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July 31, 2006

I Love Jew. It Had to be Jew. Born to Make Jew Happy. I'm a Slave for ... okay, enough.

Jewtopia.jpg

I remember quite distinctly the first time I brought up the subject of religion with The Boyfriend. We had been dating for six months, and aside from confiding that my parents bribed my younger brother to go to church ($2 every Sunday), it had never come up.

“Is he Jewish?” my friends wanted to know. Hmm. He was a tv executive – living in New York - who drove a Mercedes. Suspicious. But he grew up in Brussels!! I wasn’t sure. Was he? I asked one afternoon, after a few drinks. “Sort of,” he replied.

Me: “Sort of? You mean half?”
Him: “No.”
Me: “Okay … then … how are you ‘sort of’ Jewish? Did you have a bar-mitzvah?”
Him: “Uh, yes. At the Hotel Bel-Air.”
Me: “YOU ARE TOTALLY JEWISH!”

Later, The Boyfriend explained that he said “sort of” because he was A) concerned I wouldn’t like that he was Jewish and B) not into the whole “religious” part.

The former I found amusing – although I was raised Protestant, I’m either ¼ or ½ Jewish, depending upon who you talk with in my family (I tend to think it’s closer to ¾, but whatever). As for the latter, well, the latter I understand. I’m not too into the religious thing either.

That, however, has never stopped me from having inter-faith relationships. Thus, it seemed fitting to write this week's AM New York column "Dating Within the Tribe", on inter-faith mixin' and funniest play in all of New York - Jewtopia.

Of course, I've only seen like, four plays. But the funniest of all of those.

The rest of the AM article, which I wanted to call "Boy Meets Goy" (even if I am a quasi-Goy) - is pasted after the jump.

JEWTOPIA: DATING WITHIN THE TRIBE
AM NEW YORK – “THE DATING LIFE”
JULY 31, 2006
BY JULIA ALLISON

The Boyfriend and I have spent much of our dating lives in inter-faith relationships – him with a predilection for Catholics, me leaning towards Jews – so it seemed very appropriate to take him to see “Jewtopia” for our anniversary last week.

Written and performed by the hysterical team of Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson, “Jewtopia,” is a brilliant off-Broadway comedic play about inter-faith relationships between Jews and Gentiles. Specifically, it centers on two guy friends – one Jewish, one Christian – who each want to date and marry outside of their religion, much to the other’s confusion. (“I like Jewish girls,” says one. “WHY??” sputters the other incredulously.)

The play, which rehashes – hilariously, I might add – every stereotype known to Jewish culture (My favorite? The Top Ten List of Traits that will Immediately Identify You as a Gentile, including Tobacco Dipping, Clubs Involving Lions or Elks, Taking Less Than an Hour to Say Goodbye, NASCAR, and Being in Perfect Health) – certainly captures the zeitgeist of today’s faith-mixing mating scene.

There’s hardly a person in New York who hasn’t at one point or another dated, or even married, outside their faith. In fact, according to the National Jewish Population Survey, 47% of Jews wed non-Jews in the years 1996-2001, up from 13% before 1970.

Despite that trend, doing so still isn’t celebrated in some households – a fact that “Jewtopia” highlights through humorous send-ups of the typical Jewish family pressure to marry “within the tribe.”

To wit: “I'm a Jewish man ... Do you have any idea the kind of pressure my family puts me under to marry a Jewish girl? I'm getting 10 to 20 phone calls a week, from my mother and my bubbee...and do you know why they're calling me? Because they all know someone who's got a daughter or a granddaughter that they want to set me up with! They will stop at nothing! Last week my Mother set me up on a blind date with her Gynecologist! That is wrong!”

I suppose it’s not surprising then, that my very first “real” relationship – with a Jew, of course – didn’t go over well with his Israeli-born parents. Never mind that I was 16 and not even remotely looking to get hitched, let alone breed half-Jews. And never mind that although I was raised Protestant, I’m ½, ¼, or 0% Jewish, depending upon who you talk with in my family. None of that mattered. I wasn’t a true Jew, and they didn’t want their son contributing to the demise of a watered-down Jewish civilization.

Of course, eight years later their son is on his fourth blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryan girlfriend, and I’m with a guy who was bar-mitzvah’d at the Hotel Bel-Air and loves to get out of household chores by insisting that “I’m a Jew. I write checks.” Sigh.

July 28, 2006

But What If Nothing Happens In Vegas? Does It Still Stay There?

