Thursday, November 20, 2008

Best airport for a romantic connection?

Now that the holiday travel season is upon us, you may be dreading waits and delays at airports. But try looking at it from a positive angle. From

"For singles, long airport waits are opportunities for romantic encounters. If history is any guide, Chicago O'Hare will offer plenty of opportunities for singles to meet up and bond over shared trouble. Last winter, O'Hare led the nation's airports in flight delays, with one out of every two flights delayed on average. Midway came in second-place, with one out of every three flights delayed. (Way to go, Chicago!)"

Got a flight scheduled to go through Chicago? Ladies, don't forget your lip gloss. Fellas, leave the stained sweatshirt at home and opt for a nice sweater. Budget Travel continues:

"Romance is in the air when flights get grounded. Consider the results of a survey of 860 travelers last fall by StrategyOne.

'Nearly one in 10 adults has personally gone out or knows someone who has gone out with someone they met at the airport or during a flight. The survey also showed people are taking advantage of their flight time: one-third of adults would rather sit next to someone they find attractive or interesting than have an entire row to themselves.' "

BTW, there are going to be bigger airfare sales this year. Fearing a possible sharp decline in commercial traffic in 2009, the airlines are desperate to fill seats on their planes this holiday season, so they'll be offering rock-bottom prices on flights. You never know -- maybe love really is in the air!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Do men ever ASK to dance?

Over the weekend I hit a club with Nightlife writer and Paid to Party blogger Sarah Aarthun. We were relaxing at the bar when I drew her attention to a dude nearby who thought he was a backup dancer in Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step" video. He obviously thought he was doing something over there.

"Why doesn't he just ask a girl to dance, so everybody can see him?" I asked Sarah.

"Hmm. I don't think men ask women to dance anymore," was her response.

"Really?!" I said, shocked. Then we both got faraway looks in our eyes as we tried to remember the last time a guy had actually asked us to dance, rather than just coming up on the dance floor and joining in.

Sound familiar, ladies? You're getting your groove on, having fun with your girlfriends when suddenly a guy jumps in between you (if he's really foolish, he'll shout, "SANDWICH!") and starts gyrating like mad. Or you're moving to the music, eyes closed, when you feel a unexpected crotch pressed against your backside. Or you're doing your calm version of the "I'm not gonna sweat" dance (every woman has one) when you slowly realize there's a dude right next to you, bumping and grinding and trying to get you pregnant through your clothes.

I brought up the topic with the friend I call Gabrielle, aka, The Club Bunny. She has dubbed the maneuver the "sneak attack."

"It's about fear of rejection," she theorized. "If you ask someone to dance, you give them a verbal chance to say no. But if you just start dancing with them, they have to turn away or walk away from you on the floor, and some might think it's not worth the trouble. Especially if it's their favorite song -- you'll at least get that one dance."

Back to me and Sarah at the club. We're on the dance floor, grooving and laughing, when my favorite jam surfaces in the DJ's mashup: "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock. (I'm 38, remember?) With a delighted squeal I start dancing harder. Right then a guy eases past us, headed for the bar. He looks at me, and the next thing I know, I'm in his arms and Sarah's giving me a "didn't I tell you?" look over his shoulder as she dances away.

Weigh in on this, people. Ladies: do men still ask you to dance, or do they mostly employ the sneak attack when you're already on the floor? And how do you feel about it? Fellas: Do you ask women to dance, or move in when you see the goofy "This. Is. MY. JAM!" smile spread across their face?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A pastor's seven-day sex challenge

Have you heard about this? The pastor of a Dallas-area megachurch says that, during this Sunday's sermon, he's gonna challenge his married congregants to have sex for seven straight days.

The Rev. Ed Young, 47, said he believes society promotes promiscuity and he wants to reclaim sex for married couples. Sex should be a nurturing, spiritual act that strengthens marriages, he added.

"God says sex should be between a married man and a woman," Young said. "I think it's one of the greatest things you can do for your kids because so goes the marriage, so goes the family."

He plans to deliver his challenge while sitting on a bed in front of his congregation. (Oooh, kinky! Imagine the fantasies he'll inspire.) Also, he and his wife of 26 years will participate in the challenge themselves. They have four kids; no word on if they'll be trying for a fifth.

Which, BTW, makes me wonder: Is it OK to have sex with your spouse if you use contraception? And what if you have a long-term partner, but you're not married -- is it permissible to have sex with them? And I suppose that anyone who is just dating, or gay and has sex is gonna be punished in the hereafter?

