33 posts categorized "Men and Their Minds"

The Third Annual International Day to Bite Me, January 13.

Clean desk loafing
Look at the photo above.  What do you see? 

Here's what I see.  A clean desk.  And absolutely no work being done!

It astonishes me when self-righteous neat-freaks suggest that a desk with no sign of work upon it shows more evidence of industry than a desk which looks like it's actually used.

That's why the second Monday in January—National Clean Off Your Desk Day—gets my goat.

In 2009, Deutschland über Elvis declared an anti-holiday in response.  The International Day to Bite Me occurs every January 13, and celebrates a number of things. 

It celebrates creativity, thoughtfulness, and humanity.  It celebrates a temperate and relaxed order to one's life, as opposed to an obsessive quest for absolute control over everything that happens around you.   It empowers you to resist, when others tout their neuroses as virtues.

HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE

First, choose your target.  When they nag you, let'er rip.  Then  go to the Official International Day to Bite Me Page, and leave a comment.  Let us hear your stinging riposte. Tell us who you told off.  How did they take it? 

If you're feeling really riled up, you might like to post a story on your own blog.  Or show your support on the IDTBM facebook event page.

And you can get into practice for the big event on January 7.  It's I'm Mad as Hell and I'm Not Going to Take It Any More Day.  The perfect warm-up, wouldn't you agree?


Time to Flex Your Middle Finger.

 6a01127917f7ad28a4012876c3bb6f970c-800wi

The second annual International Day to Bite Me has arrived!  It's your day to flip the bird at the small-minded, the petty, the unreasonable, the insufferable.  Tell us your story in the comments, or you can blog about it, and link back here.

Whales and Dolphins are Delicious!

And to put you in the mood, here's the Tokyo Choir of Complaint.  I'm not sure whether they should bite us, or they want us to bite them.  No matter.  It's splendid discontent, if a little too polite. 

By the way, the government forbids the Complaints Choir of Singapore from performing in public.  Sounds like they need a National Bite Me Day, real bad.


I refuse to participate in your neurosis

Bite me woman

The second Monday in January, is special.  The day-declaring people declared it National Clean Off Your Desk Day.

Odd.  Studies, they say, show people with messy desks are as productive as those with tidy ones.  Perhaps even moreso, if they produce thinking

People use their desks to park information they may need, but which they can't keep top of mind.  Getting people to clean up their desk gives them, according to one expert, an "environmental lobotomy".

Yet companies still enforce clean-desk rules. And a veritable industry has grown up around getting people neat and organised. 

Last year, I was so outraged at National Clean Off Your Desk Day, that I declared the following day, January 13th, as National Bite Me Day.

Because it's about more than a messy desk, IMHO.

People make moral judgements about slobs.  Slobs obviously have more important things to do than clean their desks.  They might use the time to think beautiful, original thoughts.  Do you know how uncomfortable that makes the world's meddlers, busybodies, control-freaks and Calvinists? 

Be alert to those who pass off their own hangups as "helpful". Or just plain better.

This issue is about people with nothing better to do who seek to foist whatever it is on you that they have nothing better to do than.  (Hey, grammar police!  Suck on THAT.)

HOW TO TAKE PART:

Refuse to accept someone else's emotional agenda.  Draw a boundary.  Don't let them bully you, with bogus arguments about what's best, what's right, what's more efficient, what's pretty, what's nice, what's necessary. Your emotional comfort is as important as theirs. Say so. 

Afterwards, leave a comment.  Let us hear your stinging riposte. Tell us who you told off.  How did they take it?  Not that you, like, care.

Click on the twink-link to your right to get the full story, or on this page.

You might like to post about it on your own blog, and link back to here.  You'll find some (if I do say so myself) cool graphics here, should you clever webophiles want to use them as a hotlink.  I've already paid the royalties on the images, which was rather well organised of me. Don't you think?


Photo Friday: Three

 The sign on the men's room at Marks and Spencer, Oxford Street

The Simple Graphics Man often tells us much more than his employers intend. 

To a gay chap who's been around the block a few times, this sign on a door might indicate more than a men's room.  It could suggest a meeting place for (from left) bears, twinks, and uptight straight guys.

Security at Marks & Spencer in Oxford Street, where this sign hangs innocently outside the lower ground floor lavatory, should take note. 

