Jul 27 2012

Killing One Surfboard With Two Stones

Summary: Sometimes Redirection Makes a Bad Situation Worse.

Relay race at Capitola Beach. My daughter's in the blue shirt with the red rash guard and the boys red swim trunks of course..

So I’m at Capitola Beach picking up my daughter after Junior Guards because it’s Wednesday, which is laundry day. This means I take over daughter scheduling duties because, as the name implies, my partner is doing laundry instead. Because it’s Wednesday. Which is laundry day.

But it’s such a beautiful day that me and a couple of others dads I know decide to hang out afterwards and let the kinds play some more.

And as is typical of Capitola in the summertime, and especial after Junior Guards lets out, the beach is packed.

I’m heading to the water on the left side of the jetty when I spot a little girl, perhaps two years old at best, and she’s grinding a rock into the bottom of a surfboard that’s attached to a bike.

I watch for about thirty seconds and don’t see any parents around. So I walk over.

“Excuse me. You shouldn’t hit a surfboard with a rock. It hurts it. Here’s another rock, bang these two together.”

She takes the rock in her free hand, looks at me for a few seconds, and then starts clacking the two together. There, mission accomplished! What a smart, proactive, and responsible parent I am!

I tell my buddies the story and when I look back to point out the girl, she’s now grinding both rocks into the bottom of the surfboard. Oops.

I watch for a while and still no parent. However, another good Samaritan tries to run interference. She likewise has no success in stopping her.

Poor surfboard.

 File Under: Unintentionally Making a Bad Situation Worse.


Jul 10 2012

Wild Child – Horseplay and Roughhousing Should be Encouraged as Much as Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Summary: Encouraging Kids, and Especially Girls, to Explore Their Physical Boundaries and the Importance of Horseplay, Roughhousing and Goofing Around to Their Development.

It’s Saturday morning and my daughter and her friend are sitting across from me at our favorite breakfast hangout Silver Spur. We’re sitting at the only table that has a wooden bench. The back is high and smooth. My daughter’s friend is sitting on her lap and is rocking back and forth pushing her weight of her back into my daughter which forces her head into the back of the bench.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

This rhythmic rocking and my daughter‘s head thumping goes on for about 30 seconds at which point I interrupt their fun.

“Hey, are you OK with this?  How does your head feel?”

They stop and my daughter looks at me like I just asked the stupidest question in the world.

“Uh, yeah…I’m fine.”

“Ok, just checking.”

They continue where they left off.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Then my daughter’s friend stops, gets off her lap, and sits down.

“Ok, now you do me!”
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Jul 5 2012

Girls Mature Faster…Not!

Summary: Only women think men mature late. From a man’s point of view some women never mature at all.

It’s often said that girls mature faster than boys. I don’t mean physically as that’s undisputed – girls start puberty earlier and finish sooner than boys. I’m referring to the common use of the term as it’s often applied to boys by women, which refers to their mental and emotional maturity. It’s often used in a dismissive manner, as a way to establish one’s superiority, and this “fact” is based on a female centric viewpoint on what is considered mature and what traits are most valued. But what if we didn’t used female centered values as the sole judge on a male’s maturity level. How would they fair?

If one were to place a premium on self-confidence, self-esteem, the ability to control your emotions in a crisis, the strength to separate personal issues and business decisions, appreciation of and self acceptance of your body, and the knowledge that you can’t change others, one could say that boys mature by age twelve and girls take till their mid forties – if ever.

I’m not saying this to be mean or even in a reactionary backlash way. It’s just that men and women both bring something to the table and their skills and perspectives are equally valid and useful. Neither is more “mature” than the other unless the test for maturity is biased in favor of one gender or the other.

Most men think being able to separate your emotions and personal feelings from business is a sign of maturity and sophistication. If a man was to refuse to sign a multi-million dollar contract with a company just because the CEO from said company hit on his wife at a party, it would be a sign of weakness and immaturity. You would be seen as someone who couldn’t be counted on to handle complicated stuff that could get messy. His loyalty and principles would probably also be in question. For most men, the situation is clear – sign the contact first, then kick the guys ass on your free time if that’s what you need to do. Or, pull him aside the next day and threaten to kick his ass. But definitely sign the contract first.

However most women would see that same refusal as a sign of maturity. That man would be seen as principled, strong, and loyal. Of course you shouldn’t do business with people like that. To choose money over your wife is appalling.

This is why the classic fantasy dilemma of  “I’ll give you a million dollars to sleep with your wife” is not a dilemma at all to most men. The first thing that pops into a man’s head is “Does he have the money or is he bull shitting me?” The second though is “if this guy turns out to be a psycho could I take him?”

Men see it as a business transaction. Sex with my wife for one million dollars. Sounds like great deal! A man would mentally suspend his wife’s status as his marriage partner for the duration of the transaction – business is business and it’s not personal. Her having sex with the stranger would not be viewed as a betrayal in this situation. The real question is would you be able to able to control the situation in a worse case scenario.

However most women would see this same situation as a conflict. How could he agree to let me have sex with another man just for money? What does that say about me? What does that say about our relationship. For a woman the decision will be wrapped in layers of symbolism and deeper meaning.

Well, to a man it says I love you so much that I’ll support this because a million dollars will change our lives. This million dollars is for us and our future, and that is way more important than a night of meaningless sex with a stranger. In fact, because the husband gets to keep his wife and the million dollars, it’s quite a triumph. The man who paid the million would be seen as a fool and a sucker.

Depending on your point of view, a man letting his wife have sex with a stranger for a million dollars can be seen as heroic or shameful. Most men would probably choose heroic. Many women would choose shameful or at least a 9.5 on the creepy scale.

