Love it or List it

List it or fist it: HGTV, in review.

Like most men in America, I spend my Sundays glued to the TV watching my games–screaming at the bad calls, judging the ridiculous decisions and on the whole frustrated by the end results. Of course, by “bad calls” I mean horrible real estate decisions and unfortunate interior decorating jobs, and by games I mean Love It or List It (I will use its colloquial name from here on out: “List it or Fist it”), Property Brothers and the classic favorite: House Hunters International.

Love it or List it

David hopes you choose to fist it, obvi.

The plight of the realtor.

In the concept phase of home improvement show planning, I’d imagine they all start with this conversation: “OK, so let’s have two hosts, one of them can be the realtor and one can be the carpenter; we’ll have the realtor wear a suit and the carpenter can wear overalls…it’s gonna be great and we’ll give them both equal airtime. Preferable that they all be related, but not necessary.” And you know what I’m about to say — that just doesn’t make sense, the realtor is soooo extra.


As a real estate connoisseur, here’s a secret: the only things that matter in real estate are location (location, location) and time. So it’s wildly unhelpful to hear about the buying and selling of homes in an unspecified city (spoiler alert: it’s Toronto, see next section) in an unspecified time period (are we in 2009 during the recession or 2014 in the bubble?). Stop trying to add value to the show with your annoyingly trite comments…nobody cares, go home.

List it or Fist it doesn’t even try and conceal how useless David Visentin is: while Hilary and her worker-bee, Desta (which in my opinion, isn’t a name) are very obviously spending months reno’ing homes, they don’t even try to make it seem like David put anything more than a day’s work into filming: he’s wearing the exact same outfit for each of the three listings that he shows. Punch in, punch out — don’t worry David, I got your six hours of work on the time sheet.

But in a recent commercial for Property Brothers, Drew Scott (the carpenter) goes for the jugular and makes fun of his brother Jonathan (the realtor) for being useless. “Uh, oh!” I gasped, “they’re onto us.” You see, capitalism is delicately held together by the Drews of the world not quite understanding what the Jonathans of this world do, but (rightly so) assuming that it’s too complicated for them to understand or do themselves. One day they’re making fun of their brother in a commercial, the next day they’re telling us they no longer need adjustable rate loans to finance a timeshare in Henderson, Nevada. I quickly shot off a warning e-mail to all of my plutocratic Capitol friends in Panem — the districts are starting to catch on. In the meantime, Drewseph, let’s just leaving mocking the realtor to your viewers at home; I asked for a carpenter, not a comedian. Finish building my open-concept kitchen or my ensuite bathroom, already.


A Toronto-area row house also apparently doubles for any house in America.


Enough with the Canadian housing market already.

Even though I had watched marathon after marathon of HGTV, I never really put too much thought into the fact that every single house looks exactly the same (a two-story brick tudor with a basement) and all of the contestants have a slight Canadian accent. Then a friend pointed me to this article and the startling realization that most of the shows are shot in Toronto.

Here’s the thing about the Canadian housing market: once you’ve watched 35 hours of it, you kind of get it. For instance, in every contestant’s ransom list of demands is always a mother-fucking-entryway closet (the need is always exaggerated by a desperate reenactment of all seven family members coming in at the same time fighting to put their ugly Maxxanista coats on one hook). Why did Canadian architects in the early 1900s so blatantly ignore the need for an entryway closet? I don’t know, maybe people had fewer coats? Maybe they assumed all seven family members wouldn’t be such ass holes about that coat hook and could just make do with any of the other closets in the home? I don’t know, but more importantly, I don’t care. As a native Californian, I’m just not spending a lot of my time thinking about winter coats.

All of this is to say I’m pleased to announce that I’m creating a Kickstarter campaign to get HGTV to pick a new city to go down on. In my opinion, if you want to make a show about Anytown, USA, maybe first try and shoot it actually in USA? That’d be great, k thanks.


Yes, Merida is definitely a place in Mexico that's on the up. Plus House 1 is close to the city center.

Yes, Merida is definitely a place in Mexico that’s on the up. Plus House #1 is close to the city center.

Can we get a finance check on aisle 11?

