A food and a place

November 22nd, 2013

The other day, I was at a luncheon with a high-placed Chinese delegation. And I felt like I kind of should apologise to my fellow diners, even though I’d paid no part in the meal’s organisation, for the food. Chinese food, to be exact. It wasn’t P.F. Chang’s, but it wasn’t much better.

I have never understood this phenomenon of ordering food that is meant to be familiar when hosting a foreign guest. When I’m abroad, I don’t want to eat some ersatz American dish, I want to eat local, preferably a dish or at a restaurant, I mightn’t have otherwise gravitated to on my own. (The one exception might be Ethiopian, which I hate, but I’m prepared to allow that perhaps I’d like it better on its home turf.) The simple fact is that local chefs making local food are more likely to turn out a good dish. Ergo, unless you’re in a really authentic Chinatown, Chinese food is better in China. And hamburgers are better here.

Pie and strife

November 21st, 2013

I know I am in a small minority, but I generally would like Jon Stewart off my television. He’s kind of become a parody of himself — it’s like he’s Jon Stewart doing Jon Stewart.

Nonetheless, I do agree with him about deep dish pizza. Yuck. Pizza should be able to be folded in half, like a sheet of notebook paper — a greasy sheet of notebook paper. Not all thick and gloopy.

A spoonful of sugar…

November 20th, 2013

God’s honest truth, I got this press release at work today. (Don’t ask me why, as I cover neither health care nor Internet dating.)

Online Dating Website Offers to Help Fix Obamacare Website

As everyone knows by now, Healthcare.gov has been broken since its official launch on October 1st, and SugarDaddyForMe.com is offering to fix it for free.
SugarDaddyForMe.com is the world’s largest sugar daddy or millionaire dating website. The site’s team of world class programmers has also created and operates several other large dating websites, and combined they currently manage tens of millions of monthly visitors and have handled that massive traffic volume with more than 99.99% uptime and with complete security of member’s date since 2005….

Many of the women on SugarDaddyForMe.com are single mothers, and most are in need of a working website that can provide their families the affordable health care they need. Therefore, the SugarDaddyForMe.com team of state-of-the-art, high traffic volume programmers have volunteered, at their own expense, to help make the Healthcare.gov website work perfectly. SugarDaddyForMe.com and its online dating associates are offering to diagnose the problems and fix the Healthcare.gov so that it works perfectly once and for all.

The Scarlet V

November 19th, 2013

I read this piece on the 35-year-old virgin with some bemusement. I then read (some of) the comments with amusement.

As for many readers, the column was a time machine back to my teenage self, when my friends and I would gossip about who had and who had not “done it.” When virginity seemed like not just a dividing line but a chasm, when we envisioned that the world was split between those with a scarlet A and an equally lurid V.

I haven’t thought about that for years, not just because most everyone I know has “done it” at some point, but because I grew up. Maturing meant that I came to put sex in perspective: It’s a precious thing, to be sure, but not the ne plus ultra. I’ve had sex with people I cared about, slept with people I’d be fine with never seeing again, never consummated deep, passionate connections. As one commenter noted, I’ve come to realise that “great relationships don’t always guarantee great sex, and great sex doesn’t always guarantee great relationships.” I’ve never left someone because of bad sex, but never stayed for good sex, either. I’ve been with Cassanovas with many-notched headboards and guys who’d only been with one or two women, and I feel comfortable in saying that chemistry and care trump experience. And I can’t remember the last time anyone asked me to tally up past partners.

The only person who sees the author as carrying around that scarlet V, I imagine, is her.

OK Let’s Go

November 18th, 2013

I’m trying to decide what’s crazier: Going on a three-week, eight-country trip with only the clothes on your back? Or going on a three-week, eight-country trip with only the clothes on your back with some guy you just met on OKCupid?

A new life

November 17th, 2013

These images are at once hopeful and heartbreaking. Wow.


Is D.C. the gayest place in America?

November 16th, 2013

The Times has declared Washington “the gayest place in America.”

That’s based on Census data, which shows that 1 in 10 Washingtonians identifies as homo- or bisexual. But the story’s author, Jeremy Peters ticks off the gay bars, the gay newspapers, the store “whose window displays regularly feature bare-torso, well-endowed mannequins in nothing but tiny briefs” to conclude how very gay friendly D.C. is, in attitude.

I have to wonder if Peters would have written from the same perspective if he was a lesbian. I can’t say myself, either, since I’m not a lesbian. I’d certainly never suggest that Washington is lesbian unfriendly. But having lived in Northampton, Massachusetts, which decidedly is, it’s always struck me that Washington’s gay culture is gay male culture.

The retailers, the bars. There’s no equivalent of Nellie’s or JR’s, the uber-accessible gay bars, for lesbians. One of the big Washington events is the annual high-heel race, with men tottering about in drag — there’s no butch heat. I rarely run into throngs of lesbians on 17th or 14th streets or hear whispers of a lesbian old girls club.

Look, I’m glad that Washington is a progressive city where people are able to live openly. But I wish I could feel surer that it was just as great to be a lesbian here.

Running your mouth

November 14th, 2013

Whoa, what a jerk. Maybe if you got off your ass, you could sweat out some of this anger.

Eat your way to success?

November 13th, 2013

So, eating is a sport?!

Apparently not an amateur one, since you can gobble up enough prize money to pay your way through college.

Pleasure principles

November 12th, 2013

Wouldn’t you know it, women find it more difficult than men to have orgasms during casual sex?

Well, yes, and I wouldn’t need a bunch of sex researchers to survey hundreds of women to figure it out. It stands to reason, right? Women tend to have a harder time having orgasms, period. Add in a stranger, who is both unfamiliar with your body and with whom you have less of an emotional connection — I mean, duh.

But perhaps what I find more baffling is the assumption that orgasms are the be-all, end-all of a sexual encounter. Why else would women bother to hook up, that’s the default. I’m certainly no fan of this guy whose behaviour is detailed in a Times column: “After his own orgasm that night, she said, he showed no interest in her satisfaction…. He fell asleep immediately, leaving her staring at the ceiling.” On the other hand, though, was all he had to offer clitoral stimulation? (He seems like a jerk, so maybe.)

Women have sex, casual and otherwise, for a host of reasons. Orgasms, sure, but also physical and emotional closeness. Pleasure in a multitude of ways. Because we can.

Yes, hookups shouldn’t be one-sided. But nor should our definitions of intimacy.