Monday, February 28, 2005

...Wife Swapping Strategies

I promise this is not going to permanently turn into “The Gooch On Dumb Things in Movies” blog, but this has been nagging at me for the past 24 hours.

"Consenting Adults", a small, forgettable thriller from the early 90s, notable only because it starred Kevin Spacey before he became a household name, was on HBO yesterday. Whatever potential this movie had to be entertaining was lost on me when I first saw it over a decade ago because I found the key plot point that sets the film in motion to be so profoundly ridiculous and unbelievable. Since the entire rest of the movie requires that you buy into this completely goofy premise I just couldn’t enjoy it. Tell me if you think I’m crazy:

The Kevin Spacey character convinces his next door neighbor, played by Kevin Kline (for a very mediocre movie, the film did have a very impressive cast), to swap wives for a night. What is unique about his plan is his confidence that they can do this without their wives knowledge. He theorizes that all couples sometimes do it in the middle of the night, when the wife is oftentimes sort of half-asleep to begin with, and thus, too tired to even really notice if the person having sex with her is a man other than her husband. And Kline, hesitant to the idea at first despite his growing attraction to the Spacey character’s wife, finds he is unable to argue against this airtight logic and readily agrees.

Now, I think anyone who is in a long term relationship, or at least anyone who’s comfortable enough in their relationship to be honest, will acknowledge that when you’ve been with the same person for a significant amount of time, not every single time together is necessarily a highly passionate, memorable encounter worthy of inclusion in “Red Hot Amateurs XXXIV”. But I don’t think I'm being overly egotistical to think that even at my most forgettable my wife might vaguely notice if the person noodging her for a little late-night sleep-aid after she’s already started to drift off was someone other than me.

At least I hope.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

...Living a Sitcom Cliché

My most common gripe when watching a TV show or movie is the lack of realism. Nothing can more quickly take me out of the plot and cause me to lose my ability to enjoy what I’m viewing than having to suspend my normal brain function and sense of logic to try to justify something on screen that I just can’t buy as possibly occurring in real life.

This can take shape in many forms. I understand that with some genres, like science fiction, you sort of have to be able to accept a certain alternative reality, and I’m ok with that. I can accept a universe in which there exists a Superman. A universe where a person is able to completely conceal his identity simply by throwing on a pair of glasses? Now that’s just dumb. It just seems like lazy writing to me.

Being married, I have to watch my share of romantic comedies. I don’t hate them on principle like some guys do, but was immediately taken out of “Maid in Manhattan” when the Jennifer Lopez character was shown to live in a very respectable, quite nice house on the salary of a hotel maid. Maybe if the movie had taken place on Mars. In New York, I don’t think so. I liked both the book and movie versions of “Mystic River”, but was upset that an otherwise gripping story was ruined at the end by one of those ridiculous, highly unbelievable scenarios where the police “just happen” to conveniently show up at the exact right place at the exact right time to catch the killers the split second before they were about to perpetuate yet another horrific crime.Don’t even get me started on car chase scenes that in real life would end up with fatalities in the dozens or at the very least a traffic ticket for the characters involved. Or any TV show or movie based in Los Angeles where the characters are able to find free, available parking right in front on whatever business establishment they are looking to frequent.

I’ve always felt a certain sense of superiority because of my refusal to just shut off my brain and accept the most implausible scenarios in TV and movie plots. But occasionally I will experience an event that makes me realize that perhaps I am the one who is foolish and that situations I’ve always passed of as the most ridiculous of sitcom clichés can very easily occur in real life.

My friend Hannah used to work in the marketing department of Macy’s. Her whole job more or less consisted of helping to put on Macy’s Passport, an annual charity fashion show that raises money for HIV/AIDS research. A benefit of having a friend who was so intimately involved with putting the show together: Free tickets not only for the show itself, but also to the exclusive dinner before the show where top local restaurants offered several menu samplings that would have otherwise cost a small fortune and, most appealing of all, a pass to the invitation only post-show after-party at the Hollywood Athletic Club. Let’s see - free gourmet food, free liquor and the chance to party with a bunch of models. Tough decision.

Hannah provided me and my friend Scott with two tickets each, so there were four of us altogether. Scott and I had been (and still are) good friends since college, where he was the president of my fraternity the year I pledged. I think one of the reasons my friendship with Scott has endured over the years – from college to nearly 4 years of living together as roommates in my mid-late 20s through being each others respective best men at our weddings which occurred 6 months apart – is because we’ve always had different taste in women. Our friendship has never been threatened by our falling for the same woman. My interest in women tends to be from the neck up while his tends to be from the neck down.