Julia Alex in Vegas.jpg

I'm off to Vegas unexpectedly this weekend - ostensibly covering the World Poker Tournament, even though I have NO IDEA how to play and absolutely NO DESIRE to learn. Why people would even want to participate in card games after the age of 8 is beyond me. Other than that whole "winning money" thing, which I do understand.

I've only been to Vegas twice - and both times I've managed to integrate a very small, very silver, very Vegas dress into my wardrobe (pictured above with The Boyfriend. And below with ... some guy dressed as Elvis I met in the elevator at my hotel.) This time I'm going wild and NOT bringing it. I'm doing Vegas in pearls and dresses fit for the Hamptons. I thought I'd mix it up, you know?

Although I guess watching boring card games all weekend DOES ensure that the details of my trip will definitely "stay in Vegas" -- no one aside from the guys at Stuff magazine wants to hear that kind of mind-numbing crap.

As Cindy Adams would say - Only in Vegas, kids. Only in Vegas.

Julia with Elvis.jpg

July 26, 2006

Damn It Feels Good to Be a Hamsta!

Damn It Feels Good to Be a Hampster.jpg

The first time I saw this tee, which you can buy here, I laughed for approximately 37 minutes. The little hamster has a gansta hat!!! The whole thing reminded me of growing up very, very white on Chicago's North Shore, where my girl friends and I would play Wyclef and Snoop Dogg at 90 decibels in our Volvos and Ford station wagons. Yeah, we might have been curfew-abiding, North-Face-wearing, Michael-Stars-and-Mavi-jeans-owning suburbanites, but we knew all the words to REGULATE, damnit!

I immediately bought it.

July 24, 2006

Friends Without Benefits (FWOB, baby)

Friends - Ross and Rachel.jpg

This week's AM New York column (on the difficulty of male-female friendships) is admittedly not one of my most original - both in terms of subject matter, and literally, as I quote from an old column of mine. I felt a little guilty for writing about such a hackneyed topic, but it just keeps popping up in my life (and so, I would guess, the lives of others). Why are guy friends so damn hard to find and keep??

Below, my old column on the subject, which, although slightly collegiate, has a more comprehensive take on the subject matter.

The Georgetown Hoya
"Just Friends" Continues Its Timeless Debate
October 25, 2002

Like partisan politics in Washington, mixed gender friendships elicit strong and divergent opinions. Can men and women really be friends? From the casual “Sure, why not?” to the hard-line “HELL no!” and all the hesitant “yes … but” qualifiers in between, one thing is certain – it’s complicated.

While most people do acknowledge the theoretical existence of male-female friendships, almost all agree that in practice such ideal relationships are elusive and difficult to maintain. At best, they are described as precarious balancing acts, requiring constant vigilance to avoid stepping over the line of romantic-no-return. At worst they are said to lead either to stalking or, according to one bitter platonic friend, “destruction of the spirit and ego, followed by slow shredding of the heart.”

Avoidance of such emotional devastation seems to be dependent on both members fitting an extremely limited set of criteria. That is to say, a non-sexual gender-diverse friendship MIGHT ACTUALLY OCCUR if:

A) both parties are unattractive
B) both are unattractED
C) both have a significant other “to keep them satisfied”
D) one or both are gay
E) one or both are eunuchs

And for the incredibly naïve, if:
F) one is dating the other’s best friend*

*(F) remains highly questionable, due to overwhelming anecdotal proof in the magazine Cosmopolitan (“I Slept with My Best Friend’s Boyfriend – 10 Times! But We’re Just Friends”).

A clear theme should be evident by now – the main obstacle to platonic relationships is…yep, sex.

Ah, sex. Is it always about sex? (When is it not about sex??) According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a friend is “a person whom one knows, likes and trusts.” Nowhere in the definition does it say “and with whom one would never have sex.”

And yet, clearly there is a line between the sibling-like love in friendship and the passionate amour of eros. What does separate platonic and romantic relationships?

The 12 year old in the classic About a Boy had a very similar question. “What’s the difference between a girl who’s a friend and a girl-friend?” he asks Hugh Grant, the older (but no wiser) confirmed bachelor. Good question, Hugh thinks to himself. They decide together that it must have something to do with wanting to touch her, to be with her all the time, to tell her things they wouldn’t tell anyone else. And, they conclude, it also involves not wanting her to have another boyfriend.

