Saturday, August 13, 2011

An open invitation to those who feel Dr. Efficient is wrong

As you might imagine, more than a few people, most of them women, have told me in no uncertain terms how very wrong most of Dr. Efficient's answers are. Some of these folks have been rather vehement in stating those feelings.

I've been pondering this situation, and I've decided to offer to all those who feel Dr. Efficient is wrong an opportunity: write your own guest column here. You would have to go back to the first Dr. Efficient column and respond to those questions, and then when you had caught up to the current columns, I would run the doctor's and yours either intermixed or one after the other.

Before I made this offer, I asked Dr. Efficient if he would mind if I did this. His response:

It certainly wouldn't bother me to have somebody else go back and give incorrect answers to all the questions that I've already answered correctly.
The rules are simple and the same ones under which Doc E. operates:
* You have to answer all the same questions he already has.

* Your viewpoint has to be rather different from his (which presumably it already is, or you wouldn't be interested in rebutting him).

* I will edit you for conformance to my personal style guide but otherwise will leave your work alone.

* You may use a pseudonym, but I must know your real name, and you must be willing for me to show it to the world in the tags, as I do with Dr. Efficient/Kyle.

* There's no money here; I don't pay Dr. E, and I wouldn't be paying you.

* I will run only one alternative viewpoint column (well, unless two people just blow me away with their writing).
That's it. Anyone think Dr. Efficient is wrong and want to play?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ask Dr. Efficient, the Love Guru:
Dr. Efficient Answers All, #8

Warning: The following is an adult entry. If you are underage or simply do not want to read about sex-related topics, stop now.

All opinions are those of Dr. Efficient.

In Dr. Efficient's eighth guest column, he clarifies some of his positions while also helping his questioners.

As usual, the questions he answers originated with U.S. women who chose to remain anonymous.

Why do men like to watch women masturbate? It has nothing to do with procreation, which is your general theme for sex. Explain that to me, Dr. Efficient.

Okay, two things: First, I'm not a biological determinist. And second, men don't care about procreation, they just want to fuck.

If I tend to give answers rooted in evolutionary biology, it's because I tend to get cross-cultural questions like "Why do men do like to watch women masturbate?" rather than "What is it with Germans and Scheisse porn?" or "Why is female genital mutilation common in Northeast Africa but not in Northern Europe?"

Evolution has left humans with a broad palette of mating behaviors to choose from. Which of those strategies they evince depend largely on culture and individual personality. When a young man in middle America hires a limousine, rents a tuxedo, and gives a girl flowers in the hope of getting laid, that's one mating strategy. When a young man in Sudan joins a dozen of his Arab militia buddies in gang-raping a Nuban tribeswoman, that's another.

And those are just evolutionary strategies that make some kind of evident sense. (Demonstrating resources to a prospective mate in one case, forcibly increasing genetic diversity in the other.) Beyond that, there are numerous sexual behaviors that appear, at least on the surface, to be maladaptive. Homosexuality, celibacy, and polyamory all seem like behaviors less likely to result in successful propagation of one's genes than the traditional serial monogamy, polygyny, or monogamy+cheating. Yet homosexuality, celibacy, and polyamory persist, and continue to be practiced by single-digit percentages of the population. Do they convey some evolutionary benefit that is at first non-obvious? Or are they merely side-effects of some other adaptive behavior?

And then there's the truly freaky shit. Vorarephiliacs who get off on watching people being eaten. The aforementioned Germans and their love of shitmunchery. Amputation fetishists. Human furniture. Kitten crushing. If it exists, there is porn of it. It's all but unimaginable that these behaviors are adaptive. Yet there are whole sub-communities devoted to all of them. Psychologists call such fetishes paraphilias--but can't agree on their origin, or even whether they're disorders that should be treated or healthy behaviors.

So where were we? Oh, yes. People do all kinds of whack shit to get off that has nothing to do with procreation. That said, the answer to your question seems pretty obvious. As I mentioned, men aren't turned on by procreation; they're turned on by fucking, and biology takes care of the rest. Foreplay, to a man, is the sight of a sexually available woman. A naked woman who's done the two-finger taco tango until she's dripping wet is about as available as it gets.

On the other hand, if Studly Do-Right would rather watch you buff the beaver than actually walk over and stick his dick in, he probably has a paraphilia. Depending on how satisfied you are with this arrangement, he may require treatment.

How can you tell if a man is potentially interested in you as a long term mate vs. just thinks you're a fun fuck? To what extent do men really differentiate?

When surveyed, men express different preferences for casual encounters than for a long-term mate. As David Buss explains in The Evolution of Desire, for men seeking short-term sex partners, promiscuity is a plus. A woman seeking commitment is undesirable. A woman's marital status is less important in short-term than long-term relationships. In fact, a lot of standards are lowered for short-term mates: Men are willing to accept a wider age range, lower intelligence, lower education, less athleticism, and more emotional instability in short-term sex partners. That last point should work in your favor.

