MY BRAVE BATTLE

Welcome to My Brave Battle, the Beatific Blog of Comedian Jared Logan. Here you will find: New jokes / News about all the HOT shows I'm doing / Inside info on what Jared Logan is wearing this season / Shockingly explicit run-downs of my most recent sexual conquests / Recipes / The Funny Thought of the Day!

Sep 12

THE INFANTILIZATION OF SOCIETY pt. 1

Read this: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/magazine/the-death-of-adulthood-in-american-culture.html?_r=0

This essay is fantastic. It’s something that’s been going on around us for some time, but the critic A.O. Scott articulates it perfectly in his article.

I’m ambivalent about the eternal youth culture in this country. I can’t stop myself from feeling horrified when I see something like what I saw in target today…

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These are pajamas for grown men. They were in the men’s wear department. They came in men’s medium, large and extra large sizes. Will the men who purchase and wear these pajamas ever have sex? And if so, what type of women will they be having sex with? It feels perverse. Why would someone want to fully transform into a little kid again? I hated being a little kid. It sucked. Being a teenager again, I could maybe understand. But a toddler? There’s something about it that repulses me.

Or how about this guy who turned his entire apartment into an arcade, causing his fiancee to leave him?

Read this:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/alanwhite/a-guy-turned-his-bedroom-into-a-1980s-arcade-and-lost-his-fi#1lxxkgb

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Yes, that’s a ninja turtles bedspread that a grown man with a career in PR sleeps in.

Are we really okay with this? I’m not.

I want to judge adults who only read Y.A. novels; mothers who are way more obsessed with Disney movies than their children; forty-year-old men wearing Adventure Time T-shirts.

But I’m conflicted. I don’t want to cast aspersions on others for the pop culture they consume. For one thing, it makes me a hypocrite. I’m as guilty of indulging childhood pleasures as anyone. I still read comic books and play tabletop roleplaying games. When I get angry about adults living as children, I start to suspect that the shame I feel for them is really my own. Maybe I’m ashamed of the part of me that is still a child.

Or maybe I have a point? Maybe we lose something vital when we abandon adulthood. To me, adulthood is taking responsibility and confronting the horrors of the world head on. Surely we are in deep shit if we lose our ability to do those things? At the very least, our movies and books won’t be as good. Guardians of the Galaxy is great, but I’d hate to watch nothing but superhero movies for the rest of my life. More and more, I feel like my peers would be completely content to do just that.

I don’t know. I’m confused about it. I’m going to keep writing on this topic until I can take a solid stance or at least get some material out of it.

In the meantime, here’s a story. I think this story is about the first time I started to realize that this “Let’s Be Kids Forever” thing was truly a phenomenon.

A few years ago, I was doing a stand-up show at the New York Comic Con. As anyone knows, Comic Book Conventions are an enormous celebration of childlike reversion.

It was a difficult gig— lots of people walking around, chit-chatting, unaware a show was going on — so I tried talking to the audience. It was going okay, and then I saw a young guy, big and tall, about 22 or 23, who stood out so much that I couldn’t ignore him. He was wearing one of those knit hats I still see worn a lot today. It’s a hat that makes your head look like a teddy bear.

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I was immediately annoyed by this hat. To me, the only person that should be wearing this hat is someone like this:

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I asked this twenty-two year old guy if it was getting close to nap time. I don’t think my joke was particularly funny, but it wasn’t a particularly funny show. 

The guy didn’t understand my nap time remark so I spelled it out for him. Are you Benjamin Button? I asked him. Do you have that aging disease Robin Williams had in Jack? Because that’s the only reason a guy your age should be wearing that hat.

He stared at me.

"It’s a little kid hat" I said to him.

"No it’s not" he replied.

"It’s a teddy bear hat" I said to him.

He just stared.

"You’re not a teddy bear," I told him. There was a long pause.

"Yes I am" he said.

So he won the argument and the show went downhill from there.


Sep 10

EXCESSIVE DRINKING

I’m in Chicago. I lived here for five years, from 2003 until 2008, and when I say “lived here” I mean “I drank here.”

This is a drinking city. The gallons of booze that get swilled here every night boggle the mind and shrivel the liver. I get a hangover just thinking about it. Last night, a Tuesday, the comedy club was jam-packed and everyone was throwing back cocktails. Two bars later, some friends and I ended our evening at Estelle’s in Wicker Park. The bar was full of drinkers when we left. It was three in the morning. On a Tuesday.

