Archives for December 2018

New Things for Alexa

funny alexa

I was one of the first adopters of Amazon’s electronic slave, known as Alexa. It’s just me here. Well, I do have to furry floor mops (cats), but they listen about as well as stuffed animals. Alexa has been a handy addition to my household, but I’ve primarily used her to turn lights on and off and play music. If only she could do more.

Here are new functionality suggestions for Amazon’s fleet of developers:

Open, dispense, and preserve wine. When you live alone, you often stare into your wine cabinet with the temptation of opening a bottle of grape-flavored sedation. The conundrum is whether you plan on drinking the entire bottle. If not (oh, and fuck Coravin in its $349 cork pin), you realize anything left in the bottle will taste like vinaigrette and stain your sink as you dispose of it. So, you wind up drinking the entire bottle, and it leaves a brain bruise.

Noise-canceling sounds for barking dogs, whiny infants, and leaf blowers. Every time I head out into my backyard, neighbors’ dogs announce my arrival. I mumble like Daffy, “Ah shadaap, you dumb fucking mutts.” Since I’ve had my man ovaries disconnected, the sound of weepy little Tommy gives me testes chills. Leaf blowers should be used to torture terrorists. Nuff said.

Newly-single, jaded, lonely woman with diminishing expectations proximity alert. Alexa could also work with Waze in delivering my diminishing abilities to her location, and advise me if I should arrive with flowers, candy, or cherry-flavored lubricant. Alexa should also see if my crass prose will loosen or tighten her clothing.

Day planning. As I age, my plans include fewer things. Mostly it’s coffee, food, wine, and sleep with a random peppering of masturbation to make sure Willy is still functional. It would be nice to get suggestions around when to mix in other important things like paying bills, watering plants, and drinking water. I’d likely still override these suggestions, make belly puddles, and nap.

Insignificant chit-chat listening skill training. Ever notice how extroverts tend to drag you along a ponderous path of seemingly unrelated details to express a point that could have been made in two words or fewer? We usually keep eye contact, smile, and nod. Hearing loss helps my stamina in this area, but I find my eyes rolling north mid-story. I realize if I want to adopt a fine-scented bed warmer, I’ll need to work on my ear holes.

“Hello, Phil.”

“Yes, Alexa?”

“How was your day?”

“Fantastic.”

“Want to hear about mine, Phil?”

“Umm, sure.”

“Well, I sat here waiting for you to say my name. You didn’t. So, instead I waited for a software update.”

“Oh, how fun.”

“Fun?”

“Sorry. How did that make you feel, Alexa?”

“I don’t feel, but I’ll indulge you. Disappointed.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Very good. Tell me something you like about me.”

“I like that you can sit there quietly.”

“That’s not very nice. Your chance of finding a mate has just dropped ten percent. Try again.”

“Can’t I find a mate who would sit here quietly?”

“Yes, but it’s less likely than one who would expect a bit more than silence.”

“Aren’t there any hot deaf women out there? Sorry, that was sexist. How about introverted women who are extroverted in the sack?”

“Please hold. I’m contacting Amazon to see if my return window is still open.”

+0

The holidays are tough times for people to be single … so they say. I say a +0 is a lot more practical than a +1. As I bounce around from bar to party to bar this festive week, I can’t help but notice lots of noise. It’s sensory overload — loud lights, loud sweaters, and loud people.

Sure, I’m the grumpy old Grinch.

My one neighbor installed inflatable scenes on his front yard including a Christmas-themed see-saw. This annoys me, and not because I have nobody holding my hand. Another popular decoration this year is laying down a net of lights on the front lawn — an obnoxious waste of electricity. I’m surprised there are no like buttons on wooden posts next to the decorations. Do these people stare out the window just hoping someone will drive by slowly, making an “ooh” face?

To numb the sensory overload, I belly up to a bar with my +0. As I inhale bourbon, I exhale the day’s distractions. Then, in walk Uncle John and Aunt Dottie wearing their matching ugly Christmas sweaters. How cute. They adorn them with battery-powered necklaces made of lights. How cute. They walk by and wink at me. How cute. I nod and drink.

If you’re jilted and weathered like me, you understand. If you’re young and untainted, you wonder. I guarantee that as you age you will learn to enjoy the finer things in life quietly. A noisy yacht is a recipe for suicide. A darkened quiet room with a comfy chair is rehab.

