Live From The Comments Section

Every six years on this blog we like to show our gratitude to loyal readers by showcasing a select comment that best exemplifies the spirit of discursive dialogue that we hope to engage with on this site.

Today that honor belongs to John Kabel of Internetland, who has this to say about my latest post:

Get a mentor. NOT a dating coach or pickup teacher. Find something difficult but rewarding to learn and someone to teach you–NOT your equally rudderless friends. What you need to learn is manhood, which has to be taught and too often isn’t.

Dating is a part of a man’s life, but not the majority of it, and certainly not something you should need to obsess about. Learn about the rest of it and put dating in perspective and you’ll wonder why you worried about it.

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First of all, thank you John for specifically ruling out PUAs, because if I couldn’t bring myself to listen to Korean language CDs, I definitely can’t be bothered to listen to endless advice on social interactions (“its all about them! non-verbal cues!”) as filtered through the words of a sexist douchebag.

I’m a little concerned, however, about how well you know me and my friends. It’s true, they are a bit rudderless, aren’t they? I’m pretty sure some of my friends have never even been on a boat, and to a man (or woman) they most definitely don’t own a yacht. It’s possible Adam Augusiak Boro will be able to purchase one soon, but he doesn’t read this blog so he won’t even know I was talking about him.

But I do really like the idea of learning how to either build a boat from piles of lumber of learning how to be an expert oarsman. This are fairly unique skills and definitely useful, as the world is not short on streams and rivers. The potential to take women on exotic and romantic dates increases as well, and once I take them out to the middle of the river, or even the ocean, there isn’t much competition for attention, so I’ll be able to woo them at my leisure.

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One question, John: should I learn how to catch fish as well? There is that old saying: show a woman you can catch a fish and she’ll fuck you in the middle of the river in your sex boat, but teach a woman how to fish and she’ll catch a fish too and you can both play with fish while you’re having sex, forever and a life time.

Speaking of things that are elusive and slippery, MANHOOD is most certainly a difficult to even grasp conceptually, let alone allow into your daily affectation. Right now I’m still working on BOYHOOD, but once I beat level 12 I’m going to definitely look into the expansion packs. I’m excited, as I figure manhood involves some combination of the following: shooting animals, taking fewer showers, eating potatoes, spanking women, teaching bartending courses, buying a gun, taking over a large tract of federally-owned land and claiming it as your own, having sex with another man’s wife at a swinger party, having sex with another wife’s man at a different swinger party, taking part in an orgy inside a restroom stall on an interstate highway, showcasing a startup company on “Shark Tank”, killing a man at a poker table, going to jail, buying a horse, and finally coaching girl’s lacrosse at the local high school. This is going to be an exciting new episode of life. 020

Now that I’ve put dating in perspective, I’m wondering why I ever worried about it.

Thank you, John. And please keep up your valuable contributions to this website.

 

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Sad Clowns of OK Cupid

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I dislike online dating. And I think the initial stages are weighted heavily against men. Don’t believe me? Click here.
But how do I write an article complaining about online dating without sounding like a hater? How about by identifying it as part of a larger problem of online interaction and communication? A poor and pathetic substitute for real life? And with different rules to boot?
I’m not a maninist. Guys send women some pretty shocking offensive and dumb messages, and once Phase 2 of the dating process commences the deck is stacked heavily against women. You already know all the crap girls have to deal with so I won’t rehash it right now. Back to complaining:
With online dating, everybody loses. Unless you win. But if you did, it was an  exception. 
I recently came across a hilarious comic series called OKComix where the woman took the most drawable offenses against her search for a mate, and turned it into deliciously punitive art. Many savvy internet goers have by now heard about or glanced through “straight white guys texting”, which is a collection of the best–or worst–come ons, one-liners, canned wittiness and pretenses to lame sex aimed at women.
Try it yourself!: do a google search of “OKCupid problems” or “men” or “nice guys of okcupid” and you are sure to run into some of the endless commentary about how disgusting men are online.
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My online dating experiences have not been good.  From a certain point of few, online dating provides an insightful and very beneficial buffer for women against having to engage or encounter the most aggressive wooers in the ‘real’ world. To the extent that it could allow some women to see what (some) men are ‘really’ thinking without being put in a physically uncomfortable situation is not, well, ‘good’, but its several degrees less traumatic, and thus a potentially beneficial gate-keeping mechanism.
For awkward men like me, however, this one-way street can be difficult and confusing to navigate. Picking up the rhythm of an online courtship can be confusing and non-intuitive.
Film Title: 40 Year old Virgin.
For instance, what should you put in the opening message? How long should it be? There are some obvious rules that seem to have been laid out and algorithms which claim to have answered these questions, but we’ve already internalized and adapted those to the point where its not so difficult to sniffed out canned opening lines, and nobody is going to respond to such dopiness. If you get a response, how long should you wait before asking them out on a date? How can you tell for certain your online chat is going well? How do you interpret stalled responses? How much can you take at face value? (for instance,  if they have to cancel the date, should you try to reschedule? Is it just flaking out? Did they change their mind?)
The big question I’ve been leading towards: What if men’s gross and inappropriate dialogue is not a cause but a symptom of the terror of online dating?

Are there guys who are less hesitant to be their obnoxious, hateful selves online, just looking to have bad sex, and ready to be rude because they just need 1-in-1000 odds to say yes? Possibly.