I’m not bragging. I always feel like bragging about your drinking is a bonehead habit, especially if you’re over twenty-two years of age. There are young men who will use their drinking to make small talk with you. You ask them how they’re doing and they’ll go “Oh man. Tied one on last night. Probably had like six shots of Jameson.” 

Good God! Six shots of Jameson? Are you okay? Why are you so sad? Did your child die? What could drive you so directly and furiously into oblivion? 

People will tell you how much they drank like it’s an achievement. “I had twelve beers last night.” That’s socially acceptable. But you could never say it another way. You could never say “I had the caloric equivalent of two Thanksgiving dinners last night.” 

You have to be talking about booze. Nobody hangs out with the guy who’s always bragging “I probably drank like twelve glasses of milk last night.” 

I’m not proud of my drinking, which is still excessive, even though I’ve cut way back the last few years. I love drinking, but drinking does not love me. Alcohol hates me and seeks to destroy me. There are times I wished I was a full-blown alcoholic instead of just a lush. An alcoholic crashes a car or loses custody of his kids and has a revelation - I have to stop. During my time in Chicago, I just slowly ballooned up to three hundred pounds guzzling beer after beer. I usually never had more than three or four in a night, but I had three or four every night. The drinking lead to late nights and bad eating. I was tired and cranky every day. I probably wasn’t very nice. After you practice excessive drinking for a while, you need a drink just to be pleasant.

Anywhere excessive drinking is going on, people are fighting. A woman is crying into her cellphone outside a Wrigleyville bar every Saturday night. Grown men are inside shoving and threatening each other at the urinal. Is this a healthy letting off of steam or something much worse and more dangerous? I’m really asking. My favorite thing that happens is, in order to defuse a drunken fight, one of the parties will offer the other one “Let me buy you a drink.” Good idea. Let’s pour more alcohol on this problem.

Chicago. One list I found online, entitled “America’s 13 Drunkest Cities”, ranks the Windy City at number six. A different list, charted by The Daily Beast, has Chicago at number eight, based on data from the CDC. That’s the Center for Disease Control. I thought that Chicago would have ranked higher seeing as how it has the most after hour bars I’ve ever encountered outside of Vegas or New Orleans.

The cities on these lists are an odd mix of the best and worst places to live. You see really great cities like Chicago, Austin and Burlington, VT. But right in there with them are stinkers like Talahassee, Fargo, and Springfield, MA. Almost every city in Massachusetts west of Boston is an argument for prohibition. I guess people drink excessively where life is excessively bad or excessively good.

New York City, where I live, didn’t make any of these lists, which I’m glad of. Though it probably got pretty close. I know I see ads up in the Subways every so often entreating the populace to please cut back a bit. One famous ad that I saw more than a few comedians do a joke on said something to the effect of “Three drinks ago, you could have gotten yourself home.” The image was of a woman in going-out attire about to pass out on the subway stairs. There is an implication that she may be horribly raped or murdered. It is New York, after all.

But I think a better ad would be one that had a picture of her fifty pounds heavier, tired and hung over at work five years later. And it could say something like “3000 drinks ago, this woman wasn’t a loser.” 

New York, with its taxis and great public transportation, is actually an excellent place to drink. Based on where I’m at in my drinking career, I’m hoping it’s also a great place to stop.


Sep 8

PRE-CHECK YOUR PRIViLEGE

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If you travel a lot, you know that the TSA now offers a new “service” called Pre-Check. In much the same way an airline provides premium service to passengers who pay to be upgraded to First Class, the TSA now offers premium service to travelers moving through security.

What is this premium service? If you are “pre-checked” you don’t have to take your belt or your shoes off at the x-ray scanner. You don’t have to take your laptop out of its case. You can carry liquids onto the plane.

Pre-check almost makes you feel like all those precautions weren’t necessary in the first place! But, as we all know, these very effective security measures have been instrumental in saving human lives.

How do you get pre-checked? You show the TSA your passport and pay eighty-five dollars. Clearly, only a very select and elite clientele can become Pre-Check passengers. There won’t be any panhandlers or plebeians stinking up that Pre-Check line. Only on-the-go (probably white!) professionals who are happy to cough up the extra money. Think of how time-consuming it would be to demand better service from a government agency you pay taxes for. Screw that! Here’s four twenties and a five spot. Can I go to the front of the line?

