Top 10 cities for singles

Where I live made’s list for top 10 city for singles. A friend posted on Facebook asking if her single friends agree.

In the near decade I have live here, a relationship has never worked out for me. Heck, I’ve never managed to get more than two dates with any women while living here. In the eight years I lived in Livability’s demographic in the prior place, I sort of had a girlfriend and manage to date one woman for five dates.

I was the first person to respond to the post, that comparing the two cities I know, that yes this one is better by the metrics they used.

  • number of singles age 20-34
  • places to go (museums, bars, restaurants, movies, parks)
  • diversity

One of the other respondents gave a definite “NO.”

So, I thought about my answer. There are probably two problems with Livability’s metrics used to rank the cities.

  1. There is a bias amongst daters that with a large selection of available people to date, that one should not spend too much time on something that is not producing instant results. A city with too many single people could give the impression that would should keep “playing the field” in hopes of finding something better than focussing on how to make what one has found work.
  2. The presence of a large university means lots of single people in the 20-25 demographic are students. The university also skews female. Older women probably see the same city differently than older men.

Good Friend

Several of the women I count as friends are single. Occasionally something happens where they complain about the challenges of having this status. When this happens, I usually feel guilt for having never attempted to date her.

It is some kind of weird hubris that in the moment, I feel that I could be the solution to her problem.

My normal doubt in my ability to be a good partner eventually overwhelms that hubris. In the end, I convince myself that I am actually performing her an enormous favor by not inflicting myself on her. I am such a good friend.

Magna Carta


Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty - Dan  Jones

This is a review of an advance reader’s copy (ARC) provided by Viking Books through the Goodreads Giveaway program.

News stories about the 800th anniversary a couple months ago attracted me to this book. I mean I was already vaguely aware it was forced on the hated King John. Plus the Bill of Rights was influenced by it. The hope was to learn something more from this history.

Jones does a good job establishing the political climate in England which led to barons entering into an open revolt and John needing to sign this document. Apparently like the United States Constitution, the Magna Carta was a living document for decades establishing the rights granted to the people in exchange for the king to be able to tax them. The influence centuries later and it has on us even 8 later is remarkable.

Sadly, my main impression of King John is from Disney’s Robin Hood movie. And while I know the story of him came later, the real John whining and sucking his thumb feels pretty correct.

Some places were kind of confusing. (The copy has notes not to quote it before the publication date, so I’ll refrain from posting too much here.) Guess I can say sometimes a title is mentioned and half a page later a couple given names without context that they are linked to the title.

The text of the Magna Carta at the end was a nice touch.

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Lap Dances

Ran across an old LiveJournal post I wrote back in 2006. It describes being downtown and running across a bachelorette party. They were intoxicated and seeking debauchery, at least I think that is what asking me for a lap dance meant. I think I was tired and seeking to go to bed. Well, that is the excuse I used for why I completely ruined their attempt at humor.

The reality is I am OK inside a conversation where I have practiced in advance. Natural conversations who go into completely unexpected territory leave me bewildered and lost. It was their bad luck to run across me. The one guy who could not help them. I don’t mean with their lap dance. I meant with contributing to the fun.

Book Review: The Red Record Tabulated

The Red Record Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States - Ida B. Wells-Barnett

The shooter in the recent Charleston massacre reportedly said:

“You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country.”

In the aftermath, the mayor claimed to not know much about the treatment of blacks in South Carolina because it was not taught in schools. That prompted people to create a reading list. This was one of the books I noticed from the list.

It documents lynchings in the early 1890s. Further, it describes in detail the newspaper reporting about some of the events such as the original accusation, actions taken prior to, the killing, and actions taken afterwards. (There were too many to document them all.) The simple plea here is for justice. Not retribution or actions taken against those who unjustifiably lynched. But for this country to stop allowing the murder of people either before they are tried or after a court found them innocent. One of the most powerful was a gentleman who was about to be lynched when a foreman told the mob that the person they were about to hang could not have done it because he was with the foreman, they let him go. The flimsiest of evidence would have seen him hung, but an eyewitness of the right skin color was enough to prove guilt or innocence.

In some respects I could see Ida B. Wells-Barnett might find the current legal climate where our people are arrested and found guilty at exorbitant rates over our peers who commit the crimes at the same rates disconcerting. But compared to her own time, we do have it better.

The first section explains that under slavery, killing one resulted in a many hundred dollar loss. So, one would beat a slave enough to break him, but try to avoid killing him. The first motivation for killing blacks was to prevent race riots, and for some reason the victims of these often surprisingly had no weapons with which to defend themselves. The second motivation was to prevent voting and established control over the Southern states. The third motivation was protecting the virtue of white women. THIS. The Charleston shooter killed three men and six women to protect the virtue of white women. In 120 years we have made little progress.

