Hello, Readers, and welcome to the next off season installment of the blog you all rely upon to fill your hearts with laughter each Tuesday when you purposely and nefariously shirk your work day responsibilities in favor of seeing what drivel has spilled from my overactive mind since the last time you feverishly hit the “refresh” icon on your screens.
As you are all painfully aware, I’ve been in an exceptionally foul mood over the past few weeks. It’s not always puppy dogs and ice cream when you’re Some Guy in Austin. Frankly, I’ve often felt like drowning a puppy dog in a puddle of ice cream lately and I’m not sure how long my crankiness will last. I’ve been so miserable I’ve actually considered writing a Russian novel.
There’s a Jason Boland song called “God is Mad at Me” that comes to mind. Incidentally, the rest of that album is fairly decent. Try also listening to “Bottle By My Bed” and “Comal County Blue” if you’re interested. Few things in life compare to a song when trying to capture an emotion. Compared to the power of music, I might as well be a chimp with a crayon.
In spite of the emotional desert I’ve been wandering around in I still manage to put on a happy face each day and, with the exception of those that are close to me, very few people can spot the difference—particularly after a couple of Lone Stars. I appreciate all of the well wishes and because I’m a professional, I will continue to feed your need for a big break in your Tuesday.
I once heard a story about Michelangelo that claimed he was an angry, contentious, and increasingly dissatisfied person who had horrible bouts of overwhelming self doubt and monumental creative blocks despite being one of the most prodigious and accomplished artists of all time. The story claimed that a frustrated Michelangelo once screamed at the block of stone that eventually became transformed into one of his most famous works, Pieta, “Talk to me, damnit! Talk to me!” as he tried in vain to find inspiration. Of course, he screamed that in Italian, but that’s neither here nor there.
Incidentally, if you’ve never seen that sculpture Google it. The entire thing took him less than two years to complete with 16th Century tools and, along with his famous statue of David, it was completed before he turned 30. Incredible. Again, I’m a chimp with a crayon.
Annnnyyyyhooo . . .
After going on an Easter Sunday hike through the Barton Springs Greenbelt here in Austin, I pondered many possible subject matters for today’s post. I settled on writing about a few things that really piss me off. I reasoned that topic would provide me with a great platform from which to vent while also providing you with some good water cooler fodder. With that said, let’s get to it.
I know that most of you are currently rolling your eyes in disbelief at my claim that topless bars aggravate me. I’m sure you’ve all heard your husband, boyfriend, or close male friends flippantly and insincerely dismiss these places in the name of saving face or trying to distance themselves from a drooling, macho heard of potential suitors. I will agree that most men that I know either love these places or don’t mind going every now and then. However, I happen to deplore them.
Disclaimer: I don’t think that every man who steps into one of these places is an unconscionable misogynist. However, if I wanted to find an unconscionable misogynist, a topless bar would be a good place to start. I’ve been in topless bars probably a dozen times in my entire life with the vast majority of those being in my early 20’s when friends went for bachelor parties. I also used to go on Tuesdays to a place here in Austin called the Yellow Rose out of sheer curiosity to watch Jell-O wrestling, and that too was in my very early 20’s.
In the past 10 years I’ve set foot in one topless bar on Bourbon Street and was eventually physically removed by a very large man after I got molared up, fell out of my chair, and began to do pushups on the floor. Remind me to tell you about the time that MH and I went to Bourbon Street when I was 18 years old so I could try out for College Jeopardy. I was actually tackled by two strippers in the middle of Bourbon Street. Oh, and I didn’t make it on Jeopardy. Back to my rant.
Upon initial examination, one might find it necessary to distinguish between the local nudie bar and the “upscale gentlemen’s club;” however, nothing could be further from the truth. You can put a silk hat on a pig all day, but it’s still a pig. You can put tassels, silicone, and glitter on that pig and name it after a spice, a fruit, or a city in Nevada too. It will still roll around in filth. By the way, palindromes like “Hannah” or “Elle” or “Ava” are also popular choices for stripper names for some reason. Odd.
