Tuesday, October 27, 2009

meeting women

In many parts of the world, meeting women is a difficult task. First you have to find a woman, then you have to speak to her. This becomes more difficult when women get involved, as they have a tendency to make meeting them difficult. Luckily, we1 here at the complete guide to everything have put together some tips, based on successful or successful-sounding techniques we've honed or read about or thought sounded maybe good for someone else to try over the years.

Stake them out

Like the gazelles of Africa, women are known to stalk in certain places, like libraries, clubs, trains, lingerie departments, and gyms. Sit yourself down in one of those locations, and go to work scoping. Like the lions of Africa, you're going to need to find the right one you can pick off from the herd and go for the kill.

The nice thing about finding girls at libraries is that there's almost never an easy way for them to escape a conversation. It's not like you suddenly have to go somewhere after reading for the past three hours. Have faith in yourself, and attack with confidence. You can, like me, approach one of them, get her number, then spend a very painful two hours at lunch, at which time you both bless the day it's over.

Look at them

A successful first contact always involves looking at your target. For some men, it's a flirty glance across the bar. This sometimes works, but often doesn't, because, more often than not, the woman is engrossed in some other activity, and won't notice. In order to be successful, you need to stare at her.

Women love being valued, and what's more valued than an object that gets stared at? The Mona Lisa has dozens of people staring at her all the time, and she's the most valuable woman there is. Therefore, treat the woman like any other valuable object, and keep your eyes glued. To enhance the effect, you may think about opening your mouth a little bit (women love this), and possibly letting loose some intentional drool. When has drool ever been a bad idea? When you have a delicious meal sitting in front of you, what's your first involuntary impulse? That's right, drooling.

Staring women down is almost always successful at getting her attention. One word to the wise, however. If you happen to be staring at this girl in class, and also at the same time have a sneaking suspicion you've met her before, pay attention to the subconscious mind that is sounding alarm bells, trying desperately to save you. She'll eventually approach you, call you out on your staring, and declare herself to be one of your ex-girlfriend's best friends and co-workers2. This will be awkward.

Do impressive feats

Women are bowled over by men who can do impressive things, like lift heavy objects, or distract an entire class from the purpose of the lecture. If you're ever in a position where chairs need to be folded and stored, expose your biceps, and carry three chairs per arm. The women may not come immediately, as they'll be swooning, but trust me, later on, you'll be surrounded like Bon Jovi playing for a bunch of 35 year-old singles.

You could also find a way to take a class with her. In the workplace, this might involve waiting until your office switches phone systems and advertises training on the phones, then posts signup sheets. You could then find a bootleg copy of the seating plan in the office, and thus discover the name of the temptress across the floor, then match it with the right session, and voila, you're in! Even though you have no interest in phones, you could then spend the next hour making witty jokes like, "my main problem with the old phone solution was that I didn't have anybody to talk to--does this system solve that?"

And even if she didn't laugh at that and everyone else did, remember, a woman's true feelings is betrayed by her body language, and if she's sitting facing your direction, you're golden. Even if you did purposefully sit across from her.

Approach with confidence, and careful planning

Just like they can detect via the sense of smell when you are interested, women can smell fear. They can sense when the little geek approaching them has just about reached his bladderial limit, and has a heart rate of 604. Be confident. The worst that can happen is that she totally rejects you and your genes are forever scrubbed from the gene pool. That may be the end of your line, but it's not the end of the world. Stay cool. Practice your lines in the mirror beforehand. If you're making a phone call, you could write out exactly what you're going to say, word for word, including instructions for lengths of pauses and amount of laughter3.

The key to a successful contact is a smooth line. Some smooth lines may include:

Your neck reminds me of a swan as it cuts through a glassy lake on the Minnesotan plains at the peak of mid-summer, while lilacs lace longingly in the distance.

The royal we would like to meet you and make a nonroyal us (because a royal us would just be a royal we, which is lacking the royal you).

There are many others, but I'm not going to share all of my secrets here today. Just be aware that women love being compared to birds (swans, some kinds of ducks, and penguins), celestial bodies, and a small variety of invertebrates.

Once you have her, never let her go

Literally. Cling for as long as possible. Make up excuses to walk her home. Make up excuses to bike her home. Ignore her protests when you place her on your handlebars. She needs to know you're serious from day one. The number one complaint about men is that they're afraid of commitment. Commit to her then. Show it by buying her flowers, tattoos, and possibly some nice sweaters.