None of these shows even come close, though, to House Hunters International (to answer your question: no I don’t watch the domestic version…I’m a man of the world, of course). The moment that familiar doorbell rings, you know you’re in for a whirlwind ride of bad decisions. Especially given that one of the primary casting requirements, it seems, is that you must have a highly-specific and completely-unreasonable need which will ultimately preclude you from making the sensible, smart decision (like a flat in Paris that has to be near your “friends” for all the parties you [spoiler alert] will never have or my personal favorite, a non-slip hallway so your idiot children won’t have another “major hallway accident” because apparently that’s a thing that idiot children are wont to do).

But that’s not even the worst part of the show, in my opinion. The thing that bothers me the most are the budgets. As soon as the contestants are introduced, I’ve quickly judged their net worth based on accents and appearances alone (judging, after all, is my Spidey sense). Never am I met with a budget that at all seems sensible based on my financial assessment of the couple. I’m not entirely sure why, but everytime the show comes on, suddenly I’m transformed into Suze Orman, and no they cannot afford spending three hundred thousand dollars on a risky real estate investment in Belize with Bob’s truck driving savings back home. They’ve got little Regina’s college to finance (though let’s be honest, college was never in the cards for Regina…you can see the way she’s eyeing the natives, that little slut).

This is just a sampler of some of my gripes. Fortunately for you, a marathon is coming on and you know how infrequently those happen. But before you walk away, I guess what I’m trying to say here (if you in fact walk away with only one thing from this post), it’s that I desperately need a house of my own so I can stop complaining about all of these other worthless people on TV who seem to be better at life than me because they are at least homeowners. Waa waaaah.

A dolphin, likely trying to get in bed with you, as they are wont to do.

On dreams, and dolphins.

So here’s an embarrassing thing I’ve never admitted publicly before: I once had a relationship with a dolphin. Now, in full disclosure, it was in a dream, but it’s still troubling none-the-less and certainly not something I’m proud of. What’s more: I definitely had this dream more than once. You’d be surprised that these sorts of beastiality dreams are in fact more common than you’d think. A few years ago I saw the headline: “Man shares sexual relationship with dolphin” and gasped that my secret was out; you can imagine the sigh of relief when I realized that it was in fact a story from someone else, and of course like the rest of you, I immediately went on to pass judgment on him, with his claims that it was a “consensual” affair and that the female dolphin sexually pursued him first (“I mean, I know…can you believe this guy? A dolphin?! Who does that!!”).

A dolphin, likely trying to get in bed with you, as they are wont to do.

A dolphin, likely trying to get in bed with you, as they are wont to do.

Now to add complexity to my already-troubling dream, I’ll share a few more details with you: the dolphin was also male, our feelings for each other were built off of a connection deeper than physical attraction (and to answer the obvious question: no, there was no sex; we respected each other too much), and like true star-crossed lovers trapped in separate worlds, our relationship was confined to the only place it could exist: in the break of the waves. So if you’re doing the math, yes: it was a homosexual, amphibious, cross-species relationship. And as a forward-thinking elitist liberal, that’s exactly the type of new-age relationship I’ve been known to pursue.

But that’s the thing that’s most interesting about dreams, in my opinion. They are always, of course, strange, but it’s the little flairs that our subconscious mind adds which are the most interesting. A friend of mine recently had a sexy-time dream with Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark. Now, that he was dreaming of Danish royalty, as strange as that sounds, was actually highly predictable for him. But it was this touch that struck me: in the dream, the two were playing tennis, and Crown Prince Frederik’s tennis game was noticeably off, which the Prince later admitted was a result of the sexual tension he felt for my friend.

If you think about it, authors and screenwriters spend months or years perfecting a story to captivate our attention. Yet when we’re fast asleep at night, our brains can create much more lavish stories that are highly specific in terms of the detail we add, and they’re able to do this in real time, as it unfolds. If your brain is a printer, the output it’s able to spew out for a dream is as fast as reality itself. It’s a speed that’s unmatched by our conscious, awake minds.

Anyway, that’s pretty much it. Maybe that’s not as amazing to you as it is to me, but I thought the least I could was salute our brains and our dreams through a poorly-written blog post like this. Moving along…


Britney Spears, in review.

