Tag Archives: Faces

Dating Acumen

by Richard

So I’ve got a friend who’s recently divorced (for the most part).

Okay, fine, dudes. Enough with the laughing. I mean, of course I have friends.


This friend, who I’m going to call Pitt, recently moved to Charlotte from the Pittsburgh (duh!) area and is enjoying life in North Carolina. He’s also enjoying, sort of, the life of the really really separated and just waiting for his wife to sign the papers so he’s almost divorced and is now back in the dating pool.

Pitt is the kind of guy who, upon meeting him, you instantly know is a salesman. He is open, outgoing and more friendly than a room full of well-fed dogs. Not that I’m suggesting he’s going to jump up on everyone and start licking their faces. No. He’s friendly is what I’m saying.

The thing is, he’s also having to date again, for the first time in a long time. And he’s running into a lot of women who are in a similar predicament, in that this is their first time dipping a toe in the dating pool in a long while.

So, I was out with Pitt and a guy who I’ll call Mike. Pitt and Mike met at one of those single-and-looking meet ups, and hit it off because they’re both basically the same people, it’s just one is a bit older than the other. It’s a good thing they became friends, because it certainly makes it easier going to those sorts of meet ups when you know there’s someone there who actually is interesting and wants to talk to you. Plus, now they’ve each got a wingman.

Anyway. We were talking and they were telling me about their dating experiences. Obviously the horrible ones, because those are inherently funny. And the thing that struck me was that the behavior they both were describing sounded really like how the girls in high school behaved.

When I brought up the similarity to Pitt and Mike, they both looked at me like I’d grown a second head. (I hadn’t.) I thought I’d stepped over some boundary, but, it turns out, they were simply gobsmacked because they hadn’t noticed it before and — by golly — I was right.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a very light thing of some kind. I was right.

That’s when I started thinking about dating acumen.

And, like the best of the serialized entertainments, I’m going to leave you with that thought for the weekend. We’ll resume our little one-way discussion on Monday.

Hah! A cliffhanger! I love it!

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Naughty Or Nice?

by Richard

With Christmas just around the corner (no, not that corner. the one over there, yes, right ooooovvveerrrr. . . Yep. that’s it. that’s the one), you’d think the little dudes and dudettes would be on their very best behavior.

You’d think.

You’d also be wrong. There’s something in the air these days (or in the brain, more realistically) and the youngest dudes and dudettes just can’t make those good decisions. It’s almost as if they weren’t just tiny adults in non-matured bodies. Okay, fine. They’re not just tiny adults. They’re kids and they don’t have the ability to think their way out of a wet paper bag.

Which means they can’t always think about the best ways for them to be good, for goodness’s sake. They’d better watch out, or Santa’s going to put them on the bad list. Which is where we come in. There are several steps we can take to help our young believers behave better in the run-up to and immediate aftermath of Christmas.

Firstly, with the young dudes and dudettes out of school, a lot of their structure has gone out the window. They’re not used to having so many days off in a row. That can throw off the most stable adult, much less a young dude. Try to stick with the structure left in the day. Set and keep a specific time to wake up and a specific time to hit the sack. They might not say it, but kids crave structure. It lets them feel safe enough to explore in other ways.

Here’s a tough one: Make sure you don’t let the young ‘uns subsist only on cookies, fudge, carmel popcorn and other junk food. I say it’s tough, because that’s what I want to do. When you make or buy some treats, only have out a little at a time. Give small servings. Make sure healthy snacks are out and available.

Remember: We’re parents and, by definition, we’re old and out of touch. Which means we like to be able to see faces when we talk to them, rather than see the tops of their heads bent over a tiny keyboard, fingers twitching out a response. Still, we also get to set the rules. Try and carve out a no-electronics time for the family. As little as a half hour. No TV. No computers. No phones. No internet at all. Get used to seeing each other’s faces again.

Finally, when it all gets to be too much. The yelling, the running, the screaming and the fighting. When all that becomes more than you can take, you’ve got a choice: either they go outside or you do. Either way you win. You can take a break and go for a walk in the brisk air. Or send the kids out to run off some energy. They both work and they’re both good ideas.

Just a little tip for you to help enjoy the holiday season.

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Freaky Friday: You Smell Ugly*

by Richard

Humans (thankfully for those of us who live in a household full of teenaged boys) have a really lousy sense of smell. I mean, sharks can smell a drop of blood a mile away. Bloodhounds can track a days-old trail through swamps and over rivers. We can’t even tell who cut the cheese in a crowded room. Or whatever.

Turns out, that might be a bit of a blessing.

Especially if you’re not Brad Pitt. And, other than the Pitt-ster himself, who is?

What I’m talking about this is, of course, science! According to some relatively recent research, smelling bad makes you look ugly. Sort of.

“We report an experiment designed to investigate whether olfactory cues can influence people’s judgments of facial attractiveness. Sixteen female participants judged the attractiveness of a series of male faces presented briefly on a computer monitor using a 9-point visual rating scale. While viewing each face, the participants were simultaneously presented with either clean air or else with 1 of 4 odorants (the odor was varied on a trial-by-trial basis) from a custom-built olfactometer. We included 2 pleasant odors (geranium and a male fragrance) and 2 unpleasant odors (rubber and body odor) as confirmed by pilot testing.”

Firstly, rubber smells bad? News to me, I guess.

More importantly, though, what the researchers found was that, in the presence of the unpalatable odors, participants found the pictures of the various men to be significantly less attractive.

“The results showed that the participants rated the male faces as being significantly less attractive in the presence of an unpleasant odor than when the faces were presented together with a pleasant odor or with clean air (these conditions did not differ significantly). These results demonstrate the cross-modal influence that unpleasant odors can have on people’s judgments of facial attractiveness. Interestingly, this pattern of results was unaffected by whether the odors were body relevant (the body odor and the male fragrance) or not (the rubber and geranium odors).”

This has a lot of implications, especially for the aforementioned teenaged boys.

Sarcasmo is a young dude who is aggressively anti-popular. What I mean by that is that, rather than take a chance at rejection, he makes sure to indulge in activities or behavior that will make sure folks don’t think he’s trying to be popular. That way, if someone doesn’t like him, it’s not him they don’t like, but, rather, the behaviors in which he’s consciously engaging.

Which is my long-winded way of saying we have to make sure he wears deodorant. When we forget to remind him. . . Well, let’s just say even we, as parents, don’t want to hug the young dude.

Anyway, I think this might prove to be an actual incentive for him to wear the deodorant more often. And maybe even a touch of cologne. Smell better and folks think you’re better looking. A pretty easy bit of advice to follow.

The only question now is if it will actually penetrate that teenage force field of “I know everything and you’re an idiot” surrounding the young dude.

*Notice the difference if I’d put a comma between smell and ugly. Were it there, I’d be calling you (well, not you) ugly. No comma and I’m saying it’s an ugly smell. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t be reading grammar books for fun.

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