Followers

Whirlwind Romances and Commitment-Phobes at Work

DISCLAIMER - Not all people are commitment-phobes. Some have completely legitimate reasons to end a relationship. Some are just fickle or bored easily. It is my experience that younger people tend to be commitment-phobes and older people are more willing and desiring of a lasting relationship with all the responsibilities that come with it.

LOVE - Have you ever met a woman and after awhile (the term "awhile" can really vary from woman to woman) she starts talking about commitment.

Now commitment could mean many things.

It could mean going steady (which some men fear because they don't like to be tied down to one person and prefer to sleep around / cheat constantly).

It could mean moving in together as part of a natural progression towards marriage.

It could mean marriage itself, with the implied commitment towards having children.

Many of these things have been known to cause bachelors running for the hills, seeking protection and some sort of escape clause from their relationship. This is largely due to a fear of responsibility and/or commitment and/or fear of growing older, settling down, etc.

Usually its young men who are commitment-phobes. The older the man gets the more likely he starts getting fatherly yearnings towards having a wife and kids. And even grandkids. The ol' grow old and die together bit.

For women it is the same problem, but they also have a biological clock that is ticking. Once a woman enters her 30s and hasn't had kids of her own, if she has any plans to do so she had better speed it up and/or lower her standards.

Now there is plenty of nice single men out there. I know, I am one of them. But they're sometimes shy and they can't be hitting on women at work (because that is sexual harassment), they can't hit on women on the subway (because that is just creepy) and meeting women at church only works for those people who are super-religious and have no life.

So where is a man in his 30s supposed to meet a woman his age? Online personals. And there is quite a few out there, but the one I recommend is Plenty of Fish, or if you're very serious about getting married, check out eVow.

So you go through the whole online personals thing, a bit embarrassed at first, but hey, its easier than trying to pick up a woman at a bar and getting rejected in person.

Then Man meets Woman... and here is where we reach the Whirlwind Romance part of my conversation.

If people connect on their first meeting (and sadly most do not connect) they will probably end their first date with a kiss. Anything less than a kiss and she probably doesn't like you, so don't expect a 2nd date unless she actually makes an effort to arrange a 2nd meeting. No Kiss + Zero Effort = No 2nd Date. Capiche?

If they connect very well it might reach one of those baseball euphemism bases... for those who don't know, they are:

First base – French kissing involving the tongue.
Second base – Aggressive stimulation of the upper body, neck, chest, breasts, back, etc.
Third base – Manual or oral stimulation of the genitalia.
Home run – The act of penetrative intercourse, whether vaginal or anal.

Now if the 4th one happens and continues for some time its recommended you get tested for HIV, wear protection (especially if you're sleeping with multiple women), practice self control, etc.

Now eventually one or both of you will become emotionally attached to the other. If this happens quickly, as per a Whirlwind Romance, one or both parties might be tempted to slow it down or even break off the relationship completely (as in you never see her again). Such is the risks associated with having a Whirlwind Romance, they can sometimes end quickly.

Speaking for myself, my Whirlwind Romances usually led to long term relationships, the longest of which lasted 6 years. So in my opinion Whirlwind Romances are a good sign that two people are very compatible.

But not everyone thinks that way. So don't be surprised when women want to slow things down or end it.

Why?

Because women can also be commitment-phobes. They may have other (more legitimate) reasons too, but the core principle is sound. If things happen too fast men typically don't care, so long as the marriage part is slower. For women if things happen too fast they seem to get freaked out easily, possibly due to the fear of the unknown, fear of marriage, fear they're repeating a mistake / trend they've made with other relationships, etc. Any number of legitimate reasons.

Now if you commitment-phobe men out there were paying attention, you may have noticed the escape clause you have been looking for... all you have to do is say:

"I think we're going too fast and should take a break."

Oh sure, the woman is going to accuse you of being a commitment-phobe, and she would be right in doing so. But at least you're being honest for once.

To be fair to her you should also make it clear whether you will ever change your mind.

If you are interested in seeing her later you should say something like: "I just need time to think, but if I come to decision I would like to get back together with you and we could take it slower the second time around."

If you have zero interest in ever seeing her again (because she wasn't your type, was some psychotic nutjob, etc.) you should probably just tell her: "Don't bother waiting for me. I have zero interest in seeing you again. I don't think you are my type anyway. Lets just be friends! You snore and your breath stinks. You make love like a corpse. Etc, etc." You could even email her this blog post and she will get the hint.

Now on the reverse side if its the gal who gets cold feet and becomes commitment-phobic, well then there is nothing you can do about it except try to be supportive (pleading doesn't work, you only feel more pathetic and rejected).

If she says she may change her mind later, great. If not, then you will probably never see her again.

Such is life.

The funny thing about commitment-phobes is that men and women usually go about it differently. Men will typically look for an excuse to end a relationship. Women are more likely to use the "Lets just be friends!" speech or the "Its going too fast!" speech.

All things are equal in love and war, but that doesn't stop us from using different tactics.

How to get a Softer Mustache (or Beard)

I've been growing a Movember (a Mustache to raise awareness for prostate cancer) during the month of November...

Alas the damn thing itches and the bristles are, well, bristly. Probably pretty annoying when kissing the ladies too.

So how do I get a softer / less itchy mustache?

While it is true that everyone's hair is different, there are some ways to get softer hair.

#1. CONDITIONER.

This is the biggest and best thing you can do. When washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner, use a dab on your mustache (or beard) and let it sit awhile. Then lightly rinse it out after a couple minutes. If you leave a little bit of conditioner in your mustache, good. It will moisturize the hair and make it even softer.

#2. HARSH ALKALINE SHAMPOO

ie. Baby Shampoo. It will make your hair really soft. The alkaline breaks down the coarseness.

#3. MOISTURIZERS

ie. Hand moisturizers, shea butter, that sort of thing.

#4. BRUSH DAILY

Use a natural bristle brush.

#5. TRIM, DON'T CUT.

Cutting your mustache all at once with a sharp razor will leave sharp points at the ends of the hair. If you trim only little bits at a time with dull scissors it will leave softer points and only effect a small percentage of the hairs as opposed to making the whole mustache sharp again.

#6. HOT AIR

Use a blow dryer after shampooing and conditioning.

#7. PERM

Using a perm solution seems a bit drastic, but it will definitely help.

#8. DIET

Adding linseed oil and flaxseed oil to your diet will also make your hair softer. This goes for the whole body. It also makes your skin softer and a bunch of other health benefits.

Stupid People at Work

ENVIRONMENT - Ever had an argument with a stupid person?

You know, the kind of people who ignore the laws of physics?

For this example I am referring to people who ignore the laws of thermodynamics... and in particular greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases trap heat inside the earth's atmosphere. Its a proven fact.

Its a bit like ignoring other laws of physics... like gravity! Laws of motion, acceleration, relativity, quantum laws, electromagnetic laws, etc.

Thus when arguing with a stupid person who refuses to acknowledge the laws of thermodynamics and how greenhouse gases can be a frustrating task. The stupid person you are arguing with lacks the basic knowledge to make a coherent argument. Instead they use half logic, make up numbers, use information that is besides the point.

I recently had an argument with a deranged man named Willie McDonald from Houston, Texas. He kept fussing and claiming sun irradiation was the cause of global warming. He used made up numbers and links to conspiracy theory websites.

