Posts filed under ‘Phenix Friday’

Waiting to exhale — because the corset’s too tight?


In order to strengthen the rhetorical impact of this posting, my discussion of sexual politics and body image will necessarily be streamlined to exemplify on a formal level the thematic thrust of this musing. (And I got hit with a ton of work this week, so I didn’t have a lot of time to come up with anything great.) I am also guilty of blog poaching: I was so inspired by LeMare’s posting about the atrocious things men have said to her that I just had to share a particularly perturbing recent run-in.

I was recently at dinner with a male acquaintance. Because we are both single, the conversation inevitably drifted to the subject of dating. We both expressed reasonable frustrations with the entire process — until, that is, he quickly mentioned that he believed he had developed “Philly goggles” and needed to get out before he ended up with an ugly girl. Really. Surmising my shock at his comment, he followed up by saying that it was only logical to marry someone you really wanted to see naked. Really. Eliding all of the usual caveats about the need for physical attraction in romantic relationships, perhaps my acquaintance needed to be more generous about the proportions of the female body. And perhaps only then will his proportions while naked be more charitably received…

Like Judge Judy says, “Beauty fades; dumb is forever.” What say you, ladies? And gents?


June 1, 2007 at 11:51 pm 3 comments

Destination: Mingle City

I recently applied for an internship. It had nothing to do with French literature (my particular area of study); it wasn’t even an academic job. I applied to be an intern on the Michael Baisden show. For those of you who may not know, Michael Baisden is — according to the biography on his Website — everything from “best-selling author, to motivational speaker, to television talk show host, and now nationally syndicated radio host” catering to the African-American community — a veritable “man on a mission” to bring sexual romantic enlightenment to the rest of the world through the interactions on his radio show and “Mingle City” Website. (Note the “clothing optional” Jamaican Island Jam Takeover for “mature adults” in June.) I was first introduced to Baisden by a friend who shares two of my fundamental obsessions: 1) cheesy lover-man R&B groups from the early 90’s — the more absurd the lyrics, the better; and 2) Smoove B’s columns in The Onion. For those not familiar, fictional columnist Smoove B is a smooth-talking ladies’ man from the Cleveland area whose columns are meticulously detailed romantic proposals either to potential dates or to former lovers.

Here’s a taste:

“Girl, while it has been almost two years since we broke apart, not a second goes by that you are not on my mind. As I have written many times in my column, the thought of you spending time naked next to this other man has caused me nothing but pain. You are my everything, girl. If we were to get back together now, we could win various awards for the ways we would sex each other up. You know this…Do you not remember when Smoove would buy you shoes, dresses, and occasionally belts, all meant to accentuate your many curves, of which you have many? Especially the booty part of the curves?”


Whence my obsession. My similarly Smoove-loving friend recommended Michael Baisden to me because he was, she claimed, Smoove B in novelistic form. Baisden’s chef-d’oeuvre The Maintenance Man corroborated her claim: the novel features the exploits of a highly autobiographically-based, muscle-bound gigolo who travels around the country satisfying rich women’s needs, ergo the book’s title. The prose is masterful enough to turn even the Color Me Baddest songwriter/columnist into a hater.

After developing such a deep appreciation for The Maintenance Man last summer, you can imagine my excitement when I came across Baisden’s site. And then you can imagine my redoubled delight upon discovering the internship position with the “Bad Boy of Radio,” Mr. Lover Man himself. The application I submitted asked me about my interests, my relationship status, and my children (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5+) — all questions which are, by the way, *completely illegal* to ask on a job application form. I also had to upload a photo of myself which will “only be used for the sole purpose of review and consideration” (also totally illegal). I haven’t heard from the Bad Boy of Radio about the internship yet, but if I’ve learned anything from Smoove, it’s that patience, persistence, and steely, sexy determination can make even my freakiest fantasies come to fruition.

Play on, playa.

May 25, 2007 at 11:27 pm 5 comments

King of Night Vision, King of Insight

galileoGentle readers,

Let me first express my gratitude to the blog masters for not only inviting me to contribute to this venerable forum, but for awarding me my own feature. I shall forever strive to earn the honor already bestowed upon me.

I was trolling around in the electronic archives of The Onion this week and stumbled upon the following headline:

Giant Cockroach In Bathroom ‘A Harrowing, Kafkaesque Experience,’ Grad Student Says

Pure brilliance. After falling on the floor with laughter, I was finally able to collect myself and read further. The article details the encounter of “poverty-stricken Columbia University graduate student Marc Edelstein” with a giant cockroach in his bathroom, inevitably leading him down a long path of convoluted ruminations on the human condition. The fictitious Edelstein continues:

“Every day, I can’t believe I am living in that apartment. The humiliations society forces me to undergo, just to get my stupid PhD, defy all rational, intellectual thought. Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning and see the squalor in which I live, it feels as if I’ve somehow found myself on trial before a group of faceless, bureaucratic agents for some horrible crime I didn’t commit, and no one will even explain to me what my crime was.”

Truer words were never spoken. Staring down the barrel of my own fast-approaching PhD exams this fall, I was led to reflect on the traumas that I have personally suffered at the hands of my own professors. Forget Guantanamo. You want torture? Enroll those guys in an Ivy League graduate program. You won’t be able to stop them confessing.

For your enjoyment, the following recovered repressed memory:

N.B.: All names have been changed to protect and preserve the anonymity of the innocent (read: me).

In the course of my graduate career, I was asked by one of my professors if I would make an early-morning trip to a coffee shop45 minutes away — the next day to pick up a guest lecturer (let’s call him Dwight K. Schrute — sigh). Of course, this call came at ten o’clock the night before, and the round trip to the coffee shop meant that I would have to leave at six the next morning to get the speaker back to campus in time for his presentation at nine. Fine — even if I knew my professor would never give me the gas money he promised. Fine — even if I had watered his plants and picked up his mail and administered his 7 a.m. exams the previous summer. I had seen the fliers for the lecture and was interested in the topic (i.e., Galileo’s influence on religion in the Enlightenment). And I wanted my professor to stop “losing” chapters of my thesis. There had been, incidentally, two different kinds of posters made to advertise the lecture: the first consisted of a description of the lecture accompanied by a distinguished-looking portrait of the guest lecturer next to the mahogany (of course) shelves in his office; the second, more widely distributed flier was almost identical, but instead featured a portrait of Galileo. Back to the phone conversation:

Me: “Ok, so Dwight K. Schrute will be waiting for me at the coffee shop at 7:30.”

Professor: “That’s right. He’s a pretty tall guy. He’s got dark hair and wears dark-rimmed glasses…”

Me: “Oh, right. I saw the flier earlier today.”

Professor: Silence. For five seconds. “Ummm, that’s not Dwight K. Schrute…”

I soon realized that he had only seen the Galileo flier, and assumed that I thought that the portrait of Galileo was a picture of our speaker. Really? That’s not Dwight K. Schrute? Really? I was going to wander around the coffee shop until I found a guy in a ruffled lace collar and codpiece. I’m so glad you said something. Otherwise I would have wandered aimlessly for hours looking for a guy from Queene Elizabeth’s Royale Theatre Troupe

By the way, have you had a chance to look at those chapters yet?

May 18, 2007 at 11:29 pm 4 comments

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