Marriage Is A Short Sentence

Now that I’m in the final stages of polishing Book 15, my brain has apparently decided to become creative in more questionable ways.  For instance, last week I figured out why language skills seem to diminish with age.

It’s not normal aging.  It’s not even dementia.  No, the cause is much more widespread and insidious.

It’s marriage.

I determined this through exhaustive scientific research, of course.  To be exact, it occurred to me at the dinner table.

Hubby and I were chatting about nothing in particular when I mentioned that I’d finally taken time to clean my engagement ring.  I’m an avid gardener and even though I always wear gardening gloves, fine particles of soil sift through the fabric and sully my diamond.

I attempted to communicate that idea as follows:

“I always wear gloves, but you know how fine dust always comes through the…”

I didn’t bother to complete the sentence.  Hubby was already nodding, so I knew he’d gotten it.

And that’s when it hit me:  After being together for twenty years, we don’t have to finish our sentences anymore.  We each know what the other means.  (Or we don’t; and then we accuse each other of conversations that never actually took place.  Marriage is all about give and take:  Give blame, take credit.)

But it proves my point:  We don’t lose language skills as we get older; we just expect others to decipher our meaning after only a few cryptic words.

And Hubby and I have only been married for a couple of decades.  People who have been married for fifty years probably don’t even need to use nouns.  In another few decades, this will be our dinner conversation:

“Did you…”


“How about…”

“Uh-huh. But don’t forget the…”

“Got it.”

If we were married even longer, we could probably communicate with only the lift of an eyebrow and a nod.  (Or the lift of a certain finger; but that’s more of a universal gesture so I’m excluding it from my scholarly research.)

But now that I’ve identified the problem, I’m stumped for a solution.  It seems like a lot of work to change my habits just for the sake of keeping up language skills; and it’ll likely be a while before the COVID-19 isolation protocols are relaxed enough that I can visit regularly with people who require me to express complete ideas.

So I guess I’ll have to start conversing with inanimate objects that can’t possibly nod and indicate their understanding after only a few words.  As long as self-isolation doesn’t last so long that I develop an unhealthy relationship with my teapot or my dining room chair, everything should be fine.

But if they start replying…

I don’t think I’ll finish that sentence.

Book 15 update:  I’m expecting the final feedback from my beta readers this week, so stay tuned for a release date announcement in my next post!

Baa-a-a-ad Boy!

The other day we were sitting at the dinner table when Hubby said, “We need a third person in this house.”

Since we’d been talking about eating brownies only seconds earlier, I responded to his non sequitur with a jaw-dangling, “Uh… what?

“Yeah,” he went on, oblivious to the fact that my dirty mind had already zoomed off in a different direction.  “Because then you’d never know for sure that I was the one who’d eaten all the brownies.”

I fell back in my chair, relieved that he was only angling for plausible deniability.

And he’s right:  Our household lacks a scapegoat.

Roommates or kids would work; but we don’t want any of those.  A dog would do, although it might be a little hard to believe that the dog neatly removed the plastic wrap from the brownie pan before devouring the contents.  But that downside is conveniently offset by the fact that dogs can’t protest their innocence.

The only real problem with the ‘scapedog’ scenario is that it’s such a cliché that nobody believes it, even when it’s true.

When I was married to my first husband, we had a dog.  Jet was part black Lab and part blue heeler, so digging and chewing were his favourite things.  After my ex and I separated but before the divorce was final, one of my ex’s friends lent him a book on relationships and he passed it on to me.  (Too little; much too late.)

I’ll never know whether Jet sensed my teeth-gnashing irritation ambivalence about the book or whether it just smelled appetizing, but I came home one day to discover that he’d mauled the book.  Its covers were crushed and torn, its pages crumpled or missing entirely, and the whole pathetic corpse was drenched in dog drool  and patterned with pawprints.

Oh nooooooo!!!

Even though it had annoyed me, it was still a book.  All books are holy and never to be harmed in any way.  Borrowed books are to be handled with reverence and returned in exactly the same condition as they were received.

The guilt was awful.

And even worse was the knowledge that nobody was going to believe I hadn’t trashed the book in a fit of rage and blamed the dog.

I interred the sad remains (of the book, not the dog) in a bag along with a written apology and money for a replacement copy, but twenty-four years later I still cringe every time I think of it.  So… no scapedog for us.

