Category Archives: Life

Break to Dance

I’ll be taking a break for a couple days to participate this Saturday in UCLA’s Dance Marathon, a fundraiser to fight against pediatric AIDS. I can’t wait to be amongst fellow Bruins! The months of getting in shape to dance for 26 hours has finally arrived and I’m excited! My favorite part of the night consists of all the costume changes every three hours–costumes that you voted for. Essentially, I get to play different identities.

You can follow my adventures on Twitter and see pictures on this blog, although they’ll mainly be posted on my personal blog. You won’t want to all the dancers’ costumes–they can be very creative.

I’ll also be watching movies and writing reviews for “Percy Jackson and the Olmpians”  and “Valentine’s Day.” I’m excited for this fun-filled jam-packed weekend.

The Winter Olympics, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, and President’s Day are all within days of each other.

In the words of the famous philosopher, Lady Gaga, “Just dance!” So come on, and join the dance.


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The Prostidude Identity

I heard a jingle on TV today of a famous song from “Annie Get Your Gun” that goes like this: Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you. It’s a fun song that entices competition of the genders. Yes, well when you apply it to one of the world’s oldest professions (and I’m not talking about farming), it can be a little strange. Forgive me, but to describe this profession, I have to use a little Menglish, which writer Griffin Longley describes as “a language used of, by, to, and about men.”

So here it goes:

Prostidude (n): a male prostitute; gigolo (Urban Dictionary)

I bet you didn’t know they exist, but they do. Or, maybe you knew because like me, you’re quite aware of the most famous one of all: Deuce Bigalow, male gigolo.  We’re all about equality, right? So why can’t a guy be a male prostitute? I can see it now, men lined up putting their fists in the air, fighting for equal rights in a woman’s world. And as the world economy goes down the drain, maybe prostitution is the way to go. According to Barbara Ross and Larry McShane of the New York Daily News, despite an economic meltdown, the prostitution business is still up and running and hasn’t really experienced the effects.

So enter 25-year-old “Markus,” America’s (and more specifically, the state of Nevada’s) first legal male prostitute who puts the “bro” in “brothel.” The Shady Lady Ranch hired him after successfully obtaining state and county approval, and since then, the controversy has given him his fifteen minutes of fame and a spot in Nevada history. Markus is not without critics, and perhaps the most ironic come from female prostitutes.

Markus is an ex-marine who did a short stint as a porn actor in Los Angeles, but dropped out because he thought porn degraded women. Great, a prostitute with a conscience. He was homeless and was living on the streets of Santa Monica before he made the move to Nevada. Oh, and he “sees himself as [a] sexual pioneer and likens his role to that of civil rights icon Rosa Parks” (Daily Mail UK). At least he’s active in other things, right?

I applaud New York Post reporter Mandy Stadtmiller who got the exclusive and had to go through great lengths (you’ll understand what I mean) to go where no reporter has gone before. And her article is insightful, especially of Markus’s “mommy issues.” It’s quite entertaining and informative, but if that’s not enough, check out the MSNBC article.

Here I am, tapping my feet to that famous Broadway song again. Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you. Well Markus, sorry bro, but this is a competition you’re probably going to lose.

What do you think? Do you wish him luck?

**Note: I am NOT a supporter of prostitution, male or female. I believe it degrades women (and I guess now, men too) and robs them of their self-worth and their dignity. It saddens me that prostitution still exists after thousands of years in civilizations around the world. As a researcher of modern masculinity, I thought this “prostidude” was an interesting look at how masculinity has changed and perceived today.


Filed under Entertainment, Issues/Causes, Life

She’s the Beauty, and I’m…Okay, I’m the Beast

My girlfriend, Nicole, is gorgeous! Okay, maybe all boyfriends say that of their girlfriends. But what first attracted me to Nicole was her voice. When I hear her sing, a voice of an angel leaves those red lips and my heart skips a beat. At times, I have to pinch myself–maybe I’ve died and gone to heaven? Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe. But when I look into her brown eyes, I can’t help but feel at peace. My worries and all the stresses of life seem to not matter, as if they’ve evaporated whenever I meet her gaze. Nicole has long brown hair with a tint of red and her hair drops down just below her shoulders. When the sun shines on it, it only enhances her bright smile. Yes, she’s the sunshine that brightens up my day. Nicole is gorgeous! She’s the Beauty, and standing next to her…I’m…okay, I’m the Beast. That’s fine by me.

