Friday, December 3, 2010
“Well, it’s no mystery that ass has always been tits’ greatest enemy. It’s almost like a Muslim-Jewish thing, but with tits and ass. It’s the choice in life.” - Kenny Powers
“Important things are inevitably cliche, but nobody wants to admit that.” - Chuck Klosterman
Let’s clarify from the outset: in this post you shall be moved in progression from glib superficiality to deep and self-reflective profundity. A playful comment or two will segue into a provocative yet indulgent and probably pointless examination which will segue into something honest and decent and a little wistful. It will be like life that way, in terms of emotional arc. So be prepared to get f*cked up with some truth, my beautiful b*tches.
In the last few weeks Autumn has descended upon San Francisco not simply as a matter of the Gregorian calendar but as a bona fide weather phenomenon, with heaps of rain and arctic gales. A big time brumal blow-out. None of that soft-dying light and twittering sparrows crap from Keats. Any sense of summer and hope you’ve been clinging to was collared and defenestrated through and out the tenth floor windows of your soul. The optionality and incentive to lay out at Stinson or Southwest it down to San Diego on a Friday, the mojitos, the glory, the jewelry, the cash, being coked out on a boat - it’s f*cking over. Dead. Crushed and mangled on the dented hood of a parked car below.
As a matter of consolation and bereavement we’ve brought out the fall fashion collection. As per unspoken collective agreement the ladies are showing boutique-y boots, wool coats and black tights/jeans and the dudes sport jeans and black J Crew jackets. Although the average temperature difference between SF summer and winter is about 4 degrees, we all kind of agree to dress like it’s snowing.
Now the dirty little secret of winter fashion is that, in the underground and fiercely fought battle between ass and tits, it gives ass the advantage. Put a sweater or a jacket upon a fine set of boobs and they drown in a sea of fabric. They disappear like buoys in a storm. Moreover, absent some really fine tailoring the whole package can create a mistaken impression of dumpiness across the middle. For tits and Nazi Germany’s 6th Army, winter is a bad situation.
The ass, meanwhile, loves the holidays. It loves ice-skating outfits and patterned tights and jouncing back from the gym in Lululemon Athletica. It feels radiant and fabulous, like the brightest bulb on a decorated tree.
But let’s get serious: it’s really never not winter in San Francisco. Season in and season out, ass is constantly getting the attention and the glory. In a free market economy equally divided between two embattled factions - women with fine asses (“WFAs”) and women with fine tits (“WFTs”) - this has ramifications. A social credit is imposed in one case and a tax in other. And hence, in the absence of any countervailing controls or regulation, over the years WFAs have been allocated to SF by disproportionate number. They are everywhere. Triathletes and Marathon runners. Flat chested vegans and A cup, type A MBAs. This is the spontaneous SF order. This is non-linear and this is fact. But it’s beyond competition. It’s beyond conflict. It’s open war. A war on WFTs.
The modern condition is such that most of us don’t have any experience with actual, non-metaphorical war. But we understand war. We get the gist: awesome shoulder-rolls, intrigue, and megalomania, on one hand, and beautiful bare-chested men and saucy vixens on the other. Troy, Avatar, Gone with the Wind and Star Wars - it’s all there. The lesson, as a movie critic once so deftly put it, is that war is a story about ambition and commerce, because life is about ambition and commerce, but every war eventually transmutes into a love story because life is often that, too. We get it. Explosion, light-saber duel, another explosion. And Bam! Pregnant.
And thus we know: the singular conflict in life is not between tits and ass. That is an absurd reductionism.* Tits v. ass is just one conflict out of many, and like most conflicts over status (like those in religion, professional sports, cola choice, etc.) it is mostly determined and motivated by ignorance, instinct or some coincidence (by family connection, geography, etc.) of cultural association. And further, if you alter the context, inform the instinct, or reverse engineer the cultural association, then one’s loyalties are influenced. The significance of certain variables gets reconsidered. New feelings are stirred. Sides are switched. Jews are baptized. Wolves are danced with. Because life isn’t just about motor-boating fun bags. It’s also about finding spiritual connection. As Forest Gump says about destiny versus randomness, it’s about both. Both are happening at the same time.
And so it goes that SF guys who live long enough in SF learn to love WFAs. Many of us deep down don’t want to do it. For a time we resist. But eventually we surrender. Because we are vulnerable. Because deep down the human spirit is generous. Sooner or later the sweet tailpipe of SF women puts a spell on us. We get charmed.
