Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rise

I recently read an article that cited a study which showed that Atheism in on the rise in America. (link below) The results of this study are not surprising when you think about it. When you look around the world and see the breakthroughs in biology, science, and technology, mixed with all of the horrible things that happen around the globe every day, the idea of a God--or at least one that has anything to do with us-- seems less and less likely.
It's important to note that the article says Atheism, as in the specific disbelief in God, is on the rise. This doesn't mean that practice of religion is on the decline. It's human nature to seek community, surround ourselves with like-minded thinkers, and to honor and imitate our parents by keeping many of the traditions we grew up with. But it's good to know that not as many people are lying to themselves about the lack of facts behind their mythology. It's fun to write "From Santa" on a gift to a loved one. It's insane for them to think that's actually where it came from (unless they are 8). Atheists are the most misunderstood of all of the "religions" for many reasons. We have no scripture or bible or cave paintings that state our beliefs, mainly because we aren't defined by a belief structure, we simply have a single lack of belief in common. So Atheists have nothing to bond them together like the faith-based religions do. Because of this, Atheists are often inclined to keep silent about their stance on God because they don't have the strength of organized numbers that religions do, and therefore become even more misunderstood.

Unfortunately, this misunderstanding leads to a lot of incorrect assumptions about Atheists. I can't count the amount of times someone has asked where I get my morals from if I don't have a religion. As if the urge to not steal, cheat or kill can only emerge upon threat of Hell. I've even had people ask me why I don't just kill myself because to them, without God and a promise of the afterlife, they saw no point to living on earth. Apparently they've never eaten Mexican food, seen funny videos of cats playing pianos on Youtube, or had sex. And they definitely haven't done all three of those at the same time. So let me just clarify... not participating in your (or any) religion doesn't make life on earth pointless. When we wake up we don't think "Hey there's no God." We don't think about it at all. Until some crazy politician or chicken fryer tries to infringe on the rights of others. 

Honestly, Atheists want you to believe whatever you want as long as it doesn't negatively effect the freedoms of other people. An Atheist is the same as a nerdy kid at a Football crazed University. Just because we don't go to the games or follow the score, doesn't mean that we hate Football or believe it's wrong that others enjoy it. We simply don't care. 


If actual religions played football...
Go root for your team as they battle on the field to the death, just don't bang on our door with your face painted in school colors and try and get us to join.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/atheism-rise-religiosity-decline-in-america_n_1777031.html

Monday, September 26, 2011

A League of Your Own


Recently, I was in Kansas for a wedding. At the end of the trip, checking in my bag at the airport to start my trek home, one of the male workers informed me that I looked “exactly like Bradley Cooper.” Now, I think I’m a decent looking guy depending on how healthy I’ve eaten that week, when my last hair cut was, and if the lighting in the room accents my skin tone and eyes properly. But I’m no Bradley Cooper-- except in Kansas, where apparently I’m the equivalent. I hear in Kentucky I’m Brad Pitt and in Arkansas I’m Ryan Gosling (but only with my shirt off).

Here's me at the Kansas airport.
Having a great hair day.
But the Kansas compliment got me to thinking about the different definitions of attractiveness and success in different parts of the country (and the world). In the middle of America, a guy like me is the equivalent to Bradley Cooper-- I’ve got a good career in the entertainment industry, I’m not 600 lbs with BBQ sauce all over my face and fingers, and I don’t consider “traveling” to be simply driving to the further Sonic burger because it’s the only one open past 2 am. But in L.A., where I live, where I date, where I am on a constant search for the love of my life, do you know who is the equivalent of Bradley Cooper? The actual Bradley Cooper. And a guy like me is just that: a guy.

In Kansas, the only place you have any options is at Hometown Buffet. But Los Angeles is a city packed with attractive, successful, intelligent people. And I’m not putting myself down and saying I don’t belong in this group. However, I am saying that there are a lot of options for men and women here when it comes to dating, and in a city as full of ambition and opportunity as L.A. is, it’s tough to find someone who is willing to simply be happy with what they have rather than be obsessed with what they could have. 

In no way am I immune from this disease. Often times, I am guilty of trying to date out of my league. And just like I’ve been out with girls who I can tell after five minutes I would never date again, I’m sure I’ve been on dates where the girl finishes her glass of wine, still doesn’t find what I have to offer good enough, and feels grateful that she was at least smart enough to order the most expensive thing on the menu. Or more likely it happens when I pick them up in a Honda.