Sun irradiation (heat) has gone up 0.05% per decade since 1980 during quiet sunspot activity. So approximately 0.15%. The heat from the sun does fluctuate from time to time, but 0.15% is not enough to explain the temperature increases and global warming on Earth. Its too small a number. (Note, this increase is only a measurement during quiet sunspot activity... and thus is besides the point and further made irrelevant when you consider that the Earth's atmosphere both deflects and traps heat.)

Especially when you ignore how greenhouse gases work.

The Earth absorbs heat from the sun, yes, but the Earth also gives off heat back into space. The amount of heat given off into space depends on the percentage of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Earth's atmosphere also reflects heat. Thus the Earth's contained heat remains a relative constant, and the Earth's atmosphere is the single biggest contributor to global warming.

Greenhouse gases work like insulation. Once the heat gets inside the Earth's atmosphere it becomes more difficult for heat to escape. If you fill a box with greenhouse gases and provide a heat source, the box will heat up easily. If you fill it up with regular air, the box will still heat up, but it will give off heat more.

The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. How well these trap heat are even measurable. See the IPCC list of greenhouse gases for more details.

And so forth...

Try explaining all this to a stupid person (especially a conspiracy theorist) who refuses to admit that the Laws of Physics are called LAWS for a reason.

I blame the education system in North America. In this particular case, the man Willie McDonald from Texas has been failed by whatever passes for "science" in Texas high schools.

Worse, these uneducated morons cloud up poorly researched journalism and TV programs with their theories about the 'real cause of global warming', or worse, they deny that global warming and climate change are even happening.

It makes me wonder if and when the worst effects of climate change comes to pass what society will do with these morons. I think they will likely either learn to shut their mouths and follow sheepishly along, or somebody else will shut it for them...

Why? Because if the worst does come to pass we're talking about rising sea levels, flooded coastal cities, droughts, desertification of the wheat belt, shortages of food and clean water, wars over food and resources. By that time the patience of people will be worn thin. Naysayer politicians will be beaten bloody in the streets by angry hordes and the non-famous naysayers will suddenly lose their tongues.

I think there will come a time when the effects of climate change become so dire that people will have lost their patience with leaders, oil executives and the coal industry. There will be no more room for arguments about the effects of climate change and what is causing it. The effects will be violent and bloody.

Why will it be bloody? Because stupid people don't have the patience to learn from their mistakes. They answer with action.

The social effects of climate change in the USA will be like watching a Jerry Springer episode. Stupid people killing other stupid people.

The smart people, like Noah and his Ark, will have foreseen what is coming and all moved further inland and found arable land unaffected by climate change or rising sea levels.

FYI: Land in Detroit is really cheap right now.

Gold Diggers at Work

Earlier today I went on a first date (you know, a coffee date) with a girl I met via online personals. She was Russian, very attractive, but when it came time to pay the bill she apparently thought I was treating her (despite the fact that it her idea to have drinks together).

She was apparently so traditional that this was the sole reason why we did not schedule a 2nd date. She didn't provide any other reason...

Thus I am forced to conclude either she was:

A. Honest and just very traditional and used to men who pay for everything.

B. Lying and there was some other reason why she didn't like me.

C. A gold digger.

Now I would like to hope it was A, just because I don't like it when people lie to me, but there is the distinct chance it was C, she is a gold digger and just looking for someone to pay for her way through life.

I should point out that most men hate gold diggers. They just feel used and betrayed if a woman is using them for money.

HOWEVER, I should point out that some men also like gold diggers... but I should note these men are same type who get trophy wives and like prostitutes.

As an artist / writer I am fortunate enough to know that any gold diggers will be sorely disappointed with my finances. Artists / writers aren't exactly known for being wealthy and usually need a second career to make ends meet.

Thus while it would be nice to be rich enough to buy girlfriends expensive $3,000 puppies for their birthdays (ie. Toronto Maltese Puppies are really cute) the fact of the matter is I don't want a lazy girlfriend or wife who is dependent on me... nor is it practical.

Lets imagine you have a high paying executive career. You marry a gold digger. You get in a car accident and are unable to work. Your finances start to run low. Does the gold digger stick with you, through sickness and in health, til death do you part? No, the gold digger divorces your sorry butt, she gets nothing because frankly you aren't working any more due to health reasons and don't have any money to take, and then she is left with no career of her own to fall back on.

Thus marrying a gold digger simply isn't practical, for either of you. Oh sure, she could sell any jewelry you gave her (like the Marilyn Monroe song "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend"), but the end result is she is back at square one.



Madonna's "Material Girl" pays homage to the Marilyn Monroe song, but with an important difference. In the music video she ends up going out with the guy who brought her handpicked daisies.



Part of the whole gold digger phenomenon we could blame on tradition. Traditionally men were the bread winners and women didn't need to have their own career. In modern society its now considered to be more practical if both men and women have their own careers, their own money and they aren't financially beholden to their spouse.

Speaking for myself, I would prefer to go the handpicked daisy route. Not because its cheaper on my wallet, but because at least then I know the woman is being honest, realistic and practical.

Diamonds may be a Girl's Best Friend, but Diamonds won't buy you True Love.

Disciplining your Kids at Work (Part II)

See the older post: Disciplining your Kids at Work to learn more about physical discipline (ie. spanking, ear tugging, etc).

Now regardless of whether you believe in physical discipline (I firmly believe that as a child I needed it and I am thankful my parents used ear tugging and spankings at an early age to get their point across that tomfoolery will not go unpunished).

However at a certain age these kinds of punishments don't work any more. This is something every parent knows.

Thus begins a period of "being grounded", being denied dessert after dinner, not being allowed to watch TV, play on the computer, no talking on the phone, etc. At least these were the punishments I was familiar with being grounded during the 1980s and 1990s.

These days being grounded means being sent to their room where many kids now have their own TV, laptop, cell phone, so "being grounded" isn't really much of a punishment unless the parents also take away those electronic devices. I would argue however that the cell phone is an emergency device and should never be taken away. (But you might start handing the bill to the teenager and let them pay for it so they learn to cut back on their rampant usage.)

I remember once wracking up a huge $1,500 phone bill back in August 1997. Thankfully I was working and could pay for it, but in retrospect that money could have been spent on something else. I learned to discipline my phone usage after that incident.

The thing is self-discipline is a rare thing amongst children. Most children will simply run amok (like the kids in Lord of the Flies) if there is no one to tell them what they can and cannot do.

Case in point.

When I was 14 there was an incident at a gathering of neighbours outside the old Salem School and Church. It was basically a community BBQ and I noticed a bunch of kids bullying another kid, running around hitting each other with sticks. So being one of the older (and therefore more responsible) kids I took their sticks away and threw them over the fence.

Two of the boys went to complain to their father, claiming I had bullied them and/or hit them. The father came over to talk to me, telling me to leave his kids alone and threatening me. (I don't remember the exact words, it was 18 years ago.)

"All I did was take their sticks away and throw them over the fence. If you would discipline your kids this wouldn't be a problem."

At which point he threatened me some more and claimed his kids were perfectly disciplined.

To which I believe my response was "Bullshit. You're not even watching them." and basically berated him about the finer points of discipline, a fact which no doubt embarrassed him in front of his neighbours and he realized there was nothing he could do about it so he made one last threat and stormed away.

And THIS is why people should discipline their kids (whatever your methodology, providing its legal), so that your kids don't embarrass you in public, run amok beating up other kids, burning down churches and/or eventually becoming mass murderers. (Everyone blames the parents when the mass murderer strikes. Sometimes the mass murderer also kills their parents.)

