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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

Monthly Archives: November 2010

Lucky for you, despite the title, this post has nothing to do with Malclom Gladwell.

However, while no intellectual blowhards will be referenced in the paragraphs that follow, there will be references to math, which as many (high) high school students will tell you, “Blows, hard.” In fact, you could even argue that the subject of the post is the opposite of Malcolm Gladwell (though I’m not sure what you’d gain by picking that particular battle).

Let’s begin.

First, I’m going to need you to close your eyes.

Next, I’m going to need you to open your eyes because you won’t be able to read the rest of the instructions unless you do.

(I did not think this through.)

Now, imagine the last time you went to a diner.

Remember your waitress — the one person literally standing between you and pancakes?

I’m going to make a few guesses:

– She was either very old or very young
– She could fake a smile through American History X (title-to-curb-to-bathroom-to-credits)
– She successfully carried more plates at one time than seemed reasonable
– She let you know in the nicest way possible that there is no way on God’s green earth that you can substitute a meat for a non-meat

She also probably puts up with more junk than a urologist and — most crucially — is compensated in a way that suggests her only source of income is the result of her being the sole beneficiary of an “Eat Your Brussels Sprouts and Make Your Bed” allowance policy.

This is our fault.

It is our fault in part because of our willingness to operate in a society where certain food service workers are paid an hourly wage of less than what we are (for some reason) willing to pay for a small — excuse me, tall — frappuccino.

But mostly, it is our fault because we so heavily rely on objective math when we pay our bill at a restaurant rather than objective reality.

I have devised a way of melding these two rational, objective approaches (math and reality) into one SUPERAPPROACH (note: this sounds like, but should not be confused with, the word “SUPERREPROACH”, which is the state of being beyond reproach — in space!) that you may consider utilizing while preparing to tip your local neighborhood waiter or waitress.

In order for the superapproach(tm) to work, we need to first agree that there is some inherent value to the work that a waiter or waitress provides that is completely independent of the cost of the food/drinks purchased.


Okay, good.

There is a reasonable tendency to tip based solely on the total value of the food ordered.  I say “reasonable” because our social rules tell is this is the approach is the way to compensate our server.  But if we think about this norm for over thirteen seconds, we will come to the conclusion that it makes even less sense than that time I tried to write about Planet of the Apes (Warning: I am legally obligated to inform you that you should not even consider clicking on that link).

Here’s why our current tipping culture is not worthy of defense.

SCENARIO #1: You are at a steakhouse.  Your waiter, Jimmothy McNicenberg, approaches.

JMcN: May I take your order?
You: Where would you like to take it?
JMcN: …
You: Ho ho, actually, yes, I would like the New York Strip steak with a side of mashed potatoes.  And an oatmeal stout.
JMcN: How would you like your steak?
You: ASAP!
JMcN: …
You: Medium.
JMcN: And for the lady?
You: She will have the chicken salad and a glass of pinot noir.
The Lady: I can order for myself, you know.
You: Make that two glasses.
JMcN: …

Jimmothy serves you two plates, a few drinks, and according to standard tipping rules, makes $15-20.

SCENARIO #2: You are at a diner for brunch.  Your waitress, Lorainedrop Snugglefish, approaches.

LS: May I take your order?
LS: …

[five minutes pass]

LS: Uhh, are you ready to order now?
You: Yeah, sorry about that.  I haven’t eaten yet!  You know how it is!
LS: Right, shug.  What can I get you?
You: Well, first, a question: the menu here says the Mexican omelet comes with red onions, green peppers and cheddar cheese.  Can I get it with green onions, red peppers, and substitute bacon for the cheese?
LS: Yes, yes, and no.
You: Okay, well, then just get me four eggs, one poached, one sunny-side up, one over-easy, and one over-medium.  With home fries, well done, of course — can you make sure the edges are crispy? — and a raisin bagel scooped out — Atkins, ha! — with light cream cheese on the side.  And half-caf-decaf and a medium orange juice.
LS: And for you, ma’am?
You: She’ll have the…
The Lady: I will take care of this.
You: Women!  Can’t live with ’em, can’t calculate my self-worth without ’em!
LS: …
The Lady: Do you have soy milk?
LS: No, we only have whole milk.
The Lady: [sighs] Okay, well, can I have the tomato basil and mozzarella sandwich, on wheat, lightly toasted?  And on the side, can I have a half grapefruit — pink and pre-sliced, please — with some cane sugar sprinkled on the top — but not too much, and make sure it’s all natural not Splenda, you know — and an iced tea, with no ice.  And some water, with a little ice.  Crushed ice, please, thanks.  Oh, and I need a new fork.  Mine fell on the floor.
: Is that all?
: We’re kind of in a hurry, too.  We have to be somewhere in a half hour.
LS: I’ll see what I can do. [she leaves]
You: Man, what was her problem?