And lest you criticize the TSA for playing favorites to travelers who have more cash, remember that in the United States our public agencies are for the people, by the people, and cannot be bought or sold. Why, you might as well suggest that the police provide better service in wealthy neighborhoods! Hahaha the very thought!

No, the service in the Pre-check line isn’t better.  It’s just faster, easier and friendlier. Different. The TSA might refer to it as “separate but equal” but they’ve been told not to.

So keep those shoes on. Keep that shampoo in your bag. But do get your wallet out! A person who knows how to make a shoe bomb couldn’t possibly have extra spending a cash! The skies are safer thanks to the TSA. And if you’re a pre-check passenger they’re more convenient too!


Shave Your Beard

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The guy in this ad has a shitty beard and he looks like an idiot.  He is a fashion victim. The beard craze claims another otherwise handsome man.

It’s time to shave your beards, guys. There’s nothing inherently wrong with beards. A couple years ago, when beards came back, it was good to have them around again. We had all forgotten how cool they were. 

But, as usual, when everybody jumps on board a bandwagon it tips over. There are too many guys with terrible, lazy beards and they’re making the rest of you look bad.

The problem is that the beard is a male accessory and men, myself not excluded, are generally lazy and dumb when it comes to their appearance. Men have an unfortunate knack for being reductive about fashion. They pick a single piece of flair and call it a look. You know that guy you see at the bar on a Saturday night desperately trying to pull off a fedora? Some of you grew a fedora on your face.

When beards came back they caught on like wildfire because they seem effortless. You don’t need money or special skills to grow a beard.  Just stop shaving and, in a week, Voila! You’re hip!

Wrong. Beards are more work. You have to keep it trimmed, give it shape. When you let it get all scraggly and wild, it takes over your entire visual. It’s like wearing one hot pink glove, or an eyepatch, or having a face tattoo. An out-of-control beard is like wearing a novelty t-shirt that reads”CHECK OUT MY BEARD!” 

It’s not that they’re ironic, it’s that they’re ubiquitous. I see way too many beards on way too many guys and when a lot of people all do the same thing there is no quality control. For every guy that has a beard that fits his face I see three guys that look like they’re wearing something out of an Acme Disguise Kit. 

Your beard should say to the world “I am an industrious fashion-forward hygiene enthusiast who wakes up a little early to care for my face!” Too many men have beards that say “I’ve been watching The Simpsons and eating peanut butter in a basement for nine hours.” Think about your beard and what it says about you. Objectively. If it doesn’t express your sincere interest in grooming it might be time to shave it off.

Sometimes it’s clear that the man is trying to obscure the fact that the man is short or has a baby face. This trick never works. It only highlights the perceived defect. Speaking of which, the fat guys with goatees need to shave too.  How come every guy in every bar in every town in middle America looks like this now:

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Did this guy get cloned a bazillion times? There are literally armies of this guy in every city between New York and LA. I’m going to start carrying over conversations from the last one I met to the one I’m currently chatting with. “Chad, how are you? How’d the job interview go?” 

"I’m not Chad."

"Hmm. You are, though."

I know what it’s like to have a chubby chin but growing a crummy goatee to hide it is not the answer. Goatees stopped being a hep jazz musician accessory when we all became huge porkers who eat at McDonald’s all the time. 

As a man, I resolve to figure out how to improve my appearance in some way other than the easiest possible method. Instead of just letting a beard grow, I’m going to exercise more and learn about clothes. Maybe spend a little more money on my bathroom products. We all need to try to think outside the beard. Shave away the whiskers of self deception and reveal the smooth fleshy truth beneath.


Sep 5

PEOPLE SKILLS

I am sometimes bad at meeting new people and making friends. This is a holdover from my childhood. When I was a kid in school, new people treated me like crap over and over for several years. I subsequently developed anxiety around new people. It’s taken me years to get to the point where I can look new acquaintances in the eye, smile at them and have a nice chat. Generally, I needed people to see me perform on stage, and do well, before I could truly interact with them comfortably. Pretty f***ed up, right?

But there is a class of people that is even more f***ed up: the socially gregarious. I’m talking about people who have what we call ‘people skills.’ Beware the person with people skills. That person is trying to kill you.

