Shaving

Should probably shave, I thought, grazing the hair on my face that never resembled a beard, but instead some bedraggled cat holding on for dear life. No, the hairs on my face rarely sculpt me into a sexy, rather hipster-ish Ryan Gosling look-a-like, but instead an unshaven bum.

So I retreated to the bathroom with my Neutrogena shaving kit and disposable razor pack (CVS; $4.99). The sink encrusted with spittle-mixed-tooth-paste, the mirrors streaked with the same concoction in patterns reminiscent of some Jackson Pollock painting.

Shaving is men’s equivalent to dyeing his hair. We arise fresh, awoken, somehow new. Certainly, we look different, sometimes more childish, sometimes more handsome. Either way, we come out of the experience different and cleansed. The feeling fades just as does that familiar Sunday Morning vibe that fizzles out once we smack into Monday and decide, well, why not try meth?

I finished and put down the razor, inspecting myself. Sometimes, when you look in a mirror, it’s strange—you don’t recognize your own face because you hardly ever see it. So that’s it? That’s how people see me? Ah, well, it does look better shaven. Maybe I’ll feel a little different, a little new.

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What is considered UNmanly?

We all know what might be considered manly (Chuck Norris, Daniel Day Lewis, and films about war), but what exactly does it mean to be UNMANLY? Because I am so oft labeled thus, I’d like to explore exactly what that term constitutes.

I could... probably achieve that.

Does it mean that I don’t “lift weights,” but instead attend Pilates classes? (Ok, fine, it’s Yoga…. Ok, FINE! Yoga on Wii Fit… Just leave me alone OKAY! I admit, it’s actually table tennis on Wii Fit, so just stop judging me, please!)

Maybe being unmanly means eating healthy cereal like Special K or some other granola-based barf disaster. Granted, painting my toenails and joining a ballet company… but wait, have you guys SEEN male ballerinas? They’re more fit than Rugby players. So maybe ballet IS manly? Because think about it, you spend all day with beautiful women in tights. Yet society seems to point to other adjectives when describing a male ballet dancer. It doesn’t make much sense.

Okay, maybe plucking your eyebrows still lies in the UNMANLY camp of activities, but other things that used to be considered effeminate have become more… well, manly.

What’s the big deal with being manly, anyways? I mean, so I don’t smoke cigars and wrestle bears, but why should I? I’m sure given the right occasion, I might put a grizzly in a choke-hold, but unless it’s attacking me, why would I ever attempt to do that? The quest to be manly evolved from when men went to war. I mean, all men went to war. There was no military to speak of, so when America needed to fight a war, it enlisted every man. Farmers and merchants and blacksmiths and horse riders. They took boys as young as 14, handed them a gun, and pushed them onto the battlefield.

Think on a Civil War battlefield where these men are strewn across the grass. Every grass blade sports flecks of blood, the corpses piled over each other. You can see by the position of the bodies that the battle lasted long. Three hours. But the boys kept running out, fighting. They kept fighting. And it was not as if either armies harbored disdain for each other– only months before, they had been countrymen. Yet now confronted with what they were told was the enemy, they fought. They killed.

They shot and stabbed each other and kept trying to do so simply because if not, these boys would look unmanly in front of their friends. To not fight was the coward’s way. It was each boy’s duty to fight and if he fled, he could never overcome that act of unmanliness, that betrayal of honor.

It was pointless. Wars fought for the same reason men today still choose to pile more weights onto a barbell if they’re lifting in front of their friends. There is a certain spark in some people that will encourage them to lay down their lives for a war. Others do so because they cannot do otherwise and continue to live with masculinity intact.

 

EXACTLY What You’re Looking For

A post from Lorna’s Voice (found here: http://lornasvoice.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/imagine-the-disappointment/) inspired me to create the PERFECT blog post. My blog has been found through a variety of search methods, pictures of otherwise. So in this single blog, I intend to culminate everyone’s deepest desires. Blog readers, this is what you’ve been looking for, so I’m giving it to you.

First off, my personal favorite search is Ryan Gosling, which tends to attract about 300 viewers a week on average. You do one post on Ryan Gosling and suddenly… people read your blog. I swear, it works. So, if you’re scouring the internet for “Ryan Gosling,” “Ryan Gosling hair,” or “Ryan Gosling abs,” this blog is for you!

