The Secret Fantasies of Adult Males

A man with secret fantasies.

Jazmine Hughes revealed “The Secret Fantasies of Adults” in The New Yorker (“Yes, The New Yorker”” which, while enjoyable for all readers, skews towards the feminine perspective. Here, for your consideration, are some thoughts lurking deep within the male psyche.

Selling Your Old Car for More Than Its Worth

In life, you are going to make thousands of business transactions. Almost all of them are going to be on other people’s terms. Even the ones you make with the store clerk who reminds you of the kid in seventh grade whom Sister Rose Veronica ordered everyone to treat nicely. Yes, even that store clerk has it over you. And so, one day, you put your Volkswagen Past on Craigslist. You tell yourself, what the heck, list it $500 above book value and some goober comes along, pulls out a thick wad, and pays your price without even asking to take a test drive. Two months later, the goober’s used Passat breaks down on I-95 in South Carolina. A state trooper who pulled over to help gets suspicious and discovers $3 million in cocaine in the trunk. That’s the goober’s problem, not yours.

Mandatory Use of All Vacation Time

Your boss calls you in and says, “Look, I appreciate that you did not take all your vacation time last year because of the last-minute request on the Draper account. That cannot happen again this year. I need you rested and ready. After you finish with the Hirohito people in Tokyo, the company is going to send you to Hanoi for a week. I heard cell phone service there is terrible. Oh, and take your girlfriend. All expenses paid. By us.”

A Shorter Commute

A bitter, old man who lives five minutes from your office died of a heart attack in the act of coitus with a prostitute. The guy who caught your pass for the winning touchdown in the state high school championship is the EMT who responded to the prostitute’s 911 call. You take your morning jog by the old, bitter man’s house the next day. A guy who resembles Jeff Lebowski is sitting on the porch, sucking down a Natty Bo. You stop and talk about how the Patriots sucked last Sunday. You and he suck down a couple more Natty Bo’s. He is the bitter, old man’s son. You ask him what he’s “gonna do with this run-down shack.” You offer him $20,000 less than you know what the house is worth, all cash. You just trimmed 25 minutes from your daily commute to work.

Two Hours of Absolute, Goddamn Quiet Every Day

Everything is swirling around me. I just want to be able to figure out all the shit that’s running through my head.

A Really Good Burrito After Sex

OK, when I wake up, is it too much to ask to be able to eat something really good? Whatever you want, just get me a really good burrito.

A Competent and Assertive Social Secretary

Sure, I want to hang out with my friends, but I don’t want to spend the time and effort arranging the logistics or figuring out what we are going to do once we are in the same room. You can do that, right?

Your Wingman is Amy Poehler

Women will flock to you if Amy Poehler is your wingman. Amy Poehler is awesome.

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11 Reasons Why Richard and Emily are the Real Stars of “Gilmore Girls”

Metallica sucks anyway. Sinatra rules.

When you are the dad of girls, you do things you had not planned on doing. For instance, when Thing 2 was in middle school, she and I bonded over “Gilmore Girls.” We never finished watching the series, but when Netflix began streaming the show, I had the chance to nostalgically walk through Stars Hollow one more time.

A few years removed from focusing on Rory Gilmore as the touchstone of the show, I realize that the real heroes of the show are the characters of the musty, crusty, waspy grandparents, Emily and Richard Gilmore. Get over their wealth and privilege and entitlement the same why you got over how Stars Hollow is not Grover’s Corners.

OK, back to Emily and Richard. They are badass. Here’s why:

  1. In the middle of the series, Richard grew a mustache.
  2. Emily and Richard threw a birthday party for the illegitimate child of their daughter, and they invited all of their musty, crusty, waspy friends. They make these people accept Rory.
  3. In their college days, Emily stole Richard ‘s heart after he was engaged to another woman.
  4. Richard works on restoring cars. In the driveway.
  5. Emily and Richard show up for everything, including Lorelei’s graduation from the local community college. It wasn’t Vassar, as they had planned, but they cried anyway.
  6. Richard always seems to show up with a check in an envelope.
  7. Emily takes Rory on the Grand Tour and convincingly flirts with Italian men in front of her granddaughter.
  8. Emily likes Lorelei’s friends more than she likes her own friends.
  9. Emily and Richard are not perfect. They can be downright dreadful at times (c.f., Richard manipulating Rory to Yale, Emily manipulating Lorelei to Christopher).
  10. Emily and Richard are unconditional in their love of Lorelei and Rory. When Rory is arrested for stealing a yacht, Richard’s first instinct is to get her a lawyer, not admonish her over the obvious.
  11. Emily and Richard are the only characters in the show who demonstrate the ability to learn from their mistakes.

