The Writing Wombat

An American Marsupial in Fiction Land

Month: March, 2015

Sexism in Comics

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about sexism in the comics industry. The comments tend to specifically attack two things: the lack of relatable female superheroes and the oversexualized manner in which the existing female superheroes are drawn.  As a lifelong comic geek, I can one hundred percent acknowledge and agree with both criticisms. That being said, it also feels like much of the criticism comes from people on the outside, and a number of their attacks and assumptions are more about making noise than change.

I’m not going to defend comic books. The overt sexualization of the female characters, which has always been around, has gotten worse. My friends and I used to joke that every female superhero had an additional power of gravity-defying bosoms. If a horny teenager that gets excited seeing a bra strap knows they are drawn over the top and unrealistic, there’s a problem.

Some of the defenders of the comic industry point to that socially-awkward, horny teenage boy as the poster child of the comic fan. They say that, since comic book companies need to make sales to those boys, they need to draw the women that way.  This is bullshit, because I was buying plenty of comics without any women in them. I never once remember buying a comic because of a nice rack on a superheroine. Nor did I ever put a comic back because the women were too plain.

This is borne out by comic sales. The most voluptuous women appear in Zenescope comics. These women aren’t just sexualized, they are straight-up fetish. Fairy tale characters wearing knee-high stockings and garters with panties visible under their Britney Spears-esque school-girl skirts. Little Red Riding Hood, Dorothy, and, hey look, Alice is giving you a glimpse of her very own Wonderland. Go ahead, look at their website.

So if sexy women drove comic sales, Zenescope should be a marketing force to deal with, right? Grimm’s Fairy Tales should regularly wresting the top spot from the various Animal-Related-Men. But nope. In January, their best-selling comic ranked #276, ranking right above Scooby Doo, Where Are You? And not far behind such modern-day powerhouses as Flash Gordon and Powerpuff Girls.

So if it’s not for the fans, why are the women drawn that way? I’m pointing the finger at the artists. Let’s be honest, many of them started as those very same awkward teenage boys. I was never able to draw worth a damn. Still can’t, which gives endless entertainment to my students when I try to draw a cow or a map of Europe on the white board. But most of the guys that I knew in high school who had the ability to draw tended to draw the same thing over and over: the hourglass shape from a woman’s armpit to her mid-thigh. Well, that and penises, but I’m guessing Marvel and DC frown upon overt phalluses in their comics. (I mean, come on, it’s not The Little Mermaid.) So when the guys that spent their teenage years drawing idealized female forms get hired to draw comics, we get controversies like the recent Spider-Woman cover.

So although the sexist drawings draw more ire from social activists, I don’t think they have much of an effect on comic’s fandom. Even if every woman (and man, I suppose)were drawn “normal,” I don’t see a lot of the people who are up in arms about this flocking to their local comic book store to drive up sales. The lack of bona fide female superheroes, though, might be more on topic.

Here again, the general argument is the overwhelming majority of male comic book readers. But we could be looking at a chicken-and-egg argument here. Do the lack of female readers equate to fewer female superheroes or do girls not flock to comics because they have no heroes to identify with?

Most of the female superheroes that exist today are derivative. Batgirl. Supergirl. Spider-woman. She-Hulk. Most of their stories are derivative, as well. And I can’t tell you how many times they need to team up with their male counterpart to truly accomplish anything.  She-Hulk might be the one that breaks the mold, seeing as she is a lawyer and she can keep her rage under control. Very rarely is there a Hulk/She-Hulk crossover.

Wonder Woman is one of the few well-known female superheroes that is not just a carbon copy of an already existing male superhero. And really, Wonder Woman only stands out as cool because she’s on the same team as Aquaman.

A lot of this, however, is endemic of another major problem in comics today – the lack of new creative characters.  Most of the characters I mentioned, both male and female, are over fifty years old now. There were a couple of golden ages of character creation – the DC characters in the late-1930s, the Marvel characters in the early-1960s. Most of the characters the average American has heard of (the possible exception being Wolverine, from 1974) came from one of those two eras.  And the comic book writers from that age were absolutely sexist. As was pretty much everyone in America. And the idea of gaining female readers would be laughable.

Since then, there have been concerted efforts to add more diversity in comics. Some have been successful, but most have not. Part of this is because they seemed to pander. But part of this is indicative of a larger lack of creativity, not just with female or minority heroes. None of the heroes created in the past forty years have gained much resonance with the public.  Exhibit A is Dazzler, a mutant created during the disco era who can turn sound into light. She wore roller skates and a silver disco-ball suit. Since then, she has lost the roller skates, but do we honestly wonder why no female readers today are identifying with her?

