Chatological Humor: Swiss Family pR0n

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Gene Weingarten
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 18, 2007; 12:00 PM

Gene Weingarten's humor column, Below the Beltway, appears every Sunday in The Washington Post magazine. It is syndicated nationally by the Washington Post Writers Group.

At one time or another, Below the Beltway has managed to offend persons of both sexes as well as individuals belonging to every religious, ethnic, regional, political and socioeconomic group. If you know of a group we have missed, please write in and the situation will be promptly rectified. "Rectified" is a funny word.

On Tuesdays at noon, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. He will chat about anything. Although this chat is updated regularly throughout the week, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.

This Week's Poll: MEN| WOMEN

Important, secret note to readers: The management of The Washington Post apparently does not know this chat exists, or it would have been shut down long ago. Please do not tell them. Thank you.

Weingarten is also the author of "The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death" and co-author of "I'm with Stupid," with feminist scholar Gina Barreca.

New to Chatological Humor? Read the FAQ.

P.S. If composing your questions in Microsoft Word please turn off the Smart Quotes functionality. I haven't the time to edit them out. -- Liz

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Gene Weingarten: Good afternoon.

Okay, let's get over with right away. Many readers of my Sunday column asked the obvious question. I have pondered long and hard over whether to do this, consulted with Liz over long lunches in fashionable restaurants, etc., and finally decided: I think we are all adults here, and can make decisions for ourselves. So, I am going to give you the link to the loathsome and disgusting Web site referenced in this column. Please be advised that you may never have seen anything as viscerally repulsive as this. You may wish to ensure that no one sees you watching this.

On to more pleasant matters:

A few minutes ago, I took my new laptop and deliberately spilled half a cup of coffee on the keyboard. I then waited 30 seconds and wiped it off with a damp cloth. Then, I dropped it on the bare wood floor from a height of four feet, smeared peanut butter on it, and summoned the dogs. Murphy and Mattingly (Molly's dog, here for a visit) fought over it, pushed it around, licked it clean, and Mattie carried it away. I retrieved it.

It's working fine. I'm typing on it now.

What I am writing on is my new XO computer, the famous $200 laptop created by the One Laptop Per Child organization as part of an ambitious plan to get all Third World kids online by 2012. I became one of the first Americans to get one, putting in my bid on day one of the brief introductory offer. The deal was that you had to buy two, one of which went to Africa. So I spent $400 for this one.

Hang on.

Okay, I just switched from that computer to my Vaio because, to put it bluntly, the XO is hellishly annoying to work with. Here is my official washingtonpost.com review:

The new XO Craptop costs about one tenth as much as a commercial laptop and is worth every penny of it, in the sense that if you got a brand new car for $1,300, you'd probably be reasonably pleased even if it handled like a forklift.

This thing is completely indestructible; the keyboard is one fused piece of floppy plastic that is airtight, watertight, dustproof, mud resistant, vomit impermeable, etc. Llama diarrhea will wipe right off. Alas, this indestructibility comes at the expense of almost everything else. The keyboard is so small that I can only comfortably use it with two fingers. (I know, it's for kids, but I'm thinking a 12-year-old will have already outgrown this keyboard.) The mouse touch-pad is so balky and the monitor so small that positioning the cursor requires the fine motor skills of a watch repairman. My hands are pretty steady, but after about 10 minutes of this, you start to shake and tremble like an epileptic. Call it an Epileptop.

It is really eccentric. It has one key that simply rotates the screen in 90 degree increments. So, let's say you are writing a document and decide you want to see what it looks like upside down, voila! Two keystrokes. But changing from one program to another? This is a glacial process.

The computer itself is in the monitor part, not the keyboard part, which is interesting. And the monitor rotates in all directions, so it can even sit atop the keyboard and turn into a book, for reading. The $10 battery lasts four to six hours, and as many as 24 hours, supposedly, if you are just reading. There's a game-pad controller, a microphone and a camera. Also, apparently, even though there is no CD drive and no hard drive, you can actually re-program it to your tastes.

All in all, I'm conflicted. It's an absolutely amazing accomplishment -- this is a tough, high-tech computer that works, and won't break, and it sells for $200. On the other hand, I'm a little unnerved by the pukka sahib mentality you have to take to fully endorse it -- you know, it's a maddening machine, a devil to use, I'd never expect MY kid to be satisfied with it, but it's fine for the po' kids in loincloths?

I'm hoping this is just a beginning; that this will simply prove to others that it's possible to do, and within a few years, we'll all by typing on $200 laptops that Somali kids can have for $25.

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Okay, I gave up on this, though I am sure the answer is obvious: Can someone please explain.

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This excellent link comes from Dave Barry's blog.

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And here we have two fabulous paired aptonyms.

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Please take today's poll, which is based upon one of the most interesting posts ever to this chat. I am going to give my feelings early, because I believe they will provoke some controversy. I am certain I am right.

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The Comic Pick of the Week is today's Doonesbury. First Runner-Up is Monday's Frank and Ernest, because it made me laugh. Honorables: Today's Pearls, for the excellent middle panel, Sunday's Pickles, Monday's Agnes, Monday's Non Sequitur.

Yes, I hate the new Sunday comics squeeze, too. It's bad and I hate it. And I hate that Weekend is losing Tom The Dancing Bug, one of the few remaining strips with a brain.

Hate, hate, hate.

Okay, let's go.

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Washington, D.C.: In case you were wondering whether people who had never heard of this video before would figure out what's in it from your column, I can tell you that I caught on from references like "dreck" and "all-consuming," while my wife still couldn't quite figure out what you were talking about.

Gene Weingarten: Good for you. There were plenty of clues in the column, but they were all subtle.

washingtonpost.com: Ecch-Rated Videos, ( Post Magazine, Dec. 16)

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Bethesda vs. D.C.: Gene, you live in Capitol Hill and like it, right? I wanted to get your perspective on something: my husband and I bought a house in Bethesda a few years ago in a great location, and while the neighborhood has a lot of really great attributes for families (school within walking distance, playground near by, etc.) we are feeling kind of bored and we are missing the energy and vitality of living in the city. So, we've been looking in Capitol Hill near Eastern Market. My problem is that whenever I say this to anyone, they all act horrified and aghast that I would leave Bethesda to the city. Am I missing something? I mean, I understand that D.C. public schools in some cases are not that great, but I have also heard good things about individual schools (for example, Capitol Hill Cluster School), and I also know several people that went all the way through D.C. public schools and are incredibly interesting, motivated, and talented people who are thankful for the experience of growing up in such a diverse environment. I also find Capitol Hill (and many other neighborhoods in D.C. for that matter) to be filled with different kinds of people, a sense of walkability, funky stores/restaurants/farmers markets and more proximate to all the stuff that makes living in this area fun like museums and such. And beyond that (and perhaps more importantly), we do not currently have kids, probably not for a few years... any thoughts?

