Straight Men of Tennessee, Gather ‘Round

I have read this post at Tiny Pasture’s and I have read your comments and I am stunned that “Be discerning in who you fuck” is novel advice, but it is, apparently. Therefore, as your internet aunt, I have taken it upon myself to dole out for you a little advice similar to the advice we women get all the time.

1. Be discerning in who you fuck.

2. People, even women, will lie to get you into bed. Not all women, but a lot of us.

3.  If you don’t want to have a kid, use birth control.  No, not, “She said she’s on the pill,” but “I’m putting on a condom right now.” Not only is it very easy for a girl to lie about using birth control (see 2), it’s very easy for some forms of birth control (like the Pill) to be compromised by outside factors. So, if you don’t want to have a kid, you use birth control on your self.  If you don’t want kids, ever, or any more kids, get a vasectomy.

4. If your friends and family describe your girlfriend as a “crazy bitch,” or if you ever seriously think that your girlfriend is a “crazy bitch,” you need to pay attention to that. Yes, sometimes family and friends are wrong and maybe you just have the biggest assholes ever surrounding you, but those could be important warning signs.

5. Yes, some women will dick you over, as hard as we can, just because we can. But it rarely comes out of the blue.  Most people will tell you exactly who they are and what their issues are, if you know how to listen.

6. You don’t need a woman to be complete. And having any woman is not better than having none.

7. Yes, women can also be abusive and, when it comes to abuse from women, it can be very hard for y’all to even get taken seriously, let alone get help when things get bad, because our society teaches men to suck it up and take it, and that abuse from women is silly.  But even if you can take it, why would you?  Even if you can take it, should your kids have to?

8. See Ta-Nehisi Coates.

9.  There are a lot of good women out here, good women who are looking to fuck for fun and good women who are looking to fuck someone forever. But they’re not going to just fall into your lap and, until you find them, be careful out there.  There are a lot of fucked up people who will do you wrong.

Love,

Aunt B.

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Don’t Do This

When your brother’s funky deformed cactus falls off the window ledge, just let it fall.  Do not reach for it.

No.

Do not attempt to catch it with your bare hands.

What kind of idiot would do that?

Also, I should point out, that the same advice holds true for all cacti.  Unless you are doing some weird fraternity hazing, there is no reason to ever try to catch a falling cactus.  And for sure, do not put it in your pocket.  Why would you even need a cactus on a rainy day?

I Learn the Hard Lessons So You Don’t Have To

When making a bitter green salad for people, keep in mind that Romaine lettuce is pretty tightly packed in there and compressed a great deal by the twisty.  Not only is one head enough, it’s probably not necessary to find the biggest head you can find, nor to fret about whether you’re going to need two.

You’re welcome.

Buying Multiple Copies of the Same Book

I did not know this, but when dealing with some publishers, if a bunch of you are all wanting to read and own the same book, you can have one person order all the copies directly from the publisher, and they will give you the non-returnable discount (you might have to contact Marketing to see).  A friend of mine just ordered 13 copies of a book he wanted to give as a gift directly from the University Press that published it and he got a 40% discount.

Lessons I Learn So You Don’t Have To

If you have a tendency to get a little down when the Butcher is out of town and thus spend your Friday night (which is usually spent hanging out with him) watching television alone and feeding your dog pigs’ ears while you tell yourself it’s fine to eat one million Reese’s peanut butter cups as long as you only eat them five at a time and get up and walk to the fridge every time you need to get your handful, do not then lay there in bed in the morning because you have no reason to get up.

You do have a reason to get up, remember?

Pigs’ ears.

Dogs love ’em, but they go right through Mrs. Wigglebottom like butter.

Luckily, we made it outside just in time, but not without having to endure looks of complete disdain from the cats.

Now, I know, cats have a tendency to give you looks of complete disdain all the time, but trust me, this one was a look of “You know, when that other mostly bald ape is here, shit like this never happens.  Now, where’s our food?”

What Would a Sex Advice Column in Nashville Look Like?

I think the going opinion is that it couldn’t be done; you couldn’t have a sex advice column geared to Nashvillians and other Middle Tennesseans.  I’m not so sure that it couldn’t be done.  I’m just not sure how long a life it could possibly have.  It seems to me that there are probably only three basic types of questions Nashvillians would ask a total stranger about sex and once you cover those, there’s not much more folks would share.