I just have one problem. Okay, maybe several come to think of it.  First, she hasn’t met me yet. Perhaps, she doesn’t even know I exist. Which leads me to the cold hard truth: she’s not really my girlfriend–I just wish she was. A guy can dream, right? But before you go on thinking she’s some imaginary beauty–she’s not. Nicole is really Britt Nicole, the singer. And I’d like to imagine that I would meet someone like her. Maybe even marry her. Yah, maybe some day.

As more of my friends are getting married at a young age, I can’t help but think of my own prospects. Am I setting my standards to high? Should I settle? Maybe I’m just too darn picky. And as much as I’d like to think that I’m not shallow, I admit that a woman’s beauty reels me in. Yet beauty can be a deception. I’ve met many beautiful girls who turned out to be…how do I put this nicely? Um, some beautiful girls turn out to be the Wicked Witch of the West–deep down they’re horrible. Beauty gets me in, but it’s her personality, her love for others, and her willingness to put others before herself–that’s what would keep me there.

So as I was reading up on one of my favorite blogs, Bakadesuyo (a blog that contains snippets from various research journals that the author of the site found interesting), I came across an entertaining entry. In a way, it’s a “tip” for marriage, but really, it’s a study on the role of physical attractiveness on marriage:

Physical appearance plays a crucial role in shaping new relationships, but does it continue to affect established relationships, such as marriage? In the current study, the authors examined how observer ratings of each spouse’s facial attractiveness and the difference between those ratings were associated with (a) observations of social support behavior and (b) reports of marital satisfaction. In contrast to the robust and almost universally positive effects of levels of attractiveness on new relationships, the only association between levels of attractiveness and the outcomes of these marriages was that attractive husbands were less satisfied. Further, in contrast to the importance of matched attractiveness to new relationships, similarity in attractiveness was unrelated to spouses’ satisfaction and behavior. Instead, the relative difference between partners’ levels of attractiveness appeared to be most important in predicting marital behavior, such that both spouses behaved more positively in relationships in which wives were more attractive than their husbands, but they behaved more negatively in relationships in which husbands were more attractive than their wives. These results highlight the importance of dyadic examinations of the effects of spouses’ qualities on their marriages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved

It makes sense to me. If the guy is the beauty in the relationship, the girl would feel insecure with her beauty. But if the girl is the beauty, it’s a win-win situation for the guy and the girl.

Anyway, I may not have Brad Pitt’s smile or Taylor Lautner’s body or whatever it is and whoever it is that girls find attractive nowadays. According to the article, that may be a good thing. Now, the real challenge is finding a woman who would settle for this Beast.

However, I do think I look way better than Jack Black. Okay…back to working out.


Filed under Entertainment, Life, Masculinity

Aborting Tim Tebow’s Superbowl Ad?

“Tim Tebow is a Greek god,” my friend Sandra* said. “Yes–tall, dark, handsome, and a whole lot of man. Wish guys at my school looked like him. I’m definitely going to be paying attention to Florida football from now on.”

“What are you talking about? It’s college basketball season now.” I asked surprisingly. “Besides, I thought you have a crush on Mark Sanchez. He was a Trojan you know, and…” As I turned around, I realized what brought on this random conversation. There was Sandra, going through my collection of books and magazines. In her hands was my September 2009 issue of GQ magazine where Tebow was interviewed and featured.

“Yah, Tebow is bow wow.” Sandra winked. “I’d go to church if I get to see that every Sunday. Are all you Christians this hot?” Then she takes the magazine and points to a close up picture of Tebow wearing John 3:16 eye-black markings.

“Yes,” I answered sarcastically. “Very hot. I mean look at me. Better get those books and magazines away. They catch fire when I’m around.”

Sandra picks up a book, throws it at me, and starts laughing. “You wish.”

Yah, I wish. Sigh. How can a five-foot-seven, 195 pound guy like me supposed to compete with a six-foot-three, 235 pound athletic phenomenon? I know where to pick my fights. Tebow is numero uno, so why try harder? He was the first underclassman (a sophomore at the time) to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy back in 2007. The truth is, I do admire the guy, despite being a Bruin. I kind of have to, at least according to the hilarious Jon Acuff. I commend Tebow for being outspoken about his faith, without getting too preachy or Pat Roberson-ish and not minding all the ridicule or criticisms associated with being a Christian in the public eye. Here’s a guy who genuinely loves Jesus Christ, and can’t help but share that fact with the world. I mean, isn’t that what we all particularly do when we are in love with someone? We want the world to know it. That’s why songs about love are the most common types of songs. And for those who see football as a religion–well, he plays football darn well too. You don’t have to be a Christian to like him–he’s easily likable.