Drive a Honda Hybrid in LA and they will think you're poor.
Drive it in Kansas and they'll think you're a gay.
Either way you're going home alone.
In some ways, I think that the perfect couple is made up of two people who think they don’t deserve the other one. While this set up can lead to insecurity or jealousy when it pertains to people who aren’t confident in themselves, I’m more referring to people like me, who think that they are a pretty great catch, but still yearn for someone who in many respects is “superior” to them, or at least brings something better and brighter to their lives:

One has looks, one has humor. One has money, one has culture. One has ego, one has modesty. One has work ethic, one puts family first. The combinations go on and on. We are all puzzle pieces looking for the place we fit. But in Los Angeles, where there are more quality puzzle pieces than perhaps anywhere in the world, even a perfect fit isn’t always enough to keep a puzzle together, no matter how beautiful a picture it creates.

In Los Angeles, perfect fits are hard to come by.
And even harder to keep.
I say this because I’ve seen relationships between two great people deteriorate when one person decides they want an upgrade, whether they deserve it or not. As soon as one half of a relationship takes the other for granted, the jig is up and eyes start to wander for the next best thing. Often the “next best thing” is a more attractive person, a richer person, or simply a person who resides on the other side of the fence, where the grass appears greener. Of course, more often than not, once you hop this fence, the grass on the other side begins to look wonderful without you standing on it.

Recently, I decided to go way out of my league and shoot for the stars. For a guy with a deep understanding of my own flaws and improvable qualities, I’m not shy when it comes to going after something or someone I want. We have all been through the darkness of rejection, heartbreak, and pain, and eventually the sun rises, so all you’re risking by putting yourself out there is some time and the chance of humiliation. But not putting in the effort, in my opinion, is the more humiliating waste of time.

When everything is an option, it's tough to stick with what you have.
Well, despite my optimistic approach, the effort left me empty handed and I ended up wishing we had met in Kansas, where maybe she would have thought of me as a more worthy catch than she did in L.A. At the same time, once any chance for a relationship was dashed, I began to think what actually dating this girl would have meant: she was beautiful, kind, social, popular, ambitious, talented, and smart. And she was a resident of Los Angeles, the City of Options. A girl who is constantly rising to the next level will always be looking for a staircase, and what were the odds that she would choose me as a final step rather than just a middle one?

Maybe I am scarred from the past. Maybe I am bitter from memories of feeling not good enough even though deep down I knew I was too good. Maybe I am looking for reasons not to go out and try again. It’s so much safer to date someone below you. Less challenging. Less stressful. Less pressure to rise to a higher level because it’s so much easier to sink to theirs. But is this really any way to live life, especially when you’re talking about finding someone to spend the rest of it with?

A friend of mine told me that it was “time to move on” from my crush. His advice was meant to help me and I appreciated it. And while I’m sure I will move on from her, it doesn’t mean that I will give up on wanting someone who is better than me, someone who forces me to be better, and someone who makes me stop looking at my other options. As I said, a perfect relationship needs two people who feel like they don’t deserve the other. And the day I date someone who I don't feel lucky to be with is the day I have officially given up. 

Giving up on a girl is fine. Some puzzles aren’t meant to be solved. But in Los Angeles, the City of Options, giving up on myself isn’t one of them.

I may not be Bradley Cooper, but Todd Fields isn’t so bad. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anchored Man


Tonight at the gym, I decided to run on the treadmill in front of the TV set featuring CNN since it was a slow night for sports. Though I could not hear the sound, I could tell by the grisly images of the charred bodies on the screen that Anderson Cooper was doing a story on the cast of The Jersey Shore.  Now I typically am a fan of Anderson. He’s done a lot of great reporting in the past, both within our borders and behind enemy lines, getting the scoops on stories we may not hear about otherwise. This terrific journalism earned him my nickname “Anderson Scooper.” But now, after spending ten minutes of his “Ridiculist” segment tonight discussing Snooki and the rest of the idiots from NJ, I’m ready to brand him with a new moniker, “Cooper Scooper,” because spending time mocking The Jersey Shore when you are on a respectable news channel like CNN is simply serving up a pile of crap. 