People seem to love “Harry Potter” too and everything related including “pictures of Gringotts,” “Cartoon Hermione Harry Potter naked,” and “Harry Potter tattoo timeline”:

At least five people would like to see a “swamp ghost alligator”:

Many people looked up variants of “Wilfred the dog smoking pot”

Too many people look for pictures of a “Golgi apparatus”

I fully support looking for a “glorious mustache”

About 26 people just want to see “v-neck,” and then maybe 56 people would like to see a “deep v-neck” or “super deep v-neck.” Are you one of those people? You’re welcome.

Sorry, I can’t show you pictures of “Phoenix Pride nude” here, whoever she is.

And like seriously, over 50 people have searched “the F word”

What draws eyes most to my blog???

*cue drum roll*

people looking for pictures of janitors. Seriously. I’m that boring, apparently. Mention just once that you work as a janitor and suddenly… you’re held to high regard. Hm…

What??!?!? You were just googling Derek Berry? Well, refer to all other blog posts, dear readers. Read on.

On Soul Mates

Having a soul mate is a strange notion, because it implies that somewhere in this world, someone is born with the inert necessity to be with you.

You, and no one else. Perhaps your signature is scribbled on their DNA or maybe at some point, when you meet, a chemical is released in your brain telling you that you’re meant to be.

But as comforting as it might be to think that you have an assured romantic partner who will meet you at some point in your life, it’s a tad ridiculous. More than a tad really, and not merely ridiculous, but also depressing.

It’s the sort of soft-bread romance dream concocted through worship of Disney mantra and films based on books by Nicholas Sparks.

There are almost 7 billion people alive in the world, and if you’re meant to be with just one of them… you’re up a creek without a lover. You’re just a dejected jigsaw puzzle piece in a sprawling ocean of lego pieces. You’re the bee trying to collect nectar from wax flowers. For awhile, the notion allows us peace of mind:  someone is out there for us, only waiting. But when the search begins, we lose heart.

The abstraction of soul mates is loose and undefined: those who do believe don’t necessarily agree. Did God carve out pieces of the soul to lock together or maybe Cupid got too excited with his arrows? So, suppose as far as love goes, there is a greater plan to push together two people who fit absolutely. Even so, it must be a pretty awful system and mighty inefficient. Cupid might have tried at one point, but the guy got very lazy.

The younger a person is, the more inclined he or she might be to snatching up hope for the easy way out of anything. If my biology book doesn’t lie, which I expect in fact it does, then sexual reproduction is hard enough as is. It’s difficult enough to find a mate viable to procreate and have children anyways, so to find just one person with whom to procreate and populate the earth… how impossible could that become?

If my soul mate could be anyone, I meet soul mates every day. Every single girl I meet is my soul mate, so I have to go falling in and out of love. Because according to the rules of soul mates, it could be anyone. And what if you do meet your soul mate, but then brush her off because she’s wearing a band t-shirt from that band you hate. Maybe when you get married, you’ll grow to love that band! Maybe you can work through the fact that your supposed soul mate works as an erotic dancer, because… in the name of love, right?

What if I’m meant to fall in love with an Amazonian tribe member whom I may never meet. Or worse, a child… that’s a good excuse for sexual predators. If soul mates are real, we cannot pick them. It would be like forcing a horse to drink without being able to lead him to water. The horse gets rather thirsty.

The crux becomes, if I can’t prove it wrong, I’m not going to completely dismiss it. What if there were soul mates, as dreadful as that reality seems? I certainly don’t believe in a soul mate, but I sure as hell wouldn’t let her get away. And even if I don’t believe something is not true, that’s no excuse to do it halfway. That’s not really grounds to give up.

Just because I’m not a cricket fan doesn’t mean I’d pass up the chance to be great at cricket if life presented me with such an opportunity. But the truth is, you’re rarely delivered opportunity on a silver platter, side of butter- lightly braised, if you please. People make opportunities, just as people make their own sparks. I could surely spend my entire life stalking the streets and catching the eyes of random women, but I doubt that’d make anyone fall in love with me.