Children should be encouraged to enjoy sports, express their creativity, to read, to show off their ability to learn and their intellect... and discouraged from bad behaviour which will cause trouble and mayhem both in the present and the future.

A neglectful parent is not a proper parent at all. Parenting requires you to actually pay attention to your children. Not paying attention and you reap the consequences.

Colombiana = A Heir to Kill Bill

ENTERTAINMENT - If you loved Kill Bill (I adored both Kill Bill films)you're probably going to enjoy this one:

Colombiana: Zoe Saldana plays a young woman who, after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogotá, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin. She works for her uncle as a hitman by day, but her personal time is spent engaging in vigilante murders that she hopes will lead her to her ultimate target: the monster responsible for her parents' death.

It doesn't say it in the trailer, but they also hint that he raped her.

Films where women are physically or metaphorically raped and then go on a killing spree (essentially because they've been traumatized) are really kind of a warning to never underestimate the vengeance of a woman.

Hell hath no fury like a vengeful woman.

"Revenge is a dish best served cold."

Fantasy Authors at Work

ENTERTAINMENT - Is fantasy just something for men?

No, evidently not. Not when you consider fantasy authors like Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin and J.K. Rowling, just for starters. There is also Marion Zimmer Bradley, Margaret Weis and many more.

As male fantasy authors go there is Robert E. Howard, George R.R. Martin, Tolkien, Guy Gabriel Kay, Troy Denning, Tracy Hickman, David Eddings, Dave Duncan and many others.

The major difference between male and female fantasy authors however seems to be the number of films / TV shows based off their work. Male authors have way more movies and TV shows... Conan, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and so forth.

For female fantasy authors its a very short list... Harry Potter.

And I don't think it is any lack of quality of the imagination of the authors. ie. Anne McCaffrey's "Dragon Riders of Pern" would make a great film if given an opportunity. Same goes with the Dragonlance Trilogy, co-written by both Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

When it comes to being a fantasy author you really have to measure success by whether its made into a film.

Which begs the question, would it be beneficial for female fantasy authors to publish their works under a male pseudonym just so they're taken more seriously?

Maybe. But I think personal charisma and the likeability of characters makes a huge difference. Harry Potter, Conan and characters like Frodo / Gandalf deserve to be recognized in film... but again you may have noticed many of them are male characters.

Could we assume this is because more men read fantasy in the first place? Maybe. Its difficult to say the exact reason.

Tattoos at Work

ART - Men and women who choose to get tattoos, piercings or any kind of noticeable body art are really wreaking havoc with their future career.

True, it may not hurt celebrities of the world like David Beckham (shown here), because their careers are already successful.

But for those people who are young and struggling in their careers having a large neck tattoo, a jungle of piercings, or a virtual art gallery on their body will find it difficult to find work.

Women I think can get away with this more. Women have a tendency to be more discreet about where they get their tattoos or piercings. Plus psychologically speaking employers are more likely to look the other way if a female has a tattoo whereas for men tattoos are associated with bad behaviour.

Lets take the South Korean military as an example. Military service for men in South Korea is mandatory. But there is ways to get out of it. One of the ways is to get a tattoo. The South Korean military believes that men with tattoos are unruly and won't follow orders, and therefore won't allow them into the military. (Which is the complete opposite of the United States military where tattoos of their units are welcomed.)

If you are a parent you have probably given your kids plenty of advice about how to get and keep a job. Not having tattoos or piercings was probably amongst your suggestions.

According to a recent study conducted by Career Builder applicants who do not follow proper job etiquette are hurting their chances - even if they are a good fit for the position.

Whether a candidate is seeking a new job or a promotion, a professional image can make a difference. According to managers who were surveyed they said the following personal attributes would make them less likely to extend a promotion include:

• Piercings
• Bad breath
• Visible tattoos
• Often have wrinkled clothes
• Messy hair
• Dresses too casually
• Too much perfume or cologne
• Too much make up
• Messy office or cubicle

Of course this really depends on the nature of the workplace. Well hidden piercings and tattoos are fairly main stream in cities these days. However there is never an excuse for poor personal hygiene unless you're a garbage collector.

Over 20% of hiring managers also said they are less likely to hire a candidate who didn’t send a post-interview thank you note. That’s because they say omitting this step shows a lack of follow through and sends a message that the applicant is not really serious about the opportunity. (We should note many young people don't even know about this unspoken rule.)

A hand written note is still the gold standard, but most managers are perfectly happy to get an emailed thank you from interested applicants. If there were multiple interviewers, each interviewer should get a personal note.

It makes you realize the number of unspoken rules the workplace these days has.

The whole thank you note thing may seem repetitive, but enthusiasm for the job is a key component for hiring people. It is also your last chance to boost your chances. (Especially if other applicants send a thank you note and you did not.)

Another big thing HR staff now check is Facebook and Google your name. Its a good idea to clean up your online reputation so that when they do take these steps they are seeing the best possible side of you.

ie. You probably won't want them seeing photos of you on a website involving "drunk people with tattoos" or any other poor behaviour.

There's even a case of a man who legally changed his name because of his old profession and bad reputation online. He now has kids and wanted 2 things: Employers to see the new him; His children to only know about the new him as well, as opposed to the old version which was very risque film work and involved his private member diving repeatedly into the dark spot between the legs of multiple women. (*cough cough*)

The end result is that men and women need to be more discreet about where they are getting tattoos and piercings if they want to have any kind of serious business career.

The same rule applies when applying to an university, running for political office, or even wanting to become a clergy member.

Tattoos, like all other forms of art, are subjective and not everyone likes particular styles of art.

Its a bit like picking out corporate art for your office. Do you pick a piece of abstract art, a landscape or a figurative nude? Probably best to go with an abstract or landscape piece just so you don't accidentally offend or distract clients.

Age of Conan at Work

ENTERTAINMENT - While I don't recommend playing it at work (too much adult content), I do recommend people check out "Age of Conan: Unchained" the online roleplaying game based on the world of Conan the Barbarian. The game is now free to download and play. (The Age of Conan store however sells bonus stuff to make the game easier.)

Male and Female Drivers at Work

CARS - Who is the best drivers? Male drivers or female drivers?

I don't think there is any difference between male and female drivers... some people are just aggressive, stupid, timid and so forth... and none of these things makes a person "a good driver".

But there is a huge difference between countries. Americans are not as good as think. Asian drivers are actually much better than people give them credit for (better than American drivers)... but nothing beats the Finns.

Finland has the best drivers in the world. Not just on the road, but on the racetrack too. Finland has a very low car accident rate per capita, and they're very good in race cars too (If you want to win, you hire a Finn!). The reason? Finland trains their drivers from a younger age and they are really more aggressive in their training methodology. See the video below and see what I mean.

Check out these videos about Finnish drivers:



Oh and while we are at it, here is the world's worst driver. A Dutchman named Pim from a reality TV show ended up hitting the acceletator when he was supposed to be stepping on the brakes. He ended up hitting the host of the TV show.

Rob Fod Vs the Gay Pride Parade

CANADA - No Rob Ford? No problem.

With an estimated crowd of over 1 million people, Toronto's Gay Pride Parade went off with its usual rainbow-esque festivities as Torontonians celebrated 31 years of Pride, despite Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's controversial absence.