The only thing easier than picking on Snooki
is picking on AC for picking on Snooki
One could argue that my criticism of Cooper’s ill-advised use of his television platform is hypocritical for two reasons: 

1) I have this blog and many of the topics I discuss are less than world changing. To that I would argue my blog only gets a few hundred visitors per week, and there’s no telling how many of those are from me checking the site multiple times a day to see how many people read my latest post. Meanwhile, Anderson has a show on CNN that reaches millions of viewers every night and, with everything going on in the world, should be spending all of his time discussing more important issues than J-Woww’s breasts, the Situation's abs, or Snooki's penis. She's a dude, right? I get that a lot of news-watchers can’t stand Keith Olbermann’s condescension or Sean Hannity’s insanity, so infusing some fun topics to break up serious stories on war and recessions may be a smart tactic to pull in less serious viewers. But it doesn’t make it right. 

2) The other reason one could question the validity of my criticism of Cooper is that I work in Reality TV and promote many "celebrities" who are as bad if not worse than the J.S. cast. My resume includes shows that featured the Kardashian family, Paris Hilton, and the Real Housewives of NY. Not exactly the role models I want my potential future daughter looking up to. To this observation, I have no excuse, other than that the reason I get a paycheck for working on these fine pieces of art is the same reason Anderson features their stars on his show: Supply and demand. America loves this shit! As soon as our culture stops idolizing reality stars and other celebrities, I’ll go back to writing more of the things I actually care about, and Cooper Scooper will be back to earning his old nickname. Until then, we both have to pay the bills.

If all my tombstone reads is, "Worked on Khloe & Lamar,"
please just cremate me.
I don't see a change happening anytime soon. Stand in line at the supermarket. You're surrounded by tabloids and magazines featuring every celebrity, from the most famous to the never-heard-ofs. As long as they have a recent break up, a bikini shot with visible cellulite, or a newly adopted African baby, they are front-page news. And you know, I don’t have a problem with that because people need their guilty pleasures. We all deserve to put aside our vegetables and go for a bowl of ice cream once in a while. But when CNN is covering reality stars instead of reality wars, it’s like we’re eating our vegetables in the form of Spinach Artichoke dip. That's not a real vegetable just like Snooki isn't real news. And yet, we all continue to crave our unhealthy obsessions. 

Anonymous shopper in line at the store:
"Got my cheese. Got my gravy. Got my pork chops.
Oh, ya! How did Jessica lose all that weight?...
And some Milk Duds, please."
When I sit down at a computer I admittedly check my Facebook, my fantasy team, and then probably my Facebook again before finally moving onto my favorite news sites. And even then a juicy story about a celebrity divorce catches my eye before anything having to do with the Debt Ceiling. We can’t constantly be bombarded with the bad news of the day. But I can’t help but think there are better stories to intersperse with the misery of the world’s events than the latest on something as meaningless as The Jersey Shore

Is it naïve to think Americans would rather watch an inspirational story about an every day citizen surviving cancer? Or would they rather just watch a show simply titled Survivor about a bunch of half naked people trying to win a million bucks? No matter how well written a script or how well acted a scene, these television shows can never match the intensity, the drama, the emotion or the importance of actual life. After 8 years in the industry, I can tell you, it’s called “reality” TV and not “real” TV for a reason. Whether we like it or not, when the last flame is put out, when the last rose is received or when the last Idol has sung, the real world is still out there-- and it’s not 7 drunk assholes living in a house. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Patriot Games


When I was in elementary school, I loved going to one of my good friend’s house because his parents always allowed us to eat whatever we wanted. His mom ordered pizza for dinner all the time. Their fridge was always fully stocked with soda and their cabinets were filled with candy. They even made their own beef jerky. On the other side of the coin, my parents wouldn’t allow us to have sugar cereal and my mom would usually cook meals, which were delicious, but always included more vegetables than just the olives and green peppers you might find on a large pie from Pizza Hut. As a 10-year old I thought it was great that my friend was allowed to eat whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. Until recently when he wrote me a message on Facebook saying “hello” and I realized that my once thin friend was now a pudgy round ball. I believe that the story of my friend’s family is representative of the United States as a whole, not only in the way we eat, but in every facet of the way we live. Americans are always bragging that our country is the “land of the free,” and while freedom and the ability to do as we choose is a right we should never take for granted, constantly abusing our liberties to make the wrong choices nullifies the greatness of having them at all. Sure it’s great to have so many liberties, but if all we do is abuse them, do we still deserve them?
Americans put the "dumb" in Freedom
America is like the star football quarterback in a small town who ends up doing nothing with the rest of his life and can always be heard reminiscing about the old days when he ruled the world. Sure we fought off the British to take control of our land (well Native Americans’ land but who’s counting?), and we kicked ass in World War II, and we stared down the Russians in the Cold War, not to mention taking it to them in the Miracle on Ice. We created Disneyland, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s. We landed on the moon, designed the A-Bomb, and came out with the iPhone. Beat that, Asians! From this great land came Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Who cares if all the guys who shot them were from here, too?) It’s undeniable that the US of A has plenty of past achievements to brag about. The problem is that pesky little word: “past.” High school is over. We were once carried on the shoulders of our allies at the 50-yard line holding the championship trophy above our beautiful blonde head. But now we’re retired (aka jobless), staring at our rusty trophy, living off of past accomplishments rather than working on creating new ones.