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Consider: Charles Manson was released from prison in 1967. He had no relatives or friends to help him out. He had no money. He moved to San Francisco and by 1969, two years later, he was the leader of a youth movement (cult) that counted over one hundred members, all of whom were fanatically loyal to Manson and many of whom regularly serviced him sexually. 

That’s a man with people skills.

Consider that in 1907 Adolf Hitler had been denied admission to art school, had run out of funds, and was living in homeless shelters and flophouses in Vienna. He was down on his luck without a friend in the world. Shortly after serving in World War I, he began making speeches at beer halls and before he knew it, he had friends numbering in the hundreds of thousands who were willing to kill for him. 

That’s what I call people skills.

If you’re good enough with people to make them want to serve you then you are a psychopath. I would not put every person with people skills in a category with Hitler. Charles Manson and Adolf Hitler are extreme cases. They had the best ‘people skills’ ever. There are lesser degrees of talent in this field, but even a moderately outgoing person can pose a threat to society and your person.

Some extroverts only have enough charisma to become a George W. Bush or a Kanye West. These people are still dangerous, as those two examples prove. Other examples of figures with people skills out to ruin civilization include: Kim Kardashian, Piers Morgan, Andy Cohen, Sharon Osbourne, John Mayer. I could go on. The point is that if someone is ambitious, socially mobile, and most importantly good at making friends, they are an enemy of integrity and honor.

You probably know someone with so-called ‘people skills’ in your own life. You have a co-worker that doesn’t really know how to do his job, but gets the promotion because he’s chummy with the boss; a mom that rules over the PTA conference like a demigod, despite being a terrible parent. In every social strata, in every walk of life, these purveyors of injustice hawk their relics and indulgences to an unsuspecting populace. It is time to rise up against these monsters. Next time they glad hand you and ask you for a favor, do what I do. Look at the floor and murmur “mmmyeahno I just donwanna sorry?” and then leave the area.

Be proud of your lack of social skills. Being introverted makes you the opposite of Hitler.

Always remember: talkative = manipulative. Distrust everyone with ambition. Remember that the garrulous are guilty until proven innocent. Do not kowtow to overtures of friendship.

Avoid parties, mumble, and most importantly never look anyone in the eye. These are the marks of the virtuous individual. The honorable man knows that talk is cheap and is suspicious of anyone who has anything to smile about.


Aug 18

I’m calling bullshit on the Sprint “Framily” commercials.

Watch the video above. That’s the spot that launches the campaign which has been going on for months now. It’s completely indecipherable and dull while also trying too hard.

It is discouraging to the soul to see advertising executives completely give up on being funny and decide to settle on nonsensical and twee.  At some point, Style murdered Substance. Then Style had sex with Substance’s dead body. These commercials are the cursed offspring of that corpse rape.

I want to find out who thought of the word “Framily” and I want them to be punished. When I heard about how people are caned in Singapore for breaking the law, I thought no criminal deserved that kind of cruel physical abuse. But this fits the bill.  I want the person who thought of “Framily” to be caned by a Singapore corrections officer.

And I want to round up all the writers who wrote this ad, too, because how the fuck dare they? The dialogue of this ad is basically summed up as “Don’t ask us to explain Framily.” I will ask you to explain it and then I will ask you to apologize for it and then I will see that you are properly caned.

I get the high concept. You can bring a bunch of different people, people you wouldn’t normally think of as ‘family’, together under a framily plan. So in your ad, the family is a framily of animals and magical french girls and hipsters and Judy Greer and black people. It actually makes more sense when I write it down here than when I watch your ad. This is a case where seeing is not believing. Telling the idea is better than showing it. 

The insipidity of how this concept is carried out is tragic. Somehow all the quirk of the idea makes its way into the final product, but devoid of the humor and clarity that would give it life. It’s like if my principle from middle school tried to write an Adult Swim show. Mr. Feti was his name and he had a glass eye and sometimes he paddled kids. He was utterly incapable of humor.  It’s like someone showed The Mighty Boosh to Mr. Feti and then told him “Okay now you go make that.”

I can only imagine some horribly out-of-touch executive who had a lot in common with Mr. Feti signed off on this because he didn’t understand it. “It’s like that movie my grandson likes” he said to himself “the one with whatsisname. Stiller. A Night of the Museum.”

