Saturday, February 28, 2009

Can I ask you ladies a question?

I have a confession to make. Ready? Okay, so, for me, there are very few things in life more satisfying than being able to call out a guy who is attempting to hit on me using the techniques from The Game. For those of you who don't know what The Game is, let me enlighten you. It's a book that tells men how to pick up women, and it's written by this guy:

I know.

Somehow, this dude, Neil Strauss*, also known as "Style," magically transformed himself from a d-bag who can't get women to a d-bag who wrote a wildly successful manual on picking up women. This book is so ubiquitous that it inspired a TV show, The Pickup Artist, as well as seminars attended by scores of desperate dudes who want to know the secrets to picking up chicks. Girls, I guarantee that every guy you know has read it and has used it. Guys, we're onto you.

Now, there have been plenty of articles written about the phenomenon of The Game and the so-called Mystery Method of seduction. But I am just going to give you the basic outline so that you, the reader, can identify/mock The Game technique when you see it in action. It's fun, trust me. The technique proceeds in three basic steps:

1. Peacocking: this refers to the practice of wearing a ridiculous and attention-catching outfit, like a white fedora and a mustard-colored bomber jacket, or a string tie and a mink stole. Case in point: Mystery, star of The Pickup Artist.

I mean, what girl wouldn't want to make out with a guy sporting a soul patch the size of a pea and a hat made out of some sort of Alpaca-polyester blend? I'll be honest, I'm kind of really into it. That hat looks soft.

2. Breaking the ice: this usually involves approaching a small group of girls with a contrived question that ALWAYS involves the word "ladies." For example: Hey, can I ask you ladies a question? Or: Hey, can you ladies settle a bet? Or: Hey ladies, my buddies and I are having a disagreement about something, can I get your opinion on it?

Once the girls say "sure," then the guy asks his inane, made-up question ("my buddy's getting married and we either want to get him a stripper for his bachelor party or else tattoo his face while he's asleep. What do you ladies think?"), before quickly transitioning into witty and lively conversation with his "target" (the girl in the group that he thinks is prettiest).

3. Insulting: once conversation is sputtering along, the guy then must insult his target so as to sufficiently lower her fragile self-esteem so she will continue to talk to him. In practice, it goes something like this:

Guy: So, okay, seems like the consensus is that we should just tattoo his face, am I right?

Girl: Yeah, I don't know, whatever.

Guy: Hey, you have food in your teeth. And you're chubby.

According to The Game, at this point, the girl will be so taken aback, she'll have no choice but to have sex with the guy. It's just inevitable. To me, this is pretty obviously one of the most idiotic pieces of flirting advice ever given to men, but apparently, it works on some girls. I guess it's one of those "thinning the herd" techniques where you look for the limping gazelle and tell her you can see her roots before going in for the kill.

So, that's it -- the Game, unmasked. Let me tell you a little story. So, last spring my best friend from high school was visiting me in Boston. My roommate, my friend and I went out for a girls' night at some semi-sketchy bar in Boston on a Sunday night. We're sitting in a booth, drinking Coors Light, when a guy in a loud checkered shirt and scarf sidles up to our table. Here is the dialogue that ensued.

Guy: Hey ladies, can I ask you a question? My buddies and I are having a debate, and --

Me: The Game.

Guy: Uh, what? What? Uh --

Me: You're using The Game. And you're peacocking. That plaid shirt -- that's peacocking, right?

Guy: I, uh. I don't know what you're talking about.

Me: I think you do. What was your question?

Guy: Uh...

He ended up awkwardly squatting next to our table for a while and then my roommate relented and let him sit down, where he lamely attempted to continue the pretext of having us "settle a debate" before he crept back to his own table after a few minutes. It was awesome.

My theory on this is that if a guy's going to interrupt a girls' night with some really widely disseminated pickup technique while wearing a ludicrous shirt, he kind of deserves what he gets. Maybe I'm a bad person. But before you judge me, please watch this video and tell me that Mystery doesn't deserve to have his method shot down a few times by actual women:

*What else would his name be?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Grab Bag

Hi. I'm in the library. I know, I can't believe it either. I've somehow gotten into this disturbing habit of going directly from my Corporations class on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday straight into the Langdell law library, my sworn (edifice) enemy (please see: for more details).

I don't know, maybe I am becoming soft/nerdy in my old age, but I don't hate Langdell with the intense bile and bitterness that I did before. I still think it's lame that people have lockers in the law library -- I mean, how do you even sign up for that? -- but since I am a 3L, I can now approach Langdell with the calm remove of one who does not care anymore. Plus, it's not finals time, so the kids hanging out in the study carrels have not yet transformed into the wild-eyed, highlighter-stained variety of law student that will no doubt be populating this room in a few months. Believe me, I'll be far away from this place once finals roll around. *Shudder.*

Anyway, for someone who is in the library trying to be "productive," I'm managing to not get much done, so I figured I might as well give the people what they want and blog a little bit. Since I don't have a coherent theme in mind, this post will be a list of thoughts I've had recently, in no particular order.

1. I can't decide if Twitter is stupid or fun. I'm thinking it's more stupid, verging on pointless. But I still feel compelled to do it.

2. Why do some people take things that are meant to be fun so seriously that it actually ruins the fun? An example: last night, Al and I went to our weekly trivia-pizza-PBR night at the Newtown(e) Grill(e) in Cambridge and were flatly rejected by another group of HLS students when we asked if they wanted to combine forces and form a team. They had four people, we had two. A trivia team is ideally six people. Do the math. They told us no. Then, later, one of them sheepishly approached our table (I think only after they realized that their four-person team was sucking big-time at trivia) and asked if we wanted to join them after all. Al and I have our pride, so we said "thanks but no thanks." I mean, come on! The social dimness of some* law students kills me. And people say that engineers are the ones with Aspberger's Syndrome. Yikes.

