Your Science-Fashion Advisor

What are the two immutable sources of the reality that surrounds us every day?  The laws of science and the laws of fashion.  But what do you when these two worlds collide?  You call Your Science-Fashion Advisor, that’s what!

Dear Science-Fashion Advisor:

I have met a man whom I would very much like to get to know better.  He is coming over in about an hour and I have the worst case of static cling!  My dress is stuck to my crotch in a way that is both revealing and suggestive.  What is static cling and how can I fight it off?  Email is better as I do not have time to wait for your column to appear in next week’s paper.

Norma Jean Oswalt, Otterville, MO


Dear Norma Jean:

The atoms that make up the objects around us have equal numbers of positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons in orbit around them.  When you pull your skirt on over your panty hose, electrons leave one object faster than the other, giving one a positive charge and the other a negative.  Opposites attract–perhaps like you and your “beau”–and static electricity makes your skirt want to cling to your hose.  You may find this to be true of your date after a few Busch Natural Lite beers.

For a first date, there are two solutions.  One, soak your head in water and tell your date it is the “Flashdance” look, you just loved that movie–because water conducts electricity.  Or you can pick the extra electrons out of your panty hose with a tweezer and a magnifying glass, and tell your date you spent the afternoon sliding down a bannister.


Dear Science-Fashion Lady:

When the Comet Kohoutek came through the earth’s atmosphere in 1973 it sprinkled some kind of stardust on my new crinoline petticoat, which I just happened to have up above my waist in the back seat of Duane Edsall’s Chevy Impala.  At least that is where Duane told me the stain came from.

Comet Kohoutek:  Probably not to blame.


I have never been able to get this substance out, and now I want to hand down this petticoat to my daughter Jean Marie, for her junior prom.  Can I make the comet pay for the damage, or at least part of my dry cleaning bill?

Leona Morsht, Downhill, Kentucky


Dear Leona:

You may have to wait awhile–the Comet Kohoutek isn’t expected to bypass the earth again for another 75,000 years!  Try putting a paste of wet baking soda on the stain, dry the petticoat under fluorescent light, put it in a brown paper grocery bag and set it on fire on your driveway.  As you pick through the ashes you will notice that the stain is gone.


Dear Science-Fashion Advisor:

My roommate elena (she’s a poet, and “eschews” capital letters) and I are planning a party and I went and got a new outfit, black tube top, maroon pedal pushers.  When I came home all excited and showed it to her, she said “oh–i just got the same outfit.”  She is irritating that way, always speaking in lower case.

Cute widdle bwack hole


elena says that if two women with identical outfits lead a man under a chandelier in a game of “Which Girl is Which?” his head will explode and he will be sucked into a black hole.  Science-Fashion lady, I don’t believe her for a minute.  She says she bought her outfit first so she should keep hers, but when I asked to see the sales slip she said she lost it.  As far as I know the only science course she ever took was “Rocks and Stars,” which is for English majors.  Please help me out here–I went on the NASA web site and there is nothing but a bunch of publicity photos.

Yvette Millenieux, Allston-Brighton, Mass.


Dear Yvette–

Unfortunately, elena is right.  The taboo against two women wearing the same outfit to a party is based on Heisenberg’s “Uncertainty Principle,” which holds that it is impossible to measure an object’s precise dimensions when it is wearing a bodacious tube top.

Heisenberg:  “Honestly, it looks great on both of you.”


Suffice it to say that if a man closes his eyes and opens them to see two women’s nippers standing at attention through the same clingy material, something is bound to explode.

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”

Great Places to Meet That Special Someone!

Finding your soulmate is part luck and part hard work. Your perfect match will end up getting married to someone else unless you take steps to be in the right place at the right time.

But so many “hot” places to meet members of the opposite sex are crowded and sweaty, which can make your mascara run if you’re a woman or make your body odor worse if you’re a man. Your Dating Advisor surveyed singles scenes across the country to discover out-of-the-way places where your chances of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right are much better than your basement or a grungy bar.

Get down!