And lest you think Dazzler is weak because she’s female, bear in mind the male equivalent of Dazzler, the Hypno-Hustler, thankfully disappeared after disco died. The fact that Dazzler still around as a viable character speaks to both their attempt to diversify, as well as how sparse the landscape of “new” heroes is.

Comics have also gotten darker over the years, so sadly the one female character to stand out over at DC is Harley Quinn. But just because Kevin Smith named his daughter after her, one should not think she’s a hero. She’s borderline psychotic and is obsessed with the Joker. So instead of focusing on the halter tops she wears, we should maybe, I don’t know, be looking at her as the villain she is.

That being said, there are still a large number of very good female characters, especially in Marvel.  The problem is that they don’t have their own books. They are members of teams. I’ll put Kitty Pryde up as one of the most fully-realized characters out there. She has her strengths and weaknesses, she has grown from teenage rookie to effective leader. Storm was also the leader of the X-Men for quite a long time. Invisible Woman, despite being often portrayed as “mother first,” is clearly the glue and moral center of the Fantastic Four. Although the Phoenix force has been overdone and was ruined in X-Men: The Last Stand, in the original telling, Jean Grey proved to be one of the most grounded and tragic characters in the Marvel universe.

Recently, perhaps in response to a lot of that criticism, Marvel has been trying to put more female led comics out there. Carol Danvers is now Captain Marvel (she had been Ms. Marvel for years) and has her own comic and allegedly a movie coming, although the merging of Spider-Man into the Movie Universe has pushed back the release of this movie, as well as Black Panther, the first African-American superhero.  So once again, we see a desire to promote diversity, but only until we can jam another Spider-Man movie in.

The new Ms. Marvel, taking Carol Danvers’ place, is not only female but a teenage Muslim living in New Jersey. And as an added bonus, she’s drawn in an in-no-way-sexualized manner. Thor, as I’m sure you have heard, is now female. And this new female Thor ended up taking it from both sides: some complained that it was pandering and others complained that she was too hot.  Um, those people do know what the male Thor looks like, right? Most of the women I know thought Thor: The Dark World would have been much better if they had just extended the Chris Hemsworth shirtless scene for 120 minutes.

This is where it gets placed on the people purchasing the comics. The female-led comics don’t sell well. Thor has done okay, but I wonder if that will drop after they reveal who the new female Thor is. She-Hulk was canceled, Captain Marvel has trouble breaking the top 100. Storm currently stars in her own series, but in February it came in at #152, right behind Batman 66, a comic based on the old Adam West TV Show. Pow! Zap! Whomp!

There is an all-female X-Men title and it is usually the worst selling X-Men title. Fearless Defenders was another all-female group. One of the best issues of any comic book last year had all of the Fearless Defenders’ boyfriends whining and getting in fights at a bar, waiting for the ladies who were busy kicking asses, to show up for date night. This comic lasted a whopping 12 issues.

So at this point, you can’t overly blame Marvel or DC for looking at the sales and relative popularity of their comics. They might really want to give Kitty Pryde or Lana Lang (who is currently being written as an awesome non-powered character in Action Comics) their own series, but when they look at the numbers, they just decide to add another Batman title.

What the people that complain about sexism in comics ought to be doing is not maligning the entire industry. They ought to be finding the comics that do have strong, reasonably-drawn females, and encouraging people to buy them.  But what fun would that be if they can make more noise by NOT purchasing the comics, then complaining loudly to whatever media are near when they get canceled?

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One Year of Curling

About six months ago, I wrote about my baby-step foray into the fascinating sport of curling. (No really, it’s a sport. We are athletes. It doesn’t matter that it ends with the winner buying beer for the loser.) I’ve continued with it and just passed the one-year anniversary of my Learn-to-Curl workshop. In fact, there was another Learn-to-Curl in February of this year, and at this one, I had fully graduated from student to teacher. I’ve continued to learn about the sport (okay, fine, “activity”) as I’ve grown from fresh-faced newbie to… um, not grizzled old vet… pock-marked adolescent? Sure, let’s go with that.

When I last checked in, I had just finished my first bonspiel, a weekend-long tournament, where I had curled next to Olympians. We had won our first match in the loser’s bracket before losing the last two game, missing out on the coveted “Travolta Cup” by one win. The Travolta Cup is a Red Solo Cup atop a pedestal of four VHS boxes of Travolta movies that gets passed around the four California bonspiels every summer. Much like the Stanley Cup, the winning team gets to write their names on the Cup. This year: that Cup will be ours!