But, understand, we will never be complete. We will always feel hollow and wanting in the most intimate of things. That is the tragedy. All the ass-magic in the Marina can't change a man from his core beliefs**. And so many a good man in San Francisco will have his day of reckoning and on the day he will self confess: “I’m not an ass man. I’m a tit man. And this is WTANGISF.”***
*Unless you’re a sultan, Hugh Hefner or otherwise carry on a highly unusual way of life.
**To paraphrase a man with a mind like a f*cking scientist.
***"The fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance." - David Foster Wallace
Sunday, September 5, 2010
“Matchmakers say the dating scene is probably worse than anywhere.“
- “In Man-Rich Silicon Valley,” New York Times.
“One of the big problems ... these days was that the women were too picky.''
- Same article.
The concept that a woman’s desire for a man depends on other women’s desire for that man is hard for guys to get their minds wrapped around, no matter how many Playboy models David Spade impregnates. Because guys are way too objective and ahistorical to care about sociological judgments. Every male model in the world could descend upon SF to serenade the SF 6s and SF guys would say, good, go sick. Take Kelly Osbourne off the marriage market while you’re at it.
It’s a question of epistemology. Men use their brains to organize their thoughts and make sense of them and the surrounding world. Women, on the other hand, let their survival impulses guide them, like the Great Buck Howard on the hunt for his hidden performance fee, towards the set of behaviors that best serves to their immediate situational advantage and then, like acquitted Nazi Albert Speer, they use their brains to gerrymander a patch-work of communicable ideas and beliefs that make their behaviors acceptable to the wider world.
This is partly why it's difficult to understand the feminine take on reality: what counts is how things FEEL, subjectively, for a particular human at a given moment, kind of like a personalized wind chill factor, which is basically unworkable as measure of standardized, sharable truth and yet, at the same time, if you think about it, the only truly relevant measure of human experience. When our biology tells us to hook up with some person, our biology is saying that person’s genes are survivors - they are capable of making babies who are popular with and attractive to subsequent generations of people.
In this way, the fact female desire is so heavily dependent on the opinions and social proof of other females actually makes rational and probably scientific sense. Good looks, earning potential, charm - we chase after these things as if they have intrinsic value but really they are just features probabilistically associated with reproductive success. As Adam Carolla says, "I don't care how ugly you say a dude is, if he's f*cking a new hot stewardess every night, then you can say all you want about his schnauze and male pattern baldness but he can't hear you, because he's on top of another stewardess."FN1
The forgoing generally all works out on balance. Some dude who is cool but generally ignored will, given enough time, start hanging out with some cute nanny he met at the park and then suddenly ever chick in his universe who hadn’t been aware of existence double takes. He gets his chance. Usually.
A theoretical problem: if we accept as a predicate that all women, at at least some time in their lives (because they’re tired or depressed or thinking rationally about the matter), feel a total or almost total lack of interest in men as a romantic or sexual (or whatever) objects, then imagine what would occur if, by some probability-defying confluence of events, women in a particular society all experienced this lack of interest AT EXACTLY the same time AND share with one another the fact they feel this way at exactly the same time. If logic holds, then in the aftermath of this hypothetical moment no woman in that society would ever again desire a man because, so long as no foreign woman entered the society, all the men around would be undesirable to the other women. The implied cognition in every woman’s brain (that no man around had social proof of value) would stultify the system.
This, of course, is no hypothetical. This is San Francisco, and like snow blindness in cats, it scares the livin' sh*t out of us.
It happened like this: in most human spaces, like IstanbulFN2, Chicago, New York, or professional graduate programs, there’s an upwardly mobile class of women, be they, respectively, Ukranian women, Iowa farm girls, 24 year old struggling actresses (who are dazzled by a $60 restaurant meal), or sorority girls, that disrupt such a hypothetically static system. Graduate school may be the most relatable exemplar. The first semester starts and everyone has their section and the social hierarchy of cool and uncool gets worked out in a few weeks and all the girls fixate on about three guys as being desirable with the rest being generally ignored but then, not long thereafter, two guys, guys no girls deemed worthy of attention, reportedly hook up with UNDERGRADUATE girls! The whole hierarchy and design of things has to be re-thought. Wildcard, bitches!
