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The nature of the beast

Last Build Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2017 11:18:50 +0000


Moving On

Mon, 30 Mar 2015 03:40:00 +0000

State of the Nation, Dating

Sun, 04 Aug 2013 16:59:00 +0000

How are we doing? Is dating working for you? Is dating being real, or could it use a stint in rehab?

My working philosophy is that meeting and uncovering new people is more complicated than ever. Like the cereal aisle in the supermarket (or the dry pasta aisle, or the juice department for that matter) choices abound. What is not in abundance is reliable information on how to discern between boxes of cereal, or indeed how to decide between them. What works for me might give you gas by lunchtime, and a third person might be better served by eating eggs for breakfast.

We all suffer - not too strong a word IMO - from the Hollywood notion of dating. They take us from quirky but cute meeting to satisfying ending by way of a challenging interlude in ninety minutes of flawless Technicolor. Of course we're all smart enough to differentiate fantasy from reality, but still, at some level a precedent so created creates room for disappointment.

Dating can be about disappointment, or it can be about discovery. As I have written previously, dating is a string of failures with one success if you want to look at it that way. Or it can be an around-the-world series of moments with different people, the ultimate prize being self-discovery and the treasure of finding The One. X marks the spot, after following a few red-herring clues.

But the greatest need is the map on which the location of X is shown. And for that, dear friends, I'm sorry to say that only you can provide the document. For everything else we have Google and blogs.

Bottoms Up, Pirate Treasure Hunters.

Flying in the Face of Facts

Wed, 31 Jul 2013 21:53:00 +0000

How is it that a bunch of folks on a nondescript planet in a boring part of the universe are smart enough to send spacecraft to explore their neighbourhood (Cassini, the Voyagers, various Mars-cars etc) AND think that astrology is valid?

Tell me true, oh sweeties.

OK, fine. That's just the ornery Taurean in me coming out. The ability to hold mutually contradicting beliefs in the face of clear cut evidence is one of our defining characteristics eg:

-> Sure, he's married with kids, but he says he's unhappy and will leave them to be with me.

-> I know, he's a drunk, but he's a good guy underneath.

-> She says it's just an "emotional relationship" so I'm sure they're not having sex.

Delusion is a protection mechanism. Facts are so hard-edged that we might actually need to tell ourselves stories just to round off the edges. Buffering the brutality of our own nature and that of people we think are close to us is the lubricant of all our relationships.

Does anyone really want the unvarnished truth all the time? 

Bottoms Up, Stargazers.

The Many Faces of Love

Mon, 29 Jul 2013 20:24:00 +0000

I love you. 


I want to have sex again with you. 

I'm telling you I love you because I think that's what you want. 

I'm quietly in awe of you.

I'm happy not to be with my ex.

I want your money.

I fear you'll dump me if I don't say I love you.

I really wish I felt like I love you.

I want to marry you.

I want you to want to marry me.

Suck my cock.

I believe you offer the security I desperately want.

I want to fix you.

I admire you.

I wish I were like you.

I better say I love you before you start bitching.

I dream about you. All the time.

I want your babies.

I think you'll do what I want.

I feel better when I'm with you.

I have no idea.

I'm in love with falling in love.

I want to get up every morning and make your day better.

Bottoms Up, Lovestrucks. 

Take It Like A Man

Wed, 24 Jul 2013 21:49:00 +0000

Thesedays, my precious darlings, dating runs in two rivers.

The first river is the old-fashioned kind, a river like, say, the Colorado. It starts in the Rocky Mountains as snow-melt and spring bubbler, gradually turning into Lake Mead by way of the Grand Canyon. Eventually it keeps LA alive...a dubious prospect but nonetheless the fact of 1,400 miles of downhill adventure.

The second river is newer, much shorter and without any of the history or variety. It would be like a glacial river in Iceland: short, sharp and to the point. A thoroughly modern river. A great ride.

You can see where I'm meandering to with this metaphor. Long-form relationships and their precursors - by which I mean formal dating and marriage - are like the Colorado. Although the flow might start with a rush, time and terrain change the river's direction and temperament. Dams create reservoirs and calm, but also tail water and froth. Flat land slows the river down, and steep terrain does the opposite. Rocks make rapids. And eventually it turns out that we have to give it all to Hollywood...but it was one helluva ride.

Our Icelandic river is more of a day-trip flow. Anyone can hop on for the short ride, all we need do is hold hands and jump in together. It'll be fun and breathless for a while, then the ride ends. You can start back at the top again (because it's only a short hike) with or without the same partner. It's an amusement park outing.