3. I am obsessed with Real Housewives of Orange County, but MEGA-obsessed with Real Housewives of New York, especially with Simon and Alex. How do I love them? Let me count the ways! 1) they are admitted and committed social climbers, 2) their children's names are Francois and Johann McCord, 3) Alex had a nude photo scandal that managed to be both awkward and boring and 4) Simon wears a thong on the beach.

4. Is one's conception of love influenced by one's social class? Al and I got into this discussion last night. He said yes, I said I wasn't so sure. Then I started thinking about all the girls on The Bachelor who told the bachelor that they were "falling for him" after being on a sound-stage with him for like, nine days. The thing is, I think at least some of those women genuinely believe that they're "in love" with this guy:

Is that a function of class? Maybe. Is it a function of being a reality show prostitute?** More likely.

5. I am not the only one who thinks Gwyneth Paltrow is awful. Please recall this post from a few months ago:
Well, the New York Times has noticed that others seem to be lashing back at the heinous Ms. Paltrow and her "lifestyle" newsletter, the oddly titled GOOP: I guess others object on a fundamental level to Gwynnie dictating her recipes and parenting tips to the commoners, too. I feel vindicated.

Okay, those are my five thoughts. Going to pretend to write a law school paper now. Later!

*Okay, most
**A prostitute is someone who has sex in return for money, right? Okay, just checking.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Lazy Town

Before we get started, let me stress that the title of this post, Lazy Town, does not refer to that weird Icelandic show with the girl with pink hair. But while we're on that topic, can I point out that pink-haired girl is called Stephanie in the show? I knew I liked her.

Okay, moving on. This post is actually going to be an exercise in extreme laziness, because I am going to cut and paste something that I wrote for facebook and pretend it's an actual blog post. At least I'm telling you up front.

So, if you're on facebook, you've probably noticed that for the past week or so, everyone and their mom* has been posting these things called "25 Things About Me," where you write 25 "interesting" facts about yourself and then wait eagerly for people to comment on your wit. I have noticed that these "25 Things" posts tend to fall into three categories: 1) dreadfully boring ("I love cats!"), 2) inappropriately revealing ("I hooked up with my cousin once at a wedding and now we don't talk anymore"), 3) profoundly brilliant (see below). Here goes mine.

1. I insisted on being pushed in a stroller long past the point where it was appropriate.

2. I am an only child but have a shedload of cousins who I am close with. (However, when I was younger, my cousin Catie and I fought like cats & dogs, which I think was a reasonable substitute for having a sister.)

Catie and I in San Francisco. I think we were in a fight.

3. I've never not had a dog in my family.

Our dog, Max, who was my older brother and the favorite child in the family.

4. My favorite food as a child was broccoli, so much so that I made up a song about it. The chorus was "brooooooocoli."

5. I was born in Maryland, grew up in Michigan, went to college in California, worked in Brazil, and now live in Boston, am moving to DC, and still don't know where I'll end up.

6. My dad is an awesome, improvisational cook but I still have to hew closely to recipes.

7. I am obsessed with reality TV, especially MTV reality TV, especially "Next," and really think I have a future casting and scripting those shows, if the whole law school thing doesn't work out.

8. I ran track and cross-country in high school and still run several times a week, even though I'll probably be crippled by the time I'm 30 as a result.

9. I speak three languages, mais ou menos. Spanish and Portuguese are like my two children: secretly one of them is my favorite but I don't say it out loud so I won't hurt the other one's feelings.

10. I am dating an older, foreign gentleman.

11. My middle name is my mom's first name, Margaret, and my confirmation name is Zita, who was the patron saint of maids. You can also pray to her if you lose your keys.

12. I have always called my mom "Ma." When I was little, I used to call my dad "Pom" (an attempt to pronounce his first name, Tom) but now I have adopted the more traditional "Dad."

13. I spent three months in Havana, Cuba, doing field research for my undergraduate thesis and eating government-issued crackers.

Me and two friends in Santa Clara, Cuba, where it was really, really, really hot.

14. I've been bit by a stray dog in Chile and had to have 5 rabies shots.

15. I figure-skated for eight years and quit after I learned how to land an axle.

16. People never know what ethnicity I am and always ask in sort of weird ways ("what's your nationality?" "American." "No, I mean, what's your NATIONALITY.") For the record, Mexican-Irish-Italian-Scotch Irish.

17. For seven years, I didn't eat red meat. Nowadays I would eat three steaks a day if it weren't cost-prohibitive.

18. I started salsa dancing a few months ago and really like it, but sometimes I get a bit dizzy from all the spinning.

19. I have never understood why "hippies" have to wear patchouli oil. Is that an official rule? Aren't the white-boy dreads enough of a signal already?

Yeah, we get it, you're a hippie.

20. Brazil is one of my favorite places in the world and I think about going back constantly, even if only for the fried manioc.

21. I used to want to name my kids Merle and Eilish. I have since changed my mind.

22. I have Raynaud's disease, which means I have terrible circulation, and have had frostbite several times.

23. My favorite movie of all time is Wayne's World. Love those Canadians!

24. People tell me I look like Jamie Lynn Sigler (Meadow Soprano).

25. Totally copying Catie's last one here, but my grandfather is one of 21 kids, both of my grandmothers are one of 12, and my mom is the oldest of 9. See below for pic of my grandfather's family in 1924:

So, that's it. Now you know 25 things about me that I bet you were just dying to find out. You're welcome.

* Who should really not be on facebook, by the way. Not cool.