There are some major differences between the two types of clubs. Parking at the nudie bar consists of pulling in discreetly around back and hiding your valuables in your glove box or middle console. Parking at the gentlemen’s club consists of pulling triumphantly up front under a heavily ornamented porte cochere and handing your keys to a guy in a fake soldier uniform so he can discreetly pull your car around back before backing it into a space and rifling through your glove box and middle console. I have no idea why backing a car into a space is necessary at these places. Perhaps it makes for a faster exit when the Vice Squad inevitably comes barreling through the back door.
The other major difference is the price of things in these clubs. A beer at the local nudie bar will probably run a “gentleman” around $7.50, which is twice the cost of an entire six pack of Lone Star beer at the local bulk liquor store. Incredibly, a beer at the “gentlemen’s club” often goes for north of ten dollars and real drinks go for even more. Throw in the latest way to legally rip a person off—bottle service—and the bill starts to increase exponentially. Believe it or not, buying a stripper a glass of champagne—one glass—will often run around $100 and having her rub her fake, glittery assets all over the place will run anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on the club. Ridiculous.
How do I know this? You’re forgetting that I’m a lawyer. I have a small family law docket and do some divorce work. You’d be surprised what pops up during a little process called discovery. If you ever want to see a really guilty man squirm and sweat like a whore in church, put a camera in front of his face, a court reporter to his left, present him with his own credit card bill, and ask him to explain thousands of dollars in charges to an innocuously named L.L.C. that is actually the official business name of The Spearmint Hippo, The Landing Strip, Big Daddy’s, PT’s, TJ’s, Hot Lips, Pandora’s Box, Vertical Smile, The Happy Clam, The Pink Monkey, Beavers, Treasure Hunt, or whatever “clever” name is emblazoned in white lights on the front of that aforementioned porte cochere. Those cases tend to settle quickly.
I could go on for days; however, I’ll sum it up like this: The entire business model of topless bars is focused on taking every penny in a man’s pocket by falsely catering to that side of him that tells him he could have any woman in the bar. Speaking of chimps, those places are equally, if not more, degrading to the men sitting there shelling out hundreds of dollars to a woman with nothing better to do than adopt a fake name, cover herself in glitter, and bilk men out of their daughter’s college funds by shaking her cooter around while AC/DC blares throughout the dimly lit room than the are to the women working there.
Granted, the topless bar is nothing new. History is replete with versions of these businesses. However, I will say that there is no purer version of capitalism than a sexually oriented business. People should be free to spend their money how they see fit and other people should benefit if they can figure out a good way to make them spend it. If a guy wants to throw away a few grand talking to “Jasmine,” “Cherry,” “Reno,” “Hannah,” or “Ginger” about her Master’s thesis for a couple hours between lap dances over a few ten dollar beers then let him do it. God Bless America.
If you’re reading this and happen to either frequent these places or actually work at one, I’m not judging. I just choose not to go. If I want to have a younger, marginally attractive woman with fake boobs and real daddy issues who needs a few glasses of wine in order to find me tolerably attractive, take her clothes off in front of me, and tease me with the sole intent of taking all of my money then I’ll get married.
No, I’m not referring to the kind of magazine that comes discretely concealed in a brown wrapper behind the Pakastani clerk at my local convenience store. I’m actually referring to magazines like Men’s Health or Men’s Fitness and their ilk. These magazines typically have a female equivalent and are published by the same publishing companies. Rodale Press is one that comes to mind, but I’m certain there are more based upon the vast selection I perused at the Dallas airport the last time I was unavoidably delayed on my way back to my beloved Austin.
I actually picked up a few of the female versions of these magazines to see if my problem with the male versions was unique to the male version or if the same formula was applied to the female versions. My suspicions were confirmed.