Hubby and I are actually cat people, but cats make lousy scapegoats since it’s pretty easy to determine whether a ten-pound cat has eaten five pounds of brownies.  So I guess Hubby will be our household scapegoat for the foreseeable future.

Too baa-a-a-ad, Hubby!  (But I love you even when you do eat all the brownies.)  🙂

Book 14 update:  Another beta reader has weighed in, and this time there are only minor edits.  Progress!


I’ve been a geek all my life.

I’d like to clarify that I’m referring to the current definition of ‘geek’, as in “a socially awkward oddball who thinks too much”; not “a sideshow performer who bites the head off live chickens” (which was what the word meant when I was young).

I have never bitten, and with any luck will never bite, the head off a live animal of any sort.  Chocolate animals?  Oh hell yes!  Cooked animals?  Maybe… though I’d likely use a knife or cleaver or some other suitable implement instead of my teeth…


There I go again.  Over-thinking.  Over-clarifying.

Even as a child, I couldn’t grasp why people didn’t simply say what they meant.  When the teacher asked, “Does anyone know the answer?”, I never understood why she apparently stopped being able to see my wildly-waving hand after I’d answered the first few questions correctly.

When the other girls assured me, “Of course we’re still friends!” and then never spoke to me again, I just… didn’t get it.  There’s something to be said for being completely oblivious to social cues.  I thought I had lots of friends, and it was sheer coincidence that I never got invited to anything.

The rest of the world doesn’t understand that geeks take words at face value.  A classic geek joke goes like this:  A software engineer was found dead of starvation in his shower.  Preliminary investigation suggests that he was following the instructions on the shampoo bottle:  “Lather, rinse, repeat.”

This joke is funny and sad on two levels:  1) You have to be a bit of geek to get it; and 2) If you are a bit of a geek, there’s probably some small part of you that’s thinking, “You know, that makes perfect sense…”

Another diabolical geek trap is the phrase casually bandied about by normal human beings:  “Suggestions are welcome”.

Hint for the geeks in the audience:  No.  No, they’re not.  One suggestion is welcome.  Maybe two, tops.  If it’s your personal responsibility to resolve the issues, you might be allowed three suggestions.  Presenting twenty pages of closely-spaced bullet points will only end in annoyance for you when you realize that your listeners’ eyes glazed over after the first two points and their minds are now fully occupied by desperate escape plans.

Another hint for geeks:  If your listener is gripping a letter opener with whitening knuckles, it’s time for you to leave.  Lingering to make sure they grasped the subtle nuances of item will only result in bloodshed; and that gets awkward for everybody.  For one thing, stab wounds hurt.  For another, if your listener decides to commit hara-kiri instead of attacking you, it’s very difficult to explain to the police.  (Don’t ask how I know these things.)

Anyway, after 50-odd… okay; very odd years, I honestly thought I had this stuff all figured out.  (Note:  All geeks think this.  They’re always wrong.)

But then I went for physiotherapy a few years ago.  The physiotherapist said, “Keep your legs straight and touch your toes.”  So I did.  It hurt like a bitch.  But she hadn’t said, “… and tell me if it hurts”, so I didn’t mention it.  I threw away a lot of money on physiotherapy before I grasped that little detail.

But I’ve got it all figured out now.  Really, I do…

* * *

P.S. Book 13, “Once Burned, Twice Spy” is now available for pre-order at all retailers (click here for links)… except, for some unknown reason, the Amazon international sites. is up, but none of the other countries are showing the listing.  Grrr!  I’ve submitted a trouble ticket to Amazon and hope to have the problem resolved shortly.  To everyone who received the pre-order announcement and can’t buy from the Amazon of their choice:  I’m sorry about this.  I’ll send an updated announcement as soon as the pre-orders are up in all countries.

Rude Awakenings

My husband deserves a medal.  Not just for putting up with me on a daily basis (which in itself is medal-worthy), but for daring to sleep in the same bed as me.  That’s an undertaking for none but a brave man.

I sleep well, but lightly.  Some little corner of my subconscious always has an ear open, and my entire body is ready to leap awake at the slightest provocation.  This is a problem, because there are lots of slight provocations during the night.

