Ask A Married Guy: Eye-F*cking

Behnind every great woman.jpg_large

C. writes: I’m 24 and I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year and a half.  This is my longest relationship so far.  He is very kind and he loves me to pieces.  And I love him.  But what bothers me is that I see him checking out other girls.  The other day at a coffee shop, I noticed the barista’s very cute butt.  Well, so did he and he kept glancing at it while we waited in line.  Another time, I’ve seen him make eye contact with a very hot girl and do the whole “quickly look away, look back, look away” thing with her.  I call it eye fucking.  It has happened other times too but only if the girl is quite attractive. I’m not sure how I am supposed to feel.  I know that people in relationships sometimes flirt with others, but it makes me feel very uncomfortable and squirmy.  I just don’t seem to have an interest in checking out other dudes anymore because I’m with my boyfriend.  I honestly don’t think he would ever cheat on me. I understand maybe he wants validation from other girls to show he’s still wanted.  Anyways, I hate the feeling I get and sometimes want to end the relationship over it.  But do all guys do this?  Will my next boyfriend do this too?


Yes, he will. All guys will do this forever. And you’re not going to like this, but… you are forbidden to have any problem with it.

First, let’s correct some of your misconceptions. You call this “eye-fucking”. I’d call it “eye-fondling”. A few glances here and there do not add up to a “fuck”. But I’m splitting hairs. You also call this behavior “flirting”. You’re wrong: it is NOT flirting. To flirt you actually have to talk to someone. Eye-glances are raw biology. It has zero to do with personality, and everything to do with physicality. We are animal beings with animal impulses. And checking people out is instinctual. It’s a reflex, like your leg twitching when a doctor hits it with that little hammer.

And allow me to politely call out some bullshit. You’re 24 years old. You’re hot. I bet men admire your looks dozens of times a day. Statistically, many of those men are in committed relationships. When a man with a wedding ring involuntarily checks out your ass, do you wheel around, raise your index finger and scream “FOR SHAME!” in his dumb, married face? No. You smile to yourself, happy that your butt DOES INDEED look great in those jeans. Then you keep on walking. A cat-call is always horrible, but an involuntary head-turn from a man who finds you attractive? Everyone loves that. Am I wrong?

So until you start REJECTING those physical, instant compliments (never going to happen), you can’t reject the random glances that your BF is throwing out to random ladies accidentally, simply by virtue of him being a red-blooded male. And if you need a compliment, take this one: I guarantee that he is trying to keep his “other lady butt admiration” in check when he’s around you, because dudes are aware that it can upset their girlfriends. He is doing the bare minimum ass-glancing that he can control right now.

And are you seriously thinking of breaking up with this guy over this stuff? You say he’s so wonderful, and kind, and loving… but a few butt-glances make you want to end the whole thing? That’s an insane choice. Are you aware that your ass is not the greatest in history? Neither is your chest. Neither are your legs. Your boyfriend loves the whole package of you. No one was ever as good as the whole parcel of you (mind, body, spirit) is to him, right now. But he never traded in his right to appreciate other stuff he sees. Could this be more about your insecurity than his insensitivity?

Commitment strategy

photoThis is my new commitment strategy. On the top right of the photograph is a calendar that cost me $2.50. Every red cross is an open mic where I performed stand-up comedy. Every circled red cross is a stand-up comedy show I performed on. Below that is another cheap calendar (this one was just $2). Each blue cross is a piece of writing I put on the internet. The last two crosses should actually have circles around them. The circle says I actually got paid to write on the internet. The last two things that paid me were my Village Voice weekly independent comedy show roundup “Cheap Laughs”, and my advice column I write for The called “Ask a Married Guy”. The photograph on the left is a framed black and white headshot of Oscar-winning actor Jimmy Stewart I once found in a thrift store. That’s not important to this post, but I thought you might enjoy it. Every day, I have to put my writing online. Every day, I have to perform stand-up comedy. It can be just 100 words of original thoughts. It can be just one three minute spot with just two other comics in the crowd. They all count. The only thing that matters is that I did it. It is part of my new mantra: THE ONLY WAY IS EVERY DAY. I don’t want to say too much about my experience yet. I want to check back in after a month. But this feels important. It’s something I’m proud of doing, and proud of sticking to (with the exception of not writing on goddamned Valentine’s Day). I’ll keep you updated along the way, with ultra-honest check-ins.

