Month: April 2015

The Lost Art of The Phone Call

Men are such creeps.

Scouring the blogverse, I’ve come across countless posts from women venting their frustrations about men who, in their minds, are social mutants. A popular complaint of the ladies is that men turn conversations sexual way too early on. Whether it’s an overly flirtatious compliment or a straight up dick-pic, a lot of us men have become trigger happy when it comes to turning up the conversational heat.

This is a symptom of a major problem for men when it comes to dating – We don’t know how to talk to women.

Why is this so? Where are all the smooth talkers? Are there any men like James Bond or Hank Moody out there who are equipped with a verbal arsenal that can charm a woman with words? How come every other guy sounds like Brick Tamland?

I’ll tell you why – People don’t talk on the phone anymore.

It’s a lost art, and considered a massive waste of time. In this Social Media, online-streaming driven society, multitasking rules the day. We think – Why should I give all my attention to talking on the phone with someone when I can just text them while watching Netflix, eating dinner, messaging friends, and reading the news at the same damn time? It’s easy to see that we’ve become an A.D.D. generation, and devoting all your energy into a phone conversation seems about as primitive as rotary phones, typewriters, and vinyl records. Aziz Ansari will tell you the same thing:

I’m old enough to remember the days before text messaging, when people remembered each other’s phone numbers, if you can believe that.  You’d call up a friend, catch up on what’s going on, and even sometimes you’d sit there in silence while staying on the phone. Yes, you would actually be comfortable in silence while on the phone. There was no need to fill in any dead air with explicitly sexual comments. But of course, nowadays, people treat silence on the phone with intense trepidation, much like how Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio did in The Departed.

All I’m suggesting is this – Perhaps if we put a brief halt on texting, turn off our screens, and just spend some time on the phone with each other, maybe then men will come off a little less creepy.

But who has time for that shit. I’m two seasons behind on House of Cards.

* This is another solo post from Chris. Emily is currently busy saving elephants in Thailand, but will return shortly.

A Man’s Opinion on Taylor Swift

This is quite the conundrum. Let me start off by saying this – I am not a fan of Taylor Swift’s music. I’ve never listened to any of her albums, and I could barely name two or three songs of hers. What I do know about her is that she is adored by millions, a winner of multiple Grammy’s, and has written her own lyrics from a very early age. From my outside perspective, she’s a super-talented artist who doesn’t get into any trouble and has managed to handle public incidents like being Kanye’d at the 2009 MTV VMA Awards rather gracefully. She openly embraces all genres of music, from country to hip-hop, and seemingly cares about the success and well-being of other artists in the music industry.

So then, why do I feel like I should hate her?

First off, there’s the dancing at award shows. I can’t really fault her for this. If Taylor Swift wants to act like she’s at Woodstock while wearing a dress that’s worth someone’s annual salary in an air-conditioned auditorium surrounded by other millionaires in suits and dresses, that’s her right. However, having the savvy of being in the public eye for many years, she must know that the camera pans to her about a hundred times, right? I admit it – my initial reaction to seeing her do her crazy dances on TV is to think that she looks ridiculous, but I know that’s no reason to dislike her. She’s entitled to do whatever she wants, and is this any worse than celebrities trying to look too cool for school when they’re on camera? No, in this case, I’m just being an asshole and a hater.

Do your thing, girl.

Then there’s her opinion about men. The two lyrics I know of hers are as follows:

1) We will never ever ever (ever ever ever? I lost count on the ever’s) get back together

2) Boys only want love if it’s torture

I don’t have a problem with Line #1. You see, by repeating the word ever she is vehemently emphasizing that she will not return into a relationship with her ex-lover. OK, got it. But let’s look at Line #2 – Boys only want love if it’s torture. So we LOVE torture that much, eh Tay-Tay? Do men seek out abusive, emotionally taxing relationships with women? Do we instigate conflict and consider love to be some kind of environment of instability? To this, I respond with a big, fat:

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

But what irks me the most about Taylor Swift is the Spotify issue. To a degree, I understand her stance. Artists don’t make nearly as much as they used to (except if you’re, I don’t know, Taylor Swift, who was estimated by Forbes to have earned $64 million dollars in 2014). And let’s genuinely believe that she pulled her catalogue from Spotify services because she wants to look out for all musicians out there and their financial interests. It still doesn’t lessen her delusions of grandeur when it comes to the Internet and pirating material. Does she think she’s going to cause a chain reaction of major artists and labels to pull their music catalogues from streaming services? Does she think this will bring a halt to all illegal downloading of her music and the music of other artists? Is this going to bring the music industry back to the Good ‘ol Days? I don’t know her true intentions but I am pretty confident in saying this – the Internet will always win. Instead of fighting piracy, Taylor Swift should realize that illegal downloading will always exist, and that her actions of pulling her music from Spotify only alienates a portion of the general population who will see this as another rich artist being greedy. There’s no stopping the evolution of society – Is anyone crying for cassette or VCR makers? Music is more accessible now – that’s just the way it is. Spotify, YouTube, and other streaming services give artists exposure to new audiences that otherwise would never be aware of their music. It’s a good thing. Let’s not fight it.

