Rap Music: Why you shouldn’t listen too carefully

Dearest Reader,

In a recent quest to make my point in an argument, I was determined to write an academic essay which was ridden with references from famous rap songs.

You may feel that my teaching techniques are questionable, but creativity has no limits when it comes to advocating education and the art of the written word.

So there I sat, determined to incorporate 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” into an essay about whether same-sex high schools are better than mixing students of both sexes. 

You must know, dearest reader, that despite my aversion for violence, tattoos, sexual abuse and drugs, I do occasionally indulge in listening to rap music, or its Latino cousin reggaeton.

I know deep down the messages in these songs are socially questionable, but I never really listen all too carefully anyway.

But of course, for the purposes of my essay, I had to study the lyrics of some of the Rap songs I grew up with.

The first thing that struck me was the grammar. I have spent a lifetime studying the English language with all its rules and exceptions, convinced that I can now at the very least pass as Canadian.

Yet, Fitty opens his mouth and within a matter of 3 minutes, he has murdered every single grammar rule this language has to offer.

“As soon as I come through the door, she get to pulling on my zipper”

Are you serious!

The other thing I noticed is how truly disgusting these lyrics are. Imagine my heartbreak when I finally realised that there is no actual candy shop, and my horror when I finally paid attention to what was meant by “I’ll let you lick the lollipop”.

I am not going to give you the feminist lecture which would be appropriate here. You know it, I know it, 50 Cent probably knows it.

Although it is all very upsetting, I must admit my admiration for somehow making the provision of oral sex sound like a privilege in which the receiver is doing the doer a favour. Well played.

The moral of the story is this: We all love rap music, even if it draws the picture of a very simplistic society consisting exclusively of pimps and their bitches.

To ensure you keep enjoying it, just don’t listen too carefully, and continue to naively assume the candy shop is just an actual candy shop where some nice dude gives you some free stuff. Which is not offensive, but totally awesome.

 

Summary of Self-Help Books

Dearest Reader,

On a recent visit to a book store, I wandered around and found the self-help section.

Intrigued by what society is currently wrestling with, I browsed through the sections and recognised that all these books could be divided into the following categories:

  1. I am too fat
  2. I am too poor
  3. I have no friends
  4. I am too stupid

So here I am, dearest reader, to help you through these issues with a simple post that broadly covers all of them, along with a no-nonsense solution.

1. I am too fat

Well, if you are residing in the western world, this comes as no surprise. It is cheaper, easier and requires much less effort.

But if you don’t like the excess amount of ‘you’, the solution these books give you is healthy, educational and considers your psychological wellbeing. These are commendable contents, and the bottom line is – eat less, exercise more. Find whatever is making you want to eat, and deal with it.

But of course, many of us still fail. So here’s my suggestion.

Just don’t do anything.

Literally, sit in a chair, turn on the TV, stare at it and do nothing.

Don’t get up to buy food, don’t get up to cook food, don’t lift your phone to order food. If you do this long enough, you’ll lose weight.

Just Netflix this one out.

2. I am too poor

Keep sitting in that chair. Don’t do anything, don’t see anything, don’t spend anything. You keep Netflixing, and like a magic trick, you’ll save money while losing weight.

3. I have no friends

Perhaps you lack the basic social skills that are appreciated by other humans, such as humour, good conversation or the willingness to get intoxicated and do ridiculous things that others can capture on video.

There are countless books on learning social skills, opening your heart to people and finding love, all of which require digging into the depths of your childhood to deal with your mother issues. Eventually, you’ll eat wholemeal pasta and discover Jesus with your new friends.

If you prefer the easier and quicker alternative, you might find that dogs are quite easy to befriend as long as you provide them with food. It doesn’t even have to be good food.

You may have to limit your social interaction to the strategic throwing and subsequent retrieval of tennis balls and sticks, and develop a tolerance for the collection of faecal matter, but it’s a small sacrifice for what I understand to be a low-maintenance kind of friendship.

4. I am too stupid

This is a tough one. It requires time.

You may not want to go through the entire “…. for Dummies” range, nor do you have the kind of time and money to go back to school.

Alas, we can’t all be groundbreaking professors, skillful doctors, clever entrepreneurs and inspiring leaders. But this is no reason to despair; in fact, being a little on the stupid side has come back into fashion, as recent evidence suggests.

So now, as you’re browsing through the dummy section and feel a little embarrassed, always remember that with the right attitude, even you could become the next president.

Surviving Christmas Parties

Dearest Reader,

‘Tis the season and office Christmas parties have been announced. It is arguably one of the most important events in an employee’s corporate year, and a great opportunity to get to know your co-workers on a more personal level.

Alas, Christmas parties are also the perfect venue for you to make a huge idiot out of yourself in front of everyone you work with, which will taint your reputation for the year to come. But do not worry, dearest reader, as a seasoned Christmas-party-goer, I can share some helpful tips with you.

Rule #1: Despite the obvious temptation, do not get drunk

Sure, here is the perfect opportunity to get absolutely wasted on the company credit card, but we both know that your party-you is not going to be appropriate for this crowd.

