How did a ring of 11 Russian spies live among us for years, undetected? Clearly, they passed by being just like us: Ivy Leaguers. “007-worthy” hotties. Growers of prize-worthy flowers. Canadians. Ahem.
Archive for June, 2010
The latter includes cultural contrarian Camille Paglia, who argued in an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Times column over the weekend that modern American society is lacking in lust. Or at least those of us who are smart, white, and reasonably well-off. Among the culprits:
- Women in the workplace.
- Badly dressed men.
- Women who don’t like the cheap push-up bras at Victoria’s Secret.
- Lame-ass rock ‘n roll.
- Too much sex at the movies.
- Women who work out.
I’m not buying that we live in some sort of new Age of Prudishness. In fact, wouldn’t the debate over Viagra and Female Viagra, the supposed hook for Paglia’s column, indicate that there are people, men and women, who want to have sex? Or, at least drug-company market research suggests that they do?
Truthfully, I’m skeptical that we’ve entered into a new sexual paradigm, of prudishness or of promiscuity. The only thing new under the sun, sexually, it seems to me is that there are more of us, and more forums in which, to dissect and discuss, editorialise, blog, and tweet.
As a reporter, I’m not supposed to get close to my sources. And, really, I can’t say that I was close to Sen. Robert C. Byrd. In the five years I covered the Senate, I knew him as a formal man, wrapped in rectitude, proper, perhaps even a bit uptight.
But still, I couldn’t help but like his gentlemanliness and the way that he would, occasionally, let his less-decorous side show through: When he teared up at a hearing after his dog, Billy Byrd, died. His off-key serenade on my 26th birthday. How his Southern soft touch melted my uptight Northern mother. His unchecked anger, flaring on the Senate floor. The way he’d look at his wife, Erma, ever tender after decades together.
Wanted: White guy in a tie. No experience necessary.
Yup, that’s all you need to land a job as an “executive” in China, according to a piece in The Atlantic — pale skin and a suit. In China’s image-driven business culture, appearing to have connections to the West — even fake ones — is important, says Mitch Moxley, who writes of his stint as a “quality-control expert” at a Shandong province construction site. “Having foreigners in nice suits,” explains his Chinese-language tutor, “gives the company face.”
There could be real business possibilities here, though. The recession disproportionately threw exactly this demographic — middle-aged guys — out of work. Maybe it’s America’s new export opportunity?
The Beach Boys wished we all could be California Girls. And apparently, we wish you all could be Charlotte Guys.
A recent “study” ranked the North Carolina burgh the nation’s manliest city, where men are men and women love them for their home-improvement-store shopping, pickup-truck driving, salty-snack eating ways.
Yes, the per capita consumption of salty snacks is one measure of masculinity. Did I forget to add that said “study” was sponsored by Combos?
If you know what a Combo is, I figure you either have a lot of hair on your chest or a lot fat on your gut.
All the Samanthas out there are really crying on the inside.
That’s the conclusion of a recent essay in The Chronicle Review, which rounds up a surprising wealth of literature on sex differences when it comes to casual sex. Women, the authors conclude, bear steep emotional costs from hooking up, an evolutionary legacy, it seems, from a time when they had to be especially choosy with their mates if they wanted their offspring to survive and thrive.
The writers trot out any number of examples of supposedly sexually liberated women who realise they want for an emotional connection, from Katie Roiphe, who feels “sick” after a surfeit of “anonymous” dalliances to Kate Fillion who retroactively, and perhaps compulsively, decides she must be in love with every partner she’s ever had. Men, by contrast, report feeling less guilt and more enjoyment from hook-ups.
The most telling piece of data, however, comes from a survey of college seniors and high-school freshmen, each of whom are asked if they would have sex after a particularly great first date: Thirty percent of ninth-grade girls said they’d consider sleeping with the guy, while only 5 percent of the college women would. No doubt, the high schoolers’ response is coloured by bravado, peer pressure, and a desire to seem older and experienced but, still, it argues that women sour on casual sex as they come to understand its emotional price tag.
I was either a prude or a romantic — depending on your perspective — at 14, so I would have then said an emphatic “no” to first-date sex. Now, I don’t know if I’d be quite so absolutist. Like most women, I suppose, I have, at times, gambled, hoping, somehow, that sex without strings could ultimately lead to a meaningful bond.
Growing up, I hated bacon — and anything to do with a pig, really. I couldn’t stand the greasiness, the fat, the way its odor seemed to cling to surfaces long after the meal was done.
I’ve since come around, a convert to pancetta and pork belly. Still, I don’t think I could go as whole hog — tee-hee — as the attendees of the first-ever Camp Bacon. Described by the Post as the “Davos of cured and/or smoked pork,” the one-day event featured porcine history, trivia, and, disturbingly, tchotchkes (bacon earrings?!).
And, of course, lots and lots of food:
Although there would be bacon tastings through the dozen presentations, if any of the approximately 70 participants got hungry, all they needed to do was hold up the mini-skillet at the center of each table and a camp counselor would bring more.
Seriously, it’s the kind of event that seems like it ought to be sponsored by Lipitor.