This is America
When the US women’s soccer team recently defeated Brazil in dramatic fashion, many of us felt a wave of patriotic emotion-- odd how it usually takes a sports moment or a national tragedy to bring all of us together. After the game many players and fans were saying things like, “This is what America is about!” and “Today we showed the world what Americans stand for!” Look, I love this country very much and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world (at least not for more than a couple years, anyway). But comments like these are delusional. If they had said, “This is what America should be about!” or “Today we showed the world what Americans want to stand for!” then maybe I could get on the same page.

American's always pull together when
a set of twin towers are involved.
I’m not saying we all need to get into politics or fight in the military or donate all of our money to charity in order to be a viable American. All I’m saying is we need to look at our Constitution and the rights given to us therein and wonder how we can honor such a great document with our actions, rather than simply manipulating it to indulge in ridiculous behavior. For instance, I love free speech. It gives me the right to write this very blog and call people assholes if I want to. (Yeah, I’m talking to YOU, Guy-Who-Didn’t-Pull-Up-Far-Enough-And-Made-Me-Miss-The-Left-Turn-Light.) But it also gives the Westboro Baptist Church the right to protest military funerals with signs that read “God Hates Fags.” And I get that people want the right to own guns in order to hunt or protect themselves from intruders, but then people go out and shoot each other for no good reason. So while we Americans should be proud that we give ourselves these freedoms, we should be ashamed with what we do with them. We should stop patting ourselves on the back for being free, and start focusing on being decent.

Now I’m not advocating that the U.S. government put us in some “Big Brother” state and take away all of our freedoms, but at the same time when Sarah Palin criticizes the First Lady as some Fascist extremist for advocating a healthier diet for kids, I think that things have gone a little too far. When Palin brought a batch of cookies to a school in order to protest a proposed governmental restriction on the amount of sugar students could consume at school parties, she wasn’t just saying “Don’t let government tell you what to do,” she was saying “Don’t let government tell you what to do even if their advice is good for you.” It’s moronic ideas such as this one that have created such hatred for a government that is often times trying to help the citizens who are fighting it so intensely.

The real Cookie Monster
I would love to trust my fellow Americans to do the right thing with their freedoms, but most of our adult citizens usually act like children and need to be treated as such. The government is by no means perfect, but if we didn’t have such distrust for the leaders of the country we claim to love so much, maybe we would be open to some of their parenting once in a while and we could all improve together. If we all, myself included, acted like our mothers were watching over our shoulders with everything we did, maybe we would finally start to make some better decisions.

Supporting an American baseball team,
an English Band, at a Spanish Bar...
Taking the best from all of our cultures.
And when the American government is not in the right, would it be so wrong for us to look elsewhere for guidance? I know it can sound snooty when people talk about their travels, but the truth remains that the majority of those who pump up the United States as “the Greatest Country on earth” have never been to any other country. It’s like declaring Del Taco the best Mexican Food without even trying Chipotle. While overall our country may have many of the “best” foundations and ideals, many other countries have admirable qualities that Americans, if we weren’t so stubborn and proud, would be better off trying to emulate.

I love the patriotism our country exudes after a big sports win, a horrific tragedy, or some other moment that makes us all come together. However, I can’t help but view this “patriotism” as a temporary emotion rather than a permanent state of mind. True patriotism exists every day and is embodied by a constant desire and effort to make this country a better place, not simply by reliving the glory days of her past, but by trying to improve her future. It’s nice to talk about the Championships we won many years ago. We should hang those banners. We should honor our heroes and remember our victories. But at some point, isn’t it time to focus on next season?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Speech

Well they both said "I do" and now Eric and Romi are enjoying their honeymoon on a beach somewhere in Greece. Here's the speech I made at the Rehearsal Dinner. I followed most of the rules I laid out in my previous blog, most notably, the speech wasn't caught on tape. But here's the transcript...