The "having sex every night for so many days" idea is nothing new; a Charlotte woman wrote a book about having sex with her husband every day for a year. And while I support the basic idea behind these challenges -- physical intimacy leads to a deeper bond, a greater understanding of each other -- it chafes me that they're limited to married couples. As if people can't be committed without marriage.

Even so, in any kind of relationship sex can fall by the wayside through no fault of the people involved. If it takes a week of physical intimacy to kickstart desire, it's not such a hard cross to bear.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Obamas a fine example of a fine marriage

Anyone paying attention to the state of America today knows what a hot mess President-elect Obama will have to deal with when he takes office in January. I keep coming back to the same thought when I consider the rough road ahead:

Thank goodness he has Michelle.

We'll never know what's really going on in the Obama marriage, but they present a picture of a strong, healthy partnership that I don't think is being faked. Lord knows they'll need it now more than ever.

I followed the entire presidential race, -- yep, almost two years -- and one of the aspects I found myself focusing on was the interaction between the candidates and their spouses. For instance, I became fixated on catching a glimpse of Hillary and Bill Clinton in a full-bodied hug, or seeing them peck on the lips instead of his lips brushing her cheek (I saw neither). And people might call Cindy McCain a robot, but I saw the affectionate glances she tossed her husband's way, and the blue steel of her gaze when she felt insulted on his behalf.

Say what you will about Barack and Michelle Obama -- and plenty people have -- but can there be any doubt that they are a man and woman in love? They're each other's biggest fan. There's an easy intimacy about them that is inspiring. He often refers to her as the love of his life, and sometimes when they're together you get the feeling that at that moment, it's only the two of them, and nothing else matters.

And how did they spend their Friday morning? At a parent-teacher conference at their girls' school. On Halloween, Barack the Dad walked 7-year-old Sasha to a party as Secret Service agents followed at a respectful distance. Even though Michelle the Mom will be First Lady, she has vowed to attend dance recitals and anything else her kids want her there for.

I think the Obamas offer a fine example of what a happy, healthy marriage looks like. There's obvious respect, support and communication there, and a sense that it's a partnership where both sides hold up their end of the bargain and have each other's back. And frankly, I'll feel better knowing my president is happily married and less likely to spend his time trying to get a little something on the side. That way, he can focus on more important things ... like being the leader of the free world.

Monday, November 03, 2008

If sex was for sale, would women buy?

The New York Times ran a provocative piece last week about the conversation France is having about female sexuality. It was sparked by the popularity of the movie "Cliente," about a hard-charging, 51-year-old divorcee who wants good sex without strings and is willing to pay good money for it.

Director and author Josiane Balasko, 58, wanted to shatter a long-held taboo in France and to send a positive message to middle-aged women who find themselves alone and wanting sexual fulfillment.

“Prostitution is the last sexual territory owned by men,” Balasko said in an interview. “Men are in control of pleasure and have the right to buy it. Women do not. A lot of my friends are alone, lonely, divorced. They can’t always reinvent themselves with another man and a new family. So I decided to show a female client of a male escort. She’s not a victim. She is a woman who is in control of her life, her feelings, her sexual pleasure.”

Although there are ads for male escorts on the Internet in France, the concept of a woman paying for sex is still a taboo. “If a woman agrees to pay a man for sex, she’s a whore,” said Pascal Bruckner, an intellectual and novelist who has written extensively about sexuality. “If a man pays a woman for sexual services in France, it’s accepted. It’s one of the strange flaws of feminism.”

Historically, the French are much less conflicted than Americans when it comes to sex, so if France is struggling with this topic, can you imagine a national conversation about sexual mores in the U.S.? We can't even talk about sex education or sexual health without people having hissy fits and trying to legislate sexual behavior.

But still ... if prostitution were legal in more states than Nevada and Rhode Island, and you didn't have to go to a brothel to get it, I bet a lot of women would pony up for a few hours of service. (Legalized prostitution has mandatory STD testing, unlike the dudes you pick up at a bar). An attractive man who will cater to your every whim sexually? Whose only goal is to satisfy you, and you don't have to go through an online dating service, or blind date or any kind of date at all -- you just get what you want and go your separate merry ways? Sounds pretty good.

There are times when women, like men, just want sex. It's a natural drive. The sooner we all accept that, the healthier our cultures -- here and France and everywhere else - will be.