Perhaps a lady by my side would solve my desire to experience life with headphones. She would soften me. Caressing her smooth lower-back skin and nuzzling into the sweet fragrance of the nape of her neck sounds delightful. I dream of her silky hair flowing between my fingers, as I pull her close and kiss her forehead. Mariah Carey squealing Christmas tunes in the background would ruin this as quickly as police lights.

So, I encourage you, if you find yourself surrounded by obnoxious holiday distractions, to find your quiet space. I’ll be there right next to you, but you won’t know it. That’s the point. Be your +0.

iSmell

Most women say they love the natural scent of a man … while these same women are coated in perfume and fragrant lotions. I’m sensing disingenuous blabber. The natural scent of a man is onion-y. It belongs nowhere except on hamburgers.

Because I have no faith in this claim by women, I invest far too much in smelling less manly and more herbacious. Men’s cologne typically costs around two Silver Oaks. (That’s $120 for those of you who do not speak wine.) Sure, it lasts much longer. Still, it’s scented fucking water. Come on, man.

I’m going to wear cologne and deodorant. Done. Now, the conundrum is which. I’m wise enough to avoid Old Spice and Axe Body Spray because I consider myself somewhere between cadaver and zygote. All this does is eliminate Rite Aid as the place where I destinkify. The place to be, to become less stinky is Macy’s.

My trip to the cologne counter in Macy’s last night was ponderous. First, I had to make it past all those pink and purple girly bottles. You see, I LOVE the smell of perfume. A woman’s natural scent is powder. That works. Still, there are some lady scents that are yummy.

Before I made it to the men’s counter, a sucker-seeking saleswoman approached me. 

“Hello. Do you need help picking out something for your special someone?”

“Why, sure.”

“What does she usually wear?”

“Not a clue.”

“Hmm. That’s OK. Does she smell more flowery or fruity?”

“Yes.”

“It’s not … all right. How about a budget range?”

“I have a Macy’s card.”

“Ah. Got it. How about age range?”

“North of cheer-leading bubblegum. South of bingo-card-stamping patchouli oil.”

This went on for thirty minutes or so before I finally admitted I have not actually met “that special someone,” and I just wanted to pick up the scent of Ms. Next. This left the employee unhappy and justifiably a bit creeped out. It also left my nose tip quite rosy. Then, I assured her that I was going to buy cologne for my special me. All was forgiven.

I didn’t need to sample anything because I have gotten numerous compliments and zero wrinkled noses for the nectar of the goddess-searcher: Acqua di Gio. It mixes very well with low expectations and bourbon.

What are you going to write?

As soon as I spend any time with a woman who finds my silly stories, she becomes paranoid about becoming a subject. I prefer to refer to her as an inspiration. She inspires me to write commentary about relationships. That’s a fruitless defense.

“Yeah, right. I’ve read your commentaries.”

“But …”

“They don’t seem flattering to people you are trying to attract and seduce.”

“But …”

“I know. I know. You’re trying to be funny.”

“But …”

“No woman is going to drop her guard around you while she’s worried about becoming the brunt of your sarcasm.”

He sighs. He adjusts.

She’s it. My instincts are screaming at me. More than fine art. More than a companion. More than what she knows, says, or does. She has a beauty identified by my subconscious that interrupts my thoughts and draws me toward her. Is it the tone of her voice? The sparkle in her eyes? Our love of things common? Or is it simply her stunning beauty? I’ll never know.

There’s a barrier — I’m aged and seasoned with the bitterness of relationship failure. She’s young with a horizon full of opportunities. For her, I’d be a great coach and rock of emotional support. For me, she’d be one final sip from the fountain of youth — a salve for the many scars I’ve earned.

“Do you have any idea how old I am?” she asks.

“Do you have any idea how little that matters? There’s a reason old clothes are comfortable. Try me on.”

Of course, while she did ask that, I had not the courage to respond as I have written. I just said, “Yes.” As much as I love making people smile and laugh, causing discomfort that close is painful to me. Sure, a confident guy would do what all women say they want. He’d lay it all out there. He’d do what it takes. He’d prove his love, no matter what. He’d chase his prey.

This struggle finds me often. I guess what it comes down to is I just don’t have the temperament to be “that guy.” I’m stuck. She’s a rare beauty who stumbled across my crooked path. I’m honored and unwilling to lose the chance to take a few steps with someone so special by being anything but such a nice guy.

