Monday, November 27, 2006

Do I Look Fat in This?

I've gotten a few emails from people saying I should put stuff up here about dating, given the book, maybe even clips from the book itself. I'm not going to do that because there is an excerpted chapter, as well as clips from the book, on the book's website, and because the stories are in the book. It's like when I did radio to plug comedy shows for the clubs. If you do your act on radio, people have already heard it when they show up to the club. I feel bad that people pay to hear something they've already heard, so I did other, still funny things, on the radio.

Instead, I will post articles I'm writing for dating websites or magazines that tie into the book. These articles are similar to the "Quickies" in the book--one to two pages of dating advice for men or women in between chapters. This first one is for the guys, although women will find it interesting. I'll post one for the women later in the week. Thanks everyone for your suggestions and I hope this works for ya.

“Do I look fat in this?”
“Which should I wear, the red blouse or the white one?”
“Do you think she’s prettier than me?”

Aaargh! It’s enough to make a guy pull his hair out. We’ve all been asked them, we’ve all fallen victim to them, and we all have to deal with them. What are they? The absolutely ridiculous questions girlfriends or wives ask.

We’re not going to answer whether a woman looks fat in something, we don’t know what a blouse is, and no one is prettier than our beloved. So why do they ask these questions? It’s not the answer they’re after; they’re after the WAY we answer. Why did you hesitate when she asked if she looked fat? Why did you have to look at the woman before answering she wasn’t prettier? It’s a ridiculous, annoying game, which we can never seem to win . . . or can we?

I have never had to deal with the stupid questions women ask while dating more than once for each woman I’ve dated. What? How is that possible? What’s my tactic? I simply threaten to withhold sex for a month any time they ask a stupid question . . . woo, THAT was funny! I beat the question with complete absurdity. I give her nowhere to go, no reason to get angry. The only thing she can do is stop playing the game. How do I use absurdity? Here are my answers to the above questions:

“Do I look fat in this?”
“I’m sorry, did you say something? I wasn’t paying attention. I was too focused on holding onto this chair to avoid being sucked into your gravitational pull.”

“Which should I wear, the red blouse or the white one?”
“Wear the white one, I was planning to wear the red.”

“Do you think she’s prettier than me?”
“I would sell you into white slavery if she would just talk to me.”

See? There’s nowhere for her to go. I’ve left her no room. My comments are so outlandish all she can do is laugh. And, more importantly, never play the question game with me again.

So the next time you get asked some dumbass question by your girlfriend or wife, intended to find fault with you no matter how you answer or what you say, crush it with an outlandish response. Of course, I should tell you that I think my current girlfriend is slowly poisoning me with a pinch of antifreeze in all of my drinks because of my outlandish answer, but hey, I’m sure all you guys would agree that is far preferable to playing the question game.

All tongue in cheek aside, if your significant other asks these questions, there is a good chance she feels you are taking her for granted. She may ask which blouse you think she should wear because she is hoping you'll notice she bought a new blouse to look good for you, and so forth. Pay closer attention and offer more sincere compliments, about things she thinks you don't notice.

Ladies, two key things to remember about men: First, we spend a great deal of our time trying to figure out how to get you out of your clothes, which leaves us very little focus for noticing the clothes themselves, which is why we suck on clothes questions. The tighter, skimpier, sexier the clothes, the more we want to take them off, often making them even less memorable. So while an expensive tight shirt is very memorable to you, it may not be to us, because all we can think when we see you in it is "Wow!" and nothing else--a compliment to the shirt and you, just not the one for which you were looking. Second, we are with you because we think you are the prettiest woman with the best taste. When we take you for granted, you're better off giving us a swift kick in the ass with a direct approach, as opposed to expecting us to figure out the real meaning behind your questions. Notice how men tend to communicate with each other? Very directly with jocular name calling. So next time you're about to ask a question, try something like, "Hey, Mr. I-didn't-notice-my-girlfriend-got-a-new blouse for this party, do you think I should wear it or this old one? Or do you even care?" You're far more likely to hear, "Is that a new blouse? I'm sorry I didn't notice, it looks great." And, more importantly, he'll get your drift.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

T-Day: Family, Turkey... and a New Sweater?

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving; I am only now just able to re-button my pants after my mom's excellent meal. By the way, yesterday was Black Friday. Michael Richards completely misunderstood the meaning. He went out of the country, took some needed time for R&R, and went to a slave sale. Hey, hey, HEY! He's not racist; he only browsed, he didn't buy. Racists buy. Grr, I'm still so mad at that guy! Then he further adds insult by saying he's not racist. Okay... yeah, right. I feel bad for the guy who had to follow him, that had to suck! No one's stopped to think about that guy. The other comics probably made some first-timer go up.

"No, no, go ahead. The crowd's great."
"Yeah, man. 'Worked into a frenzy' and 'the crowd's angry like a lynch mob' are good terms in comedy."

