We Should Have Stayed in That Cave

[[very mild spoilers season 1 and season 4]]

After much procrastination I finally am watching Game of Thrones. I tried watching the first episode way back when. I thought it was stupid and boring. Too many plot lines, too many characters, the costumes silly. I couldn’t keep anyone straight. So many dark haired men in leather armor! So many women in bad wigs and sumptuous gowns! Borrring.

Then my husband announced we have a temporarily free subscription to HBO, and with it HBO GO via roku. HBO! They have a lot of good documentaries! And indeed I watched a few, including one about a veterans’ suicide prevention helpline. Did you know a US military veteran or active serviceman kills himself at the rate of roughly one man per hour, every day? That’s more fatalities than the recent wars put together. Anyway it was very well done, very sad, but too short. I hate short documentaries. They always make me feel cheated.

But there is no dearth of Game of Thrones. Since I never watched it before I theoretically had six seasons to plow through. It was so stupid last time you watched it (I said to myself)! But maybe you would like it this time around (I also said to myself). After much inner deliberation I pressed PLAY.

I still thought that first episode was stupid, however, Tyrion (the amazing Peter Dinklage) snagged me in his dialogue with Jon Snow. All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes. Such nuance, gravitas and wry humor in one man! Peter Dinklage, as they say in The Station Agent, is THE MAN! So I kept watching.

I still thought it was silly, perverted, way too violent. Could you please spare me yet another chopped off head? SO much sex. Gay sex, hooker sex, sadist sex, incest sex, underaged sex, interracial sex, rape after rape. I’m no feminist but I shudder to think how women would fare if George RR Martin ruled the world.

Yet… somewhere mid season one I was hooked. It wasn’t just about Dinklage anymore. I was asking my son (a rabid GOT fan) questions. How did Tyrion meet Ser Bronn? Why exactly did Daenyrus kill the black guy? I was in tears over the kidnapped baby dragons, and further along wept as Jon Snow cradled a dying Ygritte in his arms. We should have stayed in that cave Jon Snow

So would I recommend this series to my gentle readers? Uh, not sure. It ain’t exactly family programming, though apparently every family on the planet has watched it. It is a brilliant story, or rather a series of brilliant stories within other brilliant stories, the characters are beautifully villainous and multifaceted, but somehow I’m left with the same feeling as having eaten a sicky sweet, overly rich slice of cake when the credits roll. Gird yer stomachs men, and forward march!

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Spanish Downton Abbey 2

Season 3 of Grand Hotel has been added to Netflix streaming. Since season 2 ended on a whopper cliffhanger, it was with delight that the 7 month old and I sat down for the next incarnation of Downton Abbey, Spanish style. Season 3 offers copious Alicia-Julio snogging, so much so it’s utterly implausible they haven’t been caught yet by hotel staff, guests, or Alicia’s husband.

muchosbesos
muchos besos

My overachiever asked, if I had to pick one, who would I rather, Julio or Diego? Julio is a sensitive romantic while Don Diego is brooding, sinister and domineering.

julioJulio: I like married women, bar fights, and styling my hair.

diegoDiego: I like murder, subterfuge, and amassing power.

I told her neither. I’d rather have the Inspector!

inspector
let’s solve a mystery

She was horrified. But he’s old! she protested.

Well I’m old too, or at least, he’s not as old to me as he would be to you (I told her). Plus, he’s intelligent, funny, and attentive to details.

I maintain the Inspector is the best character in this well done series, as he navigates the endless mysteries, murders and mystique surrounding the hotel. Also excellent is Adriana Ozores as Doña Teresa, the oft-bedeviled matriarch of the hotel clan. It’s rare to find an outstanding female villain on television or in film, but Ozores plays the role beautifully as a seething, cold-blooded power player.

The sex scenes have been ratcheted up compared to previous seasons, including what I can only describe as a female-to-male rape (if you didn’t think such a thing was possible, watch it!), the first I’ve ever seen in this kind of media. However, the smut is punctuation to an otherwise gripping plot featuring perpetual- and addictive- twists and turns. As I’ve stated previously, Grand Hotel is actually better than Downton Abbey, in part because it includes crime puzzles woven into its commentary on class, and gender roles, of yore.