The Mic Drop #01: ‘Disorder’ by Joy Division

I’m starting a weekly post called The Mic Drop. It’s about songs that are so incredible, that capture an emotion or a state of mind so perfectly, nothing can top them. The artist might as well just finish, drop the mic and walk off stage. Hence, The Mic Drop.

This is the first one. Joy Division’s ‘Disorder’:

It’s the first track on the band’s debut album Unknown Pleasures (1979), recorded in Greater Manchester. Just as New York punk song of a metropolis on the brink, this is the sound of a city falling apart. In the North West of England in 1979, factories were rotting, families fleeing, even the sewers were collapsing. More than that, people were falling apart inside. That’s what this song evokes for me: urban and internal alienation. That tragic sense of living in a city, being desperate to connect with your fellow human beings, but being blocked by circumstance or self-sabotage. That attempt to “get the spirit”, but not “lose the feeling”. It reeks of confusion and paranoia, and sublimated sexual tension. “I’m watching you, I’m watching her. Who is right? Who can tell? Who gives a damn?”. It could easily have been a horrific, gloomy song. But to me, it’s uplifting. The staccato guitar line, piled onto machine gun drums and falsetto bass, lashed with waves of extraterrestrial noise blasts: by the end, this “gloomy” song is almost an anthem. It’s the cure for it’s own urban sickness. You’re lifted up. Awake. Alert. And punk as fuck.

I made this thing

wideI made a sweet coat rack this week. Got the lumber at Build It Green in Queens. It’s reclaimed timber, two by nine inches, and about 30 inches long. I got the hooks at the same place too. They are vintage of some description, and look Western. My imagination says their siblings are holding up 10-gallon hats in juke-joints and dives all over cowboy country. But they could be, you know, ordinary hooks they sell anywhere. I choose to believe these are 100% appropriate to cattle ranchers in Colorado.


To make sure this thing NEVER comes off the wall, I used these toggle bolt anchors that my buddy Jack just told me about. They go straight into the drywall and will hold up to 238 lbs of weight. So have no fear, obese house guests. This sucker will hold your tent-like garments WITH REDUNDANCY.


I used big half-inch washers to allow my ordinary, 2” screws to ‘bite’ the weird, ovary-ish shape of the hooks. I was worried it would look stupid, but I think it looks authentic and slick. On a side note, I have been planning to put this thing up for TWO YEARS. That’s the kind of man I am: a terrible one.


I don’t have any phobias. Just one generalized terror: the fear of dying, and everyone who ever knew me, or knew of me, also dying. Sadly, that’s going to happen. So my worst fear is guaranteed to come to pass. Few other fears are like that. If you’re afraid of snakes, you can avoid them: live in a northern climate, don’t go to any zoos, and you’re good. Fear of death? You’ll have to deal with it, sooner or later.

Last night I screamed at a racist French magician

Last night I screamed at a racist French magician.

I was at an open mic at The Laughing Devil Comedy Club in Long Island City. The guy onstage before me was French: “Eric the Magician”. He told some “jokes”. One of them was about being happy to return to his village in France, because it contained no black people. Stop! My sides might split!

When I went up, we got to talking. I asked him who his favorite French comedian was. He said Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Here’s a picture of him.

I lost it and called Eric the Magician a racist and other bad things (like unfunny). I’m a little ashamed of myself this morning for losing my cool. But I thought I’d share some information about this horrible French “comic”, who at least on paper has the exact same job title as me.

Not many Americans know Dieudonné. He’s a political comedian, in that he vocally supports the Palestinian cause, and opposes Zionism and many actions of the Israeli government. Fine. OK. Perfectly defensible views. But these days, he’s gone a bit fascist. He’s good friends with the leader of France far-right National Front Party (Jean-Marie Le Pen). Le Pen is the godfather of his third child. He has characterized “the Jews” as “slave traders”.He has called Holocaust commemorations “memorial pornography“. Last year, he was recorded onstage saying of prominent French Jewish journalist Patrick Cohen: “you see, when I hear Patrick Cohen speak, I think to myself: ‘Gas chambers… what a shame’.” Asked if he is an antisemite, he once replied “I’m not saying I’d never be one… I leave myself open to that possibility, but for the moment, no.” Well, that’s crystal clear. Thanks. Oh, he’s also an convicted tax cheat, fined over an unpaid tax bill of 800,000 euros ($1 million +) by the French government. Tragic, really. A Jewish accountant would never have let him down like that.

