Friday, February 29, 2008

A Lucky Lucky Leap Day

I have a particular good-luck charm. If I start my day by running into someone I went to high school with, I have a wonderful, perfect day. Doors open, worlds collide, I get the best tables in the best restaurants, flower merchants give me an extra daisy just for smiling, and the sun shines.

Today looked like it might be unlucky. I didn't have any clean, matching socks. The clean underwear options were equally dire. I forgot my lunch. My Metro train was being driven by some sort of batty old man who kept slamming the brakes. I was running late, crabby and in a hurry.

Then it all changed: I heard my name, turned around, and there was an old friend waiting for me. Back in Woodbridge, I used to give him a ride home from school, and on the way we'd stop at Taco Bell. We'd joke that you can only eat something as nasty as Taco Bell with someone you trust. We lost track of each other after graduation.

And then, today, I ran into him. He works just down the street from my office. The sun is out, my office has that post-crunch time teamwork glow, and it's Friday. My NewsHour segment aired last night ("Babies Having Babies" --- I didn't see it, and if I'm in that, I really hope none of my relatives see). And it's a Leap Year. So by the end of today, I'll either win the lottery or get hit by a falling satellite.

Either way, I can't wait to see what happens next.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm Neither Pregnant Nor a Teenager, But Thanks for Asking!

A week or so ago, a NewsHour crew was in my office to get some stock footage. Apparently we popped up on TV for the first time. In a story about teen pregnancy. That strikes me as totally awesomely random. Maybe next we'll show up in a story on illegal cockfighting rings or alien abductions.

No idea if I'm featured or not, but if any of my tech-savvy readers want to see if the video is available anywhere online, have at it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Now That I Hate Puppies, I'll Hate Blogs, Too

I'm not really a part of DC's blogging "scene." I tried to go to two happy hours, which didn't work out. So, I figure I'll chuck a few water balloons and see what happens. Hopefully, this will engender some healthy, respectful discussion. Or at least keep me amused for a bit.

I read and comment on a fair number of blogs, but, honestly, there's so much out there that just isn't to my taste. I don't see the point of monotonous woman-bashing, writing posts that are full of in-jokes and nicknames (sort of like one of those epic TV shows you have to watch from the beginning), posting tons of photos of myself (unless they serve a narrative purpose, or are funny), or dutifully cataloging every aspect of my weekend. So I choose to click my way over to things that catch my fancy. I like thinking blogs and humor blogs, vs. this-is-what-I-did-yesterday blogs. Differences in taste are not moral failings.

By the way, I'm not talking about any blog in particular. This is a post inspired by five years of writing this site, reading blogs, and thinking about what it all means. I got here a long time before most of you, and I have no plans to hang up my spurs. So if you're still convinced that I'm talking about you, lower your defenses for a minute and hear me out.

Because the defensiveness is exactly what puts me off reading blogs. Especially comments sections. Yes, blogging is a very personal thing. No, that does not mean that everyone is going to laud you as a misunderstood genius. We're all imperfect beings. So when we put ourselves out into the world, it's totally unreasonable to expect perfection back. Far too many blog comment threads run something like this:

Anonymous: I don't agree, because of A-B-C.
The Blogger: Well, I cannot believe you just called me a stupid hairy ape, you twit.

No, I'm not talking about random anonymous hate comments. I get 'em too, after all, and if they bothered me I'd forbid anonymous commenting. I'm talking about bloggers who respond disproportionately to any opposing view, or freak at even the slightest whiff of criticism.

Criticism is an opportunity. It helps you grow. When your boss gives you feedback, do you whine or do you listen? You listen. Well, your audience is your boss. If you really were writing "just for you," you wouldn't be broadcasting live on the Internet. You'd keep a diary. So see what you can learn if you just put your dukes down.

Also, it's almost impossible to convey tone over the Internet. So if there's a nice way and a mean way to interpret a comment, go with the nice way. Guaranteed to extend your lifespan in no time flat.

We all have our reasons for doing what we do. But if invisible commenter elves are going to ruin your day, then you need to just chill. And if you respond to this post with anger and froth, or decide that it means I've called you out personally, well, then, you just proved my point. According to the rules I just made up in my head, you now owe me a drink.