In other words, it’s about sex – defined broadly, of course. Yes, it’s true that wanting to “tell her things they wouldn’t tell anyone else” may not scream “sex!” to the average reader. Still, I would contend that this desire is a clear prerequisite for the intimacy of pillow talk – an intimacy unrivaled by almost any other type of conversation, save that of people trapped in an elevator or roadtrips with non-relatives. And maybe hostage situations.

Indeed, it is the seemingly innocuous nature of these “borderline” activities that makes platonic relationships so difficult to navigate precisely. Does wanting to hug him constitute more than a platonic interest? Probably not. Wanting to kiss him? Pretty much, yes.

One male friend of mine (see letters B and F, and sometimes I think D, but he would never admit it) seemed confused about how to draw the line. “I don't understand,” he said. “Does ‘friends’ just mean you don't want to sleep with them?”

Well … it helps.

Webster’s defines platonic friendship as “a pure, spiritual affection, subsisting between persons of opposite sex, unmixed with carnal desires, and regarding the mind only and its excellences.” Doesn’t leave a lot of room for unmitigated lust, eh?

Sure, there may be other compelling (non-sexual) reasons women and men are less likely to become friends. “Economic, political, psychological, and other differences between the genders result in the fact that women find it difficult to be friends with men and vice versa,” says Mary Hunt, author of Fierce Tenderness: A Feminist Theology of Friendship (1991).

That having been said, there is no doubt that latent sexual attraction is far and away the greatest impediment to mixed-gender friendships. Even Nietzsche agreed, writing that “Women can enter into a friendship with a man perfectly well; but in order to maintain it the aid of a little physical antipathy is perhaps required.” In other words, you’d better find the other person physically unpleasant, or your friendship is going the way of J. Lo and Ben Affleck. One day, you’re “just friends” with a ridiculously good-looking movie star, the next you’re divorcing your husband (there goes letter C) and making out in a convertible Bentley. It’s a slippery slope.

No question, the level of attraction between two people determines their ability to be friends. But does that mean that good looks and mixed-gender friendship is a zero-sum relationship? If Nietzsche is right, the answer would be yes – the less attractive one is to one’s friends, the easier it is to maintain that friendship in a non-sexual manner. Perhaps the question should be rephrased to: “Can one really be friends with someone you’re sexually attracted to?”

One Hoya Senior laid out his thoughts on the issue quite bluntly, “If she’s too ugly, part of you doesn’t want to be friends with her in the first place. If she’s too hot, you can pretend to be friends but secretly really want to bone like crazy.”

Well, there you have it – friendship and attraction aren’t mutually exclusive after all! It seems that you can be friends with good-looking people, as long as you keep your “desire to bone” on the down-low.
I was surprised at the number of guys who agreed. One fellow seemed fairly blasé when I asked him whether sex-appeal interfered with companionship. “Nah,” he replied. “Any straight guy will entertain thoughts of sleeping with an attractive woman – that doesn't necessarily affect the friendship. You just don’t act on the what-ifs.”

While in the library yesterday, I queried a passing freshman about this methodology, fully expecting him to deny that anyone would advocate such an approach. Instead, his eyes lit up with recognition while he nodded vigorously, “Oh sure, that’s normal. We all do it.”
We do??

I’ll never look at my guy friends in the same way …

It’s clear that 1) these young people haven’t read their dictionary lately (carnal desires + platonic friendship = not platonic friendship) and 2) they don’t fully realize how transparent their “secret” desires – boning or otherwise – can be.

Unfortunately, in circumstances involving emotions as strong and unruly as lust, both women and men are frequently less-than-subtle. The power of erotic attraction is difficult to conceal – people simply act differently around those they find attractive. As one senior says, “You think about what you’re saying or doing more than you normally would. You act like an idiot.”

“But,” he adds, shining a ray of hope in the direction of attracted platonic friends everywhere, “if you stay friends, after a while you become comfortable, and it doesn’t matter anymore. You’re so close and know so much about the other that you don’t want anything to ruin that.”

Least of all your secret desire to bone, right?

Perhaps there’s hope for male-female friendships after all.

July 19, 2006

NEW FEATURE!! The Wednesday (Night) Hump:

Project Relieve-Julia's-Overburdened-Bookshelf

Pink Book.jpg Pink Book.jpg Pink Book.jpg

Tonight I'm introducing a thrilling NEW WEEKLY FEATURE, tentatively subtitled:

"Please Help Me Get Rid of the 8,693 Extraneous Self-Help/Love/Random Books That Publishers Send Me Which Are Overtaking My Very Small Apartment and Making The Boyfriend Cross!"

