanFinally, Milwaukee’s storied brewing company got one right, and boy did they ever. It’s a basic can with no bells or whistles, save for the tiny little notch on the top that beckons you to penetrate it with a key or something similar. The idea is to improve airflow into the can as beer is pouring out, and unlike the Coors vents, it works. You can absolutely destroy these things. That’s a good thing, because they’re found on the 16 and even 22 oz cans, where quick drinking is imperative. If you’re, say, pregaming a baseball game or some other event where bonging and shotgunning are “frowned upon,” these are the way to go. Even if you’re a dainty little girl (or in a place where conspicuous public drinking is prohibited), when poured into a cup the extra opening cuts down on foam big time.

I’m sure I missed some, so let me know. Others, like mini kegs, I intentionally left out. In the mean time, we’ll have to wait for the next gimmick to come along, or for the big boys to make beers that are slightly less shitty.

A Quasi-Academic Look at #Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”

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Since the song came out, Robin #Thicke has defended its questionable content by saying that the whole point of it is to make fun of the kind of guys who act/think this way. At first, I kind of figured it was a response meant to deflect the question and/or screw with people. But then I started thinking “is there a way this could actually be true?” Turns out, there is, or at least I think there is, and it’s simple: Imagine the falsetto parts of the verses as the “smooth” things this would-be lady killer wants to say to his intended, and the full-voice parts are what actually comes out.

Let’s set the scene. It’s Saturday night, and our protagonist is in “da club,” as they say, where he spied a lady he’d like to talk to. The problem: what the hell does he say to her? Pickup lines are old news, and with the loud music a simple “hey what’s up” isn’t going to lead to much. He needs something a little more… open ended.

If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say
If you can’t read from the same page

“I like that. It’s poetic. Metaphorical, even. What is it I’m trying to say? From what page am I reading? Bitches love this artsy stuff. I bet she’ll respond with something flirty. Ok, let’s do this. Let’s blow her mind.”

MAYBE I’M GOING DEF,
MAYBE I’M GOING BLIND
MAYBE I’M OUT OF MY MIND

“Shit. That’s not what I meant to say at all. I’m not nearly drunk enough. Or too drunk, I can’t tell. Yeah, that’s probably not the best thing to say to a girl when you first meet her. ‘Hi, I’m only approaching you because I’m blind, can’t hear your voice, and am crazy.’ Good job. Oh well, next one.”

Our Protagonist moves around the bar until he finds another potential candidate. “She’s hot, but not, like, THAT hot,” he thinks to himself. Perfect. This time, maybe something a little more direct is in order. Nothing too obvious, but maybe not trying to be so abstract will keep him from tongue tying himself.

What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for

“This is PERFECT. Heavy on the innuendo, but nothing inappropriate. Solid gold brother, solid gold.”

YOU THE HOTTEST BITCH IN THIS PLACE

“SHIT. Why did I say that? There goes all the innuendo. That wasn’t subtle. That was the opposite of subtle. Wait… maybe she didn’t hear me? She’s into this. We’re dancing! Awesome!”

I feel so lucky
You wanna hug me
What rhymes with hug me?

“I really hope I didn’t say that out loud. Shit, I did. Haha, she said ‘rub me.’ That doesn’t even rhyme, really. I think I’ve met my dream girl. Uh oh, we’re really grinding now. I wish I had some real gangster-type shit to say to her. That would be tits.”

One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it’s almost unbearable
Then, honey you’re not there when I’m
With my foresight bitch you pay me by
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I just watch and wait for you to salute
But you didn’t pick
Not many women can refuse this pimpin’
I’m a nice guy, but don’t get it if you get with me

“Damn, what a sick rhyme. I’ve been working on that one for weeks. My bros say my flow’s improved A LOT. Time to field test it, as they say.”

Shake the vibe, get down, get up
DO YOU LIKE IT HURT, LIKE IT HURT?
WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE WORK?

“Christ, who am I, James Brown? Whatever, she liked the enthusiasm. I think she’s, like, really drunk. Or maybe I’m just that good. Yeah, I bet that’s it.”

As the night progresses, the duo decide on taking the party to his place for some post-club revelry, and maybe, if our protagonist is lucky, some sex (or at least under-the-shirt-but-over-the-bra boob touching.

“Whew, I still have some weed left. God, this stuff is shit. It’s like the stems grew their own stems and that’s what I’m left with. Hopefully she won’t notice if I play up the stickiness.”

Baby can you breathe? I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me, Dakota to Decatur

“Perfect. I’ve never been to either of the Dakotas, and I don’t even know where Decatur is. But Jamaica’s a place with good weed, right? Saying I take it with me from Dakota to Decatur (which I’m pretty sure is in, like, Turkey or something) makes me sound like a world traveler who’s badass enough to not worry about the implications of transporting drugs across international boundaries. Ok, time to… Wh- What? She just took it and smoked it? No explanation needed? And now she wants me to go get a condom? THIS IS THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE!”

Later, as he’s in the bathroom searching for is long-expired box of condoms, he gives himself a pep talk…

No more pretending
Cause now you winning
Here’s our beginning

Yes, champ. Winning indeed.

____

From that perspective, the song’s explanation makes sense. These guys who think they’re master pickup artists don’t realize that their occasional success is usually just due to their finding a girl who was out to have fun and get laid herself. Not convinced? What would that same kind of douchebag say to himself if he saw a girl he wanted dancing with another man? Would it be something like… this?

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
You don’t need no papers
That man is not your maker

Yes, the guy (who is not you) with whom the lady is dancing is clearly holding her under some kind of spell against her will. If only you were there to “save” her, big guy.

What about before these guys go out for the night in their roving bro-packs? What kinds of things might they say to themselves in order to “hype themselves up?” You’d want to say something encouraging and affirmational, right? Something like…

And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

I rest my case. Never doubt Robin #Thicke

Last Week’s Article on AskMen: Hitting Your Late 20’s

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I wrote this last week, but it’s still super popular so I figured I’d share it here with the subset of people who follow my blog but don’t read AskMen, which I assume is around 2 people. I think people enjoy reading things they can relate to, and most of AskMen’s readers are either approaching their late 20’s themselves, or passed them by not so long ago. A snippet:

It’s great if your first real, adult relationship results in a lasting marriage, but if not? Welcome to your first real, adult breakup and everything that comes with that. Those pitfalls are also, I think, what makes the 20s so significant. You’ve gone from an age in which you had a lot of support to an age in which not only does life get harder, but you’re expected to handle it much more on your own. If you can limp across the finish line into your 30s, chances are you’re much better off than when you started. Your teens might be when you’re ushered into adulthood, but your 20s are when you lay the groundwork for the man you’ll eventually become.

Read the rest at AskMen.