If you follow these steps, you'll soon find yourself in sweet marital bliss. Or sweet felonious bliss. If she presses charges.

1. Yes, that's the royal we.
2. Note to self: memorize all girlfriends' coworker's faces, and store in memory in perpetuity.
3. Not...like...I...do...that...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

copenhagen

Copenhagen is the Capital of Denmark, a beautiful city sitting on a beautiful island, in the middle of a beautiful frozen wasteland1.

I flew to Copenhagen the other day, and after the usual hour or two of sheer anxiety and fear of failure of the Bernoulli principle, found myself approaching a terminal disguised as a quaint Scandinavian villa2. Disembarking the plane, I found myself walking through rooms of beautiful, simplistic couches, then some bedroom sets, and later on a sea of chairs, wicker baskets, and inexpensive tupperware. All of the items had large tags with strange-sounding names, like Enktorp, or Billy. Happy children wearing lederhosen skipped and yodeled through the winding terminal eating meatballs and one dollar hot dogs.

I eventually found a train that led to Copenhagen, which was in the throes of the fall fashion week3. I've checked a few papers, and I don't think the event has been widely publicized, but I'm pretty sure it's the only explanation for the ridiculous concentration of gorgeous women in the locale. Walking, biking, driving, I was surrounded by tall beautiful blondes for the entire week. I'd say something about how it's a good thing I'm single, and thus not worried about a jealous wife, but I don't think even the most jealous of women would turn even the slightest shade of green as they watched an army of supermodels ignore me in every possible way4.

Though everything is written in Danish, Denmark isn't the kind of place to get picky about language. You may be surprised when you realize everyone speaks English. The most striking example of this lies in 7-11, where, in a dramatic departure from their US business practices, all of their employees speak intelligible English.

In fairness, I think there are one or two people on the outer islands that don't speak English (or use indoor plumbing, for that matter), but other than them, you can be sure whoever it is that approaches you muttering jibberish is very capable of proofreading your College English papers. Unfortunately, you'd never ask them to, because they'd demand payment in kroner, which is Danish for "a currency you'll never use outside the five square miles that exist in our country".

But yeah, Copenhagen is a pretty sweet place. Take some time (ahem, during the summer), and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere. Yeah. Atmosphere.

1. I, of course, mean that in the best way possible. But when you need icebreakers to get into the harbor in the winter, I'm sorry, but you live in a frozen wasteland.
2. The terminal, that is. I was disguised as someone who doesn't lose his lunch at the mere thought of getting in a piece of plastic and bouncing around 35,000 feet above the blessed earth.
3. I only know of the existence of said week as a friend of mine was once so enthralled with fashion she had to give up the fashion section of the paper for lent.
4. Not unlike the girl I met recently who employed the intelligent tactic of running away at high speeds at the moment I directed speech in her direction. I'm not really exaggerating.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

queues

Queues, or lines as they are also called1, are in danger of being altogether destroyed in the modern era. With the advent of the internet, ATMs, self-service checkout, and a cacophony of other devices, man is in danger of losing the ability to stand and wait for something.

In light of this, I'd like to take a few minutes to instruct you on how we can keep such a salacious scourge from falling on mankind.

Ignore your surroundings

There are signs posted above you instructing you how to interact with the upcoming threat. They may tell you to have your boarding pass ready. They may tell you to use this counter if you have 10 items or less. Whatever the sign, whatever the verbiage, please, keep your eyes to the ground and fingers in your ears. You pay attention to posted directions at your peril.

Pay with exact change

It's annoying to carry around pennies, because they weigh down your coin pouch, so please, instead of finding some decent use for your change (hobos, small children, parking meters), pull it out and count up to whatever six digit number just appeared on the register. Use the smallest denominations possible. Keep the change in a hard-to-reach, smelly location, like your kidneys.

Better yet, pay with a check

Credit cards are evil and of the devil, but checks are the divine right of kings. Pay with them everywhere, for every expense. Wait until you know the exact amount, and every item you have yet to purchase is loaded away in some deep dish cart, then slowly rummage through the folds of your robe for the satchel containing your checkbook. Forget a pen. Write slowly. Make a few mistakes, necessitating another check.