Poor guy. Anyway, as I alluded to, I headed to my mom's for T-Day. She lives in Rockford, OH, in a house with her boyfriend (they've been dating for nearly twenty years, far longer than either of them was married). For those who don't know, I live in Chicago. Rockford is quite a change. It's a small town in the middle of nowhere. The closest "city" is Ft. Wayne, IN, which is an hour away and hardly a city. So I had to drive it, which I prefer and I must admit, although I wouldn't want to live in Rockford, it is a nice change of pace from the city. It's quiet and there seems to be far more time to get things done.

I was the only one who made it to my mom's this T-Day. My younger sister has her own family of two kids in Florida and my older sister was stuck in a suburb of Chicago with her three kids, making Ohio even more peaceful than past holidays. I do love having the nieces and nephews around, and they adore me because I play with them constantly, but it is nice to just sit around and do nothing. I was wary of not having my two sisters around, though. And with good reason...

While all three of us enjoy going home to be waited on hand and foot by my mom, there is always something that we know she is going to do to make one of us feel like a little embarrassed kid again. Being the only one there, I was her only option to embarrass and this year she was in rare form. (Mothers have a gift for making their children, no matter how old, how big, or what their vocation, feel like the eyes of the world are watching and laughing at them. Mine excels at it; the mom in Everybody Loves Raymond studied under her.)

On my way into town, I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up my mom a birthday card (she turned 65 on T-Day). While I was there, I met a cute employee with pretty eyes (I'm a big sucker for eyes; they're my one weakness when it comes to women). We got to talking and she gave me her number. I figured we'd get together on Saturday night. It helped a lot that I was from the big city, which tends to intrigue lots of small town women, especially ones like Teresa, who had never been to a city.

I got to my mom's and gave her the card. She thought it was so funny, she insisted we go back to Wal-Mart immediately and buy several more. At Wal-Mart, she coaxed me to the back of the store, where she promptly had me remove my shirt and took my measurements with a tape measure. She had decided to knit me a sweater for Christmas. How nice. We couldn't do the measuring at home for some reason, no it had to be in the store (I think she wanted to buy yarn while she was there). People walked by and pointed while I stood there, being measured by my mommy for a sweater I'll probably never wear. I felt exactly like I was five again. Good times. Oh well, I guess I should be glad. When I was a kid, she would have measured me in the front of the store, where no patrons would miss it. She's getting a little better at being more thoughtful... It was almost over when who should walk by? Yup, Teresa, of course. She stood there and stared at me, frowning, before walking away.

I knew I was screwed but I found Teresa anyway (which is no easy feat. Ever been in a Wal-Mart? I just thank God it wasn't a Super Wal-Mart... you could park a 747 in one of those places and not find it). She gave me a phony smile and I told her I'd call her about Saturday. Much to my surprise, she replied, "You know, I just remembered I have plans for Saturday. I'm sorry." I went from being studly big city guy to lowly mommy's-measuring-me boy. She probably even thought I was bs'ing about being from Chicago after seeing my mom measuring me.

"I understand. Take it easy." I found my mommy and we headed home.

That night over the turkey at dinner, the topic of my book came up. My mom's boyfriend, Rudy, had started reading the copy I gave him earlier that day. (Incidentally, although he wouldn't tell me this, my mom informed me that he liked it a lot. He said there was a lot of good advice in there that would have helped him out back when he was green and that the stories were funny and engaging. This is great news for two reasons. First, it tells me that my notion that the games men and women play when it comes to dating and sex, as well as their thinking, have not changed much over the last several decades, is accurate--Rudy's 78--and second, the book appeals to a broad audience, since Rudy is well out of the 18-45 year-old target demographic.) Any rate, Rudy commented, "You didn't date much in high school or when you visited home from college. I remember that. Also, you've only ever brought one of your girlfriends by."

My mom jumped in, "Yeah, why is that?"

I simply looked at her, smiled, and shrugged, "I don't know. Think you'll have that sweater done for me in time for Christmas?" I took a sip from my plastic mug--mom's afraid people will break her glass ones...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Don't Break Up at a Comedy Club

That's good advice for both comedians and audience members... here's the story.

(I hadn't intended to make another entry so soon, I'm leaning toward one entry a week, to give people time to read each entry, but Michael Richards changed that this week.)

Michael Richards lost it onstage. Everyone knows, it's all over the news. Did he stop to think before he spoke? Ah, no. There's no excuse for it and I won't even comment on his statements; there's no need to. They were horrible and he obviously has some strong feelings and/or experiences, despite whatever he says in any apology. Hopefully, he can work through them.

Everyone is talking about the racial issue, which is obviously warranted and understandable. But I wanted to stop and think about another issue, which applies to every comedian, anyone who visits a comedy show, and anyone who watches one at home. Comedians MUST be funny at all times. Michael insulted comedians everywhere by forgetting this. When we work clubs, what are we really doing? Pushing drinks through laughter. That's it. It doesn't matter who you are, that's what you are doing. (If you're playing a theater, that's a different story. But he wasn't.)