Since then, I suffered through a horrible fall season, causing me to put together my own team of noobs for the winter/spring season. All of these things, both on and off the ice, has inspired a few more a-ha’s, which leads me to:

What I’ve learned about curling in my second six months.

  1. You can always watch curling.

Much like all the writing websites and resources I discovered when I went down that particular rabbit hole, joining the curling community in this day of internet streaming made me realize how much competitive curling is online. Gone are the days of being relegated to NBC’s seventh network once every four years. Much to the chagrin of my wife.

For instance, the World Women’s Championships have been held in Japan over the past week. They are being broadcast on World Curling’s YouTube channel, except for when NBC’s Universal Sports Network is streaming it on their own website. Or TSN, Canada’s equivalent of ESPN, broadcasts the Canadian team, and a recent deal allows espn3.com to mirror any TSN Canadian curling broadcast, so I can choose which country’s team to watch. Spoiler Alert: Canadians are better. To get to the World Championships, both the United States and Canada had their own tournaments a few weeks ago.  All broadcast on espn3.com or usacurl.org. Prior to that, each Canadian province held its own tournament to determine who went to Nationals. Not all of these were streamed, a surprising number of them could still be found.  I’m not ashamed to say I watched the Nova Scotian semi-final.

The men have been going through a similar journey, so I can only assume the World Championships will be coming to an internet site near you soon.  Add in the Juniors, the colleges, the Seniors, and I can pretty much find live curling any day I want. And if I can’t, there’s always old matches on YouTube. It’s not like I already know who won the Scotties matchup between Val Sweeting and Rachel Homan in 2012.

But even when the professionals aren’t engaging in some world  tourney, it’s still not hard to find something streaming live. The Coyotes Curling club in Arizona (yes, Arizona) holds a number of bonspiels every yer, and they stream all of them. TESN.com appears to stream league matches from many eastern and Midwestern states.  All it takes is some dedicated ice and a webcam on their part, and a little bit of research on mine.

  1. Watching the professionals isn’t always a good thing.

I start out watching with the best of intentions. I want to see what sorts of shots the skips call, and I want to see how the very best deliver the rock. Plus when they call the sweepers on and off. One of the nice things about curling broadcasts is that you can often hear the curlers discuss their strategy. You never hear a Tom Brady monologue about progressing through his wide receivers. No catcher is miked up to say he thinks the batter will swing at a low-and-away curveball. But in curling, especially in the last two shots per team, they talk about what they’re going to try to do.

Me and my team? We don’t hit our shots with the 85% accuracy the pros do. Usually our strategy is “throw it in this general area and hope that you don’t knock the other team’s rocks closer to the button.” Whenever I start watching the good curlers, I keep that in mind. “Yeah, There’s no way anyone I know could reliably thread that needle, so I would’ve gone for the outside shot.” But after binge watching on Saturday, I show up to the sheet on Sunday and call ridiculous shots.

It happens to us all. I got in the hack a few weeks ago and my skip called for me to knock the opponent’s stone out then have my stone roll in the opposite direction just enough to go behind a guard stone. The pros do that shit all the time, but at my level we’re concerned with hitting the target, not the precise force and trajectory to influence what happens after it hits. All I could do was look at my sweepers and say, “Does he know there’s no way in hell I’m hitting that?”

  1. Many people don’t know how good they are.

And it’s not always because we’ve just been watching Mike McEwen do shit like this.

No, some people just think they can thread the needle on a whim. And it’s easy to see why. The game isn’t difficult. There are only three things you have to do: throw the rock the correct distance, in the correct direction, and with the correct spin. Anbody who has been curling for more than a month has done that at least once.

But that “correct distance” thing is a matter of hitting a four foot window from 140 feet away. And the right direction might only be an inch or two wider than the stone, to say nothing of the amount of the curl. Imagine how many field goal kickers would get the three points if the uprights were only two feet wide.

The team I was on in the fall league had two players that felt they could not miss. The lesser experienced of the two demanded to be vice-skip, shooting third, and swore she was best at take-outs (knocking the other team’s rocks out of play). She hit less than half of them. Could I do better? Maybe or maybe not. But I wouldn’t be bragging about this alleged ability unless I could at least get a D-. She also would only sweep from one side and chastised me whenever I swept closer to the stone than she. However, when the skip said to start sweeping, I would always have my broom in position, while she would take two or three steps before her broom was on the ice. Hence I would end up closer to the stone than her.

