Episode 87 : The Chicken Prince

Much discussion tonight, folks. And a lot of it veering somewhat far afield of the questions we’re asked. But still, we cover superheroes, vision impairment, and then talk about sex. For a long, long time.

In fact, this is probably the longest episode we’ve had to date. And after we finished, we kept talking for about a half hour! But we didn’t record that, so you’ll have to imagine that part.


Dear TMTH, In a fight to the death between the Avengers and the X-men who wins? –Mark McKibben

Dear The Magical Talking Hat: Glasses, contacts, or Lasik? –Kiya B.

What is the best way to deal with insomnia? –Craig

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8 Responses to Episode 87 : The Chicken Prince

  1. William says:

    If you’re having difficulty imagining how our 30-minute post-podcast conversation went, perhaps this will help:

    At one point, Tony called me a sociopath.

  2. Beth says:

    I’m not sure what the problem with men and women are. I was always looking for a nice guy, and although I was acquainted with several, they, for the most part, did not seem interested in me (as measured by asking me out). In that vein, I was willing to give anyone who asked sincerely a one-date trial, because “you never know where that might lead.” It ended up that I went out with several guys who were more interested in the prospect of sex than in me.
    At about age 23, my mom announced I was “too picky” and would never find someone, so I should lower my standards. I didn’t think “non-jerk” was really that high a bar.
    Fortunately in 2010, that turned around. I went on a couple dates with a really nice guy with whom I had several mutual interests. I tried hard, but we just didn’t seem to click. Even then, I didn’t want to give up on the first nice guy who seemed a little interested and didn’t bore me. A couple awkward months of not being sure “where we were” and we called a quits. This turned out very well, because during this time, I’d become just friends with a guy who had become supportive of me and seemed to earnestly want what was best for me and would make me happiest. The night I told the just friend that the other guy and I didn’t work out, he asked me to be his date at another friend’s wedding and we’ve been together since. It took most of a year to lay the foundation of our friendship, and that foundation is crucial to the continued success of our relationship. Before this, and even now I have been just friends with many nice guys for years, and it never worked out that we were both interested in each other, nothing would have lead me to expect that this friendship would turn out any differently.

    So William, can you comment on what I was doing “wrong” that left me dating jerks (and more often, completely dateless) for so long? Or, moreover, what I did “right” to find my boyfriend? I knew from the beginning that I wanted to to be with a nice guy I could respect and who could respect me – why was that so hard to find?

    • William says:

      I can only guess, but I’m quite certain you didn’t do anything wrong. The men around you simply didn’t meet your standards. That is, until finally one did.

      I read your story and I think, “And that right there is exactly how it’s supposed to work.” Well, except I don’t think it needed to take as long as it did, but that wasn’t your fault. In my observation, men these days aren’t expected to meet high standards. Women are simply supposed to “not be so picky”.

      It’s sad, really. But your story is indeed a happy one. It gives me hope! 🙂

      Obviously, my experience in high school was as one of those “nice guys” (or, at least, that’s what I endeavored to be) who didn’t know any women who were interested in “nice guys”. It actually didn’t bother me very much, but it did baffle me quite a bit. Of course, I knew not all women were alike, and I suspected that when I went to college things would change. And they did, although not as much as I anticipated they would.

      I guess the reason this topic has been on my mind lately is because I’ve got two teenage godsons who struggle with these same issues right now, and their choices in dealing with them so far have been to actually become bad guys. It breaks my heart, I’ve got to tell you, and I put all of the blame on them, but I also have to think that if some among their peers — girls OR boys — just showed a little appreciation for common decency, I think they’d be more inclined to stick with being “good”.

      • The Producer says:

        So my story has some parallels to Beth’s. I was also told I was “too picky.” And at one point, I was seriously considering a year-long vow of celibacy. I was pretty open about that with the men in my life, even the ones who I hadn’t known were hanging around for that reason, and it’s amazing to me how many of them up and disappeared. Fortunately, I was old enough and confident enough in myself at that point to find the whole thing funny, rather than a crushing blow to my ego.

        William, when I think back to high schoolers, I mostly think that we were all idiots. Sure there were “nice guys” around, but to be honest, at that age they were probably really only “nicer”. Very few of them/us had any idea what it truly meant to treat your romantic partner well. And at the same time, it took me years to understand what being treated with respect actually looks/feels like, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that. And I don’t think very much of that is tied to gender. Maybe privilege makes it a little easier for boys/men to be treated well and to know what it feels like to be respected, but it seems like something that many of them still struggle with too. But I think all of that is ok and normal. I don’t think we come into this world inherently understanding how to forge relationships with people and interact with them at that level of intimacy. Scratch that — I absolutely believe we do, but then we lose it. And then it becomes something you have to practice, and in doing so, you’re going to mess it up sometimes. And that’s ok.

        Maybe that’s part of the “bad boy” mystique too? Because I’m thinking about it, and I think that if Tony & I always treated each other 100% in the way I feel we should, then I don’t know what we’d do with all the time that would free up. Not that we spend a lot of time fighting per se, but we do spend a fair bit of time exploring/negotiating/mapping the boundaries of our relationship. Relationships are work, and that work is also part of the challenge/fun. Growth vs. stagnancy? Also, I’m honest enough to know that I don’t always treat him in exactly the way I feel I should either, so it would hardly be fair for me to get to be with someone perfect.

