Monthly Archives: December 2009

Sorry, But That Cannot Be Your Favorite Holiday

At some point in your life, you will be asked to name your favorite holiday.  Don’t take this question lightly, because you’ll inevitably be judged on your answer.  My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, so you can wisely assume that I enjoy stuffing my face with starched vegetables and fowl.  If you answer ‘Christmas,’ this means you’re either a) very spoiled, b) very Christian, or c) not interesting enough to come up with a less obvious holiday.  In addition, ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ means you’re an alcoholic, ‘Valentine’s Day’ means you’re engaged or newly married, and ‘Columbus Day’ means you hate Native Americans.  See?  It’s a loaded question.

This past week, I was at a Christmas party when a family friend mentioned that her favorite holiday was, without a doubt, New Years.  Hmm… New Years.  It’s an interesting choice, especially since New Years is like Rudolph amongst all the other holiday reindeer: that is, it’s different.  On New Years, we don’t celebrate anything constant, like other holidays with their tributes to baby Jesus, St. Patrick, or Chris Columbus.  Even our worst holiday (Presidents’ Day) is in honor of George Washington’s birthday, which doesn’t change.  Meanwhile, what do we celebrate on New Years?  The future?  The past?  Or is it our annual ability to drop a giant lighted ball in New York City without electrical malfunction?

Even though the target of our celebration is always changing, we have developed wonderful traditions for celebrating January 1st.  In the days before, we endure a painstaking year-in-review, where we curl up with our diaries and reflect on the past year.  (Gag.)  We then get to watch numerous TV retrospectives on people who died during the past year.  (Uplifting!)  And we prepare our New Year’s resolutions, which always include “Get in shape” and “Drink less.”   (Although we naturally expect to get fat and drunk on New Year’s Eve itself.)

Ah yes, New Year’s Eve is our opportunity to party like it’s [insert-new-year-here].  We dance, we pop champagne, and we leave kids wondering why the grown-ups are all so thirsty (along with, “Wow!  This is what midnight is like!”).  For grown-ups, NYE is also the kickoff to mating season.  You need to find someone to kiss once the clock strikes twelve.  Who will it be?  Mr. Shady in the corner?  Ms. Already lost her purse and it’s 8 PM?  Or Mr(s). Ambiguously gendered person and you’re just curious to find out?

As such, New Years is full of wholesome, Jesus-like traditions.  And it’s also an anniversary of sorts, for all the great New Years we’ve had in the past (Personally, my favorite New Years was 2000, when Y2K didn’t blow up the world).

But again, unlike other holidays that simply come and go, New Years leaves us with a bitter aftertaste: An expensive and rarely utilized gym membership… An inability to accurately date checks until it’s well into March… And if you went for Mr. Shady in the corner, a risk of catching oral herpes.

So, I’m not judging*, but I really can’t see how New Years could be anyone’s favorite holiday… except for Mr. Shady, I guess.  It’s definitely his favorite.


* Yeah right. I’m totally judging.

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Asian Christmas

As we’re nearing the end of another holiday season, I would like to thank my parents for the wonderful gift that they bestowed upon me.   Ever since I was but a wee fetus, swimming around in an embryonic pool of placenta, I was blessed…

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the gift of being Asian.

Oh, the gift of being Asian is a gift that keeps on giving.  Despite our shortness and bad vision, there are several reasons why it’s great to be Asian in America.  For example, one reason is that we don’t get kidnapped.  Have you ever heard of an Asian toddler who has gone missing?  No, because high-profile, baby kidnapping is mainly a Caucasian sport.  Why would anyone kidnap an Asian when you can easily buy one online?  Similarly, I don’t worry about identity theft, because unless another female Asian is jacking my credit cards, I’m guessing the cashier would find something suspicious.  “But you don’t look like a Jackie Chan…”  Ha, gotcha.  Thus, being Asian affords me peace of mind.