What do YOU think? Bloggers, readers, lurkers, step on up. I promise to not call any of you stupid hairy apes.

PS - I really do believe commenters are a bunch of invisible elves. I also think that tiny musicians live inside radios, though, so don't take my word on it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Newsflash: Animals Aren't People

The city of Alexandria is going to have a Dangerous Dog Registry.

The crux of the article is the case of a six-pound yippy terrier that got chomped by a much bigger dog. And then, the kicker: the owners spent $13,000 on vetinarian bills, and the dog is still partially paralyzed. That amount of money would more than pay off my student loans, it would buy a car, it would provide a ton of supplies for a third-world elementary school.

I do like pets, so don't write me off as a callous animal-hater. I was an inconsolable mess eight years ago when my cat Smokey died. I had dogs growing up, and went away to horse camp. Animal abuse upsets me greatly, and I wanted Michael Vick to do a lot of hard time. But they're just animals. They aren't people, and they sure as heck aren't children (which is why the designation "furbaby" instead of "pet" annoys me).

So, put the poor terrier down, don't spend $13,000 just so she can have what amounts to a fairly lousy quality of life. Don't shell out for gourmet dog treats, cashmere sweaters, organic food, or any other accoutrement of yuppie doggie love. If you've got that much money and love to share, do something worthwhile with it. Your pet doesn't care one way or the other.

PS - Yes, I know animals/pets/"furbabies" are so incredibly wonderful because they provide unconditional love. My point exactly. They don't care about organic farm-fresh goodies or designer collars, and they sure as heck don't want you to shell out $13K just to be kept alive with a broken back. They love you unconditionally, remember?

Screw Norplant, Try a Museum

There is really no more effective birth control than the Museum of Natural History on a weekend afternoon. Especially late afternoon, when the kids are having their exhaustion tantrums, Mommy has resorted to ignoring them completely, and Daddy is seriously considering starting a new life in Kentucky.

Also, the new butterfly exhibit? Six bucks. For about fifteen minutes worth of stuff, and an hour-long line to even get it. We skipped it. The Smithsonian is owned by the American people, and charging admission is just plain tacky.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reason #157 to Be Sick of Yankees

I hate snow.

Not because it's slippery and wet and annoying. But because once even a single snowflake appears in the sky, there's an explosion of self-righteous "DC people turn into idiots when it snows!" tirades. Apparently we're a bunch of road-raging Chicken Littles with no sense whatsoever. These rants outweigh actual snow hysteria by two to one*. And nine times out of ten*, the complainer compares our winter behavior to that of a city much further north (most often, Boston) or in the Midwest.

Newsflash: this is our town. If you're gonna pull your carpetbag on down to Washington, the city that embodies the best and worst of both Mason and Dixon, go with the flow.

Of course we freak out when it snows. We raid grocery stores and clean them out of toilet paper, then fall down at least twice in the parking lot. After that, we drive our fancy SUVs at glacial speed, skidding to and fro and demolishing mailboxes. Then the whole city shuts down for a week.

If you complain about this, it's because you aren't in on the joke. Washingtonians are a pack of overworked pranksters, and we figured out years ago that sufficient snow hysteria will get us the day off. Next time, play along!

* All statistics completely fictional and property of Shannon's imagination.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Life on the B-Roll

I'm going to be stock footage!

Yesterday, my coworker was asked if we'd allow a camera crew from a news program to film us at work. Apparently they needed some shots of women in an office for when they do segments about women and the workplace.

It was fun, which surprised me, because I'm very superstitous about cameras.

We all sat at our desks and tried to ignore the camera crew, and look both professional and determined. We also had to interact a bit and we even had a fake meeting. The camera crew were very courteous and totally impressed when I knew what "white balance" was.

So if you see me on TV, busting through the glass ceiling, wondering how to balance work and family, or fighting pregnancy discrimination, know that I'm really wondering whether it's too early to eat my sandwich.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Are We So Afraid of Our Own Company?

I hate iPods. They are a scourge upon the earth. There, I said it.

I love music. My CD collection is the invasive species in the biosphere of my studio. I stayed for the entirety of Ryan Adams' 2001 six-hour drunken monstrosity of a 9:30 Club performance. I have a well-documented musician fetish.

But I hate iPods. Why?