Rule #2: If you find yourself drunk despite your best intentions, do not draw attention to yourself

Now is not a good time to make speeches, nor to bust a move to “Gangnam Style”. If you’re tipsy and you’re feeling a little adventurous, just try to stay close to someone who will prevent you from doing something silly.

Rule #3: If you somehow managed to become the centre of attention anyway, do not approach your superior

Fine, you couldn’t help yourself and just got yourself a new nickname that somehow captures your drunken dance moves which you just had to show off at this worst of times. But not all is lost, you can stop here. It is important that you now stick to your own kind, members of your own corporate hierarchy, even though you suddenly feel the courage to walk up to the big boss and tell him what you really think.

Rule #4: If you find yourself tapping your boss on the shoulder anyway, do not tell them what you really think.

Just thank them for this great year, this lovely party, compliment on a wonderful outfit or just smile, say merry Christmas and walk away.

Don’t mention that you feel overworked and underpaid, that you don’t really understand what they have been doing all year because it sure as hell wasn’t working, and do not tell them that you hate their face, voice, kids, spouse or handwriting. Don’t mention things like ‘lousy management’, ‘incompetence’ and ‘greedy bastard’. Don’t get physical.

Rule #5: If you find yourself unemployed by the end of the night, remember that a new year with new beginnings is just around the corner.

What to do. Free beer right?

Totally worth it.

The Truth About Sexual Intercourse

Dearest Reader,

We have gotten to know each other over the past couple of months, and I feel comfortable to discuss a very intimate topic with you. What I mean, of course, is recreational procreation.

I sincerely believe that especially our media has glorified sexual intercourse in a way that real life cannot keep up with. We have expectations of both men and women that aren’t really achievable, and I want to reassure you, dearest reader, that there is in fact nothing wrong with you.

The first thing I’d like to speak about are socks. Socks, interestingly, are never featured in a passionate love-making scene in any movie. For some reason, there simply are no socks.

But real life is full of socks. Men wear socks. All the time. So now, at the height of all human relationships, what do you do with them?

You can’t strip naked and leave your socks on, because this will either repulse or amuse the person who has just agreed to get hot and heavy with you.

Equally, there is no non-awkward way to take off your socks. I don’t know what happened in the evolutionary process, but while a woman is perfectly capable to slip into shoes while holding onto a wall, men generally need to sit down to put on/take off their socks and shoes. It’s a real ceremony. I don’t know why, it is certainly not height-related, it is just the fact.

So your options are leaving them on or, with all the naked giblets dangling, sit down and take off your socks. Which again, depending on the woman you currently have in front of you, will either result in frown or laughter, both which are hard to recover from.

The second thing I’d like to speak about is the famous white shirt. You must be familiar with the post-intercourse scenes of a naked woman throwing on her man’s white business shirt and walking around the house with that. There are two problems with that.

Firstly, anyone who has ever smelled a man’s shirt after a day at work will agree that there is nothing sexy about it and few of us would willingly put this on.

Secondly, depending on your body shapes, it is highly unlikely that this shirt will indeed look like a flattering, sexy dress when worn by a woman.

What really happens is that she’ll try to find what she just took off, unceremoniously picking it up, and putting that back on – now with the addition of bad hair.

So, dearest reader, do not worry that you’re alone in your sock dilemmas or scrambling to find your own unicorn pyjama shirt afterwards.

We’re all in the same, awkward boat.

Hugs: What are they good for?

Dearest Reader,

I am, as you know, continuously striving to be a decent human being and treat fellow members of my species with warmth and respect.

I grew up in Germany, which means hugging hello, with Mediterranean parents, meaning cheek kissing several times per day, on several cheeks, with different starting cheek directions. Today, I live in Australia, where I understand a one-kiss/half-hug combo is the appropriate greeting, and I have mastered over the years.

I don’t know about you, but I find our touchy-feely culture difficult to enjoy on most days.

If you are unlucky enough know me personally, you know that I appreciate a healthy distance; the kissing, sweaty handshaking and pressure to make otherwise physical contact with relative strangers is a difficult thing to adhere to.

When it comes to greetings, I really wish I lived in Japan, where one can bow, or wave, or just smile and it is sufficient to say hello. However, due to my love for bread, cheese and beer, I don’t think I’d be happy living there permanently. (Of course there is beer in Japan, but I am German. Enough said.)

Yet, I understand the need to make an effort in society, so I have a once-a-day hug mission. Once a day, I will give someone a hug. Most people are of course not aware of this and hug me without even appreciating that they are getting the only hug I’ll be giving that day.

I try to reserve my hugs not for greetings, but for when someone truly needs one; for example, because they just had news that emotionally stirred them up – this could be happy or sad. Now of course, I have to make a judgement here. Is the realisation of forgetting your lunch a saddening enough experience to get a hug, when perhaps in 10mins I meet someone who’s lost their job, and I’ll have already wasted my hug on some frivolous sadness.