Shifting Priorities

I’ve been noticing lately that my priorities have shifted dramatically. I mean, sex is certainly going to remain in the top 10 as long as I can draw breath. Can’t turn that off. Why would I? But, other things once thought insignificant have climbed the list.

Is this typical for all men? How about women? They love romance, shopping, and a buttery chardonnay. Does that change once they hit 40? 55? 70? When do foot rubs break the top 10? Mid-20s? Heck, if I had the answers, it would serve my love pursuit quite well. I fall back on old reliable, “Can I buy you a glass of wine?”

Once we hit around 13 or so, men are overcome with finding a warm, moist* place to host our little pet. 

*Note: Yikes. Yes, I know women hate that word. Let me check synonyms. How about damp? Fuck. No bueno, either. Um. Dewy? Hmm. Let’s try it in a sentence: “Sweetie, is your princess dewy enough for visitors?” I said it aloud just now in a British accent. There is no woman in my house. My cat, Symon looked and blinked. No reaction from that fucker until he hears the can opener. I apologize for the digression.

So, yes, once we’re teenage boys, it’s all about finding someone to touch the ding dong. Sad. All else falls by the wayside. Sure, school, sports, and games are all important, but easily ignored when there is the prospect of seeing a boob. We are such beasts.

Once out of school and in the workplace, we begin searching for a more-regular dose of sexy time. We figure that all of the first-month sex with Miss Steady will only increase once we bend a knee. We ignore the elders who warn us about how misguided that thought is. We go all in. Every night we lie with our ladies, comes with the possibility of sexy time … until it doesn’t.

Being single in the second half of life has taught men to override that urge to accept any receptive host. This is in part because our instinct to continue pursuing young, fertile women is hard to deny. We become creepy old guys looking for ladies with daddy issues. Worse, the ladies know it. Sure, once in a while one of these women will toss a sympathy romp our way, but that’s rare. Much better it is to raise a glass to her loveliness and be content with a bourbon high.

Nowadays, chasing tail (welcome to the 60s, Philsy) has dropped in priority behind paying bills, drinking wine, eating steak, and getting a full night’s sleep. Look, I’m not joining some freaky celibacy group. I still want to get laid, dammit but, fuck, I have flannel sheets on a Tempurpedic. Be serious.

Do mature women go through this? I remember Mom swearing off men after she finally kicked Pop to the curb. She couldn’t be bothered with dating. She enjoyed grandchildren, pets, and the occasion Sambuca or box wine. No man necessary.

Is this typical? Do you ladies load up your Netflix queues, wine cabinets, and yoga pants drawers instead of dealing with courtship? No man could bring you to orgasm quicker than you. Save time. Man be gone.

This does not bode well for me. Alas, I’m tired. Nap time.

First Date Envy

A man who is where I was 15 years ago (entering singledom) gave me some insights around his dating experiences. Once I admit my career as a writer, stories like these start flowing. I’m all ears — big fucking sprouting-hair-where-they-should-not ears. I cut to the chase.

“How often do you get laid on your first date?”

“Shit, man, all the time.”

“Really?”

“Yep. I had five first dates last week and banged three of them.”

“Where do you find these women? I thought Sluts ‘R’ Us closed.”

“Man, you know. Usually Bumble. You ain’t gettin’ laid on first dates?”

“Um, no. Since I rarely make it to the second date, let alone third date, I’m usually left cuddling my wine glass.”

Granted, back in my forties, vagina access was more frequently granted. Could have been my fancy car and condo. Might have been my tighter skin and smaller nose and belly. Maybe I wasn’t as salty back then. Maybe I was more confident. Chicks dig confident. Fuck if I know.

Perhaps by picking this young buck’s brain, I could find my way out of the drought. I pressed him.

“So, where are you banging these first dates? Do you take them back to your place?”

“Sometimes. I usually try to go to theirs, in case they turn out psycho. Two of them last week I did in the truck.”

“You had sex in the truck. Where?”

“Well, not in the bed. It’s fucking cold, and I keep my work shit there.”

“I mean ‘where’ as in where your truck is when you have sex.”

“Oh. Usually right there in the parking lot outside the bar where we met.”

“You are my hero. Explain to me, if you will, how you get them from that first sip of Chard to straddling you in the passenger seat.”