Prostidudes

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:

gaycowboy
gaydar: ding ding!

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

 prisonlook
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:

niceguy
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:

obamaversion
obey my executive order

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

greekgod
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.

Spreadsheet Sex

A darkly humorous story went mildly viral a couple weeks ago, about a reddit user who posted an excel file her husband created detailing the number of times he had requested sex over seven weeks (27) and how many times she refused (24). Here is a link to the original thread but it looks like the poster deleted her post, which read:

Yesterday morning, while in a taxi on the way to the airport, Husband sends a message to my work email which is connected to my phone. He’s never done this, we always communicate in person or by text. I open it up, and it’s a sarcastic diatribe basically saying he won’t miss me for the 10 days I’m gone. Attached is a SPREADSHEET of all the times he has tried to initiate sex since June 1st, with a column for my “excuses”, using verbatim quotes of why I didn’t feel like having sex at that very moment. According to his ‘document’, we’ve only had sex 3 times in the last 7 weeks, out of 27 “attempts” on his part.

And the spreadsheet (source):

excel

She acts all shocked and flummoxed to receive this from her husband, but in looking at the pattern of refusals she seems to know exactly what shes doing: she’s got her husband on a 2 times per month schedule which is probably the least she’s decided she can get away with. Even her excuses follow a pattern- too tired, too drunk, too full, too unbathed. Since when have food and alcohol gotten in the way of sex? It sure didn’t stop King Henry VIII who, by the time of his death, weighed 400 pounds, never bathed, and his castle offered a 1 gallon per day ration of beer, not including parties. Yet he managed to go through six wives and countless mistresses without complaining about being too full.

[An interesting aside about King Henry VIII is that despite having six wives he managed to produce only three living heirs, and only two of those lived to adulthood. I’ve occasionally read this might have been due to Henry having a venereal disease that impacted the fertility of the women, yet, he had as many as seven living children by various mistresses, most of them going on to live long lives. It makes you wonder if, instead of disease, there was some environmental factor within Hampton Court that impaired female fertility (lead? a bad royal doctor?) as one assumes his mistresses were not housed long term in the castle.]

I wonder why excel guy didn’t turn to the manosphere for sage and proven wisdom on how to get his wife to tear off her thong. Back in my message board addiction days, I spent a lot of time on marriage boards where there was an endless stream of beleaguered husbands whose wives simply wouldn’t have sex with them more than once or twice a month, if at all. (Rarely women showed up with the same problem re: their husbands, but it was the exception.) Most had tried mansopheresque techniques like acting more “alpha,” acting indifferent to sexual refusals, and going about their own lives in order to rebuild their confidence (a lot of them take up fitness). But in most of the severe cases, nothing worked.

My impression is if a couple starts out with compatible drives but they’ve hit a rut sexually, then yes, these techniques and others probably can come to the rescue. But if a couple had disparate sex drives to begin with, the imbalance becomes even more entrenched over the course of a marriage until the husband (it’s usually the husband) is expected to be celibate or close to it. Though the female refusal of sex has been going on since caveman days, I have wondered if feminism was the death knell of married sex. Throughout my adolescence and young adulthood it was hammered home that if a woman isn’t absolutely driven to have sex, or has even the slightest inkling she doesn’t want to have sex- even if she changes her mind for any reason partway through- she’s under absolutely no obligation to please her husband, even if she’s the only sexual outlet he has. And since women tend to have more fragile sex drives than men, especially as they age, this leads to a lot of sexually starved men with few options (well there’s always Tarna).

Turning your husband down 24 out of 27 times because you “don’t feel like it” is unconscionable. Entering into a marriage is a sexual contract as much as anything else, and unless you’re loud and clear upfront that your partner should expect sex only 10% of the time he desires it, a sincere effort in the bedroom is called for. But good luck telling wives (and a few husbands) that.