Good evening. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Todd. I've known Eric since our days at Taft High School in Woodland Hills. I’m a year older than him and in the decade plus we’ve known each other I have seen Eric shrink into the man he is today... I’m not talking about his character here, people... He used to be fat.

In high school Eric and I were friends, but in hindsight we weren't that close. Among the group we ran with, Eric was much better friends with Darryl. Jake. And even the cafeteria lady, Esmeralda. By the way, I ran into her the other day Eric and her 10-year old son looks exactly like you.

With Eric and I, our lives were like an episode of Friends where Eric was Chandler and I was Phoebe. We were part of the same social group but we rarely had our own storyline together. Things didn’t change much when we went off to college. Eric was in Arizona and I stayed in California and we rarely saw each other except for over summer breaks, which I happily spent drinking his parents’ alcohol and trying to have sex with his sister’s friends. I expect the wedding tomorrow to be much of the same.

Eventually we both graduated and Eric and I moved in with Jake who without question is the Ross of the group, and by that I mean he’s really smart and nobody really likes him. The three of us lived in Park La Brea, and for a while, Darryl even moved in with us. Darryl is definitely the Joey of our group basically because he’s buff, funny, and he looks nothing like Jennifer Aniston.

Chandler, Ross, Joey, and I guess I'm stuck being Phoebe.
Michael, you can be Marcel the monkey.
Though we all had college in our rear view mirrors, our apartment in Park La Brea turned into a quasi-fraternity house and this is where Eric and I began to grow much closer as friends. Dodger Games. St. Nicks. Naked wrestling matches on the lawn. Oh, I mean… playing baseball on the lawn. We were all single with good jobs and we were enjoying the fruits of our labor. Even with Eric’s penchant for buying guys drinks and falling asleep at the bar by 11 pm, we still had a great time. For a few years, with different combinations of roommates and in different areas in LA, the group stuck together and we made memories that will stay with all of us forever.

And then came Romi, the “Monica” to Eric’s “Chandler.” 



Romi, what can I say about you that I haven’t already told my therapist?


(If people aren’t laughing, apologize profusely.) Oh my mistake, that was just a note to myself...

Romi knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Case in point, Eric. It wasn’t long after they met that Romi had landed her soon-to-be-husband. At first I wasn’t so sure about the relationship, mainly because Eric is such a good guy that, no matter who he dated, I wouldn’t have thought anybody was good enough for him. Eric truly is one of the best people I know and he’s always been an understanding and loyal friend to me. And Romi has definitely proven herself deserving of such a great catch. It’s clear that they’re two peas in a pod. Like peanut butter and jelly. Like eggs and bacon. Like French fries and ketchup. Sorry Eric, am I making you hungry?



With their beautiful home, scrappy dogs, and great families, Eric and Romi are set to have the perfect life. And while Friends is a television series that was canceled years ago, at least I know we’ll always have the reruns. There will always be the amazing memories we made together. And I’m just happy that I was able to be part of the cast. Congratulations Eric and Romi. May you have a long lasting spin-off.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Speech Therapy

