Store revamp/MEGA ASK NATALIE POST04/21/08

You may have noticed from the fancy banner ads, but we have a bunch of changes to the Natalie Dee/Toothpaste for Dinner/Married to the Sea/Sharing Machine stores coming up, and we are flushing out a lot of shirts to prepare for it. The changes are all top-secret for now, but the shirts we are getting rid of are not! If you are interested in getting any of the current incarnations of ND/TFD/MTTS shirts, please do so now! I can't stress to you enough the importance of this... very few shirts will remain as they are, everything else is getting overhauled and/or discontinued forever.

FYI: "Discontinued Forever" means that once the shirts are gone, they are totally gone. We don't reprint, and we don't hold on to any extras, so when we say something is gone, it is because that is the truth. I don't even have a single previously discontinued shirt in my possession, and I made 'em WITH THESE HANDS (ok, maybe I did not make them with my own hands, but I did do design work on 'em, had the printing handled by someone else, and shipped 'em WITH THESE HANDS. Same difference.)



Q: Is there any way to say something completely sarcastic and mean without getting an angry look from someone who doesn't understand your sense of humor? (I have several friends who caught on by the first few minutes from when we met.)

A: Perhaps I am showing my age here, but I don't really find anything redeeming about being mean to other people. It is never funny, and it always makes the person acting out look bad/insecure/etc.

I think that, unless you have mastered the art of self-deprecation rather than solely deprecating others (and I can tell from your email that you definitely have not), sarcasm is not an especially attractive quality. It is a good tool when you are trying to be humorous, but if your goal is to be mean, then you aren't being funny. You are being a bitch.

I know I haven mentioned this before on my site, but there is nothing that angers me more than people who think that, in order to be "cool", they have to be shitty to other people. Nobody is ever going to be won over by your ideas if you are just mean to them... In fact, having a bad attitude will usually make people dismiss your ideas, because they would not want to espouse something that is being bandied about by someone with an ugly personality.

I'm not sure why people think I act like this, saying shitty things to people's faces and thinking I am the cat's ass for doing so... I reject comics for my site if they are mean spirited, and when I do joke about things other people do, they are jokes about people's misguided actions, not making fun of particular people. I NEVER make comics about particular people, and I only make jokes about trends in attitude I see in large numbers of people. In my everyday life, I always go out of my way to be kind to everyone I see-- the UPS guy, the garbage man, the person who makes my lunch, people who work in the same office building as me. Goodwill towards other people will never reflect poorly on you, but being mean just for shits and giggles might make you look like an inconsiderate, antisocial person, even if you are just trying to be cute. Having people make those kinds of assumptions about you will never work in your favor, because nobody likes being around people who are snarky and mean.

There is nobody cooler than someone who is true to themselves, but still respects the way other people live, even if it is 100% different than they way they would run their life. Nobody is better than anyone else, and being mean to people for fun, rather than getting to know as many different kinds of people as possible and learning about different ways to be, is doing yourself a disservice.

Q: I'm a 20 year-old college student, and I'm having a bit of boy trouble. My first problem is that gay men don't seem to want anything to do with me. It's the straight guys who have a couple beers, and try to get me in bed. What's that about? I wouldn't be so concerned about it, except that there is this one "straight" guy in particular that has caught my attention.

We'll call him Chad. Chad is the same age as me, attractive, and very smart. Our mutual friend, Noreen, is very interested in him, and he seems to be -at least- mildly interested in her. However, Chad and I got tanked one night, and had a hard-to-the-core make out session, during which, he whispered things in my ear that I could not conceive of coming out of the mouth of a so-called straight boy.

Since then, he's been hanging with me a lot, wanting to watch movies, nudging noticeably close to me, feigning a relationship with me to piss off Noreen, and even asking to cuddle from time to time.

I've found myself starting to crush on this kid. Normally, I would try to pursue this, see what Chad was comfortable with, blah blah blah. The problem here is Noreen. If Chad and I got together, or if she found out that Chad and I have been intimate, she'd flip shit. What should I do? I really like Chad, but I don't even know if there's a future there. If there is, we'll both loose Noreen.

A: Interesting...

Here's the thing that stands out to me, as an impartial third party: Dudes don't typically flirt/have "hard-to-the-core" makeouts with dudes unless they are pretty gay themselves. I mean, guys might experiment, but not nearly as much as chicks. Just about every girl I know has tried out messing around with other chicks, but the dudes I know, not so much. Maybe there is a double standard, maybe making out with another chick is more abstract since they are not poking you with their boner, but that is just my observation.

That being said, most girls, no matter how much they like a guy, will be immediately uninterested in him should she find out that he plays for the other team. There is just not much you can work with, when you have a vagina and the boy you like prefers not-vaginas. It is 100% a deal breaker, unless you are a psycho chick, in which case you have bigger problems than trying to ungay a gay guy.

If I was crushing on some dude, even if I had his name written all over my notebook and I had all our babies named, I would drop the subject if I found out he was gay (or gayish.) Nothing against gay guys, they just make bad boyfriends for girls like me.

