Why is the male birth control pill so hard to understand?

Posted at 3:22 PM Feb 10, 2010

By Andrea Grimes

Seems every time the issue of pharma releasing a male birth control pill comes up, the first thing that pops on everyone's lips, regardless of gender, is a joke or quip about how men can't be trusted to take the things, so why would we even make them?

Some lady over at BlogHer thinks that since men cancel dates, they can't take a pill. What?

Do I really want to trust a man to be reliable enough to take a pill on a daily basis? I mean seriously, some men can't even commit to canceling a date, returning phone calls, etc., etc. So I'm supposed to think there are men out there responsible enough to take a pill?


I don't think I'd take those chances.

I cancel dates. I forget to clean out my fridge. Once I found my keys in the bathtub. I will ignore certain e-mails for days.

But you know what? I can manage the monumental task of popping a pill every dinnertime so that I don't have a baby if I don't want to. Look, I know men are portrayed as bumbling buffoons in cleaning product commercials and on sitcoms, but most of the ones I know manage to get out of bed every day and lead mostly normal lives. I'm betting they can take a pill.

This dismissive attitude isn't just bad for men. It's bad for women. And it's not feminist.

Read more Why is the male... >>

Does your bar reflect your dating life?

Posted at 12:20 PM Jan 26, 2010

By Andrea Grimes

Tim Rogers, http://frontburner.dmagazine.com
A favorite Dallas dive, The Goat
The sticky, sour smell of spil't beer. A jukebox stocked with Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison and Van Morrison. Buzzing neon lights. High Life on draft for $2. The dire need for a hovercraft in order to make bathroom visits tolerable. I love a dive bar.

I don't mean a "dive" bar. I'm not talking about a cool, hip bar that looks and feels a lot like a dive bar. I mean a place where, at 26, I'm going to be the youngest person there (either in actual age or life experience) by a decade. Dives are where I feel comfortable, and where I love taking my friends for long talks and laughs.They are, truth be told, where I would spend much of my time if I had the option.

I'm also a single lady who loves to date and hang out with cute boys, and maybe have one over for a whiskey or six every once in a while. However, few of the men I've liked or dated have preferred to hang out in my kind of bar.

In fact, there's a fair discrepancy in the kinds of places and things I enjoy and the kinds of people I interact with in those places and doing those things, and the guys I end up crushing on. Is this why I'm single?

Read more Does your bar reflect... >>

We're just wondering: Is it okay to tell a dude he smells?

Posted at 4:05 PM Jan 20, 2010

By Andrea Grimes

When I'm not informing you fine dolls of ladynews, drinking myself into a whiskey-fuel'd stupor or writing my master's thesis, I am a teaching assistant here at the University of Texas at Austin. Which means that every semester, I am put in charge of 60 or so students and told to tell them things that are true.

There is one thing, however, that is true that needs telling that is, perhaps, tacky: undergraduate dudes wear way too much cologne. Jersey Shore levels of cologne. But instead of wearing said smells out to the seaside or a club, they're here in Austin on packed buses, in crowded lecture halls and tiny classrooms.

Thus, my question to the internets is this: is it rude, inappropriate or creepy of me to tell a young guy when he smells like Calvin Klein jizz-bombed CK all over his Longhorns hoodie before handing him over to Tommy Hilfiger, who proceeded to give him a prolonged and vigorous swirly in a toilet filled with Tommy For Men? You know, in so many words.

Read more We're just wondering:... >>

Why is the Ghost of Christmas Past a woman?

Posted at 10:28 AM Dec 24, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

The original 1843 illustration seems distinctly male, does it not?
Every year, my family settles in to watch the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol six or seven times over the course of a few days as a way to occupy ourselves when we are not cooking or eating. In fact, 2 years ago, we even replaced our VHS copy (taped off television in the 80's, with limited commercials from IBM, the company that brings computing into the home!) with actual DVD copies of the film. We are high-tech.

Which means I haven't seen many other film adaptations of the story, but when I do come across one, I notice that the ghosts themselves tend to be consistent with the original Charles Dickens--except for the Ghost of Christmas Past. (Originally, the Ghost of Christmas Past is androgynous, the Ghost of Christmas Present is a jolly male giant, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is a generally scary fucker.)

So really, the Ghost of Christmas Past is the only gender-spook up for interpretation.

Read more Why is the Ghost... >>

Hot guys, baby animals, objectification?