Just sayin…

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10 Reasons to Hate the Ampersand

The Imperious Ampersand

God, I hate you!

  1. The ampersand is the Bob Benson of punctuation. It tries too hard by half to please. “Look at me! I’m here,” it screams from the page. I see you, ampersand. Just go away.
  2. The ampersand represents everything that is lazy about bad writing. Just throw in an ampersand – only two keystrokes instead of three! [Editor’s Note: the two keystrokes are represented by the shift and the 8 key]
  3. The ampersand is cute. Dave and Buster’s: not cute. Dave & Buster’s: incredibly cute!
  4. When the legal secretary in your office uses an ampersand in the nomenclature of documents you are supposed to upload to the website, it wreaks havoc on the process. You have to manually rename each and every document with an ampersand. That’s why you are in the office this weekend.
  5.  Have you ever tried to write an ampersand? Like, with a pen in your hand? I mean, faithfully capture it, not cheat with some squiggly line. That’s right, it cannot be done.
  6.  Did Jane Austen use an ampersand in the titles of any of her novels? No, she did not! Why is that, do you suppose? It’s because she hated the goddamn ampersand!
  7. Have you ever seen the looks on people’s faces when you use the word “ampersand” in casual conversation? It’s like you, a man, brought up the subject of menstruation.
  8.  Have you ever crossed paths with a copy editor? The kind that is really, really, really, really devoted to every single detail of sentence construction. The kind that was beaten by not one, but two nuns in seventh grade for once failing to detect the dangling participle? Enough said.
  9. The ampersand treats the more proper conjunction – and – like an illegitimate step-sibling. It makes me weep when I think about how proud and haughty the ampersand becomes when it is in the same room with “and.”
  10. I lied. The ampersand is actually a ligature. Do you even have the slightest idea of the provenance of this goddamned ligature? If you do, that means you took Latin as some fancy prep school. I should just kick your ass.
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My Declaration of Independence from the Word “Your”

DrinkYourJuiceShelbyWhen in the course of watching a streaming episode of “Freaks and Geeks” on Netflix, I heard Jean Weir, the mother, urge her child to “drink your orange juice.” The words rankled through generations of foul and miserable memories. The laws of nature and of nature’s God compel me to declare the causes to separate from the word “your.”

Despite the protestations of mothers across the English-speaking world, the word “your” has been widely used for generations to unfairly establish and maintain hegemony of one person over another.

The tyranny of the word “your” started in early childhood, not unlike the fictional Weirs. I am not, of course, referring to usages such as “your sainted mother,” “your filthy underwear,” or “that stuff in your belly button.” I have a singular, clearly delineated, undeniable relationship to those objects. Rather, this linguistic fascism typically begins in kindergarten or first grade with a reference to “your orange juice.”

As in, “are you going to drink your orange juice before you go to school?’

Wait a sec, mom. Since when are you assuming that the orange juice belongs to me or that I even want to drink orange juice in the morning? Doesn’t the orange juice, technically, belong to everyone in the family? So wouldn’t it be more correct to ask, “are you going to drink some orange juice before you go to school?”

However, this jeremiad does not even begin to address the equally salient issue of whether or not I would prefer to drink a V-8, hot tea, water, or an espresso. Use of the word “your” obliterates that discussion. Dear mother, are you trying to ensure proper hydration, ingestion of a balance of vitamins or minerals, or tighten up matriarchal control over me? Because, mom, the more you use the word combination “are you going to drink your orange juice before you go to school,” the more it seems like this is about you and not me.

Before kindergarten or first grade, I now understand, there was an assumption: you placed food and beverage in front of me in the morning and I consumed both because, well, that’s what one did. I was hungry and thirsty and you provided sustenance. Just like grandma did when you were a girl, right?

As I began to socialize with other children and, through my early education, began to learn about the world and different kinds of foods and beverages, the concept of choice entered my mind. As in, I might prefer Corn Flakes to Lucky Charms this morning, mom. Or, I think I would like half a grapefruit with the scrambled eggs and bacon you lovingly cooked for me this morning.

Or, I might just want a goddamned V-8 instead of the same fucking orange juice you place in front of my cakehole every morning like I’m some kind of eating, pissing, and shitting robot.

Therefore, dear mother, in the name of all that is good and holy about the American family breakfast, I solemnly publish and declare that I am absolved from all allegiance or obedience to the word “your,” and that all connections between this word and whatever I want to eat or drink for breakfast, especially in the comforts of my own home and in the company of my wife and my children. As a free and independent grown man, I have full power to offer my family orange juice without use of the second person possessive. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, I pledge to you that I will never exclaim “mom, you are not leaving this house without your Depends.”