Listen, I love books. I vaguely remember a point in my life when I had enough time to read them (3rd grade, procrastinating studying for finals in college). Of course, now I get books sent to me every day - but offhand, I can't recall the last time I read something solely for enjoyment and not because I was writing about the author or the work itself. (Okay, okay, I can. I picked up Lolita about a month ago, just because I felt like everyone else in the world had read it / masturbated to it / written an article/song/movie that referenced it. That is some very sick shit.)

Anyway, as you can imagine, the dozens of aforementioned volumes have ceased to fit on my narrow bookshelf and have spilled onto the floor in giant haphazard stacks, threatening to topple and just generally looking ugly.

After putting up with them for months, The Boyfriend can't take it anymore. "WHY DO WE ONLY HAVE PINK BOOKS???" he wants to know. "Well, dear Boyfriend, you chose to date a dating columnist. Who often does book reviews. Of dating books. Which are frequently pink. Um ... ??"

The Boyfriend only likes the color brown. (Also taupe, tan, beige and ecru.) Additionally, out of the four bookshelves in our tiny apartment, The Boyfriend's Books dominate THREE of them, which seems a little unfair. "My books are better looking than yours," he explains. (Oh! Well, in that case ...)

The Boyfriend likes expensive Taschen books and thick art books he never opens and manly books about electronics and automobiles. He actually owns a book solely devoted to pictures of speedometers and another one dedicated entirely to the history of cell phones. (Although I just sold that one on Amazon for $10. HA!)

In any case, I have devised a Brilliant Solution to The Book Crisis:

Every Wednesday, I'll list a few books that need a new home. Whoever writes me the most clever/funny email (julia@juliaallison.com) about why they want that particular book (within a week), wins. I'll send you the book (clearly I don't have enough to do) and depending on degree of wit, post the emails.

(By the way - these books are new. No, you're not allowed to regift them. Okay, fine. But only in case of emergency birthday-of-single-girl-turning-30-with-crappy-love-life.)

TODAY'S ADOPT-A-BOOK(s)

Be Honest - You're Not That Into Him Either - By Ian Kerner
(2 Copies!!!)

Book Cover - You're Just Not That Into Him.jpg

I Used to Miss Him - But My Aim Is Improving - By Allison James

Book Cover - I Used to Miss Him But My Aim Is Improving.jpg

Sex, Murder and a Double Latte - by Kyra Davis

Book Cover - Sex Murder Double Latte.jpg

July 18, 2006

Dear Glamour Editor/Fabian's Lit Agent,

Have You NO SHAME??

Fabian Basabe.jpg

Today, I innocently opened my August issue of Glamour, anticipating a lovely hour of procrastination perusing the usual ampersand-obsessed mix of "Fashion & Beauty," "Health & Body," "Dos & Don'ts" and the occasional "My Sister/Mother/Female Dog Had Cancer & Survived" piece.

And what did I get instead??

FIVE. PAGES. OF. FABIAN. FRIGGING. BASABE.

Fabian smiling. Fabian dancing. Fabian blowing out his birthday candles. Fabian dipping various long-maned women while simultaneously posing for photos (hello, he practices in front of the mirror at home!). Fabian wondering if his butt looks big in these jeans.

My first thought was "Oh god, they've done a puff piece on Failed Former Sorta-It Boys Who Might Be Gay and Also Maybe Not As Rich As They Insinuate They Are." And then I saw it.

"It" being ... Fabian's byline. Fabian, apparently, is now a writer. Like every other New Yorker (except me), he's "working on a novel" about his favorite subject. Um, Fabian, obvi?

Wait, actually, let's think about what Fabian's favorite subjects might be ... you know, if he were to write them out all by himself.

1. FABIEN FABIAN.
2. Eyebrow Waxing.
3. Making sure Martina doesn't gain any weight. Ew, fattys!
4. Hair gel.
5. Fabian.
6. Pretending to like sex with (female) models.

Lest you think I'm being too harsh on the poor little supposedly-rich boy, please consider the following direct quotes from the Glamour article, mind-numbingly titled "Confessions of an Ex-Playboy" (Although I'm going to give Glamour a pass on this one - Fabian probably thought of the name):

- "I became a momentary national news item when I was spotted with President Bush's daughter at a nightclub ... the whole thing looked slightly debauched. It wasn't ... I know debauched." (Yeah, Fabian was BADASS! Weren't you, Fabs?)