Lorainedrop Snugglefish (not pictured above), who just wrote enough on her waitress pad to qualify for a Regents diploma, serves you four plates, four drinks, and “earns” from you about $3-4 based on standard tipping practices (STP).  And maybe you’re saying, “Zach, you are misrepresenting my hypothetical self!  I would tip way more than that for a $17 brunch!  I’d tip like $10!” Well, if that’s the case, please kindly send me a copy of the New York Daily News article praising your boundless generosity.

Whether we’re talking about the waiter at the steakhouse or diner waitress, we ought to first recognize that a similar service is being offered, i.e., carrying out — literally and otherwise — an order.  And again, to the extent that this task has a specific value independent of whether you’ve ordered $100 or $20 worth of food, we should treat these two situations similarly to the extent that it is reasonable to do so.

Here is what I propose.


By default, tip 15% of your bill, just like society tells you.

Tip 20% if you are trying to impress a date.

Tip 50% if you are trying to impress the waitress.

At a diner or otherwise uber-cheap restaurant, never tip less than $5 on a full meal.

Additionally, add a percentage point — or dollar, whichever is more reasonable based on the total billed amount — for any of the following:

  1. Any order consisting of more than one complex sentence or three commas.
  2. Any question that could have been answered by reading the menu.
  3. Any instruction that the waitress will have to verbalize to kitchen.
  4. Each time the waitress shakes out her writing hand during the ordering process.
  5. Each time the waitress alerts you that what you’ve ordered “actually isn’t very good.”  (This is the easiest way into my wallet.)
  6. Each three minute increment lounging at the table after bill could have been paid.

You might think this is a lot to memorize, but to remember these rules, just keep in mind this simple mnemonic:



I don’t pay attention to anything that anyone says, ever.

This is a personal problem, and it has had a measurable negative impact on my life.

Don’t get me wrong.  I hear what people say, I listen to what people say, but I’m not paying attention. Instead, what I’m predisposed to doing is breaking down each word and sentence I hear, excitedly searching for a place where I can drop a salty pun (likely), or an uncomfortably bad joke (even more likely).

Besides the very clear social downsides of not giving proper attention to what my friends, colleagues, or family members are saying, the main drawback of hearing-but-not-really is that I am cursed to live in a world where I am accidentally analyzing the words people choose to use.

And ultimately, this leads to times when, as a matter of personal ethics, I cry myself to sleep.

Everyone, please take your seats for today’s lesson.

“Literally” has an actual meaning. “Literally” has a hyper-specific purpose, not to be changed.  It is a rock.  “Literally” literally means “actually.”

Sorry for shouting, but it is important that you write all of that down.

So please, don’t tell me that you “literally just crapped your pants” unless you’ve actually done the most humiliating and hilarious thing in your entire adult life.

And no, you didn’t “literally die” when you saw your ex-girlfriend in the potato chip aisle at the grocery store. You were very surprised.  You were not rushed to the hospital before being declared deceased and subsequently buried in the ground while your heirs deal with your life insurance company and logistics of planning a emotionally crippling funeral.


What happened was your heart sped up slightly as you reached for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.

I’m pretty sure you can spot the difference.

And last week when you were sick, your head didn’t “literally swell up to the size of a hot air balloon.” You would die if that happened. Your head would explode and you would die from lack of having a head. It would be disgusting and in the newspaper and would baffle doctors and scientists for generations.  You would literally die.

The problem I have with the bastardization of this particular word isn’t just that it’s blatantly misused. I ain’t no English major, and I certainly haven’t ever been confused for Strunk and/or White.

My problem is that “literally” is being misused in a way that suggests that it means THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT IT ACTUALLY (LITERALLY!) MEANS.

What you mean to say is “figuratively.”

Your story doesn’t get better when you say “literally.”

It becomes at best, false, and at worst, profoundly confusing.

