Archive for April, 2013

Shower = Time Warp

THE SHOWER IS LIKE A TIME WARP. It’s easy to lose track in there. You go in thinking “OK I have to leave for work in ten minutes” and when you come out:


It’s 2050 AD and highways of flying cars march around impossible skyscrapers. Go back into the shower and come out again and robots rule a post-apocalyptic wasteland:


But you can’t tell your boss that this is why you’re late, which is what I hate. You have to make up some excuse, like, my teleportation device only transported my leg and I had to hop here; or, I went for a quick jaunt to the Moon in my personal rocket ship, which exploded; or, I have diarrhea.

If only we could be honest.



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The Arrow of Time

IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO FAST-FORWARD TIME, would you use it? I think about this sometimes when I’m bored/uncomfortable/etc. For example, walking to the metro in minus 30. Or standing around when it’s quiet at work. My answer, however, is always no.

clickI imagine myself on my death bed, thinking: “Wow. I would be dying 100 hours later, except that I fast-forwarded those hours because I was bored.” I’d way rather be bored than dead.

I might nonetheless fast-forward experiences that were actually painful: e.g. the dentist. I worry that this would become addictive though – a slippery slope in which one fast-forwards through more and more experiences, reducing life to a highlight reel.

It could also be that we get some good out of bad experiences – e.g. gratitude for and appreciation of good times. Meaning that fast-forwarding past bad times could actually result in less net good.

Of course, the power that we really wish we had when it comes to time travel is rewinding time. Fast-forwarding time allows us to avoid bad experiences but hurtles us toward our deaths; while rewinding actually gives us more time (in a weird sense) and permits us to change the past. Let’s skip the time travel paradoxes and just go with this wishful version of going back in time. Rewinding time in this way is akin to having save points in a video game. I think it would be hard to find someone who has never wished for the power to do this.


Me when I learnt to drive: “If I crash can just load a g- . . . Oh.”

Here are some pictures I call: WHERE IS THE FUCKING REWIND BUTTON?

“I didn’t say FAT. I said . . . fatTER.”

If only . . . one . . . less . . . drink . . .

Why . . . that last . . . drink?

"Fart? No. No, that's a natural gas leak. I just saw a canary die."

“Fart? Must have been you.”

NEVER ask a woman if she’s pregnant

"Oh I think you have some food on your face."

“I think you have some food on your face.”

"Do you want to come over for drinks? I MEAN SEX! SEX! No wait. DRINKS!"

“Do you want to come over for drinks? I MEAN SEX! SEX! No wait. DRINKS!”

We’ve all had moments like this. If it had been up to me, I would have given everyone – or at least myself – buttons like these:


For now, we can always pretend:

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I HAVE INVENTED A TEST that is going to revolutionalise dating. In fact, it is going to revolutionalise the relationship between the sexes. Behold: the Ugly Test.

Ever dated someone who was actually kind of a dick? A bit of a douche/douchette/just generally too into themselves? You know you shouldn’t do it but they’re so, so, so goddamn hot . . .

OK, well, fuck you, I have.

Ever had friends who are actually kind of dicks/crazy/boring?

Don’t shit me. I know you have. It’s the halo effect.




The halo effect is a term coined by psychologist Edward Thorndike that refers to a cognitive bias in which our judgement of one characteristic of a person influences our judgements of their other characteristics; one positive trait gives them an aura, or halo, of other positive traits. One example of that is the way in which our judgement of someone’s attractiveness spills over into our overall evaluation of them. An extreme example of this occurs in studies of jury outcomes: more attractive people tend to receive lesser sentences and are less likely to be convicted.


In short, the halo effect means that some attractive people often get away with a lot more dickishness/craziness/boringness, because people are more willing to tolerate/forgive/ignore it. (Hence Barney’s Hot Crazy Scale). Then they reach us, these things having become reinforced, and it becomes our problem. And we too are vulnerable to the halo effect.



The Ugly Test is designed to sidestep the halo effect. It is a thought experiment that goes like this:

Close your eyes. Imagine a member of the sex to which you are attracted. Or anyone, really. OK. Now imagine that they are really, really, really ugly. I mean, they have a thin little moustache and a monobrow; add three hundred pounds and take away some teeth; or do the opposite depending on what you’re attracted to. Now you ask yourself three questions: Would this person still be cool? Would I want to hang around this person? Is this a worthwhile person?


The Ugly Test is the solution to the problems created by the halo effect. Is someone you’re interested in more hot than kind/interesting/awesome? Ugly Test: stop expending effort. Is your boyfriend a dick? Ugly Test: dump him. Is the girl you’re dating kind of a bitch? Ugly Test: fuck that shit.  Have you ever met one of those people who is really good looking, and also really uninteresting, but gets a lot of attention because they’re attractive? Everyone ditch that person right now until they develop a personality. You will be giving them an opportunity.