Because I think far too many people use them to shut out the world. Why simply commute when you can crank up your favorite tunes at the same time? Never mind that the music is annoying to those around you.

And then we have the people that can't even walk down the street without their iPods. Is ambient noise so terrible? Why not listen to the breeze, the traffic, or the crazy homeless dude ranting about the Bush administration? And as a safety tip, if you're walking home by yourself at night, especially after drinking, don't wear your earbuds. Muggers and other unsavories view that as an engraved invitation delivered by liveried footman. You should always be aware of your surroundings.

Worst of all, we have the people that attempt to have conversations with earbuds still in place. Even if the music is off, or even if you've taken one earbud out of its socket, it's very rude to give the impression that you aren't fully engaged in a conversation. (Oh, ESPECIALLY at work when your colleague is asking you a question. That's my biggest office pet peeve.)

You don't need a soundtrack for every moment of your life. Take out the earbuds every once in a while, and pay a little attention to the world around you. Your little plastic buddy will be there when you get back.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ambulatory McMansions and Why I Hate Parents

Man, do I want kids! Today, right now, immediately.

At this point, my boyfriend has probably shrieked, switched off his computer, and hightailed it to Mexico. But my other readers can stick around for the real reason:

I want to be an ill-mannered boor who gets in everyone's way. And I want to be self-righteous and complain a lot while I do it. And there are only three ways to get away with that level of obnoxiousness: 1. be a group of scary-looking rowdy teenagers, 2. be famous, 3. have kids. As my teen years are long over, and I'm not famous, option 3 looks like the best bet.

Case in point: this morning, I squished and jostled my way aboard the Metro's Red Line. Just inside the doors, blocking everything in all directions, was the biggest stroller I have ever seen in my entire life. It was a double stroller, but one of those super-expensive, tricked-out models the size of a Volkswagen Golf. It was very Spawn of Hollywood. This stroller could buy and sell us all, and still have cash left over to take itself out for a nice lunch and a little shopping.

Aside from the hulking beast of a conveyance (which did include two kids - I checked), there was a mother, grandmother, and abundant luggage. All, of course, blocking the doors, the aisles, the poles, the entire transportation system of Greater Washington. I bet the stroller was blocking traffic as far back as the Mixing Bowl. Suited-up commuters squeezed past, or squashed themselves into yoga-esque positions while the mother and grandmother cluelessly complained about how crowded the train was, and that people kept jostling them. They were very surprised that the train was so busy, they didn't know "when Washington got so popular." They also worriedly back-and-forthed about how their precious angels were becoming anxious because of all the crowding.

Hello, ladies? I know the thrill of genetic continuity and space-age baby gadgetry is a beautiful thing. But are you so blinded by your own importance that you don't realize that 8:45 is rush hour? As in, not kiddie time. As in, not the time to reconstruct an ambulatory version of your McMansion-Ford Excursion-grande latte exurb lifestyle. You clearly own everything else in the world, did you forget to purchase a watch? Would it have killed you to wait an extra fifteen minutes?

I get that yes, people with kids will occasionally cross paths with the rest of us. Fine. But not during rush hour. And if you must join us for rush hour, don't bring a stroller the size of a pony. And if you must bring a stroller the size of a pony, don't bring luggage as well. Oh, fine. Bring the pony and the luggage. Just don't have the gall to moan on about it, when the crowding is actually your own fault because you're taking up half the train.

So I want kids, so I can be a jerk and get in everyone's way. Is that so wrong?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Story Time: Valentine's Edition

Many, many years ago, in the year 2000, I was a workaholic.

I had a job in political consulting (cha-cha-cha, soooo D.C.) I know that everyone says they work too many hours, because busy is the adult version of "popular." To that, I say: I kept a blanket and pillow under my desk for the nights I had to sleep over. So chew on that while I continue my tale.

Most of my attempts at dating were a disaster. I had no free time, and the little time I had was spent drinking discount Shiner Bocks at Asylum with my sister, or taking random road trips to South of the Border with my colleagues.

I met a guy, at the Red Lion. (Hard to believe, but once upon a time I was young enough to meet boys at the Red Lion.) We started to date. It was tricky, because I worked all the time and he was busy with his burgeoning substance abuse issues. Then, a few weeks later, Valentine's Day came. I had worked 18 of the previous 24 hours, and wasn't in the mood to go out. But, foolishly, I went anyway.