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Writers Are Terrible People

The Writer by Josh Hornbeck

The Writer by Josh Hornbeck

Writers are terrible people and even worse partners. You cannot depend on writers. Writers live rich and vivid lives inside of their heads and often ignore anything and anyone that interrupts their thoughts. Writers can be romantic and in the moment, then – boom! – they disappear in front of your eyes as they wander off into the LaLa Land of their thoughts and plots and stories and arc and characters and narratives and endings and language structure. A writer will think to himself, as he is getting out of the shower in the morning, “I must iron a shirt before going out for the day.” Unless the writer irons that shirt within 10 seconds, he will brush his teeth and forget about the shirt.

Also, writers reveal secrets. They will not reveal these secrets to their small circle of intimates. No, they reveal their most deeply held secrets to an audience of strangers. You do not want to get close to a writer. You never know what or when or how they are going to dangle your dirty laundry outside for the world to inspect. And they make stuff up, so you are never sure what’s real and what’s fake. Writers are essentially damaged people whose best therapy is writing. Writers might smile and laugh and be good at sports and love their children. However, all writers are sad, damaged people. Why else would they live in their heads and shut themselves off from the world to write? They are like only children.

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What to Do When You Are Awakened in the Middle of the Night by the Sound of a Bat Named Louis C.K. Flying Around Your Dark Bedroom

Louis C.K., the bat

Louis C.K., the bat

We like to think that we are impervious to nature, that when we retreat to the shelter of our homes at night, that we are safe. The walls and roof we have built to us form only a fragile membrane designed will seal out the wildlife that has taken over the night that we have fled. And yet…

And yet you might wake up one night by an unfamiliar sound. The sound is best described as a fluttering that disturbs the still air of your nocturnal environment. At first you will not recognize this sound because it is misplaced. This sound does not belong in your bedroom. And then…

And then you realize what is creating this sound. It is the sound of a bat circling over your bed, pausing every 10 seconds or so to perch on a bookcase or your nightstand or the light directly over your bed. Not only is it the sound of a bat circling your bed, it is the sound of a bat under a high amount of stress. You see…

You see, your bat does not want to be in your bedroom. Your bat wants to be out in nature, beyond the membrane, out with the other bats, searching for fruit or insects to eat. Surprisingly, your lizard brain does not entertain the thought that your bat wants to bite you and suck out your blood. Surprisingly, you are entertaining the notion that your bat is the Louis C.K. of bats. Your bat doesn’t know how the fuck he got into your house and he has no idea how to get out. Under these circumstances…

Louis C.K. the comedian

Louis C.K. the comedian

Under these circumstances, both you and Louis C.K. might elect to surrender the will to live. You might hide under the covers and hope Louis C.K. goes away. Guess what? Louis C.K. is not going away. Louis C.K. is only going to become more agitated and frustrated. This would not be a good thing. Your only hope…

Your only hope is to come to the understanding that you and Louis C.K. must form an alliance of sorts, a team. You have to help each other and move in concert. You and Louis C.K. are going to perform what exterminators call a pas de deux. No they don’t. I’m just messing with you. However, hiding under the covers, you remember that this is not the first time a bat has gotten lost in your bedroom. The first time…

The first time you were lying in bed with your wife (now ex-wife) Guinevere, watching “Twin Peaks.” Thing 1 and Thing 2 were asleep in their rooms. Guinevere was eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Your first bat flew up the staircase from the ground floor of your townhouse and directly into your bedroom. Your first bat began circling your bed. Guinevere panicked and there was chocolate ice cream everywhere. In your own panic…

In your own panic, you experienced two deaths that night: 1) that of your idealism regarding nature; and 2) your first bat. You are not proud of how you treated your first bat with your old Stan Smith tennis racquet, but you did not know better. You realized that bats provide a vital function in the ecosystem outside of your membrane. You actually feel bad for killing an animals whose only mistake was to get lost. If only…

If only you had done what you did with your second bat. You called the local BFE police station and asked for advice on dealing with bats in your home. Evidently, the BFE police get this call all the time. They walked you through the checklist of what you must to do ensure the bat leaves your house alive. And so…

And so by the time Louis C.K. enters the Divorce Shack in the middle of the night, you know what to do even though your are totally naked and alone in bed. Here is what you do:

  • You collect yourself. Seriously, whatever you have to do to collect yourself, do it.
  • Come to the understanding that there is no going back.
  • Get out of bed. Make no sudden moves, just purposeful and deliberate actions.
  • Keep your head down (for obvious reasons) and proceed to the closest door to the outside.
  • Open the door and – if necessary – the screen door.
  • Walk out onto your patio or porch or whatever. Don’t worry about the neighbors – it is dark and they are in bed and, quite frankly, they are adults and they are familiar with the anatomy of naked men.
  • Wait for your bat to shoot out the door. It will probably be right behind you, so the wait will not be long.
  • Close the doors and return to the membrane.
  • Blog about your experience.
  • Allow your adrenaline levels to return to normal.
  • Return to bed.
  • Think about golf.
  • Go to sleep.

That is all.

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Top 20 Tips for Choosing and Maintaining a Divorce Shack

OK, so you’ve been handed your walking papers by the Love of Your Life (LOYL), created a Dealbreaker (You Screwed Up), or stormed out the Den of the Shrew (DOS). On to new adventures for you, except…

You have kids, Thing 1 and Thing 2, who have not reached their majority. You love the crap out of them. You are not planning on leaving BFE or wherever the hell you live and deserting them. And so…

You have decided to focus on the health and well-being of your children instead of burning down everything you once held dear.Snails

What is a Divorced Dad to do? Here is the Divorced Dad’s Top 20:

  1. Choose a new home that will not shock Thing 1 and Thing 2. If you lived in a McMansion on three acres, do not move into a loft in Hipsterville. If you lived in center city, do not move to Green Acres. If Thing 1 or Thing 2 are of an age where they voice their opinions, you might ask them for their opinion. Remember, though, you are not bound by their thoughts.
  2. Put some distance between you and your former spouse. No matter the state of the relationship with your ex, you need space to breathe and so do Thing 1 and Thing 2. Comfortable biking distance from the Divorce Shack to the Old Homestead with perhaps one major geological barrier is good. You should not be able to use a telescope to spy on your former life (or wife).
  3. Move to a different school district and make sure it’s a good one. People get squirrely or worse around issues of divorce, post-marital power, and money. You may need to have a Plan B for schooling if your ex or her mother goes off the deep end and start demanding that you pay half the tuition for private school. If you are still rich after the divorce, good for you and go ahead and pay the tuition. Maybe the rest of us shlubs want to retire at some point in our lives.
  4. Find a neighborhood that is safe and has some appeal. Leave the adventure and danger for when Thing 1 and Thing 2 are grownups on their own. As children, they should feel safe at the Divorce Shack. Close-by public parks are good. Close-by amenities are good. A close-by, good coffeehouse where teenaged Thing 1 and Thing 2 can meet their friends is good.
  5. Find a residence that will not embarrass Thing 1 and Thing 2 in front of their friends. Don’t look away from me! You know what I mean! You have been to the Loser Dad’s house or apartment. Oh god, was it disgusting and depressing. Don’t be that dad. You may be hosting sleepovers, birthday parties, band practice (garage or basement), Thanksgiving brunch, Halloween, game night, or…surprise! You should not compete with Martha Stewart or even our ex. You will lose that competition. However, the Divorce Shack must be clean. The utilities must work. Nothing should be falling down. The parents of the other kids will look and judge, obviously, but they will note when the effort on your part is made and grant you extra points on the rating scale. Yes, there is a rating scale for Divorced Dads.
  6. Find a residence that will not crimp your dating style. OK, you are still depressed and pissed off and generally pathetic. Women or men who might interest you run away as if you have a Roman Candle stuck up your ass. I promise you those days will pass. Some day you will want to invite another person to the Divorce Shack with the hope of doing the Mystery Dance. See # 5 and make sure the Divorce Shack in clean.
  7. Go ahead and display some character. You no longer have to compromise your manly manliness with the feminine patina. You have a bust of Elvis Presley that Thing 2 painted for you? Display it! You have paintings and photos that you have hidden away for years? Hang them! You want to bring all your books out of storage and display them in bookcases? Build them! You have a drum set? Spank those skins! Not in your bedroom. You want to paint your bedroom black? Whoa, dude! That’s just too freaky.
  8. Keep the place clean. Even if it kills you, make sure the Divorce Shack is clean.
  9. Keep the place clean.
  10. Keep the place clean.
  11. Keep the place clean.
  12. Keep the place clean.
  13. Keep the place clean.
  14. Keep the place clean.
  15. Keep the place clean.
  16. Keep the place clean.
  17. Keep the place clean.
  18. Keep the place clean.
  19. Keep the place clean.
  20. Keep the place clean.
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