He’s easily likable for many female fans for obvious reasons, but for some women’s groups, that’s another story. And that story first started twenty-two years ago with Tim Tebow’s parents, Bob and Pam. In 1985, the Tebow family moved to the Philippines for a Christian missionary outreach. Unfortunately while pregnant, Pam Tebow drank contaminated drinking wanter and contracted amoebic dysentery. The doctors advised her to get an abortion because the medications that would help her recover could have extreme irreversible effects on the child she was carrying. Pam Tebow chose to keep the baby, and on August 14, 1987, the Tebows welcomed a healthy baby boy. That boy would grow up to be the Heisman Trophy-winning American football quarterback for the Florida Gators, the guy that girls like Sandra dream about, and that guy I can never measure up to.

And now, that boy grew up to star in a controversial Superbowl advertisement coming to a TV near you. Working with Focus on the Family (FOTF), the Tebows finished a commercial highlighting Pam Tebow’s predicament in the Philippines. FOTF spent about $2.8 million on the ad. The Tebows just want to tell their story, but women’s groups believe it’s an anti-abortion ad and urged CBS to pull the ad. Although I can sympathize and understand the women’s groups, I think even if you were pro-choice, you should respect Pam Tebow because she made a choice–she chose life. And to be pro choice means to respect choices that might not agree with your own.

“I know some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe … I’ve always been very convicted of it because that’s the reason I’m here, because my mom was a very courageous woman. So any way that I could help, I would do it.” – Tim Tebow

Controversial Superbowl ads are nothing new to Superbowl Sunday. The most controversial ads tend to be the most sex-infused because the Superbowl tends to be a family event. Why aren’t women’s groups making noise about how women are being portrayed in these ads? Well, at least they made some noise over a certain wardrobe malfunction. Should Tebow’s ad have a place with all the other Superbowl ads?

I don’t care. If people are willing to shell out millions of dollars and are abiding to FCC regulations, then shouldn’t they be given a chance to show their ad? Isn’t that the American thing to do?

Tim Tebow knows some people won’t agree with it, and that’s just fine by him. But then again, not many people could say that at one point, their mothers were about to abort them either.

I picked up the book that Sandra threw at placed it on my desk. Then I got my revenge by picking up a dictionary next to me and throwing it at her. Don’t worry–it was a soft cover.

“Ouch,” Sandra said, then started laughing. “See, I’m right. You can never be like Tim Tebow. You throw like a girl.”

*Name change


Filed under Christianity, College, Issues/Causes, Life

Sex and Bristol Palin

PalinJohnstonabstinenceI have to say, 19-year-old Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin (that famous Alaskan governor who ran for vice president on the Republican ticket) is gorgeous. There’s just something about her eyes and that sweet smile–it just makes me want to stop what I’m doing and get to know her some more. Maybe, I’m just a sucker for brunettes.

Bristol became pregnant during high school and is currently in a custody battle with her ex lover, Levi Johnston, over their 13-month-old son, Trip. Concurrently, she’s become an advocate for teaching teenagers about practicing abstinence rather than having safe sex to avoid getting pregnant. In In Touch Magazine, she say’s “I’m not going to have sex until I’m married…I can guarantee it.” And since then, a huge media firestorm grew when she and her mother appeared on “Oprah” yesterday.

Oprah Winfrey was on her case when she asked Bristol, “Why set yourself up that way? It may be 10 years from now before you choose to get married. Why set yourself up in making that statement so that everybody you go out with, you date — the media is going to be looking at that person, trying to get that person to sell you out, to say, ‘Did you have sex or not.’..It’s nobody’s business when you chose to have sex.”

Palin answered, “I think it’s a goal to have and I think other women should have that goal.”

“Okay, but it’s a goal,” Winfrey said, “But when you make a statement that you are absolutely positively not going to have sex, you don’t think you’re setting yourself up?”

Palin answered, “No, I don’t.”

“Okay, good luck to you,” Winfrey said.

Did you see that sly move that Winfrey was doing? She gave Palin the opportunity to retract her statement and edit it. However, Palin would not budge. Oprah seems to have little faith in Palin. Maybe it’s for good reason. ABC News reported:

  • 3 out of 10 high school girls get pregnant.
  • Of those that get pregnant, only half actually finish high school.
  • 8 out of 10 of the pregnant girls do not get married to the father of their children.