By the way, the guy at my local convenience store is actually from Pakistan. I talk to him every time I go in there, buy a Diet Coke, and scan the titles of the dirty magazines behind him. Occasionally, my curiosity gets the better of me and I’m tempted to purchase one. However, I haven’t yet mustered the courage to speak up and say, “May I please have copies of the latest issues of ‘Sort of Legal’ and ‘Young Buns Quarterly?’” Perhaps one day. . . sigh.
So, why do “legitimate” men’s magazines piss me off? I’m happy to tell you.
The entire content of every one of these magazines can be categorized into three stories:
1. Get Better (insert body part) in Just (insert small number) Days,
2. Secret Diet Foods, and
3. (Insert large number) Things that Every Woman Wants in Bed.
That’s it. Thousands of issues and that’s it. Every article revolves around one of these three subject matters. Throw in a shirtless McConaughey or Lutz with a smug look on his overpaid face on the cover and boom, you’re selling subscriptions out the wazoo.
I realize that this blog makes me appear like an intellectual giant. (Remember that chimp with a crayon comment earlier?) However, I do like a little substance, even in my light airplane reading. The in-flight magazines are more interesting for crying out loud. However, for women I suppose these subjects are sufficiently stimulating if they are read atop a stair master or treadmill during an afternoon workout while trying to ignore the creepy guy next to you who constantly peeks at your speed and pace in an effort to adjust his speed and pace a few notches above yours to prove his manliness via some sort of pseudo gym mating dance like one of those birds with the giant blue chests they puff out in order to win the affections of an indifferent female, pork her, and perpetuate the species.
The reverse doesn’t apply, though. I don’t think slapping a Men’s Health issue down on that plastic holder thing on my elliptical machine at the gym and reading “69 Things to Try on Your Woman” while sweating and grunting like a feral hog is likely to attract hoards of nubile young women to me. Granted, it might attract some hogs, but that’s an entirely different problem.
Like topless bars these magazines boil men’s corporeal needs down to the most basic form. Sex, food, and appearance are the Alpha and Omega in this world. I suppose I wouldn’t have a problem with a magazine offering identical advice on those subjects week after week in spite of putting a different color bow on it and a different, albeit stereotypically similar, shirtless hunk on the front of it if it was honest about it what it is.
Alas, Rodale Press still sells a billion issues a month and I’d be willing to bet that as long as washboard abs and sexual prowess are on men’s minds, they’ll continue to sell them. In other words, forever.
THE ROYAL WEDDING
Look, I realize that the upcoming nuptials of the balding, big-eared, fence-toothed Prince William and Kate Whatever is as sacrosanct as The Notebook to some of you, but I can’t resist commenting. I was debating on tackling this subject, not because I felt as if I had anything substantive to say about it, but because I wasn’t sure if I could stomach writing about it. My mind was made up for me when I opened up my ABC News app on my iPhone at lunch yesterday and saw that below “Local News” and “World News” they actually have an icon for “Royal Wedding.” For the record, of the three things on this list, this one pisses me off the most.
Literally for centuries, the Royal Family has been the only family in England living on government handouts and smiling about it. Curious, I actually Googled, “What’s a Queen earn?” This inquiry is not to be confused with the age old question, “What’s a Greek Urn?” The answer to that question, of course, is “about ten bucks an hour.” Granted, that joke is funnier when spoken, but I’ll still be here all week, folks. Tip your wait staff and be sure and try the tenderloin.
Back to the freeloading Royal Family.
For reference purposes only, the average Dairy Queen earns about $95K a year and the average Queen Bee lays 2000 eggs per day for 3-5 years. Now that’s a queen with a real job. Unlike the Queen of England, she deserves to get her stinger kissed. By comparison, the Queen sits atop her throne for the glory of the common man. There are some queens in San Francisco who sit atop a commode manning a common glory hole, but that’s an entirely different story altogether. I doubt that pays well.
What’s the Queen earn? Get this. The Queen as a Monarch and the Head of State receives around 80 million dollars a year. That money is to pay for the official royal residences, royal train, state royal trips, royal cars, royal household staff, royal official employees, royal secretaries, representative funds, security, and all of the other crap she never earned but inherited because of her bloodline. Hell, A-Rod doesn’t even make that kind of cash and he’s good for fifty home runs and a hundred plus RBI’s a season.
