Staring Contests (Revisited)

Just a quick follow-up: one of my biggest pet peeves is when people wear shades indoors or when it’s not sunny outside….and when they proceed to stare at everyone around them.

It reminds me of a subway ride I had way back on a rainy morning when I hopped into an empty seat across from a dude wearing aviators. I thought to myself, “Is this guy for real? Shades on a subway when there’s not a spec of sky between all of the grey clouds?”. I gave the guy a break thinking he was probably just hungover and turned my attention to a book.

Then I noticed he was staring at me in my peripheral vision….”jackass”. Gave him a quick look then went back to reading. Two stops go by on the subway. Guy’s still staring, definitely not sleeping. What’s his problem? I honestly am not the kinda guy with an ego but this was gettin’ on my nerves. So what was the logical solution? I put my book down and stared right back at him….for three stops.

He finally looks down to pack up his things. Awesome, I won the staring contest….then I noticed him unfolding his walking cane.

And that’s how I came up with the game:


Staring Contests

There are boatloads of studies on anthropological implications of establishing alpha-dominance but the phenomenon of making eye contact with someone still intrigues the hell outta me.

It’s one of the most complex notions of human interaction and also one of the funniest. Have you ever been told it’s polite to make eye contact when you’re speaking with someone? True, for sure. It shows you’re paying attention and not playing back the movie, “Pulp Fiction”, in your head (which is tough enough with all the plot flashbacks….cue “Tasty Burger” video clip).

On the other hand, you’ve got the person that stares waaay too much and doesn’t break
eye contact at all. Or even bothers to blink. It’s like they’re looking into your soul or trying to do a Vulcan mind meld. Cold shower, much?
The runner-up for weird overdoing it is NOT making eye contact at all. Either cuz they’re bored, have attention deficit disorder, or worse, they’re staring at you but just not your eyes. “Hey, why’s this girl staring at my groin?” or “This guy’s staring at my chest too much and drooling like a three month old baby.” Either way, it makes you feel pretty uncomfortable, right? Unless you’re that girl wearing a low cleavage shirt or that guy wearing “nut-huggers” but that’s a discussion for another time.

One final example that I always see is the way people make eye contact on the subway. Normally, you’d think it’s great the way seats always face each other so they’re conducive to conversation with friends or that attractive stranger who’s been smiling at ya for the last two stops. But then again, this isn’t Dr. Who where you go on trippy adventures with people you randomly meet. Nope – 9 out of 10 times people stare up at the ads above the windows or down at people’s shoes to avoid eye contact.

Moral of the story? Never wear dirty shoes. Wait, that’s not it.

Everyone has Attention Deficit Disorder These Days

It seems like people have a hard time reading anything longer than two sentences these days. Twitter feeds, commercials every five minutes, texting, you name it – everywhere you look, there are things that exemplify and propagate ADD.

Quality family time…in front of a TV for four hours.

Heck, I feel like half the conversations I have with friends are via text (my record was 34 texts with the same person in less than half an hour….granted it was commentating play-by-play of the 2010 NBA finals but whatever). I’m already thinking cohort studies twenty years from now for studying the increases in finger arthritis cases. I’d say everyone will be using technology where you can “speak your text messages” but that’d be pretty ridiculous, huh? ….oh wait, there’s already an app for that. Blargh.

It’s really gotten to the point where some people won’t reply to emails longer than a paragraph because they can’t be bothered with reading for an extra thirty seconds. Too long? BAM. NEXT. IGNORE. The kicker is that smartphones are enabling this behavior cuz small screens and app formatting make it a pain in the ass to read long emails, articles, or elaborate webpages. God forbid.

…hey, are you still reading this post? CONGRATULATIONS!!! People can sit still and focus on one thing for extended periods of time. My message is that attention spans have seemed to diminish from one generation to the next and proper care is being lost on important things like relationships and personal stress levels.

What’s the longest you can go without a cell phone, internet, or TV?

You Work Out, You Go Out

All that “mind, body, and spirit” shpeel?  There’s definitely some truth behind it.

The more we age, the more falloff in performance there is of our cellular machinery.  Metabolism slows, our minds aren’t as sharp, we get tired easily.  To compensate, we rely more on sleep and stimulants such as caffeine to keep us going through the day.  Or for you crazy yahoos out there: Five Hour Energy Drink, Red Bull, and Monster.

All of these physical highs and lows have an impact on our daily outlook and, in turn, our social activity.


and then you’ve got



It’s a direct correlation: the more energy you have, the more social you tend to be. Slack on exercising or good diet and you’ll most likely be going to bed early and spending time with your “true” loves: Netflix, Hulu, and cable TV. Don’t get me wrong, I love kicking back at home for some peace and quiet; it just shouldn’t get to the point that you see friends and family only a couple times a month.

Let’s do a quick survey, eh? If you’re not too lazy, answer these questions, yes or no….and be honest:
1) Do you choose a book or movie more often than going out with friends?

2) On weekends or nights that you meet friends, are you in bed before 11pm?

3) Do you tend to only go out on Saturday nights because you’re too tired on Fridays?

4) When you show up at a party, is the first thing you do is to find somewhere to sit?

5) Do you ever shoot a friend down because he/she lives too “far” away (i.e., 30min)?

6) Does it take you three cups of coffee, a cold shower, and a Red Bull to recover from food coma so you can head out with the gang?