Gene Weingarten: I am 56 years old and have lived in 16 neighborhoods in seven differen cities. I have never lived anywhere nearly as cool, rewarding, interesting, as the Eastern Market neighborhood in Capitol Hill.

Gene Weingarten: And I moved there from Bethesda.

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Neverla, ND: Gene-

Is there more than one Dave Barry? Did our Dave Barry write the Peter and the Starcatchers trilogy? Is it any good?

Thanks.

Gene Weingarten: Yes, and yes. It's rip-roaring, a prequel series about how Peter Pan got to Neverland ... and beyond.

Dave also wrote "The Shepherd, The Angel and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog" an absolutely charming Christmas book at your booksellers right now, and for every Christmas into the forseeable future.

Gene Weingarten: The Starcatcher series was written in collaboration with Ridley Pearson.

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Poll Follow-Up: Is it wrong that the main concern I had after doing the poll was, "To heck with downloading porn -- what's the big deal? I want to know where you get one of them there programs that hides what you're downloading!" For the record, I'm a 40-year-old female (yes, yes, I'm very hot, etc., etc.). So... what are those programs?

Gene Weingarten: Can anyone elucidate?

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703: In re the poll, I would like to hear from the "extrememly immoral and harmful" folks. Back that statement up.

Gene Weingarten: Me, too. We won't make fun of you, people: Defend your vote.

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Maryland: Womanly thoughts on porn:

In my own experience, I used to be into porn (relatively for a woman, I mean), and I assumed my sex life was terrific because it was exciting and adventurous. It turned out that later I met this completely plain vanilla guy who barely (relatively for a man, I mean) looks at porn at all and is pretty mild, and I fell in love with him. And then what happened is that what he liked I came to like, and I lost my taste for porn. It just stopped appealing and it started seeming kind of tawdry. And the plain sex is better than I ever, ever imagined. I would never trade it now for the fancy sex I used to go for. True story, I promise.

So in hindsight, it seems like all the old cliches about "love good, porn bad" actually add up to better sex in the end. However, I can see how it would be incredibly annoying if someone tried to talk you into believing this before you found out for yourself. Everyone has to make their own mistakes, I guess.

Gene Weingarten: It all depends on what you are defining as "plain sex," doesn't it? To me, straightforward sex with someone you love is not "plain."

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Perplexed...: Gene,

This is kind of random (and long), but since it's the holiday season I wanted to get some imput on my situation. My father has become increasingly religious as he's aged, and for Christmas this year he decided to give a charitable donation to an evangelical Christian organization in my sisters and my names. I am not overly religious and would prefer donations to Fisher House or a Chesapeake Bay fund. Let me also qualify this by saying that this is during a time that I am incurring increasing college debt and, more importantly, my nephew needs a special stroller to get around. He is autistic and developmentally challenged.

Sorry for the long post, but what are your thoughts on this? And to spark conversation, do you (and the audience) believe, if needed, that charity starts at home?

Thanks,

Jon

Gene Weingarten: This is an interesting question!

I think the purpose of a present is to at least try to please the present-getter. While the joy of giving is an important part of this process, it is not the central part of this process: The primary purpose of a present is not, or should not be, to please the present-giver.

Your father is pleasing only himself. I would tell him as much. If you want to donate the money you would have spent on my present to some charity YOU support and EYE do not, that is your business. But please do not think of it as giving me a present. Had you given me the money, I would not have chosen that charity, do not support that charity, and resent the money being given in my name. If you DO wish to give me a present as a gift to a charity, I would be delighted if you made that charity the Fisher House, which helps injured Iraq War Vets.

Giving donations instead of presents is tricky. Last Xmas, instead of sending fruit and candy to some friends, we gave donations in their names to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, which rescues abused farm animals. Each donation supported one pig for a year.

Some friends liked this; some, I think, didn't get it at all. This year we're going back to fruit and candy.

By the way, in case any of you are feeling charitable, here is the contact for Fisher House:

Fisher House Foundation

1401 Rockville Pike

Suite 600

Rockville, MD 20852

and here's Poplar Spring:

Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary

P.O. Box 507

Poolesville, Maryland 20837

Phone: 301-428-8128

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RE: Craptop: You claim your $200 computer has no hard drive. Then how does it run an Operating System? Employ the use of a capybara, a wheel, and some wiring? NO hard drive? Really?

Gene Weingarten: That's what the ads for it say! I didn't understand that either.

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Huh?: I don't get the UCLA marching band joke.

Gene Weingarten: Look at the guy's name.

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Hate, Hate, Hate: Opus has been shrunk to one quarter of its original size. Need reading glasses......

Get down to comics and smack the individual responsible!

Gene Weingarten: They don't listen to me.

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The problem with the dad is....: NOT that he lied to mom about it (as I think most men would). It's that he let his son take the fall for it, and then bribed him to apologize for it, rather than be a better example and own up to mom for letting their son take the fall. THAT is his biggest issue, not that he looks at porn. Your options didn't allow for that.

Gene Weingarten: Okay, we have to discuss this.

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Alexandria, Va.: I have been told what happens in the video but have not actually seen it myself. I have one question. If the women were not doing what the are doing in the video, would you call them hot?

Gene Weingarten: No. Too trashy to be hot.

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Portland, Ore.: Ouch. I guess ladies really don't appreciate the fact that men look at the porn. And this is a fairly liberal audience! Thank god me and my SO don't share a computer.

I wonder how the response would have come out for ladies if the question had been "rate your attitude toward the fact that YOUR man regularly looks at pornography on the web." I shudder to think.

Gene Weingarten: Me, too. This is one reason my analysis of the poll is going to be so dramatically counter-intuitive.

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Thoughts on the poll: This was very relevant to me since I am the mother of two sons now in their early twenties. I know that porn is different for men and women. I can understand that looking at porn is basically harmless.

BUT - when I found the first stash of photos that one of my sons had downloaded, I am afraid I had to have the conversation with my son that those were real women, with real feelings, and usually they don't really want to be doing this. Same goes for women who work in strip clubs. Most of those women have really sad stories. The discovery of the porn was an opportunity to discuss the dehumanization and objectification of women that has become a concern in our society - in music, etc. It is not about prudishness. It is about compassion and respect for women. It frankly opened a good dialog.

