A nice Spanish song. Judging from the photo montage, Marc Anthony certainly likes to bare his chest hair. The lyrics are your typical spanish schmaltz; the title means “Tell Me” but is usually translated as “I Need to Know.”





Over my lifelong fascination with prostitution, it never quite sunk in that there are male prostitutes who service female clientele. I mean I had a vague idea such a thing existed- ages ago I saw a news broadcast about it, and I watched the film Star Maps where an attractive woman hires a younger male prostitute to service her, and of course Midnight Cowboy– but it never registered in my mind as being an actual phenomena. And it never dawned on me to google about it; the internet is a treasure trove for this sort of topic.

As it turns out there’s a whole world of heterosexual (or willing to simulate heterosexuality) male prostitutes, and some of the stories are not just fascinating but hilarious. Take NY Post writer Mandy Stadmiller who took up the journalistic cause of visiting the first legal male “prosti-dude” in Las Vegas. She describes him as needy, dorky, beset by mommy issues, none too bright. She departs from the Shady Lady Ranch unimpressed and $500 poorer. She’s even turned off by his over-eagerness (I thought that was the whole point of the transaction?)

A short google stop away is the “companionship service” Cowboys for Angels. What a cute name! It almost makes you feel you’re not looking at a prostitution website. The guys certainly are attractive but my highly accurate gaydar goes off for most of them:

gaydar: ding ding!

… and the remaining “cowboys” sport the fresh out of prison look:

handsome from hard time

which leads me to the reason I would never, ever sleep with a prostitute even if I weren’t married and wholesome- disease! Imagine all the bodily fluids that have gone into and out of these guys.

One or two of the cowboys look like perfect gentlemen:

exudes trustworthiness

What’s a nice guy like this doing on a sleazy website like that?

This cowboy looks like the hooker version of Obama, with some Vulcan thrown in:

obey my executive order

But if you put a gun to my head, and MADE me pick one, I’d pick… hmmm…

sculpted by Michelangelo

I don’t normally find long hair attractive on men, in fact I might pay him an extra thousand to shave it off, but I guess I’m a sucker for the Greek God look. I can almost imagine him gripping a trident, or hurling thunderbolts at his enemies. I could do without that tattoo, but it’s all good.

Curiouser and Curiouser

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been watching a lot of birth videos on youtube in an effort to get myself in the mindset of pushing this critter out of me. I usually watch homemade videos or a reality TV series like BBC’s The Midwives, which is actually pretty good (not to be confused with Call the Midwife which I’m not crazy about).

But I sensed right away something was weird about most of the birth videos on youtube. The descriptions would emphasize the youth of the mother, or the pain she is in, or how graphic the video was. In short it was obvious these were being put up by and for people with some kind of sexual motivation. Now I know there is pregnancy porn out there, and that some men are aroused by pregnant woman, but it never occurred to me there are people with actual childbirth fetishes- you know, of the actual event, with all the slime, poop, screaming, and squalling alien-looking newborns. Oh how wrong I was!

It took me weeks to gather the courage, but I finally googled: do some men have a fetish for birth videos. I kind of wish I hadn’t, because the answer is much stranger than I imagined. Not only are there men aroused by women in labor- but there are women, too, with this interest, or at least there are plenty of women willing to talk about it on the internet. Almost unanimously they identify themselves as straight, have no interest in ever really being pregnant or having an actual child of their own, but for whatever reason they get tremendously turned on by the sight of women pushing out babies while screaming in agony.

I didn’t think at my age I could find something that surprised me, but here you go. I guess I could say this is really weird, but in theory all sexual behavior is weird. I once watched a documentary about gay orthodox jews, and a gay jewish man recounted a discussion he had with a rabbi about gay sex. The rabbi asked him, “Why one earth would a man want to put another man’s penis in his mouth?!” to which the gay man replied, “Why on earth would any man want to put his penis in a woman’s vagina?!” The rabbi thought for a second and conceded he had a point: all sexual behavior is, on some level, irrational.