Buy as many groceries as humanly possible

Fill the cart with them. Fill another cart with them. Bring your firstborn and make her/him push a third cart. Stock up on every deal imaginable. Do this every week. Then find the dude who's just buying chocolate milk. Race ahead and get in front of him in the only line. It's his fault he hasn't done his duty to the human race and procreated, and hasn't found a need for the thousand individually packaged gram-sized servings of Gerber baby food that you're about to watch the checker swipe one by one for the next six hours. Take away his last shreds of dignity, and sneer as his chocolate milk breakfast goes warm, then sour. Laugh. Smile. Be smelly.

Call anyone, for any reason

It's important people understand you're important. Bank tellers, grocery store clerks, salespeople, and especially the people behind you in line need to know you're important. Pull out that cell and yap. Yap about anything. Keep yapping during the entire processing experience. Yap about the queue. Yap about how long it's taking. Yap about how everyone in line hates you with a bloody passion. Act like you've just been pulled out of bed by a dead panda when the clerk interrupts your conversation. Make annoyed noises, like sighing. Roll your eyes.

Keep your ID in a safe place

People could steal your wallet at any time. Be sure to keep your ID separate from any and every credit card you own. Keep it as far away as physically possible from any other card. Preferably in your shoe. Act surprised when someone asks for it. Try to explain that the clerk doesn't need ID because it's you. Pull out anything other than ID to present as ID, like business cards, love notes, used tissues, and gum wrappers. Offer to call someone to have them tell the clerk it's you. Make a scene for as long as you can. The people behind you don't have anything better to do in life except listen to how you are Edgard G. Himmelskibet.

Stand on the left

Anytime, anywhere. Whenever there's a left of anything, stand in it. Plop everything you own around you. Build a fortress. Better yet, bring a friend, and have her or him stand on the right so you form a human wall, a veritable sandwich of insuperability. Move in tandem, occupying as much space as is possible. Hold hands, but keep your arms outstretched. Migrate through the world like a pair of lead beach balls tied together with titanium towels.

Ask questions that are answered by posted signs

Phrase them exactly as written. Question the answers as if you view them as morally wrong. Refuse brochures explaining procedures. Demand your right to speak to someone and give your viewpoint on the matter.

Transact simple business in person

The ATM can take deposits, but please, by all means, go talk to a teller. Be chatty. Tell him or her about your ducks. Don't think about using that ATM over there that was specifically built, programmed, and provided for you.

Make special requests

Preferably only when there are people behind you. Ask for it without mustard. Change your mind and ask for it with mustard. Laugh about that. Ask where their meat comes from. Ask what kind of mustard they can provide. Take a friend, and laugh at the answers. Ask how many calories each dish has. Taste every flavor before you make your choice. Make them earn every penny they get from you.

Stop in front of an empty lane

Just stand there. Rummage through your purse looking for your metro card that will let you through the gates that about sixty people are trying to use right this rush-hour instant, and yet they can't, because you couldn't foresee the need to swipe your card at the exit like you have done three hundred thousand times.

Keep your wallet hidden for as long as possible

It's not like you knew several years before coming to this store that you would eventually have to pay, and in paying, would need use of your wallet. Stash it somewhere like the portion of your back you can't reach. Contort yourself as you pull it out after the cashier has stared at you for thirty seconds after every possible thing has been done. Embrace awkward silences while your fellow humans wait. Look at the people behind you in line as you do this. They would all, down to the last man, beat you senseless in a dark alleyway this very instant if given the opportunity.

1. I once tried to explain to a British lady how there was a 'big line up front' and she gave me a look like I was absolutely nutters.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

goes by

'goes by' is a common expression used to denote locational nearness of a moving object as it relates to a fixed object. For example, one might describe the movement of a bus, and claim it 'goes by' a place of interest. This would typically mean that the land of said place of interest abuts the road said bus uses, or even that the place of interest is visible from the traveling bus.

While the definition given above is correct, sadly, as Webster's dictionary doesn't typically include phrases, 'goes by' does not have an official definition, and even if it did Webster was an American, so the definition wouldn't stand internationalization.

In some places of the globe the definition we have given would still stand, but some people are a little more permissive, and they like to broaden the scope of things, so often you'll find that 'goes by' can be substituted with 'is located within a three hundred square mile radius of'.

Imagine for a moment a sad little puppy who has spent the past few weeks living in a closet. In your mind's eye, try and envision the happiness of said puppy when he finds a place to live. Now, picture said puppy going to Ikea to find sheets to put on his bed.