Photo Friday Homepage


The Bishop Has a Headache

Gay romance is tempered by a realistic understanding of male psychology.

Like any good stay-at home-spouse, Master Right fares me well every morning with a kiss at the front door.  "Do your best." he says, in a literal translation of the Japanese gambatte.
Wurst, Semmel and Senf
"What have you got  planned for today?" I once asked him.

"Nothing much. As usual."

A smile crossed my lips. "OK, dear. Be sure to think about me when you masturbate."

"I will." he said. "Mostly."

My heart filled with sentimental goo. How sweet! Mostly!  He always knows the right thing to say.

Let us segue, deftly, into a related subject.  That Queer Expatriate reminds us that May is International Masturbation Month.  At the annual Masturbateathon in San Francisco, a Japanese national, Mr. Masanobu Sato, beat his own record with almost ten hours of tuggery. 

One would need to check his kanji to be sure, but Masanobu literally means "a proper hermit".  Because Japanese has so many homonyms, it can also mean "polished knob".  No, really.  Check out the Denshi Jisho for masa and nobu.

Mr. Sato wanks for a crust, as it were.  He's the leading stunt-dick for Tenga K.K., a manufacturer of masturbation aids—big business in Japan

(Sato-san to boss: "I have some good news, and some bad news, Bucho-san.  The bad news is that I didn't win.  The good news is that I came first.")

With a tendency toward shyness, an ample supply of erotica, and many helpful devices to hand, one could conclude that Japanese men prefer a quiet buff to the genuine article. 

So from time to time, on taking leave in the the morning, I will ask my husband to say hello to Mrs. Palmer for me.  He smiles politely. But he hasn't yet figured out exactly what I mean.


Pour Homme, e pour Straight.

Chapitre Un. 

Screenwriter Neil Kramer is Citizen of the Month.

Neil chose the word "citizen" deliberately. He sees the blogosphere as a democratising force, where a regular Joe can fight the tyranny of mediated opinion. Blogs turn personal narrative into instant social history.  Original voices need not be silenced by the caprice of an editor, nor deadened by an academic. To Neil, a blog champions the common man, and his everyday life.

Perhaps that's why he bit on the Medicine Cabinet Meme.  It’s perfect material for the social historian; something so commonplace that it’s practically transparent, but which speaks tellingly about the owner’s life and time. 

As memes go, it seems no more invasive than usual. It doesn't demand that you reveal five secrets, six phobias, or three strangers on the bus you wish you'd asked for a blow job.

One simply lets the world peek behind one's bathroom mirror, and Preparation H does the talking.

Neil’s medicine chest is commonplace, indeed.  The only remarkable thing about it, is that it contains quite a bit of actual medicine.

Now, you need to know that Neil lives in the United States.  A primitive, Third-World country without universal health insurance. 

The presence of medicine doesn't mean that he's sick, just that he's well-to-do. An empty amoxycillin jar is as good as flashing a black Amex at Le Cirque.

L'expert

Since he earns enough to be medicated, I gave him shit for being a cheapskate. What, no aftershave? Soon, an email appeared in my inbox.

I have never worn aftershave, ever. Should I start? Neil.

It took a few seconds to sink in. This was a milestone in my gay life. A straight man asked me for a tip on personal grooming.

Honourable Husband, you've been QueerEyed!  It’s your fifteen minutes of fabulousness!

Some gay guys get this all the time. Their apartments are tasteful, their clothes stylish, and their comportment perfect. People flock to them for advice on paint colour, wine lists, or romantic poetry. Me? I drink beer and pick my nose.  I'm a slob.

But when it comes to after-shave, yours truly is an idiot savant. I love the stuff. For proof, you only need to look in my medicine cabinet; it groans with smells.

By chance, the Honourable-Right medicine cabinet also houses laundry stuff, since one corner of the bathroom hosts the Waschtrockner*. As you can see, we are so fragrant, even our laundry wears after-shave.


Front and centre, we see selections from the Lenor Mystery Series Fabric Softener Range. The purple bottle holds Sumatra, where scents of cinnamon and hibiscus take us on a magic journey of Silk Road romance. To the left we find Sahara, which gives us the cool embrace of the twilight as the sun settles behind the dunes, and the perfunes of Araby waft from the sultan's tent. Or something.

