Three Parts

Part the First: Look at how I’m defined by the Infinite Teen Slang Generator!

n. a female, particularly a nice one.
“Reggie, that yami is nice!”


Part the Second: How many times have I mentioned that I lived in a dorm with a coed naked hot tub? Clearly not enough to garner a significant audience, as is the way of the world – but surely once or twice. And the discussion of men and nipples in church made me think back on what made me comfortable, or not, as a potential ogle-ee.

It seems to me that there are four types:

  1. Men who don’t see women as full-fledged human beings.
  2. Men who do manage to see women as human beings, but not as sexual beings, or have a classic virgin/whore dichotomy problem.
  3. Men who see women as both human and sexual beings, but not at the same time. They’re well-behaved, but sometimes shift from normal eye contact to a desperate staring contest. You can see the “oh shit I wasn’t supposed to notice or feel anything now I’m stuck” whirling ’round – an admirable sentiment, perhaps, but still an awkward moment.
  4. Men who are fun to be around in a coed naked hot tub.

Obviously you can cook the categories to apply to women, or same-sex ogling, or whatever other genders and sexualities you’ve been streaking campus with lately. The point is, I saw an awful lot of young men successfully move from category 3 to category 4; while I can’t speak to their inner experiences, from the outside it just doesn’t seem that difficult. Contrariwise, there was one notable instance of someone moving from utter misogyny, to at least a theoretical acceptance of women as both human and sexual (in practice it didn’t always work out so well) – and clearly freaking the fuck out every step of the way.

Learning to accept the inevitable moments of sexual tension and let them pass, without getting all in a lather – it strikes me as the same thing that happens in meditation, letting your thoughts go and returning to your breath, again and again. Practice, isn’t it?

Part the Third: I’m going to Seattle tonight. At this point I can safely say that I’ll be leaving LA this summer/fall, driving north along the Pacific Coast until I hit grad school. How far north, exactly, I dunno – thus the going to Seattle – but if you’re so inclined, now would be a good time to cast some pearls of grad-school-choosing wisdom.

Part the Fourth, while we’re discussing my geography: I’m also planning a trip to Europe in July. The itinerary is Iceland – Norway with family, then Norway – Denmark – ??? – London? doing the backpacking thing with my sister. Any readers out there willing to show two delightful young tourists a good time?


  1. ester wrote:

    i know two people already accepted to a UW and another who’s hoping to be. what’s the allure? the rain?
    i guess i shouldn’t talk. i’d be back in scandinavia in a flash if i could. scandinavia, where’s it’s always march and never, uh, easter.

  2. Rana wrote:

    No real grad school recs, though UW is pretty impressive.
    Since you’re driving up north, there are many really cool things worth seeing, if you have the time for side trips. The Muir Woods. The Trees of Mystery (kichy!). A really great hostel on the 101 (or 1? I forget. The one right by the ocean) up near the Calif-Oregon border. The Oregon Caves. The Oregon Dunes. Crater Lake. Bagby Hot Springs. The Columbia River Gorge. The Hoh Rain Forest…
    I highly recommend any and all of these.
    (Email me if you want more details.)

  3. yami wrote:

    ester: yes! The rain! Oh the glorious rain and clouds!
    They haven’t accepted me yet, this is only an interview – but at $500 a pop for interviews, they’re obviously fairly serious.
    Rana: I just might. The kitschy trees in particular sound fabulous. Are all of these things north of the Bay? (my other possible stopping point is Berkeley)
    Note to self: change the margins on the comment-paragraphs.
    Also, the dangers of cropping photographs: In this picture, there are about five girls to the right of the lone one pictured. Or so I hear, but third hand information ain’t bad.

  4. denisdekat wrote:

    I believe that of course there are many more types out there, I think of it more as a spectrum of forces. I tend to see it more as an issue of the balance between nature and nurture.
    We males are drunk with impulses (more when we are young), some impulses (programming) are more dominant on some men than others and thus rule their behavior. I believe the impulses vary as we are a social animal, and it would be destruction if every male had strong aggressiveness. I would suggest that you should consider both class (upbringing) and chemistry in your calculations. Both play key in the education game…
    Respect comes from upbringing, chemistry you are born with

  5. denisdekat wrote:

    rats I meant to type “Both play key in the seduction game…”