We headed over to a cute little French restaurant. I ordered the salmon. As we ate our dinner at the so-cute-you-could-die little table, I began to feel drowsy. Then I fell asleep. Face-first into my plate. Oh, and I drooled. And there were flecks of pink salmon meat in my hair. I'm sure it was quite attractive.

That was it for that relationship.

I stayed friends with the guy for a while. We did fun stuff, like scrape body paint off his back from an art project he'd participated in. He got sober, too. Over a year later, he asked me out for dinner and a play. Halfway through the evening, he said, "Do you know why I asked you out on a date tonight?"

My response: "Because you've been sober for a year and your sponsor said you could date?"

And that was really it for that relationship.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Love, Money, and Everything In-Between

My relationship with money isn't terribly complicated. That's because I don't have any.

And that's where the complications come in. And this is a post on behalf of my fellow broke Washingtonians.

Being broke when you're in college isn't so bad, because nobody else has any money, either. But once you hit your thirties, everyone else is financially stable while you're still at the paycheck-to-paycheck kiddie table. (I call myself a P-to-P'er.) It ain't easy, and this is an absurdly expensive town full of marginally affluent, possibly overextended people.

(It's especially fun when you're a P-to-P'er because you dropped your career to get married to a virtual stranger and move overseas for a while, then had to come back and start over, which is what I did. So I really only have myself to blame. Oh, and the fact that the job market is really tough. Because it is. But, this post isn't specifically about me, it's about all of us broke folks.)

So you look at money-in vs. money-out, gasp at the discrepancy, devise a budget, and mercilessly chop out any form of frippery. Lunch is from a Tupperware, sodas have names like Dr. Skipper, and socializing revolves around half-price cheeseburgers and horrifically watery beer.

When you're broke, big group dinners are best avoided. Friendships can get strained when you order a salad, and everyone else orders the entirety of page 3 of the menu. Plus wine and dessert. Then they want to split the bill evenly, which is more efficient. This makes the P-to-P crowd want to scream and throw things (yes, it's an overreaction, but you try spending $10 and getting told to chip in $65, which is your food budget for the week, and see how you feel). Or when you can't make an event because it's too expensive, or you simply can't go anywhere at all for a while.

Dating is complicated, too, because if you always want to go to a museum or cook dinner at home, eventually someone is going to call your bluff. And who wants to look like a pauper in front of someone you want to impress?

Which brings us to the whole issue of pride: we're all supposed to have fabulous jobs and steady incomes and be able to go wherever we want. It's no fun to look like a tightwad because you're holding potlucks instead of dinner parties or dropping completely off the social map. And the deeper fear, of looking like you're incompetent at adulthood. And the deepest fear of all: that you may actually be incompetent at adulthood.

Which brings us to the anxiety. Don't read the business section of the Post, because you'll start hoarding rubber bands like a Depression survivor. Any reports on unemployment rates make me want to hide under my bed. But there's no room, that's where I've been stashing all of my economic Doomsday canned goods and penny jars. The recession isn't coming, folks, it's already here. Any of your unemployed and underemployed friends could have told you that months ago.

So maybe all of us will be in the same boat soon enough. And this entire post will be a moot point, because all of Washington will be at 15-cent Wing Night, tossing back discount beers together in a heartwarming moment of economic unity.

So, affluent Washingtonians, next time you think someone's a cheapskate, maybe they're just broke. And remember that it can happen to anyone, including you.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Why I Shouldn't Be Allowed in Nice Restaurants: The Season Finale

I exploited my status as a weekend Baltimorean to squeeze in one last Restaurant Week dinner, at Brass Elephant.

Brass Elephant is the most awesomely awesome TGIFriday’s in the whole entire universe.

The food is mediocrity reimagined as fine art. The chain restaurant standards were there: salad with fried cheese on it (it ain’t a salad until it’s been dunked in hot oil!), meat on top of gooey cheesy rice, and a McDonald’s apple pie tarted up with fancy ice cream. (That last line wasn’t an insult, I’d shank my own mother for a McDonald’s apple pie.) It was all really, really tasty, but in a sort of endearing way. Essentially, this place would have been a smash hit back in Woodbridge.