For daywear, we use Frottee.  It sounds like some sort of sexual practice. If you had to say what Frottee smells like, you'd have to say it smells like good value-for-money. That's a big step up from smelling like nothing at all, which is how our clothes used to smell before we moved to Europe and started to wear fancy-schmantzy couture, washed gingerly in appliances that cost a fortune and take three hours to complete a cycle.

(Off-topic: American readers will notice in the plastic container on the left. In Germany, Mr. Clean is Meister Proper. The label tells us that the bottle contains Bad-Spray. Good-Spray costs more, I guess.) 

Fragrance Japonaise

Master Right may love snuggling up in Frotteed sheets, but he eschews fragrance on the body.  It's a Japanese thing.  To the Japanese, prominent scent suggests that you're concealing another odour, and thus not clean.

Successful Japanese fashion designers can't quite crack fragrance. Experts describe Yohji Yamamoto's 2004 pour Femme as "Decent. Neutral. Too polite."  Others stick to easy-to-understand smells like wood or coffee. 
I wonder how Issey Miyake does it?

Odeur 53Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, perhaps in frustration, reacted with an anti-perfume. According to reviews, her Odeur 53 shows hints of burnt rubber, ozone, photocopiers, static electricity, and cathode-ray TV sets.

L'humeur de l'amour

So Master Right turns up his nose at my after-shave habit, if you'll pardon the expression. But pour this homme, after-shave is grand.

Nothing affects your mood so powerfully, for good or ill, as a smell. It's aromatherapy you carry around all day.

Smells go straight to our lizard-brains; they cue masculine or feminine, clean or unclean, fancy or plain, rich or poor.

Believe me, Neil, you want to be on the right end of a smell.

But for that you'll have to wait for Chapitre Deux.  That's when The Honourable Husband gives you a tour of his personal after-shave shelf.

'Til then, adieu.  Or is it au revoir? I can never tell those apart.

_____

* a Waschtrockener is a high tech device which both washes and dries your clothes. We bought it because the name of the manufacturer, Siemens, reminds us of man-sex.  So does one of its cycles: Schnell. 

Photo credit: links to source.


Organised Resistance

The Honourable Desk, at Prominent Global Communications Firm GmbH

 

Today, January 12, sees the Professional Personal Organising Community aflutter over National Clean Off Your Desk Day. In a brilliant stroke of post-modernism, the day was first declared by a leader of the Professional Day-Declaring Community.


I have two words for the Professional Personal Organising Community. One of them is
off.

You have read before that the Honourable Husband's clan lives in junkyards. We are slobs, with a capital ob. Yes, it's dysfunctional and neurotic, and we have some damn fine reasons, thanks.

Since moving to Germany, where Ordnung ist das halbes Lebens, The Honourable Husband has attempted to mend his ways.

In part, one can thank The Enforcer, our Putzfrau. Master Right is neat. I mean, like Japanese neat. Even he maintains (get this) she's too professional.

For example, since we're guys, we both used to do, um, the toenail thing. You fellas know what I'm talking about. Well, we don't do it any more.

But I draw the line at the desk. It's a joke in the ad game that every strategy planner's desk is a fire hazard of research reports and articles he intends to read. Our hard drives groan with downloaded cool-hunting. You can't think without shit around you. It's not creative.

I know EXACTLY where everything is on my desk. Yet the tyranny of the tidy means that over the years, people have looked at my office and sneered about it being unprofessional, even as I covered their asses and saved their bacons. You know who you are, my little honeys.

Time has come to resist. Do not be neatened. The Honourable Liberation Front declares tomorrow, January 13, as National Bite Me Day.

The boss. The guy at the DMV. Your mother. No matter what form of small-minded tut-tutter gives you the evil-eye, tomorrow is the day to tell them to kiss your sweet, fragrant buttcheeks. I might even design a logo for it, if I can just find my password to that online clipart site. I wrote it down, somewhere.

Stereotype Amplifiers

Just look at all those kitchen gadgets (#54)!

 Sehr geehrte Ian in Hamburg!

 Some months ago, by way of a blog comment, you asked me what I thought of Stuff White People Like.

