A bug’s love life

I learned about the unsexiness of bed bugs several years ago when I lived in an apartment infested with them. No better way to guarantee that a guy won’t call you than to send him home all itchy.

But I had never really considered bed bugs’ sex appeal to each other until I attended the annual meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (to my dismay this conference, unlike Comic Con, did not include any speed dating– can you imagine the fun of me trying to pick up hygiene experts?)

Anyway, I learned that male bed bugs are even less discriminating in their sexual tastes than frat boys at 2 am. “Male bed bugs will attempt to mate with anything about the same size as a female bed bug,” an agriculture expert drily reported.  And it turns out that there are a lot of things the same size as female bed bugs– of particular note, male bed bugs and child bed bugs. This, um, misunderstanding is so common that the male bugs and young bugs have a special pheromone that they emit when a male tries to mate with them. The experts had some boring chemical name for this pheromone, but I prefer to call it the “Dude, I ain’t your girlfriend” stink. The experts and I also disagreed about potential applications of this discovery– they are looking at it for pest control purposes, and I see it being useful in certain ski town bars I’ve frequented.

But, arguably, bed bugs have much more need of the chemical than humans, because we haven’t even gotten to the yucky part yet. Do you know how another expert at the seminar described bed bug sex? “Traumatic insemination.” And he wasn’t talking about the agony of online or speed dating. Apparently, female bed bugs don’t have any kind exterior access to their reproductive systems, so males STAB THEM WITH THEIR SHARP PENISES TO MAKE A HOLE! Oh, and studies of bed bug infestations have found that the bugs in a single locale have remarkably low levels of genetic diversity. Or, as a lady bed bug might explain it, these guys coming after them with their dagger penises are their BROTHERS.

So, when we got to the explanation of how most infestations are started by a single pregnant bug who hitches a ride to a new home on someone’s shoes or suitcase, I think I was supposed to be scared. Instead, I just thought, Can you blame her?


The wisdom of elders

SpeedDatingGirl is off celebrating Columbus by attempting some conquests of her own (two first dates in one long weekend!). To entertain you in her absence is an unsolicited response to last week’s post from SDG’s dad.
 Dear [SpeedDatingGirl],
   I read an interesting article in the National Geographic about what’s going on in Ullan Bator in Outer Mongolia.  They’ve had terrible droughts in the countryside and  many nomads have lost their herds and come to Ullan Bator in hopes of employment.  They live in yurts and Gers (some kind of round, small and very flimsy dwelling) on the edges of town with no running water or sewers, and I would guess they just do their business in alleys.  One enterprising former nomad set up a business where you could pay to get a hot shower.  He closed down in a few months due to lack of business.  I guess the outer Mongolians can’t see spending good kopeks (or whatever they have there) for something so frivolous as hot showers. 
    So if you meet any outer Mongolians, you probably don’t need to worry about them reacting adversely to your hygiene.

Too hungover for a thousand words.

I know you were promised Part 2 of The Headless Doctor saga this week. And usually Speed Dating Girl’s word is her bond (unless she’s saying something like, “Um, sure, a second date sounds great. I’ll call you.”). But after an exhausting weekend of celebrating people who have dated more successfully than I (more conventionally known as my best friend’s wedding), even typing takes too much effort. So instead, please enjoy this photo of SDG’s latest conquest. I wanted to maintain my anonymity but I hope you’ll recognize my 305-year-old date (talk about manthers!). We had a great time– even ate breakfast together– but I don’t think it’s going to work out: he’s got a job of course, but no car or phone.

You’re never too old.

I promised a while ago to check in with LDB. Turns out he’s been too busy working (or so he says) to have his own dating adventures, but he did have a story to tell on a friend.

LDB and the friend, who is a girl, had taken the train to a nearby city for a night out on the town.

“she picked up a guy in a bar. she went home with him. he was 31,” LDB reports. (Before all of you readers who are elderly capitalizing types like me take offense, know that his age is relevant to the rest of the story.)

In the morning, she and LDB hopped the train home, where he discovered that her date had left a gift to remember him by:  “a trail of hickeys on her neck, maybe six or so distinct very obvious hickeys. was so ridiculous-looking i asked her to switch seats on the train home, so i would stop getting distracted and cracking up.”

But he wasn’t the only one with the potential to be distracted. The hickey victim had a bunch of important meetings in the upcoming week, and it was summer so turtlenecks were out. She had also inconveniently recently gotten her hair cut stylishly short.  “she ended up coating her neck in expensive coverup” reported LDB, thus sadly negating the cost savings of accepting those free drinks in the bar.