While a teenager I found a death threat letter signed “KKK” saying they would kill my father for dating mother from about 40 years ago. People stare at me when out in public with a pretty fair skinned girl, especially when she hugs or kisses me. But a hundred years ago, my father or myself would have been hung from a tree, shot, and burned for anything like this. A project noted below has a listing for the reason for lynching as “Writing Letters to White Girl.”

The burning thing was curious to me. So I looked up attitudes on cremation in Christianity. The dot I needed connecting was that when Christ returns, the dead would be re-animated and join him. Burning these people was a deliberate attempt to prevent any possibility of these people joining Christ. So, not only were they killed but they were prevented salvation? So very low.

Was it depressing to read this? Yes.

Was it worth reading? Yes. The Mary Turner Project has a description of a lynching 20 years after the Red Record. Plus it looks like they are building upon the work of Ida and others.

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Secrets to a Successful Marriage

Every clickbait web site and before them check out aisle magazine has a “Secrets” article. They are always for something difficult to attain or keep like a flat stomach. If it were easy, then there would be no point or value in an article about it. And sure there is no harm in finding a new secret, right?

When I read secrets for a healthy or good or long marriage articles, the impression I get is maybe it is for the best I am not in one as I could never live up to these standards.

  1. Communication is a popular item. Expressing my feelings to a person? Excruciatingly painful. I’d rather be stuck with a needle and hate them.
  2. Choose someone similar to me. What the fuck does this even mean? My core values today have shifted from what they were ten or even five years ago. And the big one, religion is especially bad because until I dropped participating, there were no local women who met that criteria.
  3. Touch each other. Aka make sweet, sweet oxytocin. I enjoy touching, but I am scared of initiating.
  4. Ignoring or letting go of what she does is easy. My problem is terror about every mistake I make piling up to the point I want to run because I cannot stand myself anymore.

Really, I think what annoys me is they all follow the formula that people who have had a long marriage means it has been healthy. That is just a plain anecdotal fallacy. Sure, these are intelligent people, but the fact they boil it down to one or a few things they think are the secret means they have no real idea and are just putting some random guess out there. For every secret, I am fairly confident there are people who do these things who marriage still fails.

Plus, even when the author deigns to use a poll, self-reported data is. THE. WORST. POSSIBLE. data one could use. People respond how they think is expected not how they truly behave in part. This is in part because memory glorifies the good and minimizes the bad. But also, because interviewers are people judging the responses which changes the results.

Book Review: Born With Teeth

Born with Teeth: A Memoir - Kate Mulgrew

OK. I am a total Star Trek nerd. Next Generation definitely is my favorite, but I really enjoyed her as Captain Janeway on ST: Voyager. So I was intrigued to read about Kate’s life off screen. My usual problem causing me to avoid memoirs in favor of biographies is the glossing over the rawness of real life. Every negative encounter turns out to have a silver lining. Some of that is in here, but I did appreciate being allowed into the messiness that is real life.

Orange Is the New Black fans should note she abruptly stops the memoir around 1999. Though, really, this backstory to the actress explains for me how she approached her character “Red” on the show.

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Normally I follow a trending hashtag in Tweetdeck. #SingleBecause screamed by too fast to pay attention, so I switched to Twitter. Some of my favorites.

And, of course, my contributions are based on blog posts here called “Not In The Cards” and “Demise of Guys.”

Book Review: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself - Harriet Jacobs

This book accounts for Harriet Jacobs’ life as a slave, hiding for several years in the South, escaping to the North, and finally obtaining her freedom. She presents some letters documenting the tale. Given the current events of recent weeks where a self-taught white supremacist in his manifesto setup before committing terrorism to start a race war that according to the slave narratives he had read people like me were happy under slavery and there was no need to free my ancestors. Other books I have read likeTwelve Years A Slave and Up From Slavery seemed not to portray this, but I did read them a while ago.

Harriet really disliked her time as a slave. Her “official” owner was a minor whose father assumed the role. This man who already fathered several children with his slaves seemed to desire the same for this fifteen year old girl. When she had children with another (white) man, he as the owner of them sought to use babies as leverage to compel her to obey his salacious wishes. Oddly enough this guy’s wife forced the sale to distant places the products of her husband’s infidelity. To me, the idea that one’s own children are chattel boggles my mind. But, also Solomon Northrup and Booker T. faced less cruelty under slavery than Harriet as the contempt facing her was that of both an African and a woman. Her master underestimated her intelligence which allowed her to escape.

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A friend asked what kind of pill she needed. I responded a Red Pill?

I meant the scene in the Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo the blue pill to forget the incident to continue his life as is… OR… the red pill to wake up and do something great.

Apparently an insanely misogynistic group of boys operated a Reddit forum under that name. Their message is aimed at exactly guys like me. “Betas” whose subservient approach shows weakness and ineptness such that women always pass over them. Instead Redpill teaches us to be “Alphas” who demonstrate dominance and get the girl. Quasi to full on rape-y. Ick.