Archive for the ‘Sociology’ Category

The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounters weirdness: April 2016 (Hartford CT) edition

I don’t know why but as I put together my monthly review of local Craigslist casual encounters weirdness, this snippet of lyrics from the musical Chess is running through my brain:

I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you

Anyhow, the first Friday of the month came early this month and that’s when I try to do these postings, as Fridays seem to be the best day of the week to find the weirdest of these postings, probably in anticipation of kinky expectations unlikely to be met by these posters over the weekend. So it’s generally anything goes. I decided to go back to Hartford, Connecticut’s section this month, mainly because I am lazy but also because my May 2015 post on Hartford continues to get lots of hits, 59 in March out of at least 166 hits for this stuff. That’s almost exactly 11% of my total web hits for March.

On the first page of postings I count:

  • 33 men looking for a woman
  • 41 men looking for a man
  • 11 men looking for a couple
  • 2 men looking for a transgender
  • 1 group of men looking for a woman
  • 4 women looking for a man
  • 4 couples looking for a woman
  • 5 transgender individuals looking for a man
  • 1 transgender looking for multiple men

Let’s jump into the postings and find the wheat in the chaff tonight:

  • Speaking of those two men looking for an attractive woman, they say, “Typically we’re available Sunday through Saturday with 2 days notice”, so I guess they never take a day off. They are 45 and 41, live in Norwich and have lots of explicit black and white pictures showing what they would do to a woman with men that obviously aren’t them, but at least the models are thoughtful enough to use condoms. Most likely they are married and probably need the two days to invent an excuse to give their wives for the odd hours they are going to put in at work. However, they are equal opportunity horn dogs, in that they don’t discriminate based on race but do discriminate on whether you are hot or not. That at least makes them more discriminating that most of their competition.
  • Here’s an ad from a woman looking for a man that sounds legit, mainly because she’s been scanning ads from men for women and finding them turnoffs. Are you real, as in not a creep? Then maybe you can get into her pants, but this is Craigslist so the answer is probably no.
  • He’s 26 and wants to go to the “art gallery”, i.e. Hartford’s “art” theater where apparently the stuff on the balcony is much racier than the XXX action on screen, or at least less faked than the stuff on the screen. But the balcony is only available to couples, so basically he needs a date in the hopes of seeing some people do kinky sex.
  • Ladies, no need to feel awkward joining this couple in their 30’s for a threesome because you won’t be their first.
  • If you are reading this, you are too late because this 46-year-old not totally gay man from Middletown is only available for the next hour or so.
  • Lady, I love the blue panties.
  • He’s a man from Suffield looking for a couple to have a threesome with but ick, none of this man-to-man stuff, he doesn’t want to even touch I would think that would make having a threesome very challenging and complicated. If that’s not enough to reject him, he’s also married and 52.
  • He might possibly be Richard Gere.
  • Here’s an unusual wish from a 50-year-old gay guy from Hartford: looking for a man with “alligator thick skinned ball sacks”. Maybe he should write bad erotic gay fiction. Oh wait, he just did.
  • Ladies: he’s here to serve you, be your slave and he’s not concerned about your body type or your age (unless you are over 60). Among the things he is willing to do is this one I haven’t seen before: be used as your footstool. Enjoy, dude.
  • She’s curious and looking for a Puerto Rican woman.
  • Guys: he wants you to be “IN SHAPE”, 18-30 and he appreciates a great haircut (see example pictures). In fact, he’s willing to be your stylist and is hoping you’ll want him to shave you bald or make you look like a Marine. Prefers college boys and will “manscape” you too.
  • It’s not easy being five months pregnant, especially when you are horny as hell.
  • Now here’s an unusual ad: a 35-year-old white dude is looking for a couple. He’s at Bradley International (Hartford area airport) in the cell lot and stroking until 11 PM. He’s probably in the car with the fogged windows. That’s good as it will be hard to be seen with him, although having a threesome in a car sounds very problematic. He may get a caller, but I’m guessing it won’t include a she.
  • He’s 25, gay, from East Haven, has a small one and wants to meet other men with small ones or big ones, just to compare.
  • I don’t know how this 18-year-old gay “twink” from Tolland can strictly be a “bottom” and has a “virgin ass”. I mean, how would you know unless you tried?
  • I’m sure hoping this 23-year-old Jewitt City man looking for a woman who is holding a newborn baby in his picture is a new uncle and not a new father. He says it’s been a while since he’s been with a woman. Maybe it’s because his wife won’t put out while pregnant or nursing?
  • Here’s yet another sexual practice that I have no idea what it is, but it must be something women do with each other. She’s 21, from Meriden, is a lesbian virgin but says she is into tribbing.

More next month.

 
The Thinker

Ending the privileged caste

Perhaps you’ve seen the “This is water” video. If you haven’t, spend nine minutes or so watching it:

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and if you keep up on contemporary American politics it’s not hard to understand why. We tend to take for granted what is given to us. For example, I appreciated my father who passed away last month but at the same time I took him for granted. I assumed most sons had fathers of his caliber. It wasn’t until many decades later – and particularly after having gone through the fatherhood process myself – that I realized how exceptional he was. I was barely able to emulate him for one child. He did it for eight of us.

Most of us go through life vaguely aware at best of the enormous resources expended on our behalf. Like a fish in a fishbowl, we take them for granted. The easiest ones to appreciate are our parents, who also become the easiest to despise if they don’t live up to our expectations. It takes a village to raise a child, Hillary Clinton opined in her book, but it takes much more than a village. It takes resources from the family level to the international level. These include clean water (something the residents of Flint, Michigan no longer take for granted), committed teachers, police, our military, ministers, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, doctors, orthodontists and even diplomats. The list is endless. In general, the more you can avail yourself of these resources, the higher the standard of living and your opportunities are likely to be.

