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It is now two months after Valentine’s Day, and love is still in the air.  It never leaves, I guess.  Lingering in the air like stale cigarette smoke.  Sleeping on your fold out couch like an unwelcome relative.  Angering you like poorly thought out similes. 

While there are a fair amount of things that can make you happy at any given point in a day, there are very few things that make you say, “I love that.”  When you find a pack of Bonkers, in the stick format with the grape flavor, it is more than appropriate to say, “I love it when that happens.”  I also love it when I buy a shirt with a prominently displayed comic book character, and everyone at school thinks I’m just the coolest.  Unfortunately, neither of those has happened since approximately 1990; which results in me chalking up a few more reasons why my bitterness has been festering for over a decade.

On the other hand, pretty much throughout your day, you can find something that royally pisses you off.  I recently had a big bowl of Life cereal.  Now you’re thinking, a big bowl of cereal has got to be at least two or three cups worth.  No.  A proper big bowl of cereal entails basically eating the whole box.  And I hate it when people only use a little bit of milk with their cereal.  It shouldn’t be cereal with little droplets of milk scattered haphazardly inside the bowl.  The cereal should be swimming in milk, testing the cereal’s limits of crunchiness, daring the weaker cereals to falter and turn to mush.  This is how the truly great cereals are made, they are forged in the fires.  Except with milk, rather than fire. 

So I set up my nice giant bowl, all set to enjoy a large helping of Life.  However, I have learned from past mistakes, and I know that Life is not a competitor.  In floats in the milk, weeping quietly as liquid flows through its porous surface, weakening it from within.  Soon, it will give up, and its stiffness will give way to the inevitable softening it is destined for.  Knowing this, I use less milk than normal.  I don’t like having to compromise with inanimate objects, but sometimes it is necessary.  If using less milk means a longer time enjoying my cereal, then so be it.  Unfortunately, my diplomatic efforts with this cereal fail.

I simply can not comprehend, and it makes me so angry, why it turns into sloppy mush within three minutes.  Granted, I am partially to blame for this conflict, since I should know better by now.  I just always seem to have a sense of hope that maybe this time it will be different; this time it will be a delicious adventure.  I’m just an optimist, I suppose.  I can’t help that.

See?  You’re only on your first meal of the morning, and already your day is ruined.  It’s all downhill from here.  And yet, amazingly, the world’s suicide rate doesn’t increase exponentially on a daily basis.

"How is this possible," you ask; or are asking now that you were prompted, why doesn't society just give up?  Due to the overwhelming amount of bad things that will inevitably happen to you at any given point, it’s something of a grand reassurance that love and hope still remains in the hearts and wallets of mankind.

When you think of love, certain images immediately spring to mind.  Mainly cat1.jpg, which is this picture of a kitten lying in a doll bed hugging a little stuffed bear:


And although thinking of anything else besides that picture may seem like a waste, there are lots of other things people think about when the topic of love comes up.

 Surprisingly, the love capital of the world isn’t Paris, or New York City, or Italy (I can’t think of any specific cities in Italy that are romantic, but there’s a lot of red in that country, and red = loving.)  Rather, almost all of the love in the world is pulsing from the heart of America: IOWA!

What, you say, Iowa?  I’ve never known Iowa to be famous for anything besides potatoes. 

And to that I would answer, No, you are thinking of Idaho.

Iowa is chock full of romance, and no one knows romance better than Iowa’s high schoolers.

Now the more jaded of you might think that they would horde all their secrets; that what goes on in Iowa stays in Iowa.  However, you will soon be shown the error of your ways and judgments.  They don’t want to be selfish with their secrets, you want you to be informed.  Out of the goodness of their hearts, and the wallets of an educational institute, they present to you:


“101 Ways to Make Love Without Doin’ It”


Aren’t they ADORABLE?  They shortened “doing,” to “doin’” to make it sound more casual, laid back, and sexy.  Adding the apostrophe to “doing” is like when that muscle guy flexes his forearm to open that can of Diet Coke in the commercials, and all the office women are fawning over him.  It’s the equivalent to a  cute girl blowing a bubble with her Bubble Yum.  It just pushes it over the edge from arousing to out of control.

However I do feel I need to take issue with their definitions.  I always thought that “making love” was basically the same thing as “doing it,” only with more lying.  I guess removing the G from “doing” becomes the X factor.  Therefore “Doin’” != “Doing,” or so it seems.  Although that really wouldn’t change how it correlates to making love, so now I am extra lost.  Maybe “doin’” is an extra vulgar way of phrasing it; the mere act of making doing into a contraction shows a great deal of spite towards both the act of love and the institute of the English language.  Whatever the case may be, Iowa’s high schoolers want to make something clear.  They ain’t down with foolin’ around.