He has created his own hand-gesture, too. It’s called the quenelle. Some people call it an “inverted Nazi salute”. The comedian describes it as an “anti-authoritarian gesture”. It’s a gesture that some French people like doing, frequently near explicitly Jewish sites, and even at Holocaust memorials. No antisemitism there, of course. Here is a picture of some French teenagers doing the gesture, with no subtext at all in the background.

Urgh. His supporters are a populist mix of far right youth and members of Muslim immigrant communities. They like to see themselves as “against the system” in France. And there’s nothing wrong with that on principle. Except that a lot of them seem to think “the system” (the government, the state, the police etc.) is in league with a Zionist cabal, intent on doing harm to French people somehow. It’s the same old schtick: “the banking system and the media are all being manipulated by Jews and it’s evil blah blah blah because Israel.” About 64 million people live in France. Less than 500,000 of them are believed to be Jewish (hard to say exactly – the secular French government refuses to ask about faith on its census). Less than 1% of the population? Boy, these Jews must be very good and very busy at running conspiracies. They are seriously understaffed.

Why am I sharing this? I don’t know. To be honest, Dieudonné scares me. Comedy is a powerful thing. Make people laugh, and they’ll follow you, even to horrible places. I hate censorship of all kinds, and I don’t think the French government should be able to prosecute him for “hate speech” (which they have done and continue to do). Let him say whatever nonsense he wants. It’s everyone else’s job to use free speech right back, and tell him he’s a ridiculous, antisemitic idiot. So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m a ONE MAN ARMY. Thanks for reading.

Left cold by psychics

I want to believe in psychics. The idea of a harmless thrill, dabbling in the supernatural, asking what fate has in store? I’m all for it, as a concept. In reality, I can’t handle it. I’m too judgmental. I can’t see beyond the fact that psychics are either delusional schizophrenics, or professional liars – mostly the second one. They are hucksters. Shysters. Scoundrels. Awful, awful people who detect subtle social signals and use them to manipulate people.

My wife’s friend Jeff was hooked in by a gang of con artists once. Heartbroken after the end of a relationship, he visited a psychic in a Phoenix strip mall. For me, that’s a red flag. I know psychics won’t necessarily use their powers to get rich. But you’re telling me the future is so uncertain that you rent? I only take cosmic advice from homeowners. Have a little skin in the game. I can’t entrust my spiritual future to someone sharing a wall with GameStop.

Jeff walked in, and got exactly what he wanted: hope. The psychic lady said there was a chance he could rekindle love with his ex. He just needed to come regularly, and commit to a bunch of spiritual exercises. Are psychics any different from shrinks in this? No psychologist ends the first session saying “well, it sounds like you’re a standard model asshole: I can’t help, just take each day as it comes and try not being yourself”.

After a while, the lady gained Jeff’s confidence completely. And one day, she has a black eye. Jeff asks what happened. She’s married to a brute who beats her and her kids. She’s trapped. She’s desperate to flee, but penniless. Again, psychics who marry wife-beaters? You forgot to consult the crystal before the wedding? Isn’t that professional malpractice? But they say doctors make the worst patients. Anyway, Jeff has a lot of money. Some he earned, the rest his parents and grandparents made. Somehow, the idea came up of Jeff giving this woman a large sum of cash so she could get away and start a new life. I believe the total was $50,000. The day the check cleared, she was gone. Strip mall cleared out. Phone disconnected. The grift took about three months from start to finish. Fifty grand is not a bad haul for a few weeks’ work.