Some of us are more favored than others. As we grow to understand this, our privilege becomes painful to acknowledge and sets up cognitive dissonance. At some level we of some privilege realize that our privilege was purchased at the expense of someone else’s. The dissonance generally results in denial. I am seeing it played out on the national stage, particularly in the candidacy of Donald Trump. Trump is riding collective white cognitive dissonance to a likely Republican Party nomination. Why? It’s because it is easier for many of us whites to support someone like this than to acknowledge, or worse address the bald fact that we are greatly disproportionately privileged. It’s not that we are better than other people, it’s that we got special treatment because we live inside a privileged caste generations in the making. Just as the fish is not aware of the water most of us choose to be deliberately ignorant of our privileged status.

In fact many whites in the United States are not privileged at all. Visit Appalachia and you will see plenty of them. Their lives are just as unprivileged and harsh as is a black child’s living in public housing in Southeast Washington D.C. and may be worse. Nonetheless, many of these whites won’t acknowledge this. They sincerely believe that because they are white they are better than the non-whites. In fact, Trump and other Republican candidates are exploiting them by pretending to throw the shield of white privilege over them, privileges that largely do not exist.

The Republican message is in two parts. First, it’s that because you are white you are better and deserve privilege and if you vote for the others you will lose that privilege. Second, is that you are “temporarily impoverished millionaires”. You just need to do a few things by yourself (never with the help of others) to become successful.

Both these messages are lies but are lies that most of us cannot acknowledge even to ourselves. On the first point, we all know innately that skin color has no more bearing on your capacity than does eye color. We even say these words while doing largely the opposite, and most of us aren’t aware of our inconsistency. On the second point we also know this is a myth with only a tiny kernel of truth. This perhaps had some truth in the past, when there were fewer hurdles to success. It’s painfully obvious that today to really succeed you need lifelong coaching and resources, plus a certain amount of tenacity and luck. You cannot rise from humble shoeshine boy to Elon Musk through tenacity alone. In Musk’s case you have to inhabit a rich technological world and have both the talent and resources to ride these changes to your own success and profit. This won’t happen to poor working class Appalachians or black children in Southeast Washington D.C. It’s not completely impossible, but your odds of winning the lottery are much better. Perhaps that explains why so many middle and lower income people play the lottery in the first place.

For someone like me who is white, privileged and can see that his success is largely a result of the rich nutrient “water” in which I was raised, the question then becomes what should I do about it. Should I emulate Jesus and give all my riches to the poor? Should I help out in soup kitchens? Just how much of my treasure and time should I give back? Of course, I give back already. I do give money to charity; in fact it’s an item in the family budget, currently $250 a month. Much of it goes to Planned Parenthood, environmental causes, a local food bank and a local abused women’s shelter. On the latter, I recently had coffee with an outreach director of the local women’s shelter and offered my time as a volunteer, coach and mentor; however I could be of use. Since I am otherwise retired, I don’t have lack of time as an excuse.

Perhaps my efforts deserve a pat on the back, but considering how privileged I have been in this life it deserves not even that. Of course I am quite interested in changing the dynamics, which is why I am a Bernie Sanders supporter. It’s quite clear to me that this institutional racism and classism is baked into our laws. To truly address these problems, laborers first have to be paid a living wage. Needless to say Donald Trump and all the other Republican candidates are running away from this idea, which has the effect of keeping the same failed policies in place. This in turn ensures more decades of inequality and will effective keep the others in poverty and in their place for future generations. Increasingly, we are the others and we are voting against our own best interests. Most of the lemmings following Donald Trump are being used to their own disadvantage.

I do know at some point I will inherit some money. My father left everything to my stepmother, but their wills are similar. When she dies all of us children (including our stepmother’s) will get 5% of their estate. I have no idea how much their estate is worth, but I’m guessing it’s about a million dollars. So perhaps I will inherit $50,000 or so.

I have been talking about this future windfall with my wife. We should not need the money to improve our standard of living and in our case $50,000 really doesn’t buy a change in our standard of living anyhow. Our daughter will get a hefty share of our estate when we are gone. $50,000 though can do a whole lot for someone further down the food chain.

When the windfall finally arrives, I plan to find one underprivileged but promising person and use it to move them a rung up the ladder. Aside from greatly reducing my own standard of living (which is actually reasonably modest but better than most), giving away my inheritance is the only significantly meaningful thing I can do, but only if done right. If it moves one poor but talented person from a life behind a fast food counter to doing something that gives them both meaning and income, it may set about a cycle of virtuous changes that may take many generations to flower. I am unlikely to witness these, as I will be planted six feet underground. It seems that the best I can do to make amends is to plant a seed, water it while I can and hope.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounters weirdness: March 2016 (Worcester, MA) edition

In my monthly samplings of weird but reasonably local Craigslist casual encounters postings, I’ve missed Worcester (it’s pronounced “wooster”), Massachusetts. It’s about an hour east of where we are living. I don’t think about it principally because I haven’t visited it, just driven through it instead. But it is Massachusetts’ second largest city with close to 200,000 people. Situated a bit outside Boston’s outer beltway, it’s had a reputation for being a faded industrial city, one of many here in the Northeast. It also has its own Craigslist community so it’s likely to have plenty of people into weird stuff. I’ll get to that in a minute.

But first, let’s take a look at my February Craigslist post statistics. It’s been a very slow month for fans of my Craigslist posts. I can document at only 156 web hits in February, but site traffic in general was very slow last month. There were just 1514 web page views, so my Craigslist traffic was just ten percent of total traffic. 69 of those hits were for my popular May 2015 post about Hartford’s Craigslist casual encounters postings.

There is a light snow falling here today. Let’s see if this is suppressing the creativity of posters in the Worcester area. Pulling up the first page of posts I see:

  • 25 men looking for a woman
  • 61 men looking for man
  • 4 men looking for a couple
  • 2 men looking for a transgender
  • 5 women looking for a man
  • 0 women looking for a woman or a couple
  • 0 couples looking for anyone
  • 1 transgender looking for a man

So right off the bat it looks like men will be dominating the posts this month. Here we go!