Since that statement can be taken more than one way, I should specify that Scott tends to be the type who is more interested in what a woman’s body looks like than in what her face looks like, which has often resulted in him dating very in-shape women whose bodies didn’t contain an ounce of unnecessary fat, but who weren’t anything special in the face. I guess you could call him a Classic Butterface (But Her Face) Man. Alternatively, I’ve always found that a stunning, beautiful face can make me easily forgive imperfections on a woman’s body.

Because of our differing tastes, I looked at it as simply par for the course when, at the afterparty the night of the show, I returned from a visit to the bar to find Scott out on the dance floor with, in my opinion, a rather hideous-looking Asian woman who, to her credit, had a pretty amazing, tight little body. I just credited it to his preference for a good body over a pretty face combined with a particularly bad case of beer goggles (we all had done a pretty good job of taking full advantage of the “free drinks” situation). And since I had in the past seen both of our other friends who were with us that night, Leo and Manoje, cavort around with women who were less than beautiful, I found it to be a bit hypocritical for the two of them to be laughing so hysterically and uncontrollable at Scott. Those in glass houses…

Both Leo and Manoje appeared to be quite shocked at my rather stoic reaction to Scott’s dancing with a fugly girl. It should be noted here that when I say, “dancing” I’m not speaking of moving to the music in a rhythmic fashion in the same general vicinity of one another, or going by Catholic school rules of staying a yardstick distance apart. Scott and his new friend were clearly in the pre-sex ritual of the dance floor bump and grind. Lots of touching of parts. Too bad Scott didn’t notice the tube of lipstick in her pocket.

“Gooch, you do realize that’s a dude, right?” Leo asked me, still puzzled at my lack of dismay in Scott’s choice of dance partner. And lo and behold, there it was, a clearly visible Adam’s apple.

When Scott came off of the dance floor for a quick breather between songs, the three of us, realizing that to let this go on any further would just be cruel, took Scott aside to let him know he had been dancing with another man. Scott laughed off our assertions, saying, “Hey, I know she’s not hot, but she’s a great dancer. Beats holding up the wall like you guys are doing (a good point, I must admit)”. Clearly he thought we were poking fun at his dance partner’s lack of beauty, not lack of vagina. What can I say; he is an only child and has the stubbornness to prove it. Shortly thereafter, Scott made his way back onto the dance floor with the same partner. But not for long. He may not have believed us, but I guess came around to the idea after his new friend whispered “Are you gay or bi?” during a particularly sensual moment on the dance floor.

Even though Leo and I have repeated this story a number of times, including in front of Scott’s wife, I still feel we’ve never given Scott the proper degree of shit over it that is deserved. I mean, really, how often does the ultimate sitcom plot, the “Guy Almost Goes All The Way With Girl Who Turns Out To Be A Guy” storyline, actually come to life? This seems to me to be the equivalent of having been struck my lightning or having won the lottery. At the very least I shouldn’t have edited it out of my Best Man speech.

Friday, February 18, 2005


At his wedding a few years ago, a good friend of mine confided to me how excited he was to have sex with his bride that night. Seems she had decided a few months previous that the two of them should cease having relations with one another in the months preceding their matrimony in order to make the consummation of their marriage seem all the more special. At the time I thought this to be the most colossally dumb idea I’d ever heard. These two had been dating for over 5 years and had lived together for 3. I couldn’t imagine that there were any positions or orifices that had been left unexplored, and it just seemed ridiculous to me to try to set up an artificial scenario where they tried to make something they had already done thousands of times somehow “meaningful”.

But I’m man enough to admit that I may have been wrong on this one. In honor of his six-month birthday tomorrow, Baby Gooch is getting his first babysitter. And Mrs. Gooch and I are going to do something that we used to do all the time, but haven’t had much chance to do since he was born. See a movie aimed at grown-ups. In the theater.

I don’t think I’ve been this excited since I saw my first pair of bare boobies.

UPDATE: Baby Gooch, one day shy of 6 months

Monday, February 14, 2005

...A Very Special Valentine's Day Edition

The closest I’ve ever come to living like a rock star came during my junior year of college; the year I spent living in a fraternity house. Our house was in the unique position of being technically off campus, so we were not under the university’s jurisdiction, but physically located right across the street from the campus library and a very short walk away from the freshman dorms, making our house the most desirable location in town when it came to revelry and hijinks. It was not uncommon, even on nights where no official parties were being thrown, to have large crowds gather at our doorstep in hopes of finding some sort of hedonistic activities in progress.