Posted at 12:01 PM Dec 18, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

What gets ladies off? Apparently, hot guys doing daddy things, like changing diapers and shit (or, I guess, both). And then there's hot guys doing housework. Now, there's hot guys and baby animals. It's a calendar.

Which is kind of funny, and cute on both ends. And hey, the proceeds go to animal rescue organizations. But man, the PR pitches never fail to disappoint. In this case, the accompanying press release described this item as such: "The product is a calendar featuring two things that women love most - gorgeous men and baby animals."

I mean, I like gorgeous guys and I like baby animals. But would I go so far as to say that these are the things that women love most? All women? In the entire world? Man, I hate a throwaway gender claim. Because actually, hot guys and baby animals seem to mainly be the things the calendar creators love most, which makes sense, since they ... made the calendar:

"I got sick of seeing pictures and calendars of bikini-clad girls sprawled out on sports cars," explains co-founder, Audrey Khuner. "I wanted to make something that would appeal to women like me. So I decided to combine my two favorite things: sexy men and baby animals."

By purchasing this photographic wall calendar, shoppers are contributing to several nonprofit animal rescues, including Bunny World Foundation and Karma Rescue. Every baby animal in the calendar is a rescue and many of them still need homes.
Call me cynical and mopey and sulky, but ...

Read more Hot guys, baby animals,... >>

Is buying drinks just buying conversation?

Posted at 4:54 PM Dec 07, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Last night at my karaoke local, my friend Susan and I fell afoul of The Dude Who Will Not Take No For An Answer When He Offers To Buy You A Drink. I didn't want a drink from the guy, because I'd already seen him talk Susan's right ear off and, after she escaped his yammering clutches, I could tell he was honing in on one or both of my ears. Before I knew it, however, I had another High Life in hand.

That bubbly beer made me feel obligated to sit and listen to his inane schpiel (he claimed to be a comedian though he had never actually done comedy but his friends said was hilarious) for upwards of 5 minutes. Once I figured I'd put in my time, I made my way to the bathroom while Susan scooped up our purses and coats on the pretense of moving to seats with a better view of the stage. Still, I wanted that 5 minutes back.

How long is a lady obligated to talk to a person who has bought her a drink? Or is she obligated to talk at all?


Read more Is buying drinks... >>

Spanx, the world's most problematic undergarment

Posted at 1:29 PM Oct 22, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

It's bad enough when you're mugging down with someone knowing that they will soon discover you are not wearing your sexy drawers. So it must be even worse knowing that they will soon discover you are wearing control garments a la Spanx. This recently happened to Salon's Sarah Hepola, who wrote about her Spanx make-out thusly:

And so what do you do in that instance? When the male in question slips his hand underneath that clingy red fabric, his hand edging ever closer to an unmistakable elastic roadblock somewhere around mid-thigh? What do you do? Do you play the tease and swat his hand away? Do you make up an excuse -- my goodness, look at the time! -- pretending to be some kind of proper lady? Do you rip off those Spanx, taking this moment from soft-core make-out into a triple-X delight? Do you pretend it's normal, say nothing, as though all the girls are wearing restrictive bicycle shorts these days?
To her credit, Hepola did not anticipate the make-out, and hence didn't think to not wear embarrassing underwear items. But the question that comes to my mind about Spanx is not What do you do? but Why wear them at all?

Read more Spanx, the world's... >>

Hair, hair! An ode to man-follicles

Posted at 9:41 AM Jul 09, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

When it comes to men, I like to have a little something to hold on to whilst they're rescuing me from raging rivers, dragging me back to the cave or saving me from the tallest turret of the highest castle. So I'm sorry, manvertisements from Gillette et al., but a slippery smooth chest means no traction in the heat of the moment. The New York Times addresses the hairy man quandary today in one of their "it-kinda-sorta-seems-this-way, maybe" trend pieces.

But now evidence from market research and academia indicates that more men are removing hair from their chests, armpits and groins. The phenomenon skews to mostly college-age guys or those in their 30s. Reasons run the gamut from Because My Girlfriend Likes It to a desire to flaunt a six-pack or be clean.
Ladies, of course, have been dealing with their supposedly unsightly body hair for nearly 100 years. Actually, it's kind of amazing that it took skin care companies this long to realize that men could also be shamed into getting rid of what God gave 'em. But the scariest part: it's not just the gays any more! Quelle horreur!