But everyone desires some combination of intimate physical/platonic relationship and so let’s temporary ignore entitled bros and pickup artists and the rest of the community of privileged assholes, instead focusing on the fact that As the above study showed, undesirable males who receive something like fives times less responses than the least desirable woman, are still likely to be mocked for even trying.

So here’s my thing: if as a man, you are ignored for sending the ‘perfect’ message, and you are ignored for send the most ‘imperfect’ one, then the end result should rather understandably be neurosis. And neurosis cannot but lead to anything other than more strange messages. It’s a vicious cycle until you finally just give up, which doesn’t exactly solve the problem you were trying to solve with online dating.
This again is not to say that many men wouldn’t be equally harassing in real life should they get the chance. But the infinite one-way man parade that is the online dating world is tailored as a conduit to forced errors on the part of men. And such nonsense only re-enforces the sad sexist paradigms that govern social interaction. And it only exacerbates the sexual confusion and
The internet has helped mobilize feminists and minority groups, giving them a voice and an ability to coordinate a progressive message. But the internet has also ignored and distorted the realities of gender dynamics and healthy understanding about sex and the sexes. (incidentally, this is why I hate porn and find it very unstimulating) In other words, the internet is good at prescriptive battles (beating down the men’s rights movement, calling attention to racist cops murdering people, et al), but terrible at preemptive ones (sex ed, and even a basic knowledge of the biologic processes underpinning and motivating our drives and interactions, or how to stimulate another person pleasurably).
I also wonder how LGBT dating experiences compare, or if there are a completely different set of paradigms and pitfalls.

The Case Against Veggie Dogs

After careful contemplation, I can’t really think of a more disingenuous attempt at food than the veggie dog.

For a long time, I’ve felt a moral confusion over the concept of imitation meat; even as someone who has made a slightly more concerted effort at switching to eating things like seitan and soy and sunflower seeds, the idea of mystery mush processed in the uncanny valley of grillable animal bits upsets me.

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What’s the point? Just to fit in? If you are a vegetarian, aren’t you striving to be better than this? Why would you bring vegetables down the sad level of a hot dog? A slab of meat may or not be better put through some impressive machinery and transformed into malleable slop, but a head of broccoli? Not so much. Does anybody actually like veggie-meats? I must say, I’ve had veggie burgers that were almost palatable, as chickpeas can be crushed to the consistency of ground beef and similarly spiced, but never have I ever had a veggie dog that wasn’t a vomitous affair.

This is also largely the fault of the hot dog as a concept as well. A hot dog is an imitation of an imitation; for people too lame for a real Italian sausage. And if you can’t stomach the thought of that being made, how do you live with the knowledge that hot dogs exist and have passed through the stomachs of 87 percent of Americans (I made that statistic up). june-supper-club-003

And then a veggie dog, poorly pretending to be a dick-shaped casing of slimy pork snouts, is an imitation THREE TIMES REMOVED from an actually edible food. That’s more or less the nadir without becoming something that can no longer be eaten–I suppose you could mash together some sawdust to make an imitation veggie dog. But it might not make it out the other end.

Full disclosure: this affects me personally. The other day someone tried to feed me a veggie dog. This is because there is a cruel rule that if children as served hot dogs, and you as an adult cannot eat neither meat and/nor hot dogs on principle, that the vegetarian substitute needs must be a veggie dog. And then someone got mad at me for refusing both hot and veggie dog. Because that was offensive to the kids, to the kitchen staff and to the person who was watching me refuse to eat both. But I’d rather come across as a miserable than have to suffer the consequences of putting it in my mouth. morning-star-veggie-dog

Because food is more than just a meal. Food changes you. It becomes you and informs a part of who you are. I don’t want even a fraction of a percentage of me to be composed of whatever goes into either hot or veggie dogs. I’m better than that. And, the thing is, so are you. My refusing a veggie dog is not meant to demonstrate my superiority, but to lead by example, to show everyone a better way.

A (Brief) Tour of Roadside Garbage in Dennisport, MA.

It’s almost summer on the Cape!

But right now I’m sitting in a strange bed in Colebrook CT, with either the flu or metal fume fever, so it’s a great time to talk about all the garbage I’ve been finding while wandering around the beaches and backwoods of West Dennis. (our g

During the first week as a nature instructor, I taught a class on garbage, which was mostly a scavenger hunt for ADD children out behind the train tracks, where a freight truck carries garbage from the Cape to the mainland. We found so many fascinating things: a broken television set. Rusting cans. Rubber things. Styrofoam. A wooden pylon with nails sticking out. Probably some cigarettes. The kids loved it.

More exciting things were found during a sweep of the campsite we work out of. A plastic bottle rocket and several breakfast cereal packages had joined the ducks and frog’s of Elisha’s Pond. Half buried in a garden was a punctured volleyball; it looked like Pac-Man. A few dozen glowsticks from the school visit prior were hiding out on the grounds.

Lesson Learned: finding garbage is easy. The neighborhood where I lived in Washington DC was filthy too, but that’s because it was in a city. Dennisport is a sleepy town with one intersection that features an Ocean State Job Lot, laundromat, liquor store and Buckies Biscotti.

On my way back home I took pictures of the garbage along the side of the road. I was going to write up little write-ups for each photo…but instead I think I will let the trash speak for itself. This is now a Photo ESSAY. Each pictures is worth 1,000 words so you’re getting 16,000 words on Cape Cod Garbage. You’re welcome.