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November 18, 2010

Why are we so scared of a little foreskin?

We love to read women's magazines while we travel (obviously) so we picked up a copy of the November 2010 issue of Glamour while we were in fVegas. One particular headline had caught my eye -

Of course, I was skeptical.... Glamour is going to explain his entire naked body to me? When I flipped to page 144, this is what I found:
His Naked Body Quirks Explained
What to do when he looks a little...unusual
One ball, three nipples and a crooked you-know-what? (OK, laugh a little) -- it happens! Billy Goldberg, M.D., and Mark Leyner, authors of Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex?: More Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Whiskey Sour, tell us women how to, um, handle anything.
This quickie from Glamour [read the full 'article' online here] gives women advice on how to 'handle' various 'body quirks' such as a crooked penis, a third nipple, a 'uniball' (i.e., one testicle) and... a foreskin? Huh? Since when is having an intact foreskin a 'quirk'? Not that the other three things are necessarily problems or issues either, but there's just something extra weird about describing a penis that hasn't been mutilated as 'unusual' or 'quirky'.

The actual write-up they gave the 'uncircumcised penis' wasn't too bad. It was, for the most part, void of some of the usual 'anti-foreskin' sentiments that certain magazines love to express. (Ahem, New York.)
So he's got an uncircumcised penis...
For those who are accustomed to a sharpened pencil, there should be nothing alarming about the penis au naturel. Some studies have found that uncircumcised guys may be more likely to give you an STD, but many men and women argue that foreskin enchances sexual pleasure.And then there are those who think there's not a big difference. Ultimately, you want to be with a man who's comfortable in his own skin - or lack thereof. And whatever it looks like, put a condom on it!
It's not exactly perfect of course. They're still perpetuating the unproven claim that uncircumcised men are more likely to contract HIV (which is based mainly on studies done in Sub-Saharan Africa and may have little bearing on circumcision in the U.S.) and the 'pros' basically amount to 'it might make sex better... maybe'. But overall, it wasn't too bad and we like that they encouraged safe sex regardless of whether he's cut or uncut.

But I still just have to wonder why exactly does a penis in its natural form require explanation? It's not just Glamour that thinks so. Cosmopolitan has also tackled this topic in their Sex Q&A:
My guy isn't circumcised
Q: I've just started dating a guy who's uncircumcised. I've never encountered this before. What should I expect, and are there any special tips I should know? [Get Cosmo's answer, it's not bad.]
A: When your guy's penis is flaccid, a nerve-packed sheath of skin, known as the foreskin, covers and protects the head (glans). When erect, the foreskin retracts, and some or all of the glans becomes exposed. A circumcised penis is accustomed to 24/7 exposure and may toughen over time as a result of brushing against the fabric of underwear or pants. An uncircumcised member, on the other hand, may be more sensitive to touch because it's usually under wraps.
If your man indicates that his penis needs a little more TLC, use water-based lube when stimulating him manually and go easy on him. You'll send him over the erotic edge during oral sex if you insert the tip of your tongue underneath his foreskin and swirl it in a circular motion. And you can maximize the sensation he feels when using a condom by making sure the foreskin is completely pulled back before rolling on the rubber.
If you find that he's overly sensitive, let him direct the action. If he knows you are eager to please him, he will be just as eager to educate you.
 The part that stands out to me in the question is "I've never encountered this before." I don't know if it's just because I've had more sex than some people (maybe) or that I just read about sex more than some people (probably) but the idea that a foreskin is strange and confusing baffles me. Let's check out the stats: According to the World Health Organization approximately one-third of males worldwide were circumcised by adulthood in 2008 and 56.1% of boys in the United States were in 2006, based on statistics from the National Hospital Discharge Survey. In the U.S. your chances of coming across an intact foreskin are pretty much almost as good as coming across a circumcised one. 

And the numbers appear to be on the decline... in part due to the fact that there's little-to-no medical reason to recommend it. (See our last post on the subject Sexual Mutilation or Routine Medical Procedure?)

So why all the fuss? Why is this phenomenon of having an intact foreskin considered 'unusual' or 'quirky' when almost half of the males in the United States have one? We hate to ever say anything good about these women's magazines but their advice isn't so bad... It's not a terrible idea for women to know how to... um, handle a penis with an intact foreskin, especially since they're apparently becoming increasingly more commonplace in the U.S. (There's certainly no limit to the amount of print that Cosmo&Friends give to the circumcised penis.)

