"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 4 June 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Dear Tiny Little Penis 6.4.01

Subject: My friends suck

Dear TLP,

I grew up a nice liberal type in the Pacific Northwest. As a younger man I believed deeply in feminism and in the idea that real men draw their power from accomplishment and character rather than from the exercise of privilege. That's just plain American if you ask me.

I was at a party this weekend with many of my old friends when I came to realize how out of touch this position is. In lieu of bravery, ambition, and a certain stoicism in the face of adversity, qualities that I've come to value, my friends collect comics, noodle around in their basements with electric guitars, and are really good at thrift shopping. Instead of bringing home the bacon, they cook up mean blackened ahi tuna steaks with homemade fire roasted chipotle salsa whilst their girlfriends work on their doctoral theses.

For their part, the girls I grew up with whom I once so admired, seem to think it's their right — ney, their political duty — to fashion their innumerable dissatisfactions into novel complaints designed to shame, humiliate, and blame these sorry-ass losers for everything, while at the same time blindly investing them with qualities (ambition, purpose, and fidelity to name just a few) that the guys themselves would be ashamed to lay claim to. Ten years ago these tendencies seemed sexy and strong. These days they just seem vain and ugly.

I like fire roasted chipotle salsa just fine, TLP. I guess my question is, am I really an "angry white guy" and a "tool of the man" as my sniveling brethren reproachfully chide? Should I strive to refashion myself into a moron who, in order to mask my dissolute state as a wife-man who can't or won't keep up, takes pride in doggedly worshiping empty totems of "guy stuff" ala every beer commercial shot in the last ten years, because, you know, chicks dig "bad boys"? Am I becoming a Republican or something?

Please Help!



Dear Kruft,

It sounds like your friends are going through a typical early-20s quest to define themselves through what they're not. The women are bitter, they're uncomfortable being the breadwinners, and they aren't very good at communicating their needs yet. The men seem to fear both stagnancy and adventure, so for the moment they're turning their backs on ambition and stoicism in order to learn blues scales and make good salsa. Both the women and the men are battling the expectations being placed on them, and the expectations they've placed on themselves.

And so are you. You attack in your friends those behaviors you won't allow in yourself — aimlessness, wishy-washiness in the face of adversity, and an ambitionless, relaxed lifestyle. It seems like you're driving yourself too hard, and it's starting to show in your merciless attitude towards others. Your friends will grow up eventually. In the meantime, take some time to stop and enjoy the chipotle salsa.

On the other hand, maybe your friends just plain suck ass, like you said. The friends I had straight out of college sure did. But you know what I wish? I wish I had enjoyed that salsa more. Those assholes made some great salsa.

The bottom line is, your new friends might not make you feel like an angry Republican, but when they slide you a bag of Fritos and a jar of Old El Paso, you'll be longing for the serrano-roasting slackers of yesteryear.

Tiny Little Penis

Dear Tiny Little Penis,

My problem is that I live in a small town in the Texas Panhandle, and do not have access to any homosexual love. I am not in a position to leave this town, but I am twenty-three year's old, out of the closet, intelligent, and scored a 9.4 on www.hotornot.com. I'm also usually described as humble, despite the above back-patting, but I wanted to clearly describe the fault of my not finding love is not that I'm unattractive to homosexual men, but that I am in an area that does not afford me access to attractive gay men around my age.

I have tried Internet personal ads, gay chat rooms, and word-of-mouth throughout the area, but have yet to meet anyone worth dating. Is there any chance that you can offer some more inconventional means for finding young, attractive gay people, or getting them to move to my area?

Alone in Amarillo, TX

Dear Alone,

Inconventional? Is that some unholy hybrid of inconvenient and unconventional? The truth is, most ways of meeting people are both inconvenient and unconventional, and for gay men, the inconvenience and lack of convention increase exponentially.

I know a lot of people who have yet to meet anyone worth dating. If you really are attractive, intelligent, and humble, you're going to have a hell of a time finding someone in your town who's also all of the above, since there are so few people fitting that description out there in the world.

Put an ad on match.com or somewhere similar, and if I hear from anyone claiming to be attractive, intelligent, humble, young, gay, and living in Amarillo, I'll forward your profile to them. Ultimately, I'd strongly advise you to move to a large, liberal city that's crawling with young, smart, tasty gay men: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles are some obvious choices. If you're not in a position to move now, figure out a way to get into that position. All gay men should know that flexibility and creativity are crucial to getting what you want in bed — er, I mean, out of life.


Tiny Little Penis

I am in Oklahoma, married with 2 kids.

Good life, huh? No! I am so starved for sex, I can think of nothing else.

I'm 26. Is it my age, or what???



Dear Starving,

Yes, it is your age. You are now Too Old For Sex. Too bad for you.

Oh well! Time to take up gardening like the rest of us old folks.

Ahem. I know this sounds like an outrageous question, Starving, but have you talked with your husband about this? If you can think of nothing else but sex, I'm going to assume that part of your obsessiveness lies in your inability to face the fact that you'd like your relationship with your husband to be closer and more affectionate, but that he's been distant and you don't know how to handle the problem while keeping your pride intact.

I suggest you talk with your husband. I know that sounds incredibly risky and desperate, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

If you can't manage that, find a good local nursery with a wide variety of healthy perennials and get to planting, lady!

Tiny Little Penis

Subject: Now What Should I Do?

Dear Tiny Little Penis,

I'm a cranky old carpenter. I'm now working as an assistant super revamping the Montecito Biltmore for Ty Warner, the beanie baby dude. It's a beautiful spot next to the ocean, lots of beautiful people to look at (and resent and envy). Should I ride my bicycle early in the morning everyday, go to yoga every other day, Quit move to Echo Park and try to buy my father's childhood home on Lamoyne St.?

I could move to Zen Mountain Center down in Riverside up in the San Jacintos, jerk-off and meditate or meditate and jerk off, and offend people!

Any thoughts or pearls of swine will be great.



Dear Ron,

Pearls of swine, indeed! You're all over the map, Ron. I can hardly tell what you're asking, but in all your potential plans, I see a thread: a notable lack of connection to others. Resentment, envy, solitary exercise, big purchases, jerking off and meditating, offending people... As far as I can tell, your search for enlightenment thus far has amounted to selfishness and escapism. Enough scoping out people you resent, and meditating in ways that amount to jerking off. It's time for you to build a satisfying relationship with another human being.

Then again, you did say you were cranky and old, so maybe you've moved past wanting to be around other humans. Hey, have you thought about taking up gardening?

Just kidding. No one as old and cranky as you doesn't have a serious green thumb already. Remember mean old Mr. McGregor? Look, Ron, screw enlightenment. Buy your dad's home, fix it up, and sell it for more. Echo Park is hot, and it sounds like you'd rather be in business for yourself than stewing in resentment in some Beanie Baby Palace by the sea.

Jumping from higher to lower levels of consciousness like a crop duster,

Tiny Little Penis

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