Great Places for Women to Meet Men:

Prison: Despite efforts by gender equality advocates to make sure both sexes enjoy the benefits and endure the burdens of society equally, the fact is that there are many more men in prison than women. “Men are always getting into trouble, women keep their mouths shut when the teacher’s looking,” says Oliver Porter, a professor of behavioral psychology at the University of Indiana-Terre Haute. “A woman who stands at a prison gate and does nothing more than bat her eyelashes will meet more eligible men than a D-cup bimbo on wet t-shirt night.”

Chain gangs: Say what you will about overexposure to the sun, the men you’ll meet on a chain gang get plenty of fresh air and exercise, and have the muscles to show for it. Many “high maintenance chicks” in BMW’s and other luxury sedans drive right by handsome hunks with hammers in their hands.

Prize fights: The only women at a boxing match are the round card girls and the women manning (womanning?) the beer taps. Knock yourself out!

Great Places for Men to Meet Women:

Convents: Despite what you may have read about nuns being “married to the Church,” many–like my sixth-grade nun, Sister Gabriella Marie–are willing to dump a 2,000 year-old institution if the right guy happens to come along.

Garbage dumps: With cutbacks in municipal services and an increased interest in recycling, more women are taking on the unpleasant task of driving to their local dump to dispose of their garbage. Pick a spot next to the household hazardous waste bin and offer to help a “damsel in distress.”

Boring work events: Surprising as it may seem, many men attend boring work events–department lunches, professional education classes, raging forest fires–because they like to. For example, it’s easy to strike up a conversation in an operating room when you share an interest in cutting-edge prostate surgery techniques with a six-figure surgeon. Just say “Oh my God–that is so gross!”

“I’m getting a caramel macchiato–how about you?”

Unisex Meeting Places: I know, talking to someone standing next to you in line is such a cliche, but it works if, like Barney the Purple Dinosaur, you use your imagination. For example, try turning around–“Excuse me, I think the line’s moving that way.” Or let your eyeballs roll back into your head and pretend you’re a zombie-like member of an apocalyptic cult.

If you’re in line for your morning cup of coffee, there may be enough of a resemblance to induce sympathy, or even a smile, from the person you’re hitting on!

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”

It’s Academic!

The world of academia can be a hostile and forbidding place, with English professors telling you to use “an” before “hostile” as soon as you get the bloody words out of your mouth. Here are some of the issues that have been troubling our correspondents lately.

Student coffeehouse: Where many a “study date” has begun.


Dear Mr. Academic:

I am a secretary at the local college where I recently stopped for coffee in a little espresso bar. This guy with a beret comes up to me and strikes up a conversation as I was pouring cream and five Sweet ‘n Lows into my cup. I played along with him because he was kind of cute and he asks me “What do you do?” I figured I needed to impress him so I looked at a book that was laying (lying?) on a table and said I worked at Particle Accelerator Physics II. I figured it was sort of like “Brothers II Bar & Grille” or “Clip, Curl & Cutz II.” He got real excited and said “Wow”, could he come over and smash some atoms some time and I said sure, that sounds like fun.

Particle accelerator: Fun place for a first date.

Mr. Academic, I know what I did was wrong but now I am trapped. I have put this guy off for three weekends in a row and am running out of excuses. Should I tell him the truth or what?

Marie Ann Coburn, Normal, Illinois


Dear Marie Ann–

You know what Mr. Academic says–Honesty is the best policy, but sometimes you have to use crib notes. There just happens to be a very good particle accelerator within a few hours’ drive of your home–the Fermi National Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois! Buy a lab coat and ask the young man to meet you after work one day. When he pulls up to the curb come running out saying “What a miserable excuse for a proton-antiproton smasher! I’d give it up in a minute for a career as a secretary!” If he truly loves you, he will follow you right back to your word processor.

“Look out for the frisbee!”


Mr. Academic–

I am an assistant professor of comparative literature at a small liberal arts college in Ohio. I am up for tenure this year, but my chances don’t look good because there’s a women and a swarthy guy up at the same time, and I am a white male. (I think the swarthy guy uses tan-in-a-bottle but that’s a different story.) Anyway, I am thinking of having a sex change operation to improve my chances and wanted to know the pros and cons of such a procedure.

Lloyd Pfeiffer, Chillicothe, Ohio

“My name eesa Georgio Hamiltonio.”


