helen answers all your questions

there comes a time in every blogger's tenure when she must answer the totally strange search engine queries that have brought readers to her site. for me, now is that time.

search.msn.com: when wife is not ready for sex for the year what to do
she's not going to have sex with you all year? dude. i applaud your commitment to your wife, and your resourcefulness in turning to the internet to resolve your problem. i also appreciate that you chose to email the post where my boyfriend gets really into stage banter to a friend, rather than simply dismissing my sex-advice-free blog and moving on to greener pastures. but here, for what it's worth, is your answer: masturbate.

google.com: where can i find leggings entirely made of lace?
oh honey. say it isn't so. i can only hope that even though you ride the sartorial shortbus, you are smart enough to pick up on deadpan sarcasm, and so my post mocking lace leggings did not, to you, sound like a ringing endorsement for the look it is intended to disparage.
unless you are dressing up as madonna. in that case it is okay to wear the leggings, but you then have to pretend she did not go on to become the priggish snot she is today, with her subpar H&M collection and scary man-arms.

google.com: easy coeds
i'm sorry, person looking for porn. i really am. it must have been a huge disappointment to plug this phrase into google and have my post about discovering my ex-boyfriend's porn collection show up instead of .wav files of 39-year-olds pretending to be 18-year-olds pretending to be lesbians. but not as huge a disappointment as it was for me to learn that i am only the fourth google result for this phrase search. what the hell?

google.com: math conversion diameter to inches
ha, you were looking for some easy homework help and instead you found the story about the time i tried to convert lemons into grapefruits. or was it vice versa? anyway, genius, you can't convert diameters into inches because one is a measurement and one is a unit of measurement. that's like asking how you can roast a chicken using only the teapot dome scandal. good luck with that rosy future, kid.

moral dilemma; fashion crisis

i'm conflicted.

my opinions on fashion are generally uncensored. i don't like lace leggings. i am particularly incensed by lace-trimmed leggings. i have gone so far as to eviscerate a lace-trimmed-leggings-wearing and otherwise perfectly innocent person who just happened to be walking past me when i had my cameraphone at the ready, the evisceration of whom led to the second thing the lovely man who is now my boyfriend ever said to me, which was: "I am [talking to you] despite my extreme fear of having you look at me and then chronicle my fashion faux-pas on RSGo."

the woman walking in front of me today had no lace on her person. none. she looked friendly, her hair was glossy, and i liked her handbag. let it be known that i feel bad about what i am about to do, which is: post her picture on the internet.

true story: i have a new cell phone and when i take a cameraphone picture it makes this fake shutter-click noise very loudly. whenever i snapped a shot of this poor woman's legs, it reverberated throughout the West Village, and i had to very quickly flip my camera around and suck in my cheeks and pretend that i was taking a self-portrait, because she would turn around and look at me every single time.

another true story: this woman was not wearing underwear. it's not evident from the photo (or maybe it is, since the particularly skin-adhering property of these pants would probably let us know if there were a pantyline to be had) but oh boy did these leggings verge on transparent. i kind of wanted to know what she looked like from the front, but wasn't sure of the proper etiquette as regards checking to see if someone's ladyparts are showing, without resorting to a quick jog to get half a block in front of her, an exaggerated "oh no! i forgot an object that i own!" and then moving back down the block towards her. which seemed excessive.

as a final note i would like to make sure everyone notices that she is wearing a plaid blazer and patent-leather flats and, as previously expressed, holding quite a nice bag. the niceness of these three things leads me to think that this outfit was no accident, and she is wearing it to work. much like demi moore's infamous oscar night bike shorts, a woman looked in the mirror and said to herself "there is absolutely nothing wrong with going out in public like this." unlike demi moore, however, this woman was not having this reflection-conversation in 1989.


oh no bono

are there still people in the world who do not think U2 talking head Bono is a giant joke?

as if his idiotic handling of his ubercharity, Red (which raised a whopping $18 million, despite spending only $100 million on advertising!) were not enough, he of the perma-sunglasses (another indicator of douchiness: oh goodness me, the world is not to your color preference! please do wear blue or red or orange lenses at all times! no one will hate you for it!) has now been made an honorary knight of the british empire.

honorary, of course, not actual. this is, unfortunately, because he is not a british citizen, and not (as would please me) because he is perhaps the world's preeminent douchehead.

however, his douchehead preeminence is solidified by the extraordinarily scumtastic picture of him holding his knighthood (no that is not a dirty joke) that accompanies the new york times article about him, in which he is shown displaying his assholic arrogance at its best angle:

let us enumerate:
1. he is hiding behind the knighthood, as if to display humility: "this honor is more important than i am!"

