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Archive for May 2009

Family Advice: A Reversal (Sort Of)

The Nagging Starts Here

The Nagging Starts Here

by Jonathan Bongo Perry

In an earlier post, Dating Advice From the Family, I expressed strong feelings about accepting dating advice from the family (I was against it).  I’ve since thought it over with much anguished soul-searching (not really) and have changed my mind.  I over-reacted.  I do that a lot.  I rescind my moratorium (the fact that I’m visiting my brother this weekend has only a little to do with my decision).  Advice shouldn’t be disregarded outright simply because it comes from family.  It should be discarded because it sucks.  Family members know you better than anyone and might have some idea of what you need or what you can do.  They know your sad, pathetic history.  Perhaps they’ve caused some of it (this is a completely different issue).  Yes, advice is everywhere.  Consider it all.  Use what’s appropriate.  For goodness sake, be discreet and speak in generalities if you have to blab.  Beware of potential nagging.

What I think I was most against was the pressure of time.  I don’t like being pressured to do stuff according to a timeline, especially from others.  This is evident when you consider I’m in my 30s and have been known to dawdle for years on specific items.  House.  Jobs.  Relationships.  I’m a dawdler.  Still dawdling.  I suppose I need the pressure, however much I dislike it.  Everything has to be thought out from all angles, compared, weighed and analyzed.  Things must be perfect.  I have my own foolish, faulty, exhaustive (and exhausting), and aimless procedures that lead me back to square one: indecision.  Honestly, if I were to read advice books, they should be stuff like How To Be More Decisive, How To Be More Of An Alpha, and possibly How To Trick the Girl You Like Into Liking You Without Being Obvious Or Creepy (Except Now You’re Reading This Book And Don’t You Feel Stupid?).  But then I’d actually read stuff like Oh, You Didn’t Consider This Issue Thoroughly, You Dork and Hold On There A Minute, Cowboy (I want to be a cowboy.  not really.  Actually, that might be cool…for a few days, until you get those saddle sores or haven’t bathed in a while.).

Now, whether you want to tell certain family members certain bits of info and expose yourself to potential nagging, harassment, and pressure is still a decision you need to consider carefully.  Consult your doctor to see if family advice is right for you.  In some cases family advice might lead to nausea, diarrhea, even insanity.  Family advice should not be taken lightly or with alcohol.

Dare to read:

Dating Advice From The Family

Dating Satisfaction Survey

Google-Stalking the Ex

Changing Your Relationship Status On A Social-Networking Site

Bachelors in History

Which is Your Type? A Pseudo-Cosmo Quiz

Celebrity Crushes: The Girl Next Door

Celebrity Crushes: Is Elegance Elitist?

Valentine’s Day Shame

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A Photographic Memory

My Grandparents.  Grandpa Hinkle may have a photographic memory

My Grandparents. Grandpa Hinkle may have a photographic memory

by Jonathan Bionic Perry

Imagine you could breeze your way through school remembering historical dates, theorems, stats, and paintings.  You would graduate at the top of your class, get loads of scholarships, wouldn’t have to pay for school, then take a job doing brain surgery on those very small monkeys that throw poop in and out of captivity.  You’d know lots of stuff, so you’d be good in conversations as long as you didn’t lord your ability over the common people too much.  You’d remember the names of people you work with, date, or grew up with.  Things would be less awkward.

You’d have instant access to all your life experiences, could relate interesting stories, and correct family members’ recollections because they’d all know that you have a photographic memory, and they‘d all have to bow to your superior wisdom.  Then you could study for the IQ exam, learning some basic theories about how shapes relate, then take the exam, get a perfect score, and be declared among the most gifted minds of our generation.  You’d have loads of self-esteem, date models whose names you’d remember, and grow wealthy beyond your wildest imagination.  I think it would be cool to have a photographic memory (aka pornographic memory, because, um, well…).

