Tag Archives: attraction

Unplugging Because. . .

Technology, like sex, has a love/scare relationship with most Americans.

Until relatively recently, sex has been something that you just did not speak about in anything remotely resembling polite company. Not only did Lucy and Ricky sleep in separate beds with a nightstand between them, but most of George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television have to do with sex.

The flip side to that, however, is that while sex might not have been a public subject, it was the thing most on the minds of American men and women. Porn thrived, especially with the arrival of the internet and the ability of people to buy it anonymously. You couldn’t talk about it, but it was used to sell everything from cars and toothpaste to fridges and massagers.*

Things haven’t changed all that much, but it has become a bit less of a taboo in public discussion. Or at least, my wife, known to one and all as She Who Must Be Talking About Sex, and her friends seem to have no trouble talking about this kind of thing anywhere and everywhere.

I’m thinking technology is beginning to occupy a similar place in the American psyche. Not so much its existence, but, rather its use.What's the point of things like the National Day of Unplugging? Are we that scared of what the internet, in particular, and technology, in general, can offer to us?

More and more people are joining movements like the National Day of Unplugging, which was held early last month. The point of it was to abjure technology from sundown March 7 to sundown March 8. Ironically, folks who participated took photos of themselves and posted them on the National Day of Unplugging website to talk about “I unplug to. . . ”

I’m assuming ironic-deafness is a prerequisite to becoming a Luddite.

This whole thing reminds me of people who used to say, “I never watch television, except maybe a few hours of Masterpiece Theater on PBS.” Mostly folks said that to make it look like they were too smart, too sophisticated to debase their minds with the common drivel the rest of us enjoyed.

I suspect these folks are probably the same ones who won’t use an e-reader because they only read “real” books.

So, really, what’s the point? It’s not like any of these people are going to unplug for the rest of their lives. It seems to me that the whole point of this unplugging is to plug back in and then broadcast to one and all how virtuous you were because you put down your smartphone for a while.

It might have something to do with the fact that people don’t trust themselves very much. They use programs that block the internet or blank their web browsers so they won’t fool around when they should be working. They keep checking their messages and e-mail during meals with other people.

Even if you have always-on connection, that doesn’t mean you have to use it, yeah?

Mostly, I think the attraction of these sorts of things lies in the fact that, for most people, the idea of change is scary. And technology is all about change, about doing things differently, more efficiently, on a wider scale than before, seeing new things in your lives that had always been there, but were never noticed.

Dudes and dudettes get caught up in the world and begin racing toward the future with eyes open, but stop every once in a while, stumble, and realize just how much change we’ve been through and still face.

The strong smile, assess and continue. The weak unplug.

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Disney Doesn’t Depress

I didn’t want to scoop out my brains and bash them on a rock, leaving my brainless body to wander the parks, forever staring blank-eyed and hungry at the exits, forever doomed to wander .

Admittedly, that isn’t perhaps as rousing an endorsement as you dudes have ever heard, but it is several magnitudes better than I had ever expected to hear myself talk about visiting Walt Disney World again.

See, I used to live in Florida with the young dudes and my wife, known to one and all as She Who Must Be Getting Back To Mouschwitz Again And Again And Again. . ., and that meant we had a residents’ pass every single year that we had kids. And, to make the pass pay for itself, we had to go to the House of Pain Mouse at least three times a year.

By the end of our time in Florida, I couldn’t contemplate one more visit to the Magic Kingdom without also contemplating where I wanted my body found and who I was going to take with me.

I realize that I’m going against the grain here, but there were some parts of the entire Disney experience that just rubbed me the absolute wrong way. The corporate-enforced cheerfulness on display everywhere. The constant way that the parks pushed both Mickey Mouse and his iconic symbol. The relentless manner in which Disney World did everything possible to separate you from your money, often in the most blatant manner possible; the worst of which was making sure your little dudes and dudettes wanted the latest cool thing the park was pushing.

The concrete covering every single part of the Magic Kingdom would reflect and concentrate the relentless Florida summer sunshine, mix with the famous Central Florida humidity and make every second out of air conditioning a minor torment. Couple that with the long lines for any attraction or ride worth seeing and you’ve got a recipe for instant whining. And the young dudes were whining a bit as well.

To say I had a bit of an antipathy toward Mouschwitz would be an understatement. Still, I managed to stuff down my true feelings, plaster a reasonable facsimile of a smile onto my mug and give the little dudes a good time. Of course, my aneurysm grew several times each day, but it was worth it. I guess.

Then the youngest little dude, Hyper Lad, told us he didn’t even remember going. I’d have told him to count his blessings and then moved on to the next conversational gambit, but that doesn’t cut it around She Who Must Be Having A Secret Affair With Goofy.

And so we were off to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, where a number of surprises awaited me.

But more on that tomorrow.

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What Women Want

by Richard

What women want isn’t just a sad, not-very-funny movie by a well-known anti-Semite.

It is also, and I say this without any fear whatsoever of being contradicted, a complete mystery to most dudes.

What women want? No frakkin’ idea, dude. No frakkin’ idea.

Although, for starters, I’m pretty sure they don’t want the kind of geekiness inherent in using a profanity euphemism that came from a well-regarded (for this sort of show) science-fiction show. But I’m going to let that pass for now.

What I’m talking about is desire. Libido. The sex drive.

With most heterosexual men, the answer to what men want is usually pretty simple. They want women. Naked. Not naked. Involved in some action. Sitting still. Involved in erotic action. Not involved in erotic action. Looking at them. Not looking at them. Basically, you know, just women. We heterosexual men find most women, most of the time, to be desirable.

Women, on the other hand, well, that’s a whole ‘nother horse of a different collar.

What we do know, according to some relatively recent research, is what heterosexual women do want is not men.

“For heterosexual women,” a researcher, Meredith Chivers, says in a new documentary about bisexuality called “Bi the Way,” which was shown at the NewFest film festival in New York last Friday, “looking at a naked man walking on the beach is about as exciting as looking at landscapes.”

Dr. Chivers, a research fellow at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto, says she has data to support this assertion. She recently published results of a study in which she showed people video clips of naked men and women in various sexual and nonsexual situations and measured their genital arousal.

(little aside here: genital arousal measurements? I’m not sure I want to know. I’ve got visions of clips and adhesive tape and other. . . things. Nope. Definitely sure I don’t want to know.)

Anyway, the majority of heterosexual women didn’t get aroused by watching a naked man do yoga or just stand around. What did generate arousal, though, were the videos of the naked women.

What really matters to women, Dr. Chivers said, at least in the somewhat artificial setting of watching movies while intimately hooked up to a device called a photoplethysmograph, is not the gender of the actor, but the degree of sensuality. Even more than the naked exercisers, they were aroused by videos of masturbation, and more still by graphic videos of couples making love. Women with women, men with men, men with women: it did not seem to matter much to her female subjects, Dr. Chivers said.

“Women physically don’t seem to differentiate between genders in their sex responses, at least heterosexual women don’t,” she said. “For heterosexual women, gender didn’t matter. They responded to the level of activity.”

Chivers’ research is one of the more recent that seem to place a woman’s sexuality and attraction on a continuum, with purely heterosexual on one end and purely homosexual on the other. Most women, she said, are located somewhere near the middle.

All of which goes to say, well, absolutely nothing. I guess we file this under something that caught my eye, or, maybe, it’s a funny ole world, innit?


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