Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tales From Japan - Death & The Hermit.

I'm not a people person. I know. I've only said that like a few (hundred) times before. I avoid people and I'm terrible at conversations. If someone starts up a conversation with me from completely out of the blue and I'm not prepared, it’s usually ends up being a disaster of epic proportions.

Still, as bad as I am with the whole social interaction thing, I'm way below the level of calling myself a hikikomori. That’s a Japanese word. (You didn't think I forgot about the folks over in Japan, did you?) Hikikomori are basically shut-ins who either won't or can't participate in social settings and, as a result, often spend all of their time locked up inside their own homes avoiding as many people as they can. They can't work, date or even have friends. Their parents are usually their only means of support and human contact.

Is it weird I actually don’t find most of this all that bad?

Anyway, there are a growing number of people suffering from this condition in Japan and cultural pressures and other stresses are usually the triggers for someone to slip into hikikomori lifestyle.

One example of just how severe a hikikomori's fear of social interaction can be is a recent story I read here about an unemployed, 34-year-old, male hikikomori who shared an apartment in Tokyo with his 68-year-old father, Mr. Nakao. Their living together was on account of Nakao's poor health.

Then, on December 1, the son woke up to find that his father had died. Naturally, the authorities had to be notified but the young man's fear of having to make contact with the outside world was so severe that he actually hesitated a little before contacting the police.

For TWELVE days!

It doesn't end there.

Another thing you may or may not know about Japan is that housing in urban areas, such as Tokyo, is scarce and tightly packed. A very common living arrangement for people in these areas to stay in one-room apartments that act as kitchen, bedroom, living room and dining room. Only the bathroom is walled off. This was the living arrangement Nakao and his son shared. So, for twelve days, the young man stayed locked in his one-room apartment, with his father’s corpse lying on the Japanese-style beds (probably one of those floor-mat deals that's spread out in the middle of the room), while he ate, slept, watched TV, etc.

He eventually did sum up the courage to call the police and, explained that his condition was the reason he took so long to do so. While the police are looking into the cause of Nakao's death, they’re also considering charging the son for “abandonment of a body”.

On second thought, as socially awkward as I am, I think I’ll stick with awkward situations in public.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why Don't They Just Ask For It?

The other day Mrs. C and I came across this article on my Facebook timeline. The long and short of it is that it's a list of the 49 things men wished women knew about them. Why 49 and not 50? I don't know. I like round numbers, myself, but that's not the point of why I'm writing this.
Anyway, as we read it, Mrs. C occasionally asked me if this or that one was true and I saw more than a few things I could agree with as well as the one or two that didn't really matter to me. There was one item on the list, number 7, that stood out to me:

"If you want sex, just ask."

It seems simple. Doesn't it? But, apparently, it isn't. I noticed similar statements made in similar articles like this one so it stands to reason that more than a few guys have had to deal with women who refused to simply say, "Hey. I'm horny. Wanna do it?"

Why is this something guys have to continuously bring up? I myself don't have a wide variety of personal experiences from which I can draw conclusions, since I wasn't exactly playing the field before meeting Mrs. C seventeen years ago. Mostly, I observe how people behave and I listen (No 40 on the article does say that guys talk, after all). Maybe I draw wrong conclusions but it seems to me that there can be a number of reasons why there are women who don't ask for sex.
If you have to ask for sex, you give up the power.

"Make him beg for it."

"Reward him for his good behavior."

Sex has always been sold as being some kind of bargaining chip. It's something women are told they have to use to keep her man in check. He wants it, she has it and she controls access to it, so he has to get/remain in her good graces in order to earn it.
This is how the movies and women's magazines sell it anyway. There's always a scene where one woman is giving her friend advice about making her man beg. There's always that weight loss/workout/fashion article that promises to make women so irresistible that men will always be the one who wants to initiate coitus.

With all that pressure to be the object of desire, I just can't imagine it would be easy to turn around and ask for the very thing you're supposed to be offered constantly. Maybe it's just my simplistic logic, but it probably amounts to the IT guy in the office having to ask the office assistant to debug his hard drive (no innuendo intended). For a woman who's been told all her life that she is the one who controls if and when sex is had, there's probably a lot of pressure in having to ask him for it.

Women just don't have to ask.