It was fight weekend in Vegas, and you know what that means: if you time it just right, you can miss the entire thing while locked inside a glittery auditorium in Planet Hollywood, screaming your lungs out at a Britney Spears concert. And that, of course, is exactly what I did last Saturday night in Vegas.

I’m not here to offer some sarcastic, bitter review of Britney’s performance. I’m not going to take the easy way out and play up to your preconceived notion of what her concert was like (I can almost hear you now: “she probably lip synced and had really tired moves” you pessimistic little bitch). No, I’ve only got one mission, and that’s to tell you that I was invited to sit at Britney’s Mom’s table–front row center, the same table that Miley danced from in December (more on that in a bit). The rest of this post is honestly just fluff, but feel free to continue reading if you’d like; it’s masquerading as a review, but again probably will be of little value to you, just like all of my other writing.


If you carry one thing away from this post, let it be that we randomly got table service, front row center. Thanks, Brit!

Ooops, she did it again. And nailed it.

Let’s start with the singing. It was magical. Her beautiful voice had the consistency I’ve only ever heard in studio-produced arrangements. At every moment of the concert, she sounded full of breath and alive, even under intensely challenging high kicks and arm flails, as if she had the lung capacity of an Olympic sprinter. I’ll tell you what: get me to do one jumping jack and it’s “Hit me baby **no** more times” thank you very much, and that’s why I’ll never command the musical, top-40 teeny bopper stage presence that Britney Spears does (of course, you’ll note I heavily caveated that statement because it would be inappropriate for me to handicap myself any less; I’m already very clearly on a path to outshine her in several key areas in the near future).

When it came to the dancing, the focus was on the moves of course.

When it came to the dancing, the focus was on the moves of course.

Speaking of dance moves, that’s what you know you’re getting with a Britney show. From the day she first jiggled her yet-augmented tots on the set of the Mickey Mouse Club, that girl was born for the stage. Piece of Me didn’t disappoint: she cast the most jacked male backup dancers, who struck the perfect balance of bulk and leanness (or as I call it, the elusive “golden ratio“). They stole the show, literally carrying her at many points.

“Yeah, but how was Britney’s dancing?” Good God, now that I think about it I’m not sure I was ever actually watching Britney. And maybe that’s the point. But those backup dancers. I could draw them if you’d like me to? Though it would have to be in charcoal, I’d want to get the shading on their muscles just right.

While we’re talking about bodies, let me just take a moment to brush Britney’s shoulders off. Sure, she looks a bit “healthier” than she used to (in my book, a hair over 11% BMI comes with an automatic diagnosis of morbidly obese, but I do not make the rules for obvious reasons). But she also has given birth to at least one–if not two–children. I hope I look that good when I’ve had two children. To be clear though, like most celebrities, I plan on giving birth the old fashioned way, which in my book does involve a bathtub (a spa, if you will) but also indentured help to carry the fetus to term. Given that plan, I don’t anticipate stretch marks or weight gains to be an issue, unless in the context of bulking up from a muscle perspective.

In fact, the whole crew demonstrated a level of cohesiveness I’ve never seen before. That was evident when at the end, in one of her very few unscripted audience interactions, Britney asked the team to play one more song, an encore if you will (Britney–she’s always giving us more!!). Only problem was, her mic wasn’t on (shocking given that just moments earlier she was belting out notes perfectly). In the front row right next to her, I of course heard this request, but I let out a gasp, unsure if the rest of her team would get the memo.

“SHE SAID ONE MORE SONG!!!” I squealed, shooting a concerned look to her audio team behind me. Luckily, they heard me…or her…and all knew exactly the song to play. You just don’t see that sort of off-the-cuff teamwork at an X-Tina concert, let me tell you.

Reimagining the classics.

Thankfully, aside from “Work Bitch,” she only sang one song from her latest album…”Perfume.” It’s no “Everytime” — which got me through some dark days during my senior year of high school (spoiler: yes, she comes down from the sky as an angel with wings for that song, of course!–Classic, Brit), but “Perfume” is a decent song nonetheless:

And while I wait I put on my perfume,
Yeah, I want it all over you
I’m gonna mark my territory…
I hope she smells my perfume

Sitting there in the audience, wiping that one tear from my eye (to be clear, I was still crying at the sight of one of those backup dancers: his body was perfect, golden ratio people!!), I realized: “Perfume” is just an updated take on Riskay’s Christian classic, “Smell yo dick.” Look at Britney, taking her own spin on some of yesteryear’s favorites.