        • William says:

          Heh… well, believe me… when I was in high school, “idiot” was a label that fit me just fine. Many would tell you that I wear it to this day! 🙂

          That said, while I wouldn’t say I knew how to treat a person in a romantic context per se, I think I did know how to treat a person… well, like a person. And I do think that everyone must know how to do that on some level, teenager or not. My high school experience concurs with yours; both boys and girls kind of treated each other like objects or, at best, stereotypes (which amounts to a kind of objectification). But this still baffles me. If a person has a difficult time dealing with amorous feelings/relationships, I understand that. But dehumanizing the other person — and usually the entire other sex — as a coping mechanism? That has just always struck me as carrying it too far, even taking into account raging hormones and a “not quite fully formed brain” or whatever.

          I think going to that kind of extreme is a feature of our culture (not only ours, but certainly ours) that need not be. As you say, we seem to start off with something that we lose. I agree that, once we lose it, the missteps we take to get it back are OK. But why do we lose it in the first place? I really don’t think that has to happen.

          And it seems to me that kids in our culture are “losing it” younger and younger all the time.

  3. Mark says:

    I agree with you guys that William shouldn’t tell all about the project (less is more!), but I also feel that releasing some details to the massive audience of TMTH could help William find additional talent for it.

    Alternate history? A big deal mayor? Still sounding good to me, though I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed in not being the villian of the piece. 🙂

    Tony’s right (at least for me) in that I’d be happy to help with William’s shorter radio drama project.

    Chicken prince was lame, but the elephant was decent. Though if Tony really wants to make a successful Chicken Prince; he should do it as a CD of holiday classics sung by the chicken prince.

    William probably thought people would recognize Craniac as a joke; since while he’s not as funny as Tony, he’s much less evil.

    As no roster was given, you were perfectly correct to select any roster of characters ever in either group you wanted. And while I don’t necessarily disagree with your conclusion, something you didn’t appear to consider with Wolverine is that his “knives” can supposedly cut through anything and he can totally disarm them (he just pulls them back inside his arm).

    The idea of getting Lasik done freaks me out. I liked contacts for the greater field of view and being able to wear non-prescription sunglasses; however I’ve had too many bad experiences with dust getting in/under my contacts. Since without some kind of corrective lenses I’m legally blind; glasses win for me.

    Sorry William, but I’m with Tony on this one. Your desire to avoid talking about sex is pretty much the text book definition of prudishness.

    Prudishness: tendency to care a great deal about seemly behavior and morals especially in sexual matters

    Also your reasoning is somewhat self-defeating; you keep saying that it’s not ok to talk about sex because it involves other people; were you trying to claim religion or politics don’t involve other people? It seems more like you have an image in your head of what a prudish person is and you don’t want to be that sort of person.

    • William says:

      The thing is, I don’t care at all about seemly behavior or morals, in particular as they pertain to sex (presuming we’re not talking about some form of rape, of course, but I don’t like to dignify such acts with the term “sex”). I’m perfectly fine with folks doing whatever they want to do, sexually speaking. Truly, I am. I simply don’t want to be around when they talk about it — or when they talk about anything else I’ve be raised to believe is private, such as any conversation held in confidence.

      Of course religion and politics involve other people, but, obviously, not in the same manner sexual encounters do — or in the same manner confessions do or in the same manner pacts do…

      And, to be clear, I don’t have any problem with people talking about their sex lives all they want. As I said in the podcast, I defend Tony’s right to say whatever he likes whenever he likes whether I’m around or not. I would just prefer he not talk about such things when I’m around and I’m not shy about saying so, a sentiment that is equally my right to express. Truth told, while it would make me more comforable if Tony refrained from such talk, I would sooner he keep talking that way rather than feel coerced by my discomfort to stop. I suspect Tony knows that I have no expectation for him to change his behavior — certainly not solely on account of me, anyway — and that our friendship is in no way contingent upon his behavior in this regard, one way or the other. In fact, my certainty that he knows this helps me feel all the more comfortable in expressing my responses to him unvarnished.

      Where else would I keep an image of a prudish person rather than in my head? 😉

      Either way… I think I more precisely have an image of what a prudish person does. And I don’t really do any of those things. Even my response to Tony’s personal confessions isn’t what I imagine a prudish person would do. A prudish person, in my thinking, would be offended and perhaps think less of Tony — and certainly be content if Tony was brow-beaten into censoring himself in the future. My response is to be embarrassed (by the exposed privacy, not the sex) and want to change the subject and, sometimes, I go into a long explanation of why I’m uncomfortable with what Tony has done, as I did in this podcast. I didn’t explain it as a way to persuade Tony to stop talking that way (although I’m getting the impression that’s even perhaps what Tony thought at the time… he can correct me if I’m wrong). I explained it because I got the impression he didn’t understand ME. I was simply explaining myself. Not offering a critique upon Tony’s behavior or the behaviors of anyone like him.

      So… yeah… not sure what else to say about that. Except I’m once again reminded why I often refrain from bringing such topics up.

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