Friday, October 12Talkin' Sex With The CDP.
I was reading Pointless Banter the other day, when I saw Kevin re-answering teen sex questions originally published in Seventeen magazine. His theory was that teenagers needed real-world answers to their real-world misconceptions and troubles concerning romance and intimacy, and Seventeen just wasn't doing the trick. Never one to pass up an opportunity to steal someone's idea, I asked Kevin for permission to plagiarize and officially hopped on board.
This week's topic is 'Kissing.' I took all questions straight from About.com, and replaced the terrible answers with my own, along with a little real-life experience. You're welcome, and you don't even have to thank me when you're getting more free kisses than Richard Dawson.
Damn, I'm old. Let's go.
1. When is it okay to give somebody a first kiss? Is it okay to kiss on the first date?
The Facts: Personally, I've never kissed someone during a first date, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. You're supposed to kiss when you both feel you want to kiss, and if it means 10 minutes into the night, so be it. On the other hand, if it takes a few weeks, that's fine, too. Just make sure it's mutual and not forced. This is supposed to be an original and unplanned thing; don't think there's a script you need to follow. If you're a whore, be a whore. Don't lie to yourself or your date. Lying is a bad way to start off a relationship; far worse than being easy.
The Story: I once shared a first kiss with a girl in the parking lot of a police station. We had been driving around for hours because she didn't want to go home, and we pulled in at around 2am because I was running out of gas. She was shooting hints in my direction like crazy, but they mostly deflected off of my thick, neanderthal forehead. Eventually, she said "You know what? I can't take this anymore!" and proceeded to straddle me in the driver's seat. For the next 5 minutes, I mainly tried very hard to keep my eyes peeled and not get arrested.
2. How can I tell if he/she wants me to kiss him/her?
The Facts: If a girl wants you to kiss her, she'll lay the positive hints on pretty thick. If she doesn't want you to kiss her, you'll get equally rejective hints. Anyone who thinks that females are the masters of subtelty when it comes to romance are seriously misguided, and maybe even a little slow. Just keep your head up and don't read too deeply into every little movement. Focus on the sure things.
If you don't know for sure, you might want to ease into the situation with a little bit of suave honesty. "I really want to kiss you right now," seems to get the job done if the mood is tense enough, and since it's not phrased in the form of a question, you'll be able to pick up responsive cues from your date beyond a simple 'yes' or 'no.' Take what is given to you, and don't force. Trying too hard to get a kiss on Monday will make it all the more difficult to get one on Tuesday.
If you're trying to figure out if a guy wants you to kiss him....you know what? If you're a girl, you can pretty much do whatever you want. Don't worry about it; he wants to kiss you. Concerning same-sex relationships, I would argue that the advice is pretty much the same, just slightly more adorable.
The Story: I once had a girl sing me the entire 'Shoop Shoop Song' (It's In His Kiss) to my face, and still I didn't get the hint that she wanted me to kiss her. Eventually, she just kind of grabbed me before I had a chance to make another dumbass mistake. I used to get womanhandled a lot, because I was an idiot with decent fashion sense. I'm a married idiot now, which mainly means that I'm lonely a lot. Gives me time to write stuff, though.
3. How do I politely put on the brakes when my bf/gf starts pushing kissing to the next level?
The Facts: If you're a girl that wants to slow things down, you just need to remember a few things about dominance and pacing in a relationship. What you must understand and take advantage of is that you're in control of the romance, always. You hold the key, you control the future and make the decisions, you just probably don't know it yet. Once your boyfriend realizes that nothing will happen without your approval, he'll start treating your opinions with a little more respect. A few nights of cold showers and soggy sheets will set him straight in no time. Be honest; tell him to take it easy. If he knows what's good for him, he'll lay off.
If you're a boy that wants to slow things down, just be honest and direct. You're going to get dumped, no matter what. Women don't wait, because they don't have to. For every girl that you want to slow things down with, there is an entire line of guys just begging for the chance to speed things up. You're screwed, but at least you have your dignity. Try not to cry in front of her parents when they're driving you home, though.
The Story: When I was young, inexperienced and slightly embarrassed with my lack of skills, I wanted to slow things down quite a few times myself. My thought was that I'd look like an idiot if I didn't know what I was doing. I now know that a girl will not mind at all if you suck at making out. What they will not tolerate is rejection and stagnation. It's considered hurtful and insulting to make them wait, and again, they really have no reason to hang around for your self-esteem to perk up.
I've since learned to just strap in and do a terrible job. At least you went for it, right?