- "I used to be a player;" (Then he helpfully defines "player" for us) "one of those guys who have a different beautiful woman on their arm every weekend." (Wait ... what's a player again?)

- "Even playboys have feelings. Even playboys change." (Ohmygod. I can so totally see this as a film! I think we get Johnny Depp to play you. No? Too sexually ambiguous? Okay, fine. Tom Cruise.)

- "When I was 11, I was given a ridiculously expensive Swiss watch that most adults could never afford. At 16 I got a BMW, which I promptly wrecked, along with my next three cars." ("And after that, my parents insisted I take driver's ed. Can you BELIEVE it? SO unfair!")

BLAH BLAH BLAH, he was a womanizer at the age of 19, then he met Martina, whom he wooed with a giant "bottle of Patron tequila." He knew she was the woman for him when she "took me shot for shot." Damn, that's romantic. After a year-long courtship, during which he "stripped down and pumped gas naked to amuse her" (Casanova has NOTHING on Fabian), he realized that he hadn't yet fucked enough bony women. "I wasn't ready for redemption." Um ... right.

Anyway, he gets kicked out of "college," goes to Cancun, and finally ends up in New York, where he blames his "loneliness" for being "addicted--not to drugs, but models." It was downhill from there.
- "I went shopping for leggy 18-year-olds with knockout cheekbones."
- "I liked to be surrounded by sexy bodies because desire was the only feeling that could overwhelm the loneliness that plagued me."
- "I was miserable. I didn't even have a job to distract me during the day." (Will nothing go right in Fabian's life?? WHY MUST HE CONTINUALLY SUFFER?!)

Blah blah blah, it continues, with no shortage of additional ridiculous quotes, but I'm bored of this subject already.

Conclusion? Fabian "wanted to do something that mattered" (in ITALICS damnit!) and the only thing he could think of was coercing poor size 0 Martina into marriage. WHEW!! Now he can spend all his time waxing his toes or whatever it is he does when he's not writing articles about being "debauched."

I think I need a nap.

July 17, 2006

Extreme Divorce: Home Edition

War of the Roses.jpg

Here's this week's AM New York column, all about DIVORCE. (My father says my topics are getting "darker.")

Given, my personal experience with connubial strife is limited. Having never been hitched, I’ve found it exceedingly difficult to get divorced (except in Nevada). In addition, I’ve always lived in a statistically anomalous world of intact marriages: my parents, both sets of grandparents, my childhood friends’ parents, and all of my serious boyfriends’ parents – not a split in sight. (Weird, right?)

In fact, until I met The Boyfriend, I didn’t really “get” the concept. But after experiencing his divorce vicariously, I realized that the one (only?) benefit in such a situation is learning exactly how that person will act under the worst of circumstances. The Boyfriend came out looking like a champ, unremitting in his generosity and positive spirit, never once uttering a negative word about his ex-wife, never once faltering in his chivalry towards her or even allowing the proceedings to hang over our burgeoning relationship. "You have to take a step back and think about the other person," he tells me. "You have to remember the good times. It's not productive or healthy to be angry or petty - you can always make more money or buy more stuff."

But the more I see of other divorces, the more I realize that The Boyfriend's magnanimous behavior and exceedingly constructive attitude is anomalous. The most obvious, recent example of the OTHER end of the spectrum being the deranged Dr. Bartha, who exploded his Upper East Side townhouse last week, rather than give it to the ex. In contrast, The Boyfriend's former house is not only still standing ("too beautiful to blow up"), but it's currently on the cover of Elle Décor - credited to his ex-wife, of course.

Why some people handle divorce well while others fall apart is still beyond me - (Cosmo EIC Kate White on the demise of her first marriage: “My in-laws were so nice they gave me 12 place settings of silver when I got divorced.”) - but at least I now know this: I'd divorce The Boyfriend any day. ;)

Read full text of today's column after the jump.

EXTREME DIVORCE: HOME EDITION
AM NEW YORK – “THE DATING LIFE”
JULY 17, 2006
BY JULIA ALLISON

There are bad divorces. And then there are really bad divorces.

Blowing up one’s marital house pretty much falls in the latter category.

In a real-life War of the Roses, (former) Upper East Side resident Dr. Nicholas Bartha decided that “over my dead body” wasn’t just an expression – and rather than sell the four-story townhouse that he and his ex-wife had shared to pay her marital settlement, he would just, you know, blow it up.

