Sunday, April 30, 2006

AIDS and Omelettes

*This is an advertisement I saw in my hometown recently*

Shands STD Treatment Center Sunday

Free screenings from 10am to 6pm, brunch will be provided for the first 300 positive patients.

Whoa. What a deal. Either way, you're walking out of there with a smile on your face. I would imagine it to be something like this.

"I'm sorry. You have herpes and syphilis. Why don't you step over here for a bannana corn muffin and some fruit. Oh, wait. Wait. Hold on one second. You've also tested positive for AIDS. Let's see if we can get Phillipe to fire up the omelette station for you."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Muffin Tops and Man Pants: A Fashion Primer

“They’re called muffin tops,” she said to me.

“What are you talking about,” I replied.

“Look,” she said, pointing to a woman at the bar.

And there is was. My first Muffin Top. Until this night I had no idea. But now I know. And I’d like you to know, too. If you don’t already.

Muffin Tops are a hilarious anomaly of women’s fashion. A Muffin Top is the roll of flesh that spills over a tight pair of pants worn by women. It looks like just a muffin bursting out of the pan.

It is hilarious, sexy and gross all at the same time. These women aren’t fat, mind you. Their pants are just too tight. I’m now entertained each day trying to spot Muffin Tops.

But Muffin Tops aren’t the only interesting aspect of women’s fashion to be on the look out for this Spring. My second favorite fashion trend is Man Pants.

You see, about three of four years ago, clothing stores such as J. Crew, Banana Republic and the Gap started selling woman’s pants that came down to the mid-calf. They were called Capri pants, a confusing hybrid of shorts and slacks.

Fashion, as it turns it, isn’t always about what people want to wear. It’s about what the major clothing chains are selling. American consumers are trained like dogs. Whatever you put in our face we will buy, mindless to the notion we may not like it.

So it was no shock women started buying Capri pants ad neaseum. Women, ultra-competitive about their appearance, had to keep up with the arms race. So those without Capris were forced to buy into the bizarre fashion trend.

Over the past few years, however, clothing stores have had to tweak their Capris. If you don't change the product, people will stop buying new clothes. So these stores simply raised the hem line.

It has reached a hilarious crescendo this spring. Every woman’s clothing outlet is now selling pants that end directly at or above the knee.

So now, through no fault other than economics, every woman I see this Spring looks like an LPGA golfer.

I don't hate Man Pants. Fashion isn't about what you wear, but how you wear it. However, there's no question seven years from now every woman wearing Man Pants or sporting a Muffin Top is going to look back and cry.

It will be more depressing than realizing you tight rolled the bottom of your jeans in the early 1990s.

Man Pants.

Muffin Tops.

What is next?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Unwritten Rules of the Men's Room

Women have no clue.

I learned a long time ago never to make this assumption. But there is one element of a man’s life women can’t, and won’t, understand: The unwritten book of the men’s room.

I realize many women have been in a men's room, typically to avoid the wait for the women’s room. This doesn’t count. Behavior is decidedly different when women are in the men's room (usually all the guys just stand around and make third-grade observations: "Dude, there’s two chicks in the stall!")

So what is it really like when it’s only a bunch of dudes in there? Well, I’m about to tell you.

The most interesting phenomena in men’s room culture concerns the difference in behavior between a men's room at a bar and the one in the office. Men pissing next to each other in a bar are extremely chatting. Total strangers striking up conversation while sharing a piss.

Men hitting the urinals at work, however, don’t talk at all. Silence while you piss next to your neighboring cubicle-mate.

At a bar you’re standing next to a complete stranger, the two of you waving your hogs around, chatting each other up. At the office, a place where time is, evidently, money, we waste time pissing next to co-workers without communicating. Fascinating.

Another interesting phenomena about men’s room subculture is the different types of patrons. Everyone has their own pissing style, much in the same way every basketball player has his own style and form on his jump shot. Everyone pisses differently. And that's fascinating to me. Here are some of the different kinds of pissers in men’s rooms.
  • The Grunter - This is the person standing next to you at the urinals who is grunting as he relieves himself. It happens frequently, mostly at bars due to the urgency of having to rid your body of six Coronas and four car bombs. A grunters will approach the urinal, unzip, pull his Johnson out and begin moaning as he urinates, often while closing his eyes and rolling his head back. This is also the same guy who rests the forearm of his non-penis-holding hand on the wall above the urinal for extra support. Sometimes the head will come forward and rest on the forearm against the wall. You can relate to that level of relief.
  • The Farter - It’s completely normal for human beings to have flatulence while urinating. It’s just hilarious when 58-year-old Henry Kirkpatrick from Accounts Receiving let’s one rip while his pissing next to you at work. The key is to fart loudly and confidently, to avoid any speculation that you were trying to hold it.
  • The Head Turner - One of the unwritten rules at the urinal is to keep your head facing toward the wall in front of you (which often features the days sports page or a myraid of advertisements that include bikini-clad women with fake breasts who are prepared to challenge your manhood if you don't buy the product they're hawking). However, this code is not always obeyed. In fact, there are dudes who will turn their head to the side and look at you while talking. In order to feel comfortable, you then have to reluctantly turn your head and look him in the eye. Meanwhile, both of you have your cash and prizes hanging out, and in your hands. One of nature's more intimate moments.
  • The Adventurer: Some men are impatient. So, at some point during the night, someone in line will introduce the idea of going in the sink or garbage can. This will become an entertaining 4-minute conversation, and, at some point, someone will be challenged to do it. Sadly, but not shockingly, it will end up occuring.
So, what are all these men talking about this whole time, women might ask? Well, men in bar restrooms will talk about one of four things (often in this order).
  1. How drunk they are.
  2. How they’re about to go back out and kick someone’s ass.
  3. How bad they want to fuck some chicks.
  4. At some point during your restroom trip, some dude will loudly yell: “I don’t give a FUCK!” And everyone will look at him in agreement.
My interest with public restrooms, however, is not limited to the people inside it. The lay-outs are equally fascinating. A most confusing paradox is the fact that every men's room in a bar will have at least stall. Let's face it, I've never taken a tequila shot with somebody who slammed the shot glass down on the bar, turned to me and said, "I'll be right back. I gotta take a dump." Some bars will have three stalls and one urinal, in case three people men need to dump simultaneously.