My grandfather is said to have a photographic memory.  It’s a point of pride in the family.  My grandmother might carry on about how my grandfather is such an old goat, but in the next breath she’ll gush about his fantastic memory or his magnificent brain.  I’m not sure that there’s an official way of measuring his memory, but frankly, I don’t doubt his braininess.  He’s one smart cookie.  He’s even still practicing medicine at age 83!  I imagine the memory came in handy in medical school when he was asked to differentiate between antibodies and Golgi bodies.  Also, he can remember all his children’s names, which is a feat in itself.

Nikola Tesla had a photographic memory

Nikola Tesla had a photographic memory

I’m personally not so good with the memory thing.  I often have difficulty remembering names of friends I’ve had for years.  I recently tried to be formal and introduce one friend to another, but I awkwardly blanked on the spot and totally forgot one of the names.  It was terribly embarrassing, I think my friend was a little hurt, and I apologized quite a bit for the next week (I‘m really, really sorry…uh, Gregg).  There are many times when I feel like my brain is Swiss Cheese with gaps in personal history recollection or names of everyday items, like milk, which is then referred to as ‘the white stuff‘, as in, “Please pass the white stuff.”

I’ve begun fearing the early onset of Alzheimer’s, which actually does run in the family (Not the early stuff, but the normal stuff.  Grandpa‘s mom had it.).  I don’t know if it’s too early to start exhibiting signs in your 30s.  Hopefully, it’s just lack of sleep or something cool where you reserve your brain power in one way to use it more effectively in another way like when you try to remember what a real female looks like naked, but then lose the memory of where you parked your car.  It’s probably just ADD.  Apparently, depression can ruin your memory, too.

I suppose having a photographic memory would have some drawbacks.  You’d have ready access to all the bad stuff that’s happened to you over the years that you’d normally suppress (bad jobs, the verbal abuse, the awkward teenage years), and because of your remarkable memory, you’d be plagued with all that psychological paralyzing weight.  It might not be that advantageous after all.  Furthermore, it would be harder to weasel out of things.  You couldn’t get out of commitments by saying, “Oh, I forgot,” because everyone would know that you didn’t forget.  You’re like an elephant that never forgets.  You’d have to think up better excuses altogether, like, “I had a brain cramp,” or “MENSA called an emergency brainstorming session with Colonel Mustard in the library with a pipe and I’m the official crime scene investigator and I just couldn’t get out of it for the life of Mr. Green.”  Yeah, smarty, there’d be a price.

Tenuously Related Reading:

Sound of Music Death Match!!! Liesl v Maria

Esperanto Rhymes With Tonto

Children, Braid Your Nosehairs

Will Your Siblings Use Up The Good Names?

Bachelors In History

Google-Stalking The Ex

11 Steps To Becoming A Domesticated Bachelor: #6. Be A Jack-Of-All-Trades

Couples vs Singles: Socialization

Tree Pruner or Medieval Weapon?

Men Without Cats

Celebrity Crushes:  The Girl Next Door

Valentine’s Day Shame

Bachelor Profiles:  Mad King Ludwig

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Dating Satisfaction Survey

survey-_customerby Jonathan B. Perry

If you could find out why you’d been rejected by someone, you’d want to know, right?  Absolutely!  Whether you’ve been rejected by someone you’ve been seeing a few years or have been rejected by the person you thought might turn out to be that special someone you’d eat lunches with in the park, it would be great to know.    None of that “it’s not you, it’s me” business.  No.

Please fill out this card.

On a scale from 1 to 5, rate:

  • our conversations
  • the frequency of calls
  • the frequency of emails
  • date enjoyment
  • how interesting I am
  • what you think of my taxidermy hobby
  • what you think of my undertaker job (and how it relates to taxidermy)
  • how attractive I am in downpours
  • how our personalities match

Answer the following questions as completely as possible.

  • Why did you lose interest?
  • At what stage of the game did you discover I was a troll?
  • Were you ever really interested?
  • Will you shop here again?

