A recently released study by researchers from the Universities of St. Andrews, Durham and Exeter found that women consider men to be more attractive if they are desired by other women. This is particularly true if the men are already in relationships. Whether “This is because he is perceived to be more kind, faithful and a better father” came from the women in the study, the researchers or Sarah J. Young, the author reporting on the study, is unclear.
A previous study conducted by Oklahoma State University found what some call “The Wedding Ring Effect,” that by being in a relationship a man has already proven he has at least some desirable characteristics. In that study, 90 per cent of single women were interested in men they believed were taken, while only 59 per cent thought these same men were attractive if they were thought to be unattached. Hmmmm.
So this is news? I observed this phenomenon in the late 1960s when I was finally in a relationship. Girls had never considered me particularly attractive. But when they saw me with Zelda, some flirted with me and asked me to dance with them. Since this behavior was in stark contrast to how they treated me pre-Zelda, I couldn’t help but notice the difference. Sadly, I didn’t capitalize on this change and continued seeing Zelda. But that is an entirely different story.
The lesson in this for men is to latch onto a girlfriend of some sort, even if you’re not wild about her. Being able to tolerate her long enough to find someone you consider more desirable is enough. Depending on how attractive other women consider your stepping-stone girlfriend, you may need to repeat this process a time or three to find your Miss Right.
A most pleasant surprise arrived in my inbox this morning. Midwest Book Review has reviewed Only Tim Sent Flowers. Not only did they review it, they raved about it:
The Fiction Shelf
Critique: An imaginative, entertaining, fascinating read from beginning to end, George Kaplan’s “Only Tim Sent Flowers” is an extraordinary novel by a writer with a genuine flair for novelty and narrative driven storytelling complete with unexpected twists and turns. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “Only Tim Send Flowers” is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
A fellow writer who critiques my books before I submit them to the publisher unwittingly let Tookie entertain her family’s Thanksgiving celebration:
At Thanksgiving, we decided to sing karaoke. So, my husband grabs my laptop and hooks it up so that the lyrics playing on my laptop show on our HUGE living room TV. Only the last thing I was looking at on my computer was your Tookie chapter.
So, as soon as he hooks it up, BOOM. Tookie, doing all kinds of penis stuff to Reggie, in huge bold print, right on the living room TV in front of my whole family lol! I wasn’t paying attention, so it’s up there for a few minutes, and my cousin and a female friend are like, “Uhhhhhh…” I’m cracking up.
I explain who George Kaplan is and why I’m reading this on my work computer. I dig out my copy of Only Tim Sent Flowers and I’m like, “Check it out. He’s really creative and his heroine is hilarious. I’ve learned so much reading his stuff. Like, in the ’70s, IUD strings hung out of the vagina (my stepmom nods in agreement). And last week I learned what a rusty trombone is—-DON’T GOOGLE THAT.”
We’re all flipping through the book and discussing the plot. My friend opens to a page where Tookie goes into deep detail about using cucumbers, carrots, Coke bottles* and more, to masturbate and she’s reading this out loud to the room and everyone is dying. People are taking pictures of the book cover and looking up the book on Amazon. I think I just sold like ten copies of your novel today lol!!! I thought you’d get a kick out of that story.
I never thought I’d be hanging out with my dad, talking about Tookie and the sexual revolution. But today was the day lol! They thought the book was hilarious and witty and I told them I laugh every single time I critique one of your chapters.
* Tookie considered testing the possibility that using a Coke bottle as a dildo could do her serious physical harm too risky to try.
I had planned on writing about the effects of marijuana on fertility, a topic of some importance to both men and women of child-creating age, but the print version of Only Tim Sent Flowers was received yesterday, pushing the sexier topic off until next time.
A little before 7:00 p.m. yesterday, a Saturday, I saw the familiar brown UPS truck pull up my driveway. Surprised to see him at that time on that day of the week, I trotted out to greet him, thinking someone must have sent some financial papers requiring a signature that I wasn’t aware was coming. It turned out that he had the shipment of books I had ordered from my publisher, Black Opal Books.
Seeing the surprised expression on my face, the driver said, “Saturdays are a regular work day now.” It seems that UPS has contracted to deliver Amazon Prime packages within the shorter timeframe that comes with paying for that service.
But you say that I bought the books from Black Opal Books and not from or through Amazon. That is entirely correct. What has happened is that UPS hates to operate inefficiently. That means if they are running a truck on a route to deliver some Amazon prime shipments, they don’t want to send out a half-full truck. So, they also deliver any packages they have on hand for people on the route instead of waiting till Monday. I was the beneficiary of this policy.
This was good timing because I had been working on a book trailer and had it almost ready to make public. Because of a recent hardware failure that forced me to acquire a new computer that runs Windows 10, something I had been avoiding for years. One of the numerous shortcomings of Windows 10 is that the Moviemaker program has been eliminated. So, I had to acquire and learn a new program.
