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Aunt Pythia’s advice

May 17, 2014

Aunt Pythia is sad this morning, folks. You see, she just found out that her favorite show, Psych, was canceled after its eighth season. What is Aunt Pythia going to do, folks? Besides rewatching old episodes, that is. And don’t say watch the Mentalist, the premise of that show is absurd.

I am also pissed that the rapture index is so damn high. Suck it, rapture index!

In spite of her funk, Aunt Pythia is going to muddle through for her readers. Anything for you people!

Please, after reading her advice,

think of something to ask Aunt Pythia at the bottom of the page!

By the way, if you don’t know what the hell Aunt Pythia is talking about, go here for past advice columns and here for an explanation of the name Pythia.

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Dear Aunt Pythia,

Why don’t we spend more time naked?

People seem to enjoy their bodies a lot more when they spend a lot of time naked, by confronting themselves to being judged, they free themselves from the general canons of beauty that are imposed on them. Yet nowadays most people who show their bodies are the ones matching those canons of beauty- or you have to join one of those creepy nude beaches.

There’s also something very primal and aesthetic about being (even partly) naked, both of which I’d argue we all need more of.

While I understand that we need to come to work with clothes on, that even inside we can’t spend all day juggling about the pendents, there’s surely something we can do. What practical measure would you suggest to expose more of everyone’s skin without having to move further south or joining a sauna club?

Thanks for your enlightenment,

Dekan

Dear Dekan,

You had me until you mentioned “creepy nude beaches.” Can’t have it both ways. Anyway, there are plenty of nice nude beaches, like the one close to the math department at the University of Vancouver.

As for how we can all be naked more and accept our bodies in all their glories and pendants, I think about it this way. It’s not the clothes that are the barrier, it’s our mindset. And we can change our mindsets without touching our clothes, or anyone else’s. Finding beauty in everyone’s body, including our own, is a kind of mindset challenge that is both entertaining and uplifting. And clothes do not pose much of a barrier here, they’re generally speaking very thin.

Aunt Pythia

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Hi, Aunt Pythia!

Mother Jones has just published an article called, “Is New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez the Next Sarah Palin?”. The article is reasonable—obviously not positive about Governor Martinez, but it seems like an acceptable piece of partisan journalism—but the title bothers me.

Nobody would have thought to say, “Is [Man in Politics] the Next Sarah Palin?” If the article were in fact about Chris Christie, I wouldn’t have a problem with the comparison to Palin.

Clearly it is relevant that Governor Martinez is a woman, insofar as Republicans are madly scrambling to find someone, anyone, who isn’t a white man to run for national office. People are allowed to note that she’s a she, and maybe there’s an interesting article and headline in there. But I don’t think this Palin headline is OK. It bothers me that the media (Mother Jones, of all publications!) finds it so easy to make fun of women for being women. Am I supposed to find it funny?

So I ask: do you think Mother Jones screwed up here?

Extremely Sensitive Liberal

Dear ESL,

First of all, the article itself is good. It talks about things Martinez has in common with Palin, Bush, and Christie. It has insane audio recordings (how did they get those?). And the truth is – of course! – politicians do have profiles, and it’s an important part of their draw. I don’t think the writer of the article, Andy Kroll, over-emphasized it.

Second, the title is often chosen to get clicks, even without consulting the writer. I’ve heard more than one journalist complain about their title being changed on them to something less than appropriate for their article. So we can blame Mother Jones but not necessarily Andy Kroll if we think the title is terrible.

But, is the title terrible? I think not. There are lots of commonalities between Martinez and Palin. They are both vindictive, narcissistic, and uninformed. They are also both women and being used in a cynical way by the Republican Party for their gender. Not that the Democratic Party doesn’t also do that.

I guess what I’m saying is that you can be offended, but I advise to instead be a bit more realistic about how politics actually works.

Aunt Pythia

——

Dear Aunt Pythia,

I’d like to apply, please.

  • Approx 8/10 (but sometimes only 2/10, and occasionally 11/10)
  • In the right company, this can reach 4/10
  • Only about 3/10, I’m afraid, but I could scrub up a bit
  • Neither – both bore me
  • I’d rather things stay polite? 
  • Politics, just
  • The Antarctic
  • No
  • A cat person
  • Yes

Best Regards,

Male And Deluded

Dear MAD,

It took me a second but I figured out you are answering my “new matchmaking questions” from this Aunt Pythia column. Let me provide a more complete conversation for myself and my readers (your answers are italicized):