  • Do you know what a tribute is? I mean in the kinky world of Craigslist. I had to look it up but it apparently involves a man jerking off on a picture of a hot woman and perhaps sending it to the woman hoping she will be aroused. If I were a woman and received one of these I would be calling the cops not to mention running for the Purex! In any event here’s a definitely weird post from a 52-year-old man from Acton looking for a man who will jerk him off on a picture of his wife. Curiously you have to do this while he is actually watching her, albeit surreptitiously, clothed or naked. Wow! This is exactly the sort of gem that makes this area so special! Just when you think you have seen it all, something new pops up. And it was the first post at the top of the page!
  • Even if you are “gurl” friendly, you will want to avoid this ugly “woman” from Milford. “She” gives you plenty of pictures just in case the first one isn’t enough to convince you to hurry to the next ad. Maybe you should choose this 37-year-old gurl.
  • I’m definitely behind on how sex reassignment surgery is done. Not feeling the inclination myself, it’s a mystery to me how the surgeons do this magic. Apparently in male to female surgery, the surgeon gets to shape the new woman’s private parts including her most sensitive spot, the clitoris. And that’s what this 51-year-old Worcester man is looking for: a new woman with an extra large clitoris. Presumably nature doesn’t provide this naturally to many women. It also helps if you are a “squirter”. Anyhow, if you got one, hit him up! He’d best not wait by his mailbox for replies.
  • He’s 52, divorced, from Shrewsbury and has a sandbox he wants a woman to play in with him. Ladies, bring your plastic shovel and bucket!
  • This is strange: a man looking for a couple so the woman can watch while he deep throats her husband. All this plus he’s 58. He must be particular however as you must live in Worcester.
  • If you are a 23-year-old male virgin perhaps making your first sexual experience with a couple is not a bad way to get introduced to sex. It’s unclear what role if any the husband has in this other than as voyeur. Just in case the couple ad doesn’t work out he also has a more traditional ad.
  • He’s 46-years-old, a recent widower and actually from Rhode Island and needs a fuck buddy while presumably he works through his grief. Or maybe since he’s looking he’s beyond that stage. Anyhow, unlike most of these posters he looks like a normal guy, so hit him up, ladies.
  • There are lots of bad things that can happen in a casual encounter, but a lot that can be avoided. Here’s a gay 45-year-old man from Winchendon who wants you to bring a camera so you can join him in taking pictures of them naked. As I’ve noted before, testosterone makes men suggest crazy things and this is definitely one of them.
  • He’s 42 and from Webster and is looking for Jennifer Sherman so that he can peak at her through her window again. I do hope this was consensual last time. Any Jennifer Shermans in the Webster area should lie low for a while and if asked say it must have been that other Jennifer Sherman. Which brings up another unwritten rule for these encounters: if you are stupid enough to go through with them, never tell him your last name.
  • He’s young, from Worcester, has nice abs and wants to see you (a woman) gain weight. No, really!
  • She 27 and really likes dominant men, so much so that her dominant husband is not dominant enough. So hubby needs help from a second super dominant man to finally put her in her place.
  • In a similar vein, here’s a couple from Worcester looking for a gay or bi guy to join them because she gets off on seeing man on man, or at least a man enjoying her husband. That sounds fair given that so many men are into watching lesbians. The ultimate goal here is double penetration of the same orifice.

While few women are posting in Worcester, I am impressed by the weird postings mostly from men in Worcester, so it’s definitely worth a return visit.

More in April.

 
The Thinker

The art and value of meeting up using meetup.com

Meetings once consumed my life. It was hard to get actual work done because I was too busy attending meetings. Shuffling from conference room to conference room all day drove me nuts since so little of the conversation was productive. Over time and mainly due to changing jobs more of my meetings became virtual. There were still plenty of meetings but they mainly involved conference lines and Webex sessions while you sat at your desks. Teams stared at virtual shared screens, where usually someone was pasting notes, but often we were off to look at websites collaboratively. When we were not in meetings there was continuous email and instant messaging streaming back and forth. You tried to work while all this was going on.

Mostly this went away when I retired. At first it was welcome but over time it felt weird. I am not wholly retired. To keep myself busy I started consulting part time. My work happens from home but my clients are all over the Internet. Mostly I use email, but occasionally when I need some face time I will kick up a Skype session with a client. POTS (plain old telephone service) works too for my clients who are less technologically fluent. My instant messaging service now is just Skype and it’s mostly with family.

Meeting in person is becoming a lost art. But when you work alone, as so many of us do these days in our new telecommuting universe, too much alone time is not good. You want to meet new people but it can be hard. There are the neighbors. Fortunately I live in a very social 55+ community, so there is plenty of neighborliness to be had, including a monthly guys-only dinner night and various social events. There is church but I’ve been slow to reengage in Unitarian Universalism since I moved. There are people you might chat with at the store, on the bike trail or at the park, but these are ephemeral. So mostly I talk to my spouse and my cats these days.

Being introverted it doesn’t particularly bother me to be somewhat socially isolated, but I did miss communing with fellow tech-heads. It used to be I lived in a nutrient-rich tech universe during my working hours. Now I can read stuff online but it’s not the same as direct person-to-person exchange and collaboration.

So I have been meeting up instead. In the 21st century this means going to meetup.com and finding events worth attending where you get to sit down with people who are essentially strangers and chat about something you have in common. Locally there are all sorts of meet ups I could attend, some of them pretty weird. For example, there is a Dr. Who meet up that I’ve encourage my wife to go to, since she is a Dr. Who fan, which I am not. There is a group for polyamorous people. For you unenlightened, this means people who feel pulled to having more than one intimate/romantic relationship at a time, ideally in the same household, and often with different genders, where ideally no jealousy is happening. Okay, whatever, not for me. Looking at my local meetup.com calendar I find that there are all sorts of stuff going on. Local atheists are meeting tomorrow night to take on Scientology. Guided mediation and shamanic drum journeying is happening on Tuesday. There is a Yoga & Beer meet up on Wednesday. I don’t know what they could possibly have in common.

Still, you go to meetup.com to find people like you. Given that I’m a techie I’m interested in techie meet ups. Surprising there is quite a bit of this stuff out here in Western Massachusetts. At first I found the experience a bit nervy, since I’m not the type to go into bars and talk with strangers. But to go to a restaurant or a meeting room in a library and talk with a bunch of tech people, well, all-righty then!