That did it for me and psychics. On principle, I despise them. But when you hate psychics, somehow you become the monster. You’re un-fun. You won’t play along like everyone else. And when you start ranting about what criminals they are, people start to view you with contempt. “You hate that adorable little woman sitting by red candlelight? The old lady in the shawl, arranging heather on that antique tarot table? What the hell is wrong with you? She wouldn’t hurt anyone.” No, that’s ALL she does. You know who doesn’t hurt anyone? Florists. So when I want to know the future, I go buy a few blooms. When I ask a florist what’s in store down the line, I get the truth. “Lillies are here in few weeks”. And that’s good enough for me.


The Indian grocery store and the service dog

The title of this post sounds like a terrible Neil Young song. But I digress. My new obsession is a huge Indian grocery store in Jackson Heights, Patel Brothers. The place is huge and has every kind of mutant vegetable known to man. Everything has a weird name and as soon as you see it you want it: it’s like the IKEA of fruit. Yesterday I swang in for some Asafoetida powder and mung beans. I mention this detail to confirm that I KNOW I am a giant douchebag, but don’t care.

On my way out, I saw a great fight between the Indian security guard and two New York weirdos. The couple were in their mid-50s, and dressed head-to-toe in fur coats, sequined jeans and sequined sweaters. Amid the quiet Bangladeshi housewives, they stood out like an airhorn. The lady was a classic “party girl left out in the rain”. The fundamentals of beauty were still in her face, but rusted over with three decades of cigarettes and drugs and vodka. The dude looked like Andy Warhol’s cousin: bowl-cut wig, yellow-tinted aviator glasses, and the permanently pursed lips of plastic surgery patients from the 1980s.  In their shopping cart was a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag with a small Yorkshire Terrier inside. The security guard kept yelling “no dogs”. The woman yelled back in the thickest Queens accent you’ve ever heard: “It’s a service doooaaawg. You hiyaaaave to let me in. It’s the looooooooowah.” Andy Warhol’s cousin said nothing with his mouth, and everything with his eyes.

The guard wouldn’t hear it. So the lady pulled some sort of official card from her purse to justify the dog. I imagine it said, “yeah, I know this person is nuts, but I’m a busy doctor and I had bunch of patients waiting and she insisted she needs a dog at all times or she’ll fall apart. So can you just look the other way?”. To be clear: this woman was not blind or visibly disabled in any way. She just feels better having a Yorkshire Terrier around. You know who else that applies to? Fucking EVERYONE. Have you ever played with a Yorkshire Terrier? They’re a delight.

There is an epidemic of this kind of thing in the country today. People prescribe themselves service dogs all the time. What was her problem? I don’t know. Probably something vague like anxiety or agoraphobia, and this Yorkshire Terrier fixes it. I feel any problem a Yorkshire Terrier can fix may, well… not actually be a problem. But I didn’t. The argument was heating up. The security guard kept refusing, and the lady responded with her trump card: “do you want me to call the government?” Now, I support a social safety net. But if someone from “the government” is sitting by a phone at 5pm on a Sunday, waiting for calls from aging disco queens and their grocery store-embargoed terriers… I think that’s bureaucracy we can trim.

But this grocery store serves immigrants of all levels of legality, so “government” was the magic word. One mention of that, and it was all over. The guard relented instantly. The disco queens were in and looking for lentils. As they walked away, the Indian guard and a store manager began a very serious conversation in (I’m guessing) Urdu, with sprinklings of English. It sounded something like “urdu urdu urdu service dog urdu urdu urdu Americans with Disabilities Act urdu urdu urdu more trouble than it’s fucking worth urdu urdu urdu”.

After hating these weirdos for a good two minutes, I began to feel embarrassed. It’s a dog, for Pete’s sake. What’s the problem with having him in the store? It can’t be a hygiene issue. They let children in, and they are oozing sacks of disease who touch everything. Plus, everything in the store is from India, home to the world’s finest diarrhea. If you’re not washing everything you buy there, your issue isn’t dogs. It’s that you’re dumber than a dog.

This is an odd country. In New York, I saw an argument about whether taking a dog in a grocery store was unsafe. In Arkansas, I could shop for fruit with a loaded Magnum .44 in my hand. I feel that’s a greater health hazard. I should probably get more worked up about that, not the honesty and vulnerability of people with the courage to say “I’m sick and this dog is my medicine”.