Actually, that whole birthright thing is not entirely true. Elizabeth was not even supposed to be Queen. Save for the fact that her uncle actually abdicated the crown after becoming p*ssy whipped by an unapologetic, Nazi-loving, American strumpet thereby making her father—the next brother in line--the King of England, she’d likely be peddling frozen Weight Watchers dinners on television like the only (former) royal to ever have a job, Sarah Ferguson, Dutchess of Somewhere. Hell, even she never even had a job until she ballooned up and Prince Andrew dumped her for another woman who was undoubtedly more attractive than that pasty, horse-faced Camilla Parker Bowles.
In addition to her undeserved stipend, the Queen is also the private owner of thousands of acres of land, private residences, shares of stock, hedge funds, investment accounts, and a bunch of other shit she bought with money given to her by the English people and has a private income of around 30 million dollars a year. Her estimated net worth is about 85 BILLION dollars. In short, being the Queen of England is a good gig if you can get it.
Searching for the slightest benefit of doubt, I found an article entitled “What Does the Queen Do?” written by J.F.O. McAllister in the April 14, 2006, issue of Time Magazine. After reading the three page article, the best description of the 80 million dollar a year “job” that the Queen performs is “Ceremonial Responsibilities.” Good God. In America we call those people Event Planners and they don’t make 80 million dollars a year for smiling at people and getting their asses undeservedly kissed. Keep in mind that I haven’t even gotten to her spoiled grandchildren and her coattail riding soon-to-be granddaughter-in-law yet.
I want to be clear that I have no problem with anyone earning a ton of money. The operative word in that sentence is “earning.” If someone offered me 80 million dollars a year because I was a great blogger, I’d take with without hesitation. My issue with the Queen and the entire Royal Family is that they are nothing but a bunch of money-sponging lay-abouts who perform meaningless functions in the name of the “Kingdom.” Royalty is an archaic and out-dated concept and I see no reason why in this day and age that a person’s bloodline should be a lottery ticket. I’m not suggesting anything be done to remedy that situation. I’m just saying I find it foolish.
Oh, and spare me the “well, Princess Diana did charity work” argument. She was nice and seemed more normal than the rest of the bunch and her death was tragic and way too soon. However, let’s not pretend like she was living in the slums of Calcutta, India and tending to bloated, starving children existing in a perpetual state of squalor. She visited a landmine site and a few orphanages every now and then and made a speech or two between month-long Mediterranean vacations on her boyfriend’s yacht and royal events where she was literally shrouded in enough diamonds to pay for every one of those bloated starving children to eat for years. She was a nice lady, but she wasn’t Mother Teresa. Then again, very few people are.
Diana’s loveless, arranged marriage to the boring, homely son of Queen Elizabeth, Charles, produced two sons, William and the other one who smokes pot and dresses as a Nazi on Halloween. It is William who is going to marry Kate Whatever on Friday. I’ve said before, an arranged marriage is where your parents pick out a crazy woman that they would like for you to marry instead of letting you go out and find a crazy one to marry on your own. And here we go.
I have a tendency to overstate things for effect, especially in the blog. However, I can unequivocally state without exaggeration that there is nothing that I could be less interested in than watching these two personality-less, over-privileged, freeloading, twits tie the knot on Friday. I’d rather go to a topless bar and pay "Cinnamon" to read Men’s Health to me in the VIP area.
Who in the hell gets married on a Friday anyway? It’s bad enough that they have the gall to shut down the entire island and hijack every television station in the world for this garbage, but they do it on a work day? I’m sure my English fans will be thrilled to have the day off, but come on. What, was the palace booked on Saturday? I suppose we could ask the Queen. After all, she is the local Event Planner.