In addition, I am quite short, so hugging someone very tall can be awkward in the practical sense, and I end up being squished into someone’s chest with limited access to air; this necessarily means that a hug must be short to prevent some sort of undignified suffocation.

But truth be told, some hugs are quite delightful. I appreciate one that has just the right number of seconds, just the right amount of back tapping (though I am not sure how I feel about back rubbing) and one that surrounds me with a whiff of something nice-smelling. I also enjoy happy hugs, perhaps my aversion is predominantly towards the sad kind, or the kinds forced by social etiquette.

Perhaps my favourite people to hug are babies of a good hug size. I don’t mean the really small ones which still have this kind of breakable chicken-neck, I mean the ones that are perhaps just about to start walking and have some control over their own saliva.

They are soft and squeezable, they smell of baby and they giggle. When you feel the hug has come to an end, you don’t even need to make conversation – you simply give them back to whoever made them, without the need to take this relationship any further, and with no hard feelings about the abrupt end to this social interaction.

Simply wonderful!

How to pick a fragrance

Dearest Reader,

As an adult, you’re supposed to be clean and smell nice. Children may be sticky and smell of ominous things without anyone complaining, but once you reach a certain age, neither stickiness nor funny smells are acceptable.

So we shower regularly, and add the final touch: some sort of fragrance.

Whether it is cologne, deodorant or perfume, chances are you are using one of these products daily. (If you don’t, as a public transport user, I urge you to purchase one for the sake of your fellow human beings.)

What I never understood is how we actually pick a perfume or cologne.

To me, all men’s colognes smell the same, and they all smell like my dad. This is both boring and disturbing, but it is the truth. I am sure colognes and after-shave products have been invented by a bunch of frustrated women who thought “Well, men are all the same, might as well make them smell all the same!”

Equally, why are there magazine and TV ads for perfumes? You can’t smell them, so what exactly are we judging the product by? Do we subconsciously believe that we will start looking like the models, or having the strange sexual encounters that they display?

I remember Dior had a model walk through a pool of liquid gold and all she said was J’adore. And that was it. Best seller! I wonder how many of these consumers ever ended up in a pool of liquid gold, and suddenly speaking French. But I digress.

Finally, I feel that the perfume industry is running out of names. They are supposed to sound alluring and intriguing, perhaps self-confidence boosting. Think of “Envy Me”, “Euphoria” or “Obsession”. I truly believe the naming plays a key role in its appeal.

However, all subtle names must have been exhausted because they are becoming increasingly uncreative and in-your-face. Just recently, I walked passed Victoria’s Secret, and I see a perfume that is simply called “Very Sexy NOW”.

There is no mistaking. You buy this if you want to appear very sexy, right now. I feel Victoria has lost a bit of the secrecy that made her so famous.

So when you’re out and about picking up a new perfume, make sure you aren’t blinded by names and ads – just sniff and buy!

Grocery Store Sitcom

Dearest Reader,

One of the many chores of adulthood is going grocery shopping, and I personally find it one of the most irritating ones.

Firstly, if you are a full-time worker, you know the crowds of people, their children and their grandmothers you have to fight at 5pm or on weekends to get to that last raspberry yoghurt.

Then of course, there’s the schlepping – carrying kilos of stuff home, which is especially fun when you don’t have a car.

And worst of all, YOU have to pay for this unpleasant experience.

But I am here to tell you that you can turn your grocery shopping into your own personal sitcom. All you have to do is open your eyes and use a little creativity.

Here’s how you do it: Next you find yourself waiting at the checkout, losing your patience and thinking about all the hours of your life you have wasted waiting in queues, take a moment to check out the baskets of the people in front of you.

What do you see? What story do these items tell?

Here are potential examples:

A female buying a huge tub of ice cream, other junk food and tissues – I smell drama, teary break-ups, red hot lovers and a kind of Ross/Rachel thing going on!

A male buying a kitchen knife, hershey’s kisses and mango body butter – Here’s a guy who really wants to take a bubble bath, smell of mangoes and indulge in a chocolate feast, but tries to overcompensate for the lack of masculinity implied by this activity by purchasing a big scary knife. I imagine a Scrubs/J.D. kind of situation here

An older lady buying cat food, cookies and beer – oh don’t you try to fool me nana, we all know you’re buying booze for the neighbour’s teens because you live next to the Inbetweeners!

Now sometimes, all you can see is some carrots and some soba noodles and none of it lends itself to a good story. So, be proactive!

There are some items that you should always pair with something awkward to have a bit of fun and freaking out the people around you, especially the check-out assistant.

One such item, without a doubt, are condoms.

You cannot waste this opportunity for comedy; for example, watch the puzzled faces as you put condoms on the counter along with some rubber gloves, shaving cream and a big pumpkin. Or wear a nun-costume while you buy them. Let them create a story in their heads, and marvel in their awkward, blushing faces.

Or female hygiene products. Why not add a plunger and some soy milk, just for fun?

So, dearest reader, there is no excuse to be bored at the grocery store – if you are committed to getting the biggest bang for your buck, and not just boredom and impatience, you can have the time of your life!