I did have one moment of lyrical clarity (again, it’s a testament to the crispness of her signing that only in concert 10 years later do I hear the lyrics correctly), and it came during the crowd-favorite closer, “Toxic”:

“Oh, it’s ‘you’re toxic **I’m** slipping under’? Because I had been signing ‘Your toxic guns slipping under’ — as in I’m slipping under your massive arms.” In defense of myself, everyone can make a simple homonym mistake and as a muscle aficionado, that lyric just made a lot of sense to me. That being said, I am concerned at the alarming number of people who likely heard me sing it incorrectly.

So I guess we’re at the part now where I promised to explain why my friends and I were invited to sit at Britney’s Mom’s table–which was so close to Britney that we were literally dancing **with** her at points (so close, she is in fact looking at you, which of course was one of the more terrifying moments of my life…not sure how else to point out, but we were close). But now that I think about it, I’d prefer to actually keep that a mystery, and let your imagination run wild, in a never ending effort to position myself as a celebrity-in-waiting. That and Miley asked me not to tell anyone.

AIDS virus particle

Poop, viruses, etc: stories from the front line of my toilet

If I had to nail down the one key to my heart (gun to the head, you only get to pick one key, go:), it’s poop. Specifically, high-brow conversations about poop (and to be clear, no I absolutely do not mean “poop play”). If we’re friends, you’re probably painfully aware of this–I play-by-play every one of my bowel movements moments after they happen (and they happen quite often). Or I’ll regularly remind coworkers and casual passersby that their pink eye is likely a product of touching feces and then touching their eyes (what? it’s science, and frankly a pretty good reminder from God that you shouldn’t go poking around poop with your finger).

“Well why don’t you write a blog post about it?” Said no one, ever.

“Great idea!”

With more and more stories out about viruses and bacterium (poop’s overachieving cousins, who for reasons unclear to me, are more socially acceptable to talk about) I’d like to do my part to fan the larger feces family’s flames, so to speak, as part of a multi-pronged effort to spread the fascination with poop. And what better way to do that than through a series of vignettes…on viruses, bacteria, and feces:

    • Part 1: Patient Zero. The origins of how AIDS came to the US (spoiler alert: it’s not that flight attendant everyone keeps blaming).
    • Part 2: My Turkish toilet. A story of me learning how to poop again at age 20 while I was studying abroad in Africa, with a Turkish toilet.

Here we go…

PART 1: Patient Zero

When I studied abroad in Africa, one of our field trips was to a witch doctor healing camp™. Now if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: I love when a stereotype goes out of its way not to deviate at all from the mental image you’ve locked away, and the witch doctor healing camp, thankfully, followed through on it’s promises: a tribal dance show, a panel of “healed” patients, thatched huts and a ritualistic offering of a cow.

As a bit of background, Senegal is part of french-speaking Africa, and though I had taken french for nine years at that point, I was barely conversational with my two year old host child (generationally, I refused to call her my host sister, me being 20 at the time). My beautiful, white smile paired together with the other students in my program (who I relied on as translators) got me linguistically through those four months… but as I always say: it takes a village.

So in a nutshell, it’s already hard enough for me to maintain interest in presentations, much less when they’re in French at a crazy ass witch doctor healing camp (I guess it’s worth noting at this point that it’s official name was probably something like a “holistic healing center”). Drifting in and out of consciousness, I suddenly started to hear a few words that caused me to perk up: “SIDA” (which is AIDS in French), “American” and “pharmaceutical companies.” I started paying attention again, and shot my friends a very confused glance:

“Ummm?? Did he just say what I think he said”


“Gurrrrrl!” Incidentally, this conversation happened entirely with our eyes.

The presenter/witch doctor had just said that AIDS was brought over to Africa by American pharmaceutical companies who did testing in villages even though they knew the consequences of the virus. I raised my hand:

“Umm, hi. Yes, Christopher Katsaros representing the fine state of California, thanks,” building the brand wherever I go, “everyone knows that AIDS actually came when an African villager had sex with a monkey, duh.” Of course, in my follow-up, I cited dozens of Southpark episodes and the like as evidence. You’re not getting anything passed this Leslie Stahl, Africa.

