Sex Is the New Bacon
Maybe I’m just getting old. But I was thinking today (right after deciding that if I started porn, my name would be “Michael Assbender”) that some things change, and I’m just not used to it. Especially when they don’t quite make sense to me. So in honor of Piper, Crazy Eyes and Porn-stache, I present my list of “Old” and “New.”
Fake Nerd is the new Metrosexual
I love the idea that Olivia Munn can put on a pair of horn rims and an Episode II t-shirt, tweet “Sauron can kiss my ass #onlyoneringanditsbrown,” and suddenly she’s the hottest nerd on the planet.
I could blame this on Hot People. But honestly I don’t think it’s really their fault. I blame it on a truly opportunistic group — a group I’d almost want to applaud if I didn’t hate them so much. Being a nerd was stolen by the Kinda Hot People. One of the Kinda Hot People figured out somewhere along the line that if they played down their kinda hotness they would seem 10 times hotter than they really were (see Geekonomics, chapter 3 “The Lisa Loeb Principle”). Why be a peasant in “Hot World” when you can rule the kingdom in “Nerd Land”?
It’s a close second to the “Soccer Mom Maneuver” in it’s brilliance. Back in the late 90's, we realized that a Kinda Hot 32 year-old glammed up for a night on the town is awesome, but nevertheless plays second fiddle to the truly Hot People. But that same 32 year-old throws on yoga pants and a scrunchy and pushes a cart around Walmart, and every dude in Aisle 5 is immediately pumping their glue guns.
Kinda Hot Guys are guilty, too. I love Chris Hardwick. And I’m sure behind his “Singled Out” stoner façade in 1997, he really was cosplaying and debating the ending of Total Recall with his friends. But the guy is dapper enough to grace the cover of “GQ” if he wanted to. Is that really a nerd?
It reminds me of when we coined the term “metrosexual.” A group of Sorta Hot Straight Guys realized how awesome Gay Dudes dressed and said, “Oh, oh… let’s do that!” A few pocket squares and manicures later, the metros are all the rage.
But the nerd thing isn’t fair. Back in the day, Ross had to convince Rachel to wear the Princess Leia slave outfit. These days, it’s her idea. You people are already Kinda Hot. Why do you have to take our thing?
My theory: The same way soccer moms literally cornered the market on pot-bellied suburban husbands, the Fake Nerds want to enslave a legion of (true) nerdy fanboys. How many times has a nerd-boy sat fapping to G4 thinking, “Olivia’s into the same shit as me!!!” There’s a reason girls who are rocking Xbox online quickly amass 900 followers and become YouTube sensations. Whether it’s a nerd-boy or a bored husband, it’s all low-hanging fruit.
Sex is the new Bacon
For years we’ve added bacon to salads. We’ve added it to brussel sprouts. Bacon has been that thing that we add to make something blah into something better, and turn something good into goddam!
I was telling a friend about a crazy person I dated once. I described how she screamed at me in public outside a bar on Bourbon Street, crying and pointing at me because I received a text from a female friend who’d simply asked if I landed safely. Two things about this struck the person I was talking to:
a) That the normally placid “me” was in a screaming match with anyone, and…
b) That I had been on an overnight trip with someone with whom I’d had four dates.
The explanation? She was hot. Of course that’s why. Sex is like bacon. Even if you have no interest in a food, you’ll at least consider trying it if bacon is involved. Even unnatural pairings — think “bacon-flavored ice cream” — will get a “hmmm?” after the initial “What?! Ewwww.” And badass foods like burgers will get an extra bump (both in flavor AND price tag) from the extra slabs of bacon laid on top.
Thus explains every Loser Guy or Crazy Chick you know who always seems to be bouncing from one relationship to another or dumping and reuniting with the same person. Their bacon goodness keeps them in business. And we, the so-called victims, have no excuse. We all go into it with our eyes wide open.
Girls know a loser. He still chats with all of his exes. He’s only halfway moved into his apartment, because he has things in storage in a few different places. His car is in his ex-girlfriend’s name, but he makes all the payments. He has a fascination with hemp. He doesn’t want to hang around with your folks because “He’s just not good with parents.” You’re pretty sure you’ve only had sex with him when one or both of you were drunk. He doesn’t understand how people your age can have such good credit. He always says, “We went out for (blank) for lunch,” but never says who the “we” is. He might just be the losingest man in the world.
And guys know bat shit crazy from day one. She made crazy eye contact when you were trying to flirt with her. Non-crazy girls don’t make crazy eye contact (unless she’s a stripper or a cashier at Café Grumpy). She’s obviously way out of your league, but she’s single and for some reason giving you a shot. She brought up a boyfriend who cheated on her and used the phrase “learning to trust again.” Owns a copy of “Eat, Pray, Love” or “Waiting to Exhale” in book, disc or videotape form. Actually, book is the worst, and check how tattered it is. She wrote a blog dedicated to documenting her search for love. She hates her parents. Or her parents are best friends. Either one is bad. She and her female friends have random falling outs. She once said, “I’m fascinated by you.” Sometimes you argued with her, and somehow later everything was fine. With no discussion in between. That, sir, is bat shit crazy.
Yet and still, any man and any woman will tell you that as long as you want that person (in the “DTF” sense), you will put up with heaping piles of crazy and loving spoons full of loser.
My theory: If you’re a girl and the guy you are dating is smoking hot and definitely not a loser… odds are you’re crazy. If you’re a guy and the girl you’re with is gorgeous, amazing, sweet and caring and normal… odds are you’re a loser. On the plus side, you’re probably really really good-looking.