What concerns me about the dynamic between the husband and wife is the dishonesty. The dad was teaching the kid it was okay to lie to mom and to his future wife. And I would hope in a marriage you didn't have to hide things like this from each other.

Gene Weingarten: With all respect, I think you are (mostly) wrong about women's reasons for being strippers, or participating in porn. Everything credible I have read about it -- including one remarkable piece by Mr. Thomas McKinlay Shroder from many years ago -- suggest that women are in it because they want to be in it. See next post.

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Washington, D.C.: Today's poll reminded me of one of my favorite movies, "A Christmas Story." If you haven't seen it, you MUST. The story in today's poll could have come straight from that movie, only substitute this young man taking the rap for the porn for Ralphie not telling his mom where he learned the word "fudge." It was clear in the movie that everyone in that family loved each other, and part of the way they showed it was keeping each others' secrets.

Gene Weingarten: Exactly what this is about!

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Arlington, Va.: That "Best Posting of the Year" is a fake. No kid calls his dad "dear old dad" and the wording doesn't sound like anything a high school senior would use.

washingtonpost.com: Not true -- this could be a Shansby-esque kind of kid.

Gene Weingarten: Two people have suggested this is a fake, without proof. Before posting it, I checked Snopes and I googled several phrases within it. I have one additional reason to believe it is true, a reason that will become apparent later in the chat.

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Fairfax, Va.: From the poll it seems I am in the minority here, but speaking as a mother, I think the mother was most out of line. When my boys were teenagers I used to always find Playboy and Penthouse magazines hidden in their rooms, and I thought it best to just ignore them. (Now if there had been anything worse, that would be another story.) Humiliating my teen-aged boys for having hormones seemed cruel. Further, I feared it would just make them more secretive and withdrawn, which could carry over to other things.

My boys managed to grow up fine and seem to be happily married to very nice young women.

Gene Weingarten: Yeah. Many more women than I would have guess wound up faulting the Mom.

Me, I fault no one. My analysis follows.

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Gene Weingarten: Okay, the poll.

I like this family. Relationships seem just fine. I don't think anyone erred. Within an awkward, deceptive framework, I think people dealt with each other honestly, compassionately, and with love.

Mom was just doing her job as a Mom, as she saw it. Moms are, by and large, freaked and skeeved by porn. They want a moral and orderly home, and they want their Sons to be gentlemen. Communication between Mom and Son was open enough that if she felt the need to unload, she unloaded; Son respected Mom enough to come clean, not to evade or lie.

Now, I happen to think Mom was wrong here, but excusably so. In my house, had Rib caught Dan at 17 with porn, here is what would have happened: She would have come to me, and we would have formulated a Plan. The Plan would have been for me to talk to Dan about it, privately, so he is not humiliated in front of Mom, and that I instruct him that porn is demeaning to women and ugly and such, and without making him feel BAD about himself, urging him to realign his priorities and redirect his lusts. Then, I would have gone to Dan and said, "Hide your porn better, jerko. Mom found it and it bothered her. She shouldn't have to look at that."

See, that's the thing, the collision of values that is at the crux of it all. Women and men will never agree, really, about porn. Men know that unless it becomes an addiction, it is essentially harmless. By and large, women cannot, will not, and do not really buy this. (Some do, obviously. See the poll.) So what results from this situation is a tacit conspiracy of silence, a cognitive barrier between men and women: Don't ask, don't tell. Occasionally, as in this case, the towel slips.

Okay, the Son - Clapclapclapclapclap. You did great, kid. You did not rat out your Dad. Why? Because you knew that your parents' relationship would suffer needlessly. (Needlessly, because as a guy, you knew this was no big deal, but as a PERCEPTIVE guy you knew it would be a big deal to Mom.) Telling the truth is a good thing, but VOLUNTEERING a hurtful truth, not always.

The Dad - here is the tricky one. A lot of you faulted him, and used the word "bribery." There is no bribery here. Dad is not paying for silence; Son had already remained silent on his own. What Dad is doing is expressing enormous gratitude, and justifiably so. Son saved his cojones. Why was Dad not honest with Mom in the first place? Sure, the truth would have been embarrassing, but the greater factor is the strain to the marriage. Mom's pain was much lessened in believing this was merely a matter of an immature, errant son. An ADDRESSIBLE problem. Since Son had already admitted to having a porn cache, Dad's silence did nothing to further implicate Son.

Now, a lesser man might have left this issue unresolved, with Son. But Dad has a conscience. He is humiliated. It cannot have been easy for him to approach Son, but he did, because he had a Great Big Thank You to deliver. That moment must have been very interesting, both funny and awkward, and it must have further strengthened what sounds like an already pretty strong father-son bond.

Did anyone disrespect Mom? No. Her feelings were paramount. Did Dad betray Son? No. Did son betray anyone? No. Was Mom out of line? Nah.

One last thing: It apparently never even momentarily occurred to Mom that the owner of this porn trove might have been Dad. I'm guessing, on the basis of this admittedly thin reed, that their relationship is not unhealthy.

Gene Weingarten: Now have at me.

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North McLean, Va.: The computer uses Solid State's flash drive - like those USB keys. One day soon all computers will.

Gene Weingarten: Okay. Whatever this means.

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Washington, D.C.: If you can afford to live in Bethesda, but cannot/do not want to pay for private schools for your children, it is utterly irresponsible and selfish to live in Washington, D.C., because you find it more "interesting." If this is really the case you should not have children. The difference between the Montgomery County public schools and the District of Columbia public schools is so great that it is laughable. No child who could go in MoCo should be forced to go in D.C.

Gene Weingarten: Well, that is why we lived in MoCo until Dan got out of high school.

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12 or 13: The trick is that when you count 13, it's because each person is slightly shorter than when you count 12. The person who has the most body below the break in the 12 arrangement gets no top of their hair in the 13, and the person who has the most body above the break in the 12 arrangement gets no bottoms of their shoes in the 13. That is there are 12 halves. In the 12 arrangement each half is paired with a bottom. In the 13 arrangement, 11 halves are paired together and two have no second half (11+2=13).

Gene Weingarten: Ah. That makes sense. Intriguing, no?

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RE: Porn: My wife an I are undergoing fertility treatment. The day I needed to provide my "sample" I grabbed the laptop, walked upstairs and opened a bookmark. My wife was home during this time. I told her it seemed like a waste of resources for me to be doing that while she was home (they do not allow... help during this activity). She said she understood exactly what I was doing, and did not even question that I had a site bookmarked.