"It used to be a hallmark of male models and homosexuals," said Kat Fay, a senior analyst at Mintel, who writes an annual men's grooming report. She added that the high-maintenance primping of metrosexuals was "privileged" and clustered in cities; by contrast, this campaign has "more of an everyday middle-America feel" and aims to convince squeamish men that body shaving is "the greatest dating weapon."
To each his and her own, of course, but when I see a newly waxed man-chest glistening in the sun, I don't think that I'd like a piece of that, mainly because the kind of guy who spends his time and money making sure he's as smooth as a freshly oiled baby's bottom is probably going to rag on me when I only shave my legs twice a week. And I don't want to be made to feel bad because I'm hairy. Lazy, yes. Hairy, no.

I think there are a few spots--below the belt, namely--where it's prudent for folks of both sexes to do a little trimming as a courtesy to a partner who may be getting rather personally involved with the area. But waxing, depilatating, shaving and skinning ourselves within a centimeter of being classified as mammals? No, thank you.

Let us do some "market research" of our own, shall we? Ladies, do you like your men clean-shaven--and where?


Why I love to say "the tits." The tits! There! I said it again!

Posted at 12:00 PM Jun 24, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Saying "the tits" is, in my opinion, the tits.

Somehow I picked up this appreciative phrase over the past few weeks, and while it will surely someday go the way of "O Hai" in my vocabulary, right now I'm milking it (!) for all it's worth. But why do I love to say "the tits?" I think the Urban Dictionary definition for the phrase puts it nicely: "The same as 'the shit,' only better because tits are great and shit isn't."

'Cause you know what? Tits are great. Most other bodily references in modern slang are derogatory terms--behaving like a dick, a pussy and/or an ass is not something to aspire to (though if you can pull off all three at once, well, I'd like to see it). Similarly, you shouldn't be a butthole or a shithead. A notable exception in my mind is "balls," which are pretty good to have regardless of gender. But hey! Both tits and balls are jiggly and mostly fun to play with. Coincidence that they both have positive connotations as a slang term? Maybe people just love jiggly. Then again, it's not like you only see firm, toned butts.

I suppose an argument could be made that the phrase reduces women to body parts, overshadows their humanity, blah blah blah--for related information, see "Boobies, Save The." But breasts really are pretty great. They feed, they titillate and best of all, they're attached to women. What's not to like?

Street objectification: a call against cat-calling

Posted at 7:30 AM Jun 17, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Today's New York Times article on the sexual objectification of Italian women got me to thinking, not only about sexual objectification in media, but about sexual objectification on the street, in everyday life.

Growing up in the suburbs in Texas, I'd only seen cat-calls on television; I figured that, like sex that doesn't result in STDs or babies, cat-calling only happened on TV. As soon as I started school at NYU, however, I learned that cat-calls are part of a female city-dweller's way of life. I traveled as well, and it was wonderful. But whether I was in New York, Paris, London or Berlin, the calls came all the same.

I think I brushed it off at the time, saying something along the lines of, "Well, what do I expect, an American girl trotting around like I own the place? I'm asking for it!" Which is saddening to think back on, of course, because nobody is "asking" for sexual harassment, regardless of how young and taut and blonde they might be.

After living in Texas for several years, I've since returned to New York City, and the cat-calling has picked up again. And my god, I am tired of it. I am tired of being told, "Smile, baby, I'll fuck that frown upside down," and leered at, "Niiiiiiiiice, baby," and verbally prodded, "Mmm, you wore those boots for daddy!"

But mainly I am tired of being told that I'm overreacting by otherwise sensitive male friends who don't see the problem.

Read more Street objectification:... >>

Answer me this: is the early morn sneak-out an urban sex legend?

Posted at 10:09 AM Apr 03, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Drinks. More drinks. Making out in the bar. Stumbling home with new make-out partner. Sexytime. Passing out. Doing the drunk 6:00 a.m. wakeup. Sneaking out before they realize you're gone.

It's the Early Morning Post-Sex Sneak-Out, and like pleated khaki pants, I just plain don't believe in it for one second. But it's been advancing television and movie plots since we got over putting Rob and Laura in separate beds and started acknowledging the fact that adults get it on. Even some of my favorite shows rely on it. Berger ditches Carrie on a Post-It note that she didn't wake up and hear him slap on her computer screen. On Sports Night, Casey totally peaces out on Sally after a rendezvous, not even hanging around to dig his shirt out from under the bed, or wherever.

There might be a few times that you're so drunk--or drugged--that you don't hear Mr. or Mrs. Right Now roll out of bed, dig through a dark room for his or her clothing, stumble through your house and open and shut the front door without locking it. But as a reliable plot device, I'm calling bullshit. Pretending to be asleep to avoid the awkward conversation: I can get behind it. But actually being asleep? No way.