I sometimes wonder how King Henry would fare were he alive today. He’d probably reinstate public executions and get rid of all the immigrants. Maybe he could go on Supersize vs Superskinny to lose some of that weight, though he’d probably just drag the superskinny back to Hampton Court, to fatten her up for his own purposes.

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:

knees
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.

My Day With Tarna

Someone recently asked me to identify the music towards the end of the documentary My Day With Tarna. Not wanting to watch a kinky sex documentary, I put it off indefinitely, until finally relenting and watching the snippet on vimeo. Just from those few minutes I could see this is, stylistically, exactly the kind of documentary I like. The camera is “quiet,” following the subjects like a ghost or discreet stalker. I can’t stand documentaries that have an agenda and don’t simply allow the subjects to speak for themselves. For example, Michael Moore’s documentaries are agenda driven, but he is also very good at letting his subjects shine through the screen- I will never forget the “pets or meat” rabbit lady from Rodger and Me. Yet one of the worst documentaries I’ve ever seen, Enlighten Up, has a director so determined to have her film go in a different direction that the docu is more about her than the supposed subject (yoga). So anyway, since I was already sucked into the docu, I waited for my two year old to take a nap so I could settle down into 40 minutes of the strange world of Tarna the German dominatrix.

Tarna speaks casually and matter-of-factly about her life as a dominatrix. She discusses at length how sexual arousal is primarily cerebral, and that the services she offers are for the imagination more than the body. She goes on to claim that the greater a person’s intelligence, the more unorthodox their fantasies are. I’m not sure if this has been quantitatively studied, but she bases her stance on the fact that many of her clients are successful (and usually married) businessmen.

She takes us on a tour of the various rooms in the dominatrix studio and describes what transpires within. It was only when she got to the bathroom that I began to have serious regrets about starting the film in the first place, but I was too interested by that point to give up. Incidentally, I had no idea some men have fetishes for sadistic hairdressers. I’m afraid to google so I’ll just take Tarna’s word on it. Wives beware, next time your husband says he’s getting a haircut.

I was dreading the prospect of seeing a lot of graphic dominatrix activity but like Whore’s Glory (which I reviewed here), the camera is surprisingly discreet and even shy, at least at the beginning. There is eventually a graphic but brief scene, which I would prefer to erase from memory, but as quickly as it appears it’s gone. The film style was so similar to Whore’s Glory that I checked to see if Michael Glawogger was involved, and learned that not only he wasn’t, but that he died less than two months ago! Sadly he died of malaria while filming in Africa. He was only 55. This is not only a personal tragedy for his family and friends, but a real loss to the documentary world as Whore’s Glory is an outstanding film, better even than anything Herzog has put out.

I tend not to like short documentaries but My Day With Tarna has a very satisfying story arc that left me with a lot of interest and questions about her enigmatic personality. So even if you’re not interested in dominatrixes, I highly recommend this brief film. It can be seen on vimeo here.

Fog of War

Yesterday my husband arrived home unannounced in the middle of the day. He claimed he told me he needed to come home early, so he could go back out to a meeting that evening, but I’m pretty sure he never told me. So he caught me in his office with Orange is the New Black splashed across the screen. I quickly pressed pause.

“What are you watching?”

“Just this show… Orange is the New Black. It’s not very good.”

He didn’t look too interested.

“There’s a lot of lesbian stuff. Pretty hardcore actually, borderline porn.”

Now he looked interested. “Oh really?” Then, not very convincingly trying to communicate distate, “That’s weird.”