Wow only a couple days left until the big weekend. Some people may remember it as the weekend where my friends Eric and Romi got married, but anyone with any sense of history will remember it as the weekend where I made another epic wedding speech. For those of you who weren’t there, a little while back I spoke at my friend Jake’s wedding and stole the show. The rest of the night whispers of, “Sure that’s a nice wedding dress but who was the guy who made that speech???" and “Jake and Julie are lucky that their anniversary is on the same day as Todd’s speech, a day that will live in infamy.” Even the bride was wondering if she married the wrong guy. But as any one hit wonder can attest, with success comes pressure, and now with another wedding upon us and another speech on the way, I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill. My own.
No matter how big or small the audience, public speaking is never easy.
The art of speaking at a wedding (or in this weekend’s case a rehearsal dinner) is to mix entertaining anecdotes about the bride and groom with sweet moments that will have the grandmas smiling and the bridesmaids swooning. While this may seem simple, I often have difficulty walking this tight rope because my standards for an offensive joke are much different than the standards of an adult crowd. Most of them come wanting to dance to “We Are Family” not hear jokes that could be from Family Guy. What stories can I repeat, what insults can I spew, what deep dark secrets about the groom’s past can I reveal? The answers to these questions are the difference between a great speech that will have the room buzzing and a snooze fest that will have your 97-year old Great Uncle Bernie looking at his watch, wondering why he isn’t dead yet.
"I'd rather be sleeping." -Great Uncle Bernie
A rule I’ve learned after my speech at Jake’s wedding is to never let someone film you. In today’s society where seemingly every mundane event is captured on anything from an HD camera to a cell phone video, nothing is left to the imagination. Where our Grandparents can tell us stories of the giant fish they caught when they were 8, if a friend told us about the same feat today we would demand to see visual evidence. When my speech at Jake’s wedding wasn’t caught on tape I was originally upset, but as time has passed, I realized the lack of proof has only added to the legend of my speech's greatness. I mean imagine if Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address had been recorded. Sure it would have a bunch of Youtube views by now, but the mystique would be gone. Don’t you ever go see a stand up comedian and die laughing while in the audience then go check out his DVD and it’s just not as great as you remember? Or don’t you ever have an amazing sex session and then later when you check the tape from the camera that you had set up in your cracked open closet you realize that your partner’s ass looks like a bucket of Knudsen cottage cheese and your hairy back makes you look like a horny ape out of some National Geographic documentary?
Sure it felt good, but this is what it looked like.
The human mind tends to remember things happening much more dramatically than they actually were. If you almost got hit by a car, you’d probably remember leaping out of the way of a speeding Hummer when in reality a Prius came to a stop in the crosswalk 20 feet in front of you. And if you go to an enjoyable concert you are probably updating your Facebook page with comments like “OMG Gaga is Amaze-balls!” when really she’s was just Above-Average-Balls. And at a wedding, during the speeches, since everyone wants to be entertained and see a good performance, most people have laughter at the tips of their lips and all they need is a mediocre joke here and there to bring it out of them. So when they hear a superior speech like the one I delivered at Jake’s wedding, they walk away thinking, “Holy Shit was that Eddie Murphy, Barack Obama, and Jesus all rolled into one?” And where normally wedding attendees would watch the speech again on tape with the high expectations that their memory had given them only to realize it was just a few wise cracks from a dude who looked nothing like the epic speech-Frankenstein they had formed in their mind, now they can only recall it fondly, with each joke getting funnier and funnier as more time passes.
"What did he say about my granddaughter?
No seriously. What did he say? I can't hear anything"
Another rule for groomsmen is never, and I mean never, say anything bad about the bride. Even if it’s a joke. Say what you want about the groom. How he killed that homeless guy when he was drunk. How he still owes you 10 grand from that gambling binge in Vegas. How he cheated on his then fiancée with a toothless stripper. But never say anything bad about the bride because 1) While the groom’s family most likely knows you and likes you, the bride’s family is probably wondering, “Who is this douche bag?” and one misstep can lose half your audience. 2) Women never like to be teased, especially on their wedding day, no matter how funny the joke is. Trust me. Knowing this fact and yet still ignoring it is the reason why I’m single.  3) You risk pissing off the groom and he’s the reason you’re up there in the first place. You don’t want him coming back from his honeymoon and telling you that his new bride was miserable and screaming at him the entire time because you called her a bitch in your speech. Even if that very situation proves you to be correct.
Additionally, and this is specifically for bridesmaids, don’t tell personal stories that nobody else gets. Save that for some alone time when you’ve had too much champagne and you want to get sentimental one on one. I don’t want to hear about that one time in college when you stayed in drinking boxed wine and watching the Lifetime Channel until 4 am. Unless you were both naked when it happened, nobody cares. 
If you wouldn't take diet advice from this woman,
why would you take life advice
from your alcoholic cousin Travis?
Finally, don’t give life advice, especially if you’re drunk. Nobody wants to hear how “You will have ups, you will have downs, but most importantly you will always have each other” from some drunk 30-year old who has complained about his or her spouse ever since they put on 30 pounds after their own wedding. And keep it short.  A wedding speech is like a blog entry. People will listen as long as they are entertained but if it goes on forever they will start to think about all of the better ways they could be spending their time. Speaking of, let’s wrap things up…
In the end, just make your speech heartfelt. No matter what you say, be sure you mean it. Not everyone is wise, not everyone is clever, not everyone is funny. So be yourself and do the best you can. Either way, if you’re going to be boring or shocking, sincere or sarcastic, just make sure it’s not on tape. If it sucks people will forget, and if it’s great, people will immortalize you and be talking about you for a lifetime. Let’s just hope the marriage lasts that long, too.  
Some additional wedding speech suggestions:
  • Use a microphone whenever possible. Half of the audience is probably old deaf people and God forbid you have to compete with someone’s stupid crying baby.
  • Have an accent. Everything sounds better with an accent. 
  • Memorize the speech, don’t read it. If you can set up a teleprompter, that’s a happy medium. 
  • Cry. I don’t care if you have to look into the lights or spray the lime from your vodka-tonic into your eyes. A few tears go a long way. 
  • Last but not least, never speak after the father of the bride. He’s guaranteed to have some good material on the bride and he has a free pass to rail into the groom. So he’s going to be a tough act to follow. Plus he’s paying for everything so people are going to laugh just so they don’t feel bad about cleaning out the open bar. 