Those questions are:

1.  Where do I put my eyes?

“When driving around Musica, is it worse to look at the naked people and thus see, you know, naked people who are not my spouse, or to not look and never know what the fuss is about?”

“I think I saw my pastor’s car parked outside of the Hollywood Hustler.  Should I have slowed down to take a closer look?  And, if it is him, what do I say to him at church on Sunday?”

“My neighbor sometimes takes her pitbull out in the morning wearing nothing but her nightie and some really crappy sandals.  When she says ‘Hello’ is it okay for me to check out her tits?”

2.  Can this make me gay?

“I refuse to have a prostate exam because I don’t want anything up my ass, because, what if I get turned on?  Will that mean I’m gay?”

“My wife stuck her finger up my ass while she was giving me a blow job and it was so awesome.  Does that make me gay?”

“Sometimes, I look at the penises on the Musica statue.  Can that turn me gay?”

3.  Who is it okay for me to heap scorn on in public?

“My church group often protests outside the Hollywood Hustler.  When the clerks there come out to bring us water or to ask us if we’d like to use their restrooms, is it more appropriate to call them sinners who will burn in Hell before we take the water or after?”

“My neighbor is a whore.  She’ll sleep with anyone.  Shoot, I’ve even slept with her a couple times.  I think having her around is a bad influence on my kids, but, if I call her a filthy whore in front of my kids, what if she tells them about what I did with her?

“I am a bleeding heart liberal gay man.  I only sleep with straight Republicans.  How can they fuck me and still be so homophobic?  I have half a mind to go into his office and tell everyone what a hypocritical cocksucker he is.  Is that so wrong?”

See?  Once you’ve covered that stuff, what’s left?

Edited to Add:  El gato is completely right.  I forgot the fourth type of question:

4.  I do this, but I’m still a virgin, right?  Because, I signed a pledge.

When At Malia’s, Always Eat the Chocolate Cake

Malia had a bunch of folk over for a spa night last night and there was chocolate cake.  Oh, sweet chocolate cake. 

And there were these neck things, like giant, heavy u-shaped warm… well, I guess I don’t need “like” in there because I can’t come up with a metaphor.  That’s what they were. 

I felt a little dorky because my beauty regime consists of washing my face, putting on lotion, and slapping on eyeliner on days when I might see someone cute.

I played it cool, but I was intimidated as hell by all the spa treatments we got.  There were toners and lotions and dead sea salty things and margarita rubs and exfoliation do-hickies and lip masks and balms and eye puffy removers and such and I was just like, “Holy shit, I don’t know what any of this stuff is nor when nor where I should use it on me.”

It was cool, though.  I got to scrub and pat and soak and I did come out feeling refreshed and like I’d learned a little something, the most important lesson of which is, if you ever, ever have a chance to eat chocolate cake at Malia’s, you should take it.

Bring me one of those hot neck thingies, a face mask that is self-warming and smells like peppermint, and some chocolate cake and I don’t think there’s a problem in the world I could not ignore for at least the time it took me to eat the chocolate cake.

Where Not to Get Your Sex Ed

I have nothing to add to Renegade Evolution’s awesome, awesome post, except for just these two things: 1.  If we had real sex ed in school, people would not have to turn to porn for information, and 2.  I’m embarrassed to admit that, reading through her lists, I had a number of ‘Whew, I thought I was the only person who didn’t like that’ moments.

[Should I even add that it’s not quite safe for work or can you figure that out on your own?]

[Also, I just want to add that, to me, Renegade Evolution is an illustration of why the internet kicks so much ass.  I might never know someone like this in real life.  Her circles and my circles would never overlap.  I find myself going ‘Eh, I don’ t know…’ about half of what she says.  And yet, I love to read her.  Love it.  It opens up a part of my mind I didn’t even know needed opening.]

Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run

Ned Williams is still confused about why I think Kay Brooks is being heartless and ridiculous and victim-blaming.  He says

But I’m still having trouble understanding your point about not being able to prevent rapes, as if any efforts to avoid being a victim represent a concession to rapists or are not wasted effort. I don’t think that’s true, and I think it can be deterred. I think that rapists are as cowardly and self-preserving as any other perpetrator (perhaps they are the worst), and I think they can be deterred.