This instructional pamphlet was distributed through the kind funding of ETR Associates, which stands for Education, Training, and Research.  Aww, isn’t that romantic?  It’s nice to know, right off the bat, that we are in the caring arms of a love expert.

According to the pamphlet, this list was the brainchild of Iowa high school students, who were asked to list ways to show that they loved someone, without resorting to sexual intercourse.  Through the 101 responses, we get a rare glimpse at the psyches of these students, and just how clichéd, romantic, back-woods, erotic, and repetitive they are.  So we will start at the very beginning (a very good place to start) and away we go:


1) Tell the other person you love them 

That’s creative.  Show them how much you love them, by telling them just that.

 2)  Give or get a hug.

 Give me a hug, you rotten bastard. 

3)  Make the other person feel important and respected

I don’t think this is the best way to express your love.  If you really love someone, you should prepare them for the real world, where they will be neither important nor respected by anyone. 

4)  Kiss 

This is another creative one.  We’re only four in and already they’re turning to retreads of common ideas. 

5)  Have fun together 

Here’s another good one.  Having fun with someone does not mean you love them.  It simply means you find their company less intolerable than other people.

 6)  Tell the other person that you care 

Your best bet is to keep Barney lyrics to a minimum.

7)  Hold hands 

Holding hands is best reserved for couples where one partner has some sort of handicap.  If you really love someone, you need to support the fact that they are strong on their own. 

8)  Go for a long bike ride

 This isn’t actually a bad idea.  You get to do something fairly enjoyable, and get to maintain a decent distance from your partner.  Unless it’s one of those “bicycles made for two,” in which case your best option is to shoot yourself immediately prior to hopping on. 

9)  Give a special gift

One really good gift is the gift of your clinging, irritating personality, and the knowledge that they have to deal with your inane babbling and whining for as long as you are together. 

10)  Be there when a friend is needed 

The best time is when they are looking for a friend to make out with, buy presents for, or to give leftover lasagna to.  It’s best to avoid them when they are looking for a friend to help them or listen to them.

 11)  Spend time together 

Isn’t that redundant?  Any of the other activities mentioned entails spending time together.  Lazy Iowans. 

12) Go to a movie 

Note: sleazy 25 cent theatres in the city don’t count. 

 13)  Walk arm in arm in the woods

 Until you are hacked to pieces and she is ravaged by a maniac.

 14) Make a special tape of love songs 

This is acceptable, provided none of the songs are longer than three minutes, and most must contain many expletives and / or immature innuendo. 

15)  Talk openly about your feelings 

Don’t do this.  Nothing good can come of it.

 16)  Share dreams with each other 

Such as the dream where you are back in high school, kissing your janitor on a picnic and feeding each other Pudding Roll Ups. 

17)  Snuggle 

Unless it involves that bear from the fabric softener commercials, this is another bad idea. 

18) Sit together in the park 

More specifically Central Park, where you can experience your very first mugging and beating together. 

19) Go for a walk with each other 

You already said that!  Ugh, I hate Iowa. 

20)  Go out to eat 

And remember, a gentleman will super size her value meal without expecting anything in return. 

21)  Have a picnic 

No.  Don’t.

 22) Play a game of Frisbee 

This is a good idea.  Get one of those Aerobie Frisbees, and hurl it over 500 yards and make her chase it.  If she retrieves it more than three times, that is true love. 

23)  Give compliments 

I’ll be 36 degrees, you be 54.

 24)  Relax in a whirlpool 

Bad idea.  As any Red Shoe Diaries, or other movie on Showtime proves, whirlpools lead to sex, no two ways about it.

 25) Go swimming 

When couples go swimming in lakes they either get murdered or arrested.  And if they swim in a pool they get soaked in urine.  It’s just not a wise decision.

 26) Just be close 

I can’t even think of a response to something as stupid as this.  Moving on…

 27) Go grocery shopping 

When you two can shop for tampons, Metamucil, and other weird necessities together, that’s a good sign of closeness.  So that means you are being close, and taking care of the aforementioned step.

 28)  Cook a meal together 

There are too many stereotypical girl cooking comments to be made here.  I can’t pick just one. 

29) Touch each other in a loving way 

AKA foreplay.  God job ETR, you might want to have polled some people who had some clue what they were talking about.

 30) Do homework together 

If your significant other wants to do homework it means he or she has no personality and needs to be avoided as much as possible.

 31)  Plan and go on a road trip together 

These road trips will eventually lead to boring ski trips or boring beach trips.  Avoid at all costs. 

32) Throw a party together 

So everyone can get drunk and have sex with each other.  But as long as you two don’t, awesome.