But what you get in San Francisco is system shock pre-emption. Certain infrastructural realities like excessive living costs and industry specific professional opportunities (no fashion, no media, no marketing) enforce an on-going population stasis. A homogeneity. Putting arguments about the attitudes of professionally successful women aside, the absence of an young and non-affluent (but aspiring) class of girls robs SF women of a competitive motivator. It’s confusing to type A, successful women when they move here knowing the Bay Area is full of type A, successful men since they come to understand that, in the minds and expressed opinions of the type A locals, none of the men have any social value. In a (somewhat dated but probably sort of relevant) New York Times article about the “Man-rich” SF Bay Area, a relationship coach of 10 years is quoted as saying, “I've never seen things so bad...The women are very tough on the men. They're constantly finding reasons to not like them.”
Ironically, if you relocated 10,000 hot stewardesses into SF (and provided them with the resources to afford rent, etc.), the dating scene would improve for SF women. The guys around them would suddenly seem a little rakish, a little smoother. For what happens to an unattractive guy when he’s given a little money and the affections of a pretty girl with a little charm? He becomes against all reason and probabilities the the very thing SF women say doesn’t exist in San Francisco: David Spade.
Carolla said that in the context of a story about low test scores in the U.S. He further commented, “All these countries are ahead of us yet they all wish they lived here? I'm not sure how much these metrics are worth. We're not bilingual, our math skills are not that of India or parts of Asia. We're down in the middle of everything. Except for the part that everyone wants to come into our frat house. So we're a dumb frat house with ugly dudes yet everyone wants to party with us? To me, that's the ultimate test score."
If you spend some time in Turkey you learn that Russian women figure into the nation in an interesting way. The story goes something like this: the rise of modern, progressive(ish) Turkey coincided with the fall of the USSR. Ukranian women with no money or really resources started to show up in Istanbul, invigorating the local prostitution market. This development surely had some pretty negative and seedy externalities but at least on an anecdotal level it seems to have created a nascent class of eligible hotties. The Russian girls who were once whores (in the sense that they gave blow jobs for fifty Turkish Lira and a black eye) are increasingly becoming “whores” (in a sense that they give blow jobs for Beamers and beach houses and Turkish girls hate them).
Sunday, April 11, 2010
People can’t get enough of Cougars. People consider cougars a hilarious and scintillating cultural development. Cougars! people say with a smile of anticipatory delight, even if no Cougar is around, as if just saying the word is like blowing a high frequency whistle, and one will come running along in short order.
A periodical no less august than Newsweek, in fact, called 2009 the “Year of the Cougar.” We kid you not. That’s some puissant cultural momentum there. Pretty soon Cougars will be bringing so much attitude and middle-age sass they will cannibalize their own metaphor. Little kids will ask, “Why are those scary cats at the zoo named after sexually aggressive, pre-menopausal women?” By the time those kids are teenagers, their won’t even be a first love, just a first Cougar. “Timmy met a forty-year old last night, Frank,” a beaming mom will announce. “Oh, did he now?” the dad will smirk, thinking, that’s my son.
At school, Senior cheerleaders won’t be caught dead with any boy above the eighth grade. College fraternities will bus in divorcees from suburban neighborhoods for Homecoming. Teachers caught sexting and cavorting with men their own age will be fired and exposed on tabloid web pages and Fox News. “What’s happening to our society?” an aged and tear-stained Glenn Beck will ask.
Redox, a cosmetic procedure that introduces fine wrinkles into smooth young skin, will make pharmaceutical companies billions. Frustrated 19 year old coeds will spend whole afternoons sitting on chicken wire, hoping to imprint a simulacra of cottage cheese on their thighs. Any woman older than 35 without fake boobs won’t be able to renew her driver’s license. Pederasts will leer through the chain linked fences around retirement homes and pimply kids will sneak into the midnight showing of Sex in the City 12.
It’s all very different and as Newsweek seems to appreciate, it’s all very exciting. Cougars! They might finally right all the imbalance and longing and soullessness that besmirches our times. In retrospect, the Cougar just makes so much sense. In the 2000 movie High Fidelity, record store owner Rob avers,
“Read any women's magazine and you'll see the same complaint over and over again: men...are hopeless ...they are selfish, greedy, clumsy, unsophisticated. These complaints...are kind of ironic. Back [in high school], all we wanted was foreplay, and girls weren't interested...they used to thump us if we tried. ...Between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four, foreplay changes from being something that boys want to do and girls don't, to something that women want and men can't be bothered with. ... The perfect match, if you ask me, is between the Cosmo woman and the fourteen-year old boy.”