And I’m bringing this up again because I want to be absolutely clear, plus discussing it over at Say Uncle’s after I was no longer blinded by rage helped me shape my position into a good analogy.

Before we get to that, though, I want to ask Ned and all of you who are still “Well, why can’t we just say that she shouldn’t have been in the park?” to answer this question.

Let’s just say, hypothetically, that you were at the State Capitol and you were going to Germantown.  It’s the middle of the night.  You think you’re the only person on the street, but a creepy guy comes out from behind the Supreme Court building and asks you for a light.  You find him very creepy.  He walks off, seemingly towards 8th Avenue, which is a fairly busy street, and the only busy street that goes from you and Germantown.

You want to avoid him.  And you want to stay safe.  But you also don’t want to seem like a paranoid freak.  Does cutting through the park really seem like your worst option?

See, here’s the point I’m trying to make.  There is nothing a person can do to 100% avoid being raped.  There are things you can do to lessen your odds of being raped, but that’s all you’re doing–playing the odds.  And often, no matter how prepared you are, no matter how sounds your judgment has been, bad things still happen.

Why?

Because victims are not in control of the situation and even when you try to do what seems like the best thing, bad shit can still happen to you.

Over at Say Uncle’s, I likened it to Poker–a poker game you have no choice but to play.  Yes, skill is useful.  Yes, knowing how to read people is useful.  Maybe you don’t want to play at a table with folks who are out of your league, but, if you don’t, how do you learn?

But here’s my point: Sometimes, no matter how good you are, you get dealt a shitty hand.  And no one in their right mind would go up to a poker player who had an ace, king, queen, and jack, all spades, and an eight of diamonds and start berating him about all the ways he fucked up because the dealer didn’t throw him a ten of spades.  That’s just the luck of the draw.

Here’s the other thing.  We can prevent rapes.  But not with magical thinking like “I’ll just stay out of the park!”  We can prevent and reduce rapes by teaching boys and men that it’s a bullshit cop-out way of being in the world, going around just doing what you want to people without consideration of their feelings.  But that has to be a constant and ongoing message and it has to be coupled with a specific message about sex, which is that it’s no good unless everyone is game.

And putting any of the responsibility on the victims is just bullshit.  I mean, please.  Why are we even talking about tapdancing around putting responsibility where it lies?  Is there something particularly scary or hard about saying, “Folks, do not go around raping other people.  It’s evil to force yourself on others”?

Why are we letting rapists off the hook, even a little bit?

What Can I Do to be a Counter Balance?

I am just totally digging the places the conversation is going in the last post and it’s got me thinking.  If we’re taught from such a young age that we are inadequate and that there’s always something about us that could be fixed (always for our own good, of course), what can we do to counterbalance that?

Clearly, the obvious solution is to put folks like Exador, the Church Secretary, Plimco, and Queen Latifa (shut up!  It’s my solution, I can put the Queen in it if I want) on the task of giving us all wicked, salacious looks, squeezing us, and then smooching us passionately, as if they find us irresistible.  But folks start feeling bad about themselves in junior high, if not earlier, and we don’t want grown-ass folks giving twelve year old salacious looks.

So, the obvious solution is not the best.

But solutions do suggest themselves.

Here’s mine:

1.  Do for yourself what Chris Wage does for others–see yourself as aesthetically pleasing.  Get your hands on a digital camera and take three hundred photos of yourself (or more, if that’s what it takes).  The first step is finding one you can live with–that you can look at and say, okay, fine, if that’s what I look like, if that’s how people see me, that’s fine.  The second step is to find a photo of you that you love.  Then take that photo and put it somewhere where you can see it.

2.  Don’t dog other people about how they look.  It’s not a contest and the cutest person in the room does not win (and come on, y’all, we already know that I’m the cutest person in any given room).  And you certainly don’t win by undermining the “competition.”

3.  Learn about how advertising works and be able to articulate it to yourself.  They create a need in order to sell you a product to fill that need.  If they have to make you feel like shit about yourself in order to create a need for their product, they have no qualms about that.  I don’t think there’s any way to completely immunize yourself from that, but you can certainly build up something of a resistance.

4.  Pretend you already are the person you imagine you’ll be once you’re thinner or richer or prettier or whatever.

5.  Have compassion for yourself and others.  We are all deeply, deeply fucked up and broken.  And we are looking for easy, consumer solutions to soul difficult problems.

