Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Prince of Flight 16

I live closer to Rio than I do to Seattle. This is true not only in geographical terms, but in cultural ones as well. I have discussed what life is like in Dade County to great lengths, and it is as stark a contrast to the Pacific Northwest as one could possibly find. Have you ever been to Nordstrom? How everyone is smiling and friendly and courteous to you all the time? Well, that's pretty much everyone in the entire city of Seattle (Nordstrom was founded there, for those of you who don’t know). It is truly Polyannaville. Scary really, like do you people ever stop smiling? The sun hasn’t been out for six months and you’re acting like it’s April in Paris. How does that work? The whole city is doped up if you ask me. After all, how else could everyone be so nice and yet have America's highest suicide rate?

I point this out because I spent Sunday night on Alaska Airlines Flight 16, the once-a-day nonstop between America’s other two corners. It is the only place you will ever go that these two polar opposites will meet in one place. Half a plane full of smiley, Prozac-naiton translucent people and the other half full of your typical cluster-fucked Miami residents. These two worlds collided Sunday night in row 19 just as my Tylenol PM was starting to kick in.

I was seated at the window next to a very tall Brazilian gentleman who actually was from Seattle on his way to Sao Paolo. This poor guy was probably about 6’3” and had the misfortune to have drawn a middle seat for this six-hour overnight escapade. Since he was form Seattle, though, he was still all smiles. Apparently even the Latin people are doped up there. Our aisle seat was empty. Across the way sat a Cuban woman with her son, who was probably about five. They took up two seats in a three seat row. Down the aisle saunters a blonde woman who looks about 35 and extremely tired. She attempts to take her seat, which was assigned as the window next to Cuban Mom and her kid. As I am dosing off against the window I hear a commotion coming from across the row.

“No, no, I specifically bought three seats in a row so my son could get a good night’s sleep for school tomorrow. I’m sorry, you can’t sit here,” exclaimed the Cuban woman. The blonde lady was obviously not from Dade County and tried to be nice and show her her boarding pass which, indeed, said she was entitled to seat 19A. Apparently that was not good enough for Cuban Mom. “No, no. I called the airline and specifically asked them if I had a whole row and they said yes. You will have to sit on that aisle seat over there.” Me and the big Brazilian were hoping no one would show up so we could stretch out, but we were not holding our breath. Well, the blonde didn’t take too well to this and said, “Look, I have a big meeting when I get into Miami in the morning and I need the window so I can sleep. I requested that seat, it is assigned to me. I am sitting there.” Cuban Mom still refused to move. They got the flight attendant who managed to sort it out like this:

Apparently Cuban Mom had bought three seats, but booked seats B-D, which, as anyone who flies more than a few times a year knows, are almost always a middle and two aisles. At least on a larger plane, as this one was. Though she had indeed called the airline to confirm that she had a whole row, she no doubt got someone working for $6.50 an hour at a call center in Phoenix and was told whatever they thought she wanted to hear so that they wouldn’t have to do more work. So Cuban Mom, when faced with the hard fact that she had been screwed by a combination of the airline’s and her own incompetence, still refused to move. “My son needs his sleep,” she told the frustrated flight attendant. See, this is exactly the shit I am talking about.

Your kid getting a good night’s sleep for kindergarten does not override a woman with a business meeting who is assigned to a seat you refuse to give up. Your own incompetence and ignorance of airline seating has just cost your kid his REM time, sorry. Cuban Mom, you do realize that the blonde woman was actually assigned that seat, right? She has the right to it, not your kid. People in Miami seem to believe that their children’s comfort is more important than any rules or regulations that may exist. Excuse, me, Cuban Mom, but the sad fact of the matter is that you screwed up, and now your kid is going to be tired when he goes back to Gulliver tomorrow. Boo-fucking-hoo. This woman has a bad presentation in Miami and she may lose her job. Think about that. But it must be her fault for not realizing that little Julio was the Prince of Flight 16, right? Yes, of course, she deserves whatever she gets.

Anyway, the plane is loaded and ready to take off and Cuban Mom still refuses to move. I mean, like, the whole planeload of people ready to go to Miami is sitting there waiting because this lady insists her kid needs the whole row. A gate agent boarded the plane and told her that if she didn’t get up she would call the police and have her removed. “Fine, call them!” she said. Excuse me, mamn, but if you get arrested you do realize that your kid will not only not get a good night’s sleep, but he will probably miss the next week of school? No, not important. So as the gate agent begins to leave to get the Sea-Tac police, I look over and tell the blonde, “Look, take my seat, okay. I’ll try and sleep on the aisle.” Cuban Mom hears this and immediately yells ahead to the gate agent “Wait, wait, I’ve solved the problem!”

Oh, you solved it, Cuban Mom?! No, you selfish bitch, I resigned myself to a night of being bumped by beverage carts and fat women going to the bathroom so that your kid could get his precious six hours of sleep for that big strenuous day of learning the letter L tomorrow. Much as I would have loved to see you get arrested. I managed to nod off for about an hour or two during the flight, despite the baby in front of me that another one of Miami’s natives thought had every right to wake up the entire plane because it was their kid, and the man two rows back with the crescendo laugh that insisted on teaching the young, attractive flight attendant (of which about eight exist) how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. All night. I hope he at least got her phone number. Thank God I have nothing to do at work because I was dog ass tired all day Monday. Cuban Mom did give me a brief "thank you," but not much else. I wouldn’t have expected anything more from someone so selfish. I just hope someone does the same for me someday. But in Dade County no good deed ever goes unpunished, even when that little piece happens to be located in Seattle.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Working Out With The Common Folk

This past weekend I was forced to lower myself to the level of the common gym-goer and work out in a public gym, something I had not done in about two months. I have gotten quite used to my private facility with its views of Biscayne Bay and Downtown, and my XM radio perpetually tuned to hard trance and cranked to ungiodly volumes. I get used to talking to myself and doing little dances in the mirror when I get excited. All NOT things I can do at 24 Hour Fitness.

My irritation began as soon as I walked in and heard Gwen Stefani coming out over the loudspeaker. Yes, nothing makes me want to crank out a max set of pull-ups like listening to “This Chick is Bananas, B-A-N-A-S Bananas!” (can she even spell?) Perhaps I could out of pure anger. It was followed by the usual dribble of top 40 hits that big gyms like to play that are completely unsuitable for exercise. Kelly Clarkson complaining about a breakup, some Black Eyed Peas song about lumps and trunks and jeans or something, and the Backstreet Boys. And I have never in my life heard anyone say, "You know what I listen to to get pumped for my workout? 'Incomplete.'"