So, aside from being a colossal waste of time, all of what you just read is a roundabout way of saying that most us have a vague idea where AIDS originated, but not really. There was this flight attendant who was really gay and that sounds like an interesting and semi-plausible story so let’s just go with that.

That story gained ground after a CDC report in the early 80s looked at AIDS victims and their sexual partners, and all pointed back to Gaetan Dugas–that “devastatingly handsome” flight attendant, who sadly is nowhere near as attractive as stories make him out to be. This is actually the first time that the term “Patient 0” was used. However, scientists have since studied the genetic makeup of the virus which has showed that (a) it was in the United States as early as 1966, when Dugas was a youth and before he entered the United States and that (b) it probably transferred to humans from a small village deep in Congo in the early 1900s.

RadioLab looked into the origins of AIDS and I don’t even want to try and summarize it because it’s far and away the most rewarding way you can spend 26 minutes of your life (listen here). If you’re listening to the podcast, it’s part of Season 10 Episode 4, a three-part episode that looks at Patient Zeros including “Typhoid Mary,” a real person who was a cook on Long Island. Do yourself a favor and just listen to it.

PART 2: Learning to poop again, at age 20

(I wrote this when I was studying in Dakar, Senegal during my junior year of college. If you’re keeping track now, this is the second time in this post that I’ve reminded you that I lived in Africa. Being able to tell stories like these was in fact the primary driver for that decision)

My Turkish toilet ran out of water today, making it officially just a hole in the ground. Yay.


This is a Turkish toilet, more commonly known as a “hole in the ground.”

This seems like as good an opportunity as any to discuss and dissect the Turkish toilet. Anyone who’s been to a no-name gas station in the middle of the Mojave desert is probably familiar with the concept, but for the rest of you, I’ll elaborate.

It’s a glorified hole in the ground (ha! I almost said glory hole. Which, I can assure you, a Turkish toilet is not). The hole is surrounded by a porcelain base, flanked by two inconveniently placed footpads. I say inconvenient because, when your feet are positioned on their posts, your body is completely out of alignment with the hole. Your pee goes just slightly too far (causing you to create a little watering hole on the ground of your bathroom) and your poop lands slightly north of the hole, and rests there until it’s “dealt with.” This is, of course, no good at all.

You see, there’s an art to pooping in a Turkish toilet. You’ve got to have your poop fall just perfectly so that it goes directly down the hole. Otherwise, it’ll land on the porcelain part, which is fine except for the fact that you have to then coax the doobie down the drain. And the last thing anyone wants to do is have a face-to-face conversation with their excrement on why it should move an inch to the South and go down the hole. For any of you that have taken a shower at a friend’s house before–a friend with really long hair–you know how this coaxing goes: you cup some water and splash it at the hair with a trajectory pointed towards the drain (as a “thank you” gift for keeping their shower so clean, I usually pee in the long-haired friend’s shower). Same thing with poop, except rather than a minuscule piece of fiber, you’ve got a somewhat more substantial mass that is perfectly happy to sit and rot on the floor of your bathroom. Nonetheless, the same rules of cupping water apply, but with a little more force on a slightly more angled trajectory.

Where was I? Oh yes, the art of pooping. So you have to align your rectum/bung hole/etc directly over the hole. This is easier said than done. Think about where your butt is. Duh, you know where that is, easy. But now, specifically, think of where your butthole is?

“Well, I thought I knew where that was–it’s somewhere in that crack.” Yeah, but where specifically?

“Oh, I found it!” Great. Now, to make it even more difficult, squat down on your knees and try to line it up over an imaginary hole on the floor behind you. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Especially for you people reading this in a public space; I will absolutely wait for you to do this. Did you find it yet? Still didn’t? Yeah, exactly my point. When crouched in this position, your butthole becomes lost in your blindspot.

It took a little trial and error at first to find exactly where my butthole was in the beginning. And I’m not going to lie, it definitely required squatting down even further and watching the first couple of times to get the trajectory just right. But now I’m at a point where I’m very familiar with my butthole and it’s firing capabilities.