2. he is holding his hands in the V-For-Victory-No-Wait-I-Mean-Peace gesture that is employed by precisely two categories of human: celebutards (lindsay lohan and gisele bundchen do this a lot), and jersey guidos who have that creepy sea-urchin spiky hairstyle.

3. HE IS WEARING THE FREAKING GLASSES, WHICH I SUPPOSE IF HE DIDN'T TAKE OFF FOR THE POPE HE WON'T TAKE OFF FOR THE QUEEN EITHER. I'm sorry your holiness and your majesty, but your clothing is just SO MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE when i view it through my own personal color filter. ps. my world is more beautiful than yours.

4. besides the glasses, there are twothree demonstrated incidences of man-jewelry: an excessively thick earring; something that is, technically, a pinky-ring; and a gold-and-ruby wedding ring that makes me think his marriage ceremony felt a whole lot like a renfair.

5. he is wearing his cuffs up over his hands. perhaps he is emo.

update: 6. he totally looks like robin williams.

the internerd equivalent of a promotion

my dear boss, whom i adore, has just implied that she might be asking me to spend a larger portion of my workday reading blogs and reporting back to her on them.

god i love my life. seriously. here are some of my work-related activities, all of them officialy employer-sanctioned:

- read the internet
- get manicures
- correct others' grammar
- play nintendo
- learn about wine
- wax philosophical about ways to cook meat

of course, personal blogging at work is not employer-sanctioned, so i should probably get off this and get back to reading Gourmet while perfecting my Wii bowling skills.


i dress well and am liked by all

for those of you out there who want to dress exactly like me, this is what i'm wearing today:

its awesomeness (hearts! on a tunic! cheekily reminiscent of the iconic patterns in prada's spring/summer 2000 collection!*) is rivaled only by its ability to generate compliments. which, in both cases, is a lot.

*also, when did i become a lady?

it is worth noting that it is pure coincidence that my clothing matches this webpage's color scheme. i am not that lame.

it is also worth noting that i am also wearing pants.


i heart, part 2: cliches

In the fairly inane piece in New York Magazine on things that categorically suck about London (which we have already dealt with), there is a page two: clichés about London that are not true. Okay, fine, I will take your word for it. But for every London cliché, there is a New York one that is just as ludicrous, except it is true. To wit: (London clichés in bold)

People wear tweed: Fashion in London is either aggressively contemporary (asymmetrical hair, $250 denim) or super-uptight (posh suits, cuff links, square-toe Euro shoes).
In New York, people wear black.

The kiddies can recite Shakespeare: London has its own elementary-education woes.
By the time they’re 14, New York kids are on coke and having better sex than you ever will.

The tastes are more sophisticated: Ugh. A walk down any “High Street” will prove otherwise.
New York tastes are robotically dictated by 4 Times Square.

All those cute red double-deckers and phone booths: The old Routemaster bus has mostly been retired (there are still double-decker buses, but not the old kind with a perch in back that riders can hop on and off from). Transit officials prefer superlong “Bendy Buses,” and phone booths are lined with postcards advertising sex services.
New York has all those neat yellow cabs and the brightlightsbigcity of Times Square. (which everyone hates, btw. I am also contractually obligated as a New York resident to point out here that tourists are fat, disproportionately blonde, and walk too slowly.)

The police go unarmed: In fact, it’s now common to see cops carrying assault rifles.
The NYPD is staffed largely by Jerry Orbach and Mariska Hargitay.

Can we lay this ridiculous rivalry to rest now? They are different cities. They have different feels. They are both fantastic (at least, I am assuming London is) but both have aspects that, were this a sitcom and the cities a ne'er-do-well older brother who lives over the garage, would cause us to cock our heads to the side and affectionately say "oh, not again!" while the studio audience did a laugh/awww hybrid. Okay, New York Magazine? Can we get over this now?