Dear Lloyd–

A surgical procedure as serious as a sex change operation is not a step to be taken lightly. Are you dating anyone now, and if so, what sex? Have you factored the cost of new clothes into your budget? Do you belong to a men’s bowling team that will have to replace you once you are a woman?

Maybe he’d fit in here.


You should also check your school’s employee handbook to make sure that “foxhole sex changes” or “tenure-track transexuals” are not disqualified from academic advancement.


Dear Mr. Academic–

I was recently put on probation for having an affair with a student in my D.H. Lawrence seminar, which strikes me as the equivalent of going to the ballet and complaining about tutus. Having sex with students has been my practice for many years–my current wife is a former member of my senior tutorial on Shakespeare’s sonnets, and my first wife was in my Introduction to Romantic Literature survey course.

D.H. Lawrence with his hot wife.


Frankly, I think I was entitled to some warning that the rules of the game had changed. Please respond to my P.O. Box because I don’t want my wife to know I’m writing to advice columnists.

George W. R. Frazier, Croton-on-Hudson, New York.


Mr. Frazier–

The occupational hazard of becoming an English professor is that naive young women will throw themselves at any man who has read more poetry than “The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck,” and you are not entitled to an exemption from state and federal sexual harassment laws just because you have leather patches on the elbows of your sport coat. While we’re on the subject, if you are fired will your position be publicly advertised or filled by word of mouth?


If you can’t shoot over her, dribble around her.


Dear Mr. Academic–

I have been an Assistant Bursar at a Christian college in Alabama for 18 years. Every Friday the coach of the women’s basketball team comes in to deposit her check in the credit union, and I try to “chat her up” a bit. She is friendly enough but I know that she looks down on me–literally and figuratively–as she is 6’1″ and I am only 5’7″.

I was wondering–do you think it is perverse for a short man to fall in love with a taller woman? If not, could you suggest a social setting in which the difference in our heights would not be so noticeable?

Eldon Felger, Muscle Shoals, AL 35661


Dear Mr. Felger–

Love doesn’t get vertigo from looking down, nor a crick in the neck from looking up. Compatibility between the sexes doesn’t depend on seeing “eye to eye.” I would suggest a nice dinner out at a table for two, since most of one’s height consists of the length of one’s legs–no one will notice you two are not a matched set when you are sitting down. And when you get your lady friend out on the basketball court, remember to pump fake up, get her in the air, then drive for the score!

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”

Five First Date No-No’s

So you’ve recovered from your last affair, and are ready to re-enter the dating scene.  As any astronaut will tell you, re-entry is the most treacherous part of the job, with temperatures reaching several hundred degrees Celsius even before you get back to your place.  Here are a few tips to reacquaint you with tried and true dating rules, as well as new developments you may have missed out on.

“My tongth’s caught in your retainer.”

No-No #1:  Your sexual prowess.  “In my last relationship I spent a lot of time–at my boyfriend’s insistence–learning how to perform the Mongolian Cartwheel,” a sexual position that requires a pack of red Twizzler licorice and a yak, says administrative assistant Lu Ann Salloway of Manchester, New Hampshire.  “He learned it from the Dalai Lama on a Junior Year Abroad program.  When I described it over potato skins at T.G.I.Friday’s to a guy my friend Lisa fixed me up with he barfed all over the place, although we hadn’t even eaten our entrees yet.”


“The yak tickles!”

In other words, keep it discrete when you first meet.

No-no #2:  No Lizards.  Matchmaker Valerie Brunel says she scours through the profiles of her clients and requires those who own Komodo Dragons to sign a separate written statement promising not to bring their giant lizards on “Lunch Dates,” her patented no-risk introduction service.  “No matter how much you love your lizard, your primary focus should be on the lady or gentleman sitting across the table from you, not a slimy creature with a yellow forked tongue that carries virulent bacteria in its mouth,” she says.  “Oh, and remember to bring a business card so your Lunch Date can follow up if you spark some interest.”

“I’ll have a Caesar Salad, extra anchovies.”

No-No #3:  Kids.

Kids–you can’t live with ’em, and yet the human race won’t survive without them.  That doesn’t mean you should say things like “Do you see us getting serious because my biological clock is ticking and it’s like quarter to midnight.”

“You not going to leave me with a baby sitter again, are you?”

