Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shit My Dad Says

An otherwise unnamed author, "Justin," keeps a rolling log of the ungentlemanly things that fly out of the face of his bigoted, racist dad's mouth. If you don't know about shitmydadsays, please consider going to this Twitter log and laughing your ass off.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Myths Men Tell Themselves About Women

Myth no. 1.
She likes me.

Women want you to like them. It doesn't mean they like you. A woman wants you to be attracted to her regardless of her feelings for you and if you somehow don't already know this, or believe this only goes for some women, I'm sorry to take the piss out of your protective blanket. It's true. Knowing a guy is into you is like losing a couple pounds sitting on your rear end doing nothing. It just feels great. So when you first meet her, a woman will treat you exactly the same regardless of your status with her. "I've never seen anything so hot in my life" will look and feel to you exactly the same as "Uh-oh, here comes so-and-so." You cannot tell. Don't tell yourself you can.

What is your game plan? Assume the worst. The first thing you should do with a woman, especially one you like, is give up on her immediately. Tell yourself it will never work out. This will do two things for you.

First, it will make you more yourself. If you assume you'll never be more than friends, you'll be relaxed. You'll be funnier, you'll be hotter. Your hands won't shake and you won't smile bat sh*t crazy love smiles.

Second, it will confuse her. You project "Hey, I just wanna be your friend," she reads "I'm not attracted to you." She will wonder why. She will wonder what she can do to make herself attractive to you. Your not being attracted to her gives you social capital. You must be too good for her. If you are too good for her, she will want you. Yes, we all have jobs now, and yes, we're all assertive and whatnot. Women want men to be dominant. Read into that if you have to. Even if she's still not immediately into you at this point, at least she'll respect you and that's a giant leap beyond where you were before.

Myth no. 2.
If I don't contact her she won't know I'm into her.

We know, dude. You're transparent. You've already blown it. You're into her. Now you have to pretend you're just a flirt. The worst thing you can do is to text her. You know this already, but I'll say it anyway. Make. Her. Wait. Do not contact her. Do not. If she contacts you, fine. Write back to her tomorrow. Don't wait a week, write her tomorrow but do not write her back within 15 seconds. Why? You need to show her that you barely have time for her. Become very busy. You are popular. You are in demand. You don't need her to complete your circle. You have millions of friends making demands on your time. She and her friends are getting drinks at Jimmy's on Friday? Oh, rats, you'd love to come but you have plans. Don't be specific. Be vague. Vague is hot. Maybe your mom is in town. Make it seem mysterious. (What could he possibly be doing? Wouldn't she like to know?!)

And, this is just icing on the cake, but feel free to make it seem like you're in a slightly dodgy relationship with another woman. Don't pretend to be taken. Just possibly unavailable. Maybe she's in Berlin. This will pique her curiosity. Even if she's totally not into you, if she can't tell if you're in a relationship or not, this raise your caché.

WARNING: If you know that people occasionally mistake you for being into guys, you cannot deploy the above strategy (giving off that you might be with someone) without dropping a line about "some ex-girlfriend." Make it quick, and move on. But if you have that metro thing going on, and you're dodgy about your private life, she may think you're into men. WRONG. Don't make this mistake. Women don't wanna accidentally fall for a gay guy.

Myth no. 3
If I become friends with her When Harry Met Sally will happen to me.

This is dangerous thinking. In fact, becoming friends with the woman you want in your bed is the worst idea you have ever had. If she likes you she does not want to be your friend. She wants to be in your bed. If a woman becomes your friend, she has already decided there is no relationship. A woman who becomes your friend is your friend because she didn't want to be your girlfriend.

Your only hope at this point is to lose ten pounds, get a tan and then disappear for weeks at a time without telling her why.

Myth no. 4
That was a meaningful smile.

You are not looking for smiles. Smiles are not for you. You are in failure-infested waters. You need proof. Proof does not include 1. laughing at your jokes, 2. emailing you or texting you a lot, even incessantly (friends do this), 3. wanting to hang out with you one on one. Sorry. You are still in friend zone, my friend.

Tokens of something-more:

1. She allowed herself to get wicked drunk in your presence.
This means her guard is down. Her guard might also be down because she regards you as a terrific friend, which would suck, so be careful.

2. She looks for excuses to be physically close to you.
You know what I mean. She doesn't move her shoulder away when you're close to her at the movie, and she does weird stuff like touching your hair or your face. You can also feel free to make slightly questionable moves at this point and see how she responds. Briefly put your hand on her lower back to indicate she should walk in front of you. Easy, because it also passes for gentility.

3. She looks extra awesome when you hang out.
Again, this could just be her wanting you to be attracted to her, so you're not in the clear but it's still a good sign.

4. Her friends like you.
Good for you. This means she talks about you. Her mom accidentally spills that you've been mentioned? What's UP! Home run! On the other hand, if you've been hanging out a month and her friends have no idea what your name is, go hang out with your skateboard. She's not into you.

Hope this helps. Now get out there and get hot and unavailable.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Philosopher with an Idea for a T-Shirt

I respectfully submit:

"eliminate the fascism in our heads"

-David W. Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, p. 45.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

For the Love of God

A couple days ago, I biked past a car parked on 55th street. The exterior and interior were painted and polished in bright purple & neon green. It looked like the Impala version of my little brother's Ghost Buster van. The entire car was purple and green. Next to the Impala was an older woman with an earnest expression. She had on a red track suit, red socks and red patent leather shoes, red sunglasses, and a massive wide-brimmed red straw hat.