Our server, Patrick, treated us as if we were long-lost cousins/people who have never been to a restaurant before. His entire vibe was sort of Todd-from-Office Space, minus the pieces of flair or the Jalapeno Poppers. He even called me "dude" once, which is a new frontier in fine dining.

The eavesdropping was fairly impressive. To our right, we had a table of two couples, having dinner before heading to a fraternity semiformal. One of the most pervasive gender clich├ęs is that women have to go to the bathroom in pairs. Now, of course, guys, this is so we can talk about you behind your backs. What had never occurred to me was what y’all are up to while we’re away:

Guy 1: I think it’s going very well.
Guy 2: I think your girl is hotter.


A few moments later….

Guy 1: I don’t think we should have let the girls pick the wine.
Guy 2: Yeah, that did kind of make us look like pussies.


A few moments after that…

Guy 1: I think my girl is hotter.

Best of all, it was half-price wine night and Tim was driving. Woo! Also, they’ll cork up your leftover wine for you and let you take it home. Oh, and the other best-of-all: no bouncy purple eggs.

Nothin' Says Lovin' Like...oh, Heaven Help Us

An anonymous tipster sent me a link to the Be My Valentine Tonight Seduction Kit. For $10, you can get $1.25 worth of lube, body paint, "surprise gift" and a condom. Plus, beautiful packaging of beautiful people, designed to harp on your partner's physical insecurities.

And then there's the legion of issues I have with their pitch:

What better way to say I love you every Valentine's Day than with this kit of seduction?

How about just saying, "I love you," vs. dressing up your devotion with a cheapass-looking kit? Also, every Valentine's Day? Ho hum, "Honey, thanks for getting me lube...again."

Kit includes everything you need for an intimate night

Except for intimacy. Oh, they mean that kind of intimacy. Carry on.

Includes condom, lube, body paint and a surprise gift

Really, that's all you need? I wonder if the lube is the tingling/warming kind, because nothing says true love like mentholating your private parts. And I am dying to know what the surprise gift is.

OK, it's still better than the most dire Valentine's gift of all: the teddy bear. But not by much.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I'm Not a Doctor, I Just Play One on the Internet

WebMD is crack for hypochondriacs. More particularly, it's dangerous for a particular sort of hypochondriac. Like me. See, I don't sweat the big stuff.

When I was six, I thought my ruptured appendix was a mild stomachache. When I was 13, I fell headfirst off a galloping horse. I refused to see the nurse, got back on the horse, finished the lesson, and then went for a swim. Never mind I had double vision and nausea. My first concussion! How sweet. (Please note this is my only non-embarassing injury second concussion involved falling off a barstool.) More recently, I went to work with a kidney infection. And then refused hospitalization on the grounds that, "people die in hospitals."

But any mild illness can make me run straight to WebMd to diagnose myself with something dire. Feeling a bit off? That's just the onset of dengue fever. I'll also have you know I'm on my fourth imaginary bout with Legionnaire's Disease, and that I'm an old hand at nonexistent scarlet fever. And, when I'm feeling a little Victorian, I come down with a case of the vapors. No disease is too exotic, too random, or too unlikely.

If I'm not sure what's wrong with me, it's just because I'm having a little trouble focusing. That's why I've used this handy test to diagnose myself with ADHD. Oh, except that I gave up halfway through. What? There was a shiny object distracting me.

But here's the self-diagnosis that's been eluding me for years: I hate talk radio of all kinds (yes, that includes NPR), and I have to really concentrate to talk on the phone. Conference calls make me twitchy. But I enjoy listening to music. I've figured out that I need to associate a face with a speaking voice, otherwise the whole thing feels disconnected and weird.

So, clearly this is some sort of cognitive deficiency. And I bet it's fatal. Months of Internet symptom searches have turned up nothing. So now, I turn to you, my readers. Diagnose me with something awesome! Or, invent a whole new syndrome and I'll tweak my symptoms accordingly.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Never Eat a Meal Larger Than Your Head

Large portions fill me with dread. At restaurants, I usually try to split a meal with a friend or take home leftovers. I am physically repulsed by the sight of a heaping portion of food. Dinner parties and holidays, however, are a special kind of hell.

Here's why. I was raised proper. I think it's sinful to waste food when so many people have so little. I eat what's put in front of me, I don't season my food until after I've tasted it, I clean my plate to the best of my ability, and I compliment the chef.

