Category Archives: off the donkey rails

Cheating at Euchre Means You’re Doing It Right

Euchre is a card game popular in the Midwest. It’s a trick-taking game that plays out like a simplified form of bridge, with a smaller deck (9 through Ace of all four suits) and radically simplified process of bidding/contract and scoring. It’s the perfect combination of skill, chance and bluster, and goes quickly to boot, which makes it ideal for playing while drunk.

Anyway, Donlak at Paradigm Shift recently posted “Dispatches from the Hamster Zone,” in which he quotes from a piece which itself quotes the petty reasons women gave for breaking up with their boyfriends (or, “the moment you knew he wasn’t ‘The One.'”)

One of the reasons was truly jaw-dropping: “He told me he cheats at Euchre (a simple card game). Oh, he’s a college professor.” –lafriedland

Back up the truck. Euchre has a long and distinguished history of cheating. Euchre is in fact remarkable as a card game in that it has been so associated with cheating that cheats have become park of the regular gameplay, and looking out for cheating is a large part of the fun. Stealing the deal (dealing out of turn without the proper dealer noticing) and renege (playing cards out of suit) are two popular ways of skirting the rules, so common that point penalties are assessed if the player is caught and a statute of limitations is enforced to further incentivize the cheat.

Euchre also has a bizarre quirk where the jack of the off-suit the same color of the trump suit (e.g. the Jack of Clubs if the trump is Spades) acts as a trump-suit card. (specifically, the rank order is Jack, off-Jack, Ace, King, Queen, 10, 9). You KNOW that must have come about because somebody was drunk off his keester, played the wrong jack by mistake, and another drunk player decided it was cool to do so, just didn’t want to argue about it or wanted to challenge the player to keep up the ruse. Playing the left bower not as the trump suit (which itself can become a renege) is the most hilariously common mistake made by novice players.

The point of all this is: that woman clearly doesn’t understand Euchre, because if you’re not cheating at it, you’re not playing by the rules. But she did the guy a favor, because it’s not worth staying with someone who doesn’t understand such an important game.

(Picture from


Filed under off the donkey rails

For The Last Damn Time: Shy, Quiet and Introverted Are Three Different Things, And Introverts Are Not Broken People

This post was written and posted on the quick following acute frustration in my afternoon reading. I’m seeing a lot of things around the Internet where people are tagging themselves as “I’m a shy introvert.” No, you’re shy AND you’re an introvert. You have a phobia around social interactions, and you have a type preference to lose energy around people. I’m tired of seeing people chalked up as “shy, quiet, introverted” people. They are three different things. I discussed this in a highly-read post a while ago, but to review:

  • An introvert is someone who loses energy when interacting with people. (I am one of these.)
  • A quiet person is someone who just doesn’t feel the need to verbally dominate a group or to be heard constantly. (I am NOT one of these, I am a chatterbox around people I’m comfortable with and don’t lose my energy as long as we’re talking about something interesting.)
  • A shy person has, in my opinion, a psychological pathology around interacting with people, be it fear of rejection, low self-esteem, conditioned expectation of criticism or punishment for speaking up, or excessive pride that can’t bear the judgments of others. (I was one of these in my high school days, following a few years of poor social interactions and ostracism.) Introverts are only a quarter of the population, which means that lots of shy people are extroverts – which means they are deeply conflicted, their phobia denying them the energy they need from other people.

As a recovering shy person myself, I suppose I have some “former smoker syndrome” going on where I am intolerant of other shy people who haven’t gotten over it yet. I do empathize with them. But let me be clear – if you are shy, going through the personal effort (or therapy if necessary) to dispatch that problem is probably the single biggest thing you can do to boost your life success right now.

I know that’s easier said than done. But it doesn’t have to be a prison, and it’s so worth it.

My introversion is still with me, and is a part of me I’m proud of. I plainly (if politely) assert it when necessary, to say “I’ve had a great time y’all, but I need to get out of here.” If something is really not worth my social energy, it’s “I don’t have time for this bullshit.”

You don’t have to be the life of the party to do well with women. Mystery’s brand of wow-the-crowd game was never something I even attempted, knowing I wouldn’t have the patience and energy to get skilled at managing large groups of people in pursuit of the attraction of one of them. But Roosh’s style of innocuously vibing one-on-one, with an intellectual bent, has yielded great results for me.