  1. How sexual are you? (super important question)
    • Approx 8/10 (but sometimes only 2/10, and occasionally 11/10)
  2. How much fun are you? (people are surprisingly honest when asked this)
    • In the right company, this can reach 4/10
  3. How awesome do you smell? (might need to invent technology for this one)
    • Only about 3/10, I’m afraid, but I could scrub up a bit
  4. What bothers you more: the big bank bailout or the idea of increasing the minimum wage?
    • Neither – both bore me
  5. Do you like strong personalities or would you rather things stay polite?
    • I’d rather things stay polite? 
  6. What do you love arguing about more: politics or aesthetics?
    • Politics, just
  7. Where would you love to visit if you could go anywhere?
    • The Antarctic
  8. Do you want kids?
    • No
  9. Dog person or cat person?
    • A cat person
  10. Do you sometimes wish the girl could be the hero, and not always fall for the hapless dude at the end?
    • Yes

You had me until cat person. Wrong answer!!

Auntie P

——

Dear Aunt Pythia,

What’s the deal with casual sex?

As a society, we tend to both condemn it and desire it. It sounds good to be free spirited and enjoy our bodies, but at the same time we are usually scared (and excited) to share that level of intimacy with a stranger.

Common wisdom seems to suggest that there’s not that much to be gained from it, especially if you are already in a working relationship. So why does everyone (you included?) keep coming back to it all the time? Is it just a way to talk about sex? I don’t get it.

Currently Amused, Slightly Under Aroused Level.

Dear CASUAL,

Nothing to be gained from casual sex? What common wisdom manual have you been reading? Have you never watched Up In The Air?

My theory is that certain things are hugely important but you’re not supposed to talk about them. Or rather, you can talk about them in the abstract but not admit you’re involved personally. For women, casual sex is in this category, and for men it isn’t. The mismatch is borne out by the lying statistics we see all the time when (straight) men and women estimate the number of their partners and the averages do not match, a mathematical impossibility unless a bunch of men had sex with a bunch of old ladies that just died.

Also, I don’t think the fear of sharing intimacy with strangers holds too many people back. In fact I don’t think anything holds people back as a general rule. There’s a whole bunch of casual sex happening all the freaking time, all around us.

Finally, yes, it is just an excuse to talk about sex. Thanks for providing it.

Aunt Pythia

——

Please submit your well-specified, fun-loving, cleverly-abbreviated question to Aunt Pythia!

Categories: Aunt Pythia
  1. Zathras
    May 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I’m confused by the Up in the Air reference. The movie certainly did not show the value of casual sex. It portrayed it as unfulfiling and unsatisfying.

    • May 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Agree to disagree. It showed why casual affairs are so enticing and bonding and dangerous and lovely and ephemeral. More nuanced than unfulfilling at the very least.

  2. Bill
    May 17, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Sultan and his harem – nobody had to die to get different averages for men vs. women.

    Actually any situation where the two sides of the bipartite graph are not of equal size is going
    to give different averages for the “men” and “women” side. Even if the both sides are of equal
    size if you don’t gather your data carefully enough, you may get incorrect averages. The relative proportion of male vs. female prostitution and whether you sampled from those sub-populations correctly is going to skew things.

    Am I saying that nobody lies on these surveys? No
    Am I saying that I don’t think it possible that men vs. women lie differently? No

    I’m just saying that saying it is “mathematically impossible” is false.

    I don’t happen to know what the exact difference in these self reported averages, so I might
    agree that it is improbable that they are correct, I just won’t say impossible.

    • May 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

      At birth there are somewhat more men. Women live longer. Since babies and dying people usually don’t have too much sex, and since the numbers are never really that different, I’m going to say it’s kind of a tossup. If anything among young people in this country there are slightly more men, which means they should have lower #’s of partners on average, but that’s not what you see.

      Also, I’m assuming that they did ask enough people, even prostitutes, to get their averages. And prostitutes lie, especially female prostitutes, which is kind of my point.

  3. Alex
    May 17, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    > at the University of Vancouver

    University of British Columbia

  4. David18
    May 17, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Well, you can combine sex interests with TV by watching “Masters of Sex” about Masters and Johnson in the ’50s.
    I was very sorry when “Lie to Me” loosely based on Paul Ekman’s work on facial expressions (and his life) was canceled.
    Sadly, “Justified” and “The Newsroom” are both going to have only one more season not for financial reasons but just because some of the principles no longer want to continue the show(s).

    • David18
      May 17, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I meant to add that with Netflix and Amazon (soon) creating their own content and at times extending shows that had been canceled is starting an interesting trend. I also know that in at least one case (Victoria Mars) a crowd-sourced group of fans created a movie for their beloved TV series. I would think that there could be some sort of subscription model for extending a series to supplement the revenues from advertising.

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