Where was Rob Ford? He was hiding up north in his cottage, avoiding everything to do with the Gay Pride Parade. Homophobic? Maybe. Or more likely he is trying to win votes from the white middle class suburbanites who elected him mayor in the first place.

The record-breaking event this year was more than a massive celebration that takes over several city streets. The parade is a constant reminder that there is still a lot to do to achieve equal rights for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) communities worldwide.

And the fact Toronto's own mayor refused to go really hammers home the concept that this is an important equal rights issue, even if you're not gay and have no interest in the LGBT community.

The three-hour parade, the largest of its kind in Canada, is part of the largest gay festival in North America (which means its also one of the biggest in the world) involves a 10-day Pride Week that generates about $100 million for Toronto's economy and draws 10s of thousands of tourists to Toronto.

Rob Ford claims he skipped the parade to continue a family tradition of spending Canada Day in cottage country. He also skipped all the other Pride events held earlier in the week, including a rainbow flag raising at city hall. He avoided everything and anything to do with being gay.

Ford has already faced plenty of criticism and accusations of homophobia.

In the parade some people waved signs denouncing Rob Ford, while others poked fun at him by covering their faces or genitals with cardboard cut-outs of Ford's face.

It was the first time since 1994 that Toronto's sitting mayor didn't march in the parade. Former mayors Barbara Hall and David Miller came out to attend.

As Miller shook hands one young man shouted: "Our old mayor is better than our new one," which drew a chorus of cheers. David Miller declined to comment about Ford's absence and focused on the positive instead.

"I believe this event shows Toronto at its best," says David Miller, who was Toronto's mayor until Ford took over in fall 2010. "In our city, everybody's welcome."

Rapists at Work + Apology for all the rapists in the world

Greetings ladies and gents!

I used to have a webcam video here, but have since decided to scrap webcam activities because frankly I felt that series of videos was ill conceived and have since thought better of it. I am just not suited for webcams. No shame in admitting it.

In the video I apologized for all the *ssh*les in the world who have ever raped a woman. On behalf of all of mankind I apologize for the rapes and crimes against womenkind that rapists have committed for the entire history of humankind.

In Canada alone 1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted at some point in their life time.

99% of the women who go to the police are telling to the truth and 1% of cases are thrown out because the police are very good at detecting liars (because they keep changing their stories).

And then there is the cases with physical evidence of assault... but even those don't always end in conviction. The conviction rate for sexual assault in Canada is only 49%. That is very low when compared to other crimes and their conviction rates.

And what it really boils down to is he said vs she said.

She has bruises on her face, neck and hips. He says they just like it rough and got carried away. Who is the judge to believe?

If the evidence is "circumstantial" then its not enough for a conviction.

The system is broken.

What we need is a better way to convict criminals and determine the truth and facts of what really happening.

In Canada there are between 260,000 and 286,000 sexual assaults per year. Only 9 to 10% of sexual assaults are reported to police. The Canadian average is 26,000 reports of sexual assaults annually.

With so few convictions there has to be a better way to solve this problem.

I think scare tactics help... I am not talking about longer sentences for people convicted. No. I think more mass media topics about women vigilantes killing rapists is something that will make men think twice.

Movies like the French film "Baise Moi" where two women go on a rampage after being abused by men.

Or the music video by Rihanna "Man Down". Such things will give men pause and make them think twice. Because trials and sentencing isn't working. 260,000 sexual assaults per year in Canada is a shockingly high number. And the number is much higher in the USA. Close to 3 million annually.

Ex Girlfriends or Ex Wives at Work

Ah relationships...

Or more specifically in this case, the ENDING of relationships. Do they ever truly end sometimes? Or do they just drag on and morph into something else?

For example I think there is at least 4 basic scenarios when a serious couple breaks up...

#1. Mutual split, they both hate each other.

#2. Mutual split, they're still friends.

#3. She dumps him, but he still loves her.

#4. He dumps her, but she still loves him.

Next there is sub scenarios...

A. They still talk constantly.

B. They rarely talk.

C. They never talk again.

A2. They have children together and have to talk constantly due to shared custody.

B2. Shared custody but they avoid talking if they can help it because its either painful, awkward, angry, bitter, or something more complicated.

C2. One of the parents' leaves with the children, disappears and never speaks to the other parent ever again.

Of course there will be many other factors (ie. how and why they broke up, whether either of them cheated, whether they were actually married, how long the relationship lasted, rockiness of the relationship, whether they miss each other, are they business colleagues and sometime work together, etc.)...

These days technology has made it easier than ever to send a message to someone's ex. We have email and Facebook and many other ways to find / contact that person. (Unless they disappear and change their name...)

Ideally it is possible to stay friends with the person, but such circumstances seem to be rare. Especially if there is a large amount of bitterness between the couple.

Children wishing their divorced parents would get back together like to believe that anything can happen, including the burying of old hatchets and the rekindling of old flames.

We all would like to think it can happen but the truth is it rarely does. Bitterness is a bit like distrust. Once its there its like a stain on the relationship that never goes away.

Kissing in Dangerous Times... at Work!

LOVE & SEX - The photo on the right is young lovers Alexandra Thomas and Scott Jones in Vancouver, kissing during the recent riots following the Canucks loss.

The photo has since gone viral online, and according to interviews Alexandra and Scott they were actually afraid and fearing for their safety. The kissing couple were photographed in between police lines at the Vancouver riot, trapped and unable to go in either direction because police wouldn't let them.

“We were struck by police shields, pushed to the ground and I was just very, very frightened,” says Alexandra. “Everything happened so fast, faster than we could ever imagine it could happen.”

The two were not part of the riots. They were just looky-loos who had been watching the game at a friend’s house downtown when they heard about the riots and wanted to take a look.

“We wanted to go down and see for ourselves but it was crazy,” says Scott. “We didn’t know where we were supposed to go. We wanted to get out of there and we ended up in the line of police marching forward.”

Alexandra was struck down charging police wielding riot shields and batons. Scott was also knocked on the ground. “I just wanted us to go home safely. It was unbelievable that it was happening and all I wanted was for us to be safe.”

“Nobody was getting out of the way. It was all of a sudden they charged us. Very strong-handed and we were in one spot. The only thing we could do was try to stay calm and try to get up,” says Alexandra.

While down Alexandra was panicking and upset, so Scott kissed her in an effort to calm her down. That is when a nearby photographer snapped their photo, capturing a perfect example of "make love not war".

After much confusion the pair managed to find a train station and took a train to get out of Vancouver's downtown core.

The next day their moment of tenderness during the chaos was in newspapers and spreading rapidly online.

“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘No way, that’s not ... I can’t believe that’s us,’ ” says Alexandra. “Then I looked some more and realized that is us. That’s a very revealing picture of us.”

In the history of rioters vs police there's always a lot of damage...

Take for example last years G20 protests in Toronto... it shut down the city core and what did it do to prevent damage to public property? Nothing. The protestors simply damaged whatever property they were near, often targeting companies they considered to be "corporate fat cats".

The amount of damage is something for insurance agents and Toronto accountants to decide, but we can safely guess the damage was in the 10s of thousands.

And then there is all the employees who were unable to work the following days until their workplaces were fixed, repaired and so forth. Its not like they can just hire some freelance IT staff and go back to work immediately.

And for what??? They didn't change the government's mind about anything. All that damage to public property and people unable to work, and NOTHING to show for it. See my older article about whether Protesting is Obsolete.