The New York Times called it “no ordinary divorce,” but “a nightmarish New York saga of … vengeance worthy of a Lifetime channel movie.”

But really, who has an “ordinary” divorce? What does that mean, anyway? That you didn’t fight? That you’re still friends? That you avoided committing suicide in your former house?

Or maybe, when they wrote “ordinary,” they meant “good.” In that case, as high profile divorce attorney Raoul Felder told me, “there’s no such thing – it’s an oxymoron. There are only divorces that are relatively civilized.”

“Someone you once loved is saying that you’re not a worthwhile person,” says Felder, who has represented Rudy Giuliani, one of Mick Jagger’s myriad baby mommas, and P. Diddy’s ex-wife. “It’s not like you got a lemon of a car! This guy [Bartha] was obviously very troubled, but these emotions are in every divorce. He just carried it one step further.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found that the more you hear stories of real life, the more you start to think that Lifetime movies aren’t so unrealistic after all.

In fact, shortly after the Bartha-blow-up, MILF extraordinaire Christie Brinkley filed for her (fourth) divorce, allegedly because her golden boy hubby Peter Cook was having an affair with his 19-year-old assistant, whom he met in a toy shop. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

Given their co-ownership of at least five houses, they’d better start stocking up on explosives now.

Actually, that might be better than wading through New York’s Byzantine divorce laws and stubborn, baffling refusal to adopt a no-fault system. Under the current procedures, “divorce court is the last place you want to be,” says Felder.

“The law is not the place for emotional grievances or reparations,” he adds. “If you’re looking for reparations, go to the UN.”

That’s pretty much what The Boyfriend concluded when he went through his divorce. Eschewing protracted negotiations over their joint assets, including an apartment in the city and one painstakingly restored Hamptons house, he had a single 30-minute meeting and gave everything to her.

“Divorce is already painful,” he explained, “why make it more painful? I’d rather she have the money than the lawyers. Possessions can be replaced.”

Thank god Ron Perlman doesn’t think like that. Half of the city’s law firms would be out of work!

July 13, 2006

Julia Attempts to Be PoweR Girl, Fails. Lizzie Grubman Would Fire Her.

Julia Allison and Mary Rambin.jpg

Above, from last night's launch party for my adorable friend Mary Rambin's new brilliant handbag line - Moe - www.moebags.com.

Moe Bag.jpg Moe Bag 2.jpg Moe Bag 3.jpg

Miss Mary will be in the ABC reality show, "One Ocean Drive," airing at the end of the summer, and her younger sister Leven is an Emmy-nominated actress on All My Children, so there were an appropriate number of model-fashionista-reality types there, although, to be honest, I didn't recognize any of them.

Since I offered to be Mary's Cheerleader-Cum-Fake-Publicist, I harassed invited a bunch of media types (with a promise of free bags!). Of course, no one showed but my college roommate, confirming my suspicion that I have negative clout and/or people delete my emails before they read them.

Well, Media Types, know THIS: uh ... I won't be giving you any inside gossip on One Ocean Drive!

Okay, I don't really have any. But if i did ...

Anyway, the whole point of this absolutely illiterate piece is that HER BAGS ARE FRIGGING AMAZING, they will CHANGE YOUR LIFE, and if you don't already own one, GO BUY ONE RIGHT NOW!!

Maybe I do have a future in Fake-PR, after all.

July 12, 2006

Reader Mail: Men's Brains Cannot Function When Confronted by Word "Panties"

Pink Panties - John Kacere.jpg

(Yeah, in case you think I'm an amateur pornographer, that's a John Kacere painting above. As we all know, a painting of someone's behind is much classier than a photo. Duh.)

Anyway, an ... interesting ... reader email appeared in my inbox today, regarding the last line of my column on Kate White, in which I reference "Chapter 27 - Think With Your Panties."

I just quoted the chapter title - I didn't expand upon it, or get into the issue of "panties" in general. And yet, as you'll see below, that was more than enough to set John a frothin'.

Which all goes to show that men and panties cannot coexist peacefully.

------
From: john [Email Removed]
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006
To: julia@juliaallison.com
Subject: think with your panties

Dear Julia:

I enjoyed your review of the book. I am dying to find out what the author suggests with this title heading.

Of course as a guy, I can tell you that we almost all have a panty fetish. Surprise! What I can't figure out is why these women running around in short skirts don't figurre that if they would just flash a beaver shot and a smile, she could attract any man that she desired. Its true, men would rather look up your skirt and see your panties than to see you naked. (this of course assuming that you are not wearing the dreaded grandma panties) Just for the record also, cotton panties belong on little girls and grannies. period.