In my youtube adventures I did discover a gem of a documentary: the Indian-produced Born at Home. Despite what the title conveys this is not a homebirth advocacy film, but rather a docu about uneducated, low caste midwives (dais or dhais) who attend up to 90% of births in rural India and 50% in urban areas. Despite delivering so many of its citizens, the dais have no formal recognition from the Indian government or medical establishment. Dais treat their “patients” with a variety of folk medicine and superstition surrounding the placenta. Folklorically, it is considered a sin to cut the umbilical cord- even long after baby is breathing and the placenta has been delivered. This is why only women of low caste can practice midwifery. More than one midwife describes how an unresponsive newborn can be resuscitated by heating the placenta still attached by umbilical cord. The “life” travels to the baby and revives him. In theory I suppose this might work, since a still attached umbilical cord could function as a conduit delivering heat and a sort of rudimentary blood transfusion.

Without quick access to doctors the midwives are laid back about things like breech births, which most obstetricians would not attempt to deliver vaginally. “The chin gets stuck,” these midwives say shruggingly, “And you stick you finger in the mouth to tilt down the chin.” The only births that cause them trouble, they claim, are transverse births (when the baby is positioned side to side).

Here is the documentary in full; there aren’t any graphic birth scenes, and in fact only one full labor/ childbirth is shown where a dai presses her grimy bare feet against the delivering mother’s inner thighs while the baby is coaxed out.


Hookers On Staten Island

Leave it to that bastion of investigative reporting, The Staten Island Advance, to expose the shocking fact that there are prostitutes on Staten Island. Even more shocking: they operate behind the guise of massage parlors! Who would have thought? To make the article even more scintillating, they include this nasty looking pair of legs (knees?) under the headline:

What’s the towel for?

Those look like she-male legs to me. What do you think? Anyway, the Advance describes a network of “massage parlors” that charge $29-$45 for various degrees of satisfaction. There must be hidden costs because that seems outrageously cheap even for partial sex. You’d have to pay me more than that just to show my knees!

The Advance “confirmed” that prostitution takes place in these establishments. I’d like to know how exactly they confirmed this, given the article was written by a woman? I can just see the meeting now where they brainstormed this idea. “Gentlemen, I think we should send our best men in for a massage…”

The thing is, if I were a guy on Staten Island looking to visit a brothel, my primary concern would not be legality but the high likelihood of someone I know recognizing me sneaking into a house of ill repute. Because Staten Island, unlike the anonymous maw of the rest of the city, is a fairly incestuous locale where everyone knows everyone and everyone is everyone else’s cousin. The chances of crossing paths with someone you know, or of someone who knows someone you know, is solidly in the 90% range over every square inch of the island. So I’m wondering if these spots cater to commuters coming through the Staten Island Expressway, looking for bargain outer-outer borough rates and easy parking.

The advertised girls are typically asian, hearkening from all reaches of the orient including Japan, Korea, and China. Wait a second, Japan? I can’t imagine any japanese hooker plying her trade in the states, as the sex industry in Japan is flourishing (and probably much safer than here), and is legal short of actual intercourse. Maybe there would be use for japanese escorts catering to tourists in Manhattan, but not Staten Island which has a relatively small Asian population, and no tourists ever come here except for the free ferry ride. Maybe they should build a massive brothel in St. George instead of a massive shopping center, to tempt tourists to actually step foot on our territory.

Friendship on the Clock

There is a tragic news story in the headlines this week: yet another Craigslist murder, this time by a young couple in Pennsylvania who apparently had no other motive to kill someone, other than wanting to kill someone. As horribly tragic as this story is, I have to admit I was gobsmacked to read in some articles that the male half of this couple made a habit of renting out his wife on Craigslist for non-sexual companionship. According to statements he made to police, men would pay anywhere from $50 to $850 just to walk around the mall with her, or take her out to dinner. And she was no beauty queen.

