A few months ago, I accidentally shoved my foot in my mouth on a listserv I participate in. I got a bunch of irritated emails and issued numerous apologies. What did I do? I addressed the women as “ladies.”
Some women hate to be called “ladies,” I came to find out. It’s an outdated word, they said, which brings to mind white gloves, tea sandwiches, and balancing a book atop one’s head for good posture. (Betty Draper on Mad Men, for example.) The directive to “be a lady” or “act like a lady” usually encourages women or girls to become more like a retro gender construct—polite, smiling, quiet, compliant, modest, presentable—and they want nothing to do with it. I just assumed that because the word was so outdated, it meant nothing—and I was wrong.
So now I’m wondering, of course, about a lady’s counterpart. If “being a lady” has a stigma attached to it, does “being a gentleman” have a stigma, too? And what does “being a gentleman” even mean these days, anyway? Keep reading »
In the August issue of Wired starring Brad Pitt’s aging face, the actor gives advice — in his “Inglourious Basterds” character — on a few topics close to our hearts: dating, porn, texting, and World of Warcraft. And, while we don’t support the wearing of Bluetooth headsets in public, his advice ain’t bad. Keep reading »
How many times have I gone out for drinks on a date? More times than I can count. Of course, it’s partly my fault for not suggesting something more exciting. So I asked my friend John, who’s always taking girls out on interesting adventures, to tell me three of his most successful — though I’m not sure I see myself going to a cock fight any time soon.
1) Amateur Boxing Match
“The girl I’m dating is really into blood sport. She gets all excited and punchy afterwards. I’ve been trying to find out about cockfights — the avian kind — but I don’t seem to know the right people. And it might be too much for her anyway.”
2) The Zoo
“I went to the Brooklyn Zoo with a girl I made cry twice. There’s a llama barn there and she loves llamas, so that was a big score. You can feed them and pet them and hope they don’t bite your hand off. I hate animals.”
3) Ping Pong
“I’ve had a couple ping-pong brawls with the girl I’m seeing. She’s pretty good, which surprised me. It was fun at first but it has since escalated into serious business, fraught with anxiety and resentment and loathing. Afterwards, we’re able to put that all aside and be friends again — as long as I win — and it lends some electricity to the, ahem, romance.” Keep reading »