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Refuge for the rational.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Okay. We at the Cynic Ward have never been so cynical, so snotty, so absolutely self-righteous as to post a review of other blogs. We at the Cynic Ward have had enough trouble with people suggesting that we are just a tad too negative or cynical without pointing out the travesties that are the on-screen vomit of other people’s blogs. However, that ship has sailed.

We couldn’t resist. Feel free to harangue us if you wish, but only if you know what harangue means without the help of dicitionary.com. Otherwise, [I'll leave it up to your imagination]. I was perusing the directory at blogexplosion and I happened upon a section entitled Just for Men. Interesting, I thought to myself, this should be good for a laugh. How could I have known it would be so pathetic as to inspire an entire entry?

Let’s review a few, shall we?

1. Oh look, it’s everybody’s favourite blog, Dating Help For Men, that Zydeco Fish and I have taken a keen interest in hating. Words cannot express just how stupid the writer of this blog is. If I were to venture a guess, I would say that he is a junior at some lowly technical college. It’s good to see that they’re ahead of the curve when it comes to education. According to the summary, this is a blog that will help you: Be the man you have always wanted to be. Succede today. concepts to help you get the attractive women that you have always wanted. Learn to approach any woman it doesn't matter if your ugly, fat, or bald (Who needs punctuation—just let it linger.) In a poll entitled "Type of Girl You Want", 35% of the voters (all 17) claimed that they wanted to date a woman who was “intelligent”. Oh, the irony.

I’m not exactly sure what makes this person think that he is any kind of authority on women, but he claims: The game that women play is always hidden.. The logical thinking is never there. You will not here a girl tell you she wants to make love to you. You must read the cues.. tonight I had to learn the hard way.. Don't get me wrong I eventually succeded it just took me longer than it needed to. Yay! Succes! How would you pronounce that exactly—sucksees, maybe?

I’m not going to deny the presence of stupid women out there (or, evidently men, as it would seem this blog has many devoted readers). In fact, I’m not going to deny that most of them are stupid and probably would fit this idiot’s profile of women. The moral of the story is that if you are lost enough to venture advice from this blog, you will be told that you need to: play silly games; subscribe to transparent, false and insulting stereotypes of both men and women; fight for power; and formulize your interactions with other people as if they were some kind of chemistry experiment. Good job JBG. I hope you have a lot of anonymous missionary sex with a lot of bleach blondes who are “smarter than they look”. Suffice to say, you succ.

2. Meet Woman Blog. The name says it all: “I man, you wo-man” is pretty much the mantra here. Not only do the writers and readers seem to be completely dumbfounded as to the singular and plural versions of the word “woman”, most of the time it reads like a National Geographic. Case in point, a question from a reader begins thus: I have been wanting to meet a women for a while, but when I see one, I never have enough courage to approach her. Here's what I say when I read that: The clever male is poised for attack in the bushes while the female, unawares, continues her shoe shopping. She is picking up a red pump and suddenly--the male is overwhelmed in spite of himself! The male accepts the females signal of feminine girth with the presentation of the red pump and slowly retreats. Well Dave, I think your problem might lie somewhere in the words “when I see one”. Try tranquilizer darts, that might subdue one.

Now, the advice on this blog isn’t nearly as shortsighted and formulaic as our friend’s over at Dating Help for Men. That is, if you ignore the fact that this site is a ploy to sell the author’s book and lines like “And if we feel that special tingle between our legs, we know we've found a winner!”

Enlightening. It’s at this point in the program that I would like to send out a special “hello and thank-you” to all of the real men in my life.

3. Nightporter and His Fav Thingz. I’ll admit, I didn’t make it past: Women love penises just like you as a man love pussies and breasts. The penis is the favorite topic of conversation among women. Talking about it makes them happy, interacting with one makes them really happy.....
Really? I’m really sorry to break it to you guys—we don’t sit around and talk about penises. Never. At least, I don’t—but maybe you shouldn’t take my word for it. After all, my nails and hair and boobs are real. And I was never an extra on Sex and the City (little known fact: this show is also known as “A Really Lame Attempt to Feminize Alpha-male Tendencies and Give Genuine Feminism a Bad Name”, but that name was too long so they had to change it).

4. The Best Gay Blogs. It’s interesting that my definition of “hot” is a little faggier than theirs.
*Sorry--No linkage. This blog has been removed since my first visit.

5. Da Players Guide to Pimpin. I think it’s a horrible shame that decades of work by devoted, honourable and ridiculously wise civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. have still not managed to dispel the myth of the African-American as illiterate, criminal and poor. I think using language like the title above promotes that ideal and I think that the idea of gangster rap (I didn’t say ALL rap) as an empowering form of communication for people who do suffer from poverty and illiteracy is ludicrous and only harming their cause by promoting an image of illiteracy, materialism and class/sex/racial division.

