An Ordinary Man

Or, Men 101

Month: October, 2014

Frequency, Not Variety (Sorry, Guys)

According to the NY Daily News, researchers from the University of Montreal and Institut Armand-Frappier have found that “[m]en who have had sex with more than 20 women have a 28% lower chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.” The article goes on to quote study leader Marie-Elise Parent of the University of Montreal as saying, “[i]t is possible that having many female sexual partners results in a higher frequency of ejaculations, whose protective effect against prostate cancer has been previously observed in cohort studies.” In lay peoples’ terms, that means the more often you come, the less likely you’ll get this disease.

Richard, the sexually-frustrated protagonist in An Ordinary Man, already knew this and explained it to his attractive female colleague in evolutionary biology thusly:

“I’m beginning to think the pair-bonding mechanism is not quite perfected. Males are supposed to stay with a particular female despite other sexual opportunities because the females have done away with an estrous cycle and are, allegedly, receptive at all times of the year. It is to the male’s genetic advantage to have multiple offspring but nature ended up making the sexual act itself the reward by inventing the orgasm so, the thinking goes, it is the act of intercourse – not the birth of progeny – that is meant to satisfy the male; meaning he should be just as happy having sex with the same woman fifty times with just one birth resulting as he would be with fifty women and fifty births. It is the fifty orgasms that are important. So far, so good: dad, in exchange for regular sex, stays around to help mom raise what amounts to a very needy infant with a comparatively long period of dependency.”

Frequent sex with your mate will help your marriage, and maybe keep him healthier. Plus it feels good. So why not?

… smh ….

A week before hosting a fund-raiser for a victims’ center, the proprietor of a downtown deli is charged with assaulting his intimate partner by slamming her head into his dashboard after an argument. His victim? A county prosecutor who has done several domestic murder trials. What is it with men and women?

read more:

Miley Cyrus: Feminist

"French Fashion plate from c1780 showing an exposed nipple" -

“French Fashion plate from c1780 showing an exposed nipple” –

She’s young enough to be my daughter, but Miley Cyrus’ attention-getting finally got mine after the New York Daily Post published a pixelated picture of her topless on her hotel balconey in Australia. I went to my favorite internet search engine, made sure Safe Search was off (it was…) and googled “miley cyrus topless.” What happened next sort of surprised me after dozens, if not hundreds, of photographs of an incompletely dressed Miley Cyrus came up. In some, her nipples were completely visible. In others, there was strategic placement of other body parts or ‘safe’ camera angles, and in others, she was wearing see-through garments with obvious, and in-you-face, pasties.

I realized that Miley Cyrus, with tongue definitely not in cheek, appears to be striking a blow for the de-objectization of the female torso. She is clearly saying, to me anyway, what is the big deal about the female breast and its nipple? She could hardly be more matter of fact over that she is female, and that this is what her female torso  looks like, and that we all know that, so can we end this foolish charade of pretending it is some great mystery? Why is it okay for hot, buff guys to walk around topless, strutting their stuff – and showing their nipples – but not for women? The French celebrated the beauty of the breast in the late 1700s and we’re still talking about ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ 250 years later?

Note two things: 1) I’m not saying toplessness should be permitted anywhere – just as there are situations wherein a man without a shirt would bother me (‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’), so too would a woman without one. Substantial clothing remains desireable 99% of the time. 2) Just like I probably shouldn’t – okay, definitely shouldn’t – run around too much with my shirt off, so too with some women. That would be because most of us simply don’t make that cut, or because the rare few of us make it too easily. Prime physical specimens create disturbances and I would hope they’d realize some modesty is the cost of their great beauty.

In any event, I have to applaud this woman’s efforts, if that is her intent, to desexualize breasts even as she keeps them pretty.

Now the twerking and south of the border concert stuff is another story ….

Mateness Points

My seventh-grade health teacher cautioned our class that none of us were likely to have an original thought in our lifetimes – not because we were exceptionally dim-witted, but because virtually every thought worth thinking has already been thought of. So I was not surprised to see an article on confrming a pet theory regarding marital satisfaction I advanced in my novel, An Ordinary Man – that of “mateness points.” As explained by the protagonist, Richard Wilson, to his wife Liz:

“It has to do with what I’ve been calling mateness points.”

“Maintenance points? What are those?”

“No, not maintenance – mateness; mateness points.” He chuckled; she could be fun. “Matability. I don’t know; I’m going to have to coin a term if this idea has any legs. Anyway, the idea is that each female assigns each male a certain number of these points, based upon whatever makes males attractive to her, just as each male assigns them to each female based upon whatever makes females attractive to him. A guy would give points for beauty, grace, wit and style, along with intelligence and, you know, whatever. Same thing with a woman; she’ll assign points as she sees fit, and only those guys with a certain number of points will get the time of day from her. Let’s say her threshold is five hundred points; she’d obviously like Mr. Wonderful, who has maybe a thousand, but Mr. Wonderful isn’t likely to look at her because he wants more points than she is likely to have. If she’s only looking for five hundred, she’s probably a little down-market for him, so even if she does snag Mr. Wonderful, it’ll only be for a night or two. He’ll drop her as soon as a girl with more points comes along.

“Of course all kinds of complications arise. People give themselves too many points, don’t give others enough points, base their points on attributes not as meaningful as they think, don’t give the same attributes the same point values, et cetera. It’s like a cosmic balance with really funky counterweights. But the bottom line is the scale must balance, or look like it’s balanced to the couple involved. If it’s not, one of them is going to become dissatisfied at some point and cause trouble. So you strive for as many points as possible in your mate, but if you overreach, you won’t have enough points to sustain his commitment.”

“So the tipping point is when the couple’s mateness points balance gets out of whack?”