Trouble arises (because you knew there had to be a downside) when one or other of the participants in the River Party forget which ride they signed up for. I see this when women think they are in the Icelandic way of things, but as soon as they get wet decide they need the guy to be more of a riverboat captain. The guy who thought he was in for nothing more than a quickie, or multiple quickies in a row, suddenly finds himself being expected to pitch riverbank tents and create fires and text "good morning" every day.

Huh? I thought that by her active participation as an equal that Icelandic Rules applied here, not Red River Rules. There are no tents in Iceland; we go to the bar, drink, and decide in the morning if we want to go swimming again.

That's it. Unless you want to try the Colorado. That changes everything.

Bottoms Up, My Beautiful High Country Trout.

Let's See Your Identity

Mon, 22 Jul 2013 16:54:00 +0000

Three declarations:

Hi, I'm Wombat. I'm heterosexual. 

Hello. My name is Monique, and I'm a lesbian. 

Hey there. I am Thomas. I'm gay.

Which one is the odd one out?

To my eye, it's my own statement. No-one cares that my sexual preference includes women only, and frankly, that seems about right. I don't care about anyone else's either. Your congressional activities are your business.

So does that mean homosexual men and women describing themselves by way of their sexual preference sounds more natural? Maybe. But let's examine this more closely. Is it really these folks who so publically identify? I think not. I have never been introduced to a man, to have him immediately go to his sexuality, whether gay or not. Ditto any woman. People identify contextually, viz:

Hi, I'm Pete, and I'm the network administrator. 

Hello, my name is Andrea. I'm the CEO.

Why, darling, I'm Natasha. You can think of me any way you want.

Okay, that last one was a red herring. Kinda.


It's always others who attach sexuality to the individual.

Why does this happen? Why does my acquaintance Lindsay always end up "Lindsay the Lesbian"? It's certainly not her. And I've worked with gay men before who were often referred to as "Gay....Dave/Larry/Tony". Sure, they were homosexual, but made no more if it than I did of my heterosexuality - in fact, they were most often the least forthcoming about that part of their lives.

There is no point to my questions, other than to muse over the importance with which we rank our sexual being...and how public we make it.

Bottoms Up, Sexual Clarifiers.

Be Yourself. Really?

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 12:48:00 +0000

Dating advisors will tell you: for dating success Be Yourself.

Worst. Advice. Ever.

You, like me, are a sloppy mess of insecurities, half-understandings, moldy old baggage, soiled laundry and fear. A delightful and sexy melange of those elements, but still, we're all rocky road muffins.

I hardly need warn you about revealing too much of the truth about yourself on a date. Dating isn't based on truth; dating's based on outfitting our dates with our fantasies. Ignoring non-compliant data allows us to dream the dream.

However, matters can progress. Date the right person long enough and you'll find that they've either figured out the stuff you've been avoiding, or they're ready to hear it. In either case it's a milestone to know that:

a.) There's no need to withhold any more, and

b.) Someone still thinks well enough of you despite them knowing the awful truth.

That's the time you'll find yourself being yourself without being conscious of it. 

Bottoms Up, Flawed Ones.

Why Is She Single?

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 19:31:00 +0000

Wombat: So who is the brunette hottie in the pic you sent?

Friend-Girl: Oh, that's Chantelle.

Wombat: Would I like her?

Friend-Girl: Hmmmm, maybe. She's a little spiritual for you. But I think she's dirty - she's always talking about her thigh-high boots and lingerie. I'm sure you'd like that about her.

Wombat: So why is she single?

Friend-Girl: You can't ask that question.

Wombat: Sorry?

Friend-Girl: That question is off-limits. Everyone asks cute single girls why they don't have a man, like that's the only thing that matters. So I rule the question invalid.

Wombat: Oh. I can't even ask the question?

Friend-Girl: Nope.


Wombat: This is about you, isn't it? You don't want to talk about this because you're sans-a-man, right?

Friend-Girl: Bastard.


Bottoms Up, Freedom of Speechers.

Religion, Sex & Politics

Mon, 01 Jul 2013 16:34:00 +0000

Etiquette determines that in polite company one avoid talk of religion, sex and politics.

How one is supposed to have an enlightened and lively conversation without one or more of these topics escapes me. Art, I guess would be one alternative. Sports if you're so inclined. Books if anyone read them.

Forget the etiquette and dig in, I say, because the verboten triumverate always get someone's blood up, which leads to disagreement, which begets a real conversation where people actually defend what they believe. Which is why you should introduce these topics early into your dating.

I had a conversation with a woman friend this weekend, the main point of which was why a four-date dater had dumped her. She claimed it was over his embarrassment at farting in front of her, but that didn't ring true to me. Delving a little deeper, the focus sharpened; they were politically polar opposites. My friend is a socialist, her date a capitalist. Sorry, but that just won't work.