“I’m really sorry about your pants.”

I also want to point out that this is not a case of cool kids and trend-setters brute-forcing a change to our vocabulary. When thinking about the literally/figuratively contradiction, my first instinct was to consider the fact that “hot” and “cool” mean the same thing in certain contexts, so why can’t “literally” and “figuratively”?  (e.g., “That movie was hot!”/”That movie was cool!”)

But the answer to this question is simple: intent of the speaker.

You can literally eat this house.

When a well-meaning person casually explains that they “could literally eat a house,” they are making a mistake. (EXCEPTION: the house is small and made of gingerbread.) They’ve messed up. They are trying to convey an idea to you via metaphor, and their brain in good faith selects the wrong word (“literally”) which causes the speaker to metaphorically barf out a grammatically irresponsible sentence.  They try to use to the correct word and they fail.

This is not an example of our language evolving through social interaction; it is an outright linguistic failure.

The only difference between wrongly blurting “literally” in a sentence and confusing the distinction between “I love you” and “I loathe you” is that only one of these mistakes is overlooked by polite society.  Can you imagine if people would say “loathe” in a sentence where they actually wanted to say “love” and everyone just agreeing to ignore this grammatical catastrophe (grammastrophe?) if it’s obvious what the speaker means in context?

No, you cannot imagine.

You cannot imagine because living in that world would be crazy.

Upon researching this quandary further, I was distressed to learn that the 2006 version of the Random House Unabridged Dictionary explains that,

“since the early 20th century, literally has been widely used as an intensifier meaning “in effect, virtually,” a sense that contradicts the earlier meaning…The use is often criticized; nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing. Although this use of literally irritates some, it probably neither distorts nor enhances the intended meaning of the sentences in which it occurs.”

A few points on the above quotation:

First, I recognize that dictionaries are in the business of documenting usage, not dictating use.

Second, however, I fail to understand why misuse, “probably neither distorts nor enhances the intended meaning of the sentence.” I think it does. Especially when there is a word which has the exact meaning that the writer intends. It cheapens the sentence, and cheapens the word.

Class dismissed.

Loyal readers of Faux Outrage have already added two words to their ever-expanding vocabularies: punintentional and fauxjectivity.  And now today — at no additional cost! — I present you with a third word that you didn’t know you needed to know until you knew it.

The word is gendrification.

Gendrification (jen-drif-eh-kay-shun)

a process by which a group of same-gendered persons slowly encroach upon a similarly homogeneous but opposite-sex faction in a public setting (e.g., pub or sporting event) for the purpose of flirtation and/or commingling

For Example: “Girls, it looks our ‘ladies night’ might be in jeopardy because the Capitals game just ended and word is those meatheads are about to stumble over here and gendrify this whole situation.”

Although it is true in the example above, gendrification does not always carry with it a negative connotation.

In social settings where all gatherers know each other, there is still sometimes a natural tendency for the males and females to initially separate before slowly reconvening as the night wears on.  At a certain point, the group of men or the group of women will fade into one another, like two same-sized circles pushed together to create a Venn diagram before overlapping entirely.

Use it or lose it!*

Image Credit:

* That’s what she said.

I woke up on Saturday morning (which was unsurprising but good) and learned that it was about seventy degrees outside in the heart of DC (which was great) in the middle of November (which is weird), less than a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving (which is delicious).

Not wanting to pass up one final opportunity to get sun poisoning, I donned my trusty New York Mets Lenny Dykstra #4 tee-shirt (thanks to Stephen V.) and headed to Kalorama Park.

My plan for the afternoon was simple: bask in the sunshine, finish the two-hundred page book I’ve been reading for two moths, go to town on an anjou pear, and secretly hope that puppies of all shapes and sizes (but especially those with disproportionally large heads) meander all day in my direction.

On the way to the park (which, for the record, more closely resembled a construction site), I stopped at a local used bookstore, Idle Time Books, because that’s just the kind of guy that I am.

Actually, I hadn’t necessarily planned on it, but they have one of those “$1 BOOKS” carts constantly stationed outside the store, luring me with promises of cheap entertainment.  The Cart never ceases to pique my interest, and incidentally never ceases to disappoint me each time in new and exciting ways.  After thirty seconds, I being to recognize that I am eye-browsing a collection of works arranged in preparation for a trip to the 1400’s to convince Gutenberg to destroy his precious printing press prototype.