Going along with stereotypes is also a plus.  Overall, Asian stereotypes really aren’t that bad.  So, fine, Asians can’t drive.  But neither can women, so even though I’m doubly screwed, at least we have company.  Stereotypical Asians are also smart, hard-working, and socially inept.  The last one is actually a good thing, because our social awkwardness prevents us from being universally shamed, like Italian-Americans on Jersey Shore (yes, I Survived a Japanese Game Show was embarrassing, but I’m not Japanese… so it’s cool).  Also, given that stereotypical Asians are closet ninjas and kung fu masters, I feel pretty safe walking the mean streets of New York City alone.  If I ever do get mugged, I’ll simply do a few Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon backflips to escape.

Being Asian is also a gift because we can always pretend that we don’t speak English.  I could go into a store, shoplift some Hello Kitty merchandise, and if I ever get caught, just blame it on my Communist heritage.  “Oh, I thought we were all sharing… No speak Engrish.”  Then I will bow, say “Konichiwa,” and leave.

Honestly, if we wanted to, Asians could get away with anything.  We could walk out on a bill in a restaurant, and then show up the next day and get served, since no one can tell Asians apart.  (Sometimes I can’t even pick my mom out of a crowd.)  If you ever were accused of such dining and ditching, you could just respond back in perfect English and slap your accuser in the face.  God, discrimination is such a bitch.

The one downside to being Asian is that if you’re female, you have to deal with the fetishists.  And if you’re male, well, good luck trying to find anyone who will appreciate your skinny arms and engineering prowess.  It also gets tiring to keep up the peace signs/bunny ears for every photograph you take.  But despite these minor hiccups and the occasional embarrassing YouTube clip, the greater gift of Asian-ness must be celebrated.  And with our squinty eyes, straight hair, and aversion to sunlight, we’re pretty similar to vampires — and vampires are really “in” now.

So, thank you Mom and Dad, for the gift you’ve given me.  And for everyone else, Asian and non-Asian, I wish you a joyous holiday season and a very happy New Year.

Peace.

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There is a Difference Between Saying “I Love Lions” and “I Love Cougars”

Just a decade ago, the word “cougar” meant nothing more than a giant, unpopular mountain cat. Cougars were barely on our human radar, as they were always overshadowed by their cooler feline cousins: flashy tigers, menacing lions, shoe-brand pumas, four-door jaguars, and even the Carolina Panthers. Indeed, while tigers, lions, jaguars, and panthers enjoyed being professional team mascots, cougars wallowed in their relative anonymity.

Then, all of a sudden, the word “cougar” took on an additional meaning. A “cougar” soon became known as an older woman who preyed on younger men. The origins of the transformation are unknown: some believe it started with Demi Moore, while others just blame Canada.

All I know is that cougars are finally getting the love they deserve (referring to both cats and the predatory ladies). There is the TV series “Cougartown,” the reality show “The Cougar,” and countless cougar dating websites, including dateacougar.com and gocougar.com.

The emergence of cougars into our social consciousness has created an interesting double standard. Women who chase after young boys? Simply cougars. Men who chase after young girls? Sleazy, dirty, scumbag predators. Just think: no one would approve of a “Predatortown,” featuring a forty-something male protagonist trolling on high school coeds. Even reality TV wouldn’t go ahead with “The Predator” (instead, they would re-title this “The Bachelor.”)

But now that we have established a new definition for the cougar, other members of the feline family want to get in on the action.  Whereas “cougars” are strictly limited to women over 40, women in their 30s who prey on younger men are being called “pumas.”  Of course, the irony of naming cats after desperate women is not lost on a future cat lady like myself.  So, what other cat metaphors can we come up with?

Puma: Woman in her 30s who preys on younger men

Cougar: Woman in her 40s who preys on younger men

Cheetah: Married woman of any age who preys on younger men

Snow Leopard: Woman with greying/white hair who preys on younger men

The “snow leopoard” is my favorite, and I admit that all credit is due to my friend Anthony who came up with the term.  And given the ambiguity of meaning now afforded to these animals, I’ll just say that Anthony is a huge snow leopard enthusiast… and if you’re wondering if I’m referring to a cat or a grey-haired lady, I will leave that one a mystery.

