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How To Conserve Condoms
From Venice, California's Minnie T's, another fine frock to keep you from spawning:


Need shoes to go with? No indentured servant will be able to resist you in these babies!


Of course, if you're one of my good friends, you're probably in the "Can you un-top this?" game of fashion. That's when somebody (either officially or unofficially in the game) compliments you on some fab thing you're wearing and you brag about how little you paid for it. And, unlike the "fashion" pictured above (surely violently expensive), the item you're crowing about is generally one that might inspire somebody to want to have sex with you -- not Krazy Glue their fly shut.

By the way, diamonds are the biggest racket of all. You're really going to pay thousands of dollars (or, worse yet, ladies, make some poor guy put six months of his salary) into a sliver of earth-glass? Save the money, wear cubic zirconia...if you even think diamonds are nice. Personally, I find them vulgar. And then, if a guy has to buy you a diamond to prove how much he come you don't have to turn around and buy him a boat?

Posted by aalkon at June 18, 2007 12:27 PM


I remember reading that De Beers made up the whole diamond tradition.

Posted by: PurplePen at June 18, 2007 2:30 AM

I remember reading that De Beers made up the whole diamond tradition

I once spent around six months more or less researching that bald statement (for a book on the origins of wedding traditions- which threw up the interesting fact that the grateful couple used to give guests gifts, not the other way around!) and PurplePen is bang on the money.

It's one of the greatest cartel marketing cons ever perpetrated on the emotionally vulnerable.
I remember virtually being able to pinpoint the month the "ancient" association of diamonds with weddings was cynically introduced by modern marketers.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at June 18, 2007 5:27 AM

I have a nice little tanzanite, and I love it and wouldn't trade it for the biggest diamond De Beers could come up with! I told the bf specifically that I did not want a diamond, and he looked at me as if I had 3 heads. I told him a diamond engagement ring was made up by the diamond industry just to sell the damn things. He was disappointed at first but then I said to him, "why buy me a diamond I'll hate rather than a tanzanite which I'll love (and which will cost a LOT less!)?" He got the message! I got him a new compound bow (which cost more than the tanzanite, go figure.).

Posted by: Flynne at June 18, 2007 6:11 AM

Here it is, from Edward J. Epstein in The Atlantic. I'd always meant to write about it for my column, and did a lot of research on it, but Blood Diamonds came out before I got around to it.

Basically, it started with an NW Ayer (advertising agency) campaign in the early part of the 20th Century.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 18, 2007 6:52 AM

I'll take the boat please.

Posted by: Norman at June 18, 2007 7:36 AM

While the part about the De Beer's advertising blitz is spot-on, the spike in diamond sales began before that occurred. Historically, a woman could sue a man for breaking off an engagement. However, that began to change and such lawsuits were no longer available to women. At that time a woman's marriageability (i.e. her virginity) was her top asset. Also, most people during that period wouldn't wait until marriage for sex, they'd have sex during the engagement (oo, rebels!). So when the engagement break-off lawsuits disappeared a woman was vulnerable to a man proposing, screwing her then leaving her. That would mean the woman was di-virginized and no one would want her. Presto, a life of spinster-hood.

The diamond ring emerged as a symbol of a man might be less likely to be proposing just in order to get sex. This all started happening in the 30's, right before De Beers jumped on the advertising wagon (still a pretty new wagon at the time).

This information all came from a great Slate article, I've linked to the second page b/c this specific information begins there.

Personally, I like the idea of an engagement ring. But I'm with the Swedes: I want a ring...and I want to give my (hypothetical) fiance a ring, as well. If I am going to walk around for a year with a thing on my hand that says "I'm taken" then he can do the same...and I am happy to dish out 6 months worth of cash to do so.

Posted by: Gretchen at June 18, 2007 8:02 AM

.as a man might be less likely to be proposing just in order to get sex.

Wise men know marriage is generally a cure for sex, and certainly, for blow jobs.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 18, 2007 8:12 AM

...Yes, Amy. But I was talking about a time long ago time period...when people were far less likely to have sex unless they WERE married. And it's not hard for me to imagine that during that time a woman couldn't actually turn her husband down for sex as she was just barely out of the woods as far as being a piece of property. Ugh!

Today, it does seem to be the opposite for most married people I know who like to crack "no sex after marriage" jokes. I wouldn't know though 'cause I ain't married and things are pretty good!

Posted by: Gretchen at June 18, 2007 8:19 AM

"Wise men know marriage is generally a cure for sex, and certainly, for blow jobs."

That's why fags like having sex with married men. Hubby brings a very hot and edgy desperation to the act of humping that I just can't say "no" to.

Posted by: Lena at June 18, 2007 8:47 AM

Actually, I have a cure for marriage as a cure for sex.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 18, 2007 8:54 AM

And the note I got about that column from some grateful guys in Iraq:

RE: "Rationed" from Stars & Stripes, Sunday, 20 May 2007


We, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of the Baghdad International Zone (aka Green Zone) (all of us guys, anyway) have elected you, "Woman of the Year," as a result of the incredible, spot-on advice given in your column in the 20 May 2007 issue of Stars & Stripes newspaper. We love our women and will slay dragons, change tires, respond to bumps in the night and many, many other things for them, tired or not. The reward, as opposed to withholding same, is a very effective motivator and we encourage that use. It's just that simple!

Thank you!

THAT made my day!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 18, 2007 8:56 AM

I like old-fashioned clothes. The 1920s-1930s stuff, for example. This looks more like underwear from the 1420s. Blech.

I've never understood the big fascination with diamonds, but my favorite piece of jewelry does happen to be a 120-year-old diamond ring I inherited. It's delicate with mainly small stones. For an engagement ring I really didn't care. Then again, we picked out rings Sunday and got married Monday. I just picked out a ring that went with the band my husband liked.

Oh, and though I'm WAY pregnant, and we're both busy as hell, the sex is still great. I feel sorry for guys married to women who stop putting out. I mean sex is a whole lotta fun - what's wrong with these women?

Posted by: Kimberly at June 18, 2007 3:13 PM


Did they have any burlap thongs?

Posted by: RedPretzel in LA at June 18, 2007 10:49 PM

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