Personally, I don’t mind the Turkish toilet. Would I prefer a regular toilet, with a seat? Of course, I always relish at the opportunity to take a break out of my hectic day and just sit down and relax. In fact, all of the other students have normal toilets at their houses–even the “poor” one. But, I happen to be quite an efficient pooper–it’s what I’m known for (“Hey, there goes Chris. Man he is a quick pooper, that shit just flies out of him.”) And as a result, the squatting toilet doesn’t bother me much.

So here’s another plus to my Turkish toilet: it doubles as a drain for my shower. I know what you’re thinking: how is this a plus? Well, now, when I pee whilst taking a shower, I really don’t have to feel guilty (not that anyone should feel guilty, but there are some in the liberal media that try to demigod this wholly natural act). But, more importantly, it allows me to fulfill one of my life long dreams: pooping in the shower. Ever since the first day that I accidentally peed in the shower (and discovered it to be a shockingly rewarding experience) have I dreamed about the next genesis of this act: pooping in the shower. Now, I finally get to make that dream a reality. And without feeling guilty or disgusting. And let me tell you: truly magical. Everyone should do it once in their life. In fact, I really think you’re onto something here, Senegal…


It takes a village: Soulcycle review

One of the things I’ve learned in my twenties is that, when it comes to personal upkeep, it takes a village…medical professionals, trainers, gyms, personal care services, the list goes on (cautionary note: don’t ask me about any of them, unless you want to kiss 25 minutes of your life goodbye…too late!). Come to think about it, this might explain why, for every raise I’ve ever gotten, I’ve never actually felt an increase in my take-home pay, but I certainly have seen an uptick in the quantity of professionals I employ to help me get through my oh-so-difficult days. So naturally, when Soulcycle came to town–with its $30, 45-minute spinning classes, I jumped.

02_2012_soulcycle_32For those of you that don’t know, Soulcycle is a “high-energy cycling experience”–started in New York, and currently invading LA and San Francisco (or as I prefer to call that collection of cities: the only part of America that actually matters). If you’re a female, you’re probably thinking “of course I’ve heard of Soulcycle, I love spinning!” Wow, congratulations–you’re so on point with your trendy fitness classes, it’s not like *every* gay male was doing that oh I don’t know, four years ago? That was in our rotation right after stand-up paddle boarding and before crossfit; need I remind you that genetically, we’ve evolved to have a predisposition to every trendy workout routine–it’s a regular agenda item in our weekly meetings, and one of the ways that we all have exceedingly nice bodies and what can sometimes seem like a limitless supply of endorphins. I digress. Anyway, I finally went to my first class last week, and before this turns into an over-hyped experience (too late), here’s my completely unhelpful review, which actually talks very little about the class and focuses mostly on (my favorite topic,) me.

Cycling by candle light
Now if we’ve ever hooked up before (and if we have, my apologies again for that mediocre-at-best experience), you’ll know that one of my (many) quirks is that I go to great lengths to set the proper ambiance in my room. Obviously a soundtrack is a key component to that, but IMO, the most important part is lighting. I will pause a hookup (multiple times) until everything is just right: it’s got to be dark enough where we don’t really see each other but still bright enough to catch the orange shimmer of my spray-tanned body and the light ripples in my abs (ha! jk. except no).

Soulcycle, fortunately, shares my lighting neurosis. The instructor was adjusting the lights throughout, based on the tempo of the song–moving from dim to dark, the exact range I would choose to live my life, if the sun had a dimmer. Not only that, but for most of it, we were cycling by candle light–the sexiest lighting of all. As you may already know, I’ve developed an obsession with expensive, masculine candles (“mandles,” we’ll call them), in part because it’s the closest I’ve come to actually being allowed to light money on fire (a personal hobby of mine). So candle-lit spinning class? Yes please.

Over-branded, in a good way.
If there’s one thing I love, it’s good branding. In fact, you’ll be excited to learn that I’m in the process of commissioning a crest for myself–need I remind you that I’m the IV? Soulcycle similarly cares about a highly branded experience. “You already have a workout tank almost identical to that one.” / “Yeah, but it doesn’t have the skull and bike wheel on it, so ultimately I think I’m going to feel empty without this.” In most places, we’d call this “SWAG” but at Soulcycle, it’s called $52.

