"I'm standing there pissing and America's most famous gay guy is standing next to me telling me what I'm doing wrong," Christopher Ryan PhD said of the impromptu lesson he received from Dan Savage.
Two years ago "yarkko" set up a profile on TargetMap (a mapmaking site) and plugged in values for the "average breast cup size" of every country in the world, presumably as a very tedious act of masturbation. The software obligingly spit out this map of the world's breast sizes. There were no references, and yarkko was never heard from again.
That map is plausible if glanced at in the most offhand way possible — Scandinavians are shown as bigger-breasted than the Chinese — but let it wash into focus and it's unmistakably ridiculous. Are we to believe that North Korea, which hasn't even released economic statistics since the 1960s, has both measured and published statistics on its citizens' breasts? Or that a researcher who traveled around assessing Saudi or Somali women's breasts would live to tell the tale? Or that all of this information — from every country in the world — has somehow been collected, collated and standardized to American bra measurements?
Express, a German regional newspaper, seems to have been the first to buy it anyway, or at least see it as an opportunity.
It's late at night, you're a gentleman dung beetle, and you've packed together a delicous ball of shit. Now, for safe-keeping, you'd like to roll it far, far away from the other feasting critters at the dung pile. If you can do that, you just might be able to convince a lady dung beetle to fuck you and lay eggs in your shitball.
To get as far away as fast as possible, it would be ideal to roll it in a straight line. But it's dark and there's all kinds of bumps and obstacles. So how do you maintain course?
Earlier this year, biologist Marie Decke and her colleagues discovered the South African dung beetle's answer: celestial navigation. In experiments, dung beetles who could see the night sky, and in particular the Milky Way, were able to keep going in a straight line, but those wearing a hat that blocked a view of the stars got lost and pushed their delicious dung balls all over the place.
Once, when I was new to Paris, I met a really sweet thing at a poetry reading, and maybe you can kinda see where this is going? The two of us were randy as hell, walking hand in hand through the empty, gorgeous Paris night. We came upon the seven-way hub that is Place des Victoires and walked around the edge of it, pausing every so often for les bisous. I of course meant to lead us in a straight line toward my pad, but, as we later discovered to our mutual embarrassment, we eventually exited the plaza and kept going in the exact same direction we had come from.
A dung beetle has just a speck of brains. My brain is about a 1.5 kilo glob composed of a hundred-billion-odd neurons, interconnecting, firing electrical signals, consuming 20 percent of my daily calories, but my brain is also so useless, so easily distracted by a beautiful girl and a beautiful city that I can't even walk in a straight line.
"[Dung beetles] are tenacious in what they are trying to do. They cannot be distracted, they don’t get frightened," one of the paper's co-authors told the New Yorker. "They're the cutest animals you can imagine," opined another, to twist the knife.
Fuck. What is it with our brains? When I moved into my latest temporary lodging, I stubbed my toe. The bathroom's floor is unconscionably, idiotically, painfully set at three centimeters or so above the hallway's floor, forming a ledge that takes a good hard whack at your passing toes once a week or so, particularly when you're in a hurry to pee. Over the first couple of months, I stubbed my toe maybe five times before I fully caught on. Now I lift my foot high at the threshold every single time. But that bathroom still has a pall hanging over it — of evil, of pain, of that hatred for the inanimate that is always, ultimately, self-hatred. The room triggers a reflexive sense memory of simultaneous peeing, cursing and sobbing.
I have travelled to other countries to have sex, I have cooked dinners, I have turned on every single bit of charm I can muster. But I have also fallen asleep during the act itself. What kind of a fucking joke is this, to be human? Or is it just me?
I've been single for five years, I'm turning 35, and it seems time to throw in the towel on the nice nuclear family I'd been hoping for. If I were to take a vacation and have unprotected sex with 5-7 strangers in order to get pregnant, whose consent should I be asking for? Do the men have a right to know what I'm trying to do? I'm not looking for child support, an involved father, or even to know whose sperm, exactly, my uterus might pick. I just need the kickstart to make this happen.
— Anonymous in Spain
The men out there who will have unprotected sex with you are mindbogglingly stupid, but they still have a right to know about your plans. Perhaps some of them know they have dispositions to genetic disease that for ethical reasons they would prefer not to pass on? Perhaps some would wish to be knowledgable about or even involved with the fate of their sperm? And perhaps some would simply abhor the thought of being fathers, even in a strictly genetic sense?
That said, it's hard to care too much for the plight of the idiots who would nevertheless agree to (and likely even seek) unprotected sex with you. I'm much more concerned about your first question: whose consent should you be asking for? How about your future child? He or she is about to be subjected to your risky behavior, but obviously can't consent. Unprotected sex with strangers doesn't just put you and your improvised stud farm at risk, but also the eventual kid. See here for a full list of the lifelong (or life-ending) medical horrors that you could visit upon your future child.
I don't mean to beat up on you, AS. Your situation sucks. And your desire to mother someone, even if you have to take on this huge task on your own, is admirable. But you seem to be so focused on your desire to be a mother that you've lost sight of what's best for your future child. There are ethical ways to have a child on your own, whether through a sperm bank or a fully informed, tested and trusted male friend. My advice is to put those mothering instincts to work early and think carefully about what would be best for your eventual child.
Well, we'll see what happens.