Dreams, for example.  Depending on their content, it’s entirely possible that I might kick, punch, scream, or laugh myself awake.  The laughing dreams are the best – I dream of something so hilarious that I’m laughing my ass off in my dream, only to wake with a guffaw.  The kicking and punching dreams are another matter.  I haven’t made contact with Hubby yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

I’ve farted myself awake, too.  There’s nothing worse than bolting up in bed in the middle of the night thinking, “Ohmigod, something just came out of my ass!  Did I just shit the bed?”  (BTW, I never have.  Just sayin’.)

Back when I had cats, I frequently woke up already on my feet and halfway out the bedroom door, dashing toward a location pinpointed in my ever-alert brain by the sound of a cat horking up a hairball.

I wake at the slightest noise from our back alley, which is annoying because there’s a green space near us and people, especially teenagers coming back from parties in the wee hours, tend to walk and talk boisterously there.  I’d swear those voices are coming from just beyond the foot of the bed.

But the most dangerous situation for Hubby is this:  sometimes I snore.  That puts him in the unenviable position of trying to rouse me enough to make me stop snoring without actually waking me.  It’s a losing battle.

The other night I lurched up in bed with a yell, eyes wide and fists clenched.  Hubby recoiled.  “I just barely whispered your name,” he explained.  “I only wanted you to stop snoring.”

Clutching my chest over my hammering heart, I snapped, “Well, it worked!”

But the rudest awakening I’ve ever had was years ago when I was living alone.  I owned a little two-storey crackerbox of a house with no air conditioning.  There was a giant poplar tree in the back yard, which was great because I could leave the second-floor bedroom window and curtains open at night to get a breeze without worrying about privacy.

I was blissfully asleep one night when a hellish racket and a glare of brilliant light rocketed me out of bed to find the police helicopter hovering with its spotlight trained on my back yard.

That was seriously disturbing because it meant they were looking for a criminal and s/he was too close to my house for comfort; but equally disturbing was the fact that they were looking in my bedroom window with a spotlight bright enough to reveal every detail of my birthday suit.

I think that was around the time I started keeping a set of clothes within reach of the bed…

What was your rudest awakening?

Bro Bulletin – Questions Of Doom: #3

For the month of Movember, I’m supporting my Mo’ Bros by offering a few helpful insights into the female mind.  Welcome to the third instalment of the Questions of Doom series. 

* * *

Ah, you guys thought you were getting the hang of QODs, didn’t you?  I’ve got news for you:  we’ve only been dealing with easy yes-or-no QODs until now.  Let’s try a tougher one:  the multiple-choice QOD.

I don’t mean to support gender stereotypes here, but the truth is I don’t personally know any households where the male does the bulk of the cooking.  Guys, if you do, you’ve already got this one nailed.  See you next week.

QOD #3:  What do you want for dinner?

A seemingly innocuous question, isn’t it?  What could possibly go wrong?  Watch and learn…

Bad Answer:  “I don’t know, what do you want?” – This may seem like a safe response, but it’ll blow up in your face.  She’ll likely echo, “I don’t know, what do you want?”  Lather, rinse, repeat.

If you’re the passive-aggressive type, this may be strangely satisfying, but she’ll end up irritated, and you’ll probably end up eating something you don’t like.

Worse Answer:  “I don’t care.  Just cook something.” – Oooh.  Ouch.  If that ever heals, it’s gonna leave one hell of a mark.

Here’s what she just heard:  “I don’t care (about any of your trivial problems.  It’s your responsibility as the subordinate spouse to) just cook something.”

That’s why she’s screaming at you and/or slamming pots and pans around in the kitchen loudly enough to drown out the TV no matter how high you turn the volume.  You’re not gonna like what she cooks tonight.

In fact, if you have any sense of self-preservation at all, you’ll surreptitiously feed it to the dog (particularly if she fixes you a “special” plate but lets the kids serve themselves out of the communal dishes).

And if you’re hoping to get lucky tonight, go buy a lottery ticket.  The odds are better.

Iffy Answer:  “I love your (insert food item here).  Let’s have that.” – On the face of it, this sounds like the perfect answer.  You figure you’re golden because you just solved the problem and complimented her cooking at the same time.  You’re probably right…

Unless the food item in question is difficult and time-consuming to make and she’s exhausted, with ten minutes to get food on the table before the kids start chewing the table legs.

If she starts yelling about how inconsiderate you are, that’s why.  Just hunker down and take it.  It was a good try.