So why do I find dinners in other people's homes so stressful? Simply because I don't eat very much. I don't need to. I'm small, I don't run marathons, and I just don't need very much fuel. I tend to eat small meals and snacks at regular intervals, because a large meal all in one sitting makes me grumpy and ill.

If the host fixes my plate, it's usually about twice as much food as I can reasonably handle. So I enjoy the first half of the meal, and spend the second choking down one bite after another, hoping it will all be over soon. Then I have to sit very still for an hour and hope I don't die. Or, if I can't finish my plate, the host takes offense, or asks what's wrong with me because I don't have much of an appetite.

Last Christmas, I went home with a friend. His family are all hearty eaters, so my plates were fixed to match theirs. I had to take a nap after every meal, until I finally squawked and begged for pity. From then on, I received a "Shannon Portion": one forkful, delivered with a snarky grin. I just wish it hadn't taken me four days to speak up.

Maybe my plate-fixing dread is why I'm such a casual hostess. Guests help themselves in the kitchen, then sprawl around the apartment, gobbling the pulled pork or jambalaya I've cooked up that week.

And that's also why I will never, ever again eat at Logan Tavern. Don't get me wrong, it's a great restaurant. Tasty food and good service. But, the very sight of their portions turns my stomach. I split an entree with a fellow mini-chick, and we were both horribly sick and bloated for the rest of the night. Logan Tavern, if TWO people working together cannot clean one of your plates without becoming sick, it's just way too much food, and it's far too rich and heavy. I spent most of our after-dinner drinks curled up on a sofa, desperate to go home but too stuffed to move.

So, for restaurants, hosts, and any others who serve food: ask people how much they want. Offer half-portions. Don't make people feel guilty if they can't stomach a meal larger than their heads.

In other heaping portions and illness news, my last Restaurant Week review will go up this week.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Latest Flavor of Backlash

I often wonder what fuels the "seduction community," those Mystery Method and David DeAngelo knockoffs who advocate belittling and manipulating women for cheap thrills and commitment-free sex. What's the motivation?

I mean, aside from sex, and the fact that it's easy to throw stones and behave like a twit under a veil of Internet anonymity. Simple: it's just a rehash of Fatal Attraction. Upwardly mobile, modern woman as horror movie freakshow monster. It's the latest, and most absurd, flavor of backlash.

I'm going to take a cue from this guy and state a few rampant overgeneralizations as fact:

1. The average 25-year-old woman has an upwardly mobile job, an apartment, and a Coach satchel or two.
2. The average 25-year-old man lives in his momma's basement, and his abundant leisure time is focused on leveling-up his World of Warcraft avatar and wondering why he doesn't have a girlfriend.

Women are rapidly closing the achievement and salary gaps. Gen Y women, in particular, are equal to, if not ahead of, men their age. So what does this have to do with the "pump-and-dump" seducer?


1. These sites love to claim that a woman's attractiveness rapidly declines after age 25. That age is NOT a coincidence. Because how else can we convince today's successful young women to slow their careers and devote their considerable mental faculties toward husband-shopping?
2. These sites spend a lot of time claiming that women want to be "seduced." Well, sure, except for one thing. Did they talk with any actual women? Of course not. Like it's always been, since Grog and Og got married, there are a lot of people out there who want women to conform to traditional gender roles. And if you can convince women that they want traditional feminity, the job gets a lot easier. Girls, think for yourselves. Please.
3. If you dispute any of the claims these guys make, it's because you're ugly/fat/too old. Or you're an unfeminine battleaxe and don't know your place. Context is nothing, appearance and put-downs are all. Why deal with a woman as a human being with feelings and ideas, when she can just be a pair of sagging tits?
4. And some women actually fall for it - in fact, one female commenter on the site I linked to above spent considerable bandwidth describing how attractive and sexually free she was, even though it really had nothing to do with anything.

So, first off, I'm going to give these 25-year-old women who date men in their 30s a free pass. It used to annoy me, because y'all were cutting into my demographic. But really, if your men are that hopeless, have at it. You have my blessing.

Second, I'm going to open this post to comments. I'd like to hear from all sides, with one exception: if I see one "U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi" response I am deleting your ass.