I’m sure she slept with some of them, but is this for real? There are men out there paying $850 for conversation and stroll? Good grief, come pick me up. I’ll throw in my six daughters for a Christmas special. They’ll sure as hell give you conversation (except my 2 year old who doesn’t talk, but she does make plenty of noise). By the end of the evening you’ll be paying them extra to shut up.

But really, how is this different from going to a shrink? You’re not going to tell me all those years in shrink school give psychiatrists an ounce of real empathy, are you? They sit there and look serious while you talk about your problems, and might give you some serious sounding advice, then hand you a serious bill, but study after study shows therapy has little effect on people with emotional problems (I know you’re always hearing women gush about their therapists, but that’s not what studies typically show). So it may be both more effective, and cost effective, just to hire a friend for the evening. Actually exercise is supposed to be more effective at healing depression than therapy, but I doubt there have been studies comparing exercise to buying friendship on Craigslist.

Boiling Bunnies

I always get depressed when I read news stories about people my age behaving badly. Isn’t forty years enough time to get one’s psyche in order? Or to at least figure out how not to act like a crazed maniac, embarrassing yourself and humanity in the process?

Apparently not for Genevieve Sabourin, Alec Baldwin’s crazed stalker who begged him for marriage and threatened newly wedded bride Hilaria from her dark twittering lair. According to Sabourin, he slept with her once (which I believe) and then blew her off (which I also believe). Ok, so how do we get from there, to hunting him down and threatening his girlfriend-slash-wife? Let’s say she obtained her prize: the dreamboat Mr. Baldwin himself. Did she really expect that a relationship with him would bring her any happiness? Much less lasting happiness?

If I were to give her any kind words, it would be that Alec did her a grand favor that fateful morning when he eschewed her and went on with life and other women. Being married to a celebrity has got to be one of the most miserable existences known to man. She should have brushed herself off, promised herself no more screwing celebrities, and gone back home in search of a decent Quebecois gentleman. I mean look at this somewhat recent picture of Alec– he looks as pregnant as his wife! And he looks old (not in a good way) cantankerous and disheveled.


Yuck. I can’t imagine sleeping with him once, much less a lifetime of servicing his bedroom needs.

He’s So Cute

Around fifth grade the girls in my class started saying: He’s so cute! It was like a mantra. He’s so cute! He’s so cute! He’s so cute! I had no idea what they were talking about. What was “cute” exactly? What was the meaning– in this context? I realized I was in perilous waters because, not knowing what “cute” precisely meant, I was at risk of using it incorrectly. Sure enough when I tried a “He’s so cute!” of my own I got cold stares and: “He is?  Oh…”

I now know they were saying the guy– or boy, since we were only 10, 11, 12, 13– was sexually or quasi-sexually appealing. It was used toward the boys in our class (but only if they were, indeed, cute), pop culture icons, and ever so rarely, a teacher. But at the time I couldn’t grasp any of this. Cute? And you love someone just for being cute? I didn’t get it. My cluelessness reached such depths, that, somewhere around 7th grade I began to panic that I might be a lesbian.  But I didn’t think any of the girls in my class were cute. They were– every last one of them– wretched shrews.

What I also know now is that I was having crushes. I just never framed them within the terminology of “He’s cute.” In fact, I had what one might call obsessive crushes, and they started early. First there was our neighbor whom I quasi-stalked at the tender age of 5. I was perfectly content to secret myself in the thicket of palms behind our house, silently watching him about his backyard while he remained oblivious to my presence. I even broke into his house once (the door was unlocked, I let myself in) and made myself at home in his kitchen.  He came home to find me sat at his kitchen table ready to talk. Looking utterly terrified and disconcerted (I can still see his face), he led me back to my house and deposited me with my parents.