It started last summer when I ventured to a “Webdive”, which is basically a bunch of tech people (usually just guys) meeting at a watering hole in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts. There they drink beer, eat bar food and yammer on mostly about technical stuff. The bar food didn’t impress me but the quality of the technical conversation did. There was quite a buzz about AngularJS, a Javascript framework, and its many virtues. I was still in the jQuery world. It was useful to know this is where trends were going in many instances. Without the meet up, I likely would never have known.

Still, it’s hard to hold a meaningful conversation in a noisy bar. I didn’t need the calories either, although it was useful to find out how much tech was actually going on here in Western Massachusetts, where it seems hidden. So I started attending another meet up in Easthampton, Massachusetts. There in an old industrial building I met others in a startup’s office interested in “full stack” development. This turned into a much more interesting meeting, as the topics were topical and relevant. Wednesday night found about a dozen of us watching a demonstration of Travis, software used to continuously compile, test and deploy complex software systems. It’s neat stuff.

Last night I was at yet another meet up, this one across the Connecticut River in Amherst, on search marketing for websites. I happened to be friends with Roger the organizer, who I did some work for. While not particularly technical it was fascinating to learn how search engines (Google in particular) rank websites and what you can do to make your website more noticed by search engines. There is a lot of misinformation out there. We all found it relevant and useful. Not one of us walked out. We were so immersed in the stuff that we almost missed the library’s closing time.

Meet ups, principally facilitated by meetup.com are turning out to be important to me, both to meet like-minded people but also to keep up my technical prowess. There is also a lot of marketing going on between attendees. You learn not just to bring a notebook and take notes but also to bring business cards, because someone or more will probably want one. Curiously, these business cards come in handy. I got a query from a local network of technical people who needed some fast turnaround on a WordPress job. I was swamped, but I pulled out the business card of a guy who gave me his at a meet up. I recalled that he had the skills this person was looking for. He got some work and he sent me a little thank you note afterward.

So meet ups can be both interesting and profitable. There is no substitute for face-to-face encounters, particularly if you work alone. Meet ups are an easy way to market yourself and to keep up your skills, as well as meet other people you might want to collaborate with on future projects. You will often learn about local opportunities or listen to some interesting suggestions on markets in the area that need to be filled.

All this, plus I feel less socially isolated. I guess I’m a meetup.com kind of person after all.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounter weirdness: February 2016 (Hartford CT) edition

I’m back indulging my monthly habit of looking into naughty areas of the Internet. I’m back to my most recent favorite spot: Hartford, Connecticut. I’m there to see what crazy shenanigans its residents hope to get into this weekend by hooking up with strangers using Craigslist’s casual encounters section. Few of these potential encounters will actually happen, at least on Craigslist, but when posting on Craigslist it helps to think not just big but grandiose. In recent months I looked at postings in both Boston (feh!) and Albany, New York (hmm), but Hartford (about an hour’s drive south of me) has postings that rarely disappoint. Let’s find out who’s hoping to shake their booties down in Connecticut’s capital this first Saturday in February.

But first: a look at my January statistics. There were at least 260 web page views for these posts on my site last month, with the top rated post my first May 2015 review of Hartford’s postings (96 views). That’s nearly forty more page views than in December and about 11% of my web page views in January, which is about average.

On the first page of ads in Hartford this afternoon I see:

  • 20 men looking for women
  • 57 men looking for men
  • 7 men looking for a couple
  • 1 man looking for multiple women
  • 2 men looking for multiple men
  • 1 group of men looking for a man
  • 5 women looking for men
  • 1 woman looking for a woman
  • 2 transgender women looking for a man
  • 1 couple looking for a woman

So there are lots of horny gay men posting this cold and snow-covered first Saturday in February. Let’s dig in to the posts:

  • A 45-year-old Farmington man does not have so much as a foot fetish as a toe fetish. He’ll massage your feet and kiss your toes, but curiously makes no suggestion of moving toward further intimacy. It’s probably just as well as he’s unlikely to get any takers, unless she is a working “gurl”. Considering the next post is also from a 45-year-old Farmington man, it looks like he is also interested in watching couples in his hotel room.
  • She’s 27, a big (fat) girl, but is looking for a special kind of guy: skinny but well endowed, 9 inches plus and thick. She wants photographic proof and asks that you host their booty call. Oh, and stop flagging her ad. Lady, if I were you I’d go with this guy from Windsor.
  • This 68-year-old widowed gay man seems very particular of who he will service. You have to be youngish but it’s not clear what that means when you are 68. The good news is you don’t have to reciprocate, which is probably just as well as I’m betting he has erectile dysfunction.
  • She’s virtually 29, lives near Bristol and really wants to try her own gender for the first time. She’s into lesbian porn but has a few unique requirements, including that you must be shaved below the waist. Dominant women preferred.
  • It’s odd to see what looks like a legitimate ad from a woman looking for a man, but this black woman, age 23, has one and she’s into white guys. Looks like she’s got the condom thing already figured out so no point in stopping by the CVS first.
  • Ladies: sounds like a good deal. He’s a generous (read “willing to pay”) man who simply wants a “pillow princess” to give to oral love to. You don’t have to do anything else. There is no clue what he looks like but just in case he’s ugly, obese and/or very old you might prefer to keep a blindfold handy. Don’t feel that this will be your best offer, however. This 50-year-old man from Southwick is also interested in covering you with sugar.
  • It’s not uncommon to find people posting for family role-play, i.e. “daddy/daughter”, “brother/sister” etc. This is the first post I’ve seen for a daughter looking for a mommy. She’s in her late 30s, and mommy must be 45+. Gosh, mommy started pushing them out young!
  • There are few things worse than going to the Hartford Cinema Arts Theater where XXX movies run all day and night and having to get off by watching the naughty action on the screen instead of in the seats. Which is why since couples occasionally show up to do the nasty and invite audience participation, this 40-year-old man wants to hook up with you there, and he’s hoping the husband is a cuckold.
  • This 30-year-old gay man from Wethersfield is trying to set some sort of record on how many men will take him orally or anally this weekend. Why do I think I see a HIV+ sign above his pictures of his ass? Probably because in the last picture he’s got a bruise on the right cheek. Avoid.
  • It’s curious how a pedestrian ad can seem kinky in this section. He’s 59, looking for a woman and is almost waxing poetic about how he’s working to be at the forefront of American history and will be creating millions of jobs. He’s even posted his name: Roy E. Cline. Umm, Roy, ever hear of okcupid.com or eHarmony?
  • He’s a gay guy very disturbed by the poor quality of men at Hartford’s local glory holes. Speaking of glory holes, here’s a couple from New Britain looking to find one for the wife to try out.
  • Can a woman be a whore to another woman? This 26-year-old “very submissive” and fit woman wants to find out.
  • You would think that a married man who want to see their woman with another man would just give up, particularly when the woman doesn’t want to move beyond fantasy. This 36-year-old man from Windsor is seeking to hire an endowed personal trainer who will seduce his wife.
  • Guys, if you are going to try a “gurl”, go with this 25-year-old “woman”.