  6. Rana wrote:

    Yup, all north of the Bay. A beautiful drive is to just take the coast road all the way up to Oregon (which will allow you to hit all the stuff up to the Oregon Dunes). (It will be twisty, though, so don’t do it at night or if tired.) If you keep going, be sure to have clam chowder at Moe’s (or Moe’s Annex, across the street) in Newport. (You can also cut to the 5 here by going from Newport to Corvallis to Albany. It’s a tad twisty too, but scenic.)
    The Hoh Rain Forest (if I recall correctly — I saw it as a kid) is on the Olympic Penninsula, so would be a detour. The other things (Gorge, Hot Springs, Lake) would be good stops on the way back down, since they’re all in central Oregon. The Caves are between the 5 and the coast, if I remember right (again, kid).
    Links… (I said the Oregon caves, but I really meant these lava tubes.)
    (Oh, and if you’re passing through Corvallis in July, you might be able to see the Da Vinci Days Kinetic Sculpture Race!!!) (The rain forest is part of this park.)

  7. yami wrote:

    Denisdekat: There are lumpers and splitters; today I’m a lumper. Caltech is obviously not the most diverse institution in the world, classwise or otherwise, but I really don’t think class is a productive split here.
    Rana: tak!

  8. Rana wrote:

    What can I say? Sticking me alone in a room with Google and a fast ‘net connection is dangerous!

  9. denisdekat wrote:

    What I mean by class is upbringing. You will find that strong family backgrounds tend to create better adjusted individuals who behave with more respect and grace. Not so much rich versus poor really in my explanation

  10. des von bladet wrote:

    Yow! I’d certainly be very glad to have a chance to reciprocally exhibit some of London’s many attractive County Fairs!
    (You do realise, though, that London is startlingly expensive, isn’t it? A one-day travel card is cruising at 6 quid, which is over 10 of your USDs.)

  11. yami wrote:

    Denisdekat: for tautological definitions of “strong”, certainly. The discombobulated misogynist I mentioned came from what would otherwise have been considered a “strong” family – strong, and super-duper conservative. Many families have hidden disfunctionalities, of course, but it’s neither productive nor polite to speculate about them.
    Raising kids to be flexible and gracious in awkward/foreign social situations is a tricky and important thing… but in my experience with adults, this kind of flexibility isn’t very correlated with people’s ability to behave under more familiar/comfortable circumstances, or with any accessible metrics of family strength. Metrics of family unconventionality work a little better, but still aren’t perfect. You really just learn things about people when you’re naked that you would never learn otherwise. (Since all of these things have to do with how they behave around nudity, I don’t recommend this as an educational exercise for office morale-retreats or anything.)
    Des: hoorah! London is only slotted for a couple of days at most, we’re seeking inexpensive rural/small-urban charm for the rest of it. How’s Bristle for the cashwise?

  12. denisdekat wrote:

    Well, I am again looking at the world via my Latino eyes again, I admittedly used a poor or the wrong word/definition then about strong family(as I wanted to capture it). Strong not in wealth, more as in history and values within a family unit tends to create better adjusted folks…
    It is hard to capture what I am saying, have not drank coffee yet (and my mind is a fugue of distractions), but I find that folks with less guiding, less family history, they tend to be more wild and problematic… I see these in my fellow boys very much. Boys with loads of family love and support hardly ever turn out nasty. Some boys are hardwired to be more aggressive, but the nurturing plays a big factor at the social interaction aspects of life…
    This is sort fo the way I see it…

  13. des von bladet wrote:

    Yami: Well, Bristle is no-wise cheap, but it isn’t London. And there’s plenty of countryside around, I have heard. There’s Wales just a bit to the left, too. Lots of sheeps in Wales.

  14. yami wrote:

    So I think we’re on more or less the same page with the concept of strength here. My question is: do you think a strong family, chockfulla love and guidance, can produce men who are generally well-adjusted with the exception of specific blind spots where women and/or sexuality are concerned?
    Because there are buckets of people with such blind spots. Nuturing plays a huge role in all of this – but I just don’t think it’s accurate to describe it as strictly a function of the amount of nurturing, guidance, family-time, etc. a boy recieves. The content of that guidance (& role-modeling & etc.) matters too. This country has more wingnuts lovingly guiding and supporting their children through wingnuttery than it has McDonaldses…

  15. Yanes wrote:

    in July i’ll be Alaskan!
    come visit for American-style cold- that far north, all those northern-ey places squish together

  16. yami wrote:

    Are there cheap circumpolar hop-planes? What airline, Alaska? Must definitely look into it.
    Speaking of Alaska Airlines, I flew ‘em to Seattle, and they spent the last 15 minutes of each flight yammering about their credit card. I really don’t appreciate being advertised to like that and hereby advise all y’alls to avoid them when feasible.

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