My analogy was this: if you're looking towards building some kind of house together, you need to share construction of the foundation. Two different foundations that aren't linked create two houses. Yes, they might be proximate, but that's friendship or companionship, not a marriage or proxy thereof. Sharing solid - if abstract - understanding of how the universe works, what's right and wrong, and through what prism to view life is critical to creating a stable union.

Exceptions exist, of course. My friend invoked James Carville and Mary Matalin, but I pointed out that

1. this is a very high profile example of precisely one (1) couple, and

2. they are joined more by being part of the media religion than their differences separate them.

In general, I suggest that the easiest path to a happy future is to find someone who shares your meta beliefs - or be prepared to live in a hurricane at least part of the time.

Bottoms Up, True Believers.

Lies, Damned Lies and Dating

Fri, 28 Jun 2013 21:06:00 +0000

Everyone - by which I mean the internet, the only authority that counts - comes to the same conclusion: that dating is about finding the right person. The inference, rarely drawn overtly, is that the wrong people will be summarily dumped.

In essence that makes dating a process of ditching the unsuitables...with one exception.

If the vision of a slaughterhouse comes to mind, I'm not surprised. The poor optimistic lovelorn creatures line up to have what they think will be a new adventure and BAM! A bolt through the brain. The sweet irony of dating is that we can be both slaughterman and the slaughtered, as accurate a description of modern dating as most.

What to do? Well, not much that I can see. To reiterate: Dating is to figure out if you're a match and the process will take up to two years, at which point you'll know if marriage is right and viable. Two years seems like a long time, and it is. Seven-hundred days is a chunk. But it is essential, because the only way to cut through folks' facade is time. Keeping up the appearance of the person we want to project cannot outlast daily, weekly and monthly ordinariness.

Truth will out. And the sooner the better, because the longer you wait, the more that bolt hurts.

Bottoms Up, Cowpokes.

The Secret of the Ancient Underpants

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:47:00 +0000

Men have quirks when it comes to wardrobe. I submit that the average man has:

+ 2 favourite shirts

+ 1 favourite pair jeans

+ 9 favourite pair sox

+ 1, perhaps 2 favourite pair shoes

and most importantly,

+ 3 favourite pair underpants.

Man's relationship with his smalls exasperates many women when they discover that these three pairs of beloved underduds are in less than pristine condition. Indeed, it's possible that they're weeks, months, or - in extremis - years past euthanasia. Clearly, there's something going on here.

My explanation for men keeping their boxers, briefs and/or tighty whities beyond their use-by date is simple, if unusual. Ready? Underpants have a soul. I don't mean soul in the southern fried way; I mean that each individual item has a spirit that differentiates it from all others. Open a three-pack of underoos and you find three different personalities. One will be okay, nothing special, one might perhaps be too tight, biting in the wrong places, and one might be the perfect combo of comfort and utility.

The process is the same as meeting three new people. After two or three social occasions (or, in underwear-speak, two or three wearings) we pick the company we like. We connect with some people (undertrou) more than others. Men value loyalty, so it follows that we want to stay with our friends (fave undies) until the bitter end.

That's why we have a drawer full of jockey acquaintances, but only a handful of daggy, saggy, holey, faded but hugely loved underpants. They're our friends.

Bottoms Up, Men Who Rock the Bikini.

Boats are for Bonking

Mon, 24 Jun 2013 13:14:00 +0000

Any horny young swab would do well to buy or otherwise get his hands on a boat.

This boat must be large and comfortable enough for at least an overnight stay, and preferably good for up to five nights. Thirty feet of length is a practical minimum. If you're up for it, a sailing yacht is best for a reason I'll explain shortly. However, a motor yacht will work equally well, and provide fewer hassles. (Which any boater will recognize as an obvious falsehood, because boats are constitutionally incompatible with perfectly operating equipment. There's always something that doesn't work, for oftentimes unfathomable reasons.)

Equip your water-craft with these essentials:

+ high thread-count bedding, layers thereof: comfort is everything.
+ enticing-smelling candles, potpourri, quality sprays: boats can stink.

+ pristine towels: luxury will speak for you.

+ champagne: natch.

+ tasty finger foods: smoked salmon, cream cheese, good crackers etc.

+ prepare at least one substantial hot meal per day: living on water = appetite.

+ wide selection of music: and don't forget something baroque :-)

+ extra pullovers, large shirts, thick socks: so you can keep your friend warm.

