Prom season always puts Unreal in a nostalgic frame of mind. And what better way to reminisce than to put in a call to William Granzig, dean of clinical sexology at Maimonides University near Miami, Florida (whom we found by, um, Googling "sexologist").
Unreal: Are hand jobs the safe-sex alternative of choice on prom night?
William Granzig, dean of clinical sexology, Maimonides University: I think there's no question about that. The possibility of spreading STDs would be practically zero.
But are they as fun?
It certainly would be a satisfying activity for both partners. Somehow people have established coitus as the gold standard of sex, and therefore if it doesn't end in coitus there's "something wrong" with the people involved.
We can see how it works for the male, funwise, but what about the girl?
Mutual masturbation! See, what percent of women are orgasmic during coitus? Thirty to forty percent! I'd imagine that there would be more women who would not be satisfied through coitus orgasmically than they would be through masturbation and mutual masturbation.
Should high school administrators encourage mutual masturbation on prom night?
Absolutely. What has happened with abstinence is kids have been taught to abstain from coitus. So now we have a huge uptick showing that girls twelve, thirteen, fourteen years old are performing oral sex upon their boyfriends, and that boys of that age expect oral sex at the end of the day the same way they might expect a peck on the cheek.
Dan Savage recently published a letter from a guy who couldn't reach orgasm when his girlfriend gave him a hand job, because he masturbates too much. Discuss, please.
I've heard of Dan Savage. He's an idiot. How do you know people masturbate any more than they used to? Human beings have been masturbating forever. This situation has something to do with the girlfriend. It has something to do with the fact that she's not a sex object. Maybe he can't come because he's fantasizing about guys.
This Poor House
As evidenced by the MTV series My Super Sweet Sixteen, teens these days are into crazy-ass bling, stretch Hummers and Bolivian marching powder -- expensive habits that can lead to parents dropping mad loot on their rehab-bound brats' prom nights. Fortunately, a Phoenix-based nonprofit called Take Charge America has come out with a handy list of tips to cut prom costs so it doesn't "put you in the poor house."
Unreal spoke recently with Mike Sullivan, TCA's education director, about prom and the poor house.
Unreal: Do you think it's tacky to take a cross-county bus or commuter train to a prom?
Mike Sullivan: Yes. The idea of a prom is not really to do it as cheaply as possible. The idea of a prom is to feel grown-up and that you're making a statement. But a taxi wouldn't really be tacky.
Have you checked with department-store cosmetologists to make sure they're cool with doling out free makeovers for the next month and a half, per your cost-cutting recommendation?
That's just a fact of life. Department stores have done that forever and ever. It's a good gimmick.
Your list fails to address two key components of prom: sex and liquor. Would you recommend that couples give each other hand jobs to save money on condoms? And do you favor Mad Dog and Thunderbird over fancy-pants hooch?
As you can imagine, I can't recommend either. Liquor and proms, as traditional as they may be, cause a whole bunch of problems. Liquor can lead to dying and can also lead to sex. At the very least, if you're gonna drink, don't drive. And if you're going to have sex, don't have sex after drinking.
How about hand jobs? There's no risk of pregnancy so everybody wins, right?
That's probably the most viable option, if you're going to engage in that sort of thing.
Roughly what percentage of promgoers end up in the "poor house"?
Fortunately, there aren't very many poor houses left. It's more likely that their parents are going to get in financial trouble than they are.
In what city is this "poor house" located, and what is its architectural style?
I once lived in a poor house, and it was a large stone building in Louisa, Kentucky.
Does the poor house have a coffeemaker? What brand of budget grounds do its residents use: Sanka or Taster's Choice?
It was probably some kind of bulk stuff. It wasn't a brand name at all. There are no luxuries when you're poor.
Intestinal Parasites Are Fun! (So Is Gonorrhea!)
Is there nothing grosser than intestinal parasites, the wormy creatures that feast on one's innards to the point of painful infection, mutation and possibly death? If there isn't (and there isn't), somebody forgot to remind the folks who hosted Bark in the Park this past Saturday at Queeny Park in Ballwin. There, we are told, stood two huge friendly cardboard cutouts, "Harry the Hookworm" and "Rusty the Roundworm," courtesy of the makers of canine heartworm preventive Heartgard Plus.