Safe Answer:  “Hmm, how about beef?  Chicken?  Pork?  Fish?  Sausages?  Omelette?  Haggis?  Fava beans…?” – Just keep guessing.  As long as you look like you’re participating, you’re safe.  It’s like soothing an angry dog – steady, calm tones and no sudden moves.  If you stop, she’ll rip you apart.

It’s not about actually solving the problem here – she may or may not accept any of your suggestions.  It’s about “contributing”.  When she thinks you’ve contributed enough, she’ll give you that little smile and headshake that says, “Poor foolish man, you’re just so helpless without me.”  Then she’ll go into the kitchen and make a nice meal.  You’ll enjoy it.

No, let me be really clear about that:  You WILL enjoy it.

Better Answer:  “Forget cooking tonight.  I’ll take you out to dinner/order in.” – Very smooth.  Very smart.  Hubby uses this one so frequently, I call him “The Plastic Chef”.  With a credit card in his hand, the man can cook anything.  This is one of the reasons why he has so many brownie points built up, I couldn’t yell at him even if I wanted to.

Best Answer EVER:  “You work so hard – you deserve a break.  Here, put your feet up.  Here’s a nice glass of wine.  You just relax while I cook you a gourmet meal and clean it all up afterward.” – Yeah, I know.  It’s okay, I couldn’t keep a straight face for that one, either.  But a woman can dream…

* * *

Movember Moment:  Jeez, no wonder guys get freaked out about prostate exams – I can’t believe how much bullshit I found on the internet.  It’s not that big a deal.  Here’s what to expect.

P.S. Thanks to Le Clown for starting Bloggers for Movember. In support of the cause, I’ll donate half the November royalties from my paperback and e-book sales from all channels to the Cancer Society. Please spread the word!

Bro Bulletin – Questions Of Doom: #2

For the month of Movember, I’m supporting my Mo’ Bros by offering a few helpful insights into the female mind.  This is the second instalment of the Questions of Doom series. 

* * *

(Note:  Ladies, this strategy can work for you, too.  Change the pronouns, substitute “tool” for “jewellery”, and you’re away to the races.)

QOD #2:  Did you just buy yourself a new fill-in-the-blank (FITB)?  *Scowls, hands on hips*

Oh, bro.  Buddy.  You screwed up big.  You got busted holding a new FITB and she’s mad, for one of two reasons:

  1. Money’s tight and now you won’t be able to afford groceries/coats for the kids/a family trip; or
  2. You bought something nice for yourself and nothing for her.

If it’s #1, well, don’t be a shithead.  Return the FITB and go buy coats for your kids.

But it’s probably #2.  So here we go:

Bad Answer:  “Yes” – Depending on her temperament, you’ll get:

  1. No nookie for the foreseeable future; AND
  2. Icy silence; or
  3. Increasingly hostile questions like “How much did it cost?” and “Why do you need a new FITB when you’ve already got a perfectly good one?” etc., followed by icy silence; or
  4. Increasingly hostile questions followed by berserk yelling and/or tears and/or flying objects, followed by icy silence.

Worse Answer:  “No” – I don’t mean to be critical, but “no” is a really dumb choice.  You’re standing there with a brand new FITB in your hand.  The tags are still hanging off it.  You know you’re lying.  Worse still, she knows you’re lying, and now you’re insulting her intelligence, too.  See consequences of “yes” above.  Times ten.

So how do you save yourself?  Okay, guys, I want to make it clear that I don’t support lying to your significant other.  In the first place, it’s slimy, and in the second place, it’ll come back to bite you in the ass sooner or later.

But in the spirit of Movember, I’m going to cut you some slack, ‘cause what I’m about to suggest isn’t the blackest of lies.  It’s more like a retroactive truth, if you do it right.

The following solution can make you look like a hero, but it’s complex, dangerous, expensive, and requires some acting skill.  It’s probably easier to just return the FITB, or else let her chew your nuts off and get it over with.

You still want to know?  Okay…

Best Answer:

Step 1:  “Oh, I was hoping you wouldn’t see this until (tonight/tomorrow/whenever the stores are open next).” 

You already look guilty as hell, but try to add a bit of disappointment to your expression.  She knows the first part of that statement is absolutely true, but she’s slightly confused by the second part.  This moment of uncertainty buys you time for:

Step 2:  “I know (occasion) is coming up, so I picked out the perfect gift for you, but I didn’t want to buy it until I knew it was exactly what you wanted.  And I bought this FITB for myself because you’re always saying I’m hard to buy for.”