The idea is that not only do men always want sex, but we're always trying to initiate it. I'll admit, it's true... for the most part. We do want sex a lot. I mean, like, A LOT a lot. Are we ALWAYS willing to initiate, though? Not really. It seems a lot of women tend to assume the guy will constantly try to get in her pants so she doesn't have to make the effort. All she has to do is just wait. If he tries and she's up for it, everybody wins. If she's not, then better luck next time, bucko.
One problem here is that men hate rejection as much as women do. Shut his advances down often enough and a man can get a little gun shy. Add to that the occasions when he genuinely isn't in the mood (those instances are extremely rare, but I guarantee you they exist). The end result, nights when he gives you a peck on the cheek and goes right off to sleep, leaving you lying there, ready and waiting... wondering what the hell he's waiting for.

First off, forget insecurities. It's not because he isn't attracted to you any more. If you gained 2 pounds this week, he more than likely did not even notice and it's more than likely he wouldn't be any less attracted to you even if he knew. The fire hasn't gone out in the relationship and there's nothing wrong (out of the ordinary) with him either. Fact is, he was probably in the mood too (we usually are, like I said). But maybe you were a little too quiet all evening and he assumed you were probably not in the best of moods about something (we won't ask because we're afraid you'll actually tell us). Maybe he said or did something to upset you. Maybe you said or did something to upset him. None of these might be enough to take you (or him) out of the mood for sex, but men are notoriously bad at judging just what gets women out of the mood. In those cases a man sometimes chooses to err on the side of caution and stay on his side of the bed rather than face the inevitable cold shoulder we're sure we earned for whatever offense we most likely committed at some point.

Even when genuinely tired, it usually won't take a lot of convincing to wake a guy up for sex. The level of exhaustion it would take for a man to turn down sex he knows he's going to get has to be equivalent to a near coma.

Only "those" kinds of women admit they want sex.

Another reason some women tend to not ask for sex is because they believe expressing their desire to get some makes them sluts. There's an old-school way of thinking that, despite going the way of eight-tracks and dial-up internet connections, is still perpetuated in small pockets of society, where only "dirty girls" acknowledge their desire for sex. Once a widespread practice, girls were once taught that, outside of satisfying those desires in her husband (for whom it is apparently acceptable to have) and baby making, if she expressed any interest in sex she might as well just strap on her thigh-high boots and faux-leather miniskirt (with matching jacket) and go stand on the nearest street corner to await whichever passing stranger would come along and satisfy her wanton desires. Okay maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but the way some women act shy in bed, that's the kind of impression men may get.

Needless to say, if she has this nagging sensation that sex as something to be ashamed of, odds are she isn't going to come out and say she wants it. Fortunately, as I said before, this way of thinking is becoming a thing of the past.

To any women who may even slightly harbor any such inhibitions about sex, relax. Most guys like their girls a little dirty.
Those are the ones I came up with. Maybe they're wrong. They are just my theories. What I do know that women don't need to be afraid of letting the guy know she's in the mood. Drop the subtle hints. As nice as it is for you to go through the extra effort, you don't need to plan something elaborate. Hell, you don't need to actually ask. Just point to the bed and say "strip!" Trust me. You won't need more than that. Honest.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Corporate BS (I Mean) Lingo.

Welcome team.

How's everyone doing? Good? Good! Glad you all could come. I know all our plates are full and I appreciate everyone taking the time out of their busy schedules to join me here.

But that's what I like about this team. The way we've all got that passion, that fire in our bellies that makes us want to go the extra mile. We're team players who know how to knuckle up, grit our teeth and come out swinging. That's why we can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. Good stuff, team! Good stuff.

Anyway, enough of that. It's time to get to the real meat of the matter. The reason why we're all here today. It's time to discuss facts and figures. And the fact is, we need to do more. We need to get the numbers up, pure and simple.

Now don't get me wrong, folks. We've been doing great so far. The numbers have been good and I know everyone's giving 110% right now, but we need to take things to the next level. We've got to keep maximizing on our current strengths but we've also got to grow. We need to exceed our potential. We need to explore new avenues and find some innovative new strategies. Only when we can cross that threshold, it's then, people. THAT'S when we're going to be the ones to raise the bar.

That's our game plan moving forward. It's time to take that bull by the horns and wrestle that bad boy to the ground. What I'd like is to do is set up some strategic focus groups that will consist of sub-groups containing individual members who can come up with a plan of action for how each unit can contribute best to making this initiative really take off.

Good? Outstanding!

I'll have my assistant shoot everyone an email with the date for our follow up meeting where we can really drill down into the heart of the matter. Very productive session, gang! I think we all have a clearer idea now of what we expect from each other. Good stuff!