In theory if protestors actually wanted to accomplish something real they'd travel Ottawa and organize a secret protest (usually methods similar to flashmobbing groups) to pick the locations and times at the last minute, to avoid police interference.

But even then what would they do? Set fire to cars? Wave placards? Break Ottawa windows and loot stuff? And what is that supposed to accomplish?

Back to the Vancouver riots, the main focus of the riots was the Canada Post building... Canada Post is currently on strike. It was NOT Canuck fans who smashed the windows and was deliberately destroying the building. It was Canada Post workers in disguise, getting back against their employer.

And what effect has it had? Will the Canadian government give in to Canada Post union demands? Doubtful. Most people don't even know it was Canada Post workers who attacked the Canada Post building...

Meanwhile Stephen Harper is back in Ottawa, in 24 Sussex Drive, enjoying its weight room, tennis court, swimming pool, sunrooms, billiard room and all the other amenities. Does Stephen Harper care that Canadians are unhappy and protesting? Heck no.

Stephen Harper was elected with a majority government on May 2nd 2011. He will stay in power for the next 4 years. He doesn't care if protestors break windows, "make love not war" or do anything else. He will be in power regardless of how much people protest.

Proof that protest and rioting is useless.

Gender Studies at Work

FEMINISM - Back in university I took a course titled "Male and Female Relationships"... It was really more of a literature course in which we analyzed how men and women interact with one another, and not just on a biochemical level as per sex / love (much to the disappointment of several people in the class on the first day who evidently did not read the course description). but also dealt with issues of motherhood / fatherhood, how children relate to their parents, how siblings relate to each other, how male / female co-workers get along, bosses, authority figures, etc, etc.

The course was my first taste of what a gender studies course was all about. In the years that followed I took many other courses on similar topics, including Psychology of Women, Male and Female Archetypes, and so forth. I basically minored in gender studies, which at the time was often known as women's studies, a misnomer because we spent half the class time talking about men too.

That last bit is an important part of the whole gender studies phenomenon. As a series of courses they really don't contribute anything to the global economy... but they do allow people to study something which effects how people interact with each on a social level.

Knowing the gender/sex of an individual is the first thing people do when they meet someone new. They look at their chest, their face and try to determine which sex they are. Once this is done they also assess how feminine or masculine a person is.

If the first is confusing (ie. the person has facial hair and yet has breasts) then we get confused and wonder what exactly is this person standing before us. Are they like the bearded lady from the circus? Are they a really butch woman? Are they a man who looks feminine and has hormonal problems? Are they a transsexual? If a person can't tell they get confused and distracted, trying to determine what exactly they are looking at.

In the end it might just be a tomboy who has some whiskers. Hopefully they don't notice you staring and trying to figure out the conundrum.

In Toronto there was recently a couple who decided they were going to raise their baby "genderless", meaning they would treat it the same regardless of whether it was a boy or a girl. This was later reported on in the local media and it became a bit of a fuss. (The kid is obviously a boy, but the parents were refusing to admit it.)

Now because he was so obviously a boy all the neighbours were saying so, asking to see if they were correct. There was even polls to gauge public opinion. A bit too much fuss if you ask me.

When the boy eventually reaches kindergarten he will already have identified himself as male. He will be prone to playing with others boys (because girls are icky, dontcha know?) and doing activities that boys want to do. Its a natural process of self identification.

Identity is very meaningful to the individual. People define themselves with words, saying things like "I am a doctor" or "I am an amateur race car driver" or "I am a father of three", and so forth.

For example, I am an artist, writer, author, website designer, painter, sculptor, photographer, athlete, bicycle mechanic, weightlifter, archer, cyclist, amateur boxer, zen guru, Lilith expert, SEO expert, linguist, poly-lingual, long haired, glasses wearing, amateur guitarist, CEO, entrepreneur, Dungeons & Dragons player, nerd, geek, health nut, eidetic genius, liberal-minded, practical, spendthrift, blatantly honest, Scottish-French-German-Hebrew-Prussian, straight, white male with a sense of humour.

But is this all that I am? No. I am also a body, blood, sweat, meat, fluids, organs, skin, hair and if you believe in any religion I am also a soul which is either going to heaven, hell, purgatory or being reincarnated after I die.

And even so, is this all of my identity? No, because I left things out... I am also a lover, a poet, a hopeless romantic and any number of other words that people might choose to describe me. ie. Some people might call me a self-righteous prick.

Recognizing that we define ourselves by our identity, gender studies is a topic that doesn't just deal with issues of relationships, androgyny, sexuality and so forth... it also deals with the topic of identity and how that is tied to our ego.

The macho male ego for example is a fragile one. Its built upon the idea of being "macho" and masculine at all times. If caught in a situation where the macho male looks weak or feminine, the macho response is to loudly proclaim that they aren't feminine, a sissy, a coward, gay, homosexual, metrosexual or whatever... and if loudly proclaiming it doesn't work, then they start a fight to prove what a 'big man' they are.

I'd argue it takes a bigger man to be humble and accept that we cannot always be macho. Especially if you're a parent.

As a parent there will be times when you need to change a baby's diapers, take the kid in a stroller to the park, and so forth. Not exactly macho activities at all.

But then again macho and married with children don't usually go that well together. Alpha males may be good at attracting women (especially dumb women), but they're not very good at keeping them around because they tend to be assholes.

Studying gender (as per gender studies or women's studies) is therefore highly useful. I'd also argue it takes a smarter man to realize these things and that getting in a fight isn't going to change anything. Fighting won't make your penis bigger.

But it might get you kicked in the balls.

In unrelated news.... Macho Man Randy Savage dies in car accident

Open Letter to Casandra Vasu

The following letter is something I wrote and sent to an old love interest from the 1990s. I spotted her recently on a social media website and thought I would give her a kick in the butt. I admit I kind of rub her face it and act like a bit of a dick to her in the letter, but its with the purpose of provoking her into changing her life. See if it would inspire her to get her life in order and actually do something with it.

Hey Casi!

Wow, you look really old!

Time has not been kind to you...

I still get asked for ID when buying booze, go figure. I chalk it up to healthy eating, cycling, yoga and weightlifting. In the last year I've also taken up archery, boxing and mountain climbing just to keep things interesting.

In other news I just found out that my artwork is now taught in several art history courses.

Its rather unnerving the amount of attention I get... fan letters, that sort of thing. Plus my paintings have been in 3 documentaries so far and I am getting commissions from TV shows. That part I cannot complain about.

I miss our old banter. The sad part about the whole you-me story is that I went on to do something with my life and you seemed to fall to pieces. Dropped out and off the radar.

Which is really sad because you had so much potential but you were always distracted, bragging about what you were instead of reaching for what you could be.

It would be nice to see you pick up the pieces of your life and actually do something with it. Something truly meaningful. I don't mean fame or money or anything else fleeting. I am talking about changing society around you to something more positive.

Maybe you have been doing that already, but its so low key its not even on the radar. Its good to be humble. Being unnerved by my fame is a good thing I suppose. It keeps me humble but I can still brag about my accomplishments right? There is nothing wrong with being proud of my career.

But what I want to do is so much more. I don't want my painting "United States Censorship" to be an one hit wonder. Its not even that good of a painting, I am the first to admit that. For starters its only on a large piece of paper. More of a sketch than a painting. I want to make many more paintings in the future, paintings which inspire thought and change. I think that is why my paintings are now being talked about in art history classes, because they do that.