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Glass Ceilings Could Be Shattered With Glass Bathroom Walls

It’s a known fact that finance is a male-dominated industry.  There’s Buffett, and Soros, and Madoff, and the banker on Deal or No Deal: all men.  In the sausagefest of finance, the only female presence is the wife, the mistress, or the diversity-hire (who, even if she is competent, will be forever tarnished by the suggestion of affirmative action).

Of course, this goes beyond finance — there are far more male CEOs, politicians, movie producers, and leaders not only in the United States, but in the rest of the world.  There are no women in the Forbes 50 richest Americans who made her money outside of inheritance.  Even though women make up half of the world’s population, most of the power is held by men.

Social scientists have long theorized about the existing power gap between men and women.  Some explanations are cultural.  Some are steered in tradition.  And some resort to “biological differences.”  That is, women build consensus; men build tall buildings to showcase their phallic power.

My theory is simple: it’s partly biological, and partly environmental.

I believe that men are more powerful because they pee standing up.

Think about it.  From a very young age, men are trained to pee into a urinal.  They are brought up in a world with literally no walls: there is very little privacy between them.  And if you head into a stall, everyone knows what kind of business is going on.  The result?  Reduced inhibitions from a world with no boundaries, and greater camaraderie with your fellow man.

Meanwhile, there are metaphoric and physical walls that separate women from each other.  The physical act of releasing waste is incredibly private.  Outside of her feet, you don’t tend to see other women in the act of peeing.  I even cringe when I write “releasing waste” — because unlike men, most women don’t feel as comfortable talking about these things.  At least not with strangers.

So, from this theory, men are more comfortable in their own skin, more sociable with strangers, and more likely to take risks.  Women are walled in, siloed, and discomfited by others knowing all of their business.  It’s no wonder why men enjoy finance: they’re used to whipping ’em out and measuring ’em, whereas women don’t/can’t really do that.

Of course, like any good theory, there are its notable exceptions.  I’m guessing that Oprah would have no qualms about peeing in front of other women.  And there are incredibly awkward yet successful men who don’t fit the mold.  In 2006, I got rejected by then-college-president Larry Summers when I asked if I could “lei” him at a campus BBQ/luau — I was holding a lei of flowers… He just turned around and walked away.

Doesn’t seem like a guy who’s comfortable in his own skin… Perhaps some of these things, we simply have to blame on inherent biological differences.

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Old Tiger May Have Been “Boring,” But At Least He Doesn’t Have The Clap

Dammit, Tiger Woods.  Forget about your wife for a second (I’m guessing that won’t be hard) — How could you do this to us, your fans?  Just last week, every person in America was a fan of Tiger Woods.  You were an American icon.  You broke barriers in the stuffy white world of professional golf.  You had the perfect life, with your beautiful family and bazillion dollars.  Compared to other “role models” like Kobe the infidel or Michael the dog  slayer, we thought you were the model athlete.  We wore Nike sweater vests and bought Buicks because of you.  We never expected that you would commit “transgressions” that are typically made by our country’s fine politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and prominent businessmen.  You were better than that.  We trusted you.  And you Madoff’ed us. 

Three mistresses?  Seriously?  We never thought that you were such a fiend behind that surly glare.  Even Kobe could only claim to have one (public) mistress.  You had three, plus a wife.  Apparently you really can drive it long consistently.  Seems like you live up to your name, Tiger.  

But honestly, if you were going to cheat, couldn’t you have picked some classier ladies to cheat with?  You’d think that Tiger Woods would prefer discreet politicians’ wives to waitresses and Vegas club promoters.  Then again, I guess that was Old Tiger, with his quiet, “boring” life.  New Tiger?  Well, he’ll look chlamydia in the eye and buy it dinner.  