“So how many points did I have when you met me?”

“You? You were way up there. And that might be part of the problem. I wanted a high number, but wasn’t that high myself, so I fooled you into thinking I had more.”

“You had enough.”

“Thank you, but the metric can change as the relationship progresses. Sometimes points are gained, other times they are lost. I have a feeling I’ve lost points. Andrew obviously thought he had points to spare.”

“So is that what you think women do, go around calculating point values and then offering themselves to the highest they think they can get?”

“Not consciously, no. Well, some do. But I do think, I do believe, that there is at least some residual deep-seated instinct guiding a woman’s response to men. It only makes sense, to me anyway. But it’s time for me to go to work.”

It turns out, as points out, that “[i]n social psychology, there is a classic theory called ‘exchange theory.’ It is a bit cold-blooded, but it predicts that a person’s actions will be based on trying to find a balance of give and get. Each person’s resources — of all kinds, including money, looks, background — are traded back and forth for a ‘good deal.’ For example, a ‘good deal’ scenario could be a woman who makes an excellent living pairing up with a man who is a writer and is willing to work at home and be the primary child care person.”

It’s not cold-blooded; it’s how we work. Well, maybe that is a bit cold-blooded.

Big Wedding – Shorter Marriage? published an article regarding a study confirming a correlation between big, cheap weddings and longer marriages; same, too, with cheaper engagement rings. The study, by two economics professors at Emory University, did not say what the correlation was due to, but it’s obvious to me anyway: money. What couple has “enough” of it that they want to be paying for their wedding instead of buying a house, going on a trip, or paying off student debt?

Feeling Forty Plus (literally)

I’ve been a member of the Flickr photosharing website since 2007 and have made several pretty good friends through it. Some of them are ladies who sometimes shoot selfies that are sometimes revealing.  Two of them, having reached their forties, have grown a little hesitant.

Observation No. 1: As I’ve said elsewhere, there should be no shame in an attractive person (male or female) taking an attractive photograph of themself, almost no matter what it depicts. Thus there should be no shame if such an image is hacked or leaked. In keeping with this, I support the ‘free the nipple’ campaign, unless we are willing to shame men who expose theirs. Secondary sex characteristics need to be de-sexualized, at least to the extent we are not offended by a sculpted male’s naked chest.  Of course there will always be women who should probably keep their shirts on, just as there are men who should as well, but that’s a matter of simple aesthetics, not moral judgment.

Obervation No. 2: Yes, my Flickr friends, you are getting further away from that ideal twenty-something you once were, but that doesn’t mean you are getting less attractive. Presumably your lover is also getting further away from that semi-ideal twenty-something he once was as well, and he’s probably more comfortable with not having to suck it in quite so much. I would much rather be involved with a complicit 40-something than I would with a mere kid. You know things she hasn’t learned yet and you are wonderful to look at and to touch.  Maybe your selfies don’t have quite the same vibe, but please do not sell yourself short. The world can use age-appropriate soft-core.


What Do Women Really Want?

this is great!

Life in the Boomer Lane


Reader’s Note #1: The following post is about yet one more expensive blob of scientific research  To the question “What do women really want?” some men will answer “Money,”  others will answer “Who the hell knows?” and those of a more prurient bent will answer “Seven inches or more.”

Reader’s Note #2: Life in the Boomer Lane recently posted  a commentary on “The Universal Hot/Crazy Matrix: A Man’s Guide to Women.” She has noticed since then that this remains far and away her most popular post to date, indicating to her either a serious interest on men’s part to understand women or a serious belief that hot women are crazy.  This post may serve to demystify.

Here goes with the post: A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin recently found that while men were attracted to nice-seeming women upon meeting them,  women did not feel the same way…

View original post 848 more words

The Sex Swagger

Charming little story out of the NY Post; a member of the NY Giants football team credited his teammate’s marriage (well, the sex he assumed came with it) for giving the guy more swagger and greater productivity on the football field.  What’s charming is that rather than being offended, the bride re-tweeted the story and took pride in it.  Behind every successful man is a lover.




“Cassiopeia was visible, as were a few other constellations he did not know as well. Her story fascinated him; had she really bragged about her beauty, or had she simply acknowledged an indisputable fact? A pretty woman who knew she was was often prettier than one who pretended she wasn’t. Sharing beauty was to be commended, not condemned. Poseidon had plainly overreacted.”


Cassiopeia is a constellation in the northern sky that resembles a stretched-out W.  It is named for a mythological queen notorious for her arrogance and beauty who received a terrible punishment:

Since Poseidon thought that Cassiopeia should not escape punishment, he placed her in the heavens tied to a chair in such a position that, as she circles the celestial pole in her throne, she is upside-down half the time. The constellation resembles the chair that originally represented an instrument of torture. Cassiopeia is not always represented tied to the chair in torment, in some later drawings she is holding a mirror, symbol of her vanity, while in others she holds a palm leaf, a symbolism that is not clear. 

repost of an early post, with new image

Wedding Rings & Their Scars

wedding band

When Richard, the frustrated protagonist of the novel An Ordinary Man, flirts with a woman he runs into at the airport, the following exchange takes place:

Linda returned his smile but paused before saying, “I’ve noticed your ring.”
“That’s why I keep it on; to avoid false advertising.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m married, but separated. I’m not in a position to pursue a serious relationship. And I don’t usually bother pursuing casual ones.”

I don’t wear a wedding ring these days, but it’s not because I’m playing the field. Rather, it is because I do not warrant the privilege of wearing one, being physically, mentally, and emotionally separated from my wife. The band should signify that you are one who is in a relationship as rich and rewarding as a marriage can and should be. I’m not.