After all this, I am still unclear on how to feel about Taylor Swift. Do I have some unjustified bias against her because her music is seemingly not of my personal taste? Is it OK to be critical of her as long as I can acknowledge some of her good qualities? I don’t want to be that guy that hates her because I think she’s this or that, but what I do know, based on my perceptions and what I’ve seen and read, is that I have zero desire to listen to her music. I guess I’ll never know how good or bad it really is.


*Emily was conveniently unavailable to contribute to this post. I’m sure a debate is forthcoming.

Would You Travel the World With a Stranger?

On Episode 4 of the podcast Upvoted by Reddit, Jordan Axani was interviewed since his post on r/canada went viral. This insightful interview showcases the power of travel and the Internet and highlights the connection two strangers can make. This incredible story has prompted Jordan to start a charitable non-profit, A Ticket Forward, fundraising trips for those who have not yet had an opportunity to travel the world.

The TL;DR of the story is this: Jordan was bullied as a child and, as a result, lost a sense of self-worth. He then decided to bike across Canada and quickly learned that the world was much larger than the community he grew up in. For Jordan, traveling saved him, but in his 20’s, to his dismay, he found himself back at a corporate job as a real estate developer, attending meetings and sitting in front of a computer. After a year of dating a woman by the name of Elizabeth Gallagher, Jordan purchased airline tickets to travel 7 countries in 3 weeks as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, weeks before their trip, the two broke up. Jordan called the airlines to attempt changing the name on the non-refundable tickets. All three airline policies of acceptable name changes had the following criteria: 1.) Get married; 2.) Get divorced; or 3.) Death. Since none of these applied, he decided to post a Facebook status describing his dilemma and asking if there were any Canadian citizens named Elizabeth Gallagher who would like free tickets to travel the world. Jordan wasn’t expecting much, but within a week his post went viral, reaching millions with his story being published in news articles. This eventually resulted in finding 18 Elizabeth Gallaghers who all wanted a free trip to see the world! To make a selection between one of the 18, he set his selection criteria to someone who would really benefit from this trip in the sense of never having traveled before. Jordan, 28, and new Elizabeth Gallagher, 23, met in the departure lounge for the first time, about to set out for 3 weeks together. In interviews, they both describe their relationship as platonic, Elizabeth stating that she already has a boyfriend. This brings us to our question: Would you travel the world with a complete stranger of the opposite sex?

Emily: While I would like to say that I am as brave as this Elizabeth, the thought of traveling with a man I don’t know is frightening. When I was single, I was cautious just meeting an OKCupid user at the local coffee shop. To say I would hop on a 14 hour flight, in a foreign country, with foreign languages, currencies, etc., is really scary especially in a world where you see headlines of rape, kidnappings and murder. I’m glad it worked out with these two and they seem like they had a lot in common, but free trip or not, I guess I am not as free-spirited. I would do a background and reference check on the guy first. If a chick offered you a free ticket, would you go?

Chris: A free trip is pretty hard to pass up. Seven countries in three weeks – that sounds amazing. But would I go with a girl I’ve never met before? I think doing some recon would definitely be in order – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. I’d try to see what I can find on her, maybe talk to her on the phone beforehand. Otherwise, I would lean towards going. I’m pretty good with directions, and fortunately men don’t fear getting physically/sexually abused by women. Maybe we should be more cautious, but we’re dumb like that.

Emily: Yeah, as a guy it’s a no brainer. Pitching you another hypothetical: What if the person given the option was your sister, or me, your girlfriend? Would you let me go? It is 7 countries in 3 weeks – pretty amazing.

Chris: Would I let you go with a male stranger? No. I’ll let Eddie Murphy explain why.

Chris: Even the unjealous boyfriend would not be ok with allowing their girlfriend to go on a three-week vacation abroad with another man. I’m assuming the same applies for women, too.

Emily: Yes, agreed. I find it surprising that Elizabeth mentioned she already had a boyfriend and still took the ticket. Traveling is definitely a luxury to take advantage of when you’re single. If you’re in a relationship, hopefully you can plan trips with your significant other… before kids.

Question: Would you travel the world with a stranger of the opposite sex?

Do We Like Sharing Food?

She literally just told me that she’s not hungry. So why is she eating my food then?

Taco Bell had a commercial that came out in 2014 for their Loaded Griller. The guy is eating his food, only to have his girlfriend swoop in for a big bite every time he ate. Here’s the ad:

The commercial didn’t create any headlines, but it poses a question that should be answered: Do guys like sharing food with their girl?