I think this Chad cat probably likes dudes... I'm not saying that guys can't experiment with other guys, but wanting to "cuddle" with other guys is probably farther than most freewheeling, experimental guys would be comfortable with, since it implies a certain level of intimacy. It implies that you find pleasure in being affectionate with men, not just that you like getting off (everyone likes getting off.)

OK, so what do I think you should do? I think you should talk to Chad and let him know that he is leading you on a little, and tell him you like him and would be interested in pursuing something further if he would be comfortable with that. If he isn't, fine. No harm done. He's just not ready to admit he is gay (which I think he is.) If he likes you too, and wants to bring it up a notch, then talk to your friend Noreen. If she is a half-reasonable person, she will see immediately that there was never any chance of things working out between her and Chad, and will probably be happy for you guys, since you have had problems finding boyfriends, and Chad is finally comfortable admitting what his bag is... She's not going to feel rejected or that you went behind her back because, the fact of the matter is, she never had a part in the sex lives of two gay guys, no matter how infatuated she was with Chad. You can't change a zebra's stripes, you know what I'm saying? It's not her failure to win him over, or you interfering, it's her wanting something that just wasn't gonna happen, any way you slice it.

Q: What's your beef with Cincinnati? It's not that bad.

A: Well, first off, I don't particularly love Cincinnati, but I wouldn't go as far as to say I "have beef" with it. There is a difference between not being particularly fond of somewhere/something, and "having beef." If I had beef, I think I would be more active in my dislike, but frankly, I never really think about it much.

ANYWAY, the things I don't like about Cincinnati?

First off, Columbus is twice as populated as Cincinnati, yet Cincinnati is spread out all over kingdom come, so if you want to go anywhere that is not in the immediate vicinity, it takes 45 minutes. If you are in Columbus, and you start driving, and you drive for 45 minutes, you will be in Delaware or Marion or some other city that is not part of Columbus at all. In Cincinnati, you can try to go to Jungle Jim's, and it takes 2 hours round trip. I just don't like driving around on the highway that much. I prefer doing stuff.

Second, everyone who lives in Cincinnati apparently also hates having to drive on the highway all day, so when they are, they are mean and aggressive and try to run you off the road. The last time I was in Cincinnati, it was storming pretty badly, and i had people riding my ass and flashing their lights at me when I was doing 15 miles over the speed limit (not in the left lane, mind you.) Then, the person flashing me would pass (like one would expect BEFORE acting like a rude child) and someone else would take their place, flashing and dicking off. Also, once you are out of your car, and in, say, the mall, people also ride your ass and cut you off and have generally bad pedestrian traffic manners. I AM NOT SAYING EVERYONE IS LIKE THAT, just the people I've come across.

Also, all the extra driving in Cincinnati makes it seem dirtier, from the exhaust and whatnot. Columbus just seems fresher for whatever reason.

Thirdly, Cincinnati is a lot more conservative than I would like. I enjoy living in a place where there are a lot of other people who feel the same way, civically and politically, that I do. I like living in the inky navy blue center of Ohio, and I like that Barry Obama took my county by 13%. It makes me happy. I don't think I would like living somewhere as conservative as Cincinnati, and you can really feel the differences in ideals between the two cities.

There are other observations I have made about Cincinnati, regarding the infrastructure and racism and whatnot, that are really too negative to ignore. Some things are just never cool, you know? No matter how many cool bands play at Southgate House, it really doesn't make up for the race riots. If nearly half the city's residents are black, you would really think that the black community would be treated a little better, rather than being subjected to such police brutality and whatnot. Not to mention that the racism seems geographically influenced. All the minorities live in the city, where there is not as much organization/infrastructure as the outlying areas where all the white people live. All the roads in the middle of the city were laid out in the 17-1800s, along old cow paths, and they have to make do with that. It's not a nice or pretty place to be, and it doesn't take a genius to notice that's not where the white folk are.

Not to mention that the cost of living is higher in Cincinnati than in other cities in Ohio, so you are paying a premium to live there in particular. OH, and Jerry Springer was installed as mayor by the city council AFTER the city council got rid of him for hiring prostitutes. And he certainly wasn't the first corrupt politician from there.

Now, I can't say that my opinion of Cincinnati isn't colored by my heartbreaking love of Columbus. There is obviously some partiality going on. However, I was not born in Columbus, I moved here because I wanted to, so it's not an issue of me not knowing better. I have thought about moving, but whenever I do, I check out other options, and I realize I like Columbus too much to go somewhere that is not as nice. When I met my husband, he lived in Cincinnati, and theoretically, I could have moved down there instead of vice versa. But, he seemed all too eager to get out, and in years since he moved here, I have watched him mellow out considerably, and his anxiety ebb to near-nonexistent levels. When we go back to Cincinnati, he gets all stressed out again for a day or two. Coincidence? Maybe, but I really don't think so.

Do I hate Cincinnati or have "beef" with Cincinnati? No. It's just a different city, and it is a lot different than any place I would want to live. But it takes all kinds, you know? It's not bad, it's just not for me. Do I think that the regular people who live in Cincinnati are bad? No, people are the same everywhere.

Anyway, that is way longer than I wanted... But you get the drift.

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