Alongside people improperly diagnosing themselves as shy/introverted/whatever, equally frustrating is extroverts casting introversion as pathological and substandard.

I’m going to be glib and hyperbolic here and suggest that this is pure projection, the extrovert thinking that if someone doesn’t want to talk to him, something must be wrong with the person who’s not talking. I suppose that is an extension of the reality of being an extrovert, which is centered around the belief that everyone else wants and needs to hear what’s coming out of your mouth.

Ronald Reagan was an introvert. He certainly wasn’t too shy to mock Walter Mondale’s age to his face on live television, or too weak to tell Mikhail Gorbachev that East German Communism sucked on Mickey’s own soil.

I’m amped up about this because I’m seeing it in online dating profiles – I’ve read a bunch where women say their man has to be outgoing, because “I’ve dated a shy/quiet/introverted guy and it just doesn’t work for me.” Sometimes this comes off of an OkCupid question that asks if you could date someone who is really quiet. I suppose it’s the man’s job to sing and dance so that she’s not made uncomfortable by awkward silences? It’s a transparent variation on hypergamous alpha-chasing and the demands that a guy “own the room” (for social value) and that he provide constant stimulation to her (for dopamine flow).

Let’s turn the projection back. Words are valuable to an introvert, so if you find yourself with a guy who isn’t lighting up the verbal fires with you, maybe you should consider whether the stuff coming out of your mouth is worth his time and effort to respond to. (We’ve all known people who thought they were a lot more interesting than they actually are, “legends in their own mind.”) Or maybe you’re putting him in front of your friends and family and expecting him to impress everybody before he’s ready for that kind of investment.

The whole “he’s weird if he’s not outgoing” thing is a very dangerous and pernicious mechanism that dehumanizes people who don’t fit our stereotyped behavior patterns. We introverts could just as easily cast extroverts as compulsive blitherers, peddlers of content-free chatter in the way a cat demands to be petted just as you are starting on other important things.


Filed under off the donkey rails

At Least She Values Literacy

From the always-educational Texts From Last Night:

All I want is for every tall lanky young guy who is reading in a Starbucks to go balls deep in me. That’s all.

Going to start doing more of my reading at coffee shops and pubs.


Filed under media, off the donkey rails

Dildogate: Let The World Laugh With You

A while back I clipped a story of Feministe (not linked) writer Jill Filipovic’s run-in with the TSA. Following travel to an abortion speaking event in Dublin (presumably Ireland and not Columbus, Ohio), Filipovic opened her suitcase to find an inspection slip marked with the written text “get your freak on girl.”

Spencer Ackerman writes:

Why? In one sense, because Filpovic had packed a $15 vibrator. “Not even anything that freaky!” she emails Danger Room. But in another, more accurate sense, because this particular TSA employee knew he or she could make an anonymous and harassing comment free of reprisal.

“My first reaction was to laugh. Hard. And I’ve had that Missy Elliott song stuck in my head all day,” says Filipovic, a lawyer in her non-blogging hours. “Then I took a photo of it to email to four of my girlfriends who I figured would find it funny. And I threw it up on Twitter. But of course I also find it totally invasive and inappropriate, and the more I think about it the more horrified I am.”

I am second to none in my concern over draconian TSA policies and the broad powers given its agents on the ground. But I think everybody involved is taking this way too seriously and using it as an excuse to get butthurt (a favorite martyr-complex tactic of professional activists).

I don’t understand why she didn’t just stop at the laughing part and go on with her day. Most tellingly, I don’t understand why she presumed hostility in the agent’s comment. Did it say that she was dirty? That sluts go to hell? That she should be married and home taking care of the children? It could just as easily have been a bored and lonely inspector saying to himself/herself, “shit man, at least someone’s going to be having fun tonight.” Or maybe it was a woman who was hip to her game and wanted to give her a scrivenal fist-bump. Instead she took it as an ex parte catcall, suggesting that this strong and independent woman can be felled by an anonymous comment by someone she’s never met and who in overwhelming likelihood doesn’t even know who she is.