More in March.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounters weirdness: January 2016 (Albany NY) edition

It skipped my mind to survey Craigslist’s casual encounters section this month until now. I’ve been trying to do it on the first Friday of the month, which this year was New Years Day and I had statistics to post instead. Moreover, I forgot it yesterday, on the second Friday. But it is still the weekend, and that’s when these posts tend to be at their weirdest. I was disappointed in my survey of Boston’s posts in December but I was impressed when I surveyed Albany, New York last year. So I’m off to Albany again this month hoping to strike weird posting gold again.

First to note that Google Analytics recorded at least 221 page views for these posts last month. That’s 22 more than in November. However, my traffic was up some fifty percent in December so this was only six percent of total traffic of 3652 page views. 52 of those views were for my first review of the Hartford, Connecticut site in May of last year.

Who’s posting this Saturday in the Albany metro area? On the first page of postings I see:

  • 25 men are looking for a woman
  • 53 men are looking for a man
  • 12 men are seeking a couple
  • 1 man is looking for a transgender
  • 3 women are looking for a man
  • 0 women are looking for woman or anyone else
  • 1 couple is looking for a man
  • 1 couple is looking for a woman
  • 3 transgender individuals are looking for a man

And we’re off:

  • Men, have you ever wondered what it would be like to be transformed into a woman? Umm, no, at least not me. Now that I think about it I’m sure Frankenstein would look prettier in a dress. However, this “gurl” (45) and her friends are hosting a makeover party for the serious and experienced. You can bring a wardrobe but they have their own pretty extensive wardrobe too. Maybe they take pictures when they are done, and you can attach them in your next Craigslist post. Appropriately, these gurls are from Queensbury. Looking at “her” pictures, she could use a makeover herself. I’m afraid not even a quart of Jack Daniels would convince me to make a pass at her.
  • Meanwhile, this gurl in Latham is looking for a real girl (woman) to dress her up.
  • Speaking of the transgendered, this “gurl” is looking to make her first appearance at Adult World this weekend, if she can summon up the nerve. I’m guessing this is the local poorly lit porn shop. Basically she needs a sponsor so if you go there regularly, grab her arm and help “Ashley” through the door.
  • Women aren’t the only ones in this section looking to trade sex for money. This six foot black gay man from Albany with nine inches to spare is looking for a rose. Make that two roses. I guess he figures those extra inches are worth the extra money.
  • They are a couple looking for a woman and she wants a lap dance. If you dance well enough, she will give you your reward.
  • You wouldn’t think a couple in their 50’s would need to be taught how to have sex, but this couple from Fulton County needs help learning how to swing. Lesson #1: there is (usually) no actual swing involved.
  • He’s late 40s, from Albany, married and says he has his wife’s permission to hook up with you, a blonde woman. Why am I suspicious? Because I’m betting he is this poster.
  • He’s just another horny 38-year-old married guy who pines for his own sex. He wants to discreetly hook up with a similar married guy at his hotel room near the Albany airport on January 22 when he will be in town. Apparently he is an ex Boy Scout because he plays safe and here he is proving he knows how to be prepared, as two weeks should be plenty of time to screen dates. Maybe he should hookup with this dude.
  • Here’s the only legitimate young couple looking for a man post tonight, and they have very explicit pictures to prove it.
  • He’s 37 and was weaned too early; in fact he craves the breast milk. If you have some to spare, he’ll be your milking machine.
  • The last time I looked at Albany’s postings I found a guy that wanted to bottom another guy in a Schenectady bookstore. Weird, but today I found a 26-year-old man who wants to orally service a guy in a Troy bookstore. Perhaps it’s the same dude. I had no idea that bookstores were favorite spots for perverts and voyeurs. Next time I’m in a Barnes & Noble, I’ll keep a sharper eye out.
  • Draya is a 21-year-old working “gurl” and I guess if I had to cross the transgender and color line “she” would make a great choice. Not sure I could afford “her” however.
  • Some married men just want to be humiliated, i.e. sort of get off with a woman by getting no sex. Make love to his wife while berating him. It’s a strange idea of “fun”.
  • Not many men are interested in age 60+ women. Not many … unless you are divorced and 59 years old.
  • Speaking of older men, he’s 63, chubby and wants a hand job from a similarly chubby and age-appropriate woman. I hope that Cialis prescription has been recently filled.
  • If I were a woman looking for a woman I’d definitely check out this buxom beauty, 32, from Albany. I wouldn’t say no to this 46-year-old blonde honey looking for a woman half her age either.
  • They are a couple looking for another man but with no male-to-male contact. In fact, all that will happen is she will give you a hand job and I guess he watches. They are in their 30’s and from Albany.
  • I thought slavery was illegal but this couple in their 20s wants to own you (a woman). Expect to be degraded; in fact degrading may be putting it too mildly.
  • Ladies, this man would like to get to know you over coffee, but you’ll know him quite well before you ever get to the coffee shop, at least what he’s packing. It sounds like he’ll pass the truth-in-packaging law but don’t expect to spend much time sipping coffee.

More next month.

 
The Thinker

Retirement is great (for introverts)

So what’s it like being retired? I can faithfully report that it’s great! But it’s only recently that I figured out why it’s great. It’s great because I’m an introvert.