4. I have braces, is there a trick to kissing with these things on so that neither one of us gets cut?
The Facts: Yeah, just be gentle. Don't get all teeth-bumpy and whatnot; that's pretty gross, braces or otherwise. Your partner will learn that it's not a good idea to lick your molars when making out (or ever), and it will be a complete afterthought in just a few minutes of practice.
The Story: I wore braces for...gosh...at least 5 years, and I cannot recall a single time when they came into play on the smooching field. Again, just don't be a pig about it. If you're both wearing braces, however, I can't really help you there. That's just dangerous, not to mention, nerdy as hell.
5. My bf/gf has bad breath which makes kissing not so fun, how can I let him/her know without hurting his/her feelings?
The Facts: Nobody wants to be near someone that smells like ass and cat food, much less accept their tongue inside of their throat. However, not everyone knows that they are offensive to everyone around them. These specific people are called 'single men,' and need to be treated like children to properly educate and train.
By the time you get to a certain point in a relationship, you'll be able to just be honest about it and let your partner know that they taste like crap. In the early stages, though, it's best to just offer them some gum or a swig of grain alcohol beforehand. If they get it, they'll get it. If they don't, then you might want to stop kissing them for a while until they get their hygiene under control.
The Story: Now that I'm married, the topic of bad breath isn't an issue. Brutal honesty has long-since replaced tip-toeing around a sensitive subject. If we're in bed and things take a turn for the smoochin', we'll stop to brush our teeth or hit the mouthwash. You really should always be doing that before you go to bed, though. And flossing. You gotta floss.
Before marriage, though, I used to go out with a smoker. While I hated the habit (borderline retarded and unrelentingly idiotic) and forbid her from smoking in my car, it was impossible to fully remove the smell of cigarettes from her maw. She knew that it was an issue that I held some objections to, so she was nice about it and carried Tic-Tacs everywhere we went. It didn't get the job done, but I was willing to compromise.
Also, I never went out with someone who wasn't previously aware of my OCD and fear of germs, so it wasn't like they were thrown for a loop when I freaked out over something of this magnitude.
6. Is kissing somebody else when you are in a relationship considered cheating?
The Facts: To me, cheating is defined by your significant other (along with your overall level of happiness). If he or she thinks that something is symbolic of unfaithfulness, then you need to follow those rules as a caring partner. If he or she thinks that going to a strip club is cheating, then you might want to lay off the lap dances. If he or she thinks that watching pronography is cheating, then you might want to hide the cable bill next month. It's a sliding scale that's all at the mercy of your partner, and you pretty much have to follow it for as long as you're with them. It doesn't matter if you think what you did is cheating or not.
However, your partner needs to stick to the rules they set at the beginning of the relationship; no changing the game halfway through to accommodate their side of an argument.
The Story: My sliding scale of adultery breaks down like this. If the Missus wants to do something that she wouldn't want me to do, then we're going to have to sit down and talk about it. Our relationship dictates a certain level of respect and not-acting-like-a-douchebag, and we keep communication channels open to maintain that trust.
A few months ago, the CDP sponsored a lingerie party at a local nightclub. The Missus didn't want anything to do with it, as nudity, scantily-clad masses, bondage and other various forms of debauchery were set to take place. She knew why I was going, though, and also knew what I'd be doing while I was there (sipping Sprite, watching football, shaking hands and playing Ms. Pac-Man), so it was all good. Had she been offended by my attendance, I wouldn't have gone, because once again, you need to follow the scale of your partner.
So, do I think that kissing someone else is considered cheating? To me, it depends on the circumstances, which I'm about to go into with this next question...
7. If I kiss somebody in the heat of the moment does that mean I have to start a relationship with him/her?
The Facts: Look. Things happen. Some people look at casual kissing no further than casual hugging. Some people hold far more importance to the act. It really all depends on who you smooch.
The Packers won the Super Bowl? George W. Bush ate a shotgun on national television? These acts may be emotionally moving enough to cause you to plant one on anyone within planting distance. In these cases, it's an admission of joy, just like a hug, and should be treated as such. It really has nothing to do with the kiss itself.
A few years ago, I got drunk at Ben's wedding reception and kissed his neighbor's dog. You don't see us going out, do you?
The Story: On my last day of High School, I was approached by the younger sister of one of my friends. I guess she had a crush on me, and assumed that this would be the last time she was going to see me. Without saying a word, she pinned me up against the lockers and stood me straight up with a hard kiss on the lips. She grinned and exhaled out of her mouth like she was posessed, walked away, and yeah, I never saw her again. I understood why it happened, and I allowed it to be as such. She deserved to be reckless, and I deserved a no-strings-attached kiss.