And now, just to subdue you who are already poised for attack, the answer is "yes". I do realise that some men (and women, for that matter) have serious issues when it comes to meeting people, to starting relationships, to being comfortable in a social setting. But, these are deep-seated psychological and emotional problems. A gorgeous blonde with big tits, no matter how successful you were in picking her up, is not going to solve these problems and neither is the generic Dr. Primetime advice to which you're subscribing. The people who seek advice on these so-called "advice" pages--who think having someone else is going to fix their problems--and most of the time the people who write the advice, are the last people who should be pursuing a relationship with another person. There is no secret formula to people. Go cross stitch this onto a pillow and put it somewhere in plain sight: You are only lonely because you hate yourself. Try fixing that first.

*It would seem that deletions and additions are common and frequent over at Just For Men. Please note that the author of this blog does not wish to insult any of the people listed in the Just For Men section simply by virtue of association. I also apologize to my readers for a less than complete review of all the blogs in this section, but the truth is I was far too bored to continue.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Your Sister 

I've been meaning to tell you I met your sister. I know she must be your sister. She comes in to see me all the time and I pour her a cup of tea but I never let on that I know you. I know she must be your sister because she is exactly like you--she looks like you and she has that same flippant demeanor, that old attitude that helped you convince everyone that you were so cool.

But, it isn't working anymore; I wanted you to know that. I want to tell her that it doesn't work as well, but she can never hear me--phone plastered to ear and laughing responses as she orders and throws me some money and then milks it and sugars it and leaves.

If she isn't your sister, you should still meet her. It couldn't be romantic though, that's another thing you have in common--I think she's rather fond of women. I'm sure it's her. She has your face. It's your face exactly. I know you have a sister that age because you told me about her: do you remember that day I came to see you? I was late and you said your sister worked in the store across the street and you'd been talking with her. And then I had to leave because I was late and you had to go somewhere to meet some guy. You were wearing a red shirt; that colour doesn't suit you at all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I don’t like the way lipstick looks on coffee cups. When I see it, I feel a grimace and I think of saliva and that way that it smells on the palm of your hand if you lick it.

It’s always old women who leave lipstick on coffee cups, bright pinks and reds, such a contrast on the stark white porcelain lip of the generic coffee house coffee cup. They press their lips together and they press them to the cup and the excess lipstick that hides in the creases of their lips, that mixes with the coffee and the saliva, imposes itself upon the cup, oily and thick and leaving layers of texture that make me think of Jackson Pollock. And then it’s supposed to mean something; this is a strange imprint. These are the creases of laughter and discontent and life and maybe this is why I don’t like looking at it—maybe I feel like I shouldn’t be observing this—is this some ridiculous testimonial? It’s like a fingerprint, but far more predisposed to circumstance, and therefore far more personal.

I don’t know why it’s always the old women who leave the bright blemish on the coffee cups—the older you get, the less lipstick you should be leaving on coffee cups and on your lips. Lipstick is for women with wonderful lips, the kind infused with pig fat or hours of kissing, and not for women who have the drawn, thin and creased lips of time. I’m sure they mean to cover up their lips of time, but they only end up highlighting them in the end.

I always wipe the stain off when I’m wearing lipstick, compulsively and after every sip. It’s not easy, being so thick and viscous and oil based. It just leaves a big smear.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Portrait: White Trash Angie 

This post is dedicated to LingLing and Zydeco Fish, for obvious reasons.

I met Angie while holed up in a suburban house, crazy from the prescription drugs my enlightened physician had insisted would cure me and high on perkocet and hash to dull the crazy. I was there because I was dating one of the losers who lived there. I don’t say loser as a kind of afterthought to ease the pain of a difficult break-up or a betrayal; I say it because it’s the truth and my being pissy about distracting myself for so long with such a loser makes it no less true.

Angie got there by virtue of a boyfriend as well. He worked as a cook at an all-night diner; Angie worked at a gas station. This was Angie’s fourth job that year. It was June. Despite the thick haze of drugs in my blood, which made the world a peaceful and happy place but for the occasional dark-side freak-out, I began to suspect that things were not right when Angie came home from the gas station one day with what she called her “tips”.

“Who tipped you, Angie?”
“Ha ha—I raided the box on the counter”

How noble. Especially when you consider that the jar was for a missing children’s charity and she had one of her own. This was a fact that she would often use to garner sympathy. You see, her child had been adopted, though she would often pretend that the adoption had not been her choice. She would further exacerbate the lie by proclaiming that the adoptive parents were “total pricks” to her and wouldn’t let her see her child, despite the open adoption agreement. Then she would pull out pictures of the child and explain that she had had to “hide in the bushes” to get the picture, even though they had obviously been posed.