Doubtless you have heard stories about how many people are miserable in retirement. There is nothing to do, you hear. That is not a problem for me at all. I still like to keep busy, although I do it now mostly at home as opposed to doing it in an office. When I worked in an office though much of what I did was not a whole lot of fun. It’s the nature of work. I was fortunate enough to have a career that meant that a lot of work was fun, but a lot of it (probably most of it) wasn’t fun. The not fun part included a lot of management. That’s no longer a problem. To the extent I “work” in retirement it’s for fun, and it’s doing nerdy stuff that I enjoy doing.

My theory is that those who are miserable in retirement are extraverts. Extraverts thrive on social interaction. In retirement unless you plan your transition very well extraverts are likely to feel a loss of social connection. So lots of retirees volunteer, join clubs, hang out at church or engage in community events. If successful they can energize themselves socially the way they used to do when they worked. However, it is likely to be a challenge.

That’s not a problem for us introverts. We get energy not by cutting ourselves off socially but by engaging in problem solving activities that we enjoy. I have a long list of things I want to do, most of them nerdish, and it’s likely I simply won’t have time to get to more than a handful of them. There are so many choices on any particular day it’s hard to know where to start. And if I don’t want to start on a particular day and instead spend it surfing the web reading political content, I can do that with no feelings of guilt.

Curiously I still work, I just do the stuff I wanted to do when employed but largely couldn’t due to my position and responsibilities. I don’t require the income but it’s nice to earn some income, so I consult as work comes in. I have a website. People send me queries. I fix their Internet-related problems from the convenience of my office. I bill them and they pay me, usually through PayPal. Most of the social interaction is via email, but occasionally I’m chatting with a client on Skype, which I’ve done twice this week.

And while this nerdish work usually involves untying some electronic knots, occasionally I end up participating in a larger cause. I once wrote that I did some work for a porn star. I did not have to take off my clothes but I did have to fix her forum. I’m in something similar now. She’s a woman that used to be in the prostitution business (“adult professionals”, as she calls it) and is trying to organize these women. There are lots of problems if you provide sex as a service. Aside from the possibility of contracting a disease, there are a lot of creepy clients out there. This woman wants to create a service so vetted clients can connect with vetted “adult professionals”. No, this is not in the United States. I won’t mention too much more except I am part of a team she is hiring to get this done.

(I personally think prostitution should be legalized, taxed and regulated. Moreover, I certainly care about women so I want women that choose to be in this business to be as safe as possible. So it’s consistent with my values and furthers a larger cause. It’s safe to say that I would never meet such people otherwise. I have never used a prostitute and can’t imagine ever doing so. For a little while though doing work like this lets me peek behind the lace curtain and it’s interesting.)

When there are no clients who want to exchange my services for money, there are some open source projects I contribute to. Because I am no longer engaged daily with people doing information technology, I attend local meet ups instead. A few weeks ago I attended a seminar on cloud computing, comparing Amazon Web Services with Google Compute Engine. So I do get around socially among a limited set of people a lot like me, and it’s both fun and educational.

I had dreams of writing custom apps in retirement for paying clients but I haven’t even started looking at that. The other work has kept me too busy. And there are plenty of things I can do during the day that are not work related. I can go biking or walking, and I usually do one of these a day. My pension pays most of the bills. My supplemental income improves my standard of living but mainly keeps me engaged in a profession, helps me feel useful and makes me feel nerdishly happy.

I also do most of the household management. This probably falls into the category of work. I keep the books. I propose a budget. I track our spending. I do a lot of the housework and shopping as well. This sort of work is part of living, but I make it as fun as I can. One example: I’ve created a spreadsheet that finely estimates my probable state and federal income taxes, so I can carefully adjust withholding amounts.

So if you are introverted you are probably really going to like retirement. It’s you extraverts that have to worry. You will have to plan to replace the social interaction that came with work with a lot of other stuff instead.

For me this is truly the best time of life. I can spend most of my time doing stuff I like, without the crushing responsibilities that come with your middle years like child rearing, paying the mortgage and putting your kids through college. What to do next is never a problem. It’s almost guaranteed to put a smile to my face.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounters weirdness: December 2015 (Boston MA) edition

Today to spice things up and also because I’m getting a bit bored with these monthly postings, I’m moving my gaze east to Boston, about two hours away from me by car. With its larger, denser and more ethnic population it’s likely to be a wilder sort of place. Or perhaps people in Beantown are too busy ingesting their Dunkin Donuts (which overrun the area) than to attempt weird Craigslist hookups. Anyhow, I intend to find out.

First, let’s take a look at my Craigslist traffic for November. There were at least 199 web page views for these posts last month, up from last month. But overall traffic for this site was also up in November to 2746 page views, so the percent of Craigslist traffic dropped to an anemic 7.2%.

Anyhow, looking at the first page of casual encounters postings today, I can get a sense of who’s advertising. I see:

  • 46 men looking for a woman
  • 35 men looking for a man
  • 4 men looking for a couple
  • 2 men looking for a transvestite/transgender
  • 1 group of men looking for a man
  • 5 women looking for men
  • 0 women looking for a woman
  • 2 women looking for a couple
  • 2 couples looking for a couple
  • 2 transvestite/transgenders looking for a man

So maybe there are more heterosexual men in Boston than I expected. Usually men looking for men beat out the men looking for women. As a liberal area I would expect Bostonians to be open minded and kinky. Let’s find out:

  • She’s a young woman from South Boston and wants to turn a straight woman gay with her strap on. I don’t quite understand this logic but with her large derriere there at least should be plenty of inertia behind each thrust.
  • Women might want to avoid this 40-year-old black man from Boston. While it’s impossible to know how many sexual partners someone has had, it’s not a good thing when a poster shows pictures of himself having unprotected sex with a woman. Despite his “all natural” approach he does say he is disease free. If I were a woman considering him, I’d insist on a condom anyhow — maybe two at once.
  • She’s 30 and has “the biggest set of girls you have ever seen”. I’m guessing this means she makes Dolly Parton look underendowed. Men, if you like your women supersized above the waist, check her out.
  • He gets “a boner rubbing down a straight guy” but won’t make a move on you otherwise unless you want him to. By definition he won’t attract a straight guy, which may be why he is open to giving you a massage.
  • She is probably a he and is apparently the one flagging pretty much any ad. I guess it’s good to have an avocation but this is definitely an exercise in futility.
  • Are you an exotic dancer with a slim body that wants to dance (presumably for free) with a 63-year-old man from Wakefield? The proper response to this question is “Ha ha ha!” It’s not too hard to figure out this is the ad least likely to get a response tonight.
  • And speaking of us older men, here’s a 57-year-old married man from Woburn who is looking for a couple. He has a very odd submissive request that involves using a blindfold. Of course he can’t host!
  • What’s with all the older men posting today? He’s 58, married and from Medford and wants a couple, but really just the wife to play with but with her hubby watching. He says he’s into older women but I’m guessing he’s not that into them but figures at best that’s all he can attract. I’m trying to figure this out. First of all, at 58 what constitutes an older woman? Someone in their seventies or 80s? Maybe he figures it isn’t cheating if the husband is present?
  • But wait, there’s more horny older men. Here’s a 59 year old man looking for anyone to give him a hand job because wifey won’t put out.
  • Guys, she’s 27, Puerto Rican and wants to meet a husband’s naked body virtually on Skype. No you don’t get to see her and probably can’t hear her either so she is probably a he.
  • This 37-year-old man from Lowell better be ready to dial 911 because he wants a man to rip open his rectum. Let’s hope he is writing metaphorically.
  • He’s 35 and looking for a woman into incest, dogs, toilet play and diaper play. He really wants to be naughty, so he better anticipate coal in his stocking.
  • Usually Craigslist people want a big one but here’s a 44-year-old gay man from the Merrimack Valley into small ones.
  • Her idea of a casual encounter is a short-term place to stay near Chelsea.
  • She wants a job: a submissive boss who she can basically abuse. Expect her to come in late and leave early.
  • This is strange: She is 28 and wants a threesome with a man and woman who don’t know each other. She could probably make a go of this if she advertised for two men, but it’s filed under Women for Women. Oh, and she has to be the center of attention.
  • There is a lot of debate if “squirting” is real, i.e. not urine. She’s looking for a woman to show her how to squirt. I guess there is no Dummies book but if it’s just urination I have to think she can handle that already.

More in 2016.

 
The Thinker

The roots of terrorism

Ever get this strange feeling of déjà vu? Last Friday’s horrific terrorist events in Paris are being called France’s 9/11. Last I checked there were 129 mostly French citizens murdered in six separate but obviously well coordinated terrorist incidents in Paris, and more than three hundred wounded. I don’t think it’s coincidental that these incidents occurred on a Friday the Thirteenth. The date may not have the same unlucky connotation in France that it has here in the United States, but ISIS (which admitted to sponsoring the acts) and al Qaeda know the power of marketing and symbolism. Anything that they can do to make such events more memorable will be done, and tying events like this to memorable dates is one.

Shortly after 9/11 here in the United States, our military did the expected things. We sent our air force into Afghanistan. In our case it worked reasonably well, at least at first, because we destroyed the Taliban government there that hosted al Qaeda. We installed our own more secular and western government in its place; a form of government that was not natural to the region and which unsurprisingly caused a strong insurgency.

Fourteen years later al Qaeda is a diminished presence in Afghanistan, but Afghanistan is hardly stable, secular or particularly democratic. The Taliban are resurgent and it looks like more civil war is ahead there; in fact it has already begun. Our leadership took being caught with its pants down as a sign that America had to be proactive to address these threats, so we unwisely toppled Saddam Hussein. The state of ISIS, such as it is, is a direct result of that unwise action. Indirectly, the U.S. has contributed to last Friday’s events.

The French government of course quickly decided that their own 9/11 could not go unanswered, so it sent its considerable air force to bomb targets in Syria controlled by ISIS in coordination with our own. This was done to presumably degrade and destroy ISIS that just last week President Obama unwisely asserted was contained. ISIS proudly admitted that it had planned and coordinated these attacks. It was done for the same reason that Osama bin Laden planned and coordinated 9/11. His goal was not so much to destroy the United States, as it was to use the U.S. as a proxy to further his cause. And it worked amazingly well for him, actually better than he imagined as our invasion of Iraq introduced anarchy that eventually allowed ISIS to rise.

Presumably France won’t go the extra mile the way the United States did in Iraq, but it does not have our vast military resources anyhow. Presumably its leadership is a bit clearer-headed than ours was after 9/11 and realizes these military strikes are more to satisfy their citizens’ cry for a counterpunch rather than to meaningful affect a particular outcome.

Fires remain fires only as long as they have a combination of fuel and oxygen. Understood in this context, ISIS’s actions were predictable. The neophyte state is rather amorphous but it certainly needs energy to continue. The oxygen comes from more people committed to their ideology, and the fuel comes from its funders. ISIS exists in a resource poor part of the Middle East, so most of its money actually comes from outside the state, i.e. those with money that support its radical version of Sunni Islam. To get the money it needs to continue to demonstrate it has power and can draw recruits. So going for soft targets like innocent civilians in Paris is logical. It’s relatively easy to demonstrate that it can execute power over a free society like France. Such acts will inspire many and it will impress its creditors. It allows the state to continue because its military has been significantly degraded by allied airstrikes and by the many forces engaged on the ground in the region.

Fourteen years after 9/11 it’s obvious from these incidents that if there were easy ways to contain terrorism they would have worked by now. In fact, if there were hard ways of containing terrorism, they would have shown affect by now as well. Invading Iraq and trying to stand up a secular government there is a hard thing to do. Actually there has been a lot of progress, but it’s mostly unseen. While intelligence within ISIS is poor, our intelligence capability has improved remarkably during this time. It’s just not enough in a free society to stop periodic incidents like these, although many do get deterred and prevented. A state cannot know everything and call itself free.

It’s possible that with time ISIS will be degraded and destroyed as President Obama hopes. However, even if this victory happens, it doesn’t solve the problem. Ideology in general is the real problem. If ISIS goes and the dynamics of radical Islam are not addressed as well, it will simply spring up elsewhere in other forms in the Middle East. Wiping out ISIS in other words is merely winning a battle. The real war is to change hearts and minds.