Please kill this campaign. Right now I keep seeing a new spot that draws attention to the fact that the hamster and Judy Greer are supposed to be married. Sprint, your ad campaign makes me think about a hamster fucking a human woman. Is that what you intended? Why?? Why tho???

A better commercial would be “Sprint: We’re #3 for a Reason!”  

Shame on everyone involved. Even Judy Greer who is quite beautiful and funny and talented. (Hi Judy! We don’t know each other but I’m a fan!) Everyone dropped the ball here. Society dropped the ball. High concept has become no concept.  And all are punishéd!


Aug 4

"WE TORTURED SOME FOLKS."

"President Obama!  Mr. President! Can you lend any credence to the rumor that some fellaswere abused?"

"Mr. President! Is it true that some dudes were oppressed?

"Mr. President!  Were a couple ‘o gals tortured at any point?"

"Will a list of the peeps involved with the torture be released?"

"President Obama, what’s your plan for reforming that whole gang over at the CIA? Is there going to be more accountability for all those guys in the wake of this senate report?"

"Mr. President, could you minimize this some more? Talk about all the mitigating factors some more at length? Could you explain how hard-working the torturers were?  How patriotic were they? We’d like to hear more about those chaps.  And any blokes who were working with them."


Jul 31

Can’t Escape the Flo

I’m reading this article about Richard Dawkins’ recent twitter gaff and all the sudden there’s Progressive Insurance’s Flo staring back at me.

If this were thirty years ago, and I was reading this article in a magazine, do you think Flo’s stupid face would be grinning at me while I’m reading the following text?

No! Because there would be an editor whose job it was to look at the ads and go “Hey, Progressive! Maybe you don’t want Flo’s happy face hanging out with 1000+ words about rape?” And someone at Progressive would go “Oh jesus! Of course not! Please put our ad beside a different article in your magazine.”

But magazines are dead and we don’t need editors anymore. Instead we have the internet. And internet no understand human emotion! Internet put picture of inane smiling woman beside article about rape and pedophilia. Did internet do wrong? Internet sorry! What is human sadness? What is human love?

And Flo is ubiquitous. Flo is inescapable. Flo is in our water supply now. 

Let’s also talk about Flo for a minute. Enough with Flo. Get a new ad campaign, Progressive. We are done with Flo because you’ve shoved her down our throats every four minutes for what feels like ten years. 

(Just checked and it’s only been six years, but god it feels like at least a decade.)

Face it, Progressive. It was never a good idea for an ad campaign to begin with. Let me see if I understand… Your idea for your campaign was “a funny woman works in a featureless white space where they sell insurance.” Brilliant. So simple it’s almost not even an idea at all.

But, and forgive me for being presumptuous, maybe that’s not quite enough of a premise to support SIX YEARS worth of ads that you play endlessly around the clock? 

What is your advertising budget? Infinity? Infinity dollars? I see these commercials in my sleep.

The woman who plays Flo, Stephanie Courtney, must be very rich by now. I’m sure she’s tired of playing the “character” and I use that term in the loosest sense of the word. I hope her money keeps her warm in a world that hates her. 

How many people will call her Flo in public before she finally has that breakdown where she just screams at everyone in the grocery store “MY NAME IS STEPHANIE! STEPHANIEEEEEEE!”

Her life is going to be hard enough, Progressive. Let her have her freedom.

And let us have our freedom from your repetitive and grating commercials. It’s time to re-brand as a company that looks to annoy me way less over the next six years. Maybe even change your name, do a complete redesign, because it will be a cold day in hell —which I imagine is a place just like the windowless white room where Flo works in the commercials — before I ever give money to Progressive Insurance.

In conclusion:

1) Please stop making these commercials

2) Please fire Stephanie Courtney aka Flo

3) Please quit interrupting my rape articles

STOP THE FLO.

Thank you.


Jul 29

I Watched a Movie: Touch of Evil

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Starring Orson Welles, Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh with a cameo role by Marlene Dietrich.

Touch of Evil is a classic film noir directed by Orson Welles.  The very first shot is a close-up of a time bomb being armed and tossed in the trunk of a car, then the camera follows the car as it slowly idles through the streets of a Mexican border town, weaving between hundreds of pedestrians who are out for a night of drinking. Watching it you’re thinking “Run! There’s a bomb!” but you’re the only one who knows.  As the car crosses the border into America, it explodes, killing its passengers, and sets up the mystery that puts the characters into play.  Hell of a way to start a film, and a great example of the cinematic genius Welles is known for.