I have only one thing to say about this: That date sucked!

Ha, ha. No, actually LDB (dedicated Socialist that he is) had his own punchline for the story.  “also, he was a republican.”

An objective report

Some of you probably think that I exaggerate about my dating experiences. I mean, how could there be that many weird guys out there? And why do I run into all of them? (Just so you know, these are the sort of questions that keep me up at night.) But to prove that I’m not making this any of this up, this week’s post is an email written by a friend of mine. The night before, she and I had gone to a singles event together, but I left early, demoralized. Here’s her description– word for word– of the only guy who asked for my number:

I talked to your buddy [NAME EXPUNGED, BUT IT WAS WEIRD, TRUST ME] for a little while.  When asked what he did for a living, he tiptoed around the fact that he’s unemployed because of disability.  When asked what his disability was, he doesn’t know because no one let him see the paperwork. (?) I asked if he didn’t know what his disability was, how did he know he had one, and how did he apply for it, and this question seems to baffle his brain.  He does, however, volunteer (somewhere weird) and he also plays (and teaches?) chess. He also asked about you and what your deal was. And said the word “supposably.”

A blast from the past

Speed Dating Girl is on a ski vacation right now, so this week’s post is an excerpt from my personal archives (it originally ran in the Summit Independent, a now-defunct Colorado newspaper). It tells the story of another ski adventure, way back on Valentine’s Day 2003:

I’ve been waiting a long time for my writing skills to pay off in my love life. It’s not like I can whip out newspaper clips in a bar and knock them off their feet. Writing is a good way to get a job, but it doesn’t help much with the boys. Until… I won the KSMT Valentine’s Day blind date.

Based on the creativity of our emailed entries [Update: My entry said, “I live in a town with twice as many guys as girls and I still don’t get any play.” I don’t know why I didn’t want to share that info with all the newspaper readers. Guess I had more dignity back then.] DJ Steve chose me and a random guy to enjoy an all-expenses-paid evening with him.

It wasn’t your typical blind date. To start with, the ski area had been waiting for us all day. KSMT had decorated gondola number 69 as “the love shack,” complete with heart stickers and crepe paper. If you though the average first-ski-lift conversation was awkward, try the pressure of the love shack.

After skiing we headed off to dinner. By normal standards, this might have already been a long first date. You’ve been through all the obvious conversation, about school, work, family– what to talk about now? [Update: Obviously, I didn’t yet know about the monkey/robot dilemma.] That’s why I would recommend taking a DJ along on any first date. There are no awkward pauses when one person on your date talks for a living.

But there were certain weird aspects to winning your date on the radio. Like, the whole world knew about it. And they, or my friends at least, were very, very excited about the date. In fact, the experience wasn’t technically “blind,” because one of my friends happened to go by my date’s workplace and dig up all the dirt she could on him.

And once they had put in that much effort, my friends apparently felt they had a vested interest in the date. Huddled around their radios, they just didn’t get quite enough info. So since then, my life has had one primary topic of conversation. “How was Friday night?” [Update: Turns out this was just practice for when at least once during every party, family reunion, or trip to the office bathroom, someone asks, “How’s the speed dating?”]

It was fun. Really. But it would have been near impossible for the actual date to live up to the hype.

It was nice to learn, though, that writing well could improve my social life once in a while. And no, I’m not about to start internet dating. [Update: Riiight.] A friend pointed out that that’s really the way to pick up people with the written word.

I’ll be right here, waiting for the perfect guy to be bowled over by my ability to construct a compound sentence. [Update: Shhh! Better not to tell her how long that wait is.]

A win for monkeys.

As promised, I took my new question for a spin last week, at a lock-and-key party. (Yes, I swore never to attend another one, but this was different– one of my friends actually wanted to go.)

What I learned is that people LOVE monkeys. In fact, it seems that a robot servant may only be tempting to those of us with a family connection to robots. Wait, you’re thinking, Speed Dating Girl is part robot? Sorry, no, I know it would totally explain my cold and systematic approach to dating, but what I meant was that Little Dating Brother (Haven’t heard from him lately, have we? I will have to look into that) programs robots. I’d like to hope that he could come up with one for me to go out with, but in the last demo I saw, the robot fell over when it tried to dance. Would never work as a wedding date.

Anyway, all the guys (and girls) at the lock and key were revealing themselves to be animal-loving, non-poop-phobic people, until one weird dude finally proved the worth of the question in sussing out psychos.

“Why that’s an easy choice,” he said. “I’d pick the monkey, so when I got angry at people, the monkey could throw things at them.”