SWPL had appeared as #3 on the Wordpress Blogs of Note, just under the one with the pictures of cats, and the other one with the pictures of puppies. This offended you (#101).

It will incense you even more to learn that it is now a book. According to Amazon, people who bought Stuff White People Like also bought Hot Chicks with Douchebags. Is that not some comfort?

(Keholet 7:5: "It is better to listen to a wise man's reproof than to listen to the praise of fools.")

Part of the reason for your fury is that you, and your family, are white. In fact, you're all so white it hurts.

I imagine, to you, SWPL feels like a joke about Black People and sickle-cell anaemia. Tough to shrug it off as irony (#50)

Look at it this way.

Let's say that you, as a white journalist in a press conference, ask a black politician about affordable child care. Is he likely to diss the question because you people all hate your parents (#17)? Will IBM toss your application in the bin because you white guys hate corporations (#82)? Do your favourite black hip-hoppers not sell tracks on iTunes (#40)? If you try to order some Chinese take away, will the server tell you to get back to your damn dinner party (#90) where you belong? Probably not.

Yes, SWPL is racist, but rather like beer is alcohol. It's not the hard stuff. I mean, none of these stereotypes will keep a white guy from a high paying job, get him kicked out of a country club, or fire up a lynch mob. Right?

I'm white, too. But I'm not so white it hurts. I am, however, so white that it itches. People who point out how white I am make me squirm and feel uncomfortable.


I always apologise (#55), I have an arts degree (#47), and have lived in New York (#46). I am so addicted to public radio (#44) that I have purchased not one, but two of those internet radio devices for home. I tune them both to KQED, which covers San Francisco (#91) and Marin County.

(By the way, how come Marin County isn't a Stuff White People Like?)

Here is our drawer full of tea (#13). Furthermore, it's herbal tea, which, because I am not really all that white, I pronounce with an "h". My mother was so white, that she didn't even use an "h" in human, humour or huge.

 I am so white that I have paid a three figure sum to drag my (mostly Australian) wine (#24) from continent to continent. This grog has more frequent flyer points than I do.

 I am so white, I actually lived in Japan (#58) for five years. To prove it, here are the New Year sake cups from the Shinto shrine next door. The writing commemorates the name of the church (Atagojinja), the Chinese horoscope symbol for that year, the symbol of the Japanese horoscope element, and the year of the emperor's reign. I loved Japan so much, that I picked up a souvenir in the form of a spouse. Yes, I know. A snow globe would have been cheaper.

 
We are such sushi (#42) snobs that we don't actually eat it anymore. Master Right declares that one should never eat sushi more than 100km from the coast, so we don't. Munich's lacklustre choice of Japanese restaurants helps a lot. We own a whole lot of sushi kit, which gets no outing at all since we moved to Germany.

So, Ian, let me up the ante. The following stuff will keep a white guy from a high paying job, get him kicked out of a country club, or lynched. It's Stuff White Gay People Like. I look around the house and ask: Am I whiter than I am gay, or am I gayer than I am white? Stuff Gay White People Like

#1 Boyfriend on Couch

The mere sight of a man on a couch makes a woman's blood boil. Men should get off their asses and...oh, I dunno, slay a wildebeeste or take out the trash. But to me, a man on a couch looks regular-guy sexy.

 
#2. Being the one in the family who inherits your mother's dinner set.

Boy, does this piss off gay guy's sister!


#3. Fake Roy Lichtenstein.

Somewhere in the late eighties, the gay community got the idea that comic-book art was ironic. Most gays of a certain age have the odd poster which commemorates their activist years.


#4. Dorothy Parker

Alice Roosevelt Longworth once remarked, "If you can't say something nice about someone, then come and sit next to me." Rumour has it that the seat was occupied, in short order, by Dorothy Parker. Parker cornered the market on high-class bitchiness during that long, dry spell between Oscar Wilde and David Sedaris (#25).


If you know a witty remark but can't quite recall the source, then odds on it's Dorothy Parker. The one about girls who wear glasses. And the one about Tallulah Bankhead. And the one about the girls from the Yale prom being laid end to end. Every gay, English-speaking household has a Portable Dorothy Parker. Straight homes make do with The Reader's Digest Treasury of Humourous Quotations.

#5 Leaving little clues around the house that you are gay.