Instead of a puppy, let's say, in a very hypothetical way, a certain man went up to Ikea one night. Or, better said, tried to go up to Ikea one night. If said man were prideful, he might have a hard time asking directions when he reached the tube station nearest Ikea. He might have glanced at a map earlier that day and seen Ikea was a pinky away from the station. And then he might have walked for over two hours, desperately lost in a place called Neasden1. And he might have had to hail a cab to take him back to the station, a sad, broken man. Lastly, in this very hypothetical, not-real-life story, he might have found two dirty towels to put on top of the bed, and slept with his lone jacket as a blanket, shivering the night away due to his uncovered legs.

Even the most prideful of men can see when they've screwed up in a very serious fashion, so the man might have done some serious soul and map searching over the next day, and discovered another route to Ikea, through another station2.

Upon arriving at the station, and recalling the experience from the night before, our hero may have given pause before trying to walk to Ikea again, so he might have asked a station attendant how to get there. Said station attendant might have told him to take bus 112, because it, and I quote, 'goes by' Ikea. I mean, I don't quote. This is hypothetical.

So the hypothetical man would have stood outside the station, waited twenty minutes for the bus, then boarded said bus and rode. And rode. And rode. And at no point would have passed anything resembling a happy Scandanavian vendor. And after twenty minutes, he may have ended up three miles away from Ikea, at the end (yes, the end) of an entirely different and foreign tube line which he had never traveled before. And he might have asked the driver where Ikea might be, and only received shouts in a thick accent, saying, "END OF LINE! END OF LINE!"

That is to say, said bus got as close to Ikea as I have to a cage full of armed screaming monkeys3.

So the next time you're thinking about going to Ikea, a) don't listen to the station attendant, b) take a map, and c) remember, 'goes by' has differing definitions depending on what dimension you live in4.

1. That was the most insulting part of the whole experience. At least let me get lost in a place with a tough name. But Neasden? You might as well get desperately lost in Flandersville.
2. And he might have also discovered that the map Ikea puts on its website sucks more than all of the history of sucking. It deludes you to thinking Ikea is a stone's throw away from the station, when it's actually over a mile. And definitely not accessible following the helpful red dotted line they've drawn.
3. Surely that's the only explanation for some of the noises I heard in my walk through Neasden.
4. I never did find it. I ended up at Asda (the Walmart of the UK) at midnight with the owners of said monkeys.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

key cards

Key cards were invented by lazy security professionals who got sick and tired of working. These delightful little devices help you access work buildings, pay for trains, and learn how to dance1.

Many companies now employ key cards in order to maintain security in their buildings. New employees are initiated by given a card, which makes them feel special because they can now sell out to the man in a restricted area. My own company provided me with a card the day I joined, and I gleefully went in and out of the building, merrily skipping my privileged way.

My building is especially secure, because not only do you need a card to get in, you need a card to get out. Should someone manage to sneak their way into the office, they'll be sorely disappointed when they find their escape route is cut off by someone's inane security policy. Ah ha!

Unfortunately, all is not bliss in the world of key cards. Should you lose your card, say, in a grocery store, the second day on the job, that pretty much makes you look like an idiot, and your skipping turns to shuffling, your merry mirth to fickle frowns. Though, if you're lucky, you'll find that someone turned it in to the lost and found. After you were ridiculed by the office.

Having lost said card by attaching it to your person via a nifty pull cord, you might be tempted to put it in your wallet, like the other cool people. That way, when you want to access a room, you can shake your wallet like a polaroid picture in front of the receiver.

Some days, however, people wear pants where the back pockets button up. It's a little bit too much work to unbutton said pants, so there's only one way to get in or out of work: approach the door, look both ways, make sure nobody is watching, turn around and point your bottom at the door, and shake your booty for the receiver. You might not be tall enough to reach it, but enough enlightened jumping and shaking should do the trick2.

And pray nobody was watching.

1. I once talked a girl into dating me by reminding her what a travesty my dancing ability was, and how the only way to remove this blight on humanity was to date me and fix it. Happily, she agreed. Sadly, she did not fix it3.
2. This is my morning exercise routine.
3. I likely can't dance because I'm emotionally scarred by the ninth grade dance where I was pushed into the middle of one of the circles o' embarrassment, and forced into a rabid dance of fury like the little jester I was.