Men like to believe they’ll be able to go through life without children until they actually have them, so it is best to defer this sort of talk until the cost of getting a divorce stands in the way of him dumping you.

See full size image



“If you listen real close, you can hear the ocean!”

No-no #4: Cutesy-Pie Names.

If you hit it off with your date, there will be plenty of time to come up with pet names for each other while you watch old movies on TV and eat popcorn together.  Until that time, calling another person the names of baked goods such “Cupcake” or “Muffin” is viewed as presumptuous, as if you have already won a heart that may still be undecided.  “While expressions of affection are not entirely off limits, you should maintain a certain reserve until it is clear that your date shares your feelings,” says etiquette expert Mercedes Rockland.  “I would start with a delicately-placed ‘Dear’ while you’re perusing the menu, graduating to a ‘Sweet Thang’ when it’s time for dessert.”

“Because you’re on the rebound, you’re really bringing me down.”

No-no #5:  Your former lovers.

There is nothing to make love curdle like a wistful recollection of the great times you had with the guy or gal who took the shot that put you on the rebound.  “If you spend all your time reminiscing about your old flame, you’ll end up putting out a potential fire right in front of you,” says Hook and Ladder Co. 9 Captain Dale Bevins of Florissant, Mo.  “Your date may then stop, drop and roll, and proceed directly to the nearest available exit in an orderly fashion without talking in line.”

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”

Do’s and Don’ts of Dumpster Diving

I don’t know about you, but for advice on matters of high finance, I turn daily to Money Central on  As the self-effacing folks at this site so humbly put it, they “connect you with some of the best content from MSN Money and the rest of the Web.  Check back regularly.”  Thanks–I will!

“This is yummy.  What are the little white wiggly things?”

The “Smart Spending” blog is a godsend in “today’s world of rising costs and shrinking paychecks,” when more and more people are turning to dumpster-diving to stretch their food budgets.  Sort of a combination of Hamburger Helper and an obstacle course.

What?  You haven’t tried crawling through dumpsters to find discarded home furnishings, food stuffs and cutting edge clothing?  What are you–some kind of snob?

Emily Post and Gabby Hayes

According to Money Central, “dumpster diving is not only socially acceptable, a code of etiquette has developed” so that one need never fear embarrassment as one climbs into a colorful front-loading Waste Products International model along with a party of four–Emily Post for the Gabby Hayes-look alike set.

Archaic copyright laws prohibit me from reproducing this handbook of manners in its entirety, so an abridged version containing only the most important rules to observe when dumpster-diving appears below:

When in doubt, use the outermost utensil.  How does one distinguish between the many items of fine cutlery arrayed around a dumpster’s edge?  Use this simple test.  If you’ve already used your grapefruit spoon and your shrimp fork, use the utensil next closest to the discarded styrofoam pork fried rice container in the dumpster’s center that you wish to eat from.

Boy-girl-boy-girl seating.  When members of the opposite sex are arrayed around a dumpster, it is customary for the genders to alternate, unless a different arrangement has been agreed upon in advance.  Thus, for example, under “Italian seating” rules, the men may congregate at one end for half-eaten chicken wings from T.G.I. Friday’s, while the women sample rotten lettuce from the salad bar at Pizza Hut.

“It’s Bush and . . . the Pope.  And Regis Philbin!”

Avoid discussion of religion and politics.  How many lovely dinner parties have ended in discord because one individual insists upon pressing his or her political or religious views upon others?  “It is best to keep one’s views about an election to one’s self, and confine one’s self to a bland discussion of how ‘interesting’ the campaign has been,” says etiquette expert Rolando de Nehemi.  “The mention of world leaders’ names often touches off a psychotic episode among fellow dumpster divers.”

” . . . and most importantly, you must take care never to offend someone at table.”

Food comes out the way it goes in.  If one encounters a piece of gristle in a meat dish, politely cover the mouth with a McDonald’s napkin and gently expectorate the offending morsel into the same.  “There is nothing so disgusting as seeing someone spit out food while you are eating,” says Sarah Louise Chace of Miss Finch’s Finishing School in suburban Ladue, Missouri.  “Whenever this occurs in the warm atmosphere of a commercial dumpster or other large-scale trash receptacle, I gently chide my fellow diner by saying ‘What’s the idea of hocking a loogie, you bum you?'”

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”