IMG_20140116_100027Message apparel used to feel very Abercrombie & Fitch, circa 2005 (to be clear though: I was very much Abercrombie and Fitch in 2005): it’s just trying too hard (though to be clear again: I’m still trying too hard, I’ve just moved on from that specific genre). But, all of a sudden, its coming back again — in fact, I recently purchased a pair of black velvet message slippers, with a screw on one shoe and a “U” on the other (you might think this is because I don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell the entire world how I feel about them, but you’d only be half right; really, I got them in an effort to be even more like my idol, Scott Disick). Anywho, when I saw this shirt at Soulcycle, with “ATHLETE” tattooed across the chest, I had to have it. I enjoyed the subtle message it implied: sporty, but understated…athletic, but I don’t need to tell you that. Anyway, sure Soulcycle, put it on the card, and thanks for showing you care.

I guess in an effort to make this review somewhat useful, I should list the things that bothered me. As always, there were many:

  • Good God please figure out a better way to manage that cattle call during the class switches. I’m not sure how you could have so obviously overlooked the fact that if you have back-to-back classes of 50 people each, simple math will cause you to realize that 100 people will be fighting against each other in opposite directions; a teeny tiny hallway is by no means an effective mode of ingress or egress
  • I may have listed the lighting in the class as a plus, but it strikes me as odd that the blindingly bright, sterile lights that hit you the moment you walk out of the studio and into the foyer could have been so egregiously over-looked. What about a transition lighting experience? I’m happy to help you engineer that (see above for my experience)
  • While I appreciate the bios of the instructors on your site, do us all of a favor and include direct links to their Facebook pages, where I expect them to have at least a dozen shirtless photos within the first hundred they’re tagged in (though really the proper ratio of shirtless to clothed pics is more like 4:1, and unless it’s not completely obvious, please do ensure that they’ve got very relaxed privacy settings) — it would really save all of us a step or two

ok that’s all.


In Review: San Francisco Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

Not yet feeling in the holiday mood, I gave myself a jolt of Christmas by going to the Nutcracker last night (and of course, I went by myself because (a) I *strongly* dislike people, (b) I wanted to be flying solo in the event that one of the male ballerinas responded positively to the intense sexual eye contact I’d be making at them throughout the performance–don’t think that isn’t the primary reason I bought a front row seat, and (c) because I wanted to be alone, so get off my nuts about it).

Fun fact: the San Francisco Ballet was the first company to perform the Nutcracker in the US, which makes a little bit more sense, given that every child in this town (including me) was dragged to it each year as a child. But good god there’s a lot going on there; what follows is my review of the plot and the performers (I’ll be using their full names in the event that they have Google Alerts setup for themselves; in which case find me here and here).

Herr Drosselmeyer
I have a very deep collection of Nutcrackers (and I don’t have to tell you, but I will: obviously they’re the handmade ones straight

Collecting prospects for his basement family.

Collecting prospects for his basement family.

from Germany, not the ones in the checkout stand at Marshall’s), and my favorite among them is Herr Drosselmeyer, the tallest and most expensive-looking one (coincidentally, the exact same characteristics I look for in a mate as well). But after last night’s closer inspection of Drosselmeyer’s behavior, I will certainly be reevaluating the prime placement that I’ve been giving him all these years.

Herr Drosselmeyer–played by Damian Smith (who good god is a lot sexier on Google than he was on stage, with the gray wig and makeup), bounds into what looks to be a respectable Christmas Eve party and, without a heartbeat, hones in on Clara, a child 50 years his junior (don’t act so innocent, Clara–you’ll have your day in court later, you little slut). He “forgot” to bring his wife to the party, but of course remembered his purple cape, making it obvious that Mr. Drosselmeyer clearly got the address confused for his Friends of Dorothy party down the road.

Like any rude houseguest, Herr (we’re calling him that now, even though it only means Mister; I scoured the internet and can’t find his first name, no doubt he’s deep in some witness relocation program by now) hijacks the party with a never-ending lineup of jugglers and other deviant service-industry shenanigans. Let it be known: you show up to one of my parties and pull a rabbit out of your hat, and I will shank you (and I do mean the technical definition of shank: cutting your Achilles tendon with a shard of glass).