Gene Weingarten: Why would they not allow "help" in your own home, with your own wife?

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Falls Church, V.: Gene, you do realize Paul Anka did a whole album of rock covers? Some of them are less sacrilegious... and others are Eye of the Tiger from Rocky III.

Gene Weingarten: The odd thing is, this song transforms pretty effortlessly into a lounge-lizard version! You can hear him do it and never realize it debuted as grunge.

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Washington, D.C.: Tom the Dancing Bug is going away?! I'd cancel my subscription if I had one. I certainly won't get another subscription now. I had been considering going Friday through Sunday only, but not anymore. What's going in his space? More crap to entertain the dozen kids in the area who don't watch tv nonstop?

Gene Weingarten: I dunno. I am upset.

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Cube CIty, USA: I see the official White House Christmas Ornament features the WH wedding of Grover Cleveland. Since you've written before of your admiration for the guy (or am I getting my mutton-chopped dead white men confused?), does this mean that you and the White House finally are coming together?

Gene Weingarten: Heh, they glide right over the most interesting fact, here. Grover married Frances Folsom who was a rare voluptuous beauty, and ... 21 years old. Grover, the lascivious old coot, was 49.

It was a long-lasting marriage founded on the deepest of love. Among their children, conceived in the White House, was Ruth, for whom the Baby Ruth candy bar was named.

During his public life, Cleveland was frequently asked why he remained a bachelor -- had he never found a woman to love? His answer always was "I am waiting for her to grow up," which always provoked laughter, but turned out to be quite literally true. Frances was the daughter of Cleveland's law partner, and he had his eye on her from the time she was three.

Yeah, I wrote a piece about Grover, during the Lewinsky scandal. I've always been proud of this story. Liz, can we link to it?

Can we also link to a photo or drawing of the Cleveland -- Folsom White House wedding?

washingtonpost.com: Grover Cleveland for President, ( Post, Oct. 4, 1998) and the Cleveland-Folsom wedding.

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Arco, ID: I write this knowing that I will probably sound incredibly self-involved and arrogant. But you are the only person I trust to give me a good answer. So bear with me, please.

I am fantastic at sex. Amazing. I have been told this numerous times by my past partners. And I have been with incredibly diverse people. So I'm pretty confident that what they say to me is true.

So what do I say in in our post-coital moments? When they say "Wow, you are amazing" I think they really mean "What we did was amazing." And a Thank You doesn't really cut it. They seem to want/expect me to return the compliment. But I don't want to lie, and truthfully, most of the time, I've had better. But an "I know" is totally arrogant, and my flippant "So I've been told" was taken badly. (I know it was a buttknuckle way to respond)

I just don't like the idea of lying to someone to make them feel better about themselves. Or atleast, be a primary party in deception.

This may not seem like much of a problem, but it bothers me. And it is further complicated by the fact that even after the relationship ends, Guy still thinks "We had something" because of the "incredible chemistry." Reality: nope its just me.

So what would you do?

FWIW: i'm about to turn 24, fairly attractive, and am not slutty.

Gene Weingarten: Okay. As Liz will attest, I have gone back to this post about 12 times, and I just have no idea what to say in response. I could be crude, but that's too easy. I could be cruel, but that's too cruel. So, it's just going out there. Comments welcome, other than invitations for this young lady to meet for lunch.

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I love your line:"Hide your porn better, jerko. Mom found it and it bothered her. She shouldn't have to look at that."

I still have a problem with the buying of the present for silence. If the son and father just had this "between us" secret, it would be fine. The present really does seem like a payoff to me.

Gene Weingarten: But the kid had already remained silent! This was not quid pro quo. This was a thank you.

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Anonymous: Abused farm animals? As in, a package of bacon?

Gene Weingarten: As in beaten pigs, debeaked chickens, starved cows, etc. This is a fabulous place. We love it.

Molly worked there as a volunteer when in college, and that's what made her become a vet.

On her first day on the job, a horse tried to jump a fence and got impaled on the barbed wire. Her chest was torn open, down to the bone. The vet needed someone who was not squeamish to hold the wound open. And there was Molly.

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Bethesda to Capitol Hill: I live on Capitol Hill and have two kids (2 years and 4 months). Every once in a while I head up to Bethesda/Rockville and I'm always struck by "Man, there are so many white people here...." And I'm white myself. I love the fact that on my block live a mix of people of all different ages, and about a 50-50 black/white mix. The school around the corner from us is great (Maury Elementary).

Are there problems? Sure. I wish the police could figure out how to get the drug dealer aroudn the corner arrested instead of giving excuses on why they can't nab him because he only deals inside his house and that involves vice squad, blah blah blah.

But like Gene, I love it here. I love the fact that when I walk my dog people I've never seen before enthusiastically greet her by name. I think my parents in McLean, VA were patiently waiting for us to move to the 'burbs once the kids came, and they're realizing that maybe we'll stay put.

Gene Weingarten: On her walk every morning, Murphy stops by Phil's car repair place and gets a cookie. They have a box, just for her. This is a GREAT neighborhood.

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Sudan: I'm an aid worker overseas, and I'm torn about the One Laptop Per Child program. On the one hand, without education and some familiarity with modern technology, children will never be able to lift themselves, or their children out of poverty. On the other, I've been to places where people don't get One Meal Per Day. Or access to water that won't kill them. Or medical attention. Or a school.

I know it's not an either-or proposition... or is it? Gene, that $400 could buy enough to feed a family for a year. Why are we perfecting Viagra and Rogaine when we don't have a cure (or even a reasonable prophylaxis) for malaria? Pharms say that it's so they can make enough money to R&D drugs for the greater good, but we're not even close to doing that, and malaria's been around for decades. Does anyone think a cure wouldn't have been more urgently funded if it hadn't been eradicated in America and Europe?

When a striking number of humans die every day from diarrhea (diarrhea!), do we really start by giving them all laptops?

Gene Weingarten: I know, man. But you can drive yourself crazy parsing this. I'm for the laptops.

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Oops: I'm one of the people who selected "extrememly immoral and harmful". My reasoning? I accidentally swapped the 1 and 5 rankings in my head. I was mortified when I saw the results. You should include an "undo" option in your polls.

Gene Weingarten: Hahahahaha.

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Serious, LI: I was once brought to court by an ex-girlfriend seeking a restraining order. I had contacted her -- once -- and asked to meet. When she threatened to take me to court, I agreed not to contact her again, but she nonetheless pursued the restraining order.