Lol. So we all know what he’ll be looking at later. I still hold to my initial decree that the show is badly written and poorly acted. The main character Piper is neither likable nor unlikable. She’s just boring and vapid. I’ll admit, though, that some of the secondary characters grow on you, like the smarmy prison guards who are caught up in their own dramas at home. I can see what Orange is trying to do– like Lilyhammer it’s trying to use shock and outrage as a vehicle for humor– but unlike Lilyhammer it rings hollow and falls flat. Maybe it’s true that men are better comedians than women, as the cast of Orange is predominantly female, and the funniest characters (like Pornstache) are male. Be honest– other than the few queens of comedy out there (some of whom, like Jennifer Aniston, aren’t even that funny) can you rattle off a long list of hilarious female actresses and comics? I can’t, but I can quickly think of any number of excellent male comedians: Nathan Lane, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey (sometimes, anyway– I thought he was good in Fun With Dick and Jane), Gene Wilder, and the king of kings, Zero Mostel. Is anyone going to tell me with a straight face that Julia Louis-Dreyfus was even half as funny as Michael Richards?

I also grow weary of the blaring gender messages Orange hammers over the audience. Men hold the keys, they have the women locked up, these insecure, abusive men (to quote the show) who wield power over helpless women (another quote). Ok, I get it, men are the oppressors and women the hapless victims. But the women are engaged in vicious power plays amongst themselves, and constantly sexually harass and assault each other. But somehow this is lost in the greater moral message.

I was thinking last night, after watching more of this show, that I’m really glad I’m not a lesbian. When I blindly stumbled into the manosphere last year, one thing that kept me reading was the theme of how lost and intimidated men can feel around women, especially when approaching them in a romantic or sexual context. I’ve always had a hard time understanding women; they seem much less straightforward, and much more emotionally driven, than men. And yes, this can be intimidating. Like the fog of war it’s difficult to understand what a woman’s agenda is, while men tend to put things on the table. I know there are many brilliant women out there, but in the social realm women tend to be less logical, or analytical, than men because of their greater emotionality, and this makes life even more confusing when dealing with them. This isn’t to say that I agree with much of the manosphere stuff– I don’t– most of their answers to gender problems are vapid, superficial, and the main players in the manosphere prey on men who are hurting or wanting for companionship, but they sure have struck a kernel of truth in their contrarian view of gender.

This isn’t to say that men don’t have emotions, or that women can’t be shrewd decision makers, but men are, overall, less emotionally based than women in their day to day functioning. I can see this acutely because I’m less emotional than most women, which has made friendship with them something of a minefield my whole life. So, yep, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with women in order to have sex.

Pole Dancing is a Sport

I didn’t know either.  Apparently it’s taken very seriously in China.

Okay, I think I get it.  There’s the “pole” and the women are wrapping their legs and contorting around it. It’s like porn meet Cirque du Soleil.  What I really want to know is if those poles are sanitized after each routine, or maybe they’re coated with special germ resistant resins.

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.

Cushin for Pushin

Overheard on Warcraft, and yes I transcribed all this by hand:

[2. Trade] [Cleverfoot]: who here likes fat girls?
[2. Trade] [mageswap]: not me
[2. Trade] [Modun]: 0 PEOPLE FOUND
[2. Trade] [Quickbooks]: more cushin for pushin
[2. Trade] [Imwetodded]: Fat girls are like mopeds, they are fun to ride just don’t let your friends catch you riding one
[2. Trade] [Scam]: stop trying to sell your mom, I won’t buy
[2. Trade] [Quickbooks]: fat girls do whatever you ask them to
[2. Trade] [Shovanel]: it’s true, ask quickbook’s mom
[2. Trade] [Shovanel]: ANYTHING
[2. Trade] [Cleverfoot]: how many fat girls does it take to screw in a lightbulb
[2. Trade] [Niallan]: they can’t climb a ladder psht
[2. Trade] [Zamyra]: Why are they fun to ride?
[2. Trade] [Scam]: I love curvy girls.  If they are too heavy to pick up and pin against a wall, I don’t want them
[2. Trade] [Imwetodded]: it’s like bouncing on a giant pile of jello

*

So what I gather from this is that men like curves and voluptuous women, but not women who are outright fat or obese. I’m not sure where the line is drawn between curvy and obese.  I should have chimed into the conversation with the recent news story about the obese Japanese escorts, but for whatever reason I have an all-encompassing fear of talking to anyone on warcraft.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone in that game, except for one night a tauren named Hakker took me on a whirlwind tour of Outland.  That was an exciting evening.