6.  Masturbate more.  Eh, why not?  You went to the trouble to put in the five-speed hand-held showerhead, why not put it to use?

T for Tennessee!

Kwach and Ev are pondering a weekend trip to Tennessee.

They wonder, Memphis or Nashville?

Either place makes a wonderful weekend destination.  In Nashville, you can visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, the honky tonks down on lower Broad, the Frist Museum, the State Capitol, and a life-sized replica of the Parthenon complete with the largest indoor statue in the Western Hemisphere.

If Civil War stuff is your thing, the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society has a wonderful driving tour that will take you all around to important points.  Also, a nice afternoon drive is down to Franklin where there’s more Civil War stuff and a charming downtown to explore.

On the other hand, Memphis.  Sun Records, Graceland, the Stax Museum, Schwab’s Dry Good’s Store, Ebbo’s, and you’re an easy drive from Clarksdale and some of the most important places of our musical heritage.  Shoot, even if you’re not a Delta Blues fan, if you love Led Zepplin, Cream, and the Stones, you’ll recognize a lot of the place names.

If it were me, I’d check the weather.  It’s not going to get any hotter than 80 here all weekend–beautiful weather for a Nashville trip.  Ooh, and similar weather in Memphis.

Is it still humid over there?  Does anyone know?

Tough choices but either place will be fun.

Ice Cream for Dinner

Of course you can eat ice cream for dinner two nights in a row.  I wouldn’t recommend it, though, unless you want to wake up in the middle of the night to the feeling of your body saying, “We’re not that lactose tolerant, woman!”

You may then, fall asleep on the toilet and have a dream that you are trying to find a field in which to take a nap and just when you’re about to settle in, John H. and Mary Mancini and Gunner’s wife show up and sit next to you because it turns out that you’ve accidentally decided to nap right where they’re hosting the outdoor Prairie Home Companion.

Some of you might like that, I don’t know.  I just thought I’d throw that out there.

How To Tell if it’s Okay for You to Talk Smack about My Brothers to Me

1.  Are you related to us?

2.  Have you ever lived more than an hour away from your parents?

3.  Do you have a job procured by one or more of your parents?

4.  Are you living in a house your parents helped you buy?

5.  Do you have to take a shower in the dark because, for some reason, the Butcher doesn’t throw out dead lightbulbs, but instead puts them in with the live ones?

If you answered yes to one and no to two through four, you may talk smack about them, a little.  If you answered question 5 in the affirmative, you may talk all the smack you want.  Pull up a chair.  Shoot, sit on the toilet and talk smack while I’m in the shower.  I could use the company, since it’s so dark in there.

But, if you are living in the same town as your parents in a job they helped you get in a house they helped you buy, don’t call me up talking about what a shame it is that the Butcher doesn’t have any more ambition than he does.

Or we will fight, believe me.

Commas

For you, dear Plimco, I will try to address the comma rule.  I must say, though, that this is difficult for me because I love commas.  I throw them in whenever I think two clauses need a tiny break between them.

That, I think, is the comma’s main job–to give your eye a chance to rest before scurrying down the rest of the sentence.

So, you can use a comma between clauses: I saw Mrs. Mustard in the library with a candlestick, but I was too afraid to scream.

You can use a pair of commas to set off part of a sentence that’s less important than the rest.

Say Don Coyote burst into the room, yelling, “Which way did that girl go with my tamales?”

We could say, “Don Coyote, the girl, who was wearing blue shoes, went that way.” and it would be fine to set “who was wearing blue shoes” off with commas, because that’s just added information.  He’ll still be able to find the girl whether or not she has blue shoes on.

But say that Exador burst into the room and said, “Did you see that stripper who ran off with all my money?” and say that we’d actually seen two women in g-strings come through, each with a load of cash.

Then we would say, “The girl who was wearing the gold g-string is upstairs.”  See, if we take out the clause “who was wearing the gold g-string,” Exador loses vital information that would let him discern which woman he should chase.

You can also use commas to separate items in a series.  I went on a walk, had some breakfast, and typed on the computer.

But you must never use a comma to break up two complete thoughts. 

Let’s use this example:

I cannot leave.  I’m having your baby.

Right now, with a period separating them, they seem like two very distinct thoughts.  I cannot leave.  Also, I am having your baby.