Thank you.


copy this

a couple of weeks ago, the New York Times published a Q&A with their head copy editor, Merrill Perlman. unlike the flood of questions put to, say, the editor of the Style section (such as, no joke, "why is this section so gay?"), poor Merrill only gets to answer three: the apostrophe-S conundrum, the serial comma, and what the heck do copy editors do anyway?

the first two of those questions are, if I may be blunt, boring old retreads, though Merrill does a good job of addressing them without punching the question-askers in the face. It's the third question (which is the first she answers) that is, in its way, interesting. Here's one of the many superhero attributes of copy editors that Merrill tells us about:

They have great instincts for sniffing out suspicious or incorrect facts or things that just don't make sense in context.
what a useful thing to bring to the table! it is always nice to have someone around who has a good eye for nonsensibility. take, for example, this sentence:
For breaking news, a copy editor may have less than an hour to read 1,000 words and do everything the article needs.(It can be even less!)
less than less than an hour? whoa. negative time. either copyeditors possess, along with sniffery, twilight-zone-esque timestopping abilities that i imagine many world governments would like to get their hands on, or else maybe Merrill could use a copyeditor of her own.

i won't even comment on the necessity of a space before that open parenthesis. nope. not a word.

and for those of you about to hit me back on Merrill's behalf with an indictment of my capitalization practices, may i preempt you by directing you here?

he not-quite-hearts

Marcin offers up a point-by-point critique of my critique of new york magazine's bit on things that suck about london vis a vis new york.

i see the potential for dangerous degrees of recursion to be attained here.


i heart

New York magazine has a bit today about things that categorically suck about London. never having been, i can't weigh in from experience, but the categorical suckage is presented with an implied subtitle of "...and New York is better." on this, my friends, i am an expert. bits on London are in bold.

New Yorkers are far, far more attractive: It’s true beyond question, at the very least for women.
women here are quite pretty. apparently new york is one of the US's skinniest cities, and we all know skinny=pretty. the suck side is: if you are not skinny, or not pretty, you are entirely fucked (in the bad way) in the dating game. when the top 50% in new york are pretty enough to be in the top 5% in minneapolis, the effort required to bring your A-game is enough to make a girl eye the midwest with a gimlet eye.*

New York: four seasons, including a real summer and a romantic, if freezy, winter.
London: one season, which is shit.

four seasons = four different wardrobes. = four times the necessary storage space. = four times the clothing bill. = four times the credit card debt. or i guess you could just say screwitall and ignore fashion, but in that case you might as well go to minneapolis.

It’s a classist place with little “bootstrap” sensibility. Aspiring artists can’t make money waiting tables or tending bar because nobody tips; they have to temp or enjoy independent wealth.
everyone is an aspiring artist. when you ask someone what he or she does for a living, they don't tell you what they actually do. they tell you what they hope to be doing in five years. this leads to the desire to punch people in their necks, which is on the whole bad.

The Tube is expensive, shuts down early, and runs so deeply underground that riders often end up with black snot.
riding the subway at 3am involves watching old men masturbate. it is rarely arousing.

Drunk men try punching you, for no reason.
drunk men try fucking you, for no reason.

Non-white people get yelled at by drunk white people.
non-black people get yelled at by drunk midtown/wallstreet douchebags; black people get called "bro" and "my homie" by drunk midtown/wallstreet douchebags.

Utilities don’t work. No sinks in most bathrooms; showers electrocute you.
we actually do okay in the indoor plumbing department, if you discount port authority.

Everything’s badly organized: Heathrow worst of all.
everything's badly organized, but everyone pretends that everything is brilliantly organized. self-delusion sends everyone into therapy. group hugs result, followed by subway masturbation. arousal does not ensue.

tomorrow: part 2 - cliches!

*i have no idea what a gimlet eye is, but doesn't it sound grand?


shake it shake it shake it

i am the sort of girl who likes a burger. and i am prepared to have strong opinions about what goes into that burger, whether it's the fattiness of the meat (none of this "lean" bullshit) or the composition of the toppings (cheese OR mayo but NOT both; ditto tomato and ketchup; onions must either be red or fried) or the nature of the bun (brioche over white bread, english muffin over all).

the winner in my burger book, in blatant violation of my english muffin love, is Shake Shack, which is not a very iconoclastic position for me to hold. everyone thinks shake shack is the best. the new york times. new york magazine. every single one of my friends, ex-boyfriends*, coworkers, and family members who i have dragged to 23rd between broadway and madison. the shackburger - brisket and sirloin, cheese, onions, tomato, some sort of phenomenal ketchup-mustard-mayo**-spices combination known as shack sauce and which is pretty much gastronomic heaven. on this bun that is perfect. and the burger is the perfect size: small enough that when you finish it you think to yourself "maybe i will get back in line and get another one!" but big enough that when you look at the line, and realize that it is - no joke - a two-hour wait, you are full enough to continue about your day without falling into a starvation coma.