 By now you've probably figured out that I'm creating a water-borne girl-trap. Trap isn't fair, because the idea isn't to trick your wife or girlfriend onto the boat; the point is to show them a luxury fun-time and - most importantly -  get them away from the world.

Experience taught me that when a woman is away from her friends and family, she feels immune from the pressures of expectation. No-one will judge her. Consequently, she can be herself, let go, relax. What happens on the boat...only the fish and the waves know about.

And the answer to the question of why sail over steam: the skill of sailing is an excellent way to demonstrate your mastery of nature and machine. Plus the windy silence of a boat under canvas is a sound like no other.

Men, capitalize. The headache of boat ownership is well worth it.

Bottoms Up, Captain Cool.

Thursday Night is Fantasy Night

Thu, 20 Jun 2013 21:17:00 +0000

Honey, do you have any plans for our next game night?

Hmmm. Not really. Got something in mind?

Well, how about 'door-to-door salesman and lonely housewife'?

What are you selling?

Wouldn't you like to know...

If I were to write an outsider's guide to keeping marriages strong, I'd make scheduling a top priority. Not only the day-to-day household stuff, but setting aside regular chunks of time to nurture the idea of being together and to explore each other a little. Date nights, Finance Nights, Future Nights...making a plan to spend time communicating avoids the drift and misunderstandings of less organized unions.

However, being fidgety and easily bored humans, there's not much value in "Thursday, 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm: Together Time." That'll result in the television being switched on; precisely what you want to avoid. Structure and aim is important. Yes, just like your high-school science experiments, but with more adult content, whether it be planning your savings and investments or dressing up for a date.

I'd include a Game Night in the rotation. You might prefer to call it Role-Play or Sexy Night or something, but the intent is the same - to move away from the...ummm, rut of your regular sex life, and play a little. Fantasy is a good thing, and sharing secrets with your partner is a loving way of getting closer. We mask many secrets in the name of avoiding embarrassment, but if you can't tell your spouse what turns you on in your imagination, who can you tell?

 The wonderful thing about play-acting is that it is acting - you can slip the bonds of your everyday way of thinking and take on a new persona, if only for a while. It's liberating. Especially being with someone you trust, who wants to indulge your more outré likings...because she wants you to indulge hers.

That's what I call win-win.

Bottoms Up, Lonely Housewives.

Pleased To Meet You; I Want You.

Mon, 17 Jun 2013 22:13:00 +0000

Despite all our planning, thinking, wishing and dreaming, the reason we're attracted to one individual is a mystery. It just happens.

I found myself with that feeling of mysterious attraction recently, in an ordinary day-to-day circumstance. The woman and I made a small business transaction, but from the moment I came close to her, that magical, unexplainable interest filled me. The animal...thing, whatever it is, lives outside of logic in a special compartment to which only a few special people have a key. It's wild. Untameable.

Civility requires that whomever feels this way about someone keep it to themselves. Professing instant desire about a stranger falls well outside normal behaviour. Explaining an unexplainable visceral attraction to someone might even be illegal: who knows thesedays? Which means that the only course of action is to flirt a little, try to figure out if she's feeling the same way and attempt to communicate by thought rays what's going on inside your head.

Yeah, that never works.

Which is unnerving, because in the moment, desperation is the binding emotion. It's essential that this thermonuclear emotion be validated somehow...and of course, it cannot, unless you have the chutzpah to ask her out. That is a long shot, but as long as you're prepared to jeopardize whatever reason you met the person in the first place, is about the best you can do. When you leap the creek into romance with zero back-story, you will most likely end up with wet pants. Be so advised.

So I took my own counsel, and did nothing but indulge in a little mild chit-chat and departed. The large, frustrating residue of one of these encounters is that you'll never know if she felt the same way. Maybe she was hot for me in equal proportion, or perhaps she was wondering why this guy was hanging about with googly eyes making dopey small-talk.

Analysis in the light of day doesn't help. I've turned this thing - as with all previous instances - upside down and around about in my head, and come no closer to finding a common thread or even a strategy to deal with them. It's an all or nothing deal; either invite them out on a date then and there, or walk away.

Bottoms Up, Instant Desirables.

Friday Fluffer - With Starch or Without, Sir?

Fri, 14 Jun 2013 19:35:00 +0000

The Fluffer is pleased to report that men are taking responsibility - at last - for any aging skin they might have.

Ladies, of course, spend mucho time and beaucoup pesos on products and services that keep them looking as ageless and wrinkle-free as a newly skinned drum. Thesedays, men are catching the same snare.

And what better place to start than between a man's legs? I present to you the aptly named "Tighten the Tackle" service, the highlight of which is something called "ball ironing", provided by the luscious Nurse Jamie.