So after my warm-up I venture over to the water fountains which, I might add, have a convenient little faucet/spigot thing next to them for those who prefer to use water bottles. Of course, this thing gets used about as often as the Metrorail, so I am forced to wait as an elderly woman fills a 1-liter bottle at the water fountain. Meanwhile my heart rate is spiraling downward. She noticed me behind her and made no effort to let me get in for my two swigs of water. No, instead she proceeded to fill the entire bottle and let me seethe.

Once I finally got my water, I went to go try and do a set of bench press. Well, since every guy who has ever seen “Pumping Iron” once is convinced he knows what he is doing, they all seem to decide that bench press is the single most important exercise ever developed for anything ever. Needless to say, all of the benches are taken. Fair enough, I can wait. But what these particular groups of guys like to do is what I call the “Bench and Bull.” Which means you crank out a set of about 10 reps, none of them particularly difficult, then sit and bullshit with your buddies for about five minutes about your new workout and how you’re “blasting you pecs” today, before doing another spectacularly unchallenging set. Do this five times and you have just taken up about half an hour of my workout. Thanks a lot. Try push-ups. They are much less invasive and will get you more results. Because since you are tipping in at a whopping buck fifty five, I just don’t see you gaining the barrel chest of a Ronnie Coleman doing what you’re doing.

I was doing some triceps press-downs in the mirror and a group of about three Asian guys that would best be described as “wiry” began lifting their shirts up in the mirror to admire their six-packs right in front of me. Now, I don’t know these boys and I had never met them before in my life, but judging by their overly baggy workout attire, CTL (conversation to lifting) ratio and general lack of knowledge about anything gym-related, I ventured to guess that their impressive abdominals were more a product of Mr. and Mrs. Woo than it was of hours spent doing Rocky 4’s. But that certainly did not stop them from doing a full on Taye Diggs in the mirror in front of me. Yes, Johnny Hoo, your abs are much more defined than mine. I am impressed. So is every girl in here. As a matter of fact, I think I saw those three girls on the Precor over there go back into the locker room so they could be the first to blow you when you returned from your strenous workout of Shirt Lift (5 sets, 10 reps). So why don’t you go get a head start on your groupies and let me watch myself actually do an exercise.

Next to the super-cut Asian guys was a bulky white guy doing low-back and shoulder curls. Never heard of this exercise? Well, to him it was probably called biceps curls, but to anyone who was not familiar with the exercise, it would have appeared that he was trying to lift said barbell exclusively with his lower back and shoulders. And grunting as if he were competing on ESPN late night. Yes, I can see how curling 135 pounds would be difficult. If you were doing it right. If you’re doing it completely wrong, there is no need to make any noise because you’re not really doing anything at all. Your grunting just makes everyone look at you and your horrible, horrible form. You are now the joke of the gym, as far as anyone else who knows what they are doing goes. Congratulations. I hope you never go to prison.

I don’t mind people not wiping off equipment, since I generally shower after I leave a gym and it is no nastier than playing pick up basketball. But if I were a girl, I would be mortified. And the sweat stains people leave are sort of like the Rorschach test. I think if I were ever to become a psychologist I would take people around the gym and say “Okay, you see that slime that guy left on the decline bench? What does that look like to you?” Kind of like cloud gazing but a lot smellier.

My favorite are the people staring at me. Not because I am such a dominating physical presence or because my body is all that impressive, but rather because they want to use the machine I am on and are too afraid to ask to work in. Instead, they just glare at me as though I were taking the last parking space at the mall on Christmas Eve. Excuse me? Do you like watching other men work out? If not, why are you making me so uncomfortable during my only enjoyable part of the day? Here’s a few helpful phrases you can use: “May I work in?” “How many sets you got left?” “Do you mind if I jump on this for a second?” Any of these are preferable to you staring at me disapprovingly as I do my fifth set. I am more than willing to share (okay, not more than willing, but certainly willing) and I am a fairly nice person. But not if you stare at me. If you stare at me, I will sit here and do nine more drop sets and you will be here until well after your wife told you to be home.

Do I come off as a bit of a gym snob? I’m sure I do. I’m sure I am one of those people that people who are afraid to go to the gym are afraid of mocking them. But it is not the people who are beginners and trying to learn everything that I mock, it is the people who think they know everything and look like complete idiots. As it stands, I am happy to be back to my gym, where the only other people who work out here are invited by me personally. I am an only child, so I don’t like sharing. Especially when it is something as precious to me as my weights.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I Hate Your Kid

I’m a little late with my post today. You know why? Our server was down. Fair enough, these things happen. But you know why our server was down? Because someone decided they wanted to bring their three year old in here and he thought it would be funny to press the “Off” button on our main server. Why the kid was even running around the server room I don’t know, but the little curly-haired menace had no business in a gym full of heavy, blunt objects anyway. But you know what everyone thought? Oh, how cute, how adorable, he wanted to push a shiny button. No, actually, it wasn’t cute at all, it was a major disruption to our business and the little monster should be duly disciplined. But to the parents, everything he does is soooo perfect that his costing us half a day of work was laughed off and he was hugged and kissed and taken to Chuck-E-Cheese for lunch. Had I done that shit I’d have been fired. I like pressing shiny buttons, too.

The problem is that the people in charge have kids and therefore let their underlings with kids get away with pretty much anything in the name of “the children.” Listen, your kid having a cold is no more valid an excuse for you being late than me having a hangover. Having kids is a lifestyle choice, just like alcoholism, drug use and homosexuality. It should be treated as such. You want, kids, so be it. What you do on your own time is your own business. But don’t let it affect what happens on the job or you’ll be fired just as fast as the guy who shows up stoned.

Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you get holiday preference either. You want to spend Christmas with your kids? How cute. I want to spend mine with my family too, who happen to live in Sacramento. I made a lifestyle choice to live in Miami and as such realized that I may miss a Christmas here and there. If you have kids and you work at a business that is open on Christmas, your lifestyle choice to procreate does not rate you the day off ahead of me. I am sorry.

We were trying to hire this Spinning instructor who flaked on three consecutive interviews because her daughter was sick. My boss, who is a woman with two kids, insisted we keep letting her reschedule. I said, “Boss, if she is flaking for my interviews, what makes you think her daughter won’t be conveniently ‘sick’ when she has to teach a class?” My boss thought about it and still scheduled her for a fourth interview. I don’t care how well she teaches spinning, I’m not hiring her. Anybody who thinks I’m buying the “My kid has …" excuse is sadly mistaken. You are using it the same way I used “The dog ate my homework” in grammar school. It was bullshit then, and it is bullshit now. And even if you are telling the truth, your kid is not my problem. Your not showing up for work is.

