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The Advice Goddess: August 2015
Monday, 10 August 2015 00:21

Woman stops dating men, and then....

You recently printed a letter from a woman who had decided to stop dating so she could make better choices about men.

 I also decided to do this, though I haven’t had her trouble in sticking to my plan. 

 The thing is, since I stopped dating, I have been deluged with suitors.


 Or do men sense when you’ve packed away your desperation?

 — Crowded


Men, like all of us, are most attracted to what’s somewhat out of reach. Had Rapunzel been sitting behind an unlocked window on the first floor, she would have been just another chick with a hairbrush. 

Value is actually a relative thing. A lack of supply — something being (or seeming) rare and hard to get — tends to increase demand (as in, desirability). Consider the pricing of different sorts of rocks, and why you see Jared ads for expensive diamond rings and not expensive princess-cut gray speckled pebbles: “Just $5,901.76, for this lovely bit of roadside gravel!”

Understanding the value of scarcity can help you transform how you act with men — and, in turn, how they treat you. There’s this mistaken notion that you have to feel secure before you can act that way.

Actually, you can simply act more secure — though it won’t feel “natural” at first — and you should find that men respond to you as if you are more secure. Combine that with a mindset of “I hope I like them” instead of “I hope they like me” and you should find yourself coolly considering prospective suitors — as opposed to answering the door to a confused pizza delivery guy with “I cleared a drawer for you. Pick a toothbrush.”

Sleepless in Fallujah

I just broke up with my girlfriend of seven months. We fought constantly, but the sex was amazing. Reviewing my relationships, it seems I have the best sex in the volatile ones — those where we argue all the time and really don’t get along. I’m wondering whether there’s a connection between anger and sex.

— Just Curious



Sex can be a form of peacekeeping, since your girlfriend can’t be screaming that you loaded the dishwasher wrong if she’s screaming, “OHGOD!OHGOD!OHGOD!”

But is there a thin line between longing and longing to throttle someone? Justin Garcia, an evolutionary biologist at The Kinsey Institute, told me that “in general, relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction seem to correlate.” In other words, when your love life is in the toilet, your sex life is quick to join it for a swim.

That said, Garcia says there’s some evidence for a “subgroup of people who can have very volatile relationships but very passionate sexual lives together.” This seems to have something to do with the body’s response to stress. (Researchers call this stress response “arousal” -- which is cute, because it’s erotic on the level of having a condominium placed on your chest.)

Sex researcher Cindy Meston and evolutionary psychologist David Buss explain in “Why Women Have Sex” that a stressful situation activates a “fight or flight” reaction in the sympathetic nervous system, making your heart race and your blood pressure zoom and leading your brain to release norepinephrine, a brain chemical that, molecularly, is the first cousin of speed.

This helps explain why prolonged activation of the sympathetic nervous system — as in, prolonged stress or anxiety with no physical outlet — can be physically unbearable. Many who regularly experience this sort of stress-athon take anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax to calm down.

 But in Meston’s research on female arousal, some women found sex to be a substitute chill pill (and, depending on the partner, far less tedious than climbing six tall buildings on the StairMaster). Some women even reported that stress makes them feel turned on. Which makes stress sound like it has its sexy points — that is, unless you’re a man, because sympathetic nervous system overarousal is the body’s little erection-killer. 

Seeing as this doesn’t seem to be a problem for you, when you’re in one of those boringly healthy relationships, sure, you could pick fights and hope this leads to more exciting sex and not less sex, no sex, or no more girlfriend. Or…you could opt for a more positively energizing activity, like paintball, Super Soaker tag, or an intense pillow fight.

Aerobic exercise and competition both boost testosterone — a libido picker-upper in both men and women. They also increase energy and arousal — and probably more so if you add a little playful goading and teasing to the mix.

But, as Meston and Buss point out, what you should definitely avoid is the advice of many self-help books to “romance” a woman with soothing music, a bubble bath, or a massage.

Remember, you’re trying to get a woman in the mood, not put her in a coma: “Oh, baby, you make me so — wait…are you snoring?”


 (c.) 2015, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ( 


Sparks fly at ‘Oklahoma!’
Sunday, 09 August 2015 22:49
“Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry 
When I take you out in the surrey, 
When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top! 
Watch that fringe and see how it flutters 
When I drive them high steppin’ strutters. 
Nosey pokes’ll peek thru’ their shutters and their eyes will pop!”
“The Surrey With the Fringe on Top” song lyric


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WAYNESVILLE — Lightning struck and sparks (literally) flew about an hour before the presentation of the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre's production of the the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Oklahoma!" on the night of July 18. 