A dating satisfaction survey would be swell.  You might learn something.  It would be useful knowledge, too, especially if it’s a minor item in your approach that’s easily adjustable.  Maybe it was how you sold yourself.  The self-advertising.  Clearly, there was some communication problem, because it’s obvious you’re awesome.  Even if it’s something major about you that you couldn’t easily change or wouldn’t want to change (you’re an unabashed Ace of Base fan), it would be great to know where you stand.  If there’s something you can work on, work on it.  If not, move on and adjust your target.

ace-of-baseMaybe you thought things were going swimmingly and started getting those lovesick feelings you hadn’t felt in such a long time.  This person came closest to meeting most of the items on your very selective checklist (part of the reason you’re otherwise single).  Maybe you’d started your rusty amateur dating/attention strategy or were full into it, started envisioning or enjoying your new wonderful future with this person, then suddenly the bottom drops out and the object of your affection turns cold or starts treating you like an unwanted stranger.   Wait, this hasn’t happened before. It’s often hard to pinpoint the moment of breakdown on your own.  Only the other person really knows.  And it’s so different each time.

Sadly, it’s unrealistic and exceedingly uncomfortable to ask and, seriously, do you really want to know?  It might be very crushing to find out that this person you’re so fond of thinks you’re hideous, doesn’t believe you’ve amounted to much, and never really liked you in that way.  It was all a big misunderstanding.  You’re just fun to talk to.  Sometimes.  We had a few laughs.  There was a little time to kill while the stew simmered.

That would be devastating.  A sudden disinterest can be stupefying and such a blow from which you feel you’ll never recover.  But you will.  In fact, this is how we learn.  How we grow.  Maybe there’s something really wrong with the other person.  Something better may come along.  Or maybe not.  And really, love is hard to measure on a scale.  It’s a feeling that we either feel or we don’t.  Sometimes it needs a little push.  Maybe a shove.  But watch out for the cliffs.

Related Reading:

Google-Stalking the Ex

Changing Your Relationship Status On A Social-Networking Site

Bachelors in History

Which is Your Type? A Pseudo-Cosmo Quiz

Celebrity Crushes: The Girl Next Door

Celebrity Crushes: Is Elegance Elitist?

Valentine’s Day Shame

Dating Advice From The Family

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day, mom!  I’m very glad you came to visit.  It was really great seeing you.  Love you.

Here’s a Mother’s Day video that Jay found that has nothing to do with our family. Except for the nice, relevant stuff.

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Dating Advice From The Family

adam-eveby Jonathan B. Perry

Bachelorhood is generally viewed as an unholy aberration which should therefore be expunged from proper society.  Inasmuch as Adam and Eve had each other for naked fruit smuggling tag, so the animals marched two by two onto the ark (Except for the clean animals who climbed aboard in groups of seven.  The seventh animal was probably a spare bachelor should another male die from motion sickness or as spare ribs.).  Single women generally receive more derision or pity than single men as women are considered old maids and spinsters, whereas men have more wiggle room with just being cads and swingers.  I’ve just been brainwashed that singleness is abnormal all around and don’t find as much enjoyment as I might in my single life, particularly as I’m lovingly harassed regularly by people close to me, especially my aunts, my brothers, and my mom.  Nags.

Family conversations are full of clichéd advice such as “you’ve got to get out there and date”, “you won’t get anywhere until you try”, “You’re not getting any younger”, or queries like “So, have you gone out on any dates lately?” or “You don’t want to be single like your uncles, do you?”  These intrusions are flatteringly annoying.  Ok, mostly annoying (and perhaps a bit hostile to the uncles).  Yet I still talk to these people semi-regularly and visit them on vacations.  After all, they are family.  When I do happen to like someone, I may be foolish enough to mention it, when asked, in the hopes that the insane naggings might lessen, but the results are quite to the contrary.