There was a great rant on "Desperate Housewives" a few weeks ago when Lynette was trying to get the day off because her kid wanted her to be there for his first day of school and her boss wouldn’t let her off. After much pleading, the boss, a childless female, said the following: “Okay, how about the people that don't have the kids? Did you ever consider that they might need a little more balance in their lives, hmm? Like, maybe they want to go see a matinee or perhaps they want to come in a little late after a big crazy night out or maybe they just want to get a hair cut, which I, myself, have not been able to do for two months. So, no, this is about fairness to the people who are childless by choice, okay?" I want that posted in my office.

People think their children are special. Like they can block the one-lane road I take to work because they need to pick their kid up from school. Sorry, your kid's refusal to stand in the pick up zone does not trump my need to get back from lunch. Unless your kid has been chosen as the next Dali Lama, he is no more special than me or you or the crossing guard across the street that he has summarily gaffed off.

School zones cause more problems than they prevent. I don’t know how many times I have sat in absolutely ungodly traffic because people can’t effectively teach their kids to not cross the street when there are cars coming. I say get rid of the school zones, tell people to teach their kids better, or suffer the consequences. See how fast kids learn not to cross without looking. There, I have just effectively solved Dade County’s traffic problems from 1:30 to 3:30.

Having children is the most selfish thing people can do. One more mouth to feed on the earth, one more car on the road, one more person using up our finite resources. Just so you can have a cute little thing that looks like you do. People say I am selfish because I never want children. I argue that I am doing the world a favor by not replacing myself, so some Mormon can have their nine kids and it won’t be the burden on the rest of us that it might otherwise be. It would be extremely egotistical of me to think I was doing the world a great deed by replacing myself. Especially more than once.

Married people only fight about three things; Money, Sex and Children. Don’t have the third and you’ll have a lot more of the first two. Children are not a blessing. They are a major aggravation and annoyance. I know few people with kids who are not constantly stressed, frazzled and financially strapped. You ever hear the Springsteen song "The River?" Well, that’s what kids will do to you, absolutely ruin your life. Children, to me, are a nuisance and an aggravation and can ruin a marriage faster than a one-night stand. Most married guys with kids I know say they never get sex. And what, then, do you think leads them to cheat? Exactly.

I had a girlfriend who said never trust anyone who doesn’t like children or animals. Then I read that same statement again yesterday on one of the blogs I read. Why is this? I reiterate, I think those of us that choose never to procreate are the ones allowing everyone else to do so. What is it about not wanting to have to deal with all of the bullshit that accompanies children makes me untrustworthy? If anything, it makes me more trustworthy. Instead of being selfish and insisting on creating another one of myself, I am making an informed, logical decision that benefits pretty much everybody. Except maybe my mother. So I don’t like kids, I still don’t litter. I still tell the guy at the cash register when I eat a cookie while shopping (yes, Julie, I have started doing that). I never cheated in school and I treat everyone with dignity and respect. Would anyone care to enlighten me on this? My last boss, a woman with one child, told me I should just get a vasectomy since the only reason I would ever change my mind is if some girl made me. I agree with her 100% and as soon as my health benefits kick in in January, it is snip-snip time for me. Will I lie to girls about this? No, but I doubt any will ask me point blank if I’ve ever had one either.


People with kids are no more entitled to anything than me. We need to stop rewarding people for overpopulating the planet and start rewarding those of us trying to do the world a favor. Let's take that $500 per child tax credit and give it people who have elected NOT to have kids instead. Let those using the resources pay for it. So all hail the childless, for we are the ones saving the world!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Donde estan las compresas de Swiffer Wet Jet?

It is hard enough to communicate in Miami when you refuse to speak Spanish. This problem is compounded when your voice is 98% gone and everything you say sounds like a mating cricket. I have been communicating pretty much exclusively by text message since Saturday night, when I finally lost my voice from four consecutive nights of screaming over bar noise and playing Beer Pong on my back patio.

So after our weekend of visitors from Virginia and Atlanta, my apartment was completely thrashed. And since The Hag has decided to take up residence at his girlfriend’s house in Miramar five nights a week, I was sent to Publix to buy cleaning products to disinfect the apartment. Along with two bottles of bleach cleaner, a few sponges and some silver polish, I needed to buy Swiffer Wet Jet pads to clean the floors. Now I speak some Spanish, but knowing how to say “Excuse me, where are the Swiffer Wet Jet pads” en espanol is just not something they teach you in “Spanish on the Go.” So, as I stood on the aisle flanked by Mr. Clean and the harsh abrasives, I attempted to ask a guy stocking the shelves where I would find a Swiffer Wet Jet pad. Unfortunately, “Where do you have the Swiffer Wet Jet Pads” came out as a raspy “Whe oo aff swifuh wht jt pass?” The man looked at me for a moment and responded with a question in Spanish that I did not understand. My White Dade rage began to surface when I realized that, given my voice’s condition, I could have been speaking Icelandic for all this poor guy knew. And since everyone here just assumes everyone else is Hispanic, he answered me as such. When I asked him again, he made a gesture with his hands that looked somewhat like a box and said “Tres,” which I assumed meant aisle three.

So I go to Aisle three and it definitely was NOT where you’d find Swiffer Wet Jet pads, so I ask another lady who was stocking shelves. Again, unintelligible garble, and you know what she says to me? “I’m sorry, can you ask me in English?” Now I look pretty damn white. Blue eyes, brown/blonde hair, big nose. Not exactly the picture of a striking Latino Gentleman. But I guess in Miami, when you can’t understand what someone is saying, you assume that white-looking guy must just be Venezuelan or something. So, I summon up all the air and energy I can and ask “WHERE YOU HAVE SWIFFER WET JET PADS?” To which she responded. “Aisle 13. No, no, 12. Wait, no, 11. Yeah definitely 11.” I gave her a look that said “Would you please make up your mind,” which I would have verbalized had I had one operative vocal cord. I later realized she took this to mean I didn’t understand her English response.