I had offered to settle out of court, and had not then or previously attacked, threatened, or assaulted her, or even spoken to her harshly. At court, she asked me (while I was under oath) how I had tracked down her phone number in order to contact her after a move, and I said I had Googled her. This was a lie: I had looked up her address in a mutual friend's Blackberry without the mutual friend's knowledge or permission. All other facts I disclosed in court were 100% true, and based on all these other facts the judge ruled that she had over-reacted to my attempts to contact her and did not issue the order (which, if it had been issued, would have completely screwed up my life).

Does this count as a "serious lie"?

Gene Weingarten: Well, let's see:

1. It was a lie told under the penalty of perjury.

2. It was a lie that, had it not been told, would have helped establish stalkerish behavior.

3. It was a lie covering up an activity so sleazy and furtive that you betrayed a friend to do it.

So, what do you think?

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Alexandria, Va.: The post about canceling the subscription due to Tom the Dancing Bug reminded me of a question I've been meaning to ask. Why are subscriptions only two choices - Sundays only or every day? I rarely read my paper during the week, but enjoy reading the entire thing on weekends. I called to see if I could switch to weekends only, but was told that's not an option. So I switched to Sunday only, but now I'm really missing it on Saturdays. But I don't want to get an entire week's worth of papers that won't get read just to get Saturdays. What to do?

Gene Weingarten: Hey, get the whole paper. It's an incredible bargain. Read it, fer Crissakes.

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Bethesda, Md.: Why is Weekend dropping Tom the Dancing Bug? That's the smartest strip around. Can't they move it to Outlook or somewhere else? Should we riot?

Gene Weingarten: I would never personally endorse a riot. In fact, inciting to riot is a crime. So I would never personally endorse RIOTING. But some action is in order short of rioting.

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Re: Dad buying the kid the Wii: Well, how do you feel when a Senator or member of Congress votes a certain way to help interest group X and then interest group X bundles a ton of donations his way? He didn't have the money to begin with, but he might be able to reasonably expect that it would come with his vote.

Gene Weingarten: C'mon. The son had no such expectaton!

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To the amazing sex girl: I don't know what to say to her either, other than - the sex can't be that good on one side of the bed if it is that poor on the other side of the bed. It takes two to tango. Maybe she should use her amazing skills to help her partner be better?

Gene Weingarten: I STILL don't know what to say.

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Towson, Md.: Caught by ANOTHER urban legend, dumbass.

Gene Weingarten: Holy crap! I think I had this one in my story!!

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Great Poll: Very interesting poll this week. I'm a guy and chose the unpopular response that the husband was wrong because he downloaded porn. Not because that act is bad per se but if he knew that his wife would be upset by this (as witnessed by hiding it from her) then he was acting in a disrespectful manner and therefore wrong.

Gene Weingarten: What? So you cannot do anything that would bother your spouse?

You are either a woman or the most henpecked husband on the planet.

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Phil's car repair place...: rocks. I still get my car serviced there on my way to work (live in Alexandria). They paid a parking ticket for me since the area around them is all zoned.

Nothing but a blatant plug...but what the heck...it's the holidays.

Gene Weingarten: I would never plug a friend's business, but by Phil's I am sure you are referring to CAPITOL HILL AUTO SERVICE on INDEPENDENCE AVE. SE, HOME OF THE FULL-SERVICE TUNEUP.

_______________________

Re: Amazing Sex Girl: Does she even need a partner? Since she's doing all the work, wouldn't something battery operated be less hassle (and not require soul-killing compliments afterward)?

Gene Weingarten: Hahaha.

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Arlington, Va.: What I like about the Grover Cleveland marriage was that the equivalent of the tabloid writers didn't get their story right, even back then. Cleveland was seen sporting his eventual bride and mother around town. The speculation was that he was dating the mother, not the daughter.

Gene Weingarten: Right. It was the widow of his law partner, so it made sense.

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No longer in D.C.: This year at the company holiday party my boss's wife invited me to her weekly mom's night out. I'd love to go; she's hilarious and sweet, and I am a young stepmom (we have the kid full time) in a relatively new area without many friends. I have been desperately wanting to make women/mom friends, but I've been having trouble as my kid is not a baby and I'm rather shy. Receiving the invite was a big deal.

However, my boss's wife freely admitted they talk mostly about sex. And that she tells her husband everything afterwards. I've never felt too comfortable talking about such things, but that's kind of beside the point since I would be learning things about MY BOSS'S sex life and he would learn things about mine. But I really want to go. What do I do?

Gene Weingarten: Go.

Be funny. Substitute humor for facts. It will be clear you are just not going to talk about your sex life, but no one would mind.

You know what I would do? Make up something outrageous, and have it get more outrageous, until you have everyone's rapt attention, and then burst out laughing. You will have entertained, and that's enough.

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Curiosi,TY: How can people responding to the survey see the dad's behavior as problematic (allowing blame to fall on the son) while at the same time indicating no problems between the parents?

Gene Weingarten: I think they are essentially saying Dad made a mistake, but by and large, things are fine here; the family relates well to each other.

_______________________

Towson, Md.: Do you ever feel even the slightest bit guilty about getting Lorrie Baumann fired?

Gene Weingarten: There's a name from the past.

No, I do not.

Lorrie Bauman was the editor of the Battle Mountain newspaper, who spoke to me candidly about how godawful the town was, in my piece about The Armpit of America. She was fired a week later.

I'm not guilty about it for three reasons: The first is that Lorrie was an adult, and a media-savvy adult. She knew what she was saying would be controversial, and chose to say it anyway. Second, Lorrie later told me it was a blessing for her, that it had been a crappy job, that she had wanted to write fiction, and this gave her the kick in the arse she needed. And third, I didn't just take it lying down. Liz, can you link to the Battle Mountain story and the column I wrote about Lorrie?

washingtonpost.com: Why Not the Worst?, ( Post, Dec. 2, 2001)

Below the Beltway, ( Jan. 6, 2002)

_______________________

Anonymous: My question is, do you think the son showed his dad the software to hide it better?

Gene Weingarten: It would have been the decent thing to do.

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Baby Ru, TH: It's not really an urban legend; it's a deliberate fraud knowingly perpetrated by the candy company. So I don't think you're a dumbass.

Gene Weingarten: Oh, good. Thank you.

_______________________

Why?: I just do not get the male fascination with pornography. I have never -- not even once -- sought out pornography on the Web, though I have stumbled across it more than once. I don't think it's immoral or evil, it's just a waste of time, energy, effort, and (in some cases) money.