 33)  Bake cookies 

And take the cookies out of the oven bare handed, as punishment for what you just thought was fun. 

34) Go to the library 

No.  No.  I refuse to dignify this.

 35) Browse in a museum 

This is hit or miss.  Some museums are cool, like the Museum of Natural History, or the Takapausha Preserve, where you put your hand in a box to guess what’s inside, only to discover it’s a raccoon skull.  Other museums are boring. 

36) Just be there

Just be there.  Close.  Holding hands. Respecting each other.

 37) Find out what’s special for the other person and do it 

Ugh.  This is giving me a headache.  I’m getting a soda.

Okay, back. 

38) Exercise together 

Note to guys:  Never ever, EVER suggest exercising to a girl.  Ever.  It will only leads to tears, anger, and her asking for forty five minutes why you don’t think she’s attractive.

 39) Gaze at each other 

That’s just creepy.

 40) Wash each others cars 

Unless you are a twenty nine year old man dating a seventh grade girl.  In which case she doesn’t have a car yet. 

41) Go fishing 

There’s an idea any girl will go wild over.

 42) Talk to each other 

Hm, what a novel concept.  I am very glad these Iowans were polled, or I may never have thought to do this.

43) Listen to hurts 

Huh?  What the hell does that mean?  Listen to the sound your fist makes while making contact with her jaw or stomach?  I don’t get that at all, freaking psychos.

 44)  Do a work project together

“The way you sprinkled the glitter on that macaroni frame was just brilliant, darling.” 

45) Choose a special favorite song 

No matter what your interests, likes and dislikes, or history together, “your” song should be "Candle in the Wind" by Elton John. 

46) Listen to joys 

Listen to Joy Division instead.

 47) Hold one another close 

More repeating.  I hate these kids.

 48) Use eye contact to share a private thought

 More creepiness.  I hate these kids.

 49) Write each other letters 

“With any luck, I can make parole in two years with good behavior.  Please send more Apple Newtons.”

 50) Talk on the phone 

This is the absolute best way to spend time with each other.  This way you can play Tetris and Minesweeper on your computer without getting yelled at, as would be the case with talking in person. 

51) Trust one another 

You can even do that thing where you fall backwards, because you trust the other person will catch you.

 52) Give or receive a promise ring 

I recommend "Very Emergency." 

53) Meet each other’s families 

Because nothing will make you want to have sex less than the evil glares from your significant other’s parents. 

54) Go hiking 

Then treat each other’s rashes and sprained ankles. 

55) Make sacrifices for each other 

Like giving her bone marrow, moving to another country, or denouncing your religion. 

56) Send candy 

Then she can get fat and blame you.  Good call.

 57) Respect each other 

I honestly would never be able to respect someone that got ideas and advice from this non profit pamphlet.

 58) Go for a moonlight walk 

What is with Iowa and walking?  Isn’t there anything to do there, or is every single building blocks apart? 

59) Hide a love note where the other will find it 

Your best bet is to hide a note that says “I’m sorry” in his or her gun cabinet.

 60) Give each other sexy looks 

Nothing but good things can come from this.  I feel the need to go practice my sexy looks in a mirror.

 61) Write a poem 

Roses are Red

Abstinence is neat

I’m so glad you’re not sleeping here

Because I have to be up early to thresh wheat 

62) Send flowers 

I guess I can’t really find fault with this.  Rather unoriginal, though.

 63) Eat dinner by candle light

I hate doing this.  I can’t see my plate, my eyes hurt from squinting, and I get drowsy.

 64) Go to a concert 

And watch her get felt up by drunken hooligans. 

65) Watch the sunrise together 

I guess any girl that has that kind of sleep schedule is alright by me, so more power.

 66) Take a drive together 

Such as to Mexico, where you can pick up some kick ass M-80’s.

 67) Give each other pet names 

Such as Spike, Rover, or Toonces. 

68) Go sightseeing 

Unless you live in Iowa, then you can only go sightseeing for corn fields.

 69) Rent a video 

Bad idea.  You spend the entire time explaining why renting "Predator" is a much better idea than some romantic comedy. 

70) Do things for each other without being asked  

Such as signing them up for Jenny Craig, rhinoplasty, embalming, etc. 

71) Propose marriage

WHAT???  I think by this point, they already know you love them.  Unless you are doing this on your first date, in which case you are a psychopath in the most amazing way. 

72) Whisper something nice into each others ear 

“You smell very tolerable.”

 73) Be best friends

Please be my VBFF, you are

  2 Cool

+ 2 Be


74) Take a carriage ride through the park 

That is really expensive, so I’d go with the renting a video idea or something. 