I have to be honest that a perusal of Filipovic’s blog posts reveals all the trademark feminist anger but far less of the salacious sexual over-sharing that marks sites like Jezebel or The Frisky. But it’s worth noting here, the sex poz types are all about getting in everyone else’s faces about their sex lives, and in fact trying to piss people off (“fundie” and “vanilla” types) and make them uncomfortable. Cf. the slutwalks. But if anybody else talks about their sex life or tries to make them uncomfortable about prancing in the streets half-naked, then it’s creepy and invasive and slut-shamy and mentally rapetastic. It all makes me wonder if the modern sez-poz movement isn’t at least 50% an attention-whoring exercise – “Look at ME!! I had SEX!!!” just like Paris Hilton’s video.

Filipovic (notably a professional attorney and professional blogger) also had the audacious gall to suggest she had no idea this would turn into a firestorm:

“As much as this is a funny and titillating story, when I put the note on Twitter for what I thought was a relatively limited audience I was hoping it would open up a bigger conversation about privacy rights (or lack thereof) in post-9/11 America. It unfortunately hasn’t done that, and instead has turned into a media circus.”

She is either dissembling like a merry-go-round or has learned absolutely nothing about media in her day. I will not insult her intelligence by suggesting the latter. Saying you don’t want the attention of a scandal after sourcing the scandal to a sex-hungry press yourself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s a bit like Sarah Palin’s daughter complaining that complain that baby-daddy Levi Johnston was airing their dirty laundry in public – and going on Oprah to fire back.

(Grerp recently discussed a similar theme involving public criticism of a comedienne’s ugly tattoos but has taken down her excellent post on the topic.)


Let me contrast Dildogate* with my own experience. At times, it occasions me to purchase prophylactic implements. As is probably the case with most men, at first I was a bit sheepish about the whole thing. What if, say, the local pastor, or my friend’s mom, is in line with me?

But I threw that squeamishness off and embraced it, not because of the college health service message of “it’s great that you’re being safe about sex!” but because I could leverage the purchase itself as a small DHV.

Now when I put the items on the counter, I am nonchalant about the purchase. Usually the clerk will politely say “have a nice day.” I put on a cocky half-grin and, holding the box up, give him “you better believe I will” or “you betcha!” Most of the time I get a chuckle from the clerk and maybe a “good luck, man.”

I suppose Filipovic’s note is a Rorschach test – it reveals the reader’s mindset far more than the writer’s.

*I know it’s actually a vibrator, but “Vibragate” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue and sounds like a verb of its own.


Filed under media, off the donkey rails

Bizarre Encounter With A Married Over-Sharer

I was going into an establishment with a buddy when two late-young-adult women came out and confronted us in their gravelly voices.

“Do either of you have a cigarette?”

I give them a quizzical look that communicates “tell me more.”

The sharper-looking one in a sweater and dress pants explained:

“Well, I quit a long time ago but I really need a smoke, we’re trying to find anybody who can give us one.”

I noticed a wedding ring on her left hand.

“So we’re only good to you as a source of tobacco?”

[slight chuckles] “Yeah, I guess so.”

“Well I think that’s the end of our night together then.”

“You don’t have any?”

“No, dear.”

We went inside, ordered our beers and sat down to sip them.

By the time we’re about done with our first round, sweater girl comes walking down the bar. She’s tall and moves athletically and with purpose. I tap her on the arm as she walks by. “Did you ever get that cigarette?”

“NOOO! Nobody in this freaking neighborhood smokes apparently!” Her tone is of plaintive, sad frustration rather than pure bitchiness.

My buddy and I are sitting at a bar island, and she swings around and stands at the head of the table next to me. The elevation is such that I am sitting eye level with her stood up.

“Is it an anxious kind of night?”

She starts to ramble. “Yeah…well I quit a few years ago but my husband’s grandmother is probably going to die tonight, she has dementia.We just got married a month ago.”

“So how do you like being married?”

I don’t recall the words of her answer, but it wasn’t anything along the lines of “it’s great.” She started to get a distant, withdrawn look in her eyes. I could see the female apprehension cascade starting.

“He’s eight years younger than me.”

I reply plainly, “really, how old are you?”

“I’m 33,” she says with mild disappointment.

“Do you think that’s old or young?”

“I don’t know…kind of old? I mean I’m 33.” I don’t respond.

“But he’s like totally old-man, and I’m really immature so it works.”

“How did you meet your husband?”

“I interviewed him for a job.”

“REAAlly…did he get the job?”