This would have been the end of it, had I not been going out with the future Missus at the time. She was slightly less forgiving, and this girl in question knew that I was taken. Not so cool. Strings were attached, and feelings were hurt. Make sure that doesn't happen, and you're kissing someone who is aware of your nonchalant feelings beforehand.
Things happen, though. People kiss people. It's okay as long as nobody gets hurt (see above), and it stays innocent.
8. Why do I sometimes get red and tender patches around my mouth after kissing my boyfriend?
The Facts: He needs to shave a bit closer. It's called whisker burn, and it's almost unavoidable in feverish, teen make-out situations. Take it a bit easier, or suffer the pointy caress of a crappy, teenage moustache. As you get older, you'll soon realize that romance is chock-full of umcomfortable positions and red, tender patches. They never dicsuss that sort of stuff in the movies. Friction equals heat; it's basic Physics.
The Story: If I don't shave, I typically don't get kissed. Simple as that. The Missus expects certain things from me, and looking like a caveman is strictly forbidden with the punishment of no naughty business. So, every time I look myself in the mirror each morning, I'm faced with a very important question. Do I want to please my wife, nurture the love and respect that I have for her and be rewarded with the pleasure of her close company today? Or, do I want a beard?
9. Is kissing your pillow really a good way to practice?
The Facts: No, not really. The human head and mouth has little to no similarities to a pillow. If you don't already know that, you're going to be very surprised once you start having sex.
If you must, practicing on your arm is better, because it's made out of skin that's warm and attached to a living body. It doesn't hurt to bend your arm and give that crease in your elbow a go, too. If you want to work your tongue into the mix, it doesn't matter what you do, because it's not going to be like the real thing (we'll be discussing sex at a later time, by the way). If you're simply shooting for form and pacing, you might want to try kissing a stuffed animal; anything with a face, really. Just not your brother or sister, please.
The Story: When I was a kid, I practiced like crazy. I practiced on my pillow, my arm, stuffed animals, the TV set, Cindy Crawford posters; you name it, I was pressing my lips against it. Not so much to simulate what it was going to be like, but mainly to throw myself into that fantasy and hopefully prepare myself for as little embarrassment and humiliation as possible. I can't remember if it did the trick, but I've never gotten anything less than praise throughout my life.
I can still tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue, which is admittedly a super-greaseball thing for a 25 year old to be doing at bars, I must say. I'll never do that in front of company again.
10. I kissed a friend of the same sex, does this mean that I am gay?
The Facts: Nope. Not even a little bit. I've kissed many of my guy friends, typically for humorous purposes, dares and the like. Don't start questioning your sexuality until emotions start coming into play. The act itself is borderline meaningless.
The Story: When we were all in our teens, myself and Ben convinced The Missus and Sherry to kiss each other. They had been friends since early childhood and never once did it, so me and Ben thought it would be really hot and cute to see those two finally lock up. When they did, it was the single most deflating and un-sexy thing I've ever seen. I don't know how they pulled it off, but it was a total letdown. We haven't asked them to do it again since, nor do we plan to.
Me and Ben continue to kiss on a regular basis, however.
So, there you have it. 10 tips and answers to your burning questions concerning the Act of the Kiss. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. I'll be spending a relaxing few days in beautiful Door County, watching the leaves fall and eating generous portions of homemade fudge.
Oh, and let me know if you want me to more of these 'FAQ' columns. I have more, trust me.
Wednesday, October 10The Geek.Kon Aftermath.
I had never been to a 'Con' before, and was honestly fearing the worst. I envisioned the sweaty, unwashed masses of overweight humanity, goose-stepping out of their parents' basements, throwing on their best ironic t-shirts or star fleet uniforms, and thoroughly embarrassing myself and my beloved city.
I was pleasantly surprised. I'm also ignorant and more than a little bit of an asshole.
For a first-year, completely free Sci-Fi/Anime/Gaming convention, Geek.Kon 2007 delivered the goods and offered a lot of promise for the future. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and staff, I firmly envision Geek.Kon to be one of the premiere Cons in the Midwest in no less than five years. The weekend festivities were even featured on CNN!
(My VIP pass ensured that I didn't have to wait in line at the Mark Hamill kissing booth.)
Now that the organizers have earned clout, they can charge admission and gather more paying sponsors. This will generate more revenue to secure a better venue, better guests, better prizes and better ways to accommodate and please the ever-growing fan base. Over 1,800 people attended this two-day affair, and I'm guessing that number might double in 2008.
Furthermore, once the CDP is recognized as the funniest and dare I say, sexiest blog in Wisconsin, I'll probably be signing autographs and collecting hotel room keys like nobody's business come next year.