Good luck!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

You Say You Want A (Sexual) Revolution...


Normally when asked the age-old question, “What came first the chicken or the egg?” I give the obvious response, Who cares they’re both delicious! However, this possibly unanswerable question takes on a useful meaning when applied to the current sexual status of our country, if not the world. Seemingly, every day we are hearing about a new sex scandal involving cheating, pornography, or some weird fetish that hadn’t been invented any more than a year ago. What used to be reserved for damp basements or vivid imaginations is now commonplace in our society. So what came first, the chicken or the egg? Has society—with their boobs on TV and Rihanna’s songs about S&M-- turned us into a bunch of sexual miscreants or have we always been this way and technology and lowered societal standards have finally allowed us to unleash our inner perv?

In today's society, asking who came first is an invitation
for someone to make a bad sexual pun.
Look around you. That man sexting on his phone behind you in line at the bank isn’t chatting with his girlfriend. That guy speeding past you on the freeway is in a rush to get home so he can masturbate with strangers on Skype before his wife gets back from picking up the kids. That buff dude with the snap off pants and tank top walking down the street in Chatsworth is on his way to shoot his first porn scene. It will be available for free on the Internet in 427 different 30-second clips and he’ll get paid $50 and whatever he wants from Wendy’s. Enjoy!

All of these naughty proclivities have one thing in common: Technology. Texts and Twitter. Plastic vagina molds and Japanese Sex dolls. Webcam loving and hook up websites solely for married folks. What happened to good ol’ banging the milkman or the secretary? Most people accept the fact that marriage and one sexual partner can grow boring without working hard at keeping it fresh. But it seems now even typical sexual cheating has lost its excitement for most people. They’re bored of their wives. They're bored of their mistresses. And when that happens, like a date with a girl from Craigslist, you know things are gonna get weird. 
If you think she's attractive now, wait til you try her stir fry!
While the ways we have sex have changed—as well as the ways we get caught when the tryst is an inappropriate one—are we as humans truly different?  Of course there weren’t kinky cavemen trolling the Internet looking for any woman with a bottle of lube and a noose, but that doesn’t mean he only did missionary. So, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Have we led ourselves down this naughty path to Sodom and Gonorrhea or have all of these desires, impulses and tendencies always existed in the human experience? 

The first Kama Sutra book.
It’s a certainty that many of our neighbors, teachers, friends, coworkers, priests and significant others are partaking in sexual indiscretions, but to help analyze this situation, let’s focus on a few of the more high profile cases we all know about: Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Anthony Weiner. 

While Woods and Weiner were brought down by technology (text messages and twitter posts), Arnold’s fate was sealed with evidence of the more traditional and less permanent variety (a love child). While it’s easy to assume that these 3 powerful men simply abused their high positions in society to woo women, we must again apply the chicken or egg question. Did these slime balls already have these sexual urges and seek power in life in order to have a better chance at fulfilling them, or did they change into sexually obsessed men once they had achieved their status and realized the benefits that came with it?

To answer this question, let’s look at what they actually did. Arnold fucked the maid. Weiner didn’t really even cheat on his wife, he just sent pictures of his junk to women on the internet, and Tiger confused a golfer’s desire for a low number on the scorecard for a low rating on a hook up’s appearance. I mean, he was married to a Swedish model and he was banging waitresses from the Waffle House. Do these indiscretions seem like the type of goals only achievable by powerful politicians and athletes? I can send anyone a picture of my privates. Seriously. What’s your number? And I bet with the right amount of charm I could even score a Motel 6 maid or an IHOP waitress. Wow, imagine a life of endless sex, towels and pancakes. What more do you need?