For reasons too complicated to go through here, I got Pinnacle Studio 21. It is harder and more complicated to learn and use than Moviemaker but has some nice features. The one I like, but don’t understand, is Scorefitter. I’ve only used it once, for a soundtrack in the book trailer for Only Tim Sent Flowers. Check it out and tell me if you like it or not. It can be found at: https://youtu.be/vAHvbJ7MEac
The second edition of Only Tim Sent Flowers, the first of the three-volume Tookie series (so far), is being released this coming Saturday by publisher Black Opal Books in both ebook and print formats. Heavily revised to focus on Tookie’s coming of age, this version should appeal to younger (meaning over 16) readers in and about to enter their New Adult period as well as traditional readers of books with female protagonists. Told in first person POV (Tookie’s perspective) from an intelligent high-functioning Asperger’s who lives in her head, she shares her innermost thoughts (that she seldom reveals to others) with the reader.
Manuscripts for the second and third titles in the series, Finding Mr. Wrong and Tookie Goes Undercover have been completed and were recently sent to the publisher. No release dates have been set. With that writing, editing, rewriting, editing, etc. complete—at least until a publisher’s editor gets her hands on them—I should have time to tend to my blog more faithfully, especially since the newspapers have been filled with so many topics with potential.
I’ve just finished a new adult novel about Tookie’s early adult life and am seeking early readers to comment on it before I submit it to my publisher. A synopsis follows. If you’re interested in reading the manuscript, email me at GeorgeQKaplan@gmail.com.
Shortly after moving yet again, this time to a small Midwestern working-class mill town in 1965, the then guileless teenaged TOOKIE beguiles the boy next door, both figuratively and literally. TIM, Mensa-bright but from a large dysfunctional family on her street, works in the machine shop at the bullet works after failing to keep his scholarship at a large private research university, accidentally sees Tookie and instantly recognizes the bookish, red-haired, freckle-faced girl as the woman of his dreams.
Mary Louise (TOOKIE) loves her name but dislikes the nickname her doting father gave her for reasons long forgotten and by which everyone but her mother and Tim address her. Her father works as an itinerate cost accountant on a short-term heavy industrial project in the area before moving on to another project in North Jersey. He makes too little to afford decent whiskey, which limits the frequency of his binges, but her cash-strapped unhappy mother of five, turns on her drinking lamp every afternoon and guzzles beer from oversized bottles until she can hold no more. “I had a good mother until four p.m.,” recalls Tookie who never drinks anything stronger than cranberry juice.
Old-fashioned Tim feels wanted for the first time since fourth grade when his grandfather died. Tookie savors his attention and basks in his adoration. She thinks she’s very ordinary on the outside—and boys generally agree with her assessment—until Tim finds her devastatingly beautiful. She considers herself extraordinary because of her superior intelligence. Their bliss ends in six short months when Tim’s draft board reclassifies him 1-A. Two months later, in May 1966, he leaves for Air Force boot camp.
While Tim is overseas, Tookie moves to a wealthy North Jersey suburb in her senior year to find herself behind her new classmates who, if not as smart as she is, are better schooled and much more affluent. She frantically treads water to complete. Over the summer after she graduates, her only sister marries, Tookie turns eighteen and, Tim returns, still hooked. Tookie takes a clerical job and longs to enlist in the sexual revolution. Tim denies her sex; she withholds her love. ZELDA scoops up Tim and Tookie stays behind when her parents move to Massachusetts.
Free of parental and Tim’s limitations, Tookie moves into her own apartment and scrupulously studies The Joy of Sex. She seduces the first man from work to show interest. After dumping him, she hones her skills on young airmen on their way to Vietnam. She’s not excited about intercourse but delights in giving oral sex and quickly becomes a virtuoso. Seeing her meager earnings limited without a degree, she enrolls in a statistics program at the nearby state university. She sleeps across—not up, because she believes women who screw for advancement are whores—the roster of men at the pharmaceutical company where she works days while studying nights and weekends, alternating between textbooks and sex manuals. Squeezed between outstanding bills and little income, she accepts a shadowy businessman’s offer to be his sugar baby. Three years of monogamy and hard work lands her a B. A. magna cum laude. Life is perfect until her sugar daddy disappears without a word.
Tookie falls hard for the sophisticated middle manager, so hard she perfects the Shanghai Squeeze to delight Isaac at the climax of a week-long Las Vegas statistics conference. Isaac moves in immediately after returning from the tryst. His lawyer soon slaps him with the cold, hard facts of 1977 New Jersey divorce law. Isaac scampers back home to wife and country club life. Inconsolable after hearing Isaac say, “all the right things,” her phone rings. It’s Tim.