“Oh, of course. We had other candidates but he was the best. We knew we were for each other right when we met. I was dating another guy at the time and went home and broke up with him, told him I had met this perfect awesome guy.”

“I bet that was a big surprise for him.”

“We should have broken up like a year before.”

All this time she’s gradually nuzzling up to me, sidling her hip and elbow to touch me. I maintain a plain, nonplussed frame that keeps the conversation going without escalating against her interest. I’m pretty sure I’m getting hit on, but I convince myself I’m doing her a favor by letting her vent a bit and get some attention.

She shakes my hand. “Well I have to go find my husband and a smoke. It’s been great talking to you, have a good night,” and she struts away.

White collar happy hours are not known for that kind of emotional outpouring between strangers. I turned to my friend and said “wow she reminded me of Lisa.” Lisa is a married mutual friend of ours who is neurotic and addicted to male attention from any source.

“The difference is that Lisa isn’t going to cheat on her husband.”

“So I’m not the only one who got that vibe from this chick?”



Filed under off the donkey rails

A Christmas Wish: Correct Use of Terminology

Being the Myers-Briggs J that I am, the improper or ignorant use of terminology drives me up a wall. We’ve evolved complex language skills that have the side-effect use of communicating concepts between people, and we insist on muddying it up by intentionally overloading* phrases with new and confusing re-definitions.

One example of this I’m running into is the 80-20 Rule. I heard a piece of public speaking advice that went “use one posture 80% of the time and another, edgier posture 20% of the time,” packaged as “use the 80-20 rule.” I’ve also seen wardrobe advice to wear conservative dress 80% of the time and wacky stuff on 20% occasion, also cited as the 80-20 rule.

The 80-20 Rule is not a restatement of the equation “80% + 20% = 100%.” The Pareto Principle (from which we get “the 80-20 Rule” as an aphoritic restatement) is the rule of thumb that in many systems, 80% of the effects will come from 20% of the causes. The 80 and the 20 are two different metrics, apples and oranges. Old Messr Pareto himself allegedly observed that 80% of Italian land was owned by 20% of Italians. My pal Susan Walsh used it as a basis to examine college sex distributions and evaluate a well-worn pop-culture hypothesis that 80% of the girls are screwing 20% of the guys (a theory partially supported by STD studies among other things). I probably get 80% of the joy in my life from 20% of the people I know. The list of examples goes on. It’s an incredibly powerful way to understand the world, and to organize your own strategy, so long as fools don’t insist on stealthily re-defining it.

I’m also seeing a lot of references to “game theory” around the manosphere, used to refer to the principles of interpersonal psychology pioneered by pickup artists (PUAs) and disseminated into wider culture by a network of intrepid bloggers like Athol Kay, Roissy and yours truly.

There are two problems with this blurring of language.

The first is that the term “game theory” is already defined – game theory is a branch of mathematics concerned with analyzing the interests, actions and rewards of competing agents. The prisoner’s dilemma is a classic example of game theory. (For those who saw “A Beautiful Mind,” the vignette of which woman to hit on to maximize group benefit is another example of game theory.)

The second problem is that game is not really theory at all – in fact, it may be the most empirical proposition of modern times. Game as we know it was developed and honed through thousands upon thousands of hours of experimentation and observation by scores of men. Sure, there is evolutionary psychology involved to shore up the explanation of the behaviors being observed, but practically speaking evo-psych really functions more like folk etymology than an actual scientific basis to the results of the experiments – if you will, a sort of rationalization hamster to soften the shock-blow of learning how people really function underneath all of that rational mythmaking.

I feel like I see the phrase “game theory” from critics far more than from its actual practitioners, so I think calling it a “theory” is supposed to subtly discredit it – a la those who would tell you that “evolution is just a theory.”

I’m not even going to get into the subject of people who don’t know what “the immaculate conception” actually refers to.

*”Overloading” is indeed a technical term for a case where words, symbols or functions have different meanings and effects depending on the situation.



Filed under off the donkey rails, science+technology

The Wisdom Of Yohami

Musician and frequent Hooking Up Smart commenter Yohami just responded to a HUS reader with the following:

you’re no making sense bro

Does it get any more succinct than that? How many times have you typed out a lengthy counterargument to a blogger when these five words would have sufficed? I think this will become a category at the Hut.


Filed under off the donkey rails, Uncategorized