IHOP... 4 implants and a dozen wings away from being Hooters.
Point is, these guys weren’t abusing their power to score with super models or celebrities. They were all married men looking to have sex with… for lack of better term… anyone other than their wives. They were bored. And that has been an issue married couples (and even single men and women) have been dealing with since the beginning of monogamy.

They say that behind every great man is a great woman. While that’s very often true, it’s just as common that on top of every great man is a mediocre looking whore. Think about it. Bill Clinton had Monica Lewinsky. Charlie Sheen decided on a couple of average looking porn stars. Hugh Grant cheated on Liz Hurley with a nasty hooker. It’s true, men need power to gain access to the elite things in life. Clubs. Restaurants. Beautiful women. But the ladies involved in these sexual scandals are in no way elite.

Because of this, I argue that before they gained an ounce of power in life, before they received one single vote, or shot one blockbuster film, or held their first championship trophy, these guys were all average to below average men who wanted nothing more than to feel socially accepted by women. And even once their raised status in life brought them beautiful, intelligent, loving wives, the chip on their penises that remained from years of feeling insignificant, unwanted, and powerless with women made them go out and keep trying to score. They are still that scared, insecure 15-year old that was rejected by their crush, only now they have the ability to get revenge.

Does this look like a man thinking clearly?
While I agree that these guys who cheat on their wives are the sleaziest of the sleazy, one must also take into consideration the state of mind a person must be in to follow through with their infidelity. Picture Anthony Weiner. Sitting down after a long day on the Hill. His wife won’t be home for a few hours. He’s got his favorite lotion. The candles are lit. He pulls out a crinkled Playboy from 1983 and realizes, Wait a second, there’s gotta be a better way! So he gets online and finds a treasure trove of porn. (Again, chicken or the egg: Is 99% of Internet traffic for porn because we are sex obsessed? Or are we sex obsessed because there is so much porn? As with any business model, I would argue that demand is what influences supply. If markets started carrying tons of broccoli, Americans wouldn’t start eating it more. But if every teenager went home and wanted to devour broccoli 3 times a night and once in the morning before school, grocers would stock the shelves.) 

While Weiner looks at all of this Internet porn he discovers new sites where he can interact with women. Where he can send them pictures of his bulging underwear or his creepy pectorals. Before he knows it, the chemicals in his brain are racing, his heart is pounding, his underwear are growing, and suddenly he has sent a college girl a picture of himself dressed in drag. Now I’m not defending this behavior, but as we all know, when a man is getting sexually riled up, he doesn’t make the best decisions.

I mean look at Arnold’s situation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a little Latin flavor in the bedroom to keep things spicy, but this woman looked like she had been using her own face to mop the floors. Not to mention she got pregnant. Though I’m sure Arnold’s sperm are buff and all, I have to assume this means that he didn’t wrap it before he slapped it. Does that sound like a man using logic and common sense or does it sound like a horny 15-year old about to lose his V-card to the hot cheerleader?

At least their kid won't be weird looking...
Again, this phenomenon has been with us forever.  It’s chemical. It’s as much a part of a man’s physical make up as adrenaline pumping through our veins in a dangerous situation. If anything, men in the past were probably worse at controlling their impulses than men of today. It’s just that men of today are caught more often because the technology that enables them also helps expose them.

While it’s clear that many perverts, scum bags and sexual deviants walk among us, one would be hard pressed to blame technology for what appears to be a revolution with how we have sex and how we cheat. Sure a laptop brings everything we want to our (finger)tips and makes access easier. But as they say in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.” And if a man wants to cheat, once the seed has been planted in his horny little mind, it’s going to grow, whether Twitter is there to water it or not. Men in power have been sneaking around on their wives forever, they just didn’t have a 24-hour news cycle to expose and shame them. There’s nothing we can do to avoid electing officials, rooting for athletes, or idolizing movie stars who are going to eventually cheat on their wives. All we can do is live up to our own personal standards, and if and when we are tempted to flirt, sext, or all out fuck a person who is not the one we are committed to, we need to decide what type of person we want to be. Because in the end we can’t blame technology or society or our heroes for the mistakes we make, we can only blame ourselves. We are the chicken and the egg.

Alright, time to masturbate!