So I journey back to aisle 11 and I see nothing but 2-liter bottles of soda and some bottled water. And who should be standing at the end of the aisle but my friend from before who sent me to the saran wrap aisle to buy Wet Jet pads. So I ask him again, this time straining my last vocal cord. He looks at me for a moment, unable to comprehend what I was asking and I said “The place you sent me before didn’t have it,” which came out “Th play oo sen meh fo did haa t.” Again, the quizzical look and a response in Spanish. “ENGLISH, PLEASE!” I yelled at him. I didn’t mean to yell, mind you, but it was the only way I could get any sound out of my throat. He looked, and said “Okay, one minute,” and left. This is Miami Non-English Speaking Store Employee for “I’m not dealing with you because you refuse to learn Spanish, so I’m going to pretend to go find my manager (aka the only guy in here who speaks English) but really I’m going to go back to stocking Listerene on Aisle 9 and let you find whatever-the-fuck it is you’re looking for on your own.” I am convinced Miami is an old Indian word meaning “Land of Poor Customer Service.”

So, eventually I go back to the “American” woman on aisle three and mouth to her “It wasn’t on aisle 11.” To which she replies, ‘I told you it was in the aisle next to aisle 11. If you learned English you might have known that.” I mouthed “Gracias,” to her and made my way to aisle 10, marked “escobas/fregonas,” which, as everyone else in the store but me knew, meant “brooms and mops.” There, among the escobas and fregonas I finally found my compresas de Swiffer Wet Jet. Elated, I purchased my cleaning supplies and proceeded to spend the remainder of the night scouring my apartment.

I don’t know which was worse, spending half an hour at Publix trying to communicate without a voice in a language I won’t speak, or spending four hours surrounded by bleach and noxious fumes. Either way I am still without a voice and am now developing a cold right in time for my six and a half hour plane ride to Seattle on Wednesday. Probably a good thing, as I’ll have an excuse for not talking to anyone at Thanksgiving. In any language.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Sports Knowledge is not a Turn-On

We’ve all seen "There's Something About Mary," right? How Mary is a huge sports nut and likes to watch SportsCenter before she goes to sleep and this is supposed to be every man’s wet dream, right? A girl who likes sports as much as he does so they can just sit around and watch football all weekend and never have an argument. Doesn’t quite work like that. Ladies, if you want to take an interest in sports to have conversation topics with guys, so be it. But please, do not start debating me on whether Miami should have gone to a 3-4 last Sunday in fourth quarter. That is a conversation I want to have with my boys, not with you.

See, sports is one of those places guys can go when they don’t want women around. Like a fortress of solitude in the middle of a conversation. If you are in a mixed group and you want the women to leave you alone for a while, talking about the Dolphins’ new Right Tackle is usually a good way to do it. Because talking about prostitutes and strippers is just a little too off-putting. But when your girlfriend knows as much if not more about sports than you, what the Hell are you going to talk about when you want her to get bored and leave you alone? Your prostate? A passing interest is nice, like if you can discuss some things about the local teams or you enjoy going to games with us. But if you know the name of the Marlins' backup catcher, it’s going to be a long evening.

And why, you females may ask, is knowing too much about sports a turnoff? Well, think about it. If you were dating a guy, wouldn’t it just be a little weird if you got into a strong debate about Prada’s spring line? Sure, maybe with your gay friends, but on a date? It would probably turn you off. Similarly if he scooped you on the latest twist in the Brad-Angelina-Jennifer love triangle. You’d be a bit put off, wouldn’t you? I have seen every episode of “Laguna Beach” at least three times, but do you think I mention that when I meet a girl? Unfortunately, yes I do, and it usually doesn’t work in my favor.

The problem with both of these phenomena is that they can also ruin a date faster than a phone call from an ex-girlfriend. It may make for a more entertaining evening than discussing the litany of banal subjects that are usually discussed on a date, but it will not get either of you laid. If you and a girl start talking about sports for way too long, or you are a guy start talking about couture for too long, you will begin to see each other as friends. And really, what are female friends good for aside from watching Desperate Housewives? I limit myself to one single, straight female friend. Any more than that and you are a male cheerleader.

So if the subject turns to sports, and all of a sudden she is talking about the Pass Interference call in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl as if it were the greatest travesty of justice since Emmett Till, you may want to steer the conversation elsewhere. Otherwise, instead of a great night of wild sex, you will end up with one more “buddy” coming over on Sunday. Except now you can’t talk about strippers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Why The Dog Track is The Perfect Date

Those of you are used to the wine ‘em and dine ‘em philosophy are probably thinking “No girl is going to sleep with you if you take her to a place that is populated by drunken reprobates and illegal immigrants.” Well, no girl who doesn't charge by the half-hour, anyway. But if you know what you are doing, you can make a girl fall in love. Here’s why:

Any girl that will go with you to the track - dog, horse, or otherwise - is down-to-earth and can appreciate going somewhere other than an expensive restaurant or bar on a date.

If she knows this is where you are going, it probably means she likes you and is not using you for said expensive meal or drinks. Since the most expensive drink at the dog track is the $2 draft Heineken.

The track is original. Nobody thinks to go there, due mostly to its seedy stigma. Unless you are dating one of my retreads, you will be the first guy to ever think of taking her there. Girls like originality.

Most girls have never been to the track, and therefore will be interested in at least trying something new. And when people ask her “Have you ever been to the track?” she will immediately think of you. Almost as good as being her first lay, if you ask me.

Taking a girl to a place that features dollar hot dogs does not make you look cheap. It makes you confident. How? It says to a woman “Look, I’m not trying to impress you by throwing money around. I’m trying to have a good time with you. If that’s not enough, then I’ll find someone else.”

If you know what you are doing, you instantly become the teacher and she the student. This makes you a sort of authority figure, believe it or not, and allows you to talk to her with total confidence. Girls love confidence almost as much as they love authority. This does not apply if the girl knows more about it than you, but would you really want to date a girl like that anyway?

It is interactive. You are not stuck at a table talking about college or your career or the stupid thing your roommate did last week. You can talk about what a pig that last horse you bet on was, and how much money you could win if the pig you bet on in this race wins. Much more entertaining, trust me.

Girls get excited if they win. You will almost always get a victory hug if she is successful. They even get excited when they are close to winning, and they will often share their excitement with you. Either way, they will have fun.

If you win, it is a date where you could actually come out ahead. And maybe you can buy her something cute but inexpensive with your winnings. Like a souvenir baby-tee or an empanada.

If you are losing, like I almost always do, they get to make fun of you in a semi-flirtatious way. Like, “Hey, I’m better at this than you are and you’ve been doing this for how long?” It’s kind of like letting a girl win at pool, but unintentional. And much more expensive.