To me it is sad to see an old friend, man or woman, relegated to the sidelines of life. Especially when they could have done so much more with their life.

Hope you are well and happy!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat

Jock Yoga at Work

HEALTH - There is Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Moksha Yoga, Bikram/Hot Yoga... but the instant favourite yoga for men of all is JOCK YOGA.

Now I will admit, I've been doing my own version of "jock yoga" for years now. For me its basically a combination of yoga positions + weightlifting, sometimes simultaneously.

However Jock Yoga, as its patented by Toronto founder Michael DeCorte, is different from my own particular brand of yoga. DeCorte's Jock Yoga focuses on strength and endurance, with less emphasis on flexibility. And his methods differ wildly from my own.

And for male beginners jock yoga offers something that other yoga practitioners do not: Your dignity.

The reason is because many men, despite being quite athletic or strong, are not very flexible. Sometimes its just a size/height issue too, like it was in my case wherein certain positions are more difficult because my legs are too long. (Men typically have longer legs proportionally compared to women.)

Jock Yoga, as a new branch of yoga designed specifically for guys, uses positions that any man can do, but combines various aspects of Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga (which focuses on breathing), and Ashtanga Yoga (eight-limbed yoga, which includes meditation, self-purification, morality, posture, breath control, sensory control, intentions and contemplation).

Within jock yoga the idea is to make you sweat buckets. The poses are designed to be difficult to hold the posture due to the physical strain, not because it requires flexibility.

(Speaking for myself and my own brand of yoga, I do something similar, but I use 30 lb and 25 lb weights, exercise elastic tubes and rope to put added pressure on the muscle building part of the exercise. I will also sometimes add headstand pushups and gymnastic exercises to my routine.)

But whatever! More power to Michael DeCorte for succeeding to get more men into the yoga studio. His classes have become notoriously popular with both men and women.

Michael DeCorte's classes are available at:

473A Church Street Toronto, "Jock Yoga" at Buddha Body Yoga (where I briefly attended back in 2009).

889 Yonge Street Toronto, where it is known as "Athletic Flow".

661 Yonge Street Suite 300, Toronto, "Flow 1" at Iam Yoga.

1498 Yonge Street Toronto, "Jock Yoga" at Moksha Yoga Uptown.

155 Liberty Street Toronto, "Jock Yoga Bootcamp" at the LiV Yoga Studio.

1661 Queen Street East Toronto, "Jock Yoga" at System Fitness.

1977 Queen Street East Toronto, "Level 1" at Downward Dog at the Beach.

For more about Yoga and similar topics see:
Yoga Tips for Beginners
The History and Benefits of Yoga
Yoga Fashion
Ab Exercises
Parkour
Anti Aging Techniques
Women's Retreats

Anorexic Women and Arnold Schwarzenegger at Work

HEALTH - I totally understand why Arnold Schwarzenegger cheated on his wife Maria Shriver... and later separated from her in 2010 and now looks to be heading towards divorce.

Have you seen Maria Shriver? She is so anorexic she looks like a skeletal corpse.

When Arnold and Maria first met many years ago Maria Shriver was a thin but reasonably healthy woman. She was in many ways a trophy wife, but had intellect and was a member of the Kennedy Family (and thus a boon to Arnold Schwarzenegger's political career).

However as she got older Maria Shriver became more obsessed with dieting / cutting back on food that she began to look like somekind of undead monster. Combined with this is the associated mental disorders such an eating disorder like anorexia brings with it. She became irritable, obsessive, problematic... in short she became a mental head case.

To treat such a problem what you need is a psychiatrist, which Arnold Schwarzenegger is not.

But what Arnold Schwarzenegger is however is a bodybuilding health nut. To him this wasting away of muscle and fat to leave only skin and bones would have been seen as the opposite of what Maria Shriver should be doing. If she wanted to look beautiful the thing to do is to eat well and exercise. That Arnold certainly knows.

It is therefore perhaps no surprise that approx. 14 years ago that Arnold Schwarzenegger cheated on his wife Maria Shriver in favour of the much more attractive housekeeper Patty (Mildred Patricia Baena) and in the process fathered a son, who has recently been the centre of much media attention.

As a working mother Patty had to take care of Maria and Arnold's four children, cook, clean and do laundry. She was certainly eating healthy and getting lots of exercise. She was a virtual sexy amazon compared to Maria Shriver's withered corpse of a body.

The point I am making here isn't that Arnold cheated on his anorexic wife. I am not endorsing cheating whatsoever. The point I am making is that anorexia is NOT sexy. Never is, never will be.

Only some seriously mentally deficient person would want to have sex with a skeleton. That is just plain sick.

With respect to Arnold Schwarzenegger it is no surprise that he tried to do the honourable thing and hold his family together long enough so his children could all grow up with a family, including the bastard son who apparently spent a reasonable amount of time on his estate. While he kept it a secret from his family, he made the son a welcome part of their extended family.

I would speculate that Arnold Schwarzenegger will eventually find love again in his life, but this time he will pay closer attention to finding someone who shares his interest in healthy diet and exercise.

See Also
The Perfect Female Body at Work
Dissatisfaction with Our Bodies and Eating Disorders
Anorexia in Asia
Thinspiration Sickspiration
Bulimia and Depression

Bacon Flavoured Grilled Cheese Sandwich

HEALTH - I don't like to waste food.

Heck, I don't even like to waste food byproducts... like bacon grease.

Thus when I had bacon yesterday I kept the grease in the pan and had fried eggs later.

And this morning I still had grease leftover, but I had run out of eggs... And then I looked at the cheddar cheese in my fridge and an idea sparked...

Minutes later I was grilling not one but TWO grilled cheese sandwiches in the frying pan, using the bacon grease.

And yes, it was delicious.

However on the health side of things it was so ridiculously fattening that I now feel a tad sick. I think I overdid it by making two of them (in an effort to use up more of the leftover grease) and now my arteries are going to be paying for it.

My only solution is that I shall have to exercise a lot today to work off all those extra calories I just consumed.

So my advice for other men (or women) out there is that if you are tempted to try making a grilled cheese sandwich using leftover bacon grease is JUST MAKE ONE! No need to overdo it!

I realize that men often overestimate what we can eat, even when we feel like we are starving. ie. "I could eat a horse!" But we really need to cutback on unnecessary calories when we really don't need them.

Just because we can eat that much doesn't mean we should.

:p

Cowboy Hats at Work

FASHION - There is nothing manlier than a cowboy hat. At least insofar as men's hats are concerned.

Cowboy hats are manly, adventurous, heroic, rugged, have that can-do mentality, honest, hard working... Whats not to love?

When you imagine someone wearing a cowboy hat its usually a man, an actual cowboy perhaps, and if not you're thinking of a construction worker, or a lumberjack, or something equally masculine. You think leather and sweat (and occasionally Marlboro cigarettes), the kind of rugged manliness that you expect of such men.

Lets say for example you hire a handyman to install commercial roofing or metal panels on your shed, barn, garage or whatever you happen to be building/renovating. Its not hard to imagine such a man showing up driving a pickup truck and wearing (oh my) a cowboy hat. (I was tempted to say motorcycle too, but they really should be wearing a helmet instead.)

And there is no shortage of cowboy hat styles for me to choose from.

True, women can wear cowboy hats too... but the topic of cowgirls should really be covered in a different blog post because that is a specific type of tomboy... or at very least, a different kind of woman who is more adventurous.