The association with Angie and babies didn’t stop there. Angie was one of those women whose ability to reproduce became a fundamental part of her identity. Babies. Marriage. These were the words associated with her bizarre ideal of perfection. These things would make everything okay. And whenever she fought with her boyfriend, we all had to be reminded of these this.

“I don’t know how to work it out. We fight all the time.”
“Maybe you should spend some time apart”
“I really think a baby would bring us closer together. I think I’m ready to have one again. I’ve been very tempted to skip some pills.”

Unfortunately, even if babies and marriage were the keys to happiness, they would never exist in Angie’s world without the harmonious accompaniment of alcohol, drugs and general sluttery.

“My doctor told me when I was pregnant that I shouldn’t quit smoking.”
“Yeah, if I quit in the middle of the pregnancy, the baby could have withdrawls. He said the same thing about pot too. So, as long as you’re doing it when you get pregnant, you don’t have to stop.”
Unless you aren’t a selfish cunt and you actually give a fuck about your child’s well-being. But, you know, you don’t have to.

And of course, the sluttery:

“John doesn’t really treat me right, I think I might have to cheat on him just to get him to understand that.”
“There’s this guy who comes into the gas station all the time…”

And finally, my favourite; Angie loved to avoid responsibility:

“I can basically do whatever I want. I mean, if someone fucks with me, I can pretty much kick the shit out of them or kill them or whatever and not be convicted. It’s because they did tests on me and I’m legally insane.”

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Going To the Hairdresser is Like Going To Church 

Going to the hairdresser is like going to church because they always make me feel like shit. I don’t much care for hairdressers—sorry, stylists—they have an attitude problem. They always do.

My mother always took me to the cheap places when I was a kid. I can’t say I really blame her, who can afford to pay $50 for a trim? Not I. So, my first real encounter with a stylist came when I was about fifteen. I was over at a friends house and her older sister was going to “school” (oh, how I love impenitent, undue mockery) to become one. I was blonde at the time, my natural colour, and my hair had a tendency to get stringy and, well, gross. I simply asked the stylist what she thought I should do with it. She took one look at me and with a (also impenitent and undue) scowl on her face replied: “You need product”. Ok, product. What product? Because of the scowl, I didn’t bother pursuing this any further.

The term kept coming up again and again. By this time, I was going to see stylists as often as I could afford to, but continued to go to the cheap places when I needed something simple done. Still though, there were the questions. What kind of shampoo was I using? Who did this last time? When was the last time I got it cut (tsk tsk)? Every question had the implication that I wasn’t doing anything right. In fact, I deserved to be bald. Yes, I took such terrible care of my hair that I deserved to have it all fall out.

So, I looked around at other people’s hair. I didn’t think my hair was in such bad shape comparatively. I could get a comb through it, it was shiny, it wasn’t visibly split endy. In fact, I had a friend whose hair I thought looked quite the picture of dry and damaged, so I must have been doing something right. But, the criticism continued: the disapproving looks, the references to “product (always singular)”. It got worse after I decided that blonde wasn’t really my thing and went to black/red. Especially since the variation in colour between my new and natural colour meant that I had to dye it almost once a month. At this point, even the stylists at the cheap salons would start making snarky comments: I had just dyed my hair, yes. From a drug store box, yes. Yes, I was aware that the colour was very different from my natural colour—only blind people couldn’t be. Yes, I was aware that some women would give their left kidney for my natural colour. I wouldn’t—I’m far better looking with dark hair and I’m hardly like other women. In fact, despite my pale complexion, dying my hair this dark did the exact opposite of what the nosy stylist had predicted before I had gone ahead with it, it had given me colour.

I haven’t had my hair cut in probably two months at least. I don’t want to go back because the stylist is going to point out that I haven’t had my hair cut in over two months. Then, she’s going to ask me what kind of “product” I have in my hair and when I tell her, she’s going to say that that stuff is no good and I should try this $50/itty-bittytube crap that doesn’t make any difference whatsoever. (I once spent a lot of money on salon shampoo and it made my hair MORE limp. I find it ironic that stylists, who I don’t imagine make killer money, would suggest that I pay what happens to be a fortune for me on my hair.) Then, I’m going to ask her about a hairstyle I like and she’s going to tell me that I can’t do that with my hair for some stupid and ridiculous reason. Then, when I’m leaving I will realise that I just paid too much to get my hair trimmed by a pious bitch and that I don’t like her hair.

I should start going to the barber. He’s a reasonable guy; he would know that I don’t want any funny stuff when I say I need a trim. It’s just a straight line.

And, as a sidenote, someone asked me recently whether I had given up on the portraits. No, I just found that I didn't want to write them all at once.

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