What say you, guys and dolls? Is it actually possible to slip out before your latest mistake wakes up?

Why must the single women be the ones explaining themselves--gladly?

Posted at 12:00 PM Mar 25, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Last week there was some discussion on Jezebel and HuffPo with regard to single women explaining precisely why they're single. Lea Lane felt that HuffPo readers deserved to know why she, as a widow of a certain age, wasn't out there trolling for tail. This is the best part:

"I won't go out and beat the bushes for some nice-enough fellow who belches so loud I jump and doesn't listen and who doesn't make me smile enough to put up with strange noises and indifference."
And Megan over at Jez approaches the issue with a similar amount of sass:

"I'm not in a relationship because I have a limited tolerance for other people's bullshit, and because other people often have a limited tolerance for mine."
All that said, when was the last time you heard a guy talking about why he's single? Yeah, I couldn't come up with much, either. Because, of course, single guys are swingin' bachelors!  As we learned recently from Steve Harvey, they're wild animals that must be tamed by understanding women. Why are men single? What a silly question! It's their natural state!

So while it's nice to talk about our singlehood, I can't help but feel that explaining our single selves merely digs us deeper into a hole we're trying to climb out of. Maybe if we stop explaining ourselves, we won't have to. 

Robert Pattinson returns Tina Fey's affections via gossip blogs

Posted at 6:58 AM Mar 13, 2009

By Sharon Steel

It's hard for us not to get really swept up into certain romances-that-don't-actually-exist-except-in-soundbites-celebrities-give-to-gossip-bloggers. It's like our crack. We simply cannot help ourselves. Especially when it's Twilight-related. Robert Pattinson, better known as Mr. Sexy Vampire, had us at "I like smart people":

"I don't really have a 'type,' but I like smart people," he says. "You know, I really like Tina Fey. She is, like, the sexiest woman."
Please recall that earlier this month, Fey casually asked Jimmy Fallon who the fug Pattinson was, then called him a "sexy Devil." Perhaps she knew he had his eye on her all along. Is Fey a closet Twerd? Does Pattinson have grandiose notions of worming his way into a 30 Rock cameo? Could this flirting via the rumor mill produce some kind of shift in the space-time-sexy-vampire-nerd-girl continuum? Is it wrong for us to think that RoFey would have really cute, intelligent, broody, strange little babies?

[The Improper]

Who bought the Chanel guitar?

Posted at 1:30 PM Mar 05, 2009

By Sharon Steel

If there's a Chanel Segway, why wouldn't there be a Chanel guitar? This is the first we've heard of it, but Fashiontribe notes that for his SS09 show, Karl Lagerfeld sent out one model in a ruffled flamenco dress, accessorized by a Chanel-brand axe. Elle UK says it's available to purchase for a paltry 2,800 pounds. Chump change! Get ready to rock out in style. And be immensely poor while you do it.

We spend a lot of time thinking about obsessive collectors. There are people who have houses full of Disney paraphernalia, women who tap directly into the lifestyle brand that is Hello Kitty, and one unique individual who has staked out a little corner of the web for the many sugar packets she's acquired through the years. But is there someone out there who refuses to stop with Chanel clothing, but simply must buy every single crazy-expensive Chanel-branded product Lagerfeld decides to produce?

We know you're out there somewhere. And we demand that you start a blog.

Lies: Oprah doesn't like them, and she's talking about it, again

Posted at 1:11 PM Jan 19, 2009

By Sharon Steel

angelatthefence.jpgA public declaration of "disappointment" by Oprah Winfrey is never what it seems. We know this from the James Frey debacle. Winfrey defended the author's name on Larry King, then invited Frey and his publisher on her show to verbally crucify them before a studio audience and the entire universe! Silly authors: when you want your heartbreaking memoir to be touted by the woman who sometimes singlehandedly controls the ebb and flow of the publishing industry, you should probably make sure, in advance, that it isn't filled with tall tales and falsehoods!

Anyway, on Friday, Oprah finally broke her silence about the Herman Rosenblat kerfuffle. Rosenblat, a Holocaust survivor, lied about meeting the woman who would eventually become his first wife because she, disguised as a Christian girl, threw apples over his concentration camp fence to him. Oprah thought it was the greatest love story of all time! Now, not so much.

Read more Lies: Oprah doesn't... >>

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