I think however that the cowboy hat is seeing a revival. Perhaps because it is so manly and adventurous. I am not the only one who thinks this either. See Cowboy Hats Back in Fashion.

I predict that during this summer and summers to come more people will begin wearing cowboy hats simply as a fashion statement, to "keep the sun and rain off", and be doing all sorts of non-cowboy-esque activities whilst doing so.

While hiking in the woods, camping, visiting your Muskoka cottage (<- Check out the outrageous price on that cottage!), going to the beach, attending baseball games and football games... and day-to-day activities like shopping or running errands around town, using printable coupons, opening the doors for old people, going on dates, business meetings, picking up the kids from school...

Or going to the movies, in which case you should take your hat off inside the theatre...

Cowboys and Aliens


Rango


Meek's Cutoff


And in 2013 The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (by Stephen King) is coming out, the first part of The Dark Tower series. Stephen King is currently penning an 8th novel in the series, and there is also a comic books series and a novella in the works.

And if you can't wait, you could also go see those films which are already out...

Including

True Grit


The Warrior's Way (which really should be called "Cowboys Vs Ninjas")


Gunless


Jonah Hex (for those of you who like Steampunk)


The Last Rites of Ransom Pride


6 Guns


Funny how Westerns are almost always about revenge.

Amusing Cartoons

ENTERTAINMENT - The first cartoon here is by XKCD. The 2nd set of photos was sent to me by a friend. :)





NOTES: Technically Netanyahu is Israel's Prime Minister (Israel is more democratic and doesn't need a president). And in case you were wondering Sarkozy's wife is supermodel Carla Bruni.

Valentine's Day at Work

Valentine's Day dates back to the Christian martyr Saint Valentine (or Valentinus). His life and death had nothing to do with love however. Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor of Rome to Christianity and was sentenced to death. He was beaten with clubs, stoned and then beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate in Rome.

Very little is actually known about Valentinus in terms of historical fact.

The concept of celebrating Valentine's Day didn't become popular until Geoffrey Chaucer who promoted the idea of courtly love and romance. Chaucer and other bards of his era created many songs and stories promoting romantic love and propagated the myth of Valentine's Day into its modern celebration of romance.

Valentine's Day is actually a pretty busy for both couples and businesses.

Flower shops, chocolate sales, lingerie sales, etc.

But there are plenty of other things people could be doing on, before or after Valentine's Day if they're feeling romantic.

VALENTINE GIFT/ACTIVITY IDEAS

#1. Dance Classes

Some women go weak at the knees when it comes to dancing, but are too afraid to step on a dance floor in a club. Plus there are plenty of people who are simply afraid of the kind of drama, nonsense, drunkenness and even crime that goes on in modern dance clubs and want something more conventional, less formal and where they can actually learn and have fun. Thus dance classes sounds pretty romantic for most people, even if they have difficulty moving about / are embarrassed about it.



#2. Swimming Pools

Now obviously we can't all afford swimming pools, but swimming together has always been a very romantic thought. Heck, if you want a combination of things you can always just watch the film Dirty Dancing together.

I suppose if you actually had the money you could pull a Clark W. Griswold move and announce you are putting in a swimming pool.

#3. Romantic Artwork

Now this is a personal bias since I am an artist and I happen to paint romantic artwork occasionally, but whatever. I am going to guess that there is a fair amount of people out there who share my belief that artwork makes a great Valentine's Day gift.

Of course there might be men (and even women) out there who are more turned on by power tools and the sounds of heavy machinery in the background.

So if you're the type of person who gets turned on by rigid foam insulation (pun deliberate), wall systems or new patio furniture... well then you don't really need Valentine's Day to feel romantic, do you? You probably get turned on just by hearing the ice cream truck and then start making all sorts of crude jokes about cream.

Or maybe you're a green oriented environmentalist? For all we know you might get turned on by solar power hardware (again, pun deliberate) and solar power Ontario MicroFIT programs and solar manufacturing software.

Or maybe you're a vegan? In which case I recommend beautiful-vegan.com.

I think part of the problem with Valentine's Day is that it sometimes sneaks up on people and they forget what day it is. Same with Groundhog Day and Pancake Day, they come and go so quickly sometimes that you forget about them. February just isn't as well known for holidays as October, December or April are. After all you don't even the day off...

So as men today rush out to buy gifts at the last minute many of them will be going straight to the lingerie store first. (Although seriously, the flower shop probably runs out of supplies faster.)

According to our research the big thing in 2011 is vintage lingerie, so things like push-up bras, suspender garter belts, waist cinchers and pin-up stockings with respect to fashion. Blame Mad Men and the recent upshot of interest in retrofuturism / Steampunk.

And don't forget jewelry, another hot item during Valentine's Day, despite gold prices being more than $1,300 per ounce. And perfume... although seriously, you must be running out of ideas if you buy a girl perfume.

In 2009 Canada's Valentine’s Day floriculture sales (before expenses) was $1.44 billion. Figures for 2010 aren't available yet because not all the shops from 2010 have submitted their income tax info yet.

Cosmetic surgeons, dentists, marriage counsellors, online dating services, even divorce lawyers all report an increase in activity on, before or after Valentine's Day.

But the one I really want to talk about is private investigators.

Apparently Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year for PIs (business goes up 150% above normal according to one source), due to the number of people cheating on Valentine's Day. Spouses get suspicious, they start thinking of divorce, they hire a PI, and then the next thing you know they're headed to the divorce lawyer.

For fun, go watch Burn After Reading too. Spoiler alert! The bits about the divorce lawyer and private investigators are quite funny.



It makes me wonder what the statistics are for the number of divorces that happen in the months AFTER Valentine's. I mean first you find out they are cheating on you, then you hire a marriage counsellor, then you agree to the divorce, then you have to hire a real estate agent, and a home stager because neither of you wants to live in the house together, and then voila... finally the sale of the house, the division of the spoils of love and war, and its over.

Meanwhile in the United States... Americans are planning to spend an average of $116.21 USD on Valentine's Day, up 11% from last year’s $103 (a sure sign of economic recovery if I ever saw one). [Source: National Retail Federation]

Total Valentine's Day spending is expected to reach $15.7 billion, up from $14.1 billion in 2010, but still lower than pre-recession levels.

In order of significance (2011 polls):

Greeting cards: 52.1%
Jewelry: 17.3% (up from 15.5% in 2010)
Florist: 16.8%

Its difficult to track how much people spend on clothing, flowers, candy etc because prices can vary wildly and could cover everything from cinnamon hearts to red hats.

Interesting fact! Men spend roughly double what women spend on Valentine's. The average man spends $158.71 whereas the average woman spends $75.79.

And oddly enough women are more likely to spend their amount on personal things, like hair salons and grooming.

The age difference is also a big deal. Adults 25 to 34 will spend an average of $189.97 USD, compared to the $60.22 USD that adults 65 and older will spend.

30% of couples are planning to dine out tonight.

$9.3 billion is the expected amount of Valentine’s Day gift spending (not including dinner, transportation, etc) on partners today.

$681 million Valentine’s gift spending on pets (a surprising number of people buy things for their pets today... loneliness maybe?)

*Source: National Retail Federation

See my past post: Valentine's Day Primer

Males can't remember things when sex is involved

According to a new study, men have difficulty remembering things when distracted by sex.

Really?

Tell us something else we already know.

According to the study men are less likely to retain the information relayed to them by sexually attractive news anchors than those deemed less sexually attractive, the new research says.