But say that I want you to get that I cannot leave you because I’m having your baby.  I may feel that the period is too strong a break between them, that those two clauses need to be joined by something softer, more delicate.

I cannot leave, I’m having your baby.

WRONG

No, for sentences whose meanings are more closely linked than could be implied by a period and yet are too independent for a comma (note that, in order to make the sentence above correct, I could add a conjunction of some sort–but, and, if, therefore, etc.), I must reach for that rarest of punctuation mark: the semicolon.

I cannot leave; I’m having your baby.

Tada!  Oh, semicolon, I love you.  Have my babies.  No, wait, I’ll have yours.  Depending on the font size, I should be able to squirt out your kids no problem. 

Apostrophes

You use apostrophes primarily to indicate ownership–This is B.’s car–or to indicate a contraction–She won’t mind if we take it for a drive.

You never use an apostrophe to make a word plural. Not even a proper noun. You can go to the Smith’s house–the house owned by the family Smith. You can even go to the Smiths’s house–the house owned by the Smiths. But you cannot go hang out with the Smith’s. No. You cannot. Yes, it’s confusing because you could go hang out at the Smith’s, leaving ‘house’ implied. But unless there’s some object–obvious or implied–you cannot use an apostrophe. Apostrophes cannot make things plural.

Do not, no no no no no, use an apostrophe after a date. It is just 1960s or 1800s or 1490s. A date cannot own something and I cannot think of a way to use a date in a contraction, so just no, don’t do it.

Now, when it comes to pronouns, you don’t need an apostrophe to indicate ownership. This means even “it.” The kitten opened its eyes. (The kitten [it] has eyes; no apostrophe needed on the ‘its’.) It’s so cute. (This “it’s” is a contraction–it is so cute.) So, unless you’re trying to make a contraction, just use ‘its.’

The real question is: Who can make the difference between “affect” and “effect” obvious in a simple way?

Than v. Then

Brittney brings us this. I about fall over to see them using the wrong word–“Silence can say more then a thousand words.”

I am no grammar genius and lord knows I spell like a drunken monkey, but I’m still going to tackle “than” and “then” for you.

“Than” is used in comparisons. I am more charming than Sarcastro. Ice cream is better than getting punched.

“Then” is used to delineate time. It can be used to mean “what comes next.” I am going to insult Sarcastro and then I’m going to eat some ice cream. Or it can be used to mean “in the past.” Back then, a girl wouldn’t dare insult a man like Sarcastro or she might get punched.

I hope this has been helpful.

Okay, Horse Experts

Yesterday, I scratched a horse’s forehead.  Today, I reach into my coat pocket and grab my cell phone and the thing is covered in horse hair.  There’s no horse hair in my coat pocket, though.

So, either my cell phone has a static charge that attracts hair, or, when I was not looking, the horse was talking on my phone.

Any other plausible explanation?

If You’re Going to Drink Bad Beer…

Newscoma spells it out much clearer than I could:

Let us remember, never drink Coors Light as it is yucky. It would be much better for you beer afficiados to drink Milwaukee’s Best if you must or Keystone Light than a Coors Light (of course this is my opinion but I believe this is a mantra that must be repeated. Don’t drink Coors Light. Thank you.)

Amen.  If you’re not drinking Miller Lite, you should be drinking something expensive.

An Open Letter to the Jack in the Box on West End

Dear Jack in the Box,

Where are the kids who used to serve my food?  There was the kid with cornrows who always made my shake just the way I liked it and the girl who’d dyed the ends of her hair an electric pink, who would always check the receipt and look in the bag and make sure I had everything.

They rocked.

This week, I’ve been to Jack in the Box twice and both times been served by white people who could not get my order right either time.

And I don’t mean to imply that your white folks are idiots, but let me tell you a story about what I saw today.

A woman in an SUV was pissed that her fries were cold.  She asked to speak to the manager.  He came to the window and she threw her fries in his face.  Then she tried to hit him (shoot, they must have screwed up her order twice as bad as they’ve been screwing up mine) and, Jack in the Box, he just kept his face out there.

He’s got a window he can shut or a whole building to hide in and he just sat there looking dumbfounded.

Seriously, if your employees are not smart enough to avoid getting attacked by a woman in an SUV, they sure as hell aren’t smart enough to get my order right.

Please, bring back my usual folks.

Love,

Aunt B.