So to label men as developmentally stunted because they fail to live up to female centric values is as pointless as it sexist. While most men and women agree on the basics, we also have different standards in some very specific areas. This is fine, healthy and desired. It only becomes a problem when we call the other weak, stupid, thoughtless, and inconsiderate because of these differences.

File Under: Debunking the Girls Mature faster Than Boys Myth.


Jul 5 2012

Girls Gone Wild No More – Establishing Boundaries With Hot Chicks and Holding Them Accountable

Summary: Stop the Madness. Turning young hot girls into social cripples by giving them whatever they want.

I just got back from a nice, calm, small get together at my brother’s house this 4th of July and it inspired me to finally publish a story that I wrote last 4th of July.

My brother, who happens to be born on the 4th of July, was having his usual 4th of July party at his beach house. Now I love living in a beach community but with that also comes a derelict element. Beach towns just tend to encourage drinking and parting and slacking off. It’s really easy to just waste your life drinking forty-ouncers on the cliffs and heckling the tourists and groms if you don’t have any clear direction of self discipline.

At the time my brother’s house was occupied by several single male roommates. Over the years it had become a beacon for all sorts of sketchy behaviors as many beach houses occupied by males tends to do if you don’t keep it in check. Last year it got out out control as dozens of “party” types descended on the home. This inspired my brother to finally “clean house” and restore some boundaries. But his story is about last year.

I arrived early to my brother’s house but it was already jumping. Most people I recognized but some I didn’t. As the minutes passed by the ration of knowns to unknowns continued to rise. As it rose, so did the chaos.

I’m sitting at the appetizer table enjoying some cheese dip and veggies when up walks this young woman. She’s maybe mid twenties at most, with blond hair, a beautiful face, and a body that would no doubt inspire double and triple takes from the guys every time she steps outside her house.

In short, she’s the type of girl who’s probably never heard the word “no” in her life.

“What’s this?” she says pointing to the bowl in the middle of the table.

“That’s a cheese sauce for dipping.”

“Ok, thanks. Is that your plate?”

“Yes.”

She then grabs a spoon and puts a big blob of cheese sauce on my plate and starts to dip a chunk of bread into it.

“Whoa, what are you doing?”

“You don’t mind do you?”

“Yes, I do mind. Get your own plate.”

“Oh, are you a vegan?”

“No, and my dietary preferences are irrelevant. This is my plate.”

“Oh, I didn’t think you’d mind.”

“Well I do. Go get your own plate. There’s a big stack over there.”

She looks at the stack, then back to my plate and the blob of cheese sauce. She’s seems completely lost and it looks like she’s going to try to dip into my plate again. So I pull it back towards my chest and kind of shield it with my left hand.

“Right there. Big stack. Go get your own plate.”

She just keeps standing there looking at my plate.

“Go now! Go get your own plate.” I say as I gesture to the stack of clean, never used, completely free plates that the host has thoughtfully put out for everyone to use.

She leaves and finally gets her own plate.

Now I said earlier that she’s probably never heard the word “no” in her life. I bet good money this is true. I’m sure most guys give her whatever she wants and put up with her bullshit just so they can continue to bask in her glory. I’m sure most think that if they just played along long enough, if she was intoxicated enough, and if they happened to say just the right thing at the right time, they could fuck her.

Not this dude, however. And it has nothing to do with being a happily committed family man. I just have a low tolerance for the Marilyn Monroe act – always have. It almost feels as if it’s my civic duty to draw the line on this manipulative behavior since no one else seems willing to reduce their odds, now matter how remote, of getting into some cute chicks pants.  It’s also supremely insulting to think I’m just going to let you do whatever you want because you’re “hawt”.

So my mom, who saw the whole thing because she was sitting next to me, asks what the deal was. I fill her in on the details and she’s as dumbfounded as I am.

A half an hour later, the girl with no cheese dipping boundaries comes up to me.

“I’m sorry about that earlier. I didn’t think you’d mind.”

“That’s what’s so baffling to me. How could I not mind? In what instance has that ever been acceptable behavior.”

“I didn’t think it would be such a big deal.”

“I don’t know how you could think that. When has putting food an a total stranger’s plate and then eating off it ever been acceptable. I’m serious, I really want to know why you did that and why you thought it was ok.”

“I just didn’t think it would be such a big deal.”

“That’s it? So you do this all the time and no one cares?

“Sorry.”

Then she just walk away.

Wow. Quite an eye-opening experience and it makes me think of my daughter. My daughter has blond hair and blue eyes and all indicators point to her being be tall and fit. Basically a physical prototype for the type of girl who never hears the word no. On the other hand, she’s not a natural manipulator, a bit shy, and introverted. She also has two parents who are not trying to be her buddy or win her affection or approval. We are her parents and it’s not our job to be her friend – that’s what friends are for.

So I think she’ll be ok. But as she matures it would certainly help if the guys, including her male teachers, would hold her to the same standard they would if she were a just another dude. In short, hold her accountable. Better yet, let’s hold everyone accountable regardless of their position, status, gender, race, and any other identity that could be used to get away with bullshit. That would be awesome!

Coda: To be fair, which she doesn’t deserve, I’ll point out that the girl with no boundaries also came to the party with a friend. An hour later her friend was crawling on the floor like a dog. I’m not sure what she was trying to achieve with the crawling bit, but perhaps they both were under the influence of psychedelics when they arrived. Which could explain a lot but doesn’t let her off the hook.

File Under: Instilling Responsibility in Hot Chicks