Next was a boy my age; his house stood exactly halfway between my house and the elementary school (I counted the steps). Strange as it may seem today, I walked the two miles back and forth to school on my own each day, through rain, sleet or snow. Why my parents never drove me I’m not sure, and why my sister was rarely with me I’m not sure either. But halfway through the journey I’d stop across the street from his house, patiently waiting for him to emerge. I got good at timing when exactly he’d appear. And sure enough, with a roughly 90% success rate, I’d trap him into accompanying me the remaining half of the trek to school, where I then got to bask in his presence the rest of the school day.

Then on to middle school (which is approximately when the other girls started in on the “cute” stuff). Middle school was not a happy time for me; I was resoundingly rejected by my peers and found myself morose and alienated most of the time. So the obsessive crushes toward my peers just weren’t happening at this point. However, there was a profoundly autistic boy in the school whose “special” class browsed the library during the same period as did my class. And he was the next victim of my interest, though he was so impaired I doubt he ever realized it. He was totally non-verbal and prone to violent outbursts, which thankfully never happened near or toward me. Whenever we were in the library together I’d linger near him, sit next to him at the reading table, and we’d occasionally page through books together. I’m not sure if he could read. He looked like an angel, bright blond hair and the palest skin.  His hands were always slightly trembling.

And finally, in college, I endured a four year crush on a (male) librarian from the former Soviet Union. It took me two years to get him to talk to me (to my credit, I never saw him talk to anyone else), and three and a half years to get him to have coffee with me, which we did, in my apartment, and he complained that I made the coffee too strong. We chatted for about thirty minutes while he sipped the bad coffee, and then he bid me goodnight as he disappeared into the manhattan sunset. Not long after that, on a visit back to the old country, he brought me back a book of Soviet era art which is on a bookshelf in one of my daughters’ rooms at this very moment.

Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse

If you’ve been meaning to watch “Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse,” but just can’t find the time, never fear: I can fill you in on what you’ve been missing.  In this series (inaugurated as webisodes and later compiled, with some abbreviation, on netflix) we follow the misadventures of Barbie and the gang as she attempts to do Barbie-like things such as star in a fashion show, or host a pool party.  One of the stranger elements of the show is that Ken is depicted as stupid, but he also happens to be an architect, engineer, and programmer.  While we all know Hollywood loves to portray men as stupid next to their sharper female counterparts, they don’t usually make them engineers at the same time. Blueprints and schematics always on hand, Ken is an all-purpose retrofitter and hero whenever Barbie is in a fix.

Barbie’s nemesis is the vaguely hispanic looking Raquelle. In one episode, Raquelle hits the “evil” switch on the Hal-like cyborg that oversees Barbie’s closet. Named “Closet” and programmed by Ken, the AI spends its time watching Barbie change her clothes, and once turned evil, locks Barbie and her gal pals in the closet for its own demented purposes.

Keeping an eye on Barbie.

Another time Raquelle, wishing to finally upstage Barbie once and for all, sends a misleading invitation for a “casual” pool party when in fact formal and costume wear are required.  Not to be outdone, Barbie is able to instantly switch apparel to suit any occasion.

raquelleRaquelle planning the next subterfuge.

I’ll admit the show is pretty funny; the humor is similar to “Toy Story” where you have the dolls aware of their manufactured existence and limitations, yet they nevertheless forge into human dilemmas and relationships.  That being said, much of the humor feels forced; I can almost see the writers sitting around the table trying really, really hard to be funny. And many of the pop culture references are hackneyed, such as when Ken suggests a photon torpedo to breach Closet’s iron grip on the girls. But if you’re the kind of adult who enjoys children’s cartoons with brainy humor, like, say, if you’re a Brony, you would probably enjoy “Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse” in between your MLP:FIM moments of bliss.

I was touched by how devoted Ken is to Barbie.  He once spends so long waiting to be let into the Dreamhouse (he designed it, you’d think he could find a way to get in) while Barbie is otherwise occupied in her Smithsonian-size closet, that he grows stubble over the duration, which Barbie lovingly caresses once ready for their date.

waiting… waiting… waiting

If you happen to have little girls in your house, and you’re not so uptight that you disallow Barbie in your home, you should definitely have them watch this silly series because it’s endearing and has something of a moral message.