You can't make this sh*t up.

I don't love Hyde Park. But it is a very special place. Among other things, it's full of under-appreciated and truly frightening people. In the last few days, what with it being the 47th 95-degree day in a row, everyone's just starting to lose it. I've had a few encounters with people who deserve some kind of a badge. Or at least they should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for most uninterpretable behavior.

You just can't make this sh*t up. I wish I had photos.

I was reading at the Point. It was hot. Where I was sitting there's a cluster of slippery rocks that people use to get in and out of the water. At this particular moment, a large black man was falling out of the water. He very near fell into my lap. I looked up. If the point of a wet t-shirt contest is that there's something sexy and fun about seeing sleek and fit people nearly naked, the point of a wet undies contest when you're a big black dude is just beyond me. I saw everything and it wasn't fun, and it definitely wasn't sexy. This is lake water we're talking about. I felt bad for him. The really important part of the story, however, is that after climbing out of the water, this dude climbs to the highest point on this big pile of rocks, and stands up there a good twenty minutes like a Calvin Klein ad on backwards day.

Story no. 2 also involves the Point, further north.

I was biking on the bike path. The path is a treacherous minefield of lost toddlers, disoriented bathers and bikers who want to kill you. I want to kill everyone on the bike path. Apart from biking, you might also see people on, around and near the bike path doing things like domestic brawling, torturing injured seagulls and sitting motionless on their big fat butts in the water. Toward the end of my ride, I approached a man on my right who was running somewhat crazily back and forth down the path. His gawkiness - his arms appeared too long and his legs too short - I assumed had something to do with epilepsy. Like everyone else within a 4-meter radius of this man, I slowed down. And then I realized that the length of the arms was due to there being shoes on the ends of the arms (he was holding onto them) and the gawkiness was due to the fact that he was running barefoot on 95 degree pavement.

I'm really sorry I don't have pictures of this. I don't know what's wrong with me. The last story also involves underwear but it involves the Regenstein library as well. The Regenstein is the main library on campus at the University of Chicago and it contains some curious types. There are curious types at the University of Chicago, period, but there are a few unique individuals who seem to feel most at home in the Reg. I could tell you stories about Reg patrons. There are the Chinese Gropers, the Vet, Apnea Man ... stories about exceptional stupidity, exceptional hubris, and a chronic sleep disorder. There are also the poor individuals who give the impression that the Regenstein's nightly closure is the worst part of their day. What I observed on Thursday has to do I'm guessing either with record-defeating obliviousness or possibly a brain lesion. The story begins and ends on the fourth floor of the Reg. The north side, for those of you to whom this means something. I'm sitting alone. Near me are two men, each of whom is sitting at his own table. One is around 50, one about 30. In walks a woman, about my age. She looks normal. She's not wearing all red, for instance.

Oh: one quick side note. In order to fully appreciate this story, it's necessary that you know that the Reg in the wintertime is frigid. It is the coldest place you can go in Chicago that's not outside. In the summer, it's worse. It's arctic. It's so cold that I have an anorak in my locker at the library.

So in walks this woman, and she's carrying a pair of tights in addition to other normal study materials. Obviously, she's planning on being cold so she's brought some gear. She puts her stuff down at a table and kicks off her flip-flops. And then, right in the middle of the library, in plain view of one thirty-year-old woman and two semi-horrified, semi-riveted men, she proceeds, slowly, perversely, to hike up her tights, inch by inch, over her ankles, over her knees, up her thighs. And then, tossing her skirt up over her shoulder (I am not making this up!), she works the tights up and over a pair of dowdy gray underpants. And what was truly remarkable is that after sitting still for twenty minutes she took off the tights (repeating the above sequence in reverse, so that at this point I've seen her underwear twice in 20 minutes) and left the library. And then, she came back and did the whole thing over again.

If anyone has ideas about the guy on the path, I'm actually seriously concerned so let me know if you have thoughts about that one.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


An excessive use of acronyms makes me cool. (Wait, doesn't it?)

ICE: International Contemporary Ensemble. I've blogged about these people enough recently to make me a groupie without, I hope, compromising my groupie status in my own group.

JACK: a New York-based string quartet, including, not coincidentally, Opera Cabal's own violinist, Christopher Otto.

LPR: le Poisson Rouge, a bar & performance space on Bleecker Street that for fortuitous reasons is interested in promoting new music. Not to be confused with Poisson Rouge, which makes toys for French babies.

ICE and Jack shared a concert bill last Tuesday night in preparation for the departure of both ensembles for the Darmstadt Summer Course. As usual, these folks' playing leaves nothing to be desired, and the sound engineering for the show was laudable. The real show-stealing moment, however, was the deafening crash of what sounded like a fish tank from the direction of the bar in the hushed silence that followed the final piece.

But the reason I'm blogging is more specific. Before Tuesday, I had never heard of Caleb Burhans. The JACK played his "Contritus" (2010), a piece that, while technically "new music," was an outsider choice on a program that otherwise featured the more recognizably new musicky sounds of Earle Brown and Jason Eckardt. Caleb's music by contrast is tonal without sounding new-Romantic. "Contritus" was like a cross between Beck's Sea Change and Ben Johnston's microtonal arrangement of Amazing Grace. I'm now internet stalking Caleb & I suggest you do the same.