The skip was even more sure of himself. I constantly wondered why he was calling certain shots. Later in the season, after the vice-skip stopped showing up to games, I viced once. The vice acts as the target for the final two shots when the skip is throwing, so I was finally able to see some of his thought process. Sure enough, he assumed he could throw that correct weight and correct distance every single time. So when he had been calling certain shots from me earlier, it was because he assumed he could knock out two opponent stones or raise two of ours.

“Are you sure you want me to put the broom here?” I asked.

“Yeah, that’s the right shot because it’ll knock theirs back and we’ll score three points.”

“But if we came in on the open side, we’d at least score one instead of giving them two,” I offered.

“I’m pretty sure I can hit it if you put the broom here.”

“That’s what you said the last time.”

“I’ll hit it this time,” he promised.

He didn’t. Did I mention we only had one win?

  1. The better you get, the more frustrating it becomes.

I’m now fully capable of hitting most shots laid before me. The right distance, direction, and spin? I can nail all three of them about a quarter of the time. And well over half the time, I can at least get close enough to do some damage.

A few weeks ago, taking my penultimate shot as skip, I went around two guards and knocked the opponent’s stone off of the button to sit one point.  The opponent used his final shot to block up the hole I had just gone through, but there was still a little opening. My vice and I decided to try to throw the same shot I did the time before, just at a smaller gap this time. And you know what? I hit it. Precisely. Nothing feels as good as watching my stone hit that gap and curl out of view headed for an extra point.

Then the next end came and I couldn’t hit shit. The first shot doesn’t even make it across the hog line and the next one hits one of our own stones out.  It was like following up a bowling turkey with a couple of gutter balls.

It’s not just me. I was vicing and our skip was hitting every obscure shot I was calling. Then we’re faced with one opponent rock inside a ring of four of ours. All we have to do is knock theirs out and we’ll score four or five. His first shot was too far to the left, so I adjusted the broom and wouldn’t you know, the next shot he’s too far to the right.

I’ve heard golf is similar to this. Although in theory you’re competing against the other people or teams, you’re really competing against yourself. Against the shot you know you can make. Sometimes I know as soon as I leave the hack that it’ll be a bad shot. Sometimes it leaves my hand and I think, “oh yeah, I nailed it.” Most of the time I sit there and watch it slide down the ice, wondering what in the hell it’s going to do.

  1. Chemistry matters as much as talent.

I started this journey at the same time as a friend of mine, and we have played on each other’s team ever since. Both of us loved the first team we were on (shocking, since we went undefeated) and were not fans of our second team. But it wasn’t just the losses. We never really felt on the same wavelength as the other two member of our team. In fact, when the two of them stopped showing up for the last three or four games, we weren’t all that upset. Except for the fact that we had to forfeit. In a forfeit, we still play the game, because there are always people willing to substitute. The first time it was just the two of us, we were playing against a team that also only had two players show up, so we thought the game would count. In that game, I decided to skip, my friend viced, and we had two subs. All of a sudden, it was like we were back in the undefeated season. I was calling a strategy that he understood. We were  paying attention to how both teams played and pulling points whenever we could. It went unspoken until the three-quarter mark, when we were up by one with a few ends left to play, just how much this game meant to the two of us.

“This feels good,” I said, as we watched the other team deliver its stone.

“Yeah,” he responded. “It’s nice not having the two know-it-alls calling stupid shots.”

“I really want to fucking win.”

“Let’s do it. To prove it wasn’t us sucking this whole season.”

We won, even if it didn’t count in the standings.  The beer we paid for tasted sweet.

That conversation cemented what we already knew. Playing with people we liked, and people that communicated throughout the game, was as important as winning. We formed a team with two others in a similar boat. We’re not supposed to form our own teams in the “B league,” but they allowed it since we’ve all been playing less than a year, so it’s not like we were creating an uber-team to screw the level of competition.

We even tried a crazy idea of switching what position we played every week. Eventually we’ll pick what we prefer or are best at. But in the meantime, we’ll learn each other’s tendencies and what the general team strategies. So if I’m lead, I’ll know what the skip is trying to accomplish with his call, and vice versa. Since we’re all still learning the game, we want to learn it all.

And the result? Three wins and three losses, in a tie for third place. Not bad. Are we going to Pyongyang? No. But there are a few 5-and-under tourneys that we might have a shot at in the next three years.