This is the dangerous part.  She’s pretty damn sure you’re lying, but the lure of “the perfect gift” is slowing her reflexes.  This also assumes you’re within a month or so of some mutual gift-giving occasion.

Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and an anniversary are possibilities for the “occasion”, but if you’re desperate and imaginative, you could whip out something plausible but unverifiable.  Try an obscurity like “the seventh anniversary of the first day I realized I was in love with you”.

Just remember, if you mention it once, it’s forever graven in her memory.  Now you’re on the hook for another gift-giving occasion every year.  How much do you really want that FITB, anyway?

That much?  Seriously?  Okay, then…

Step 3:  Rush her to the jewellery store* and point randomly at something.

Any jewellery will do.  Feign as much enthusiasm as possible, but do not utter the words ‘It’s you’.  It’s not.  No matter what you choose, she’ll want something different.  This is just a decoy.

Step 4:  “I picked this one, but I want it to be perfect, so if you’d rather have something else…”

Suck it up, buddy, ‘cause this is where it gets expensive.  Grit your teeth, smile, and buy whatever she chooses.  I warned you it’d probably be easier to just take your punishment.

Step 5:  Buy her another gift when the actual gift-giving occasion rolls around.

This is a crucial step.  It covers your ass in case she knew you were full of shit earlier but she was willing to play along because she got a nice piece of jewellery out of it.

However, if she actually bought your act earlier, this makes you a hero.  When she says “I thought we exchanged FITBs earlier”, tell her, “I know, but I couldn’t resist buying you this”.

Kiss. Cuddle.  Get laid.  Nicely done, bro.

And next time, hide the damn FITB until you can honestly answer, “No, I’ve had it for months.”

*Note to Hubby:  Don’t try this on me.  Jewellery doesn’t cut it.  I want tools.  What, that shiny set in my trunk?  No, I’ve had that for months.

Movember Moment:  Okay, let’s start with the basics:  What is the prostate gland and how does it work?

P.S. Thanks to Le Clown for starting Bloggers for Movember, and thanks to everyone who weighed in with support for me on the weekend.  I’m feeling much better now about donating half the November royalties from my paperback and e-book sales from all channels to the Cancer Society.

Bro Bulletin – Questions Of Doom: #1

For the month of Movember, I’m supporting my Mo’ Bros by offering a few helpful insights into the female mind.  Welcome to the Questions of Doom series.

A QOD is an unanswerable and highly dangerous question posed by your wife/significant other.  I’m going to teach you how to escape some common QODs (more or less) unscathed.

* * *

Note:  There are many reasons why I’ve never asked this question myself (not the least of which is that I wear a dress approximately once every five years).  But trust me, guys, I can help you.

QOD #1:  Does this dress make me look fat?

If you’ve ever been hit with this question, you understand the devastating consequences of the wrong answer.  Hint:  Both “yes” and “no” are the wrong answer.

Let’s review:

“Yes” – So, so wrong.  Expect tears, anger, and possibly flying objects.  Don’t expect to get laid any time in the foreseeable future.  And maybe you should wear a cup.  This ain’t pretty, but if you just want to get the whole thing over with, it’s definitely quick.

“No” – This is also the wrong answer.  She doesn’t believe you.  She argues: “Yes, it does.  You’re just saying that.”

It doesn’t matter what you say at this point.  Keep insisting “no”, and she still won’t believe you, you’ll get annoyed, and then she’ll call you an insensitive jerk.   But switch to “yes” and you’re totally doomed.  See consequences above, plus now she thinks you’re a weaselly liar into the bargain.

Best Answer:  “You look hot in everything.  Grrr.” – Accompany this with a kiss, and you might get away scot-free.  But remember, you’re going for distraction here.  A peck on the cheek isn’t gonna cut it.  Just like pulling a punch, a quick lip bump is only going to piss off its recipient.

Go for the gusto.  Kiss her as if you haven’t seen a woman in ten years.

In the beyond-your-wildest-dreams scenario, she says, “Grrr yourself, big fella.”  Nature takes its course, and you end up too busy mattress dancing to go to the stupid event you were dressing for the in the first place.  But don’t get your hopes (or anything else) up for that.