A few years ago a female classmate of mine from college came back into town.  We’d been good friends in school and I’d liked her, but one of my close friends had been dating her.  Also, because of her take charge (a.k.a. bossy) personality and the fact that I get really stupid around girls I like, I usually clammed up nicely around her anyway, unable to exhibit my most clever charm, so famous in the 5-state area (I’m actually kind of a pseudo-introvert, so it’s all very tortured).  Because she was beautiful, intelligent, and musically talented, I usually looked past the fact that our personalities were rather incompatible (she’s psycho-choleric and I scare easily) and I harbored a longstanding crush on her.  When we met again a few years later, she was no longer dating my friend and we seemed vaguely interested in each other and partook in some non-date innocuous social activities (mini-golf, bowling, camping) within the safe confines of a larger group of our unsuspecting friends.

Foolishly, I mentioned the young lady’s reappearance to my brother who seemed to like her almost more than I did (of course he’d like anyone for me at this point) and thoroughly harangued me to ask her out.  Having not dated since approximately summer camp (ok, maybe the 3 years since college), I wasn’t in a rush to do so now.  But then, as quick as she was back, she decided to move out of town again just to be difficult (or to get a better job).  Of course, I was stupid enough to mention this.  My dear brother, who also knew her from college, took this badly and determined (With my mom!  Mercy!) that I should take this girl out as there was nothing to lose in doing so and that perhaps I would leave an impression on her and that she might return someday to resolve the pining I had instilled in her or some such crap.  Wicked puppetmasters.  It’s great when people can influence your decisions for you because you‘re so weak and indecisive (that was sarcasm).

The naggy relatives got me worked up and I ended up asking her out to the finest Ethiopian food and it was okay, slightly uncomfortable and forced, but she still moved away as an appeasement to Thor.  Whew.  That was a close one.  I’ve learned to shut up about such things around the family.  And that’s the real moral:  the less you tell people, the less they expect of you.  I wish I‘d practiced that sooner.  (By the way, not long after this girl moved away, she found a nice malleable bloke and got married and has since procreated as is the custom with the tribe.)

Do you overshare with friends and family?  Do they harass you?  Do you hate yourself?  Do I regret posting this?  On so many levels.

Disclaimer:  My brother is swell.  He’s very helpful.  He’s awesome!  Not a nag at all!

Related Reading:

Google-Stalking the Ex

Changing Your Relationship Status On A Social-Networking Site

Bachelors in History

Which is Your Type? A Pseudo-Cosmo Quiz

Celebrity Crushes: The Girl Next Door

Celebrity Crushes: Is Elegance Elitist?

Valentine’s Day Shame

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Kitten Of Evil

callie-picby Jonathan B. Perry

My cat Callie lived to the ripe old age of 16, which means that in human age she was already the equivalent of a super crabby, frail, old lady, obviously near death, except that she still had all her teeth and wasn’t afraid to use them on you.  There is wisdom in removing the teeth of the elderly.  Hours of fun playing Hide and Go Teeth.  Even though I might have been gently petting Callie, she would freak out at any moment and decide to use me as a hunted chew toy/scratch post.  As much fun as this was for me, pain and scarring usually overrode and reminded me that my cat really was some evil demon spawn who was perhaps rabid or at least incredibly insane.  I tried to placate her by bringing her good toys, couches and chairs were her favorites, but she seemed to like the taste of human blood better than polyfil.  Her best periods of non-psychotic behavior were mostly when I came home at the end of the day, where she’d let me pet her for a few minutes in exchange for following her to the food bowl so I could fill it to overflowing. This was a joyful, if brief, moment.  After that, it was pretty much Tourette’s Tooth Kitty.

I did love my cat, though.  Callie, a name that is embarrassingly the most common for a calico, had been in our family since her early cathood, but didn’t come specifically to me until the great family diaspora a few years back (I named the previous family cat Gregoria, but she liked to play in the road.  That didn‘t work out so well.).  Callie’s acquirement was odd for me, since I have enough trouble taking care of myself on a cold and windy day (honestly, I’m much better).  Growing up, she’d been a doll.  Even in between the later cat crazies, she could actually be a real sweet little beast.