Days before their erection, Unreal spoke to Dr. Ed Migneco of St. Louis' Hillside Animal Hospital about the newfound cuddliness of intestinal parasites.
Unreal: Is it Bark in the Park's intent for visitors to perceive roundworms and hookworms as disgusting, harmful parasites?
Dr. Ed Migneco: Yes. They're disgusting in a couple ways: They're harmful to the pets, obviously. At the same time, most people don't realize that these parasites can be transmitted to people. That's one of the things that Heartgard wants to make the public aware of.
How does letting kids have their pictures taken with giant cardboard cutouts of "Harry the Hookworm" and "Rusty the Roundworm" accomplish the objective of worm prevention?
We're just trying to raise awareness. How you make a parasite cute, I don't know. Hopefully we're going to put the thought into their heads that dogs and cats can carry intestinal parasites. You want to make the topic lighter, but also educational.
Wouldn't the natural reaction of a kid to this sort of approach be to ask her mommy if she can have a hookworm or roundworm for a pet?
Hopefully, the message of keeping your pets protected from parasites will come across at the same time these kids are seeing these characters.
Mightn't it be more effective to have a giant pooch mascot called "Saint Bernard" stomp the hell out of a worm farm, killing all the worms? Isn't that the goal of roundworm and hookworm prevention: to kill the worms?
Yeah, but in essence, the Saint Bernard doesn't kill the worms. It's the Heartgard Plus that protects the dogs from the worms.
Let's say, hypothetically, that Unreal is hosting an event similar to Bark in the Park, except for gonorrhea prevention. Would it, in your opinion, be out of line for us to have a giant cardboard cutout called "Burning Piss Barry" shooting a blazing stream of fire out of a hole cut below its cardboard belt line into a crowd of enthralled children?
Ohmigosh! What kind of answer do you want for this one? I don't think that would be very effective -- not if you're trying to educate children, anyway.
Now See Here
Oh, how Unreal aches to avoid all the post-winter precautionary primping required before we bare our flesh on a sunny patio. Between shaving the big toes, self-tanning the elbows and polishing the belly-ring, there's so much to be done!
Imagine the horror when Daniel Garrett, a senior vice president of Chicago-based Prevent Blindness America, recently reminded us that May is Ultraviolet Awareness Month.
Unreal: It has come to our attention that May is also National Barbecue Month.
Daniel Garrett, Prevent Blindness America: Mmmm. Who knew?
Do you think there's any correlation between the two holidays?
I think not. Of course, when you're barbecuing you want to be safe and not stick your face down in the grill.
There are several ways to barbecue, including smoking and grilling. What kind of protective eyewear should be worn during each?
That's an individual decision. But a person could wear safety goggles, like if they were doing home repair. That certainly couldn't hurt anything.
Good idea. Now, say you didn't make it to Home Depot for your goggles and you have a utensil malfunction while standing at the grill, and you get some Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce in your eye. What should you do?
Quickly rinse it out, and if it's still hurting and burning the next day, you might want to see your eye doctor.
Tell him you caught some stray ultraviolet rays?
LOCAL BLOG O' THE WEEK
About the blogger: Jim lives on the other side of the river in a subdivision, with Rooty the Dog. He has a penchant for McDonald's, quirks of language and stupid signs.
Recent Highlight (May 9, 2005): A Picture is Worth a Thousand Sour Grapes
Now this is sad and pathetic: About a week ago I decided that I needed to meet some new people so I signed up at an online singles site. (Wait, that isn't even the pathetic part.) I filled out all of the online forms about interests, etc. I may have shaved a few pounds but otherwise it was all the truth. I also uploaded a picture of myself from the webcam. Then I waited. And waited. Nothing, not a single response all week. (Still not the pathetic part.) So, this morning, I deleted my picture from the site and posted one of my second cousin, age 21. The only other things that I changed (downward) were height and weight. That was at 8:30 AM. (Get ready, here comes the pathetic part.) By 10:00 AM, I had over 20 responses. By noon, it was close to 50. They were pouring in so fast I could not even keep up responding to them. And, how was your Monday?
Know of an Unreal-worthy local blog? Send the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.