What I object to is the characterization of the intact penis as something weird or confusing or icky. It's not. It's the way the penis was meant to be. We don't need to be so scared of a little foreskin! That's not saying that a circumcised penis is necessarily weird or icky either, but just that all penis is good.

November 17, 2010

Justin Bieber Is Banned From My Household

It's November... which means the holidays are getting closer and closer... which means that it's only a matter of time before we will have to purge ourselves of our dark, dirty secrets and start anew on January 1st with resolutions that will make us a better person and blah blah blah...

So I have a terrible, embarrassing, horrifying confession to make. After years and years of making fun of people who sing karaoke... I finally tried it.

And I loved it.

I feel like such a hypocrite.

It always seemed so uncool to me... why would I want to be subjected to people who can't sing while simultaneously embarrassing myself due to the fact that I can't sing either? And then... something surprising happened. I was at a party at a friend's house and after we had all had a few drinks, he busted out a karaoke machine.

Had I known this was going to be that kind of party, I might not have attended. But I was already there and I was already a bit tipsy. I was surprised to find that many of my friends have decent singing voices, but even those who didn't, managed to rock that karaoke mic right. So when a pal grabbed me and pulled me to the front of the crowd to join her in a hilarious drunken rendition of 'Poker Face' I couldn't resist. Fueled by liquid courage (and the fact that I was surrounded by trusted friends) I put on a performance that Lady Gaga might have cringed at, but that resulted in thunderous applause from the room.

My singing makes Lady Gaga make this face.

Of course, there's still a lot about karaoke that I don't love. There's always going to be someone who will insist on singing something terrible like 'The Greatest Love of All' or 'Single Ladies' or anything by Justin Bieber.

So I've decided that I need to stay away from karaoke in bars - where the public can sing anything they want and laugh at me, instead of with me - and only sing karaoke in private. Since I can't expect my friend to host a party every single time I get the urge to belt out 'Tik Tok' I've decided to invest in my own home rockin' karaoke system. I will only allow guests to pick karaoke music that I have hand-selected and pre-approved for their singing pleasure. (Sorry, but no Justin Bieber in my home!)

So can anyone recommend a good machines for karaoke for me to check out? And what are some of your favorite songs/moments singing karaoke? Add a link to a funny video of yourself singing karaoke in the comments and maybe we'll post it, as long as it's not a Justin Bieber song.

[Editor's Note: The rest of the ESC does not necessarily support Eve's stance that karaoke is not uncool. But we'll give her the benefit of the doubt until we have a chance to see hear her in action. But we do agree with the Ban-on-Bieber.]

November 16, 2010

The ESC Does Vegas

As you already know, last month we went to Las Vegas for the BlogWorld Expo... We've totally been slacking on writing about our 'ESC Does Vegas' experiences. (Apparently the real world did not stand still for us while we were away, so it's taken us a little time to catch up and get back on track, as you may have noticed.) But here it is, the long-awaited story of our exciting exploits in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hm, we may be hyping this up a little too much.

For some reason, we're having a hard time figuring out exactly how to describe the trip. Maybe it's because so much awesomeness in one place at one time is hard to articulate. Maybe it's because we've always been raised to believe that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. We don't know. So we thought we'd just post some of our favorite memories from our week:

Landmarks and Touristy Stuff

Our hotel (Mandalay Bay) was gorgeous, but we had to stop by a lot of the other famous hotels and casinos.

 For the first time... our view included more than just a parking lot or brick wall!

We made sure to see as many of the cliche, true Vegas sights as we had time for. These included:
  • The MGM Grand

  • Excalibur - Or as we like to call it 'The Cartoon Castle'. We really believe this is what it would be like to live inside a Disney princess movie. 