But there are some restrooms where dumping is not even an option. It is the king of all men’s rooms.

It is, The Trough. I imagine for those men who like pissing in sinks, this must be utopia.

Troughs are found in places where thousands of drunk and surly men must urinate in a short period of time - typically stadiums and concert ampitheaters.

The trough lay-out is clearly the most Neanderthal and barbaristic. It's simply a massive, silver tub that stretches all the way along a wall. Some can reach lengths of 40-50 feet. Then, a bunch of dudes line up and piss in it.

The great part about the trough is that there is no designated place to urinate. It’s a pissing free-for-all. We're expected to squeeze together, maybe throw an elbow into someone's rib, and piss everywhere! It's not much different from watching 50 pigs line up and try to all eat from a tiny trough.

Invariably, you are guaranteed to hear someone mooing in a trough restroom. I guess that's only appropriate. Urban Dictionary's definition of Urinal Trough.

For fun: The next time you're out on the town and come across the guy selling hot dogs on the sidewalk, walk up to him, point to his hot dog cart, and say, "You got a men's room in there?" It's worth it just to see his reaction.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Let's Get Patriotic!

No car epitomizes America more than the Ford Mustang.

I realized this recently when a friend took me for a ride in rented 2006 Mustang. It is eight cylinders of pure U.S.A.

It is Huck Finn and JKF. It is fireworks and hot dogs, baseball and Britney Spears, all wrapped up and resting on four wheels.

The Mustang is a zooming, rumbling illustration of American life. The car’s allure is based purely on appearance. It is cool, sexy and sleek. Mustangs are also loud and noisy, calling attention to themselves whether others care to notice or not.

It also runs like shit. It turns corners like a boat, has ineffective suspension and consistently breaks down. All flash and no substance. It uses looks and attitude to camouflage it’s lack sincerity and pureness.

Just like Americans.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The top five worst cliches

1) “NOT MY CUP OF TEA”: Who talks about tea in casual banter? A girl I dated, sadly. It was a woman I went out with for a short time when I was 23. It was a woman who would obsessively watch “Oprah,” take Dr. Phil's advice seriously (and later bring it up in casual conversation), and always say shit like, “T.G.I. Friday's is not my cup of tea.” I mean, why can’t you just say, “I hate T.G.I. Friday's” or “T.G.I. Friday's? Fuck that!”

The days of people sitting around sampling tea are over. Besides, I always thought the phrase was a case of mistaken identity. As in, "Hey, man, is that yours?" ... "No, that's not my cup of tea."

2) "EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON": This cliché is often used by religious zealots and women who are fundamentally weak. I dislike it because it has an stunning double standard.

Consider this example. A girl is dumped by her boyfriend and her heart is broken. However, this girl meets someone even more spectacular months later and becomes happily married. She may reflect on her fortune and say, “everything happens for a reason.”

Instead of meeting the perfect guy, however, what if she had gone out to the club, had sex with a man, and contracted herpes? Would she then say, “My boyfriend dumped me and then I got herpes. Well, everything happens for a reason”?

No, she wouldn’t.

That’s my point. If everything happens for a reason, everything happens for a reason. Not just the good stuff. You have to use it both ways. And, by the way, there’s an extremely high probability that everything that happens to you in your life is completely random with no reason behind it.

3) “NO LOVE LOST”: This is exclusively a sports cliché. But it still makes no sense to me. It’s used when two competitors hate each other.

“There is no love lost between Shaq and Kobe,” Brent Musburger might say.

Well, let’s think about what this means. No love lost. If these guys haven't lost any love, I would presume a bunch of love remains.

Since they hate each other, then there’s lots of love lost. They should say, “There’s lots of love lost between Kobe and Shaq.”

4) “COMPARING APPLES AND ORANGES”: This is the oddest expression in the history of language. Apples and oranges are almost identical. Both are fruit. Both are round, or cylindrical in shape. Both have the same consistency. So why would anyone say, "That's like comparing apples and oranges?"

Why not say, "That's like comparing apples and Jason Preistly's hair during the first season of 90210." Or "That's like comparing apples and llamas." Or, "That's like comparing apples and Harriet's Method of Solving Cubics." Even a bannana.

5) “HAVE MY CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO”: How many times in your life have you had possession of a cake - or piece of cake - and been unable to eat it? This has never happened to me. I can honestly say every time I have handled cake, I have eaten it, too. Therefore, I can’t relate to someone who has cake but is having trouble consuming it.

Anyway, let's assume someone is in a good relationship but having bad sex. They would say, “I want to have my cake and eat it, too.” However, everyone at the table would prefer you just said, “Dude, I’m not getting any (insert preferred genitalia here).” Or even, "I'm so happy, my only wish is that Gary learned how to go down on me properly." That’s direct language.

It's still a phrase said mostly by greedy, well-off smugs (Editor's Note: Smugs may not really be a word). I don't think you'll ever hear the 32.9 million Americans who live in poverty saying this.

There is actually a book entitled, “Have Your Cake And Eat It Too - How to build a profitable business, make a mountain of cash and turn it over to your employees,” by Glenn Ribble. Let's suppose the money-grubbing peasants who read this kind of literature finally end up eating their cake. Would that be "the icing on the cake"?