It has also come to my attention that many women—in America no less—plan on having slumber parties and staying up until 4 a.m. in order to watch the wedding. I assume the painting of each others toenails, talking about boys, and the pillow fights will take place well before the actual wedding, but I digress. We have a thing called a DVR in this country and you don’t need an adapter to plug it in. Record the damn wedding and get some sleep. The last people to lose that much sleep over a royal decision were Kathryn Howard and Ann Boleyn. We all know how that turned out.
When I asked some of my female friends why they planned on watching, some of the canned answers I got were, “because she’s a princess and every woman wants to be a princess” and “I want to see the dress and her jewelry.” First of all, if you haven’t already, Google Kathryn Howard and Ann Boleyn and see how wonderful it is to be a princess. Hell, Google Lady Diana and see a modern example. Sarah Ferguson and Grace Kelly should shed a little light on what it’s like to be a princess as well. Like the monarchy itself, the entire concept of being a princess is an archaic, over-romanticized bundle of crap. With very few exceptions the Royal family is filled with miserable, emotionally tortured women who had the word “Princess” in front of their name. Fairy tale, my ass. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel were all princesses too. Even in fairy tales, they endure misery until some effeminate Prince in pink tights and ballet slippers kisses them. Do any of you really want to marry a guy who dresses like a matador? I doubt it.
As for Kate What’s Her Face being “stressed” before the wedding, I’ve never heard anything more arrogant. Try paying four bucks a gallon to drive your three year old gas guzzling car that you plan to pay off in two years all around town seeking bargain after bargain all the while listening to your mother nag you about inviting her church friends who you haven’t seen in 15 years to both the wedding and the reception despite imploring her for weeks to narrow her version of the guest list so that you can stay under budget on your wedding. That’s how real people do it.
Going to parties, getting outfits custom designed for free, getting your ass kissed, and showing up for photo ops is not stressful. You’re marrying a golden goose, for crying out loud. Granted, it’s a balding, big toothed golden goose, but it’s golden nonetheless. It’s not like he’s got a sales quota to meet and if he fails to do so you can’t go to Boca Raton for four days this year or buy that new comforter at Dillards’ that you’ve had your eye on for some time now if it would only go on sale. Stop complaining.
As for “Wills” being stressed, this is even more laughable. Try saving three months’ salary because the commercials say you have to spend that on a ring and then going to every back alley loose diamond dealer in the diamond district of whatever city you live in search of the perfect color, cut, carat, and clarity in order to get the largest diamond you can afford on your savings so it can be carefully placed in the expensive setting that you purchased on a payment plan months earlier and have been hiding in a shoebox in the closet you share with your girlfriend in a 750 square foot one bed, one bath apartment so you can save money for a down payment on a modest, thirty year old town home just North of town where the commute will be challenging but the pricing per square foot is within your budget and your exhaustive research on the area says that it will appreciate well above the average market rate for comparable townhomes in similar neighborhoods across the city so you can sell it in a few years when you plan to have your first kid and hopefully afford that larger house in the suburbs where the commute will be challenging but the pricing per square foot is within your budget and your exhaustive research on the area says that it will appreciate well above the average market rate for comparable houses in similar neighborhoods across the city so you can sell it in a few years when you plan to have your second kid and hopefully afford that larger house depending on how your career track is headed at the job you don’t love but don’t hate but are comfortable enough in performing so as to be able to take ten full days of vacation around your wedding in order to help your fiancé prepare everything. Granted, you're mother is not around to nag you about the wedding, but come on.
In short, shut up, you spoiled, entitled, dumb-lucky, English a-hole and get married. Like everything else in your life, it will all be taken care of by someone else. The least you can do is step back and appreciate it. You’re not any better than anyone else and you’ll never work a day in your life. Good for you, but please don’t expect me to watch you get married on television.
Well, there it is. DP’s vitriol-filled rant on three things that piss me off. Sure, it’s a tad negative, but it’s healthy to vent every now and then. Until next week, take care of yourselves, enjoy time with someone you love—even if that someone is yourself--, and tune in next week. In the mean time, if you need me don’t call me at 4 a.m. on Friday. I’ll be sleeping. DP