You will be the best looking guy there. Unless your date is into welfare recipients, there won’t be a whole lot of competition.

Similarly, you will not be distracted by other women. Unless you are into overweight chain smokers, your attention can be focused on your date and the dogs.

It is a very cheap date. Most tracks don’t have an admission much more than two bucks, and even if you buy your date food and beer you are unlikely to break the $40 rule. As long as you control your gambling losses and do not get suckered into placing her bets. If she says “I didn’t bring any money,” say, “What kind of idiot doesn’t bring money to a racetrack? Lucky for you, they have ATM’s here.” I don’t mind paying for dinner, but no man should be forced to cover a woman’s gambling losses. If she is bothered by this, she is not worth the time anyway.

My only advice of something to avoid: Do not bet too much and do not get too into the races. Remember, the focus is the date, not winning money. If you are a compulsive gambler, the track is probably not a good idea. And don’t act like you know too much, or she may start to think you spend all your weekday afternoons on the rail.

The only downside: This may be such an informal, let-s-have-fun event that you may risk being thrust into that most ungodly of places, the friend ladder. Since so little money is being spent on her, and she is having to place her own bets, there is no pressure to sleep with you. That being said, most girls have decided whether or not they’d fuck you within five minutes, so if you are fortunate enough to be in that first category this will impress her in ways you cannot imagine. You will come off as creative, confident, and unpretentious. And those are all traits that quality girls are looking for. If she is unimpressed or feels like she is too good to spend time in a pari-mutuel facility, then she is just the sort of stuck-up snob you want to avoid anyway. So take a beautiful girl to an ugly place, and see what unfolds. You may thank me later.

Monday, November 14, 2005

GUIDE TO SEX AND DATING 6: Male Friends, One Night Stands, and Using Guys

Misc.
A word on male friends: Every male friend you have that is not related to you would have sex with you if you asked. There are no exceptions, except maybe Sean. I don’t care what you think, or what you think you know, you are a girl and above a four and 21 years old and every male friend you have has thought about having sex with you at some point or another. Their degrees of proactivity may vary on this matter, but it is true. For more on this visit Intellectual Whores or Ladder Theory

Do not, under ANY circumstances, invite a guy you just meet home with you unless you are prepared to have sex (at least oral) with him. You may like him and want to keep talking or make out and you may say, “Yes, you can come over but I’m not having sex with you.” But if I had a nickel for every girl who has told me that and then ripped my shirt off as soon as we got home, I might be able to buy a can of Diet Coke. He may say “Okay, fine,” but he is still expecting to get some. Conversely, do not believe a guy who invites you over and says “We don’t have to do anything, I just want to stay with you.” By with you, he means in you. It is bullshit, go home alone or with your girlfriends. Unless you want to have sex with him, then by all means, go to town sister.

Do not concern yourself with what others will think if you sleep with someone. If you aren’t comfortable doing it, then don’t do it, obviously. But if you meet a hot guy at a party and you are extremely horny and you want to do it, don’t think “God, what would Jackie say?” The only reason you shouldn’t do it is if you don’t want to. You generally don’t make decisions based on what other people think anyway. Again, I am not saying to be a slut, I’m saying that a few one night stands over the course of your twenties is not necessarily a bad thing. Just always be careful and only do what you are comfortable with. And if you want a relationship with him, don’t do it either. One night stands are what they are, nothing more and nothing less. Don’t expect a call. Don’t ask for a number. Don’t expect much other than a hot night and a ride home in the morning. And always know where your money is.

Don’t ask for a guy’s number unsolicited unless you are prepared to call him. Similarly do not give yours out unless you actually want that guy to call you. This may be a “duh,” but it does not always work that way. Don’t be afraid to call a guy you like whose number you got and ask him out. That is hot. If a sleazy guy is asking for your number, and you don’t want to be mean, ask him for his (this would be solicited) then throw it away/delete it. If he insists on getting yours, you can either A) Write it totally illegibly B) “Accidentally” leave a number off when you program it into his phone (and yours is easy because you have three 3’s in a row. “Oops! forgot one!”) C) Give him a fake number (NOT nice, especially if you see him again) or D) Start giving it to him and get distracted by a friend or something.

Exclusivity is a tough topic to tackle. I think about four to six weeks is the right time to start asking if he is seeing anyone else. Get what you want, you know. Don’t push for a commitment, but if its what you want, then don’t be afraid to leave. Men are like busses…You miss one, and there’s another one along in five minutes.

There are myriad other things I have discussed with you already like using guys for drinks, dinners, ballgame tickets, whatever. Don’t do it. It gives women a bad name and makes you “just like the rest of them.” There is a difference between wanting to date professional men and using guys, make sure you don’t confuse them. Using, by the way, is defined to most modern males as dating where he pays for everything with no sex.

SOME OTHER SOURCES
While I like to think I know a decent amount about what’s out there, and like to opine to great lengths about sex, there are some other people that know a little more than I and are generally fairly accurate

TOM LEYKIS – You’ve heard me quote him and he may be a misogynistic bastard, but probably 90% of the stuff he says is GENRALLY true. Like it or not. You will listen to his show, and you will hate him and think he is a sexist pig, and you may be right, but so is he. His show is on in SoCal from 4-8 every day on KLSX 97.1 FM. Listen to it when you get a chance, and you will learn some shit. His basic rules can be found here.

COSMO – The same shit every month, but read like three of their “Hot Sex Tips” articles and you will learn to do some cool shit. They are not 100% accurate about what guys like, but you can definitely expand your repertoire

Intellectual Whores and Ladder Theory – A couple of websites I referenced earlier that may keep you from misleading guys

GUIDE TO SEX AND DATING 5: The Kinky Shit

There are a wide range of sexual deviancies out there that completely normal men have. Some like to be tied up, some like to be dressed up in leather, some like to watch porn (okay, ALL like to watch porn), some have a standing account at the ADULT XXX store on Harbor in Santa Ana. So many guys are into so many different things, that I can’t tell you what to do specifically to please a man. Don’t be afraid to ask a guy what he’s into. But do it at the right time. I’ve found the best time to ask someone is after the first of several romps in an all-night sex marathon. Like, maybe the first one you have with a new guy (not the first sexual encounter, but the first four-plus-romp night you have). After the first one or two times you could be cuddling and you say “so, what’s your guilty pleasure,” or “what do you want me to do to you?” You’re not a slut or a freak for this, you are a girl who is good in bed. Another good time is when you have teased him for a while and he is totally aroused (this is an even better time to tell him what to do to you). Like go down on him for a while then slither up to his ear and ask “What are you into?” I will say that if he is into some kinky shit that you absolutely refuse to do, stop seeing him. If he’s not satisfied he will either cheat or leave

I will also tell you to keep your mind open to doing new things that you may have previously thought of as “gross” or “nasty.” There are some very good guys out there who happen to like being whipped. Guys are turned on by the notion that you want to do something, not that you are willing to do it because you like him. You see the difference? Women who are good in bed are willing to try just about anything. Women who are unbelievable in bed will initiate trying just about anything. Women who are the subject of fantasies five years later just do it and don’t ask. Everyone else falls into the great big mass of “Other.”