I did know one guy in college who was addicted to it. He surfed porn sites morning, noon and night -- sometimes up to 16 hours per day, every waking moment. He missed classes, exams, parties, and even lost jobs over online pornography. He never interacted with other students, never had a date that I knew about, and was eventually kicked out of school. Not many people even knew who he was.

Gene Weingarten: I think we can all agree that this was a problem, yes? The difference between the connoisseur of fine cognac after dinner, and a drooling drunk on your doorstep.

_______________________

Catonsville, Md.: I'm gonna miss the chat, but, before you all get started, I know a few women who do porn and no they don't feel exploited. They feel like they are making good money doing something they enjoy. Something most of them did before getting paid for it. By that I mean they had sex with lots of men, took pics and videos and gave the stuff away free. Just for fun. And it's just like any other profession, hard to be good at when you are messed up on drugs. I don't know any women who do porn who also do drugs. Drugs make you look unhealthy, not hot.

Gene Weingarten: See?

Gene Weingarten: Oop, I meant to link to this earlier. Please cut and paste it, in your brains, into the proper sequence. Thank you.

_______________________

Curious to know: how Liz answered the poll.

washingtonpost.com: Dad is most despicable here. He's not only lying and bribing his son, he's responsible for making his son a good and moral man. That said, I have no problem with porn.

Gene Weingarten: Lizzie, I already patiently EXPLAINED to you why your head is up your butt on this one.

_______________________

Honest marriage, USA: I do think it is wrong for the man to hide something from his wife. It does not matter if it is porn or credit card bills or sneaking food. If the relationship is so bad that a man and woman can not be honest with each other, it is not much of a marriage.

Gene Weingarten: One is entitled to hide thoughts. Love and marriage not only allow privacy, but require it. And porn is thought.

I am not a porn addict. I look at it only occasionally. But I will defend to the death a person's right to view it in privacy.

_______________________

Another point for the amazing sex girl to ponder: How do you know that you are not slutty? You're 23 and have had so many new partners that are complimenting "sex skills" that you have already developed...

I guess I'm just wondering if, instead of current course and speed, you only slept with people you were really into and turned on by -on multiple levels-, this wouldn't be a problem.

And you wouldn't be so contemptuous toward them.

Again, I say, SHEESH!

Gene Weingarten: Yeah, you know, it is the implied contempt that is troubling.

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Confus, ED: I hope you don't mind if I ask you a journalistic question, based on your experience as an editor. Could you explain to me the rhyme or reason behind journalistic use of "Mr."? Wikipedia says of the New York Times, "Unlike most newspapers, the Times uses courtesy titles in news stories (but not in editorials or "light" stories, such as lifestyle or fashion)." I've noticed that they generally don't use them in the sports section but did in the big Mitchell report story, which I understand. But if that's right, then what are they doing in this utter fluff piece? Don't get it.

Gene Weingarten: The Times still uses Mr. and Ms. and Mrs. because they are dorks. Basically. I can tell you that the reporters hate it.

It is stupid for a number of reasons, including the odd inconsistencies. Felons don't get the Mr. Sports figures don't get the Mr. Why don't sports figures? They are the equivalent of felons?

There was a rumor, many years ago, that the times once referred to Meat Loaf and Mr. Loaf, but tragically, this was not true.

_______________________

Justacomme, NT: Gene and Chatwoman, just a quick note to thank you both for a quick and LONG chat. (Yours too, Liz.) Too many of the chats take far too long to have new content. And if you wait for the transcripts, I can read most in 5 or 10 minutes. Thank you both (AND your high school typing teachers.)

Happy Holidays <==war on Xmas

Gene Weingarten: You're welcome, and Merry Day Of Birth Of The Lord and Savior and Redeemer of Souls, the Hon. Jesus Christ.

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The Video: Was it the one that sounds like "Blue Squirrel Sand Hiccup?"

If it was it almost made me puke.

But I was thinking, do you think the "entree" was real? It seems to me it wasn't. Not because of what the women did to it, but because there is no way to assure you will receive that consistency. What if it was more like a Baby Ruth? I guess that's a different video.

Gene Weingarten: Yes, it was. I don't know much about the filmmaking process vis a vis this particular subject, but if you see how the film was cut -- where continuity was interrupted -- you can deduce that this was not real. There are similar videos out there where continuity is maintained, and the reality of the item in question cannot be debated. I know because I made the extreme error of clicking on another video on that same site.

Chatwoman is not permitting me to elaborate further. I am permitted to say that Dan Savage discussed this video about five weeks ago.

_______________________

Chantilly, Va.: Any thoughts on Newsweek's story about Mike Huckabee's son being (allegedly, anyway) a dog strangler? And his father squelching an investigation of the incident?

Gene Weingarten: Hm.

The raw facts seem pretty icky, but pretty murky. If Huckabee starts winning primaries, more will come out. I mean, this dog was either very cruelly euthanized or very cruelly murdered. Either way, it's bad. The kid was 17, an age at which peopl can be, and are, prosecuted as adults.

The key issue here, of course, is the degree to which Huckabee intervened, and from the evidence so far, it appears it was quite a degree!

_______________________

Tom the Dancing Bug:...is available Thursday on Salon.com -- in color no less.

Gene Weingarten: Noted. Boy, I hate posting this. DON'T READ THE POST, READ SALON!

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Question: I've seen the end of "Pink Flamingos." Do I really need to look at that video you linked? Will I learn something new?

Gene Weingarten: NO ONE needs to see it.

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RE: Phil's: I am so happy you included a plug. Do they service foreign cars (I have a 99 VW)? Esp. because I'm young, blonde and female, I feel I get ripped off by people who assume I know NOTHING about cars (sadly, mostly correct, although I'm the only one of my friends who can drive a stick-shifts, so there).

Gene Weingarten: They service anything. Pretty sure. Call 'em.

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Palookaville:"There was a rumor, many years ago, that the times once referred to Meat Loaf and Mr. Loaf, but tragically, this was not true."

Maybe not, but I read with my own eyes a review of a performance by Bo Diddley that referred to him as "Mr. Diddley."

Gene Weingarten: You sure?

_______________________

Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: Gene,

On Friday I leave D.C. for Chicago to celebrate the holiday with my family, and during that time we will probably have to put down our almost 14 year old dog who is very ill and can barely walk. We thought she was going to go in September, but she's managed to hang on this long, although she has steadily declined over the past couple of months. It is so painful to come home and see that the dog I've grown up with can hardly even wag her tail to greet you. I think it is probably her time.