In the best case scenario, she finishes getting dressed with a smile on her face.  (You didn’t really expect to get lucky at this stage, did you?  She’s focused on getting dressed.  But your chances are looking pretty good for some action later if you play your cards right.)

Worst case scenario, she relents and changes the question to, “But do you like the blue one or the black one better?”

Danger, Will Robinson!  This is a trick question.

You probably already know that “I don’t care, just put on something and let’s go” is the wrong answer.  But do not, under any circumstances, breathe a sigh of relief and choose a dress.  That will start the whole process all over again.

The only correct answer is, “The (pick a dress randomly) one makes your boobs/ass/legs look amazing.  Grrr.”

Repeat as needed.

You can thank me later.  (But if you score, I don’t want details.)

Movember Moment:  Depression is one of the most common mental health issues men face. Guys, if you think you may be depressed, see your doctor – don’t wait. The sooner you start working on it, the sooner you’ll start to feel better. Here’s a description of symptoms, risk factors, triggers, and treatments for depression in men.

P.S. Thanks to Le Clown for starting Bloggers for Movember. In support of the cause, I’ll donate half the November royalties from my paperback and e-book sales from all channels to the Cancer Society. Please spread the word!

Creepy Stalker Here

As I’ve mentioned here and here, there’s convincing evidence that I’m a sociopath.  But a few days ago, an unsettling thought bobbed to the scummy surface of the cesspit that is my mind:  Maybe I’m also a creepy stalker.

I mean, really, what’s the difference between a close friend and a stalker?

Close friends know your likes and dislikes, have a pretty good idea of your schedules and habits, call you frequently, and show up regularly to spend time with you.

So do creepy stalkers.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder.  Social skills aren’t really my best thing.  I fake them well enough for short periods, but then I scuttle back to my hidey-hole and hunker down behind my computer to converse with (at best) people I know only through a few typed words on my screen and (at worst) imaginary characters in my books.

I do this for days and weeks on end.  I go out to the pub once a week for a beer and some conversation with real human beings, but that’s about it.  If I wasn’t married, I’d probably go for days without human interaction, so it’s not like I’m really socially aware.

How many times can I call somebody before I’m officially being creepy?  If they don’t call back, does it mean they’re just busy or forgetful?  Or does it mean they’re screening their calls and thinking, “Oh, God, it’s Diane again.  She’s so creepy.  I’m going to pretend I’m dead.”

Problem is, most people are too polite to tell me to buzz off.  I tend to take people at face value and I’m disinclined to obsess over the emotional temperature of everyone I meet, so I don’t really know whether they’re genuinely glad to see me or if they give a whole-body shudder and take six showers after I leave.

I think it’s probably a good sign if they return my calls, unless they’re calling to decline my last ten invitations and tell me they’re going to be busy until the year 2045.  But that only happened with the last three people I called, so it’s not really statistically significant, right?

Maybe the restraining order is a clue, though.  More analysis is required.

Last week I was at an all-you-can-eat restaurant where each table had a little cylinder that was green on one end and red on the other.  As long as you wanted more, you left the green end up, and they kept bringing food.  Red-end-up stopped the whole thing.

That’s what I need:  a signalling system.  Green means “it’s all good”, yellow means “you’re starting to creep me out”, and red means “stay away from me, you nutball freak”.

That system probably wouldn’t catch on, though.  It seems most people actually prefer a little ambiguity in their relationships.

I guess the upside of all this is that sociopaths generally disregard the feelings of others.  Maybe this isn’t such a burning question for me after all.

So… wanna go for a beer tonight?

How about tomorrow?

Friday’s good for me, too…

That Ain’t Funny

I recently followed a link on one of the blogs I read regularly.  The blogger is normally a very funny guy.  The link was to a site containing an extensive catalogue of sex acts (which was clearly stated in his post – no surprises there).  I’m hoping the site was meant to be funny.

As a general rule, I can laugh at just about anything, including accidental flashers, farts in the car, and naked men dangling (snicker) outside my hotel window.  I clicked through to the site knowing that it would contain adult content, and I fully expected that I’d find some things that were not, um, up my alley.

But a large percentage of the acts included punching and/or kicking a female partner, breaking bones, non-consensual acts (which we old-fashioned types still refer to as “rape”), and murder.