Delicately describing the $575 non-surgical treatment, the blonde beautician says it involves using lasers to remove hair, erase wrinkles and correct discoloration on the scrotum.
Like women, she explains, her male clients are keen to 'keep their garden kept' and it's purely for aesthetic reasons.

I'm as relieved as you to know that this is a simple vanity service. Lord knows we don't need to be worrying about dying from overly-wrinkled nuts.

Read more about Nurse Jamie in the Mail Online here.

Bottoms Up, And This Won't Hurt A Bit.

Sex is Awkward

Wed, 12 Jun 2013 21:31:00 +0000

You might think that the natural companion to sex with a new lover is satisfaction, right? That might be partially true, but awkwardness will be an acquaintance for at least part of that journey.

Sex is the natural outflow of physical attraction and desire, like a volcano combines crustal weakness and hot magma. Mmmmmmm, magma. Volcanoes, unlike us, aren't raised to have self-awareness, which means that they don't get embarrassed when they leak molten rock all over the duvet. A spurting volcanic eruption, wide open caldera, full-throated screaming and frantic bubbling are the hallmarks of vociferous volcanology.

Once the pressure is released, so to speak, there exists a gap in time where the passion subsides, and reality returns. My thinking is that the awkwardness we feel in that immediate aftermath of an...eruption is part embarrassment at revealing our unvarnished, animal side, and part wondering whether our new partner thinks we're okay.

Will they think enough of us to come check out our geophysics a second time, or will they just want to toss us a bunch of virgins?

Bottoms Up, Hot Pockets of Love.


Mon, 10 Jun 2013 22:23:00 +0000

Here's a small secret of mine: I judge women inordinately on their nails.Yes, it's silly, but there you have it. I like a nicely turned finger-tip.

For the expert out there, I note four kinds of nails.

~ well maintained, clipped nails, often seen on ladies who work with their hands (eg: the veterinary technician I saw this morning. Mmmmmm.)

~ chewed-up nails, down to the quick, ratty edges, dry, unkempt.

~ falsy acrylics, stuck-on, often garishly decorated, or just MIA.

~ nicely manicured real nails, either natural or glossed.

My preference is, in order, 4, then 1. The other two aren't so hot for me.

What's this all about, this psychotic pickiness?

For a start, I find the nicely kept nail very sexy. That part you have surely guessed. Intuitively, I think it's a tell about how she tends to other parts of herself. If she's polished (literally!) in that department, her grooming elsewhere will reflect that standard.

Similarly, it shows she has the patience to maintain the natural nail. One thing I am aware of is how much time it takes to keep two handfuls of natural nails looking even and beautiful. Keyboards chew them up at a rate. There's a fastidious side to that I also like. Mindfulness is another word that springs to my mind.

Clearly, I'm taking the lady's nails and extrapolating - not necessarily fairly - their condition to the rest of her grooming AND her mindset. Yes, I understand just how crazy that sounds, and how inaccurate it might be. Still and all, that's the way it is.

Now, let's look at your palms, and I'll tell  your future. Mind if I check out your nails while I'm here?

Bottoms Up, Manicured Goddesses.

No Time

Mon, 10 Jun 2013 01:58:00 +0000

Life is full of instances where time is all.

Take dating, for instance. If I were a woman dating a guy, I wouldn't date him for longer than eighteen months. Unless he committed to marry me, that is. Eighteen months is an important period, because it's about the longest a guy can go and not reveal his underlying personality. Addictions, fears, mental illnesses, unpleasant quirks and other relationship killers are extremely difficult to hide when you see that person consistently for that kind of period.

The commitment to marry, by the way, should be his to make, and yours to accept. The fact that he is willing to provide a ring and a date is but a start. When he does that, you then must consider carefully whether you're willing to accept all of his character traits. For the love of yourself and your possible children, say NO if he has anything you think you can correct.

Take note, ladies: you cannot. Once a guy's over twenty, change is only his to make.

Saying NO is oftentimes the best response if the guy falls short in any way from the best idea you have in mind. Making that choice is probably the most important decision any woman can make. Unfortunately, the notion that love will make things better, or that he'll change, or that you will be able to overlook stuff for a lifetime is widespread. And all the more wrong for being popular. My evidence? All the divorces, broken families and non-existent homes, where one parent, usually the father, is absent.

The expression "pushing on a piece of string" comes to mind as I write this. Like most people, I've had to learn all of the lessons about the wrong people the hard way. Without some kind of guide, it's impossible to do otherwise. The biggest take-away I can offer is that it's always better to be alone than with the wrong person, and that new people are always just around the corner...but often out of sight.

Bottoms Up, Tick-Tock.

