Tuesday, September 25, 2012

True Love: The Fair Affair

A true story of love
Written by Andrew Girardin. Art by Gonzalo Muñoz

In the real story, she emptied his bank account and flew back to Russia, too.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mind-Blowing Female Psychology

Who are harder to understand - men, or women?

Cecile's contribution to the debate was a blog post called 'I don't always understand men,' and her most surprising revelation was that men enjoy looking at breasts.

Now, any reasonable person will agree with me - and 48% of my readers are men so I expect almost half of you to be reasonable people - that men are childishly simple and women inordinately complicated.

I have a stupendously powerful analytical brain and access to many women of all nationalities and attractivenesses. But despite years of study, women remain inexplicable to me. Sometimes the things they say and do absolutely boggle my mind. Here's a few examples.

I went to see breathless action romp The Avengers with Cecile. She said "There's too much action." This may be the most female sentence possible in the English language.

After taking a woman to a movie, I always ask them what their favourite parts were. It's crazy how often the scene they pick as their highlight is a scene I would have cut.

Example: The Proposal

Sandra Bullock must marry her assistant (Ryan Reynolds, famous for having the body of a man and the head of a baby) to get a Green Card. They go to his home town for the wedding. Naturally, they have to share a bedroom or people will suspect it's a sham.

There is a scene with the male eye candy coming out of the shower with his body all shiny and tight and clad in a micro-towel. But that wasn't my friend's best bit. No, that was when Sandra Bullock was in bed and Reynolds was in a sleeping bag on the floor and they chatted for a bit. 
Chatted! And that was the best part! "Because it was the first time they really talked."

I've noticed that women check each other out constantly. Next time you're out with a woman and see a look of disdain flash across her face, you'll know she has spotted a potential bitch and is assessing her.
Through skilful questioning, I've discovered that the purpose of this appraisal is to find fault with the rival woman. If no men are around (or the woman is drunk or you've convinced her you're gay), the results of the analysis will emerge:

* "She can't wear those heels"
* "Is that a short skirt or a wide belt?"
* "She looks like a stolen car under all that make-up"

If men are around, women will communicate all this to their girlfriends through a single glance or twitch of an eyebrow.
My conclusion - in a woman's mind, it is okay for her to spend time and money trying to look good, but anyone else who does the same is a slut.

While out with Victoria from work, we saw a chick in a blue coat. "Do you like her coat?" asked Tory. "Sure, I guess. Whatever," I said. The coat concealed the woman's boobies and thus my reaction to it was at best neutral. Tory paused, sighed, and whispered, in a little-girl voice: "I hate all my clothes."

I was perplexed. "But everything you own was chosen and paid for by YOU," I said. "I know," she said, full of some emotion I wasn't able to diagnose.

I quizzed women about this feeling. The majority said they couldn't empathise with Tory ("Well, they were LYING." Cecile Meier, 2012). The rest smiled knowingly and admitted they'd felt the same thing at some point in their life. None of them could explain why they buy clothes they don't like, and why it makes them feel sad that they do. 

One woman gave me an incomplete insight by saying: "You're not happy with your clothes and you see another woman wearing something great and it just reinforces your bad feeling." So the woman will go shopping, buy some great new clothes, look so good she makes other women feel bad, see the second woman looking great a week later, and feel sad again. It's the circle of life, as designed by H+M.

"I had a dream that my boyfriend kissed another girl and I woke up and I was mad at him and I stayed mad at him the whole day." Most men would read that sentence and assume they were four or five typos. Assured that there were none and asked to dream up possible explanations for its existence, they'd think like this:

* It's a code, perhaps one where you should read the first letter of every fourth word or something like that
* It's from a parallel universe or sci-fi movie on a world where everyone is crazy
* It's the result of a failed attempt to create a palindrome
* It's the product of infinite monkeys typing on less-than-infinite typewriters

Not one man in a billion would think it was from real life. But it is, and I've heard similar stories from at least three women, and there's even an internet meme about it:

Feeling Safe
An ex of mine was a martial arts expert. One evening she told me why she liked me. "You make me feel safe," she said, which would have been hilarious if meant as a joke. But she was serious! It was so very odd. "Hey," I said, "if there's a fight you have to do all the work. You can use your Paralysing Palm style on them. You have to protect me." She laughed. I wasn't joking.

Years later I started to understand what she meant. I was doing a lesson where the students have to choose the next James Bond. They listen to some actors explaining why they want the job. One of them has a rich, deep Roger Moore voice. "I choose him," said a female student. "Why?" I asked. "He makes me feel safe." "Huh? He's just a disembodied voice! What's safe about a voice?" "I don't know. It's like I can trust him with my secrets."

At last! A partial explanation for the way women think! It's not just physical safety, but some kind of emotional safety too. I think I almost understand it!

"Talk to him."
I've written a draft of an Agony Andrew article called 'My boyfriend has lost interest in me.' I haven't published it yet, but I've done a lot of research on it. 'Research' involved me asking my female students to tell me what they'd do in that situation. I hoped to get good feedback like 'I'd sleep with my English teacher to make my boyfriend jealous' but instead most of them just said 'I'd talk to him'.