75) Go out dancing 

That’s the worst idea ever.  No guy wants to dance.  If you are a girl and you keep trying to get your boyfriend to go dancing, you will be struck down with surprising fury and lack of mercy.  It’s a biological survival instinct. 

76) Play music together 

Ugh.  One White Stripes is bad enough.  No more, please. 

77) Flirt with each other 

Isn’t “flirting” just basically talking, when within the confines of a relationship?

 78) Laugh at something funny together 

Like wheelchair basketball. Okay, that was simply awful.  I’m sorry.  I will now go watch that episode of Saved by the Bell where Zack dates the wheelchair basketball player, who inexplicably has disappeared by the next episode, and learn my lesson. 

79) Be faithful 

B 2.  To yourself.  Inside jokes are the best. HA HA, I’m laughing and YOU’RE NOT.  Sucker. 

80) Impress each other 

Get really loud muffler add ons, giant ugly spoilers, and stickers to cover your car with.  That is sure to impress anyone, you jackass. 

81) Make a list of things you like about each other 

Try to make it more than two or three things, or it might look bad. 

82) Read a book and discuss it 

I suggest Archie’s Pals and Gals Double Digest.  Discuss how often Pop Tate “makes love.” 

83) Meet each other’s friends 

And act like a complete ass in front of them, ensuring you will never have to do it again. 

84) Go horseback riding 

No.  Not if you are a guy.  Horseback riding HURTS.  A lot.

 85) Cook each other's favorite food 

That’s not fair, cereal is so easy to make.

 86) Find out what makes the other happy  

You better hope it involves walking in the park and respecting things, or you will meet with this list’s disapproval.

 87) Make each other gifts 

You came close enough to a savage beating when you gave your dad a paperweight made out of Play-Doh.  Don’t try it with your significant other. 

88) Be caring 

You already said that, you jerk. 

89) Watch the sunset 

Then watch the sunrise.  Then die from lack of sleep like in Amadeus.” 

90) Give diamonds  

This is another one of those ideas that gets a “WHAT???”  Jeez, if you can afford to give someone diamonds, and they don’t even know you love them, get the hell out of Iowa. 

91) Dedicate a song on the radio 

Good choices include "Cum On Feel the Noize" by Quiet Riot and anything by Alice Cooper. 

92) Send a funny card 

If you ever buy a card at Spencer’s Gifts, or any similar store, please go find the nearest large man and request a swift kick in the shins. 

93) Share lifetime goals with each other 

Try to avoid sharing goals such as dumping your significant other and finding someone more attractive as soon as you become successful. 

94) Play footsie 

This is cute, until it becomes a game of who can push harder with their feet.  It inevitably breaks down into kicking each other, or trying to rub the sole of your shoe on their bare leg to give them Indian burns. 

95) Share private jokes 

The best time to do this is when other people around, so they don’t get the joke.  That way you get to laugh at their expense, and that’s the best way to laugh. 

96) Think about each other 

But you have to tell them you are thinking about them, or it doesn’t count. 

97) Find out what makes the other sad  

And take full advantage of it.

 98) Go skating

 This isn’t fun if you know how to skate.  The whole time you have to go really slow, and hold their hand.  Then when they fall down, they take you down with them, making you look like a clod, simply because you are dating one.  Your best bet is to let them stand in one spot, holding onto the boards, while you dazzle them with your vast array of killer ice skating dance maneuvers. 

99) Trade class rings 

However, if your graduating year is ’65, and hers is ’04, you might want to keep your relationship somewhat private. 

100)   Share an ice cream cone 

This is a bad idea, because the other person will inevitably eat more, making you quietly angry, and can’t express yourself because you know it is a stupid thing to get upset over.  Just spend the extra dollar and get two cones. 

101)   Have your picture taken together 

Make sure your “Kill ‘Em All and Let God Sort ‘Em Out” shirt is cleaned for the occasion.


ETR Publishing didn’t stop here, mind you.  It knows that it takes more than one pamphlet to conquer the world.  That’s why it has a dizzying collection of over 500 topics (that number being based on sheer guessing.)  Topics include 101 Ways to Say NO to Violence, 101 Ways to Survive Puberty, and 101 Ways to Get High Without Drugs (Idea #1: Drink lots and lots of alcohol.)  I don’t know if the last pamphlet explains how to do “Indian Blasts,” where you breathe very heavily, then try to strangle yourself, which results in a brief feeling of highness, then a brief session of being passed out. 


And of course, 101 High-Tech Ways to Make Love Without Doin' It. 

Because nothing says I Love You like "01001001001000000100110001101111011101 1001100101001000 000101100101101111011101010000110100001010."


Well, there you have it.  Iowa’s idea of a good time.  Don't believe me?  Here's the proof: Inside  Outside

I hate the midwest.


Talk to me Now or Later