The Individual's Truth of Infinite Possibility

Thu, 06 Jun 2013 20:42:00 +0000

There's no better way to overpower a trickle of doubt than with a flood of truth. 

Francis Underwood, House of Cards.

It's part of the fun of living in an imperfect universe - no-one will ever know exactly who you are. If you asked all the people who have ever met you to describe you, you'd receive a different version from each of them. We can think of this as the Infinite Me theory. If perception is reality, there are as many 'mes' as there are other people; for all practical purposes that's an infinite number, especially if you count life forms we've yet to meet from other planets.

Speaking of which, I note Michael Douglas in the news earlier in the week. Michael is from Planet Hollywood, a glittering disco-ball of well-lit gas way out there on the left side of the galaxy. He is what passes for royalty there, which means he's a second generation meat puppet.

It seems Mr D has revealed that his recent bout of throat cancer was as a result of sapphic overindulgence, a plethora of pussy in other words. Pussy-eating, to be accurate, because it seems the human pappilomavirus, passed orally, was to blame. Allegedly to blame. Now, given that Michael's been married to Welsh bomb Catherine Zeta-Jones for quite some time, one wonders just what's occurring here. Especially after she was declared "...HPV-free...".

I'm not interested in underestimating the importance of understanding the link between anything and cunnilingus. In good health and in poor, knowledge is power. And given Mr Muff-Muncher's sway with the media, we're all more informed about the dangers of HPV. That's a good thing. And yet. And yet there's something grimy about a bloke who smoke, drank, snorted, licked and fucked his way around the universe for decades revealing that his ill-health was from a single simple pleasure.

Floods of truth, it seems, come with fast-moving tongues.

Bottoms Up, From High Between Her Thighs.

Mini-Breaks and Major Breakdowns: Dating and Travel.

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 18:20:00 +0000

Inevitably, when a relationship reaches a certain point, the idea of travelling somewhere together hauls itself into view. Travel is to relationships as derivatives trading is to your retirement account - when it works it's great, but when it doesn't, everything blows up.Yes, I'm wary of the first-time trip. Having been through a few of these cycles, I'm acutely aware of their approach. I can smell impending mini-break from six weeks out, so attuned are my senses to the signals. Michigan deer in hunting season are less sensitive than I am to the sound of "romantic getaway" being Googled on my girlfriend's Galaxy. So good am I at sniffing "long weekend" in the air, that I can predict both the kind of travel she's contemplating AND the cost of room service once we get there.And I can do this for any woman, once I've known her for a month. It's a gift.The reason I'm skittish about travelling for the first time is the unpredictability factor. Travel can be exhausting, exasperating, boring, scary, disillusioning, intrusive, stressful and challenging. And that's just the ride to the airport. In day-to-day non-travel dating, we avoid almost all of the above reactions, so that if some unexpected emotions arise, there's always a way out - either party can just go home.When you're away on a trip, that option is eliminated. You must deal with the moments as they occur, no matter what else is going on. The pressure here is that travel puts you at the whim of other people and a universe that delights in creating mazes for those far from home. Regular life is all about us controlling the environment, to steal a military term. Travel life is all about reacting to the environment, as well as to your companion. My advice to men is to always be ahead of this curve. Don't wait until she suggests a weekend leaf-peeping in New Hampshire, or a mid-week tryst on South Beach. Make sure that you have a plan and pre-empt her ideas. When you figure she's on the verge of suggesting a trip, surprise her, and present it as a package that you have organized completely. She need do nothing but pack.The reasons for doing this are many, but boil down to a couple of points. One, you must control the length of your travel. To start with, shorter is always better. Two, you must figure out a place that she will like, but that fits you. This really only applies to the first and perhaps second time away, because it will become clear very early in the process if she's a good traveller or not. Being in a place, doing things that you have had time to pre-think will make you less stressed. You are minimizing the unexpected. In turn, that will allow your lady to sense your mastery of this travel biz, and remain non-frazzled accordingly.Which brings us to the important part. Because travel will face you both with having to figure out stuff without being able to run away, it's a great test. Even the most benign Saturday night away at a small hotel somewhere is a concentrated slice of a future life together. If there is a future with this woman, the way she handles everything from the TSA drone to the fact that she forgot her phone charger will tell you much about the real person behind the dating persona. A good-humoured, calm travelling partner, I posit, will make a great life partner.Bottoms Up, Caravanerais. [...]

Excuse me. Do you need a pick-up?