Charlton Heston, playing a Mexican-born narcotics detective without the barest hint of an accent, gets involved in the investigation because he’s on the scene when the car blows up. He quickly starts butting heads with the enormous presence of Detective Harry Quinlan, played by Welles himself. The plot concerns planted evidence, corruption, alcoholism and murder. All classic noir themes and all embodied by Welles’ character, who is really the star of the show even though he might not technically be the protagonist.

Welles is huge in this movie. I mean physically. Seriously, how did he get so big? He is gigantic and whale-like, and I say that as someone who is sensitive to the plight of the extra girthy.  But the weight works for his character and nobody plays old movie drunk better than Welles. He puts in an excellent performance as a boozey monster cop who railroads suspects and will do anything to protect his deteriorating reputation.

Welles’ is the meatiest role. Heston and Janet Leigh don’t have a lot to do in this movie.  Heston repeats the same beat of “I’m going to prove you’re corrupt!” with straight arrow candor about twenty-nine times. His acting here is competent and dull. I’ve never been a fan. Janet Leigh struggles to endow her character with a real personality and succeeds despite the fact that she’s written as a flat maiden-in-distress. She’s much more fierce and formidable than Heston in all of her scenes.

The plot technically makes sense but gets weird in spots. The movie has Heston doing really active things like looking up information in the hall of records. He keeps putting off contacting his wife, whom we all know is in horrible trouble. Leigh’s subplot has her trapped in a hotel room harassed by 1950s Mexican street youths who kidnap her, inject her with drugs and plant (gasp!) reefer on her person. She’s unconscious for most of the second half.  Meanwhile Welles is lying to people and framing people and murdering people and doing all kinds of interesting things. If you’re going to direct a film, go ahead and give yourself the best part.

The real power of the film is in how it completely captures the noir ethos. The bad guys are bad and the cops are worse.  Everyone is trapped in a dirty dangerous place with no way out. By the end of the film, one of the characters is floating face down in the muck with a bullet in his chest. The twist that solves the mystery of the planted bomb is almost a shaggy dog joke. But that doesn’t matter. The movie was never about the mystery.

According to Hollywood legend, Welles told his producer to give him the worst script in the pile and he’d make it into a great movie. It’s an inspiring attempt, with some great sequences like the opener and the climax where Heston tails Welles and his partner through an oil field. But despite all of Welles’ craft, this movie is a B picture. It’s grimy and cheap. No amount of talent could class this picture up, and maybe that’s for the best.

The studio distributed the film as a B movie, the second half of a double feature with another film called The Female Animal. Put that one on your list. The cut of Touch of Evil I own (on DVD! I’m sticking with it!) is a restored version based on Welles’ notes. It had to be restored because after Welles finished his final edit, the studio re-cut the whole thing and released it in a shortened version, with footage shot by another director plugged in. Welles’ original cut is lost and he died before this restored cut was created in 1998. Apparently the studio version puts credits and music over the nail-biting opening scene, which is just objectively a stupid idea. Why do studios do these things? I guess someone in an office had to justify their job by screwing with another man’s masterpiece. It’s just a little surprising that they would jerk the chain of Orson Welles. I mean this was the man who made Citizen Kane! But I guess Kane wasn’t lauded as the greatest film of all time until a couple decades later. By that time Welles was old and fat, drunk and bitter like Detective Harry Quinlan. Life sadly imitates art. If our lives are movies, we all hope we don’t end up living in a film noir.


Jul 28

WHAT IS LOVE? (BABY DON’T HURT ME)

What is the nature of love? Some comedians think it’s something you believe in, like aliens or Jesus, because I hear them say they don’t believe in it.

In songs, it’s usually something you lose, but none of the singers seem exactly sure of what it is. The narrator of the song by Roxette only realizes that what she experienced “must have been love” once it’s over [now]. Lou Gramm of Foreigner pleads “I want to know what love is” but then admits that he needs you to show him. 

Bob Marley seems the most confused. “I want to love you” he sings, “And treat you right / I wanna love you every day and every night”.  He goes on “We’ll be together with a roof right over our heads / We’ll share the shelter of my single bed” but then after all that he asks in the chorus “Is this love? Is this love? Is this love? Is this love? That I’m feeling?” Geez Bob, if you don’t know at that point then who does?