Talk to him? What's the point of that?

Giving Me Weird Compliments
Compliments from men are nice. Once in secondary school I scored a preposterous goal1 in P.E. and then showed my mates how to do the experiment we were doing in Science. "Andy G," said my buddy Tim, "Good at football, good at Science." This compliment was good because I could understand what he meant and because it complimented me on things I care about - football and intelligence.

When I lived in Shanghai I had serious problems with my eyes. They were all red and gross and no doctor could help. They got worse. One day it was like I had a film of blood covering the sclera. Imagine a dartboard with a black bullseye surrounded by a blue ring, then a larger red bit. Now imagine how depressed and anti-social that would make you. Now imagine you have to go to work and you meet a hot woman who looks at you earnestly and says, "You have beautiful eyes." This actually happened to me and I don't know why.

Other weird compliments from women range from 'You have a perfect body' to 'You are successful'. Sigh. I mean, I do have a perfect body if you need to show a child the dangers of eating pizza to excess, and I have successfully completed Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect. But still, these compliments are too weird to have any true value.

If anyone can shed any light on any of this, please use the comments section just below.

Imagine a mix of Berkgamp vs Argentina 98, Giggs vs Arsenal 99, and Gemmill vs Holland 78. It was dreamy.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Hunger Games in Switzerland #7

Previously on The Hunger Games - #1 "It begins" - #2 "Milk" - #3 Elevators - #4 A Guest - #5 On Air - #6 Funeral

In 2012, facing rising levels of tolerance and liberalism, Switzerland's right-wing politicians forced through the Hateriot Act. The undisguised aim was to rebuild an atmosphere of fear and mistrust of foreigners.

The law states that every year, one immigrant must be selected to kill 24 people in a twisted TV game show. Failure to play the game will result in the loss of basic food supplies - pizza, beer, and wine.

Thus the show is called

The Hunger Games in Switzerland.

I was first to be chosen.
My name is Andrew Girardin.
This is my story.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

How to Stop Coughing

This is my first blog post since discovering a miracle cure for rampant coughing.

Four weeks ago, there was a heatwave in Zurich. I hate heatwaves because while they make women dress sexy, they also stop me sleeping. When I can't sleep, I can't write. I can barely flirt with the sexy women.

When the temperature started to normalise, all my mental run-time was focused on a date with a local uber-babe. Come the evening of the date, she pressed herself against me and huskily whispered in my ear, 'I have something for you...'

Then she coughed directly into my open mouth, said 'You're It' and scarpered, laughing.

I shambled home and after 36 hours of feverish sweating I spent ten days coughing all night. 

Until last Thursday night, I'd had literally eight seconds of sleep in the previous three weeks, and no inclination to write anything.

I tried everything (I'm using a pretty relaxed definition of the word) - sleeping pills, cough medicine, flu medicine, beer, wine, pizzas, porn, sleeping upside down. Some things worked for a while then lost their edge. Some things did nothing.

Thursday was the final straw. Having felt I was getting better I then started coughing so loud and so without cease that I genuinely expected the neighbours to knock and complain. 

It pissed me off. It made me furious. It filled me with a righteous anger. After punching my pillows and all the other soft things in my flat for a good hour, I sat tight-lipped (between bouts of lung-busting coughs) at my laptop and typed 'how to stop coughing.'

Googling remedies! Me! You can imagine how low I had sunk.

The first result - and it's another mark of my desperation that I clicked on the first search result - was from a website apparently designed in 1993 featuring grating backgrounds, spelling and grammar mistakes aplenty, unfathomable graphics, and 'secret Soviet Union techniques' peddled by a scary looking Russian man. All Russian men scare me now, after a recent run-in with a Russian student who I may blog about one day. Suffice to say that I am mortally afraid of Russian males and would rather eat my own face than take medical advice from one.

But I was desperate.

And three minutes later I was - pretty much - a hundred percent cured.

I'll link to the site so you can giggle at it. But the content seriously works, so if you have a cough and want to control it, try this:

Breathe less.

Yep, that's basically it. There's some guff on the site about coughing causing reduced oxygen levels in the brain, but it doesn't matter. You just need to know what to do.

Start by holding your breath as long as you can (wonderfully called 'self-suffocation'), then breathe exclusively through your nose (in and out, DUH). On the out-breath, try to consciously relax your muscles. If you feel like coughing, try to do it with your mouth closed. (It's all good for restoring your oxygen/CO2 balance, comrade. Warning - self-suffocation carries a risk of suffocation. But seriously, don't die while trying this. That would be ridiculous.)

After three minutes of doing that, I was lying in bed thinking 'huh!' And then slept like a baby. I woke up on Friday feeling pretty damn good, and have been feeling 90% better and 90% less coughy every day since (exponentially). It's frikkin ACE.

Thank you, Soviet Union remedy!

Check out the scary Russian man and his legitimately amazing advice here.

Update - a week after finding the cure, I'm sleeping without problems and have some minor coughing through the day. When it starts to flare up I just breathe through my nose for a bit and it gets better. It really works!