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 00:40:00 +0000

My friend Martian, an astute thinker in these matters, posed some excellent questions about my recent advocacy of the PUA movement. Herewith my position on the matter. As an introduction for the unfamiliar, courtesy Wikipedia:  A pickup artist is a man perceived to be skilled in the art of finding, attracting, and seducing women by the seduction community. Such a man purportedly abides by a certain system deemed effective by that community in his attempts to seduce women.The PUA phenomenon came to public view when Neil Strauss wrote and published his book "The Game" in 2005. The book is an embedded journalist's experience of starting as a newbie PUA, taking courses, being mentored and applying what he learned. Along the way we learn about some of the more famous characters who teach aspiring PUAs, and the somewhat seedy business of the same guys making money by doing so.I say seedy because my biggest argument against the PUA movement is its chaotic commercial classlessness. Every website, every portal, every interaction appears to this man's eye as an attempt to sign me up for a class or otherwise take my money. Not only is it distasteful, but it smells like carnival barking.And it shouldn't. Men seeking an advantage over other men in the quest for women is an ancient motivator. It's biological, too, if the animal world is any guide. Males of all mammalian and bird and I guess reptilian species attempt to out-do one another when trying to attract a mate. It's the National Geographic version of what in business we call competitive advantage. In fact, I'm made quizzical by the fact that humans are one of few species where males are notably less colourful/attractive than females. One wonders what behavioural, genetic or biological quirk caused that. The distillation of PUA thinking is that ordinary males can attract women they thought previously unattainable. Small behavioural modifications and a big helping of self-confidence go a long way towards that goal. That's it. Yes, there's ego-driven showmanship involved; yes, it's clear some guys become obsessed (for a while at least); and no, it's not for everyone.However, my support stems from the general idea that any kind of public discussion regarding how male/female interactions work is good. I'd hardly be able to think otherwise, given the six years and over 1,000 posts here. Not every idea out there is good, but sometimes we find horseshoes in horseshit. The way I view PUA adherents is that they have the same mindset distribution as the religious; a few are fervent and annoying devotees, and the rest pick and choose what works individually. Despite those extremists, there are some genuinely good notions here. I hinted at self-confidence, which will help some guys. Ditto a little peacocking. Choosing a new way with opening lines can't hurt. And why not try a little hard-to-get play? You get the drift. If you're stuck in a rut unable to even start a conversation with women, surely changing your attitude is worth a shot. Having said that, I have no doubt that most PUA types pretty quickly return to being themselves, because the act is too hard to sustain. It's why I do not fear a nation of ego-centric trim-chasers - human nature is so biased against it over the longer term. (Most) guys really do want to settle down with one woman. The PUA world will stand or fall on one simple idea: that if no woman ever reacts positively to a pick-up artist, then the argument for their methods evaporates. It's a supply and demand case. Each woman th[...]

Online Dating Profiles: A Different View

Wed, 29 May 2013 18:54:00 +0000

Which would you prefer: pay twenty dollars for a new book that looks okay, or go on a date with a person who looks okay?

Online dating profiles share much in common with the novels in your favourite bookstore. There's no knowing what's actually behind the glossy dust-jacket, other than the blurb on the back or a few dubious online reviews. [Talking about books here :-) ]The author might hit your magic intellectual spot, or maybe not. Familiarity is the reason we return to books by the same writer once we know they're to our taste. (And as I think of it, this applies to people we date too.)

If you want to know whether the book by an unknown writer is to your taste, you're obliged to buy the damned thing. And so it is with dating. To discover what lies beyond the dopey profile of that spunky online hottie, you have to step out in public with the individual. At least once. Email, phone calls and IM work to a point, but everyone behaves like their own PR firm for as long as they can. Spinning ourselves in a favourable fashion is what we do.

Dispiriting, no? The twenty (or more) you pay to buy the book is down the drain if it turns out to be a snooze. At least if you go on the date you have a story to tell. But just how many first dates can one person take before they become more jaded than Chinese costume jewelry?

Which is why I propose a different approach to online profiles. Instead of all the argle-bargle generalizations and boilerplate, try to focus as closely as possible on one aspect of your life. Describe your ideal Sunday morning, for instance. Relate a little story about the way you like your coffee. Or outline the best hour of vacation you've ever had - yes, hour. The whole idea is to escape the realm of the big-picture BS and wind the lens down to find the smallest objects in our lives.

My thesis is that we communicate more by describing how we feel about ONE footstep on the beach than all the hot air about walking on the beach in general. Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain are optional.

Bottoms Up, Caribbean Lovers.


Mon, 27 May 2013 23:58:00 +0000

When asked:

How do you like my hair style? 

