Friday, May 7, 2010

Let’s Play Boys Chase Girls

Or, My Life in China, given the appropriate definition of “play”. (From the Oxford American Dictionary, “amuse oneself by engaging in imaginative pretense.”)

Boys Chase Girls:

English Corner star Lily (of catholic fame) asked me yesterday whether she could ask me a personal question.

“Sure,” I responded.

“Well.” She paused. “When you were fourteen, did your parents let you hang out with girls?”

I told her that yes, they did. I think it would be a shock to her what sort of things fourteen-year-old Americans girls do with fourteen-year-old American boys. Not like I’d know — just because my parents let me hang out with girls didn’t mean that they were super into hanging out with me. I have seen the movie Thirteen, though, and I presume things at fourteen are even worse, with even more dramatic shouting and crying.

Boys Chase Boys:

Transcript from my most recent tutoring session with Gristle:

He: You’re so smart, Jon.
I: [Polite smile.]
He: And your hair is like a Spaniard’s.

Facebook’s Thoughts on the whole Chasing Girls/Chasing Boys situation:

The ads next to my Facebook profile have recently become unspeakably gay.

For those of you who aren’t on the Face’, a brief overview: every page that you view on Facebook is accompanied by a set of ads. Advertisers buy ad space and specify the demographic profile of their target consumer. Facebook matches these data with your interests and delivers ads that it thinks you’re likely to click on. The intended effect is that you buy a lot of products after seeing ads on Facebook, the actual effect is that the ad sidebar is a surreal and somewhat discomfiting place where you get to see what sort of things companies assume about people who, say, list Gravity’s Rainbow as one their favorite novels. Turns out very few companies are aiming their marketing specifically at Pynchon fans, and the ones that are are selling some pretty weird shit.

This isn’t about that. This is about homosexuality.

First off, there’s a Facebook profile field called “Interested In” where you can indicate whether you’re looking for men, women, or both. I don’t have anything marked in that section, so Facebook has no a priori reason to assume I’m gay. Whatever information they have about my sexual orientation comes from social media magic (like Google Buzz, which has certainly revolutionized my life!), though it’s possible that they also have a guy whose job it is to look at profile pictures all day and try to find the gays who are hiding in plain sight.

Who cares how they do it: Facebook’s made its decision. It’s decided that I am gay. I’m basing this on three ads I’ve gotten over and over again over the past week or so. Number one:

MormonBoyz

You can tell it’s gay because they use the letter z to spell Boyz, which is something only gay people and M.I.A. do.

Finding Mr.  Wright

You can tell it’s gay because at the end it says it’s a Gay Comedy. I know you’re thinking that the idea of a serious-minded talent manager at wilderness therapy sounds hackneyed, as does the “Mr. Wright” romantic subplot, but what if I told you that everyone in the movie is, wait for it, homosexual? Including the “serious-minded” guy who is going to be suuuuper cute but not in, like, a gay way, you know? Don’t worry you’ll love it, it’ll be just like La Cage aux Folles.

My zazzle store

You can tell it’s gay because the store is named “zazzle”, and the logo is a huge ass rainbow. REALLY big.