Basically what is happening is that men are more likely to watch a sexually attractive news anchor - but are less likely to remember what she actually said because he will start daydreaming about sex.

Writing in the journal Communication Research, Indiana University telecommunications professor Maria Elizabeth Grabe and doctoral candidate Lelia Samson explored how the appearance of a female news anchor affects the audience of a news program.

Grabe, a former journalist herself, recalls how in the 1980s female anchors weren’t sexualized the way they are today. Instead it was all about being "as androgynous as possible."

"It was the golden rule: Don’t let the physical - the femininity - don’t let it get in the way of the news," says Grabe. "That was the old way of thinking. And now Lelia and I are watching the news and we’re going, 'Whoa, babes!' "

During their study, the researchers recruited 386 participants: 193 men and women. They used one news anchor (a 24-year-old brunette of “average” weight) and dressed her up in two different ways: as a sexualized anchor, giving her a fitted jacket and skirt to wear, and putting bright red lipstick on her and a necklace; and as an unsexualized anchor, wearing a shapeless, loose-fitting jacket, and no lipstick or necklace.

The rest of the female anchor’s appearance (hair, makeup, etc.) remained the same for both. She read the same five stories as the sexualized anchor and as the unsexualized anchor.

Men were so affected by the physical characteristics of the sexualized anchor, they were unable to retain much of the information she relayed. Grabe and Samson were not surprised.

And frankly who would be?

We all know men's brains turn to mush when they see things that are deemed sexually attractive to them. We don't need any new research to confirm what we already know.

Single Dads at Work

SEX - This article is about the dating life (or lack thereof) of single dads (it has nothing to do with the working habits of single fathers).

According to dating website eHarmony 70% of childless Canadian women seeking love decline to even consider a single father as a possible mate. Is it because they think single dads are damaged goods? Do they just hate children? Are they afraid of becoming a step-mother? Or do they just don't want to help raise what is quite likely a very nice kid, just because its not their own flesh and blood?

And there is actually quite a few single dads out there... all of them with limited love lives because of a combination of work, kid(s) to look after and possibly other obligations.

Some people argue women have an aversion to men with children because they are afraid they won't be the "only person in his life" because the child will require a lot of his attention. ie. the child will often come first.

But in contrast however many Canadian men are open to meeting single mothers. Practically competing with each other to meet them. Well, not exactly... but only 63% declined to meet single moms. That is a much better percentage.

NOTE: eHarmony considers people to be single parents, even if the child lives with someone else. That means that people with children could have their children living in another country or some place reasonably far away, and they would still be considered a parent (and a single one).

The problem is that even if the kid is far away is that people consider children to be extra baggage (as opposed to a perk) when it comes to dating.

ie. Last year I dated a woman who had a 4-year-old son here in Toronto. For me having him around us was troublesome at times (lack of privacy and his penchant for troublemaking), but overall I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would do it again. I can't wait to be a father.

However on the upside I learned something about myself and my qualities as a possible future parent. Furthermore, dating a person with a child means you learn quickly what kind of person they are (how attentive, responsible, etc) and what kind of parent they will be if the two of you decide to have kids too.

“Watching a man parent his children pulls on my heart strings. The relationship I have with my father is a deeply loving and dynamic bond. To (see) relationships reflective of similar breadth and depth takes my breath away.” - A. DeSylva, a 28-year-old Torontonian who has dated single dads.


If a man is 30 or older doesn't have kids, it raises concerns that he might be 'emotionally unavailable', have various relationship hangups, etc... as opposed to implying he was just cautious and used protection / dated girls with birth control pills.

Thus after the age of 35 if a man doesn't have kids, there might be something wrong with him... or maybe he's just been really cautious, which is a good thing. (Women should be able to tell which after they've bedded the guy.)

“If a prospective suitor in this age bracket doesn't have kids, there's usually a very, very, very good reason,” says A. DeSylva.


According to Patti Henry, a psychotherapist and author of "The Emotionally Unavailable Man: A Blueprint for Healing" these are good signs when dating single dads:

#1. If he is protective of you meeting his children, like not wanting you to meet them until after 3 to 6 months.

#2. If he still hangs out with other adults and not his kids regularly.

#3. If he is wise with his children and still punishes them when they do something bad.

#4. If he doesn't spoil them rotten.

All good signs he could be a very good and loving partner, and not be beholden to his kids all the time. (The same good signs can also be applied to dating single mothers.)

“What these women fail to consider is that the act of fatherhood makes any man kinder, more patient, loving and far less selfish. We're just better guys and better partners for being dads. Why isn't that part of the equation?" - Mitch, a 39-year-old single dad.

Sex Toys at Work

Are you having relationship problems?

Chances are likely the source is in your bed. Meaning you are not satisfying your wife or girlfriend enough. It could be she wants something more.

So before you do anything else (like run out and buy sex toys) you should discuss it with her first, communicate and see if she wants something more in the bedroom. (Hopefully she doesn't want a threesome with another man, because you probably are not into that...)

If she is curious about sex toys (and suddenly shows you her vibrator collection) then you know you have stumbled upon the solution.

Using sex toys in your relationship for getting the maximum pleasure is something that’s becoming more popular - both for married and non-married couples. Sure it is kinky and there is also implied intimacy involved in having sex with sex toys because it is an intimate secret.

But there are a few things that you need to keep in mind provided you wish to make the best use of sex toys for the best pleasure. While these sex toys can actually take your relationship to a different level, you should also be careful. Do it too soon in a relationship and she might think you are some kind of sexual pervert. Using sex toys should be a solution when the relationship is already past its earlier stages and starting to become a bit stale. In other words when the relationship has lost some of its sexual charm and has been going through some problems, then it is time to spice it up.

There are communication gaps between couples and a good sex toy is certainly a good opportunity to mend things by forcing you to communicate more during sex. As such sex toys actually can help a big deal to get things back on track when a couple is not communicating much. When you are introducing the sex toys for the first time in your relationship then it’s advisable to begin slowly. You are actually trying to mend things and not lose them by messing things up more.

As such don't just ram a dildo or vibrator in there in a hurry. Take your time.

Indeed I would argue that before going for the phallic sex toys, try making use of lotions and oils first so that using sex toys becomes easier for you to introduce later on.

Lotions
Oils
Lingerie
Water / Ice Cubes
Water Guns
Etc.

Introducing a third element into your bedroom activities doesn't have to be something big and expensive. A little massage oil (eg. nuru massage oil) and some ice cubes goes a long way. To get the most out of your sex life sometimes "less is more".

It is also not a big deal if you don't communicate your desire to use ice cubes as a sex toy. It is however a big deal if you introduce a massage oil that they are allergic to.

Before you begin, make sure that you have communicated with your partner regarding your intentions so they know you are introducing something new. There should not be any room for confusion and miscommunication. You must put the foundation in place. Use sex toys that are easy to use, especially when you are using it for the first time. Using too complex sex toys might actually frighten / confuse your partner.

However, you must ensure that you are not becoming addicted to using sex toys. It may have a negative impact on your relationship. Relying solely on the third element to boost up the lost passion in your relationship is not advisable at all. There are many kinds of sex toys that are available in the market. You and your partner can make a choice about the kind of sex toys that would be most suitable for both of you.

I also advise against roleplaying, BDSM or crossdressing unless you are BOTH super interested in that sort of thing. Forcing the other person into your weird fetishes is just going to end the relationship even faster.

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