My question to you as a fellow dog lover is...should I be there when she is put down? The vet has graciously offered to come to our house, but I'm afraid I'll be somewhat hysterical when the actual time comes (yes, I am female!). I don't want to scare her in her final moments, but I'm also afraid I'll regret it if I'm not there to comfort her. Since I've never had to do this before, I'm scared about what to expect and that I won't be able to keep my emotions in check.

Any words of wisdom?

Gene Weingarten: Be there, and don't worry about keeping your emotions in check. Your presence will comfort the dog. And doing it in your home is great. It's all about the dog's comfort. And, I'm sorry.

_______________________

Objectificati, ON: As a gay man, who looks at porn at a rate I assume is similar to straight men, I don't buy the objectification and demeaning of women argument at all. That's cuz, obviously, I don't look at women in porn, I look at men. And it just doesn't make sense to me to suggest I look down on men or see them only as pieces of meat, since I am one. Porn is a fantasy that stimulates a certain part of the human male's basic sexual makeup.

Interestingly, I've read that some women who do like porn like gay porn. Some suggest it's because they get off on seeing men express that kind of intimacy. I think it's because the guys in straight porn are mostly ugly.

Gene Weingarten: Yeah, the guys in straight porn are DELIBERATELY ugly, I believe. Sort of a suggestion to all us normal ugly men that WE could have that babe, too.

_______________________

"Women are in it because they want to be in it": I am not willing to concede this. I think men need to believe this. I'll meet you at Good Guys or that place in Crystal City and we can talk to a few of the ladies. How would you feel if Molly wanted to be in it?

Gene Weingarten: It would bother me a lot. But Molly does what she wants. She is a strong-willed woman. And if she wanted to be in it, it would mean that she wanted to be in it.

_______________________

Re: I am not a porn addict. I look at it only occasionally. But I will defend to the death a person's right to view it in privacy. : Fine, it's your right (still...). But don't ask your child to take the fall if it's caught. Be a man and acknowledge your acts, particularly since they're not immoral. It's the scapegoating of a child that sickens me. Be a man, admit what you did, don't blame the child

Gene Weingarten: Ah, but he didn't. The kid confessed because the kid also had a cache of porn. There was no reason at all for the dad to fess up! It simply would have sent Mom off a cliff.

These are complex situational ethics.

_______________________

Baltimore, M.: So does the Mitchell Report's naming of a dozen or more Yankees (some -- like Pettite, Justice, Knoblach -- pretty closely associated with the Torre era) take some of the joy out of the string of titles pennants they won in the late '90s and '00s?

As a lifelong Orioles fan, I find it's hard to tarnish a decade of sub-.500 baseball. The hometown juicers are merely pathetic. They sold their souls for fourth place.

But, for instance, can we really talk about the 1998 (114-win) Yankees being the best team of the modern era?

Gene Weingarten: My guys sold their souls for First Place! We're better.

_______________________

Immor, AL: Stopped by to take your quiz. Now go ahead and judge some family you don't know very well, you moralizing jackass.

Gene Weingarten: Okay!

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Rockville, Md.: We're thinking about having a New Year's Eve party this year. Do you think December 31st is a good night to have this? Thanks!

Gene Weingarten: I would go with the 31st, yes.

_______________________

C'ville, Va.: Would it be fussy, pretentious, or frivolous to change my legal name back to my maiden name? I've been happily married for over ten years, but being Mrs. His-Last-Name (or Mrs. My-Last-Name His-Last-Name) does not feel authentic to me. He says he'd be fine with any naming decision I make. For what it is worth, his last name is much more aesthetically appealing, but it has never felt like it is mine.

Gene Weingarten: Yay! Change it! Reclaim your being.

_______________________

Buffalo, N.Y.: Gene, I'll know that you'll be thrilled to learn that you are featured on today's page on the Classic Dave Barry Page-a-Day calendar (which resides proudly in our bathroom.) I thought it was wonderfully coincidental that it fell on a Tuesday. It has to do with men's inability to gift-wrap.

(It also raises the glaring unavailability of a "Classic Gene Weingarten: calendar.)

Gene Weingarten: Oddly enough, in next Sunday's column,I address this very issue.

_______________________

Gaithersburg, Md.: Gene,

We've talked about tattoos quite a bit in the past couple weeks, but here's one I'll bet you've never seen. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me.

Gene Weingarten: I love humanity. We are so ... human.

_______________________

Re: Ugly Porn: I thought it was so that homophobic straight men didn't have to worry about accidentally finding another man attractive.

Gene Weingarten: Well, honestly, if you are watching a naked woman having sex, and you are truly hetero,I don't think you're gonna be noticing how good looking the guy is.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: That dog post just made me cry - thinking about my own pooch, that I've had for just a month and a half. I'm crying in my office.

Gene Weingarten: Aw.

_______________________

Anonymous:"Yeah, the guys in straight porn are DELIBERATELY ugly, I believe. Sort of a suggestion to all us normal ugly men that WE could have that babe, too."

Yeah, as long as you're Johnny Three Legs!

Gene Weingarten: Hahaha.

_______________________

The right ti, ME?:

I don't know if after catching your son with pornography is the right to be calling him "JERKO."

Gene Weingarten: Also, hahahaha.

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Arlington, Va.: Poll family: What happens when the kid comes home drunk or high and Dad catches him? Should Dad honor kid's request to please not tell Mom?

Gene Weingarten: No, because that is a problem, to be dealt with in consultation by both parents, unlike a 17 year old looking at porn.

_______________________

Cleveland marriage: And I believe the Frances Folsom was also Cleveland's ward, once her father died. Classy!

Gene Weingarten: Yeah, but she had a mom. It's not like Cleve became her dad.

_______________________

Poll responses: To what extent do you think people responding to the polls are looking for your approval rather than answering with their honest opinions? I ask because with this and previous porn polls you've run I've been surprised by the number of women who claim to "accept" porn. Clearly most of your regular chatters can guess where you fall on certain issues and I'm sure that many of us are pleased to get your validation of our answers.

Gene Weingarten: I think both men and women in this chat skew very liberal. I think a very small percentage of women in the general population would show no distaste for porn.

_______________________

Miami, Fla.: Hey, Gene, I just wanted you to know that last night, I dreamt that you were my therapist. In real life, I don't even have a therapist. How would you as my therapist interpret this?

Gene Weingarten: Well, how did it make you FEEL?