In the very same interview with ABC News, Bristol Palin states, “[Abstinence] is a hard choice. It’s the safe choice. And it’s the best choice.” I have to agree–it’s actually quite logical. How can you be 100% sure that you’ll avoid getting pregnant or be at risk for sexually-transmitted diseases? You abstain from sex, duh!  And you stop promiscuous behavior. It’s plain and simple. But for some teenagers, it’s not that simple–it’s a struggle.

Research has shown that abstinence-only programs have not produced favorable results. And those that take virginity pacts are just as likely to have sex than those who don’t. This is what Oprah Winfrey feared–we would set ourselves up for failure. However, perhaps the real failure of abstinence-only programs is that they don’t educate teenagers about safe sex or contraception. As a result, those teenagers who are in abstinence-only programs and absolutely struggle with sex are more likely to not practice safe sex or contraception. We need a comprehensive program that first teaches abstinence as the 100% sure way of avoiding pregnancy and STDs, but also teach about safe sex and contraception. I think the latter half is what Palin’s campaign against teen pregnancy is missing.

On a side note, teen pregnancy has always been a hot topic on debates about sex education, but it was a year and half ago that the issue became even more intense. In June 2008, the nation was shocked to learn that at Gloucester High, 17 girls were expecting babies. It was then discovered that the girls made a pact to get pregnant by graduation.

What do you think about Palin’s campaign? Is she setting herself up for failure? What  do you think about sex education in America? What would you say to your teenager?


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A Reader’s Response to “The Book of Eli.”

One reader wrote in about “The Book of Eli.” I love his response and you can see how passionate he is about the message of the movie–things that you and I may have missed on. We’ll give him an identity–we’ll call him, “The Scholarly Engineer.” Thank you for your refreshing response Scholarly Engineer.

You see, the Book of Eli is nothing more than a modern day analogue of the stories of the past. You may or may not recall it, but in the time period shortly following World War II, there was a huge movement for personal rights. After seeing Nazi Germany and Socialist Russia, the people of America and other free nations became very afraid of one thing – oppression. Out of that spawned cultural revolutions, such as beatniks and hippies. Many stories, and parodies of stories, were made to fulfill one of two purposes: spread the idea or capitalize on it. Books and movies were made, such as 1984, Soylent Green, Sleeper, and Fahrenheit 451.

People were very afraid of losing their freedoms, rights, and even identities. These stories took place in not-too-far-off futures where “big brother” was always watching. Perhaps these were all made in an effort to keep the people aware of the government so that they did not fall victim to it, but they were all widely accepted and popular.

In these modern times, we face a new fantastical disaster: the apocalypse. People are no longer afraid of losing their identities, but rather their lives altogether. You’ll easily notice a trend of stories and movies that depict the end of mankind. With this age of climate change, everybody wants everybody else to wake up and save mankind from a catastrophe.

In Fahrenheit 451, the oppressive government burns all the books of mankind in order to keep men uninformed of culture and identity, where as in The Book of Eli, mankind burns books in an attempt to deter its extinction. In Soylent Green, the oppressed are forced to eat the dead in ignorance, while in The Book of Eli, the dead are eaten out of necessity.

I believe that this movie is a very intelligent criticism of the change of mankind’s fears. This would slip past the normal person as merely an action movie in a post apocalyptic world. Perhaps I am seeing connections where there aren’t any, but I believe that The Book of Eli could be interpreted as a parody of past stories.

Perhaps the movie is reminding us of the past books and movies in order to remind us what they taught. In this day and age, we no longer fear the government, but rather want to protect it more than ever. Movies like Live Free or Die Hard and Eagle Eye teach us to blindly protect our government. In the end, we may fall victim to what the past decades vehemently warned us against.

Perhaps this movie is criticizing the fact that our current generations are ignorant of the past, and that we’ll buy the same book our parents did if the cover were changed just a little. It’s the easiest thing to change a past trend and put a new face on it for the next generation to eat up. Maybe this is a sign that the oppression warned about is already occurring. The ignorance of the populous allows the powerful to manipulate it. It may be for money now, but money is just a form of power, and a sign that greater oppression is yet to come.

And that is the true identity of The Book of Eli revealed. I may be an engineer, but I am quite the scholar.

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The Post Grad Identity

Photo Credit: eHow

Fact 1: It’s the twelfth day in 2010.

Fact 2: The Class of 2009 graduated in May (semester system) and June (quarter system).