shake shack is closed during the winter, but it reopens in five days. actually according to their website, it is in 4 days, 19 hours, 52 minutes, and 13 seconds.

my friend Keith has been assigned to take photographs of the prepping-for-imminent-awesomeness Shake Shack team by eater, and his photos are awesome. but that is not the point.

the point is: they let him have a burger. 4 days, 19 hours, 52 minutes, and 13 seconds before opening. Keith got a shake shack burger.

i'm not sure what to do here except distract myself from my burning jealousy by focusing all my attention on keeping the pavlovian salivation from hitting my keyboard, thus shorting it out, thus requiring its replacement, thus cutting into funds that otherwise could be rerouted towards shackburgers.

*the current boyfriend has not been the current boyfriend long enough for us to have gone to shake shack together. this will change in 4 days, 19 hours, 13 minutes, etc.

**you are allowed to have cheese AND mayo if the mayo takes a non-basic form, such as russian dressing or remoulade or anything indicated as "special sauce."


i'd do you, MD: a scientific study

Mia G. and i were sitting on the futon talking swoonily about hot tv doctors when we were struck by a sudden Very Important Question: which tv show involving doctors has the highest proportion of male doctors characters who we would be willing to sleep with?

our findings were pretty significant. characters on doctor shows who we'd do are in bold.


  • JD
  • Turk (mia: he's too bouncy. me: racist.)
  • Dr. Cox
  • Dr. Kelso
  • The Todd
  • Janitor (me: mostly because he was linday lohan's dad in mean girls.)
  • Keith
  • Ted

total males: 8
total doable males: 5
proportion: 0.625

  • Derek
  • Mark
  • The Chief
  • Burke (mia: i don't know... me: you SO would. mia: i don't know... me: racist.)
  • Alex (mia: absolutely yes.)
  • George
  • Denny (mia: does it count even though he's dead?)

total males: 7
total doable males: 6
proportion: 0.8571

  • House
  • Chase
  • Forman (mia: ehhh, i don't think so. me: why do you only not want to do the black guys? mia: i hate you.)
  • Wilson

total males: 4
total doable males: 4
proportion: 1

results: crotchety wounded doctors for the win. nicely done, cast of House.


in the spirit of, why not, March indulgence, i bought a new face-care-thingy-product last week. it is a "calming+soothing elixir" made by stella mccartney (known for, in descending order of prominence: 1. being paul mccartney's daughter; 2. being a fashion designer; 3. being a vegetarian. all of which obviously make her eminently qualified to make stuff that i put on my face). the calming+soothing (no spaces!) part sounded really exciting considering that i have the sort of skin that gets blotchy and neon red if i so much as exhale with force. and i am totally intrigued by the notion of an "elixir," since that makes me feel very magical warlock, which is kind of a novel way to feel about one's skincare regimen.

my calming+soothing elixir (!!! god what a great name, i cannot get over it) does its calming+soothing presumably because of its exciting botanical ingredients, which are: chamomile, arnica (wtf), and liquorice (spelled with the Q. the q is very important). it also, again presumably due to these botanicals, smells like my grandmother. and this smell is apparently intentional, since the elixir (!!!) comes with instructions, which really raise the bar on cult-of-beauty-product inanity:

Warm the product between your hands, then bend your head forward and place the palms of your hands in front of your face, your fingertips resting above your eyebrows. Close your eyes and breathe the fragrance in deeply for a few seconds. The olfactory power of the essential oils will have a stimulating effect on your mind, while your eyes rest sheltered from the light. Finally, apply the product to your face.
i would like to note that this elixir has claimed that it will stimulate my mind. it has also clarified for me that holding my hands in front of my eyes will keep light out. which, holy crap, i did not know prior to reading the instructions for my face elixir, so it has already lived up to its mind-stimulating promise! A+.

also we are going to refrain from noting that my new cleansing+soothing elixir cost, with tax, just barely on the lesser side of a hundred bucks, which i acknowledge is fucking absurd. ok? ok.


good girls/bad girls

the helen-friend domination of salon.com continues: brilliant-bot amy schiller has a post on broadsheet, the site's pink-hued women's-issues corner (not as vom as it sounds, i promise), with a concise and insightful takedown of a form of feminism that is (believe it or not) too women-centric.

as with my earlier by-proxy salonism (greg's post), read this. get smarter.