Yeah, really.  Gang-rape her and chuck her in the dumpster when you’re done.  Or smash her head against the wall until her brains smear all over it.  Their words, not mine.  “Bitch” and “whore” were the words of choice when referring to a female partner.  And apparently one method of birth control is to smash her pelvis with a hammer.  “By the time she’s finished at the hospital, she probably won’t get pregnant anyway.”

Some of the acts came with the endorsement, “This one’s really fun”.  Like this one:  Punch her in the eye and kick her in the shin hard enough to break it.  Then she’ll look like a pirate with an eye patch and a peg-leg.

Wait, why am I not laughing?

I didn’t read the entire site.  Maybe it got funnier.  Or maybe I took a wrong turn somewhere and missed the humour.

I didn’t know how to react.  I expected ripe language and adult content.  But for me, this site stepped over the line.  Hell, who am I kidding?  This site launched itself so far over the line, it achieved low-earth orbit.

I went back to the blog again and read the comments, wondering if anyone had reacted negatively.  No.  Comments from both male and female readers, none of whom apparently had any problem with the link.

I don’t know what to do.

I know that my blog may offend some people.  I can be pretty vulgar.  I assume that people who don’t like my style will simply go away and never come back.  Nobody’s forcing them to read this.

So now that I find myself offended by a site, is it “my fault” for reading it?  It is hypocritical to comment on his blog about it?  Should I just shut up and go away?

Or should I go whole-hog and report the site as hate-mongering and inciting criminal acts of violence against women?  I’m sure the site owner(s) would insist it’s meant to be funny and I’m clearly some tight-assed do-gooder who can’t take a joke.  Free speech and all.  But where do you draw the line?

What would you do?

How Do I “Like” Thee?

Last week’s post was based on some interesting conversations about “appreciating” people besides one’s significant other.  That got me thinking, which is usually dangerous.

A few days ago, I was at the gym, surreptitiously ogling the magnificent upper body development of a couple of half-naked guys.  And no, I’m not going to tell you where I work out.  That’s my eye-candy.  I don’t share well.

The point is, I enjoyed looking, and I wasn’t the least bit interested in doing anything else.  But it made me wonder:  would they want to know I was appreciating them?

If the situation was reversed, I’d like to know.  Then again, I’m at the time of my life when being appreciated for anything pretty much makes my day.  (You:  “That’s an unusually-shaped freckle.”  Me:  “Thank you!”  *beams*)

I don’t want to go back to the days when we lived with the fact that we’d get groped and leered at and propositioned wherever we went.  I’m not talking about appreciating people to the point where you sidle up to them and lovingly run your sweaty tongue down their neck.  I’m pretty sure that kind of thing needs to be restricted to your significant other.  Preferably in private.  ‘Cause, y’know, the rest of us don’t really want to see that.

But how about a no-harm, no-foul code word that just means “I appreciate you”?  The equivalent of a “Like” button, minus the contact with sweaty anatomical bits.

I’m not just talking about appreciating members of the opposite sex, either.  I’m talking about appreciating anyone you find attractive, physically or otherwise.  Personally, when I notice an attractive person of any age or gender, my brain says, “Nice!”

I realize that this is not particularly eloquent, but it’s versatile.  It can be applied with equal appropriateness to the old lady who smiles at me with joy written in every wrinkle, and the hot hunk in his well-filled jeans.  Though in the latter case, I find that extra vowels and/or syllables may get added.  “Niiiiiice!”  And sometimes, “Ni-yi-yi-yi-yice!!”  But that might just be me. And I usually remember to use my inside voice.

How would it feel if you were out getting groceries one day, and a total stranger walked up to you, smiled, and said “Like!”  And then walked away.  No innuendos, no pressure, no lingering drool.  Just simple, innocent appreciation.

True, you wouldn’t know whether you were being appreciated for your face, your shoes, your kindness in allowing them to precede you through the lineup, or the fact that they’ve never before seen a person who’s capable of causing a landslide of produce by removing a single apple.  But it wouldn’t matter.  Just like Facebook, you don’t know exactly why you’re being “Liked”, but it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling anyway.

I realize this is a ridiculously naive and possibly dangerous idea.  I know that some people wouldn’t appreciate being “Liked”, no matter how innocent it might be.  And I know there are far too many people out there with no sense of appropriateness or boundaries, so it couldn’t possibly work.

But… I kinda wish it could.

What do you think?  Would you like to be “Liked”?