Even better, after every game, we split a pitcher of beer (half of them bought by us, half by our opponents), talk about how the game went and what strategies we’ll use next week when we have a different order. Something that never happened with my last team.

  1. Curlers are as friendly as they are competitive.

The post-match beer is only part of it. In a year of curling, I’ve only run into a handful of people that weren’t overly friendly. If you make a good shot, it’s likely to be the person on the other team who congratulates you first.  If I’m skipping against an experienced skip, I can ask advice, both before and after a shot. I’ve even had one or two say, “They need to sweep that,” then apologize afterward for “interrupting” me, even though their advice put their own team in a worse position. In a pick-up game, we didn’t have enough sweepers, so we swept for our opponents.

Little things make it feel like a family. When someone shows up with shoes for the first time, everybody stops to watch the first delivery with the new shoes. It is often hilarious because those shoes do NOT work the same way as the sliders. It’s like back to square one. Recently I was looking to buy my own broom, and everyone was perfectly willing to let me use theirs for an end, trading with me for the crappy broom-equivalent of bowling alley rental shoes.

None of this is to say we don’t want to win.  We do, but we want the overall level of competition to improve. We don’t want to beat a subpar team, we want that team to get better, then still beat them.

What we want is what we say at the beginning and end of every match: Good Curling.

Losing My Marbles

I just had a phone call that was either the most hilarious or cringe-inspiring in my life. In less than a five-minute conversation, I think I got whiplash from the number of times I oscillated between the extremes. Tennis match spectators had nothing on me. It should have come with one of those Hollywood preview voice-overs: “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll curl up into a fetal position.”

As much as my wife and I love our little peanut, we’ve decided she will be an only child. The complications my wife had with the delivery, combined with a desire to attend my child’s high school graduation sans a walker, made it more or less a foregone conclusion.  So, yay us, doing our part against global overpopulation. Or speeding up the arrival of Idiocracy.

Of course, the route to this particular outcome was still in debate until a few months ago when my wife was told she could never go back on the pill.  Something about blood clotting or blood thinners or whatever. So our choices were reduced to using condoms for the next ten years (gosh, how fun) or else I go in to lose my manhood. The snip-snip. The unkindest cut.

Hold on, let me go back and think about that condom option. I’ve also heard pulling out is fun.

Alright, fine. Vasectomy it is. But wait, there’s more. I can’t just walk into the hospital, find the closest scalpel, then drop trou. No, for this procedure, I need to officially don my serious hat. And sign papers with this serious hat. And do interviews to make sure I’ve thought this thing through. Because there seems to be a large contingent of guys who get vasectomies on a whim. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up in the morning and thought, “Nothing on the agenda today? Maybe I should go get my nads chopped off.”

So a month ago I had to schedule a phone interview, and last week was the first time they were available to call me. Now that I’ve done that phone interview, I have to watch a video and sign a waiver. Then they will allow me to schedule an appointment at least two weeks out. To buy a gun only requires a 72-hour waiting period, but to shoot blanks, you’ve got to REALLY want it.

“Hi, I’m calling about your upcoming vasectomy,” came the way-to-chipper voice when I answered the phone.  “Do you have time to talk about the voluntary sterilization process?”

Look lady, I don’t mean to critique your bedside manner, but I hope you’ve never used that as a pick-up line.

“Okay, first question: Have you ever had surgery or any other medical procedure on or around your scrotum?”

I guess we’re done with the small talk.

Wait, is this a trick question? Are you trying to get me to admit that, yeah, I’ve already had multiple vasectomies because I get a rush off of sharp objects near my nether regions?  Yes, I know that testicular cancer is a thing, but is it so common a thing that the first question is about history of scrotal surgery?

I don’t know how many questions or comments went by while I think of all the different types of scrotal surgery. By the time I had recovered from that first doozy, we were already discussing how the day of the procedure would go.

“Okay, you’re going to need to shave your pubic hair that morning. The entire scrotum and base of the penis need to be completely bare.”

Don’t black out. Don’t go catatonic. There might be something in this conversation that will be important or useful. Or, failing that, might at least provide for a funny blog post.

                But I’ve met myself. I’ve seen myself handle sharp objects. I don’t care if it’s a safety razor, if I try for the upside-down shave of that particular body part, I might as well save my money and your time. Because the surgery will already be completed, in a less than sanitary manner, by the time I show up. And I know that hair might make it difficult to get through, but do you think a freshly scabbed-over coinpurse with gauze attached is going to be easier?

Maybe I can just find and olde-tyme barber with a straight-edge razor and give him an extra couple dollar tip. Okay, nurse practitioner, you were saying?