The thing about social revolutions, especially ones foreseen by John Cusack comedies, is innocent people get caught in the cross-hairs. In the space between the old and new order there are casualties. For the late twenty something men and women of San Francisco in 2010, who still think in anachronistic terms of dating and then marrying someone roughly their own age, there are frustrations. Our instincts are at odds with our awareness of cultural forces. The idea that a guy should make a lot of money and have a really attractive younger spouse - it’s very 2008, and way outmoded, so much so that stubbornly pursuing it is not just banal and cliche but kind of tragic. It’s Charlie Chaplan making silent movies after the introduction of sound.
But we have faith. We will adapt. We will embrace. Why shouldn’t we? Cougars! As eloquently put by the WTANGISF editors:
“The truth is that on balance maybe old-school marital monogamy for all its socio-economical advantages isn't that psychologically beneficial for individuals. Perhaps being married to a [woman] who fantasizes about [Prince William] and resents being stuck with you isn't so wonderful for anyone. Perhaps regular guys are happier being celibate surfers or cartoonists or whatever than emasculated office cubicle providers. Perhaps [women are] happier talking trash with [their] single friends over cosmos and getting [comfort from Tucker Max] nine times a year. It's a different way of life sure but we don't know that it's a bad one.”
Who can argue with that? Rawrr!
Friday, April 9, 2010
In her comment to posting #35, "Lisa" said,
"I think you're wrong about the guys in bars thing. .. No one invites anonymous serial killers to their wedding. I don't know why people have so much trouble with bay area dating. I moved here from Alabama (smiling and friendly) and met a great guy that my friend introduced me to at a club. ... Be nice, a nice girl will find you. God bless you."
First, we like the cut of Lisa's jib.FN1 We suspect she is indeed smiley and friendly. She's from Alabama which isn't a foreign country but sort of is, and so Lisa probably has the frankness and happy spirit of a foreign girl. In addition, whatever our atheistic reservations, a sincere, old-school, Baptist-style, Bible-belt benediction ("God bless you") is just nice, like lemonade on a Southern summer afternoon when we know we shouldn't be having all that sugar. To this add Lisa's optimistic prediction that a nice girl will find us, and well, to be honest, we're crushing on Lisa a bit. She probably looks like Reese Witherspoon crossed with Jessica Simpson.
Even if Lisa is the stuff dreams are made of, however, apparently she already has her "great guy" (and probably calls him "Sugar" every so often, the lucky bastard) so as quickly and magnificently as Lisa appeared, like a parking spot spied on Russian Hill, she is taken from us, and this is WTANGISF.
Second, as to Lisa's point about serial killers, we have some things to say. Let's start with a footnote we edited out of #35:
"FN1fn2: The argument that wedding party is somehow a more "real" and "safe" community probably once made sense but the progressive fracturing of all social groups, including families, by divorce, job jumping, grad school interludes and Facebook-grade friendship, renders it modernly meaningless."
We're not quite sure if this is true. But it's probably true. Take the original example of Mamacitas on a Thursday. Mamacitas, like most restaurants/bars, accomodates nearly anyone who shows up, however, there are a bunch of infrastructural disincentives to entry - its Marina location, the frou-frou food, the parking difficulties, social pressures to dress and converse in a certain way while you're there - that act as an indirect vetting process of the clientele. The class of people willing to eat $18 Mahi Mahi nachos and get excited about a pricey pitcher of apple chunks in spoiled wine is actually quite small. It's almost exclusively limited to the bourgeouis p*ssies (Holla!) who live in or around one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world, take Saturday yoga classes at Crunch and earn in the 99th percentile. And all these p*ssies are in some socio-economo-geographical way probably more closely connected (linkedin! Haas! SF Bar Association!) than the random, rag-tag assortment of cousins (there's no way to vet family members - the annoying, the pathetic, the dangerous - they come too) and old, sketchy as hell, high school friends who comprise a wedding party.
The lovely Lisa might argue, however, that certain serial killers, like the infamous Ted Bundy, for example, hang out at places like Mamacitas and SEEM totally normal, with their yoga talk and BR slacks even though behind the urbane facade they're total psychos. They could show up at Mamacitas and no one would be the wiser. And that is true, but you see, the non-obvious serial killers, because they lead double lives, also get invited to weddings. That's the catch-22 with serial killers. No matter how safe we play it, they're going to murder us.
FN1: By the way we also like "lisalisa" (we might even "likelike" her ) from #32 comments who said, "great writing and totally hilarious. you had me laughing out loud all to myself." She seems brilliant and probably has soft skin. Recommendation of this week: chat up girls named Lisa.