Guys like bald pussies. Every girl I hooked up with in California with one exception was totally shaved. You will get waaaay more oral sex if you do it. But I’m sure your best friend will cover this one in depth. Vaginal maintenance is more her department, but the better you do it, the more action you’ll get. This is the only reason men shave their balls.

A lot of guys like eating pussy. A lot of guys don’t. If you like getting your pussy eaten, do not date one in the second category and vice versa. Sex has a lot more to do with relationships than you may believe. If one partner is not satisfied, it will ultimately fall apart. There is a defining moment in any relationship where the other person’s sexual boundaries are discovered. If the boundaries are not in the same place, and one is not willing to expand, the relationship will NEVER work. I discovered Lola’s at four months and held on for another 7. Big mistake.


And, although you said don’t mention it, I’m going to anyway. Anal sex. Most girls don’t like it, but there are some who do. And they ABSOLUTELY LOVE it. One of the girl cheerleaders from High School once told the squad she liked it, and was made fun of. She asked if any of them had tried it and they all said “No.” Her response: “Well, girls, let me tell you, don’t knock it till you try it.” A good time to give it a try? When you’re drunk. If you or your partner loves it you will thank me profusely. If you’re not so into it, then realize that and that is a sexual boundary. I will also add that girls who are into this stuff are immediately thrust into the category of sexual elite along with girls who are into other girls. Your boyfriend will brag about you, trust me.

And speaking of girl on girl action……NO idea what your interest in that is. This is one area I will say you can knock if you’ve never tried. If you are curious, go for it, because with girls there is no stigma attached to it. But this is an area I know NOTHING about. I will say that of the girls I put in my top echelon, all have been with women at some point or another. But not something you should do to please a guy. Like many of these warnings, not something I would expect you to do, but I throw it out there anyway.

GUIDE TO SEX AND DATING 4: Sex

My favorite topic. Samantha Jones once said, “The way we are in bed is the way we are in life.” You are an assertive, take-control, me-first person. Take that into the bedroom and you will be very popular. Men love it when you tell them what you want them to do to you. Intimidated? Just pretend you’re telling me (okay, maybe not me, but somebody) to wipe breadcrumbs off the counter, just replace “wipe” with “lick” and “breadcrumbs” with “chocolate sauce” and “counter” with “nipples.” My point is you are assertive in life, so fortunately you can carry that into the bedroom. Docile women have a problem with sucking in bed. And I don’t mean with their mouths.

The first time you fuck a new guy will not be fantastic. He has no idea what you like, you have no idea what he likes. Do not reject a guy you like because your first encounter was not earth shattering. Perhaps if his penis is too small, but not if the sex is so-so. The more you learn about someone, the better the sex will be. It may be great though. Either way, if you like him, call or text him the next day and tell him what a great time you had. It makes a WORLD of difference.

Don’t frontload the kinky shit, as I said before. You’ve got to have somewhere to go.

Never ignore balls. I’m sure your ex taught you that, but trust me, the more you stimulate the balls, the better it is. Tease a guy as much as you can. But by no means don’t let him get it, that’s just mean. You could handcuff him to the bed and tease him for like an hour and leave the room and come back and put on a porno and tease him some more and leave for half an hour then come back and put your clothes on and tell him you decided to go out with the girls. But at the end of the night, you’d better be ready to fuck his brains out.

If you don’t like to swallow, tell the guy to tell you when he’s about to orgasm. If you don’t, he will assume he can fire one into your mouth. Same thing if you don’t want him orgasming inside you (this applies to unprotected sex, obviously). If you let him hit it raw, he will assume he can finish inside. You have to tell him not to cum inside you or he will, and we all know where that leads. To a 10:30 AM appointment squeezed in between the gym and Panhellenic.

GUIDE TO SEX AND DATING 3: Date 2 and Beyond

If you have set up a second date and not heard form the guy by the day of the date, call once for confirmation, and if you don’t hear back, call again when you would have to start getting ready. If you still hear nothing, you have been stood up. Call me immediately with his personal information and I will go over to his house with some sort of blunt object.

Ex-girlfriends are ghosts to be reckoned with. Don’t ask a guy how many women he’s slept with, because his answer will be a lie. Don’t ask his friends because he’s lying to them too. Some don’t even know. There is a healthy amount of ex-talk, but only use it when it is relevant. One thing I will say is that if someone NEVER mentions a long term ex, they are not over them, and quite possibly still sleeping with them once in a while. I learned this one the hard way. Don’t ramble on and on about your ex, but an occasional reference is okay. Also be aware that you will constantly be compared to all of his past girls, and you must be comfortable with that. He will never say, “Yeah, well Jennifer sucked much better cock than you,” but he may very well be thinking it. At the same time, you will be thinking, “Wow, my ex had a much bigger dick than you,” so you may take solace in that.

Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to. “Am I the best you’ve ever had,” “How many women have you been with” and “Where would you rate me on a 1-10 scale” are all good examples. Most guys will lie, but some will not. And you could get very hurt.

Do not discuss your IBS, bowel movements, your period or yeast infections with a guy until at least one month. Maybe more. We just DO NOT want to know.

Lastly, men are full of shit. If I can teach you anything, it is to not believe a word a guy tells you until after he has slept with you. Sorry, again, a hard truth to learn. Men, especially in SoCal, will lie, pose, and act in whatever fashion they think you want them to to get you into bed. Again, sad. Best to go out with someone who comes recommended or knows you through someone else so you can get the real scoop. Just be careful.

GUIDE TO SEX AND DATING 2: Getting a Date

So you started dating a guy at 15 and thought that was it. You were both virgins and had no idea what you were doing and aside from a few stories from friends and some back issues of Cosmo, you have had to figure out everything on your own. And when virgins are teaching virgins about sex, well, that is pretty much the blind leading the blind, isn’t it? You may be able to please your long-time ex to no end. But guess what? The other 3 billion males in the world are not him, and therefore will act differently. So, as a service to you, this person I am not related to and have no semblance of a sexual attraction to, I will present you with a semi-detailed and HIGHLY generalized guide to the wide array of things that have gone on to countless others between the ages of 15 and 21.