_______________________

Philadelphia, Pa.: Last week you mentioned "Last Train to Clarkesville" as one of your favorite Bruce Springsteen songs, but I'm only familiar with The Monkees version. I did some searching trying to figure out when Bruce might have performed the song, but couldn't find anything. What gives?

Gene Weingarten: I was kidding.

_______________________

Funksville, Md: Gene:

Your response to the family porn story assumes that Mom "can't handle the truth." If that is true, one of the two following statements is correct:

A: Dad is doing something wrong, and Mom would be justifiably upset to find out about it; or

B: Dad is doing nothing wrong, and Mom has no justifiable reason to be upset about it.

He's lying to her because either he thinks his actions are wrong or he thinks her response to his actions would be unreasonable.

In either event, the couple has trust/honesty issues. He ought to, um, come clean.

Gene Weingarten: He's lying because he thinks her response would be unreasonable. But he loves her. And understands her response.

_______________________

Rockville, Md.:"I STILL don't know what to say. "

I do.

This is what happens when what you do and how well you do it is more important than who you do it with.

Lonely, to be sure.

Gene Weingarten: Yeah.

_______________________

Public Service Announcement: Sorry to bring up tampons again... but I have an early Christmas present for the women in this chat who hate the new Tampax. Try Target brand. It's like the old Tampax -- vertical instead of horizontal expansion and no "skirt." Oh, and cheaper to boot. Hooray.

Gene Weingarten: Ooh. Tampax has new-Coked itself?

_______________________

The Internet is for Porn: Umm... so, I'm not a chat stalker or anything, but it turns out I'm the first person, male or female, to take this poll. I chuckled, but passed judgment only on the Mom for apparently having no real sense of guyness. I'm a girl, by the way. Oh, and I write porn. Gay porn. For men. On commission. As in, they tell me what they're looking for, we negotiate a price, and two weeks later they get a custom story. Am I a slut?

Gene Weingarten: Wow. What does it pay? And how does a woman (straight or gay) know what turns on a gay man? Well, okay, wait. I am guessing you are straight, right? You know what men like?

Please elaborate, in this chat. It will provoke more questions.

_______________________

Dropping the Balls: My wife is a civil engineer working in land development. She does a lot of work in Leisure World (aka Seizure World), a retirement community in Silver Spring. One of the developers that she works with told her that they were getting a lot of complaints about the toilets in one of the new condo buildings they put up. Apparently the distance from the seat to the waterline was relatively short, and this combined with the age and subsequent sagging of the residents caused a little bit of a problem for the men. They had more dunked balls than the NBA, so to speak. They ended up having to replace all of the toilets.

You're a bit older than me, Gene; have you had this problem before? Is this what we have to look forward to as we get older? It would seem to counteract your previous statements about the pleasures of the bathroom overtaking the pleasures of the boudoir. Also, would the appropriate remedy be to ice the boys down before sitting down, or does the cold contraction effect decrease as you age?

Gene Weingarten: This is scary. I am not there yet, or close, but I do not wish to discuss it.

_______________________

Nekk, ID: Kids today have it made, man. Back when I was Smut Boy's age, we had to hide actual magazines from the forces of Anti-Porn Authoritarianism (hi, Mom).

And clearly, "one of those free computer programs" works a heck of a lot better for him than "hiding magazines in that space behind the loose ceiling tile in my room" worked for me.

Presumably his "mom going psycho" translated to deleting files -- which, if he really wanted to, he could recover. I was made to burn (with real fire) my smut in a garbage can in the back yard. There was no getting that stuff back.

Gene Weingarten: Moms usd to know to look under the mattress. I hid mine inside my old All-Star Baseball board and spinner game.

_______________________

Stalker No Way: I think you were unfairly harsh to the guy whose girlfriend wanted a restraining order. How many movies have you seen where some guy wanted his girlfriend back, and did something like find her contact info some sneaky way? More than a few girls would have been flattered. She wasn't. He dropped it. I think that was a harmless lie.

Gene Weingarten: I agree, but we are hearing HIS side. And the method he used to find her -- furtive. I don't like it.

_______________________

Suggesti, ON: I think we're missing an obvious connection here - the 24 year-old woman who hypes her sex abilites should get into porn. She clearly enjoys it, wouldn't have to worry about compliments afterwards, and the kid's dad could download it. Now if we can only find someway to work poop and the Flash into this we'd have everything covered...

Gene Weingarten: Very good. Thank you.

_______________________

Gene, you're wrong about the Dad!: It wasn't the porn that was wrong, it was the Wii...he's making sure as heck that there's a divide between mother and son, and placing a potential future divide between son and his paramour--a future whipped man.

I don't see why you thought the porn hiding was out of love; if it was, then the father wouldn't have had to bribe the son; he would have explained that, and demonstrating caring for Mom would have been enough (and should have been enough) to keep the secret. But it wasn't, was it?

Gene Weingarten: There was no bribe! There was a thank you! That changes everything. And hang on. We are about to hear from someone central to this case.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I'm the guy who wrote this post. I guess it is sort of an honor to have the "post of the year", but it still makes me embarrassed to have people vote on this. I just thought it might make you laugh. Look, I want to make sure people realize that my Dad is a good guy. He has stood up for me lots of times. My mom is a great mom, too, she just really, really doesn't like "dirty pictures." Even though my Mom got mad at me, I still figure Dad got the short end of the stick because his pics got deleted. Remember we both were downloading stuff. I was just better at hiding it. Anyway, I just don't want people to think my dad and I are freaks. Its just that neither of us wanted to make my Mom more angry than what she already was.

Gene Weingarten: Thank you. This came in after I had already analyzed things pretty much this way. I'm sorry if this embarrassed you, but as I said, ad nauseam, I also love your family.

_______________________

Indianapolis: Just searched the NYT site. Yes, Mr. Diddley is true.

Bo Diddley songs never released. Mr. Diddley, 74, sat forward on a hard chair...n' roll. But as a patriarch, Mr. Diddley rivals and in some ways surpasses...He replied, ''Bo Diddley.'' Mr. Diddley's uses of the electric guitar...

Mr. Loaf was mentioned twice, but only as a joke.

Gene Weingarten: Excellent. Thank you. They really were in a pickle there. If they called him Diddley, they would be equating him with a felon.

How silly a policy.

Okay, thank you all for a great chat. Next time we see each other will be January 8.

_______________________

More than a few girls would have been flattered.: Not me.

I think after age 16, we women get smart and don't find stalker actions "flattering."

Gene Weingarten: Indeed.

_______________________

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