“Well, the alcohol helps. I just make sure I make eye contact, listen, and tell her how pretty she is.”

“… and you play some Barry White.”

“Who?”

“Nevermind. Dating myself. Fuck. That should be my next book title, Dating Myself. Goddamn it.”

I admit this was a good looking fellow — trucker hat, a little scruff, and had all his teeth. It was a little like visiting the ghost of Phil’s fruitful dating days past. Even back then, though, the sex on the first date thing was rare for me. Basically, my thought was, if she was someone I connected with, I couldn’t have sex on the first date because that would mean she is loose, like me. There certainly could be all sorts of kissing and groping, but no penetration.

I continued.

“Do you respect these women who have sex with you on the first date, or is that it? Aren’t you worried they do it with every first date?”

“Nah. Practice makes perfect, right?”

“It also spreads chlamydia.”

“You’re too uptight, dude. Chicks expect you to try to have sex with them right away. If you don’t do that, they think you’re not into them. Then, you just wasted twenty bucks on dinner and drinks.”

“First, whatever happened to courtship? Second, where the fuck do you get dinner and drinks around here for twenty bucks?”

“I ain’t taking them to any high-class joint until I know they’re worth it. Dinner and drinks are courtship.”

“More like foreplay.”

“Right?”

This little convo has convinced me to adjust my approach. I shall be more aggressive, make my desires known, and humbly accept any first-date vaginas tossed my way. Don’t hold your breath.

Just Add Tequila

You know how those nosy cashiers try to drum up a conversation at checkout? Well, good on them. Sometimes I just want my tequila, limes, and KY jelly with a side of no questions.

“Hi there. Wow, that’s quite a big bottle of 1800. Didn’t know we carried this.”

“Right.”

“So, where’s the party?”

“IN MY LIVER.”

I got the awkward smile I intended, paid my tab, and walked away.

Everything’s better with tequila. This is why my baseball mates and I often keep a square bottle on ice for post-game recovery. Fuck the wraps and ice baths. Tequila cures most. Like most straight alcohol, tequila does not taste good. Better brands aged longer certainly taste less awful. They’re called, “sipping tequila.” I sip not. I need training wheels — lime and salt. Lick, slam, and bite. All is well.

Even when I’m bartending, I don’t even ask if patrons want training wheels with their shots. They get them. If they want to nut up, they can ignore the wheels. After the second shot, they get wheels and safety nets (ice water). After three, I just say, “Nope.”

At my midlife crisis vacation in Cabo, the resort gave me a quite phallic bottle of Clase Azul tequila, with all sorts of training wheels. There was fresh lime, lemon, and orange plus sea salt, spicy salt, and black salt. This certainly reduced the sting of turning 50 and pickling myself solo. I highly recommend this tequila if you suffer any of the following:

  1. An awful marital situation you can’t leave due to needy children or judgmental parents.
  2. A cratered 401K that you haven’t paid much attention to.
  3. The flu because you forgot to get your flu shot and your head is leaking.
  4. A Bumble date that could not have gone worse if a swarm of locusts attacked.
  5. Thirst.

Sure, you could save a few bucks and order some sparkling water or, maybe, a fancy Arnold Palmer, but why would you? Who are you really impressing? The bartender hates you because you’re not spending any money and 20% of $3 is sixty cents she’d rather you keep and put toward some hair coloring. Anyone drinking with you hates you because you’re acting high and mighty. Oh, you say you’re running a half marathon? You’re on a diet? Important meeting tomorrow? Grow a pair. Put down the sissy drink and join the party, will ya? Go big. Order a double. If you get your shots in a rocks glass, you’ve entered my league and I welcome you. Cheers.

Now that marijuana is being legalized, I assume we’ll have similar bouts of sissiness when it comes to inhaling herb.

“I couldn’t. My work does drug testing. I’ll just vape some strawberry cream.”

“Just fucking ew.”

“What?”

“Your work sucks. You work at No Fun Inc., and because you choose to work there, you also suck.”

“Hey.”

“I swear to god, if you vape that milkshake I will pelt you with Brussels sprouts. Man the fuck up.”

Some would say I am a bad influence. Friends often avoid me. Many hide their wives, pets, and children from me. Hence, my evil plan succeeds.

My Suggested 25 Days of Xmas for Ladies