Dating
There is one running theme you will notice in this and it is that GUYS LOVE A GIRL WHO MAKES THE FIRST MOVE! The kind who don’t are generally the type who like to dominate their woman, and therefore would be 100% incompatible with you anyway. Because you are such a docile little flower. You see a guy you like, you get along, ask him out. Guys will almost always say yes, at least to you, because a date is step one on the road to the promised land. If you were ugly I would not give you this advice, but I don’t know too many guys who would turn you down unless they are gay. And even then, look at Sean.

Many men have what is known as a 3-date rule. This means if they are not getting some sort of sexual affection by date three, you should not expect an invitation for date four. Guys who do this are not assholes, by the way. Men see sexual attention as confirmation that you like them. Just be prepared that if Captain Willie or whatever he has decided to name it had not made an appearance by the third date, your man may not make an appearance for the fourth. Am I telling you to be a slut? Of course not. Just don’t make a man wait too long or he may think he is being used or that you are not interested..

Let him pay for date 1. I HATE spending money on women, but if a girl insists on paying for her half on Date 1, that tells me she is not interested. If you don’t want to feel like you owe him something, buy the first round of drinks if you go out later. If you aren’t interested, though, you may want to pay for your half so he gets the clue.

Don’t be afraid to call/text a guy and tell him you had a great time the next day (this is ESPECIALLY important after the first time you have sex). I have never gotten one of these messages and not busted out with a huge smile. Seriously, it makes me happy when someone does that. But, you know, one call is enough.

Not that I think you would ever do it, but sex on the first date is dicey. Guys who want to date you if you f- on the first date are just as messed up as girls who f- on the first date. Date three is really the best time, or two weeks in. Seem a bit fast for you? Well, unfortunately this is how it works with a lot of guys. Not all. But the ones who will “wait until you’re ready” are either A) Full of shit B) Pussies, which may be what an assertive type like you needs or C) Banging a lot of other girls so he’ll be calling up Amber over in the Tri-Delt house after he drops you off.

GUIDE TO SEX AND DATING 1: Girls, You Should All Have an Older Brother As Cool as Me

Some background on The Guide:

My sister is an obsessive planner, so it would only reason that the first boy she dated seriously, had sex with and invited to Christmas Dinner would immediately be considered “the one.” Silly, perhaps, to decide this at fifteen, but if you have an uncertainty index as high as your average fundamentalist Muslim, it makes life a whole lot easier. Despite the advice of myself, her mother, our father and countless others, My Sister’s Boyfriend quickly replaced me as the youngest son in the family and the wedding was deemed a mere formality. They moved to Orange County together and shared an apartment adorned in Furniture Gallery, Pottery Barn and Neiman Marcus fixtures. At age 19. Most 19-year-old girls I know have empty vodka bottles as house decorations. My sister had framed photos from her safari to Africa. Instead of red plastic cups for games of Beer Pong, she had an entire 8-mug set by Horchow (NOT used for beer pong). Her weekends were spent on her $2000 plush sofa watching DVD’s and “snuggling” with her boyfriend. She refused to drink, which in our family is considered a genetic mutation on par with autism.

All that changed in January when My Sister’s Boyfriend decided that there were some differences he just could not handle anymore and gave up on the relationship. Shortly after, she turned 21, and shortly after that she began dating her dentist. And drinking. My Sister and I have had times when we were best friends, like when she was a freshmen in High School and going through her wild phase, and periods where we were worst enemies, like when she threw me out of her apartment for hooking up with her friends. After her breakup we entered one of those “best friends” periods where I give her advice about boys, and she asks me questions and I give her honest answers. Like when she was invited by the Dentist for a four day vacation to Maui, to which I replied “You do realize, Sister, that no man in the history of the world has ever invited a 21-year-old girl to Maui for a platonic Scuba Diving trip.” Some of these questions are pretty explicit, but since we didn’t grow up together I am not bothered by this at all. And for the most part I give pretty good advice. She still ignores most of it.

So one morning My Sister is in her dentist’s shower and notices a razor in there. Not too unusual except for the fact that the Dentist used an electric shaver. She asked him about it, and he said, rather uncomfortably, that is was used for “personal grooming.” It then dawned on my poor sister that she had no idea that lots of guys did this. She knew I did, but she generally considers me a freak and just assumed it was another one of my quirks. No, I said, there is a lot you’ve missed since fifteen, my dear. This got her thinking and so she asked me to write her a little e-mail about what its like out there, since she missed the formative 15-21 ages of dating. She asked how she could be considered good in bed, and what guys like and what rules to use when dating and what rules guys use. So the little e-mail turned into a 7-page guide to sex and dating that was one of my proudest creations.

All girls should have an older brother that can tell them these things, it would make everything so much easier. It’s like having a male friend that doesn’t want to sleep with you under ANY conditions (which cannot exist outside of familial relation). So, I have split this guide into five parts which follow. Highly generalized and, as my ex-girlfriend put it, extremely tailored to my taste, but, from talking to my friends, pretty darned accurate. I might also add that this pertains mostly to what "American" guys like, since my sister has sworn off everything else after her six-year interracial dating fiasco. It’s a shame my sister can’t give me similar advice about girls, given her relative lack of experience. On the other hand, she has shown me the proper way to put on a duvet cover.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Shortage of White Girls

Miami is known for having beautiful women, right? I mean, take one look at The Travel Channel or Wild On or MTV and you would think every female in Dade County walked around in a string bikini and had surgical implants. And the beach is topless, for chrissakes, how could you NOT have the best looking women in the world? And to some this may be true. But live here for a few years and all that changes.

Every Freshmen guy I knew in college had at least a one year case of the “Whoa-look-at-that’s.” This is a condition where you feel the necessity to notice, and point out to your friends around you, every scantily clad female lying on the beach, walking to class or buying gum at the 7-11. And Miami has its share of those. But if you are an “American,” and you live here for more than a year, the whoa look at that’s quickly become a severe case of the “yeah, so what’s.” Why? Because after talking to a sample of them you soon realize that few if any speak fluent English and even fewer do it without some sort of accent and even fewer give you any respect sine you are an “American.” So if you like Maria’s, Lissette’s and Tatiana’s, you are probably in heaven. But if you’re into Nicole’s, Ashley’s, and Emily’s, you are shit out of luck.

