Susceptible To Stockholm Syndrome? Count Me In.

Establishing emotional bonds with anybody has always been difficult for me, but I will continue trying until the day I wonder why I can’t connect with my undertaker.

That’s why I don’t see Stockholm syndrome, a condition in which hostages develop a psychological bond with their captors during captivity, as being a totally negative thing. To me, it’s an opportunity to experience a connection I so crave with one or more creatures that are not a dog, cat or turtle.

Being a hostage certainly has its drawbacks. No one likes to have their mouth duck taped shut while their captors are negotiating with the police, Still, to feel an almost affinity with a gun-toting hoodlum who holds my life in his frenzied hands, at the very least, beats feeling alone in a crowd at an after-work mixer. At minimum, my abductor would “get” me and hopefully, should I survive, I would get him or her.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “You’re just looking at the positive aspects of being held hostage,” and you’re right. What if, for example, I was immediately released as a goodwill gesture to the police? Why me and not the other hostages? That kind of rejection would be hard to accept.

Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have to take a chance and keep an open mind and an open heart. Plus, who knows? Maybe I’ll bond with someone on the hostage negotiation team.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

For Me, All Bitch Faces Are Arresting

How can you tell if someone’s natural facial expression is a queasy grimace, commonly known as resting bitch face (RBF), or they are simply downright ornery?

As someone who’s often accused of looking like Jack the Ripper on his worst day – even while happily folding my laundry, I know what it’s like to be constantly asked, “Are you okay? Is everything alright?”

It’s precisely because of my sometime – okay, all the time – less-than-sunny facial expression that I give every angry, moping, sullen, surly face I encounter a free pass. Cutting a few ill-tempered characters some slack is a small price to pay for showing a little empathy for every RBF I meet.

I’ll absorb an icy glance from any might-be psychopath on the off chance they are actually a wonderful person who was voted Most Unapproachable in high school.

As someone who is regularly misjudged as a threat to society or, at the very least, a threat to my book club, who am I to judge folks who don’t say “Hi” while attempting to break into my car?

So your constant look of oncoming nausea regularly causes family and friends to dial 911. Big deal. It still beats trying to force a smile whenever a sales clerk says “Have a nice day.” (Note: According to many studies, so I’ve heard, more crimes are committed by smiling sales clerks than scowling proof readers.)

Will the world ever be more accepting of sullen facial expressions? Probably not. But here’s one thing you can count on: If your angry puss ever encounters my resting bitch face, it will be met with an accepting and non-judgmental frown.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Being A Man’s Man 24/7 Is Not Easy

I assume I’m a man’s man. I enjoy men’s activities: belching, scratching and watching sports (and “Gilmore Girls” when no one is looking) on TV.

I enjoy being with other men – especially guys named Joe, Chuck, Bo and for some unexplained reason, Ferdinand.

However, being a man’s man 24/7 can be a daunting task.

I’ve made it a point never to sing show tunes in the shower, but I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.

I continue to pump iron at the gym, although fear of undressing in the locker-room continues to be on my weekly therapy agenda.

At first, I really enjoyed Sea Shanty night at my local karaoke bar, but lately I’ve been thinking about signing up for a ceramics class.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love singing “Blow the Man Down” while I’m soaping up, and nothing brings me greater joy than asking a gym buddy, “Hey, will you spot me on the bench?”

Perhaps we men’s men need to give our Testosterone a break now and then.

I think I’m going to start by retiring my “Hi, I was just inducted into the Airline Pilot’s Hall of Fame. What’s your name?” pickup line.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”