(Amazingly, the line started forming at 7am on Saturday morning. During CARTOONS!)
My only two criticisms of the event had nothing to do with the Convention itself. The venue needs to be changed (they really had no choice but to hold it here this year), and a lot of the Geeks in question refused to bathe beforehand. However, don't let it be said that Sci-Fi conventions are nothing more than gatherings of pungent, dateless losers with fantasies that would crack even the filthiest psyche, nope! I spotted more cute Cosplay girls than an entire day spent in the Anime section of Suncoast Video. Believe me, I'm there a lot.
(If you were a semi-cute girl in a somewhat-cute looking costume, you pretty much pwn3d the place.)
Here are the details, from what I can recall. I should also mention that a lot of these photographs are not mine. The labeled ones were shot by Chris Norris for Dane 101. Please visit both sites so they don't get mad and make me remove all of them. I've only gotten into copyright trouble one other time, and I really don't want to experience it again.
(This hallway was exposed to natural sunlight, so it was for the safety of the Geeks that they avoid it.)
I wanted to arrive right away at 8am on Saturday, to watch the MST3K episode Jack Frost, arguably the best Mike Nelson episode of the entire series. However, campus parking in Madison is a cruel joke, and the Missus had to actually drop me off at the door at around 9:45am while she continued to look for a spot. Had I been any later, I would have forfeited my place in the Guitar Hero II tournament, which was the main reason for my attendance in the first place.
I brought my own axe (pictured above) with its very own case. Considering that some folks brought robots they constructed out of old washing machine parts, I didn't think I was going to get stared at too much.
(The Geek.Kon vendors accepted cash, check or anything adorable from Japan.)
I found out that the tournament was going to start a little later than announced, so I did some walking around the convention grounds while my friends were in the process of parking 1.5 miles from the venue (seriously). There were three floors of geek goodness, from LAN parties to DDR to cosplay to Anime viewings to artists to vendors to movies...you name it, it was probably somewhere under the roof of the University of Wisconsin Humanities Building.
Walking around by myself, I lowered my jackass facade a bit and took in how much fun everyone seemed to be having. It was infectious, and it in tune made me happy.
Then my friends showed up, and I went back to making fun of everyone. I never said I was a strong man of character; next time, I'm coming alone.
(One of the few chances you can wear a skiing outfit in the Autumn without people thinking you're retarded.)
What shocked me above all was the large amount of press coverage this thing was getting. Every local network, and a few national networks were on hand to roll tape and ask questions. During the Guitar Hero tournament, for example, news crews were really starting to bother the participants while they were trying to play. These poor kids were just trying to win a contest, and some douche from Channel 27 was trying to get their name and information at the same time. Dude, Monkey Wrench is only a three-minute song; just give them a bit, okay?
(Yes, women outnumbered the men here. Yes, I have no idea how that happened.)
Since the convention was brand new and free, the organizers couldn't really bring in the Whedons and Wheatons and whatnot (hilarious), so fans and volunteers set up their own panels in which to talk about these people. Personally, I think they did a great job.
Being a huge fan of Japanese music, I was saddened to see that the entire auditorium for the J-Pop panel was standing-room only by the time I got there. On the other hand, I was satisfied that things were going so well. I knew what it was like to put a lot of work into something that nobody else cared about, so it always makes me happy to see a dream play out better than expected.
For example, when I was in High School, I wrote a pretty amazing song about a kid that used to touch himself in the library while looking at pornography on the school's computers. Imagine my shock when everyone was turned off by the whole thing. I thought it was brilliant, and could have rocketed our band to super-stardom. For the time being, "Library Jack-Off Boy" still sits in my filing cabinet, just waiting to be unleashed on the general public.
(The auditorium was packed to the rafters when the CDP made his presentation.)
Being new to the convention scene, I don't know the deal with photograph etiquette. I mean, if I see someone wearing a neat costume that they put a lot of time into, is it polite or impolite to ask for a picture with them? Is it okay to approach strangers in this regard? There were more than a few people who deserved to be the center of attention (the lady in red up above, for example), I just didn't want to come off like a stooge or pervert every time I asked for a picture.
Each time I stared at a younger girl in costume for more than a second, I half-expected Chris Hansen to pop up and tell me to have a seat next to the plate of cookies. Eventually, I just put my head down and made a beeline to the Guitar Hero room. The tournament was about to begin.
(I don't know who this girl is, I haven't met her and I don't know her name, but I'm almost positive that I love her.)