Loud & Angry is the new Smart
I love Wikipedia. And I hate Wikipedia. I love being able to find out the gist of something in mere moments of typing, clicking and reading. Let me repeat: the GIST.
I hate that there are masses of people who do this and think they just got educated. You know the dudes who studied something for years to learn all the nuances of it. Then they went to work somewhere where they continued to keep up with that subject. Maybe something with the word “institute” at the end. We used to call them experts. Now everyone can Bing their way to expertise… at least in their own minds.
People speak with such authority on subjects about which they’ve read less than 240 words — as if the links on their search screens were ranked by “thoroughness.” And the worst part about this phenomenon is that it is self-fulfilling. If I don’t know about the subject — even though I’ve only read 240 fewer words about it than you have — you somehow feel more informed than me. And you go around with your little tapas tasting menu of incomplete information as if you are Copernicus educating the masses. Only most of the time you’re just wrong. So very wrong.
There’s a kid at my job who asks me something and then attempts to complete my sentence when I try to answer. And it’s always a subject that he could only have glancing knowledge of. Observing him, I realize he’s the same person you see on Twitter or the comments sections of countless sites — saying things with such assurance that he hasn’t researched for a second.
My theory: Opinions are like left thumbs. Everybody has one. I’m betting it’s not right. And I will most likely ask you to shove it up your ass.
Death is the new Kale
In his book On Writing, Stephen King famously wrote “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” It’s almost an intervention for writers in it’s honesty and it’s directness.
I’ll be arrogant enough to say “we” here. But as writers, every character we create carries some aspect of our voice. It’s like watching Larry David in “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and realizing that each character in “Seinfeld” was some isolated percentage of his personality embodied. So King’s message is simple — don’t fall so in love with the embodiment of your voice living in your text that you allow your character to win. There’s no drama in winning.
Problem comes when inexperienced or untalented writers (and I’m part of this group) mistake death for drama. A character’s arc that ends in death can be very dramatic. Simply having a character die is not (I’m talking to you “Grey’s Anatomy”). And not just death, but any sort of harm. Modern television is notorious for inserting a scene of sexual violence into an episode for no reason other than to shock a viewer.
I remember reading an article for TV Guide (yes, I’m that old) where Stepfanie Kramer, star of TV’s “Hunter” balked at a script for an upcoming episode that would have seen her character raped for the third time (?!?!) in five seasons — she convinced the writers to change the story slightly. For every show like “The Sopranos,” which followed King’s philosophy and used such violence as a way to explore the relationship between characters, there’s a show like “Scandal,” which uses the violence to say “You can’t miss the last five minutes!”
Not to pick on Shondra, but I’m pretty sure I can write the promo to every “Grey’s Anatomy” season finale. Here goes… “See who lives! (smash cut to shocked faces of several cast members). And who dies! (Patrick Dempsey slumped against a wall crying into his bunched up surgical mask)”
(I’m pretty sure I just infringed on copyrighted material.)
My theory: If you work in a hospital that was attacked by a gun-wielding maniac, nearly imploded during a blackout, and then saw your co-workers killed in a plane crash, maybe… just maybe you should FIND ANOTHER JOB!
Girl-Girl Action is the new Anal
This is in no way a comment on women who are lesbian or bisexual. This is a comment on the girls who equate hooking up with another girl to lifting their shirts in New Orleans for beads. There is a generation of girls who don’t have a legit attraction for other women, but simply think the idea of hooking up with a girl is hot.
And there is nothing wrong with that. I just think the change in the last couple of decades is pretty fascinating. Something like anal sex and girl-girl action have completely flopped places in the Sexual Recipe Book. Twenty years ago, girl-girl action among heterosexual women was something for porn stars and skeevy chicks. Threesomes were for girls who were just too wild and didn’t respect themselves. But anal sex? Hey, sometimes you drink too much. Or things just got real hot and heavy.
Nowadays? You have a solid chance of seeing your girlfriend make out with another girl after two shots at happy hour. A request for a threesome used to result in divorce. Now it has an equal chance of evoking:
a) A “fuck you, asshole” (ironically)
b) A conversation with her best friend asking what she should do
c) A thoughtful conversation about ground rules
Women’s thoughts toward girl-girl action today are like a typical guy’s reaction to a female friend introducing the idea of hooking up. “Well, gee… I never really thought about it. But… hmmm… okay, if you think it’s a good idea.”
On the flip side, anal has taken a lonely place atop the mountain of “Keep Dreaming, Buddy.” Basically, if she doesn’t have a drawer at your place, if you haven’t co-signed the card for one of her friends’ birthday presents, and unless her parents know you and expect to see you on the holidays (albeit, a slightly creepy criterion) don’t even think about bringing it up.
I blame “Girls Gone Wild.” There were so many examples of the Everyday College Girl making out with each other on those tapes (I repeat, signing a release to make out in a strangers trailer), it was nearly impossible for it not to become mainstream. So it’s possible the asshole is ranked in the same place. The Girl Love just nudged itself ahead of it in acceptance.
My theory: Is this really a complaint? It’s like walking into a Bobby Flay restaurant, and the hostess apologizes — Bobby isn’t here, but Gordon Ramsay will be doing the cooking. Both experiences will leave me satisfied. As long as I’m invited to dinner. I mean, I don’t even have to take part in the dinner. I can just, you know, watch. Right?