Undeterred, repairs were made and the show went on, albeit with some problems with the lighting system, which did not detract much from an otherwise generally splendid community theater effort that was directed and designed by Steven Lloyd, who also is HART's executive director.

Perhaps fittingly, the announcement of the theater being struck by lightning at the beginning of the show set the stage for the production's own dramatic and musical fireworks that were to come.

Also, in an interesting turnabout, Sandy Boone, who played Curly in HART's 1993 production, was the conductor of a nine-piece orchestra for this iteration of the musical. The full orchestra sounded terrific.

The show, with its large cast, ended with a bang, reprising the songs "Oklahoma!" along with a medley of "People Will Say We're in Love" and "Oh What a Beautiful Morning." Earlier, the strong second act also included stellar versions of "The Farmer and the Cowman" and "All Er Nuthin.'" 

"Oklahoma!" which was the first collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, also offered some classic first act songs, too, including "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top," "Kansas City" and "I Cain't Say No."

The near-sellout turnout of 250 people gave a standing ovation at the end of the show, which included a one and three-quarter-hour first act, a 15-minute intermission and a 45-minute second act. The show’s run, which began July 10, will end Aug. 2. An usher at the show on July 18 said there had been large turnouts for the musical.

The original Broadway production of “Oklahoma!” opened on March 31, 1943, set records and was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944. The stage show was adapted for an Academy Award-winning film in 1955. “Oklahoma!” remains a staple of American theater today.

This musical, which is widely regarded as the epitome in the development of the “book musical,” fully integrates the songs and dances “into a well-made story with serious dramatic goals that are able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter,” according to Wikipedia. “In addition, Oklahoma! features musical themes, or motifs, that recur throughout the work to connect the music and story.”

“Oklahoma!” also was the first of five great musicals by the team of Rodgers and Hammersteins, with the others including “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” “Carousel” and “The Sound of Music.”

Among the highlights of HART’s “Oklahoma!” were the amazing rope tricks, singing, dancing and acting of Will Bryant Vickers, who played Will Parker.

Other standouts included the singing and acting of Hunter Henrickson as Curly, Calintha Briggs as Laurey, Luke Hayes as Judd Fry and Emily Warren as Ado Annie Carnes.

A third positive from the show was the 15-minute dream ballet sequence midway through the first act, which featured Laurey’s struggle regarding two men, Curly and Jud.

Conversely, the biggest problem with the production was that many of the lines spoken by the actors were unintelligible, based either on their failure to articulate clearly, or because their microphones were not adjusted property.

As Aunt Eller, Allison Stinson looked and acted the part, but just was unable to project her voice sufficiently for her key lines to be clearly audible. Her microphone volume should have been cranked up considerably to make up for that shortcoming.

George Heard as peddler Ali Hakim also suffered the same problem with often being inaudible .

The choreography of “Oklahoma!” is often referred to as clunky, given that the cowboys and farmers are dancing in boots, but it was nonetheless entertaining.

One of musical theater’s most-beloved titles, “Oklahoma!” is derived from Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, "Green Grow the Lilacs." Based in the Oklahoma Territory, outside the town of Claremont in 1907, "Oklahoma!" tells of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams.

A secondary romance involves cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiance, Ado Annie.

In the program, Lloyd , the show’s director, noted that “‘Oklahoma!’ is one of those shows that keeps coming back and each time it does, you rediscover how good it is.”

Lloyd said he first performed in “Oklahoma!” while in college and then oversaw HART’s 1993 production of it, which was directed by Suzanne Tinsley.

He also noted that the musical was performed more than a decade earlier in Haywood County, with Sandy Boone starring as Curly. “There’s seems to be an ‘Oklahoma!’ for every generation” — as Boone served as music director for the current production. Boone is now retired after many years as Tuscola High band director.

This reviewer has seen the original film that was made of “Oklahoma!” as well as more than a half-dozen different live productions of the musical through the years — and it was evident that Lloyd, as he noted in the program, was heavily influenced in HART’s presentation by the 1997 Trevor Nunn production starring Hugh Jackman.

As with Nunn’s effort, Lloyd’s “Oklahoma!” focused more than the original on the strife between the farmers and the cattlemen and the looming range war over the fences. His production also put more emphasis than the original on the element of danger from Jud — toward both Laurey and Curley.

The remaining 2015 HART shows include “Company,” Aug. 7-Sept. 6; “The Fox on the Fairway,” Sept. 11-Oct. 4; “The Weir,” Oct. 9-Nov. 1; and “A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 10-13. All will be presented only on weekends.


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