As a contractor, I can tell you that if we are left alone in the house, most of us will invariably check out your panty drawer out of curiosity.

By the way, I hate, thongs, seems unsanitary to me and there is no silk back to rub on.

Also, women love to be taken by a strong man, and it is very erotic to forcefully rip her panties away. (I am not talking about lack of consent here or anything painful)

I happen to think that is is very intimate for a woman to run around in one of her man's shirts and her sexiest panties. It is also very erotic and flirtatious to wear that short skirt on a date, which usually will ensure that the man will open your door, especially if you make sure that he catches a peek and a knowing smile.

Just some random thoughts from a panty guy.

John
-------

What do you think good ole Panty-Loving John would do if, in the midst of his Drawer-Snooping, he found THIS?

Panty Drawer Suprise.jpg

July 11, 2006

Probably the Truest Thing I've Heard All Month

"In the pages of Us Weekly, you'll be eternally too fat or too thin, but never just right."

- Emily Nussbaum, New York Magazine, July 17th, 2006

Ha! That's crazy talk!! Celebrities can't be too thin!

... oh.

Nicole Richie Thin.png

Paging Gloria Steinem: Where is Ms. Magazine's "No Comment" Section When You Really Need It?

Miss Korea.jpg

Dear god, this photo wasn't even staged.

July 10, 2006

Setting His Thighs on Fire: Better Than Setting His House on Fire!

How to Set His Thighs on Fire.jpg

Today's AM New York column is on the ridiculously personable Cosmo editrix Kate White and her new book, bravely titled "How to Set His Thighs on Fire." This woman does not mess around with mere heat, people. SHE WANTS FLAMES!!!

I've always maintained that writing self-help love advice books is a treacherous profession, mainly because no matter how many PhDs you have or men you've shagged or episodes of Sex & the City you, like, totally know by heart, you'll never think of anything remotely new. It's ALL been said.

Then I read "Thighs," which includes these two tips:

1) “Slip a hair scrunchy around the base of it.” ("It" being, well ... you know. IT!)
2) “Slip a glazed donut around his [IT] and nibble it off.” (The second "it," of course, is THE DONUT, not that other thing. DO NOT nibble the other thing off. Your sex life will surely go downhill ... although, in all fairness, that probably would "set his thighs on fire." But most likely not in a good way.)

During our interview Kate explained, "You want to find a way to encapsulate what people are thinking but not articulating." How did she know I think about donuts during sex all the time???

We can discuss Scrunchies-As-Sex-Toys later, but suffice to say, Kate White clearly has a gift.

A gift I more fully explain in my column, which I've pasted after the jump:

(PS - You got that the title of this entry was a Lisa Lopes reference, right? Righhhht??)

KATE WHITE: HOW TO SET HIS THIGHS ON FIRE
AM NEW YORK – “THE DATING LIFE”
JULY 10, 2006
BY JULIA ALLISON

No one has ever accused Cosmopolitan of being subtle.

So it’s not surprising that the latest book from Cosmo’s editor in chief, the irrepressible Kate White, sports one of the most ballsy cover designs I’ve ever seen. A pair of impossibly long, tanned supermodel legs attached to four-inch stilettos spread wide across the top of the cover, while the model’s hands clasp an apple red fire extinguisher in between her thighs. “Thighs,” of course, is the operative word, as the title below screams in neon pink and orange caps: “HOW TO SET HIS THIGHS ON FIRE.”

Um … use gasoline?

Okay, okay. Maybe not.

Although some of the book’s tricks are almost as unconventional (two words: glazed donut), nowhere in the book, subtitled “86 Red-Hot Lessons on Love, Life, Men, and (Especially) Sex” must you resort to flammable liquids. Whew!

Actually, I wouldn’t put it past the winsome White, a 50-something size 4 blonde who picked up a tip or two (or 86) since taking the helm of the legendary magazine eight years ago.

In fact, “How to Set His Thighs on Fire” was an accidental book. Although White is a veteran author with six titles (including the bestselling Bailey Weggins mystery series) under her fashionable belt, she never even wrote a proposal for “Thighs.”

“One day I was talking to my publisher,” White explains, “and she said, ‘Do you like your job, Kate?’” (This seems to me a silly question, as anyone who has ever talked with White knows that she’s deliriously in love with her job.)