Tookie invites herself to visit Tim who, in the intervening years, finished his bachelor’s degree, ended a disastrous marriage to Zelda, and now operates a one-man office in Pennsylvania. Tookie seduces Tim with her world-class oral sex and leaves him reeling Sunday afternoon, thinking he’ll never see him again. On work on Monday, Tookie can’t bear seeing Isaac and returns to Tim. Apparently recovered by midweek, Tookie shocks him with stories, some true, of her sexual escapades. Now twenty-seven, with Tookie’s biological clock ticks audibly, she seeks a father for the daughter she craves. Could she convince Tim to impregnate her?
A Danish company is now producing a kit useful for those of us who are looking for a man to father our children or for those who want to avoid unwanted pregnancies. SwimCount is a home test that rates the potency of sperm in your lover’s semen. There are already products available to do that, you say. Not really. Existing products, such as SpermCheck, test the sperm count but don’t test their motile ability. To be effective, that is to get me pregnant sort of like salmon, sperm must swim upstream to reach my egg. With somewhere between 200 and 500 million sperms being injected into us with each male orgasm, you’d think getting pregnant would be trivial. But we women don’t make it easy for them. Our bodies protect us from weak and unsuitable sperms. Only the strong survive, so to speak. Our vaginas are acidic—except when ovulating—and kill most of them right off the bat, making impregnation virtually impossible most of the time. Vagina have a neutral PH during ovulation, allowing sperm to survive. Merely surviving doesn’t win a cigar. The sperm must swim through my vagina and into my cervix but, once there, they’re not home free. Cervical mucus that is supposed to help push sperm through the vagina, cervix and beyond while feeding it nutrients to give sperm the energy needed for the long journey to the egg sometimes kills the very thing it is supposed to assist.
Those sperm left surviving face another challenge in the cervix when they hit a fork in the road. Each leg of the fork leads to a fallopian tube, only one of which has a fertile egg in it at a time. Those taking the wrong tube fail in their mission. The few survivors compete for the honor of impregnating me. The first one to penetrate the mature egg wins and, voilà, I’m preggers.
Next time we talk about how to make sure our lovers aren’t shooting blanks or are when we want them to be.
I’m looking out for you single girls,
A subject has appeared in the newspapers for which George is ill-equipped to address. With penises being my favorite appendage, I’ll handle it myself. It seems a British lad aged six had his torn off in an automobile accident. Nothing could be done until the poor man was forty when, in 2012, British scientists sewed on an 8-inch replacement. The less-than-completely happy recipient, nicknamed Mo, failed to inform his blushing bride that his phony phallus wasn’t fit for conjugation before they married. Patient, she waited a good while before divorcing him for lack of performance, one assumes.
Very recently, wifeless and girlfriend-free, Mo’s scientist friends have rigged his formerly flaccid phallus with two tubes and a button on his testicles to press for full functionality when the mood strikes. Charitable sex worker and erstwhile politician Charlotte Rose is donating her services to fill the void. After a nice dinner, she is giving him two hours of her valuable time gratis. No mention was made of overtime. Perhaps, all of her tricks will be exhausted in such little time.
Mo should’ve called me. I would’ve given him a long weekend just for the fun of playing with a new toy and wouldn’t have to buy me dinner. I’ve had long, short, skinny, fat, and bent but never bionic. I also think I could make the button redundant (to use the British definition) given the chance. Challenges like this are up my alley. I’ve been known to raise the dead but never the dickless. Of course, all of the men I’ve entertained have been completely capable, or at least were at one time. Reinvigorating with my special talents is one thing but resurrecting something that was never alive would be quite an achievement. I may be just the girl to raise the dead.
I’ve got to go make a phone call to London. I’ll let you know how things work out.
If you want to know more about my tricks, read my memoir, Only Tim Sent Flowers.
In an attempt to improve my book trailer, I posted a link to it on a forum of authors who publish with Black Opal Books for feedback. I got feedback. Boy did I get feedback. All of it was constructive and presented in a positive way, making it much easier to digest. The most common complaint was that it moved too quickly. A related comment was that I had been too wordy. The combination of too many words passing by too quickly made reading difficult for many. I had to remind myself that these writers, as well as my likely readers and myself, are of the pre-Sesame Street generation and are more comfortable with video that doesn’t jump so quickly.
I distinctly recall returning to The States from my all-expenses-paid trip to the Far East courtesy of the taxpayers in 1968 and getting headaches from trying to watch Laugh In, a program that first appeared while I was overseas, because it jumped so quickly from one short sketch to another. But I digress.
Another frequent criticism was that I should have accompanied the video with music throughout. I searched around for relevant songs and sounds to find things I thought appropriate. I began with a clip of a woman wailing in hope a man would return her lament. None does. A necessary bit of silence accompanies my heroine, Tookie, studying sex books and practicing on a banana. A series of men, on whom she perfects her technique, is accompanied by a baritone singing, “You know what I like.”
Her clock ticks loudly as slides explain that she desperately desires a daughter as her fertility expires. A polka accompanies her search through even more men for a husband and slides that promote the book.
My severest critic likes it now. I hope you do, too. Click here to view and hear it.