The Cart is letting me down again.

No big deal.

There is an softcover arcing in my back pocket, pulling mightily at the machined threads that contain it, making every effort to expand the size of the space it has been unapologetically thrust.  There is a just-washed pear in my left hand, and for some reason, a commanding baritone roar in the distance.

Someone is yelling.

Someone is yelling something.

Someone is yelling something at someone.

Someone is yelling something at someone for some reason.

And then I hear it.  At least I think I hear it.

“Are you a Mets fan?”

And then I know hear it.


Really?  Someone is yelling about a Mets fan? Is who a Mets fan?  Who cares if someone is a Mets fan?

And then I look down at my Lenny Dykstra jersey.

Wait, am I a Mets fan?

I look up.

His head is poked out the window of his car.  A squad car.  There is a District of Columbia police officer staring at me, expecting eyes wide open.

“Hey!” he calls, badge reflecting the sun.  “Are you a Mets fan?”

Baffled, I nod my head and gleefully call back, “Yeah!”

As an added bonus, I make sure to give the officer an idiotic thumbs-up gesture with my non-pear hand.  And although this probably turns out to be the kindest hand gesture he receives all day, it’s also the kind of thing that only an inherently awkward person would think to do in a situation like this.

I wait for his answer, for camaraderie.

I wait for him to smile and bellow, “LET’S GO METS!”

I wait for commiseration.

I want for him to frown and say, “Maybe next year, ya know?”

I wait for anything.

I wait.

He looks at me, grinning.


And then — zoom!

Like the smile on my face, he is gone.

with his head poked out the window of his squad car

Below is a list of basic skills that you should never be required to intoxicatedly utilize as you begin the process of stumbling home from your local watering hole:

1. Communication Skills
2. Math Skills
3. Motor Skills
4. Nunchuck Skills

Unfortunately, life is cruel and those are exactly the skills required to (1) obtain your tab, (2) calculate tip and total, (3) sign your name (after spending at least a split second with a furrowed brow wondering why a person is entitled to a percentage of your bill for spending most of the evening ignoring your pleas of “Please!” and only a small portion of the evening refilling a small container with liquid from a larger container) and, (4) escape unscathed from the alcohol dispensary.

But first thing is first: you must communicate to the bartender your unbending desire to receive your tab.  You must perform whatever colorful peacock dance necessary to obtain your bill, if only so that you can have the opportunity to sheepishly glance at the beer- and soon tear-soaked line that reads TOTAL and frown halfheartedly as you slowly begin to accept the notion that you have just won the world’s first reverse lottery.

So, how do you get the bartender’s attention in an overcrowded bar that sports more decibels than people?  There are a few techniques, each of which you have seen in action at one point or another.  You may have even used a few of them yourself, but I wonder whether you know for sure which is your go-to move.

Your options are: The Double-Check, The Blackboard, The Self-Henna, The Hitchhiker, and The Do You Know Who I Am!?

The Double-Check:  This is my favorite technique, if only because it mixes American Sign Language, American English, and a delicious non-verbal pun.

To complete The Double-Check, simply make eye contact with the bartender and draw a large check-mark in the air.  Make sure that as you do this, you are holding an invisible pencil.  (If you are at a classy bar, to prevent any (presumably further) embarrassment, remember to keep your pinkie out while Double-Checking!)  It may help you to imagine that you are a mime filling out an unnecessarily large absentee ballot which has been attached to a balloon that is gradually getting away.  This will signal to the barkeep that you are interested in the “check.”  (Get it?!) Your mission has been accomplished.

Side note: please for a moment consider how lucky we are that the “check” is a simple symbol that also happens to share the name of a document we require in unnaturally loud circumstances.  The Double-Check method would never be useful if our nightly tally of drinks were tabulated on an item known colloquially as the “treble clef.”

For our international travelers, please note that in Britain this method of bloke-to-bartender communication known as “Dancing Check-to-Cheque.”

The Blackboard: The Blackboard is a lot like the Double-Check without the check-“check” pun.

To utilize this style of communique: once you have obtained the requisite eyeball-contact, use your dominant hand to invisibly “sign” your name in the air at eye-level for your bartender.  While an effective strategy, this upright writing style will probably feel a little strange to you unless you unless you have experience writing on a perpendicular surface.