I like Latin girls as people, don’t get me wrong, but they do absolutely nothing for me below the waistline (and, no, this is not a comment on the phenomenon known as “Latin Booty.”) People are generally sexually attracted to people who look like they do. The only girlfriend I ever had that I was attracted to was tall, blonde and had blue eyes. Much like myself. I dated an Asian for a year and never wanted to have sex with her. I dated a Cuban girl for like a minute last month, and it did nothing for me. This is just a psychological thing, I am sure, and there are plenty of interracial couples in Miami, and more power to those people. But me (and many of my white male friends) the only girls who really excite me are white, American and non-Jewish. Finding a girl like that in Dade County is kind of looking for a liberated, independent woman in Afghanistan.

The Hag, BEF and I took a trip to State College, PA last weekend to visit the Hag’s sister and take in the Penn St.-Wisconsin football game. Upon arriving in University Park, we all instantly got a relapse of the “whoa-look-at-that’s.” White girls. Everywhere. Girls that I probably would have considered mediocre when living in Orange County were now cold water on a hot day. I asked a girl where she was from and when she answered “Columbia,” it took me a few minutes to realize she meant Maryland and not Medellin. And it was wonderful to talk about rock music and domestic beer with a female. It was even nicer when they all understood my name and pronounced it right. Standing in the student section at the football game gave us enough eye candy in a five-row radius to last for months. Going out to parties there was like being a kid in a candy store, just white girl after white girl after white girl. We took pictures, but as soon as we crossed the county line back into Dade, magically all of the girls in our pictures turned from tall blondes to short Latinas. Kind of like in “The Ring” when the people’s photos get blurry after they watch the video? That’s what happens to images of white girls when you get into Miami. Call it the curse of Dade County.

It dawned on me that white guys who live in Miami are probably the only people on earth who would say that Central Pennsylvania had better looking women than South Florida. But you know what? If you’re not attracted to Latin girls, it’s probably true. The only white guys I know besides myself who stayed in Miami after graduation did so for one reason: They had a Latin girlfriend they were sticking around for. But if you’re not attracted to Latinas, grad school in State College is definitely not out of the question.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Welcome to Dade County

Welcome to Dade County. I don’t like to use the name “Miami” because “Miami” conjures up images of beautiful women, white sandy beaches and cocaine smuggling, not much of which occurs once you venture west of I-95. What occurs west of I-95 you may ask? Well, pretty much whatever occurs in any other major American city with one glaring exception: It all occurs in Spanish. I don’t mean a pocket here and a pocket there, or a charming little “Latin Quarter” we could put in the Fodor’s guide. No, I mean a whole, living, breathing 11th largest American metropolitan area going about all of their day to day business in a language other than the one written on all of their street signs (that is unless you count the names given to streets to honor campaign contributors, mayor’s brothers-in-law and local baseball stars). This is why being a Dade white person, or “American” as we are called here, is such a surreal experience. If you live in LA or New York or San Diego or Phoenix or any other American city with a “Latin Influence” as they so nicely put it in Newsweek, you may experience this when you venture into certain parts of town, but when you get back to Brentwood or The Upper East Side or Del Mar or Scottsdale, everyone once again speaks English and goes about their business in a manner you are comfortable with and used to.

Such is not the case in Dade County. You know how in some cities you may decide to lunch at your local Burger King and the guy at the counter speaks no English and you get really frustrated, but once you get your Whopper with Cheese you forget all about it and go about the rest of your day without this frustration again? Well, in Dade, that definitely happens at Burger King (based in Miami, actually) but it also happens when you get back to work and try and call a locksmith to fix your door. It also happens when you go the bank to open a checking account, make a dinner reservation, call your lawyer or get your car fixed. This is the price you pay for living in a city with 24-hour liquor licenses and 82 degree weather all year round. That and the hurricanes.

White people in Miami are referred to as “Americans.” PC politicians would love to say that “We are all Americans,” but if someone here says “Yeah, this American guy came in here last week and threw this big fit at my secretary because she didn’t speak English” they mean he is white. We are not so much a minority, but more of a novelty. Have you ever gone into a store or a bar in an “ethnic” neighborhood and realized you were the only white person there? That is what happens to me when I go to Nordstrom. Go walk around Dolphin Mall or Dadeland on a Wednesday and I challenge you to find four “Americans.” Drugstore? Absolutely. The DMV? Go to the English Only window in Hialeah and you’ll be out of there in under 20 minutes. Santa’s Enchanted Forest? May as well be called El Bosque Encontado de Santa Claus. Am I complaining? No. If you are American and you want to move to Miami, the county requires you to sign a waiver stating that you understand you are moving to a place that does not speak English, nor will it ever try and do so, and that you will not go into a tirade worthy of Michael Douglas in "Falling Down" when the guy at the deli counter doesn’t understand what “3/8 of a pound” means. If you can accept these terms, Bienvenidos!

The difference between Miami and other cities with large Hispanic populations is that in those cities, though there may be a lot of Latin people, the government and economy are for the most part run by Americans. I don’t necessarily mean whites, now, but Americans. In Dade, nearly all commerce and government is run by people from Latin America. This means that everything here happens pretty much like it would in El Salvador. Except the streets are a little cleaner. We had our mayoral election declared fixed a mere two years before the 2000 election debacle that made voting in Dade world famous. The fact that the U.S. presidency was decided by a voting process on par with the one that elected Daniel Ortega may explain the last five years a lot more easily.

What this has given me is a degree of empathy for minorities in other U.S. cities. If you are a Mexican living in Indianapolis, I would assume you experience many of the same frustrations we “Americans” experience here in Dade. If you are black and living in Orange County, I think you might feel much the same way we do. If you are Asian and living in Connecticut, again, welcome to the world of White Dade. Just colder. If you are white and live in ANY OTHER AMERICAN CITY (save for maybe El Paso, which doesn’t really count) you will never understand what it is like to have to live your life according to another culture’s rules until you move here. And not to Miami Beach or Brickell or Coconut Grove or anywhere else you’ve seen on the Travel Channel. Move to a numbered street in the triple digits and you’ll know what I mean. The point is in Miami we are a true minority. We are not oppressed since most “Americans” in Dade have money, but we have no real political or commercial power and live life according to the way the majority feels it should be run. This is why I don’t feel at all like a racist when I say that I am proud to be White or that I like doing White things. I like Latin people and Latin things too, but you should be proud to be what you are.