No matter what happens during your day, week, month, or the show, a comedian must be funny. That's the gig! That's what we signed on for. My grandma died when I was on the road. I still had to do my shows, still be funny. I had horrible days, I still had to do shows, still be funny. If you don't handle hecklers well, ask the club to throw them out. I worked with Kevin Meaney one night and that's what he did. Someone heckled him, wouldn't shutup, Kevin said, "I don't do hecklers. You have to leave." The guy whined about paying his $20, Kevin pulled $20 out, passed it down to the guy, and told him, "Now get out." Kevin then held up a wad of cash and said, "I have plenty more where that came from for anyone else who wants to leave," at which point I walked up to the stage and yelled, "You suck!" I then held out my hand. The crowd went nuts, Kevin laughed, I went back my seat, and he went on to have a great set.

Okay, okay, the story. One night I was doing a gig in Michigan in front of a packed house of 200 people. A couple sitting upfront decided a comedy club was just the place to try and save their relationship. During the first two acts, they argued and ruined the show for everyone. The club had never experienced something like this and they were too nervous to remove the couple because of the visibility, the couple being right in front of the stage. The first two comics were too green to deal with it.

Time for me to go up. No sooner had I hit the stage when the guy yelled at the girl. I had to shut them up but still be funny, even though they had long passed pissing me off. I looked at them, "Hey, I don't want you two to worry. We've called Jerry Springer and he's on his way. He'll patch this up in no time." The crowd laughed racously.

The guy actually said to me very loudly, "Excuse me, we're trying to have a conversation here."

I laughed, then told her to break up with him. "If he's so stupid to try to fix this at a comedy show, dump him. He has no brains at all. In fact, I'm done here in thirty minutes, you'll be free by then, want to show me around town?"

The crowd went nuts. I ribbed them for another few minutes before they finally got up and left, to the ovation of the crowd.

See? Not that hard. Hecklers happen. Deal with it. By the way, there's a really good example of dealing with hecklers and loud audience members on my site under "comedy clips." Check it out by clicking below if you want. It takes a while to load because it is 20 minutes long but it is good. Scroll to the bottom to find it, it's the last clip on the page.

Also, please read "Blame the Homeless" if you haven't. I don't want that overshawdowed by this. It is good and something we should all think about. There is an underlying message in it about improving ourselves and the environment around us.

Happy T-Day.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Blame the Homeless

Welcome to my first blog entry, glad you stopped by. Enough chit-chat; let's get started (don't use that as a pick-up line. It doesn't work... trust me.)

Last Friday afternoon I was walking through a park in a ritzy area of Chicago. I passed a bunch of teachers and small kids who were on a field trip in the park. I waited while two teachers leading a group of kids, like a couple cattlemen driving a herd to the ranch, crossed the path in front of me. As they passed me, one teacher noticed two empty bottles of Ty NanT on the ground. She turned to the other teacher and instantly remarked, “Tsk. I tell you, those homeless people, leaving their trash everywhere.”

The other one chimed in agreement, “Oh, I know; they just leave their trash everywhere. It’s disgusting.”

Ty NanT, for those that don’t know, is carbonated bottled spring water from Wales that costs $3.69 for one meager bottle . . . before tax. And I, too, hate it when the homeless leave empty bottles of it scattered around the park in a rich neighborhood, like it’s their own personal dumpsite. Many homeless people drink Ty NanT, while eccentric wealthy people don’t. The homeless often think Thank God I’ve finally raised eight dollars. It took me a week of begging and pleading to get this money, and now I finally have it. I’m not going to buy a six-pack or a cheap bottle of scotch or wine with it, no, that would be stupid. Finally, FINALLY, I can buy some Ty NanT! That’s what I really want and need, because even though I can stand digging thru the trash each night looking for scraps of food people didn’t finish, and I can stand sleeping on a piece of cardboard stained with piss by its last user, and I can stand fighting pigeons and squirrels for the empty shells of nuts, and I can stand pushing everything I own around in a shopping cart, and I can stand sleeping in two degree weather wrapped only in a single blanket feasted upon by moths, and I can stand pooping in the open and wiping my butt with week old newspapers, I will be damned, BE DAMNED, if I’m going to drink tap water! No way I’m drinking tap water! Yuck! That’s disgusting and degrading. Nope, it’s Ty NanT for me all the way. The fuck with the four drinking fountains in the park, I want TY NANT!

A lot of people probably think the homeless WOULD buy booze to gulp down in order to help them forget that their eyes water all day from smelling their own ripe stench. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. No, the homeless prefer expensive bottled water. It’s cleansing and wakes the mind, which in turn enables them to take careful stock of their lives. And that’s what vagrants truly want--to take stock of their lives.

On two other occasions I've overheard people complain about the garbage homeless leave in the park, once after seeing Atkins Bars’ wrappers on the ground, and, my favorite, the other time after a PRADA bag blew by. (Not many people realize that the homeless buy all their clothes at PRADA. Occasionally, they do shop elsewhere, but the homeless refuse to set foot in any store that is not spelled out in all capital letters on the store sign.)

So the next time you are in a park and see a PRADA bag or expensive bottled water or Atkins bars’ wrappers, blame the homeless (we all know that they are responsible for all litter). Better yet, find one and kick him in the balls, then, as he’s lying helpless on his back, force tap water down his throat. That will teach them polluting homeless! Fucking no good vagrants. They make me so mad!