Love in the Time of Zombies

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by last night’s Walking Dead premiere, as seasons 2 and 3 were, in my opinion, eminently lame by contrast to the beautiful storytelling of season 1. The “find Sophia” plot of season 2 was dragged out painfully when it should have been tied up in half an episode, and season 3 gave us Andrea’s (Laurie Holden) horrendous acting and the tepid, dull villain of the Governor (David Morrissey). But S4E1 was graceful and satisfying, even if full of the usual zombie implausibilities that go along with the genre.

My predictions for those next on the chopping (or should I say chomping) block: Hershel’s youngest daughter Beth, whose shrugging reaction to her boyfriend’s death, and her “goodbye” hug to Daryl, are surely foreshadowing of her own demise. We may finally get rid of Maggie and/or Glenn (yawn). Why are those two having sex like rabbits if they’re so terrified of her getting pregnant? Isn’t Glenn scooping up condoms during his numerous runs to zombie infested grocery stores? (I’m ashamed to admit there’s an attractive asian father at my daughter’s school named Glenn, and every time I see him I think of zombies. I also think of zombies every time I see an RV; for whatever reason there are more than a few parked around Staten Island).

I’m puzzled over how so many zombies could survive 2 (or is it 3?) winters now. Do zombies have higher body temperatures? Or do they freeze, then thaw, like a sort of zombie hibernation cycle? My son suggested these may be new zombies– people who managed to survive thus far but who find themselves recently turned. I’m also puzzled as to why so many female zombies are wearing long skirts.  Long skirts are not a popular apparel among women, at least not as an everyday garb, so I really doubt that during the period of the initial outbreak there happened to be so many women in long skirts. I guess this is a production choice to help viewers differentiate between the male and female zombies (same goes for long hair– most of the female zombies are donning it).  At least it’s not as bad as the women in the group hanging up dry laundry in season 2.  I guess Hollywood is so divorced from reality that they don’t know what clotheslines are for.

Perhaps the greatest implausibility of last night’s episode was that Rick let himself be led meanderingly through the woods by a sweetly spoken damsel in distress AFTER HANDING HER A KNIFE.  Jeesh, what is it with these guys?  There must be something in the water during the time of zombies, that makes men prone to romantic inclination.

Skinny Women vs. Viagra

kissing stomach

In a groundbreaking discovery, researchers at the University of West Scotland have concluded that men are less likely to experience erectile issues when engaging with a woman with a thin waist.  699 Czech men were subjected to the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire, and, not surprisingly, younger, fitter men, with younger, fitter partners had the most sex.

However, a slimmer waist in the female partner was associated with more frequent sex, and improved male satisfaction, even in older, less fit men with older (thin) partners.  This “waist effect” might have two causes, according to the lead researcher of the study: thinner women might have higher libidos and thus might be more enthusiastic bedroom compatriots, or, men might find svelte women arousing, and as a result are not hampered by performance issues.

Back in my message board addiction days, I once spied on a men-only message board where the members prated on about the sexiest body type in a woman.  Many posted pictures of their perfect 10, and I was surprised by how chunky some of these coveted women were.  Many had the Kardashian-type body of ample bosom, meaty hips, and yes, a proportionally smaller, but not necessarily thin, waist.  So I’ve always assumed it was that ratio thing at work, where men want a particular hip-to-waist ratio (I believe the magic number is 70%).

So I was a little surprised to see that a woman simply having a thin waist could do the job of viagra, since after all, a woman could in theory be obese, yet still maintain a waist to hip ratio of 70%.  Of course, this could be a chicken-egg situation where the men with the best sexual performance are, for whatever reason, attracting women with thin waists.  Or perhaps the men with the thin women are wealthier; as has already been established, women have more orgasms with wealthy men, than with poor slobs.