Conclusion: It’s been 5 or 6 months since you graduated.

On the day of your graduation, you are hopeful of the future, of opportunities coming your way. After all, that’s what all those graduation speeches are for–to pump you up. That’s because those that have walked before us know that the real world isn’t as idealistic as your college one. You wake up the next morning and begin thinking: God, I am actually done. I don’t have to wake up and class.  This is great! Oh God, I got to find a job. I got to work off my debt. This is not so great! Oh God, oh God. What have you been doing since that day? Yes, let’s freak out together.

After graduation, there are many routes to take. There are 3 parts to this Post Grad identity; am I missing any?:

1. Go immediately for your Master’s or Ph.D. or Law School or Med School. This might be the most common pathway undergrads choose. The process usually starts around your second year of undergrad, as you secure letters of recommendation from professors or internships. You want to visit your professors during their hours and to make sure that they know exactly who you are. Study about your professors beforehand, read up on their research, then show up to their office with confidence.

You also want to work on your Curriculum Vitae (CV), which is essentially a resume for academic purposes. When I mean academic, I mean any research positions you’ve had, any research papers you’ve done, any research you’ve presented–the key is research. You may also want to put in any symposium or academic talks you’ve attended.

Also, research on potential Grad Schools. Look at their programs. Does it fit with you and what you want to research? Do they have fellowships? Do they give out  loads of money for your research? What about the professors? Are there any you desperately want to work with and learn from? You may want to visit the campus because if you’ll be spending 2 to 7 years at that school, you should like attending it.

Around the later half of your third year, you should study your butt off for the GREs, LSATs, MCATs, GMATs and then actually take them.  If you don’t like your score, this gives you enough time to study, take it again, and redeem yourself. Then, when the applications for Grad School are due as early as October, you are ready!

Then, your rejection or acceptance letters come in, and by the time you wear that cap and gown, you know you have a secure future–a spot at whatever prestigious university you’ve chosen and accepted you.

2. Taking a break…for a year…or two! I’ve spoken with about twenty graduate students and post-doctoral candidates, and most of them say that taking a break is important. *Gasps* A break? That puts me behind my cohorts. They say you’ll thank yourself in the end. You may need that time to “find” yourself after being in school for so long. After all, if you want to get your MA or Ph.D, that’s MORE years at school and DECREASES your “you” time. That means no breaks from here on out because after your get those degrees, there’s work, more work, and perhaps starting a family.

And of course, there’s also that slight chance that you don’t see yourself in the future doing what you got your BA or BS in or want to postpone that dream. For example, let’s say you got your degree in Psychology and Sociology. And as you take your much-needed break, you realize maybe Nursing is a better a life choice for now.

You may also want to use your break to explore the world. If you didn’t use opportunities to study abroad, you now have the time to go to places you could only dream of visiting. You may not get the chance once you start Grad School or when family life takes over, although you may get that chance to travel to an exotic place for your honeymoon. *Wink, wink*

You can also use your break-time to add experience to your CV/Resume. You may decide working at a place that relates to your intended Grad School major.

OR, you may need that break to get a job, save up, and work off that undergraduate debt. If you are trying to get a job, good luck. Apparently, it’s harder than getting into Harvard.

3. No Grad School for me…a BA/BS is enough, and I’m going to just work thank you. Some people’s goals is reaching a BA/BS. That’s fine. You did it. You’re done. Congratulations.

Now, remember when I said “Yes, let’s freak out together?” That’s probably because I’m the guy who is doing something unconventional. During my “break,” I’m going back to school to take my nursing prerequisites so I can apply for Nursing school, whereas most psychology graduates are in Grad School right now. You need to follow your own path–the one that works for you. But lucky for us, there are people out there who want to help you as you experience your post grad identity.

The people of The Post Grad blog are there to lend a helping hand and give some friendly advice. They’ve walked in your shoes and want to ease your anxieties of this new identity you’ve achieved (a Sociology reference for you Sociology majors).  If you’re experiencing a quarter-life crisis, or trying to find a career path, The Post Grad is there for you. If you’re taking a break, you should keep your mind sharp. And as for me? Let’s just say that I need to shed some of that undergraduate fat I’ve accumulated. This post grad body of mine needs to stay fit.

So head over to The Post Grad site, and tell them Gio sent you (I’m a huge fan of theirs). And embrace your Post Grad identity. Oh, and congratulations on graduating!


Filed under College, Issues/Causes, Life