The smart man:

a.) Remarks that the current length and cut is perfect,

b.) Expresses a strong preference for either very short or very long hair,

c.) Asks whether she's looking for a professional look or something else,

d.) Wonders aloud what kind of change is being contemplated,

e.) Comments enthusiastically that redheads are definitely dirtier,

f.) States for the record that he doesn't care as long as it smells nice,

g.) Begins a rant against the horror of hair extensions,


h.) Takes her in his arms and commences a make-out session?

Bottoms Up, French Rollers.

Lessons From My Cat - Part 5

Thu, 23 May 2013 21:12:00 +0000

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. Robert A HeinleinSince reading "The Game" back when it first was published, I've been an admirer of the Society of Pick-Up Artists. The book itself was a minor triumph of genius, and the world it describes a testament to single-mindedness. Men with the wherewithal to dedicate their entire beings to bedding babes deserve my admiration, if not outright respect. The PUA devotion to duty isn't for everyone. If all guys were out there peacocking, it would be a weird world all around. And, of course, the magic would stop working. Differentiation is a large part of being a PUA - without slobs, there's no advantage. If everyone can afford an iPhone, the aspirational price difference disappears.  Women, fortunately, aren't iPhones, even if they're both beautiful, smooth and weighted just right. Women don't have the same kind of focus on men, because they don't need the same kind of focus. There is no PUA movement for ladies. Which isn't to say that women aren't interested in finding the hot guy, because obviously they are. It's just that their tactics are different. Cats provide the best way of explaining how this works. A cat's focus, like a woman's, can change in a split second. Right now my cat might be grooming, looking as content as can be; then suddenly she's off inspecting her territory, checking the fence-line. Instantly, she'll stop and spend thirty minutes staring into space, as if she's waiting for someone to tell her how beautiful she is, and the next she'll be sitting on my keyboard actively pushing for attention. It's all very....unpredictable. If you're a male, that is. The recipe for men here is to understand the following: + don't ever attempt to predict a woman; it will drive you crazy.+ be consistent; I give my cat shelter, food, warmth, love and care at all times. I am rewarded with affection on her timetable. That's the deal. Consider being a rock with your woman.+ the above doesn't stop me trying to get a purr started; no harm in trying. + it's a weird quantum universe, so you'll never know what your woman sees in you. Don't think about it. Just be the best you can be, and all good things will follow. + women's sexual motor doesn't idle like ours; it can be off altogether, and will require starting. (See purr-starting attempts above.) Mostly if you're good, it'll work, but there's no certainty. If you fail, wait a while and try again. + work with what you're given. You see, although I think the PUA guys are on to something, it's a very long ride to a short payoff. The lads are constantly paddling into the surf break to find the one wave that's going in their direction. The other way is to be at one with the ocean, sit quietly on your board and wait for the wave to come to you. Bottoms Up, Surfriding Dudes. [...]

Bang and Regret

Mon, 20 May 2013 22:00:00 +0000

Somehow, without an instruction book or half-decent advice (ahem) we all have to figure out our own sexuality. That word - sexuality - frankly gives me the creeps, because it sounds manufactured by robots in a factory somewhere. I prefer sexual tastes, or sexual understanding or even personal sexual architecture.

Yeah, maybe not so much.

In any case, sex is one of the few human activities that involves our physical being, our intelligent being, our spiritual being and even our moral being, all tied up with a ribbon in one big beautiful lusty box. It's a cornucopia of stuff that can make us feel as big as the universe, as hot as the sun and as empty as space, all at one time.

So where to begin? Mostly, by not listening to anyone else. Parents through the ages, up to and including today, do a universally rotten job at explaining sex. And they concentrate on the physical, reproductive result, which even our bodies recognize as a side effect. Sex is first and foremost about pleasure, about feeling good. Start there, and we can then understand how nature tricks us into unplanned pregnancy - because she's wily, that's why.

Sex feels so good that it can overcome all kinds of logical arguments and commitments. No sex before marriage vows are admirable but completely unrealistic in my opinion. But sex on the first date with a complete stranger is likewise pretty dopey too. Somewhere in the middle is a smart compromise, but no-one ever expands on how that should work either. Try asking your mum or dad tonight how they view that conundrum.

Then there's the tricky problems we can find ourselves tangled in. Married and having an affair. Single and having an affair with someone who's married. Choosing someone who treats us poorly. Finding someone wonderful and messing it up. Thinking that there's more out there, when your own personal sexual architecture would be completely satisfied with just what you have. Thinking you're satisfied, but secretly looking for a whooooollllle lot more.

That last point is critical. Knowing what combination of lust, love, physicality, mental attraction, compatibility, respect and humour is right for you, is everything. Unfortunately, there is no Dummies Guide to Your Own Sexuality, it's all bang and regret.

Or not.

Bottoms Up, Critical Shaggers.