Chris: Some people just don’t like to share, period. But what gets to guys about this scenario is a false pretense. She says she’s not hungry, but yet she eats my food. And yes, you have done this before.

Emily: [Insert eye roll]. You act as if you’ve never done the same. There is a difference in our cases, though. When I say, “No thank you, I’m not hungry,” I do mean it, as I’m sure you do, too. However, like any sane person with senses, when you see and smell a juicy, bacon cheeseburger or a piping hot quesadilla oozing with cheese, sometimes it is hard to resist. Therefore, I will take a bite and sample it. The difference here lies in the bite. My bite is described more as a nibble versus your (ginormous) chomp. Why else do you think I allow you the first bite into a burger or burrito every time we do agree to share? I let you do the groundwork to get to the center of the good stuff. Oh, and I’m just polite and sweet like that.

Chris: Taking bites is all good. People do that all the time. But I’ve never said I’m not hungry only to take some of your food. It’s like women want to either A) be good with their dietary habits only to cave in at the sight of food, or B) put up the front of not having a strong appetite.

Emily: I never put up a front of eating modestly so I guess in my case, it’s really choice A. Maybe I subconsciously tell myself that I don’t need to eat but my willpower isn’t strong enough once it’s accessible and in front of me. Piece of advice: next time you order, you better Supersize it.

Chris: I think we can conclude by saying this: Guys, when buying something to eat, think of your significant other. She may not say she’s hungry, but that doesn’t mean she won’t want a bite of your food. So be prepared to share either way, like the Taco Bell guy.

Copenhagen – How Young is Too Young?

We recently came across a movie on Netflix – Copenhagen. Released in 2014, this movie is about William, a man in his late twenties, searching for a grandfather that he has never met, hoping to deliver to him a letter from his father that he never really knew, in the city for which the movie was titled. But something unexpected happens along the way – he falls in love with a local girl, Effy. This in itself is odd for William. As an American backpacking through Europe, he’s used to one night stands and casual flings. But the real kicker to William and Effy’s romance is that Effy is only 14 years old. Their affair is terribly inappropriate; she’s just a kid, after all. But as the story unfolds, you can see something pure and genuine about their affections for one another. William’s no pedophile (at least in his own mind), and Effy is quite mature for her age (at least she thinks so). So this got us thinking – How young is too young?

Chris: First of all, I think we should eliminate anyone under 18 years old. We shouldn’t be promoting crime here. A real life William is a scumbag with severe mental problems. That said, I’ve always subscribed to the rule of thumb of half your age plus seven being the cutoff line. So in the case of William being 28, the youngest he could go would be ((28/2)+7) 21 years old.

Emily:  While that is the most popular calculation, I don’t think it’s appropriate for all relationships. We will call that math equation “the solution for minimum creepiness”. But following a basic math equation is difficult because we are complex humans. There are so many factors such as life stages, maturity and values. For instance, at 28, don’t you think you’re over the clubbing and partying as opposed to 21, when you’re just finally able to enter bars?

Chris: I was definitely still hitting the club and bar scene at 28. Life stages and values – so I guess we’re talking about relationships then, boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. Do all girls just automatically go there whenever they see a male prospect? What about casual dating? Because how good of a girlfriend can a 21 year old chick be? I say this because I know 21 year old men are horrible boyfriend material.

Emily: Do men just automatically jump to casual hookups? I don’t think we can generalize and say all 21 year olds are bad girlfriends/wives or boyfriends/husbands. But okay, fine, to make this less complicated, lets narrow it down to just casually dating. I would say the “half your age plus seven” rule works pretty well. I’m just saying don’t expect a relationship to come out of the minimum acceptable age, especially as you get older. If you were 60 and I met you at 37, I would say I’m attracted to your wrinkles and wallet. What I’d like to know though is why at 30 it’s acceptable to date someone who is 22 (8 years difference) and at 60, a 37 year old (23 years difference). It’s just casual dating but why does the age range become wider as you get older?

Chris: I was kidding. So yes, let’s get off of casual dating. William and Effy, after all, were in love, albeit foolishly. When it comes to relationships, I think the half your age plus seven is a good guideline. As people grow more and more into their adulthood, the age gaps tend to fade and blur and we all just end up being in the same boat, really. This is why a 60 year old man dating a 37 year old woman seems fine. So we still haven’t answered the question, How young is too young?

Emily: Actually I don’t know if I’d sign off on the 60 and 37 year old couple. Lets say this 60 year old had a daughter at the age of 23. Is it weird that his now daughter is the same age as his girlfriend? I guess we have heard of these couples — if you personally know one — I’d love to learn how it works for them. But okay, the million dollar question: How young is too young? For casual hookups, half your age plus seven, if you can handle it. For relationships, as long as both are of legal age and your maturity level and life stages align, you have my blessing!

Chris: I’ll just add one more thing: If you have any inkling of someone being too young, then he/she probably is too young, for you.