Two people can have a great relationship, but that has nothing to do with predisposed biology. It’s not their chemical make-up causing them to mesh so well, but instead because they really work at it. “As far as I can tell, dedication is the better part of foreplay.”-Shane Kocyzan.

Soul mates, it’s an interesting notion, a potato-and-bread ideal that we can dust off whenever we’re feeling too lonely, but the reality of it in practice would be horrifying. People might see the need to fly across the globe in search of that other “puzzle piece,” when they may only need glance across the hall. (In the scenario, this man or woman would live in an apartment. Certainly not a house with family members, unless of course, you’re into that and your state deems that legal.)

What are your thoughts on soul mates?

Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Sappy love story that is poignant, grounded in reality, and sort of hilarious– well, we’ve got your date movie plans satiated with Crazy, Stupid, Love. It’s one of those feel-good love stories you can’t help but smile at while watching. The cast is fantastic, the script is realistic, and the plot overflows with awkwardness when love bites us in the arse.

Starring is Steve Carrell as Cal Weaver whose wife (Julianne Moore of The Kids Are Alright talent) tells him over dinner that she wants a divorce. Five minutes of tortured silence follows as they continue to eat and then drive home. After she tells him that she slept with her coworker, he drops out of the moving vehicle.

So begins the quirky, strange comedy about the pitfalls of love. And yes, there is plenty of love to go around. Cal is in love with his wife Emily, but so is her one-night-stand partner David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). The Weaver’s sensitive, outspoken thirteen year old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is convinced that his soul mate is his awkward, but beautiful beautiful babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). Jessica, however, happens to have a crush on Mr. Cal Weaver.

If this sounds so far like a complicated romantic comedy, it doesn’t have nearly as many entanglements as you’ve seen in other love stories (Valentines Day, Love Actually). Once dumped and living alone, Cal seems pathetic. Cue enter Jacob, the suave, smooth-operating ladies man played by the stylish, confidant Ryan Gosling. And well, am I a fan of Ryan Gosling’s lady killer ways? Just read my plan to become him when I grow up: https://derekberry.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/i-want-to-grow-up-to-be-ryan-gosling-or-a-pirate/

Seeing how pathetic Cal has become, sitting at a bar, ranting about his ex wife, Jacob decides to teach this older man how to pick up women. And after much face-slapping and an upgrade from Supercuts, he manages to teach Cal the shallow art of seduction. “You’re better than the GAP,” Jacob tells Cal, shaking his head in disappointment. Next could have followed a romping buddy comedy about picking up women, but Crazy, Stupid, Love is more raw than that. It focuses on the strange things that happen to us concerning love.

Like when the thirteen year old boy you babysit shows up at your school with a pulpit to declare his love for you. Like when your kids’ seventeen year old babysitter tries to give you naked pictures of herself. Like when Kevin Bacon learns the loathing of a woman’s kid. Like when Hannah, a law student played by the quirky, fun Emma Stone discovers that her boyfriend does not plan to propose, but instead invites her to become a lawyer with him.

Well, once Jacob meets Hannah, another love story begins.

Ryan Gosling is priceless as vain Jacob, sporting Italian leather boots and suede-accented green suits. His cool, sophisticated ways of seducing movie do not at first impress Hannah, but then after a disastrous almost-proposal, she tracks down “the hot guy that hit on me at the bar.” She kisses him and delclares “we’re definitely going to bang.”

One long night of pillow talk sans “banging” later, they’ve fallen in love. It’s cliche and too quick, but hey, it’s a love story. They needed to squeeze as much love as possible out of it.

The movie is cute, but the movie is also funny. Carell perfectly captures the middle age man estranged from the dating scene: he sits at the bar sipping on cranberry vodkas. “You’re like a fourteen year old girl, ” Jacob chides him. The movie quickly moves beyond the mundane and shallow into my sentimental territory. In that way, the story ends up many romantic comedies do- happily. At very least bittersweet.

Other great performances include Bobo who played Robbie, passionate and lovelorn, and Julianne Moore as a woman in a serious midlife crisis. If you’re looking for a date movie, this one promises a lot of sentimental pull, but also (for guys) great pick up tips. Perfect for couples about to break up: the guy can check out how to either revive his relationship or pull in new ladies by the dozen.

Check out Crazy, Stupid, Love in theatres this weekend.