Of course, the reason this is called The Blackboard is because it helps to imagine that you are in front of a classroom instructing the next generation of doctors how to scribble illegible nonsense in cursive.

Blackboarders should note that the Double-Check “invisible pencil” and “pinkie” rules apply here, too!  Please also be advised that in Britain this method is called The Cheeky Wobbley because, well, those crazy Brits!

The Self-Henna: This method is perhaps the most dignified, but requires a clear hand-to-bartender sight-line.  The patron most excited by the Self-Henna communication style is not interested in the notion of invisibly signing the air, like The Blackboard.  Nor are they satisfied with idea of making an invisible check-mark in space, where it cannot be invisibly tabulated.


These folks need a real surface, a tangible medium on which to scrawl their precious invisible writing. And what better surface to utilize than their trusty ole hand?  Simply make a flat surface with your non-writing hand and then use your dominant hand to fake-sign your makeshift invisible check.

Note: It is not clear to me whether the Self-Henna-er believes that there is an invisible check on their hand (which is only a surface for the signing), or if the hand itself is the thing being invisibly signed.

Note 2: In parts of the world/country where the concept of henna is a non-starter, this technique is known as The Note-Taker.

The Hitchhiker: The Hitchhiker, lost in a temporary state of narcissism, believes that he and the bartender are able to communicate telepathically.  Instead of signaling for the check using any of the perfectly sensible methods above, he chooses a completely unhelpful hand-signal.  He sticks his thumb out toward the exit (yes, like a hitchhiker) to indicate — in his mind at least — “I would like to leave and in order for me to do so, I require my credit card statement.  Would you kindly fetch that for me good sir or madam?”

However, since the thumb-out-to-exit is not a specific enough beacon, the chance of this technique working successfully depend entirely on The Hitchiker’s grasp of the movie Inception (and only if Inception is secretly a documentary).

I do not recommend The Hitchhiker.

The Do You Know Who I Am!?: This is the least useful, most annoying method of communicating in a loud bar.  This person has probably had one too many appletinis (appletinii?) and cannot fathom any other form of expression except “the yelling kind.”  They are socially useless, as the 80 proof cloud sloshing around their frontal lobe has downshifted their brain into “Reptilian” mode.  Over and over, the DYKWIA!? will repeat, with increasing volume, his/her last name in hopes that the bartender will recognize that they are trying to tab out and move on with their life.

This will not work.

This will not work especially if your last name is “Ginnintonic.”

This is the second installment of a two-part-unless-I-think-of-a-third-part series, Numbers Are Meaningless.

We learned in the first part of this series that clothing stores intentionally use incorrect sizing measurements (“numbers”) to fool customers into (a) feeling good about themselves (when they are in fact vile, ant-faced human beings) and as a result, into (b) buying pants.

Can you believe those corporations?   Those evil, faceless, free-speech-rights-apparently-having corporations!

Humans would never do something like that to one another, right?

Or maybe it’s not so much that “we would never do something like that” as it is “we would totally do something like that and we do, like, all the time.”

Example: Imagine the last time you were standing outside of a restaurant where you were scheduled — at that very moment — to meet a friend.

Your phone rings.

(You become distraught that your round of Angry Birds is interrupted.)

Your friend, who is apparently running late, assures you that they “will be there in two minutes.”  At that moment, how long do you assume it will take Maya B. McLatepants to actually show up?  My guess is that it will take somewhere between three and seventy thousand minutes.

Chances are your friend is being hopelessly optimistic (and false) for no other reason than to temporarily envelop you in an anxiety-reducing cloud of contentedness — just like the mislabeled pants people!

But here is where this example differs from those pant-sizing parasites:

1. Your friend knows deep-down that they will not be there in two minutes.
2. You also know they will not be there in two minutes.

How come when we are running late, we are completely delusional about the amount of time it will take to arrive?  Are we just horrible estimators?  Does it stem from feelings of guilt associated with making a person wait?

Or — and it depresses me that I really do think this is the case — is there simply an uncomfortable numbers-are-meaningless understanding that when we say “two,” we don’t really mean the amount of time time equivalent to one hundred twenty seconds. Why would that be true!?

“Two minutes” has evolved into a seemingly-specific but actually-quite-vague shorthand for, “Please don’t hate me it won’t be long!” The only thing we know for certain when someone tells us to wait two minutes is that we will be waiting for some amount of time at least but never exactly two minutes.