In 1995 the United States endured the Oklahoma City Bombing, an act of domestic terrorism. This act was similar in size and scale to last Friday’s incidents in Paris. Its perpetrator Timothy McVeigh was not particularly religious, but he was dogmatic. He was deeply conservative in the sense that he was upset about changes happening in America. He believed that changes disenfranchised white people, and that these changes were being achieved through the federal government through what he perceived as its pro-liberal policies. At its root, McVeigh’s complaint was that he was against democracy when it did not favor his interests. He believed enlightened ones like him had the duty to change things through acts like terrorism when this happened.

Basically McVeigh was an authoritarian, something that resonates strongly with many Americans, most of who align with the Republican Party. Stripped of its religious façade, that’s what the War on Terrorism is really about: it’s a struggle between those powerfully pulled to an authoritarian framework versus those who believe government should be run democratically come what may. The roots of this conflict might very well be genetic, as there is convincing research that shows that liberals and conservatives are wired differently right down to their DNA. Conservatives believe in authoritarianism and feel in their bones that they must follow the leader like a sheep providing they can trust their leader and conversely to wholly distrust the leader when they don’t (hence their utter contempt for President Obama.) You can see this in Donald Trump’s appeal. Conversely, liberals are comfortable with ambiguity and want to empower all the people.

This conflict is probably not going to go away with ISIS or even al Qaeda. However, it’s clear that within the last hundred years or so liberals have been winning promoting a more secular, humane and tolerant world. Regardless of the rationalization that impels terrorists (God, Islam, racism, communism) the common threat is liberalism (i.e. progressive social change), which is manifested through secularism, representative democracy, freedom and tolerance for those unlike us. If more intolerance in France can be created then France begins to model ISIS in spirit. Islam is more likely to take hold in a country where the culture favors authoritarianism.

ISIS isn’t explicitly aware of this, but in this mindset requires intolerant and authoritarian governments. It fights for a world where government enforces its own radical brand of Islam worldwide, but this is a fight that can never be won. However, it can inadvertently be a proxy in a larger and more nebulous cause to put in power those whose DNA makes them comfortable with the leader-and-follower model, and that reviles tolerance and ambiguity.

France must do what is pragmatic to lessen the likelihood of future incidents. However if in response it discards its values of freedom, secularism and tolerance then whether ISIS thrives or dies does not really matter: the uber-cause of authoritarianism wins, and France loses.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounters weirdness: November 2015 edition

Last month I surveyed the casual encounters weirdness scene in and around Albany, New York and found much there to highlight for us fine purveyors of smutty ads. Today I am going back to Hartford, Connecticut to see if anything has changed there.

But first here are some statistics. My blog received at least 182 web page views on my Craigslist posts in October, about twenty more than last month but still not impressive. At least 19 of these were for the Albany post so it probably behooves me to look around at neighboring cities to increase traffic and just for variety. I got 1623 web hits for the month, so that’s about 11 percent of the web traffic.

This Friday evening on the first page of posts I find:

  • 33 men looking for women
  • 41 men looking for men
  • 7 men looking for a couple
  • 6 men looking for a transgender
  • 12 women looking for a man
  • 0 women looking for a woman
  • 1 couple looking for a couple
  • 0 couples looking for a woman
  • 3 couples looking for a man
  • 1 transgender looking for man
  • 1 transgender looking for a transgender

Let’s see if we can find some choice postings:

  • She’s 25 and from Hartford and she wants to be used, abused and name-called. Being married is not a problem, but small dicks are. She’ll try anal sex if you know how to do it. Hint: it involves inserting the penis into the rectum. Meanwhile in New Britain is a 24-year-old woman who wants to turn the tables: she will “peg” you (a guy) with her strap on but you have to host.
  • Take pity on a soldier two days after Veterans Day. This man is on active duty and from his picture looks like he in somewhere in the Muslim world, probably Afghanistan. He wants to chat with a woman and wants to know what you would do with a soldier. I’m guessing it’s not practicing salutes.
  • She’s 27 and wants to take your virginity. All men should apply because what do you have to lose? How can she possibly tell?
  • Is he hetero or gay? Maybe he swings both ways. Whatever, he’s a 45-year-old redhead in Berlin at a hotel off the turnpike and he’s horny enough take either gender.
  • There are not many women willing to lick your asshole, but there is at least this 34-year-old woman.
  • He wants a kinky and dominant woman, and you can wax him if that’s your thing or even dress him up. Sounds like he wants to be someone’s cuckold, but most likely he will strike out again this evening as usual.
  • She’s 31, very shapely and looking for a few good men. And by “good” she means well hung and willing to gangbang her.
  • This black dude says it’s his last time posting but I’ll bet you’ll see his cock again in a future ad.
  • You don’t see this every day: he’s searching for his pimp.
  • This 47-year-old man is offering free oral service to women. You can visit him or he can deliver. If he’s good, put him on your speed dial.
  • It helps to know Spanish to know this couple from New Britain is age 50+ but they are looking for a man to orally service both of them. It’s unclear if either or both will return the favor.
  • This gay 45-year-old white guy from Enfield is looking for a gay black guy for “chocolate milk”. He may be disappointed when he finds out he’s only going to get vanilla.
  • Guys, you can submit to two women at once with these two dominatrix girls.
  • This 55-year-old man from Hartford is basically looking for a kinky Dr. Marcus Welby. He doesn’t need a real physician but it would help to have a white lab coat and stethoscope. In a similar vein, this mature white couple from Bloomfield is looking to use a real OBGYN table for some kinky fun and need your help. It’s unclear if you can watch.
  • He’s 69, heavy, apparently gay, married and from Somers and wants to meet up with a man for some relief. I’m guessing the missus is done with sex.
  • He’s 39, from Manchester, wearing his wife’s pantyhose and wants to meet a guy who will blow him while he wears the nylons. I’m guessing his wife will wonder how the pair got so soiled and stretched.
  • Men, you don’t need to get her plastered to screw her: she’s already drunk and waiting.

More next month.

 

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