In this world of New Tiger, I just don’t know who to trust anymore.  Does the Pope sit around the Vatican and stuff dollar bills into the bustieres of skanky nuns?  Does Barack Obama do lines of coke off Sasha and Malia’s dollhouse toilet?  Does Big Bird try and lure kids back to his nest for private ABC lessons?  

What’s good and what’s evil?  

I really don’t know.  Because on the same day that Tiger Woods announces that he’s a sleazy d-bag, humanitarian Michael Vick lectures to kids about the horrors of dog fighting.  

This is one cruel, cruel opposite-day joke.    

Tiger Woods One Liners (forwarded from a co-worker)  

What’s the difference between a car and a golf ball?  Tiger can drive a ball 400 yards.  

 What was Elin doing out at 2:30 in the morning?  Clubbing.  

 Why did Tiger crash into a tree AND a fire hydrant?  He couldn’t decide between a wood and an iron.  

 Tiger drives very well on the fairway but doesn’t fare very well on the driveway. 

 If the only person that can beat Tiger is a blonde with big breasts, it’s time for Phil Mickelson to bleach his hair.  

 What is the penalty for getting it in the wrong hole? Ask Tiger, he knows.  

 Nike wants to drop their endorsement due to accuracy problems.  Apparently, Tiger’s spraying his balls everywhere.  

 What will the headline be if they prove it is domestic violence? TIGER’S WIFE MAKES THE CUT.  

 Given Tiger’s racial heritage, can we call this a Black Thai affair?  

 Tiger just changed his nickname but still kept it in the cat family: Cheetah.  

 Elin Woods has a twin sister named Josephine. Know how to tell them apart?  Elin is the one holding the bent 5 iron.  

 Tiger Woods’ shirt is all red — Problem is, there’s no tournament, and his veins are a pint low.  

 What does Tiger have in common with a baby seal? They’ve both been clubbed by a Norwegian.  

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“Cyber” Monday, Followed By “Phone Sex” Tuesday and “Light Touching” Wednesday

Back in the early 90s, we were introduced to the magical world of “cyberspace,” a place where you could chat with friends, check “electronic mail,” and even talk to strangers.  “Going on cyberspace” was like copulating with a pack of unicorns — no one had ever done it before, so everyone wanted to know what it was like:  How does it feel?  How does it work?  How can I get a screechy dial-up modem too?

But once cyberspace became mainstream, its better half decided that it would take on a whole new meaning.  In the seedy dark corners of AOL chatrooms, “cyber” lost its innocence.  With this transformation, thousands of curious 13-year olds were lured into predatory situations with creeps who wanted to “cyber”… Yes, like any rogue prefix-turned-slutty-verb, “cyber” became a term of virtual copulation.

So, forgive me for not embracing “Cyber Monday” as a new retail holiday.  To me, it’s as if retailers decided to name a random day “Boom Boom Tuesday” or “Bang Me Wednesday,” then offer 30% off all items in stock.  Sorry, but that doesn’t make me want to buy Ginsu knives, even if they’re 43% off on Amazon.  In fact, I feel less inclined to shop on Cyber Monday, and more inclined to join shady chatroom discussions about Grady Sizemore.

I am surprised that conservative watchdog groups haven’t boycotted “Cyber Monday” yet for its underlying sexual innuendo.  Perhaps they’re too busy snapping up Sarah Palin’s book on eBay… or maybe these “teabaggers” just don’t get the reference.

In the end, there are so many words in the English language that we’ve allowed to die an honorable death, like “beeswax” and “cassette tapes” and “groovy” (although this may still be used to describe Hideki Matsui’s face).  Had it not been for this inane Monday, “cyber” would be with them now.  I would like to call for an end to using this word (though, really, it’s a prefix), and retire “cyber” to Cyberia (apologies).  Let’s just call “Cyber Monday” for what it really is: “Virtual Deals… Monday.”

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