I’m reading Courtney’s enthralling new book, and while I think she’s spot-on with her analysis of women’s issues, I think the male mind works in different ways than she recognizes. She writes:
Sex drive, like hunger, is not easily circumscribed….A guy can’t make himself like a round belly if all he’s stared at for months on end is flat-as-a-board tummies…Guy after guy has told me that he feels as if he possesses two totally separate sexualities, the one in front of the screen and the one in front of the girlfriend. I’m skeptical. I know that when I get a pop-up ad for Häagen-Dazs while checking my bank account balance, I end up craving ice cream, not the frozen yogurt already sitting in my freezer.
Well, speaking as one of those guys who expressed this paradigm to Courtney while she was writing her book, I respectfully disagree. We males grow up with a powerful emotional disconnect, which can sometimes be very hurtful to those around us, but can also be downright useful.
There are roughly 14,000 thousand inmates at Riker’s Island. They are divided into 14 different prisons: there is a prison for juveniles, a prison for men who haven’t been sentenced, a prison for drug addicts, a prison for men before they get sent upstate for longer sentences, a prison for men who are serving shorter sentences, a prison for those arrested in the Bronx (–oh, and it’s on a barge. Because there just isn’t enough space on the island), a women’s prison, and apparently another six or seven different facilities. You take a regular city bus to get there. But the stop isn’t actually marked with any signs. You can tell it’s the bus to Rikers because, as my friend Amy tells me while I’m wandering around under the trains at Queens Plaza “it’s where there are a bunch of young women holding babies.” I find the corner with the young women with babies. “Is this the bus to Rikers” I ask one. She looks at me, jostling her daughter in her arms. “You going to Rikers?” she asks. “Yeah.” She doesn’t say anything else. I guess I’m in the right place.
“Stereotypes Are A Real Time-Saver”
— Wallace Rickard, The Onion
Last Sunday, I almost missed the curtain for Jack Goes Boating because I got into a heated discussion about 50 Cent and Jimmy Iovine. My friend argued that 50 – a poor, orphaned black youth from South Jamaica, Queens – was unfairly maligned in the mainstream media, when the real target should be Jimmy – the wealthy, white, co-founder of Interscope Records who writes 50’s checks.
I was not so willing to let 50 off the hook.
Iowa City was just warming up to draw its writers out of their dens with their coffee cups and notebooks, encouraging them to stake claims on bright sidewalk cafes, when I left for Chicago on Friday. I was back with the Hawkeyes for a couple of days to interview the WWII female soldier I’ve told you all about, but I got to catch up with friends finishing the Writer’s Workshop and Playwright’s Workshop this spring. As usual, we traded details about new projects and career moves. But how often have we talked about our audience– the very reason for our work? My friend had lent me a Billy Collins CD, and I thought of this as I drove off, listening to his poetry.
This morning, I sent out an email to a bunch of friends, and in said email, I referenced the sport of elephant polo. Some people (ahem) seem to have think I made this up. But I did not. I even have the photo to prove it. Elephant polo is most popular in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. But (here’s some trivia for you) the reigning world champion of the World Elephant Polo Association is the Chivas Regal team from Scotland. See, you really can’t make this stuff up.
Other variations of polo besides your stock equestrian and water:
Bicycle polo (read my article in this morning’s Times here); canoe polo; camel polo; golfcart polo; motorcycle polo; yak polo.
Last night I settled in to watch the first democratic debate and the Yankee game. Phil Hughes, the top prospect in baseball, was pitching his first game in the majors at the young age of 20. At the same time, the top prospect of the democrats, Barak Obama pitched in his first presidential debate. I flipped back and forth, until I remembered I could watch them both at the same time with that cool little bubble. Here’s my night, in a nutshell:
Hughes gives up two runs in the first inning.
Obama looks uncomfortable. Too abstract.
Yankees offense looks flat. I hope Arod does something.
Hilary criticizes prez for stubbornly refusing to listen to the American people as she stubbornly refuses to listen to the question she’s been asked.
Arod gets a hit. Not a homer.
How would people react if, during conversation, I said “I’m proud of the fact that I…” What would I say? ‘I’m proud of the fact that I was fully potty trained at the age of three.’
In Arianna Huffington’s latest book, Becoming Fearless, she talks about the importance for all of us–but particularly women–to overcome the dubious, naysayers within (for me, these voices are usually reminiscent of my 5th grade math teacher) and trust in our own greatness. Today she is inspiring a campaign of blogging about fearless experiences and I’d like to add one of my moments to the mix. It’s also a love story, so that’s fun.
When I met N. I swooned at first sight. He was humble and thoughtful and kind and gorgeous and we listened to all of the same music. Our second night hanging out became morning as we walked around a rainy Columbia campus talking about anything–everything suddenly fascinating and unsaid. I knew he was smitten when, on my doorstep, covered in pink light, he handed me his brand new Mos Def CD to borrow. It was kind of like our first kiss.