How many cardigans is it acceptable for a straight man to own?
Hello anonymous - you were wise to hide your identity after such an incendiary question. I am from the United Kingdom and no doubt we do things differently here, but here the cardigan is pretty much exclusively the knitwear of choice for gentlemen of 70 or above and is rarely if ever an indication of what sexuality they might have favoured back in the 1950s. In London you can usually spot the gay men because they will be the ones walking around with nothing on their torso whatsoever, though confusingly as you head further north, going out at night with little or no upper body clothing indicated extreme heterosexuality (though one always suspects that those overly concerned with exhibiting their straightness are the ones who are secretly the most gay, just waiting to come down south into the arms of their more honest and self-aware shirtless brothers). But there are many cultural differences between our nations. For example if there was an area called Queens in London, I would assume it was populated entirely by gay men, though perhaps I should not make that assumption if I come to New York. I hope and pray that your gay scene revolves around knitwear, but I also want to live in a world where people are not judged by the way their woolly tops are buttoned up.
It's thus acceptable for a straight man to own as many cardigans as he wants to. Whether it's acceptable for him to wear any of them is another question A question you have failed to ask. You wasted your question, you anonymous idiot.
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I've been having a lot of anxiety attacks lately. Or a series of heart attacks, I'm not sure. How do you tell the difference again?
Sioux Falls, SD
Oh God, me too. Awful isn't it? Waking up in the middle of night with this pervading sense that your mind is on the verge of plummeting into the abyss, realising that life is meaningless and you are mortal and that one day, not too soon, you will totally cease to exist. You try to imagine it, but realise that in your imagination you are still hovering in the corner of the nothingness, but when it comes you won't actually be there at all. In the second of your demise you will realise that from your perspective everyone and everything in the world is about to be lost. Whilst everyone else will only have to mourn you, you are saying goodbye to everything you every loved. After half an hour or so everything gets back into some kind of perspective and you feel sane and safe again. But what if those moments of utter terror and impotence are the only time in our lives that we are lucid and fully conscious and the rest of the time we are living in a self-deluding dream. Think about that next time it's happening. I am sure it will help.
I think the difference between a heart attack and a panic attack is that the former actually physically hurts like Hell in your chest and arm, whilst the latter just kicks you in the soul. Check you pulse. If it's disappeared or has taken on an unfamiliar pattern then take a second to say goodbye to yourself and everyone you ever knew .
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I like to think of things in a positive way but itÂ’s getting more difficult. Toddler pageants used to be a joyous event and now TV has cheapened them. Is there is a way to get my positivity back?
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There is nothing on this earth more beautiful than the innocent, trusting face of a tiny child: uncorrupted by our prejudices or expectations, a blank page, a potentially perfect new human being Nothing that is apart from the face of a tiny child that has been covered in make-up, had its hair done up like a character from Knot's Landing and is dressed like a slutty Barbie doll princess with an alcohol problem. And that wonderful gift should not be limited to the damaged parents of the children in question and any of their friends who happen to be in the room- it is something that needs to be seen by everyone in the world. In fact I don't think it's gone far enough. I think that this should be all that is on TV, all day, every day, every channel and that every human being on the planet must be forced to watch it, having their eyelids held open Clockwork Orange style if necessary.
In the unenlightened United Kingdom we don't have such events, I think from some perverse fear that parading children around in such a manner might be seen as an unsporting and unfair enticement to reformed and unreformed pedophiles. But as always America is leading the way in showing us up for the prurient fools we truly are.
The only way back for you Niels is to watch the pageants continuously until the images are burned on to your retina so you see them every time you blink. Believe me by the time that has happened you will be happy and laughing very loudly. All the time. In a slightly manic manner.
I saw a squid lollipop yesterday. HavenÂ’t we taken the inventive confectionery treats far enough?
Los Angeles, CA
For any art form to move onwards it must be allowed to push itself to the limits and beyond. Confectionary is, as any Oompa Loompa will tell you, one of the prime media for artistic expression and must have the freedom to attempt weird and wonderful new directions. Sure they might push taste and decency so far that it crosses the line of what is acceptable, but it might also be revolutionary. History is littered with people who have mocked new candies and sweetmeats. When Ian Marsh invented the mallow that would forever bear his name, do you not think that people laughed in his pudgy face? "That's too soft and squidgy," they cried, "No one will eat that!" And how do you think they then reacted when he said, "No, you've got to put it on a little stick and put it in a fire for it to really work"? No one has been so soundly and unfairly mocked since Noah started knocking together that massive boat. But the naysayers soon had hot, runny marshmallow dribbling down their chins.