The plot centers around a Nutcracker that Herr gives Clara, laced with what I can only imagine to be LSD, given that she spends Act II dreaming about battling mice with Class 2 weaponry and morbidly obese women who have dresses full of tiny Asian children and juggling bears. Throughout the whole thing, Herr follows Clara around, waiting for the drugs to fully kick in so he can drag her away and add her to his basement family collection (though to Herr’s credit, basement families only recently became en vogue, so he does get points for being about a century ahead of the trend on that one). I’ve since learned that Herr is also a local councilman, which puts the whole thing in startlingly-clear perspective, proof positive that politics will be politics, whether you’re in 19th century St. Petersburg or at a Ted Cruz meet-and-greet in Pensacola, Florida.

Like I said, Clara–played by “Catherine” (no last name given; either a shrewd move by her parents or an ambitious attempt at celebrity for a thirteen year old) clearly has her eyes set on a one way ticket to a shiny pole and cigarette burns on her yet-appearing breasts. In a room full of what look to be perfectly charming Oligarchs-in-waiting, she becomes obsessed with a Nutcracker–which I’d argue is *not* a gender neutral toy (hashtag daddy issues). To her excitement, that Nutcracker grows into a full-grown man, played by the dashing (if ambiguously-raced) Davit Karapetyan, and the two dance off through a series of landscapes only Bob Marley could imagine.

Which brings me to the central question I couldn’t tear myself away from: are we all just supposed to sit here and politely

Oh you know, just storing some children under this ball gown.

Oh you know, just storing some children under this ball gown.

golf clap as a tween gets statutorily raped on stage? It’s a glaring hole in the plot, but if you’re OK turning a blind eye to the law (and I usually am, except when it comes to heterosexual dalliances like this, when I turn into Judge Judy), the dancing will take your breath away. I just couldn’t understand why no one was as outraged as me.

But the real outrage is when Clara steps into a changing room and out comes a fully dressed, more mature version of Clara…except…suddenly…she’s Asian. Yes, choreographer Helgi Tomasson decided to cast the female half of the Grand Pas de Deux with Yuan Yuan Tan (and not that you had any trouble guessing, but Yuan Yuan is Chinese). She does a phenomenal job, and I’m all for letting your imagination run wild in a ballet, yet if I had a difficult time making the jump through this transformation, you can only imagine the struggle that the children in the audience–who this ballet is ultimately designed for–must have been going through. Think about the children, is what I’m trying to say here…think about the children.

The other elephant in the room.
As mentioned earlier, one of the strong drivers for my attendance were the male ballerinas, and in that regard, this show didn’t disappoint: I spent the lion’s share of Act II with my eyes either staring up Karapetyan’s crack or–if he was facing us–glued to his overflowing package of goods in front. Even as he was standing just off stage, my eyes were fixated–hook line and sinker. It was distracting to an alarming degree, but of course in a good way; and I know I wasn’t the only one, either–they were selling “ballet binoculars” in the lobby, for God’s sake. Turns out they’re wearing what’s called a “male dance belt,” which I plan on wearing *exclusively* next Halloween.



After the ballet, I did what anyone would do: went home and furiously researched him, focusing on sex tapes and the like. Turns out he’s married to Vanessa Zahorian, the other prima ballerina in San Francisco’s ballet, which kind of makes you vomit in your mouth a little, but in a cute way I guess (so here’s the question: what was their first dance like at the wedding? I feel like you either go balls-to-the-wall there or just sit it out). Also, I said ambiguously-raced earlier, though closer research reveals he’s Armenian, which in the context of this Eastern European play is probably more accurate than if he were white (just like how Jesus also was not white).

Foiled again by a marriage, I took to OkCupid, narrowing my boolean search terms to profiles with “dancer” “ballet” or “ballerina.” So far, no promising leads, but I spent all afternoon today at the gym focusing on my legs, and with a little bit more obsession, I’d like to hope that I am *very close* to a body where I can dawn white tights and captivate a room full of 300 close friends. No doubt you’re already aware of this if we’re friends; I routinely force people to feel my ass, though with good reason–it’s quite firm.

So to recap, if you’ve got $150 to shell out, a pension for soft-core porn and an obsession with massive quads, the San Francisco Ballet’s rendition of The Nutcracker is the holiday ticket for you!