“Make sure you don’t take any blood thinners, including aspirin, for two weeks before the procedure, because we don’t want you to bleed excessively from your scrotum or testicles.”

Cringe. At this point, I’m guessing any male readers have given up on this article. Except for the ones who have had a vasectomy and are now nodding to themselves like the fraternity sophomore that finally gets to see someone else getting hazed.

“Eat normally the day of the surgery. Some people come in with an empty stomach, but that’s unnecessary.”

“Well, I didn’t assume you’d go in through my stomach,” I joked. The rest of my comments up to this point had been internal, accompanied by an “uh-huh” or “okay” out loud. But this one I said back to her.

Her response immediately made me decide to keep the rest of my comments internal.

“If we were going to put you under, you’d need an empty stomach, so I guess that’s what most patients are thinking. But you’ll be awake for the entire procedure.”

Oh, joy. At least when I had my wisdom teeth taken out, they had the decency to knock me out. I’m sure this procedure isn’t nearly as complicated, but isn’t there some sort of professional curtesy? Failing that, can I have some popcorn and a mirror, maybe? I mean, to quote Dr. Evil, there is nothing more breathtaking than a freshly-shorn scrotum.

Then it was time to discuss the post-procedure.

“Bring a jockstrap or biker shorts or some other garment to keep your scrotum close to your body and continue wearing it for a number of days.”

Nope, sorry. I’m a Gottfried Leibniz guy, therefore I hate Isaac Newton and refuse to believe in gravity. Much like the people who deny the moon landing and dinosaurs and vaccines. My boys’ll be fine in my boxers. Or maybe I’ll just walk around nude, because I also don’t believe in your silly decency laws.

Or maybe I need to go invest in a jockstrap.

“They will be enlarged. You will want to cool them with a pack of frozen vegetables.”

Rumor confirmed. Not sure how that works through the supporter cup, but I’ll figure it out. As an added bonus, I’ll have some thawed veggies. Hey Honey, guess what we’re having for dinner tonight?

“You’ll want to limit your movement for a few days.”

With the stitches and the enlarged testicles, to say nothing of the chafing from the re-growing hair, that shouldn’t be a problem.

“In two or three days you should be able to return to work and resume non-strenuous activity.”

Okay, reports back from those who have gone before me say that, while this is technically correct, the stitches will still snag on my underwear at inopportune times.  My daughter also likes to kick in that region, right after she’s done giving a tittie twister to momma, so that should be fun.

“It is important that you not engage in sexual activity or ejaculate until the stitches have dissolved, which is about seven to ten days.”

Is this really a problem? I know my libido is not what it was when I was eighteen, but I think even then, the whole “stitches and icepack” thing would have dampened the hormones. I can wait a week, I would have thought, that Cindy Crawford poster isn’t going anywhere.

“Sometimes the procedure doesn’t work, so you’re going to have to continue using some other form of birth control until we can test you.”

Can I get one of the procedures that works, please? Fine, fine. When will I have to jerk off into a cup?

“You’re going to have to wait until two months have passed and you’ve ejaculated at least twenty times.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Two months AND twenty ejaculations? Not or? I did mention that I was married, right? That I have a nine-month old at home? Seriously, who the hell has the time to ejaculate ten times a month? And that’s not even the correct ratio, because the first 7-10 days are a no-no. Let’s be conservative and give myself two full weeks before my wife wants to jump on what will look like Franken-wienie. That’s twenty ejaculations in six weeks, or once every two days.  Even when we were trying to conceive, that sort of schedule could only be maintained for a week or so at a time.

And did I mention all of this sex would be with a condom? Even the twenty-year old me would have found this to be a chore.

Now, sure, these ejaculations can be, um, “self-inflicted.” But even that takes five minutes of alone time. Hell, I can’t even post a blog entry in the same week that grades are due. How am I going to find the time to make a withdrawal from the spank bank?

“Oh, I forgot to mention,” she says as I’m processing the last bit of information. “When you’re icing it down, make sure you use those vegetables, not an ice pack. With an ice pack, your penis might catch frostbite.”

Um, yeah. That sounds important. You might want to write that little note into the permanent script. Because when you mentioned it, my brain had equated frozen vegetables with anything cold. And Frostbitten Penis, while a great name for a punk-rock band, would definitely put another wrinkle on that whole twenty times thing.

And just think, if the test comes back positive after the two months emulating Ron Jeremy, I get to do the whole thing again.

Is it too late to look into a decade of coitus interruptus?