So of course White answered, “‘More than you can imagine – it has been the most delicious, fabulous experience of my life.’” She then “jokingly” added, “‘Someday I want to write a book on How to Set His Thighs on Fire about everything I learned!”

Apparently that’s all her publisher needed to hear – the next day she sent a contract over to White’s literary agent. “My agent called me and said ‘I have a contract for a book I’ve never even heard of!’ And I said, ‘maybe it’s a mistake!’ and she read the title and I said ‘oh my god.’”

The resulting book is a grab bag of observations and wisdom written in the style of notoriously provocative Cosmo cover-lines, filled with laundry lists, amusing anecdotes, and (unsurprisingly) a healthy dose of alliteration.

While White herself epitomizes the famous Cosmo-girl mantra – “Fun! Fearless! Female!” – she also integrates that persona into her writing. She’s not afraid to discuss topics like (#62) “The Most Neglected Moan Zone on a Man’s Body” (hint: it’s not his feet) or brazenly proclaim (#83) “Sex is one of the Best Things in Life.”

In the first chapter, White acknowledges that it’s not exactly difficult to seduce a guy: “‘Why don’t you drop your pants?’ will usually suffice,” she writes. But for “three alarm seduction” (that would be the legs a blazin’ kind) women should “tease, tantalize, and torture” their victims. Er, men.

The next 85 tips appear in a stream of consciousness fashion, segueing from sex to men to love back to sex, almost like a How-To Tip of the Day calendar, but in book form. Of course, this makes sense, given that White wrote the “How to Do Anything Better” guide over at Glamour for years. “You could say I’m the ‘How to’ queen!” she laughs.

Her job perks include a constant diet of new findings about human behavior, and sharing that info just seemed natural. “I soak up everything,” she says, “I’m always thinking, ‘is there any lesson to be learned?’”

Ultimately, White just wants women to feel more comfortable about their bodies, their relationships and their sex lives.

Like your saucy, more-experienced best friend dishing her advice to you at a sleepover, White’s lessons are sometimes common sense:
- #9: Guys Will Do Whatever It Takes to Get You in Bed (shocking!)
- #42: Guys Like Women Naked, Period (yep)
- #71: Guys Secretly Love a Little Kinkiness (uh, secretly?)

But they’re always accurate:
- #16: Nine Topics that Make Guys Gag (This includes shoes, catty gossip about your friends, below-the-belt functions, your “fatness,” and old boyfriends.)
- #48: How Long to Wait Before Sex (“Long, slow, torturous progress is still the hottest, healthiest scenario.”)
- #66: The Lie Your Girlfriends Tell You About Guys (Basically, if a guy isn’t chasing you, he’s just not interested. Yes, despite the clever excuses your girls come up with.)

And some are just invaluable:
- #38: Why You Shouldn’t Be Soul Mates with Him (Expecting one person to fulfill all of your needs is unrealistic and ultimately, disappointing.)
- #61: Guys Don’t Give Clear Warning Before They Leave (“One of the activities that guys dread most is the ‘Relationship Talk,’ so he’ll avoid it at all costs … until one day he’s just had enough and drops the bomb.”)
- #64: How Not to End Up in an Endless String of Bad Relationships (“You’re the common denominator.” Ohhh, snap!)

My favorites?
- #6: Guys Like a Firmer Touch During Sex Than You May Expect
- #65: Almost Everything Can Benefit from Some Added Sex Appeal
- #27: Think With Your Panties

Who knows, #27 could change your life!

July 06, 2006

Post-4th-of-July Malaise: Really Not in the Mood to Do Anything But BBQ. Ever Again.

Fourth of July with Lilly.jpg

Yeah, so my Sony cybershot just exploded about two weeks ago, leaving me stuck with a camera phone to record the "vacation memories" from this year's Fourth of July (spent oh-so-frugally at The Parents' House in Chicago). I think it's clear from this photo that integrated phone-cameras are not quite ready to shoot Vogue covers.

Whatever, I needed some documentation of my much-labored-over red/white/blue outfit - unfortunately, you can't see my bright red shoes, but just pretend. I suppose I could have gotten Lilly (my almost 3 year old shih-tzu pup) into a red dress, but I got lazy.

Oh - I'm sorry? Did I hear you needed to see more Lilly photos? Well ... if you insist.

Lilly Face.jpg

Lilly on chair.jpg

Can you tell I'm procrastinating actual work? I hate Post-Vacation Depression.