  •  The Luxor pyramid and sphinx

  • The fake Eiffel Tower at Paris, Las Vegas

  • The fake Statue of Liberty and fake Empire State Building at New York, New York (see more below)

  •  The fountain show outside the Bellagio

  •  Caesars Palace 

Excessive Eating and Drinking

Do not go to Las Vegas if you're on a diet, because you will not stay on it. We ate some amazing food while we were in Vegas. There were so many choices right in Mandalay Bay that we didn't even have to leave our hotel to dine on some delicious food from some famous chefs. We also drank a lot. A.LOT. Some of our most memorable drinking and dining experiences included:
  • Hubert Keller's Burger Bar - Easily one of the best burgers we've ever had. They also have a 'dessert burger' made from Nutella and sandwiched between donuts. Talk about excess! 

  • Lupo by Wolfgang Puck - At first we were a little skeptical about Wolfgang Puck having an Italian trattoria, but wow are we glad we gave it a chance. Amazing food.
  • Hussong's Cantina - We're not sure who this Hussong guy is, but they had great happy hour specials. A taco + a 24 oz. Tecate beer for $5, 2-for-one margaritas, and half-price nachos! Throw in a mariachi band playing cover songs and we were in heaven. When the waitress asked us if we'd like a to-go cup for our drinks, we were in a place better than heaven.

  • Bayside Buffet - What trip to Vegas would be complete without eating at a buffet? We definitely overdid it, but it was worth it.
  • House of Blues - We actually ate here twice and also went back one night to get drunk and dance to 80s and 90s music.
  • Fat Tuesday - Home of the giant slushy drinks. You know the ones...
  • Liquid - The official BlogWorld party on Friday night was at the pool lounge at the Aria hotel. We had a lot of fun! (We had less fun at Haze, also in the Aria hotel. That was just like your typical dark, overpriced NYC club. Been there, done that. Boring. But Liquid was fun!)
  • Mix Lounge - on the rooftop of TheHotel... The drinks were overpriced (think New York City prices) but the view was amazing.
 ...and more, but we're getting too hungry and thirsty thinking about it to go on anymore!

    Only in Las Vegas
    • Slot machines EVERYWHERE - even in the airport!

    • Elvis, just chilling, having a drink at the bar.
    • Donny and Marie's faces huge on the side of a building. Scary. (The Flamingo hotel)

    • A phone next to the toilet and a TV over the sink. Technology = Progress. 

    • What's the difference between a Long Island iced tea and a Las Vegas iced tea? Redbull. 

    'Only the ESC' 
    • Waking up at 6:00 am and going to the gym (because I couldn't sleep due to the time zone change). Only time that's EVER happened. And probably the only time that will ever happen again.
    • We mentioned above that we were... well, unimpressed by New York, New York. The whole time we were there we went over all the things that fake New York totally missed when it comes to recreating the true New York experience. No graffiti? No street performers? No homeless people?
    • "Should we get up and go to the Keynote Address... or should we go chill at the beach?" 

    • Sometimes, even in a city as amazing as Las Vegas, you just need to take a few hours to chill out and watch some mindless TV like a Jersey Shore marathon.

    Lessons Learned
    • You can drink out on the street in Las Vegas. No really. 
    • Just because you paid for the buffet, doesn't mean you have to eat everything you see.
    • Cash out when you're ahead!!
    Best slot machine ever. 
    We won money while listening to music and watching cartoon Village People dance!

    Related Vegas Posts

    We did win a little bit of money at the slots, but we're still paying for our trip... so please feel free to make a donation to the Save the ESC / ESC World Domination Fund.

    November 13, 2010

    Mike & Molly on ESC TV

    As you may or may not know, we've been reviewing CBS's new show Mike & Molly every week on ESC TV.  Whether or not you've been watching the show, you've still probably aheard about Maura Kelly's disgusting blog about the show for Marie Claire Should "Fatties" Get a Room? (Even on TV?) and its aftermath, including a "Kiss-In" protest.

    Obviously we think what Kelly had to say was messed up and offensive and wrong, but that doesn't mean we're defending the show either. We just have totally different issues with the show than Kelly does. (We think ours are totally legitimate, while hers are all fucked up!)

    So for those of you who haven't been following the show (or haven't at least been following our ESC TV coverage of the show) here's a roundup of recent Mike & Molly blog posts.

    November 11, 2010

    Questionable Slot Machines

    These are actual, real slot machines we saw in Las Vegas. We thought about writing commentary on all of them, but really, they speak for themselves. Some are kind of sexist... some a little racist... and then some are just ridiculous. Do you believe these actually exist!?