My bedroom was adjacent to the main living room, the epicenter of most of the wild activity that occurred in the house. While an occasional inconvenience, particularly on nights when I had a major test to study for (making the house’s proximity to the library nothing short of a godsend) or when I just felt like hitting the hay a little early, it came with incredible benefits as well.

Interesting how the weirdest things can change a person’s fortune. After having had a steady girlfriend for most of my freshman year and an at least respectable dating life the first semester of the following school year, the second semester of my sophomore year I became absolutely convinced I had been involuntarily sprayed with female repellent. I couldn’t get a date to save my life. I began seriously considering consulting with a dentist to see if I had a particularly bad case of chronic halitosis that nobody had the heart to tell me about and also thought about getting some sort of a part-time job to pay for the nose job I was convinced would make me more attractive to the opposite sex. My female woes were only made worse by the fact my roommate at the time had just started dating a new girl that semester who he fucked often and loudly. Nothing like the sound of balls slapping ass to remind you that you’re not getting any.

But move me into the most high profile room in a popular fraternity house and you’d think I was freaking Wilt Chamberlain or something. It was a very good year. I’m humble enough to acknowledge that my luck with the ladies that year possibly had as much to do with the fact that the ladies in question thought sleeping with me would gain them access to our parties without having to pay the standard $5 cover charge as it did with their uncontrollable animalistic desire to jump my hot bod. All I know is that I’ve never quite experienced anything like this before or after. I mean, I’ve had other periods in my life where I’ve had a pretty active dating life, but it always took a decent amount of work on my part. This one year of my life all I had to do was make sure never to venture all that far away from the living room.

I think I’ve generally always had a pretty good sense of being able to appreciate the here and now. As I watched many of my buddies couple up into exclusive relationships, I knew instinctively that I would have plenty of time in my life to do the serious, one-on-one relationship thing, but the timeframe in which you can be as promiscuous as you want without being thought of as a total pig because of it is pretty short. Far from feeling envious of my coupled friends, I failed to understand why at the prime of your life you’d waste so much energy and take so seriously relationships that weren’t likely to last more than a few months. I ended up not taking my own advice later on that same year but that’s another blog for another day.

Suffice it to say I was quite happy with my single status and having the time of my life. But when Valentine’s Day rolled around that year, as I sat around the fraternity house, alone, watching as so many of my fraternity brothers, whose committed relationships I looked down upon every other day of the year, receive well thought out gifts and smooches from their respective sweeties, an immense sadness began to come over me. I did get a box of cookies that year from a female friend who sometimes doubled as a friend with benefits, but I got the impression she was something of a Valentine’s Day junkie who got gifts for just about everyone she knew (even though she brought the cookies to me, the card was made out to the fraternity as a whole which was probably appropriate in more ways than one), so it did nothing to absolve my depression of feeling as if nobody thought of me as someone special.

Before calling it a night I thought to check my mailbox. As I went to college in a very small town, the chances of anyone being so formal as to mail a card or gift as opposed to simply hand delivering was pretty slim, but out of desperation I thought I’d give it a shot. In my box, I found a nice surprise. Granted, I was 20 years old, but I was nevertheless touched that a certain someone still thought me special enough to write a nice card to and even go so far as to send my favorite Valentine’s Day treat – a gigantic 7 oz. Hershey’s Kiss.

What special lady had such a high opinion of yours truly? Who else: Mama.

To good Jewish mothers everywhere (and good goyish ones too) and especially one in the East Bay who probably stopped reading this at the “balls slapping ass” comment, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Friday, February 11, 2005


If you're tired of looking at the picture of the wrestler, why don't you do yourself a favor and read the terrific post currently up at my sister's blog

Have a nice weekend!

Monday, February 07, 2005

...The Surreal Event of the Day

Event Sequence:

- Learned via a wrestling news website (leave me alone) that a small-time pro wrestling show took place over the weekend minutes from the house I grew up in

- Out of curiousity, since I was unaware of the existence of any professional wrestling promotions in Contra Costa County, visited the home page of the company that put on the show

- Clicked onto the "Superstars" page of said website

- Discovered, much to my surprise, that one of the promotion's "Superstars" was a fraternity brother of mine in college


...Things I've Learned Since Starting My Own Business

1) People tend to look at the "No Soliciting" sign attached to the door of your office as a suggestion rather than a rule.


Thursday, February 03, 2005


The well's running a little dry. In lieu of a new post, how about a picture of me really drunk a couple of years ago? This was a party my then-roommate and I threw at our old apartment. I had just started dating my future wife and threw the party more or less as an excuse to get her over to my place. It worked.

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