Men gain greater evolutionary benefit from casual sex than women do, which has left men much more willing to fuck around. Women know this, and so women who are interested in longer-term relationships typically require demonstrations of a man's commitment. They require ongoing effort in courtship: lots of dates, lots of phone calls, time spent listening to the woman's problems, time spent discussing the improbable future of their relationship. When a man buys a woman an engagement ring, that's not a custom that evolved by happenstance. It's a signal that a man is sufficiently committed to the relationship that he's willing to spend several months salary on a useless bauble for the woman.

On the other hand, men know all of this. Both sexes practice deception in securing the attentions of the other. Men looking for a quick fuck will pretend to be interested in long-term relationships. They'll pretend to be polite. They'll pretend to be considerate. Men who want to get laid will ape human feelings and will pretend to care about small animals and children. If cornered, a man will even tell a woman, "I love you." None of these things should be believed. Women think men are nicer than they are, when really women just have something men want.

The battle of the sexes is a war that's hundreds of thousands of years old. Male and female mating strategies operate at cross purposes. When one sex has evolved a new behavior to maximize success, the other sex has evolved countermeasures, in a never-ending arms race. Where men seek signs of youth and fertility, women deceive them with make-up, high heels, and wonderbras. Where women seek success and fidelity, men deceive them with feigned bravado and pretended sincerity. And the war goes on.

Have fun on your next date.

As long as you keep sending in questions, Dr. Efficient will return soon! Email your queries to me or send them via the Contact page on my site.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sometimes after a very rough day

you need a beautiful emo tune. Like this one.

Other times, after a very rough day, you need an auditory workout montage, say a silly early 80's tune. Like this one.

On a very rough day, you may want someone to save you. Then a TV theme song might be just what you need. Like this one.

Eventually, though, on even a very rough day, you realize that you're alive and doing better than so many people that you have no right to complain, that in fact you should be thankful. When you reach that point, a joyful song might be just the ticket. Like this one.

Today was a very rough day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Looking for a Web developer

My company, Principled Technologies, would like to hire a full-time Web developer. This person would be working on a broad range of projects and using a wide variety of tools, so we're looking for someone who has experience in multiple development environments and who is open to using different tools for different jobs and to learning new skills.

If you're interested or know someone who is, please have them contact me via either the Contact page on my site or at

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Death Cab for Cutie and Frightened Rabbit

Thanks to Sarah bringing the show to our attention, a group of us went to see these two bands in concert last night. I was only moderately familiar with their music, but now I intend to listen to all of it.

Frightened Rabbit, a Scottish band, opened the show. The air was hotter than the devil's nut sack, and the band members were clearly uncomfortable in the heat, but for their short set they rocked hard. I very much enjoyed their music. This song was one of my favorites.

After the usual set change, Death Cab for Cutie took the stage. Lead singer Ben Gibbard dominated the performance, singing every song and playing multiple instruments--mostly guitars, but some keyboard and even some drum work.

I was pleasantly surprised by the length of their set, which with the encore ran close to two hours. Their sound was harder rock than I remembered, but I quite liked it. My only complaint is that at times the instrumentals ran too long for my taste, but that's common in rock shows.

Though I enjoyed the hard rock numbers, my favorite was this acoustic number, which Gibbard sang alone on the stage.

If either of these bands comes near you, definitely check them out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

is, to my surprise, a genuinely good movie. I'm not alone in this opinion, as its 82% fresh critic rating and 90% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes shows.

What surprised me about this film is how different it is from what its trailer suggests. The trailer I saw basically portrayed an action film, but that's not what this one is; it's a character piece with moments of action and a long action sequence at the end.

What surprised me more is that it's a character-driven film in which almost all the performances are so-so at best. James Franco is completely adequate but no more in the lead role. Freida Pinto is stunningly gorgeous and does what she can with her lines, but the writing for her lacks any depth. The best of the human characters comes from John Lithgow as Franco's dad.

What made this movie for me was the performance--and special effects--of Andy Serkis as Caesar, the ape who leads a revolution. The combination of the motion-capture from him and the CG yielded easily the most interesting and touching performance in the film.

If you are a fan of the original Planet of the Apes movies, you know in broad brush everything that's going to happen, as I did--but it won't ruin the film for you. If you don't know the prior flicks, just go and enjoy the ride.

Either way, check out this one.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


In a big local mall, in a show store, in the course of reluctantly buying a pair of shoes, I showed the top of my tattered and torn underwear to the three female clerks working there.

Trust me, it made sense at the time.

Well, it made sense to me.

On the other hand, I'm a man who did an hour-long comedy set with the title Mr. Poor Choices and didn't even come close to using all of my own bad choices.

Maybe there's a lesson here.



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