Callie and I had a good symbiotic relationship where I fed her and cleaned up after her vomitings and other digestive misfirings in return for someone to talk to other than the mean woman in my head that tells me I suck.  If she was especially sick (the cat, not the mean woman), we’d play the exciting home game called “Guess Where I Puked”.  I never really won that.

My brother Jay has decided that if he ever gets a cat, he’ll name her Pandora, so she can use Pandora’s box.  He’s so clever.  Of course, cleaning a cat’s litter box is like being on an archaeological dig or panning for gold, but it‘s never a pleasant excursion and you don’t really want the treasure.  I’ve mostly overcome the gagging.  These events and the abuse from the cat have even inspired me to write thoughtful odes such as “Kitten of Evil” and “Gata Sacrificia”, though she wouldn’t have been impressed even if she could have understood the thoughtful lyrics (the humans aren‘t so impressed either).

Tenuously Related Reads:

Men Without Cats

Being An Uncle

Will Your Siblings Use Up The Good Names?

World Of Warcraft…Dating?

Celebrity Crushes: The Girl Next Door

Celebrity Crushes: Elegant Women

Changing Your Relationship Status (On A Social-Networking Site)

Google-Stalking The Ex

Couples vs Singles: Socialization

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11 Steps To Becoming A Domesticated Bachelor: #11. Get A Good Job

job2by Jonathan B. Perry

We’ve already covered the first 10 of the 11 steps to becoming a Domesticated Bachelor (the links are peppered throughout this post and at the bottom).  Now, we’ve perhaps arrived at the main thing; get a good job!  A good job helps to pay for keeping a bachelor domesticated.  It’s the glue that holds the airplane model together and sticks to your fingers for days.  It allows the bachelor to keep his fine mud-hut, drive his groovy car into a tree, wear his non-tent-like clothes, aimlessly travel the world, buy his mindlessly distracting toys, and throw those terrible parties to which no one shows up (grand hoohahs). Yes, you must get a good job to be truly domesticated.

Having a job you like is good for personal happiness and satisfaction and can affect your attractiveness to the opposite sex.  This is most useful.  If a woman has to choose between 2 guys who are otherwise equal, it would seem that the better job could push one guy over the top.  That might sound cynical and, perhaps, not always true, but we’re working the odds.  It makes sense because a higher income earner is better able to provide for his family.  Smart women want to be provided for and their mothers have prepared them for this.

If education can help you get a non-sucky pseudo-professional job, get that education or training and move up the ladder.  Maybe study for a Masters or professional degree.  Take night classes if necessary.  Ultimately, we’ll have to work for 40-50 years, unless we get really really rich and can retire sooner (or die earlier), so it‘s important to like your job for peace of mind and/or personal satisfaction.  It helps to quash that dangerous self-loathing (I’m hoping).

So, there you have it, the 11 steps to becoming a Domesticated Bachelor.  I meet only a few of the standards, so I wouldn’t be considered a domesticated bachelor.  Until recently I lived in a frightening apartment for several years (just bought a decent house, but it‘s super messy), don’t socialize very much with the humans, have never thrown a party (grand hoohah), cook very little (mostly sandwiches and spaghetti), have a less than stellar job, I’m only a jack of a few trades, I’m not my college svelteness, though I do have some decent clothes (could be better), and have an acceptable car and some distracting toys.  I’ve even traveled overseas a few times, just to be annoying.  Domestication is still a bit out there for me, but that‘s ok.  For the moment.  This list is sort of my own personal set of challenges and guidelines and maybe soon I can start checking more stuff off the list.  For now, I’m not so much a Domesticated Bachelor, as I am a half-wild goat down on the farm chewing something shiny.

Check out the list below for yourself.

Related Reading:

What Is A Domesticated Bachelor?

#1. THE BACHELOR PAD

#2. The Right Wardrobe

#3. Shape Up, Fatty

#4. Learn to Cook

#5. Travel the World

#6. Be a Jack of All Trades

#7. Master Something

#s 8 & 9. Proper Socialization/Throw Parties

#10- Collect The Right Toys

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