If you answered, “yes”, to three or more of these you’re in danger of being lazy, both socially and physically. You probably don’t have a regular exercise routine (working out ten minutes every ten days doesn’t count) and/or don’t maintain a healthy diet. As a result, you’ve developed a complacent lull when it comes to social activity and prefer to have a monotonous, low-key life outside of work. Your mental outlook isn’t just regulated by everyday events; you’ve got to take into account your body’s energy levels and hormones that fluctuate day to day and hour to hour. Diet and exercise are tantamount to these effects.

what’s the solution??? ….you need “SINGLE STAMINA”

“Single stamina” is a term coined from the TV show, “How I Met Your Mother”. It’s a pretty funny but very telling concept that points out how different single people are compared with couples when hanging out.

1Single people tend to:

  • stay on their feet to maximize mobility and social interaction in the room
  • choose different forms of lubrication (liquor, shots, etc.; I don’t know what you were thinking, bub)
  • go from group to group like a sugar-loaded, hyperactive six year old with attention deficit disorder
  • hit the dance floor like it’s their job
  • stay out late and close out the bar

Couples prefer to:2

  • battle other couples for seats…which technically is social interaction but not the kind that I mean here
  • stick with wine and weaker drinks so they don’t worry about hangovers the next day
  • avoid eye contact with strangers and spend a lot of time texting or reading email
  • avoid the dance floor like the plague
  • check their watch every ten minutes getting ready to go home

I’m not saying only singles have exciting lifestyles (insert “marriage = death” jokes here). “Single stamina” only serves as an example to point out the benefits of exercise for social activity. Let’s face it, most of the couples you know don’t work out much anymore or at least don’t have a chance to. They’re the ones that tend to stay home a lot and keep it low-key. The friends, singles and couples, you’ve got that do keep it healthy are more inclined to stay active, outgoing, and adventurous. (By the way, my entire argument is based on couples that don’t have kids. That’s a whole other story.)

    Choose the easy route and go through life somewhat satisfied.

    OR put in some work and reap the benefits.

    Booze Bonding


    Alcohol is the bee’s knees. As long as you’re not abusing it or letting it affect yourself or others in a harmful way, it can add a very fun dimension to your social life. And just how your taste in clothes or music defines your personality, so can your gustatory preference for imbibing booze (according to market research by Mindset Media and the Ros Taylor Group). Ready to learn more about yourself?

    Domestic Light Beer (Bud Light, Miller Light)

    Their Take: You’re a respectful person that’s easy to get along with.
    My Take: You’re not picky, you have a low budget, or you’re dieting. High fives.

    Craft Beer/Imports (Blue Moon, Heineken, Sam Adams)

    Their Take: Politically left-leaning, outgoing, extroverted. You’re intellectually curious and open-minded, interested in new and varied experiences.
    My Take: You drink to relax but you also appreciate the taste of good beer. Huzzah!!!

    “Other” Beers (Smirnoff Ice, Mike’s Hard Lemonade)

    Their Take: You just have a sweet tooth for sugary drinks.
    My Take: If you’re male, you are a fool.

    Wine (Bottled and Some Boxed)

    Their Take: You’re mature, less likely to take risks, and probably have a solid professional career going. Comfort and refined tastes appeal to you; crazy adventures do not.
    My Take: You’re definitely mature and enjoy fine cuisines, potluck dinners, and good music to pair with your wine. And just like the tannins in wine, you like to mellow out.

    Gin (Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray)

    Their Take: Comfort and security appeal to you, which means you focus on relationships and home life. Rather than a “head in the clouds” approach, “realistic” suits you better.
    My Take: Rather than a “head in the clouds”, you prefer “head in the toilet”.

    Rum (Goslings, Captain Morgan, Bacardi)

    Their Take: Experimental, creative, impulsive, slightly eccentric. You’re more likely the type of person to enjoy jazz and art.
    My Take: It gives you bad hangovers and makes your breath smell like a bear claw pastry. You probably drank a lot of it thanks to the promo girls at the bar.

    Tequila (Patron, Jose Cuervo)

    Their Take: You’re outgoing, fun to be around, a free spirit unconcerned with consequences.
    My Take: You are a crazy son of a b*tch with no consideration for consequences.

    Whisky (Maker’s Mark, Jameson, Macallan)

    Their Take: You have an air of confidence, authority, and discerning quality about you. How you take it (rocks, neat, soda) says even more about your idiosyncrasies.

    So it’s not a surprise that a lot of people enjoy alcohol in one format or another. Like food, music, and other interests pertaining to the senses, it reaches out to regions of our brain that deal with pleasure. My message, therefore, is to let alcohol enhance your social life by strengthening social bonds that tend to be brought out more when you’re raising a glass. Just have some self-awareness and know how to properly maximize your fun, deal with stress, or really get to know someone better.

    And on that note….

    Welcome to the inside of my head. Sorry but I’ve locked the door and there’s no other way out.

    Okay, so where do we start?  Every blog has to have a point, right?  A general theme, focus, or message that the writer tries to impart to the unwitting reader that got sucked into a random blog because he or she is procrastinating at work or looking for a way to putt off doing laundry.  If you’re looking for that aimless excuse then you’ve found it here – welcome!  It’s the same aimless excuse I’m using to write this blog….

    Hold on a sec while I take sip of Scotch.  Ah, that’s better.

    From here on out, I’m gonna attempt (emphasis on “attempt”) to post keen observations about how we interact with people and then I’ll fumble around for a profound lesson to take from them.  It’ll generally be a serious take on things but I’ll throw in some sarcasm and humor cuz otherwise it’ll be like reading Dante’s Inferno for high school.  And you’ll quickly learn that one of my biggest influences is Bill Watterson who authored the comic strip, “Calvin and Hobbes” – this man is a sociological genius and he’s also the reason why I was such a cynical and sarcastic kid with a knack for mischief.

    Here’s hoping this blog enthralls, enlightens, and entertains you. Cheers!