The Beatles said it was “all you need” which probably seems true until it’s all you have.  

Millions of hours of music on the subject and nobody can get specific. And specifics are required, desperately. Millions of people are looking for love. How are they going to find love if they don’t know exactly what it is?

I’ve been with my girlfriend for four years and I recently asked her to marry me. I think a man in that position should have a solid answer to the question “What is love?” So what is it?

First, it’s not sex and that’s where a lot of guys get confused. It’s cliché at this point to say that guys confuse sex with love, but they keep doing it, stupidly, so it constantly needs bringing up. The fact is that all the thrills of foreplay, fellatio, intercourse and ejaculation are secondary to the outrageous high of realizing someone wants to have sex with you. That’s what men are really hunting when they go out looking for bodies to bang. Those men just want to be liked. The thrill of physical stimulation never gets better than the thrill of acceptance, the thrill of knowing that you are interesting to someone else.

Sex can be good or it can be bad.  With me it is often quick. But the first kiss with another human being is always an over-the-moon mind-blowing experience. If you do not share this feeling, then you are having a mental health issue. Seek a therapist or a support group or a facility to check yourself into. A first kiss, even if you’re a quadruple divorcée and a former porn star, should always make you see stars. I am sorry that this is corny but it’s corny because it’s universally recognized to be true and it is so life-affirming that nobody will shut up about it.  The first kiss is that moment when you realize “this person wants me.”

So If you try to convince me that you really just want sex, I don’t believe you. I believe you are embarrassed at your human need to be wanted. And I sympathize, but I think we all need to get over it. Getting the most out of life means exposing your vulnerabilities over and over. For example, I’m not a great writer but I’m posting this blog. My point is that if an orgasm is really all you want, then go masturbate by yourself in a dark room.

And that’s not to say that everyone should be looking for a spouse and trying to start a family. Those are fine goals but they’re not for everyone. And they are also not love. Love is not a wedding and love is not a family. There are plenty of weddings and families where no love is present. Sometimes it feels like weddings and families are boxes people are checking off on a scorecard that doesn’t exist.

I believe that the greatest pick-up artists in the world truly fall in love, briefly, with the person they’re going to have sex with that night. They become fascinated with their query and accept that person, totally and sincerely. That’s why they are the best pick-up artists in the world. And I believe the best marriages are built on decades of tawdry one-night-stands with your spouse. It’s that total acceptance that lets you be a filthy, dirty degenerate in the bedroom.

So love is total acceptance. Which is sort of a boring answer after I’d built it up like my take on it was going to be really clever and original. Sorry about that.

Total acceptance is something that requires a lot of work, because even when you accept a person, initially, you’re going to find things about that person later, after you’ve dated for a while, that are hard to accept. You’re going to find out that this person occasionally binge-eats White Castles when he’s feeling sad, and doing this makes foul garbage farts blast out of his butt all night, or that he has a foot fungus that he’s been struggling with for years. These are just fictional examples I made up out of my head.  

Everyone has these horror-show secrets and getting to know someone means meeting all of the skeletons in their closet. Think about the secret things you know about your platonic friends. Some of them are terrifying, right? You probably just felt a chill run down your spine.  But you’re able to accept those people anyway. And they don’t even reciprocate with HJs and BJs! That’s good.

So I’m not really sure how to help single people on Tinder and E-Harmony except to say that when you are out there dating you need to be honest about the fact that you’re looking for acceptance. And you need to make an honest effort at accepting other people. It takes enormous, colossal reservoirs of empathy to accept other people. We all need to develop those reserves. People talk about making sure not to settle, but they need to talk more about learning to surrender.

(Who settles? Nobody settles now. Settling was more of a 1953 problem.)

 This is my answer to the question what is love:

Love is when she comes over to your apartment to help you manage your finances, which she shouldn’t have to do because you are a grown man. And she is helping you do your budget and she asks you how much do you spend per month on your gym membership. And you say “thirty dollars a month”.  And she says “Thirty dollars a month?? Wow, that’s a cheap gym.” and then you burst out sobbing “There’s no gym! I lied! I lied about going to the gym!” and you cry and cry.

And she still has sex with you later.

That’s love. 


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