You must let an artist try again, fail again, fail better. The squid lollipop may be a dead end, but it may be the sugar and seafood hybrid that finally opens the doors of perception to the next stage of human evolution. Or at least give us a piquant tang of brine and sweetness combined
That's what I think. Unless the thing you saw was a lollipop aimed at squids, in which case that is agains God and nature and the people responsible for creating it should be burned at the stake.
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I feel like the word Â‘jungleÂ’ has gotten a bad rap. IÂ’d like to help give it a better reputation, maybe get more people to use it in everyday speak. Can you help me with something like that?
Jungle is one of those words that when you say it once it seems like a perfectly proper and normal word, but when you say it a few times in a row, you realise that it's a ridiculous nonsense and it starts to seem like it was never a word at all Try it now say "Jungle" ten times in a row out loud. It becomes meaningless. Like a baby blabbing away. The fact that it has been accepted in general conversation at all is almost beyond belief. And yet it's wormed its way into vernacular because no one has taken a stand. It's a tropical forest, a confusing mass, a type of music, a place where there is ruthless competition. Then people started saying they lived in a concrete jungle. Someone should have protested and shouted, "No - you don't. You live in a town, which is made out of all kinds or material, concrete probably isn't even the main one." But no one did.
If just one person had stood up at the beginning and said, "Hold on, "Jungle". That can't be a word, stop using it!" then none of us would be in this jam. I refuse to help you in your quest. In my opinion the word jungle has too great a reputation. And whilst you might try to popularise it, I will fight you and anyone who agrees with you. And you'll have to prise my jungle-free dictionary out of my cold dead hands. And then write "Jungle" in it by hand.
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When do we ditch the maxi dress again? The 80Â’s successfully squashed it after the 70Â’s. Do we need to bring back Dynasty and the power suit to rid ourselves of it once and for all?
The Maxi dress is and always has been a great halfway house between the revealing mini-skirt and the Burkha, allowing women who are used to walking around with everything on display to experience a more modest look, without having to become anonymous and also being the perfect first outfit for any Muslim woman who has become disenchanted with her faith and wants to see how it feels to go out with more than naked eyes. It also allows women to hedge their bets without committing to either side. If the world converts to Islam then just add a sheet with some eyeholes in it, if everyone becomes a Christian then whip off the bottom part of the dress to reveal a mini skirt.
It' s my understanding that women in that particular branch of Islam have to be covered in order to prevent men from being aroused by their physical form. Which doesn't seem fair. It's the men who are at fault. Personally I think it would be fairer and more cost effective, if they just took the little strips of cloth that have been cut out of the Burkha for the eye-slit and stuck that over all the men's eyes. And then women can wear what they like. But until that day, the maxi dress is the compromise that might prevent a Holy War.
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My computer is literally clogged with porn and I need to get rid of at least some of it. But I'm having a hard time saying goodbye to my old friends. What's a good criteria for deciding what porn to trash and what to keep?
Porn hound in Brooklyn, NY
You have a delightfully old-fashioned attitude to pornography and I can understand it. Thirty years ago, when my interest was first piqued in looking at grotesque images of naked people touching each other or themselves it was very difficult to locate anything at all. Occasionally I might chance across tattered magazine in a bag in the woods or Geoff Tozer might bring in a picture from Playboy that he'd stolen from his older brother. You would store every morsel of porn like a priapic squirrel who knew there was a long porn free winter ahead of him. The pictures and the stories became familiar old friends, so often did you have to return to them. It became a relationship. And like most relationships lust became love and then love became divorced from affection and merely about possession. Nowadays you don't need to go into the woods or root around in bins. There's the internet. Every second of the day a whole forest worth of porn is uploaded. You don't need to be stuck in this dead relationship with familiar and boring images. Get out there, have a look round. There's stuff out there to tempt and surprise even the most jaded Onanist. You can free your computer up (though what else you would want to use it for I don't know) and be free. Free to masturbate to something new and different every second of your life. Your feelings of attachment will soon be replaced by liberation. And then quickly by shame and self-loathing. Oh brave new world that has such people in it.