The irony, of course, is that when you are waiting for someone who is late, the least helpful thing that person can do is mislead you about the amount of time you will have to continue to stand around playing Angry Birds on your phone.  The act of being late is a simple though understandable betrayal, but verbalizing a new exact arrival time and failing to follow through in that case creates a second completely unnecessary betrayal.  The waitee (term of art!), in an attempt to comfort the increasingly losing-patience waitor (term of art 2.0!), compounds the sadness by creating a new false hope.

This type of behavior puts an enormous amount of strain over time on the relationship between the two classes of people who exist on this planet: The Punctual (“me”) and The Perpetually Late (“everyone else”).

This is the first installment of a two-part-unless-I-think-of-a-third-part series, Numbers Are Meaningless.  To read the second part, click here.

I didn’t think this would happen.

I didn’t think I would ever have to face this.

I thought that, if nothing else, I could always count on my good old friend, basic math.

But I have some bad news: numbers are officially meaningless.

It’s over.

I wish I didn’t have to, but I’ve decided that I must direct you to an Esquire article by Abram Sauer.  In the article, Sauer explores one of the most important issues facing our nation (world?): Pants.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “I can easily foresee how an article about pants would fundamentally alter my understanding of how basic mathematics is treated in our society.”

But just in case you need further explanation:  Mr. Sauer, with the help of tailor’s measuring tape and the stomach to spend an afternoon measuring cotton fiber seams, finds significant discrepancies between the advertised size of waist measurements (“the presented reality”) and the real measurement (“the actual reality”).  His fundamental discovery is that clothing manufacturers finally have developed a complicated answer to the generations-old, mind-bending riddle

“How many inches is 36 inches?”

According to these manufacturers, “36 inches is equivalent to any amount of inches other than exactly 36 inches.”

More specifically, 36 inches is 37 inches (H&M).  It is 38.5 inches (Calvin Klein, Alfani).  It is 39 inches (Gap, Haggar).  It is 39.5 inches (Dockers).  It is even 41 inches (Old Navy)!  Such a wide array of numbers, and the only thing consistent about them is that they are all a size other than what is actually printed on the tag.

As it turns out, clothing stores have a coy you-made-us-do-this! euphemism for what seems to be a pretty straightforward case of “outright lying.”  They call it vanity sizing.  The theory is that labeling things smaller than they actually are encourages potential customers to believe they are thinner than actually they are, which in turn creates a moment of inflated-ego-induced bliss and weakness where one suddenly believes that buying pants from Old Navy is a fantastic idea.  In other words, you say “tomato,” I say, “I don’t need no stinkin’ tomato — I have the same waistline I had in high school!”

I’m not fundamentally opposed to marketing and I’m certainly not opposed to having my ego stroked, but I’m not sure when corporations got into the business of mislabeling products for ‘our’ mutual benefit (they get sell the pants for a profit, I get to feel better about myself before eating an entire pizza).  That there seems to be an unspoken collusion among major retailers to intentionally mislabel a whole class of products is not okay.  Not only because it is literally wrong (measurements are objectively knowable facts), but because individual consumers have so little power in the marketplace that they should at the very least be allowed to reasonably rely on what seem to be straightforward facts provided by the manufacturer/seller.

Now, I know women have been dealing with this kind of sizing misinformation for quite some time.  They are not even provided the decency of (albeit fake) length and width measurements when pants-buying!  And maybe it’s true that women are simply immune to this kind of data because they are used to being lied to about the number of inches in an item being offered to them and have thus internalized this issue as something that society does not have to power to stop.

But just because you’ve been lied out of your pants does not mean you should also be lied into them.

It is possible that there are females who will read this and say, “Now you know how it feels to be lost in a sea of lies!”  To those people, I say: not only should the “numbers actually mean something” sizing be perfected (re-instituted?) for mens clothing, it should also be made available to women, tradition notwithstanding.   And yes, I do understand that women have many more objective considerations besides “waist and length” when buying pants (e.g., ass-depth, whether-whatsherface-owns-them, skankiness, bedazzle-coefficient, etc.), but hey, it would be a start.

You have suffered long enough!

This careless implementation of our precious number system is not just bad news for dudes trying to buy khakis: it’s bad news for everyone.  When we as a society allow “36 inches” to mean anything other than “actually 36 inches,” we are probably at the point where we are willing to allow just about anything.

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