There were 16 slots in the GHII tournament, and a packed room of about 30 in attendance. The folks who showed up early had the advantage of being able to warm up and get comfortable in the room, while I dashed in 5 minutes beforehand, clutching my guitar and a box of Lemonheads that were my only source of food so far that day. This already wasn't what I had planned for myself.
Nonetheless, I scoped out the competition and took a seat near the back. I stayed unassuming and went through my battle plan and strategy in private.
My strategy? Swear loudly to distract my opponents and throw punches when necessary.
(Say what you want. Those are pretty amazing costumes. My t-shirt and jeans combo didn't stand a chance.)
The preliminary round eliminated the pack from 16 to 8 competitors, which called for everyone to play the same two songs, and cut the bottom 8 total scores. There were a lot of good players in the room, and I was feeling a little nervous before it was my turn to shine. Furthermore, my entourage and wife were late in showing up, and filed in halfway through my first song.
I played pretty good, though, and survived the cut from 16 to 8, ranking #2 overall. This allowed me to have control over what songs I wanted to play during the head-to-head portion of the tournament, excluding if I were to face the #1 ranked seed in the finals.
This did not happen. For, in that very room, my worst nightmare loomed. A sight so intimidating and nerve-shattering, that all who came before it were humbled in their presence.
Of course, I'm talking about the token Asian kid.
(Screw the robot, look at this dude's shirt! Raddest. Attire. EVER.)
You know who I'm talking about. At every arcade, in every video game competition, there is a token Asian kid ready to pulverize and destroy everything you thought you knew. He's going to humiliate you, embarrass you with his work ethic and maybe sleep with your girlfriend if he wants to. I don't know what it is about Asian kids that makes them so damn good at video games, but it's almost unfair.
I won my quarterfinal match with ease, and faced the token Asian kid in the semis for a chance to go to the championships. I tried to keep my composure, but I couldn't help but tremble as I plugged my controller into the PS2. "Stick to the game plan," I said to myself. "Stay cool, you can beat this guy!"
It's a good thing the crowd was standing behind me, because I started peeing my pants pretty early into the face-off.
(Not Natalie Portman, but hey, close enough!)
It was a 2-out-of-3 match, and I got the honors of choosing the first song. Instead of my slow and steady, conservative style I adopted to cruise through the tournament, I decided to pick a hard song and see if I could rattle this kid. Of course, we all know that you cannot rattle an Asian kid at anything.
I was destroyed. Manhandled. Embarrassed in front of my wife and friends. Strike 1.
For Round 2, my opponent had the choice of song, and he decided to pick the one song that I absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt cannot freaking play. I was almost laughed out of the room, and graciously accepted my 3rd Place finish as the token Asian kid went on to win the tournament.
His prize? A key chain!
(Here, I take on my quarterfinal challenger while Fidel Castro sits on my right.)
My friends were shocked at how reserved I was at the outcome, considering that I was just raped in front of 30 people. My opinion was that I played the best I could, and I only would have been mad had I choked for whatever reason. I was fine with the finish, and we were now free to roam about the convention in peace.
Eight seconds later, I grabbed a random dude, booted him right in the rod and threw him out of a third-story window.
(Geek.Kon was state-of-the-art, boasting a fully-functional 'chalked board.')
After some more roaming, we finally left Geek.Kon to grab some food. By accident, we wandered into Harvest Fest, which was a huge competing festival dedicated to the legalization of marijuana. I got concerned that I would be photographed and shown on the nightly news, which would assuredly lead to a frantic call from my mother. We hustled out of there pretty quick.
Oh, and to those who want weed legalized? Not going to happen. Ever. Sorry.
(I sure hope this sticker gets noticed more than I do. I didn't give away a single thing that day.)
In conclusion, I can't wait for Geek.Kon 2008. To the organizers and volunteers, you did a great job. My only suggestion is that you put a shower on sight for those who desperately need it. If you ever need someone to lead a panel on how to run a moderately successful and ego-driven local blog, I think I might be able to help you out. You have officially converted me.
Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.
Monday, October 8Facebook Funnies! (Volume 5.)
Hello, and welcome to another hilarious installment of 'Facebook Funnies,' where we get to peek into the personal lives of Facebook users by simply keeping an eye on the Mini-Feed. It's wacky! It's hilarious! It's Facebook Funnies!
Today's Facebook Funny comes to us from 'Minka.' This was her rapidly updated mini-feed on Wednesday afternoon:
Minka has removed 'Friends' from her Interests.
Minka has removed 'Family' from her Interests.
Minka has added 'Thunderstorms' to her Interests.
Minka has added 'Fireworks' to her Interests.
Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for the next installment of Facebook Funnies!