The Ugly Test changes everything. It is soon going to enter common parlance, sometimes as a verb:

“So I started dating this new girl.”

“Yo, bro, did you Ugly Test her yet?”

“Oh shit. I totally forgot. I’ll do it now.”

Or as a noun:

“I couldn’t understand why everyone thought he was a dick. He was so nice to me, even if he did make fun of me, my friends, his friends, and have several warrants out for his arrest. Anyway, then I tried the Ugly Test.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that attraction isn’t an important part of human relationships. But I am saying, sometimes we need to look past it for a moment. In some cases, doing so will leave us feeling disappointed. In others, it will give us a new, unbiased appreciation of how damn cool someone is.

Next time you go on a date, just try it. Tell the person to hold on a minute while you close your eyes. Imagine that they have warts and a monobrow. Open your eyes. And see what happens.



Is deliverable via mail.

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I WOULD RAVAGE YOU with the force of 1000 Greek gods,” I wrote.

Do you think Poseidon smelt like fish?” she asked.

Oh. I don’t know. That’s a good question I guess.”

Sometimes sexting doesn’t work. These are things that the real gods didn’t have to worry about. But they did have to worry about something else – smelling like fish. This was probably the least of Poseidon’s problems however. Look at his wife:


Where did he turn for kicks? It gets lonely down in the ocean, and there are plenty of fish in the sea. Maybe he found what Akon found – a sexy fish. But sex with fish isn’t what you think it is – ask Ariel. I have never personally ejaculated onto fish eggs in the ocean . . . yet . . . but I imagine it is a singularly unsatisfying experience. Hopefully Poseidon stuck to mammals like dolphins, who have regular sex, although they also do some pretty weird things with their blowholes.


Thinking about the gods can put our own problems into perspective


Worst. Awakening. Ever.

Zeus’ problem was that he was just too potent. In fact, he would sometimes impregnate people by accident, such as his mother Gaia. He also had some weird fetishes. Example: he once had sex as a swan. He also seduced unsuspecting ladies using the forms of a serpent and a white bull. It’s sort of the opposite of a bestiality fetish, because instead of sexing an animal as a human, you’re sexing a human AS an animal. It’s more like being a furry. Furries are people who dress up as animals to have sex (yes this is a real thing. Click here for Wikipedia). I understand Zeus’ choice of a bull – a bull is strong and powerful and has glossy back hair that shimmers in the sunshine. But I struggle to understand the swan. Imagine this conversation with your partner:

“… and then the masseuse just rips off my towel and starts fucking me. What about you, what fantasies do you have?”

“Uuum I really want to have sex with someone as a duck.”

“Oh . . . I . . . see.”

“Yeah. Or like a chicken or something. Or maybe something really out there . . . Really masculine . . . Like a swan.”

“Baby . . . get out of me. Now. I . . . have a headache.”

“A beautiful swan, its feathers so soft and velvet, it’s neck long and elegant, and the feet . . . The rubbery feet . . .”


What's wrong? Don't you want me?

What’s wrong? Don’t you want me?

The gods also had problems with people not wanting to be raped by them. Having read up to here, I know you’re really confused about why anyone would not want to have sex with a god. Because mmm seafood/cows/swans. But it happened. When Demeter changed herself into a mare to hide from Poseidon, the god of the sea transformed himself into a stallion and chased her down. To escape Apollo, the wood nymph Daphne turned herself into a tree. Actually pretty dumb when you think about it. Anyone can hump a tree. I would have turned myself into a cactus.

OK, except for this guy

At least then you would only have to worry about this guy

The gods were good at getting around the rape dilemma, coming up with all sorts of tricks. One time Poseidon disguised himself as the river god Enipeus in order to seduce Tyro, a mortal woman who was in love with said river divinity. Zeus pulled one of these too, disguising himself as a woman’s husband. Which is one up on the old Phantom/Poltergeist/Houdini (in which a man in doggy style position secretly trades places with a friend and runs outside to wave at his female partner through the window. . . Apparently people do this.)

The biggest problem the gods faced however was being sexy as fuck, and knowing it. Look:


This sexiness led to a lot of pride which meant they could take slights pretty personally. The goddesses once challenged the mortal man Paris to choose who was sexier. Hera, Athena and Aphrodite got all nude and offered him various bribes. Sound good? No. Think about it. This is the worst situation for a man ever. It’s like having three girlfriends and one day they ask you, which one of us is fatter? No matter what, you’re fucked.

Run . . . Just fucking run

Run . . . Just fucking run

Paris should have said, screw this, and turned himself into a cactus. But he didn’t. He chose Aphrodite, who had offered him Helen of Troy, and look how that turned out: in revenge, Hera took the side of the Greeks against the Trojans and Paris was killed in the conflict. She then raped him disguised as a bull disguised as his wife. She might have anyway. The gods had problems.

I would ravage you with the force of 1000 pretty normal down-to-earth guys and definitely not as a duck.”

Best to play it safe.

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