You can buy this stuff at gay shops (#6) in gay neighbourhoods (#7).

#8 Misogynist kitsch

Since we're gay males, you could never call these trinkets arousing, sexist, or exploitative. They're just--let me saviour that glorious word again!--ironic. So suck it up, bitches! (That's irony, too.)



#9 Neatly trimmed facial hair.

For many years, I have sported a goatee; Master Right has just opted for the close-cropped stubble look. Hoo, boy! More gadgets needed!

Facial hair is a cornerstone of gay grooming, since it shows you are too butch to do drag. At least, too butch to do it convincingly.

#10 Plain white sheets.

Now, I know that bringing up the subject of white sheets in a post that has also dealt with racism, is risky. There may be some unintended irony, which is like regular irony, only cooler. Thank heavens that our putzfrau does the irony once a week, and we needn't bother ourselves with the mens rea.

In any case, white sheets are a gay giveaway. The mandatory colour of bed-clothing in a straight, single, white, male bedroom is dark blue. Correct? But gay guys are actually neat enough that white becomes a valid lifestyle choice. And since we're not girls, there are no frilly bits.

There. Have I answered your question? I hope we haven't given SWPL any more attention than it deserves. This discussion is no doubt the sort of stuff Stuff White People Like likes to see.

Yours, waving a limp, pallid wrist northward,

The Honourable Husband


Haircut Unimportant.

Every summer, pay TV channel T5 sponsors a season of open air cinema in the Königsplatz, a gracious square just to the north of Munich's city centre. The setting is so marvellous (and the beer so abundant) that it makes almost any movie watchable.


So against my better judgement, I took a female visitor to see KeinOhrHasen, (No-Ear Rabbit) a Geman chick flick starring heart-throb Til "Whispering Wolf" Schweiger.

My guest spoke no German, and none was required. The language of the chick-flick is universal. In this case it was Standard Plot #23, Virtuous Innocent tames the Bad Boy, mixed in with a little bit of Ugly Duckling. She loved it.



Perhaps there is be an intelligent discussion to be had on the nature of chick flicks, but we shall not have it here. What caught my eye was the intermission entertainment. Audience members could text the management with greetings to be flashed on the screen, underneath the reminder of tomorrow night's feature.

At the bottom of the screen below, we see the words Hello Lettuce-I love you. Yours... This could be a joke planted by Warner Brothers about the rabbit in the title, or perhaps a dieter firming her resolve. Above it, the message reads, Vera, my treasure, will you marry me? Your Consti. Now, Consti must be crazy-in-love with this Vera, since he did two things a man would never do otherwise. He added one of those little emoticon things at the end, and he sat through half a chick flick.

On to a message from a female. The text on the bottom reads Britta seeks a man with a horsecock. Haircut unimportant. And it adds in English, Once you go black, you'll never go back.

Now, as a professional adman, let me give Britta a bit of advice on target audience selection. You're advertising in the wrong place. Any man who sits through a chick flick is pretty dickless. Even if there's beer.

EDIT

OK, Arizaphale and NurseMyra. I swore I wouldn't be sucked in on the subject of chick flicks, but if you must know, Til Schweiger plays a Lothario papparazzi journalist who gets caught snooping on a celebrity engagement (in a situation where it is entirely reasonable for him to be naked, so it's not gratuitous or anything). He is sentenced to 300 hours of community service at a kindergarten run by a young woman Til attended primary school with, and whom he taunted mercilessly. She was a bit of an ugly duckling who has turned into a beautiful swan, but nobody knows how beautiful she is because she wears glasses. As part of the deal, Schweiger has to sew cute little fluffy toys. He makes a rabbit, except it doesn't have any ears. Swan-with-Glasses says that you can't have a rabbit with no ears, and Schweiger has such a charming explanation ("Hey, it's a No-Ear-Rabbit, four eyes!") that it melts her heart and they end up bonking after she gets drunk. Naturally, she thinks that it means something and he thinks that it's just a fuck, so she feels devastated when he turns around and bonks the slutty mum of one of the kids. After he sees how hurt she is, he realises that he really loved her all along and leaves the rabbit on her doorstep as a symbol of their love ...ugh ...must ...keep ...control ...dick ..shrinking ...balls ...fallen ...off ...brain ...melting ...aaaargh!