How To Make A New Friend Without Losing Most of Your Dignity

Everyone needs a friend, or at least one person who will pick you up at the airport or pay a ransom to a Nigerian prince.

Making new friends is never easy. However, there are ways to make the process easier. Here are just a few that don’t require paying someone to say, “No, those jeans definitely don’t make your left buttock look big.

  • Take initiative – You’ll never know if that perfect stranger you spot on the subway could be your best buddy unless you step forward and invite him hiking on the Appalachian Trail for a week.
  • Smile – A beaming grin will make you appear approachable. And even if it doesn’t lead to a burgeoning friendship, it may at least get you a good reference for some excellent psychotherapy.
  • Be a good listener – People appreciate an empathetic ear – as well as a sympathetic nose and a compassionate eyebrow.
  • Join a new club or organization – Just because a group is being monitored by the FBI doesn’t mean you won’t meet a lifelong friend at its yearly Aryan Resistance Barbecue.
  • Be open about your flaws – Sooner or later, someone will appreciate the fact that you’re a middle-aged man still living with your parents.
  • Be curious – People love to be asked questions. For example: “I noticed your name tag reads ‘Big Penis Parksdale.’ Is your middle name ‘Penis’?”
  • Try a new activity – Some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet belong to Greek Orthodox fire walking clubs.
  • Step outside your comfort zone – Delivering a TED talk about losing your virginity to a pretzel kingpin from Königreich Romkerhall may seem like too much sharing, but how else are you going to meet other people who lost their virginity to someone from Königreich Romkerhall?
  • Be enthusiastic – You can’t imagine how many people will want to know more about you by simply screaming at the top of your lungs, “OH GOD, YES, SUPERSIZE IT!
  • Be yourself – Unless, of course you can be a more interesting version of you.

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.”

Never Go To A Discount Therapist

Real quick thoughts

  • If someone can read tea leaves or Tarot cards, should we assume they can also read a rental car agreement?
  • Never go to a discount therapist who shows you his perspiration stain and asks, “What’s the first thing that comes to your mind?”
  • Think twice about returning to a restaurant that charged you extra for the Heimlich maneuver.

I believe

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) should never be used for parking violations, and certainly not for failing to pick up your small dog’s poop.

Has this ever happened to you?

Have you ever thought a stranger is talking to you, only to realize they’re actually talking on their phone? If you’re like most people, you immediately feel embarrassed. But look at it this way: In all probability, you are a more interesting conversationalist than the person on the other end of that call. In fact, had that person been calling you, you probably would have let it gone straight to voicemail. Because, if they’re not calling to talk about last night’s orgy and networking meetup, you can’t be bothered.

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.”

I Want To See How Sausage Is Made

Real quick thoughts

  • I don’t mind being a celebrity, although sometimes I wish my groupies would help me fold my sheets at the laundromat.
  • Before I die, I want to see how sausage is made.
  • If you capture everyone’s hearts, are you obligated to release at least some?

I believe

If you’re trying to project a devil-may-care attitude, you should never show up on a blind date with a lawyer holding prenuptial agreement.

Has this ever happened to you?

Are you, like me, quiet and solitary? If so, you’ll understand how annoying it is when people badger me with bothersome questions like: “Why were you staring in my window?” “Suspect number three, would you please turn to your left?” And of course, “Are you hiding anything illegal in your lower intestine?”

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.”

Quick Thoughts

Real quick thoughts

  • I always thought it was important to be a results-oriented person until I impulsively screamed during sex: “I finished first!”
  • I’ve always wanted to argue a case before the Supreme Court, but I have a fear of being asked, “Do you even know what amicus curiae means?”
  • If you want to witness some nice brawling, accept any invitation to a Political Affiliation Reveal party.

Was I dreaming?

I have this vivid image of calling 911 and the operator only wanted to talk about her problems. After twenty minutes, I realized my burning home was less important than her disagreements with her roommate.

I believe

Every relationship begins with trust. Just provide me with blood and hair samples, and then let the magic begin.

Has this ever happened to you?

Last week, I was trying to think of something interesting to write about, but was distracted by a space alien captor probing my body orifices. Then a few days later, I headed into the woods for a little solitude, and wouldn’t you know it, Big Foot kidnapped me and insisted on showing me his new breakfast nook he carved out in his cave. These distractions are killing me. I think I’m just going to write about shopping for socks.

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.”

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.”

My Most Intimate Secrets Revealed

  • Madonna once asked me to spend a wild night of sex with her, but I gave up because the line was too long.
  • I’m an obsessive compulsive who’s never been fired, because my bosses know it would take years for me to clean out my desk.
  • My artificial leg is actually transplanted from a llama.
  • In a previous life, I believe I was a blood thirsty Roman warrior with unresolved anger issues.
  • Whenever I wash my hands in public restrooms I only pretend to dry them by making the sounds of a blower.
  • I’ve never had a desire to dress like a woman, but there was a time when I bought a shirt that buttoned on the wrong side and thought I looked great in it.
  • I’m terrified my obituary will read: “He delivered his entire Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech while staring at the chest of a woman who was sitting in the third row.”
  • The face mask I’ve been wearing for the past year is actually painted on.
  • The only thing that has prevented my dream of riding in an outlaw motorcycle gang is my fear of chafing.
  • When I’m really lonely, I text myself and ask, “You up?”

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.”

airbnBust Cottage Guest Book Entries

June 15 – July 9

Thanks for sharing your wonderful vacation cottage with us. The sights, the sounds were relaxing and restorative. By the way: Did you know Big Foot lives in the woods behind the boat shed? He taught our son how to search for grub worms in exchange for the Wi-Fi password.

Looking forward to our next stay.

The Grayson family

July 9 – July 23

We had a great time at your wonderful cottage. Caught 15 stripers on the first day! Thank you for your gracious hospitality. We hate to leave. Just a note: The grill’s propane tank is empty due mostly to Bigfoot’s raccoon roasts.

Can’t wait until next summer.

Tom and Gail Hannity

July 23 – August 6

This is our 6th year at the cottage. We so enjoy this lovely, quiet spot. Perfect weather, wonderful friends and delicious food. Just curious, did you give Bigfoot permission to use the shower?

See you next year!

Harold, Sandi, Lisa, and Tony

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.”

How Hoarder Adult Films Are Made

Director: In this scene, Tom, you’re the UPS driver, delivering another shipment of pet food for Agnes’ 500 plus cats. You exit your truck, crawl over the abandoned car and broken lawn mower, and press the doorbell. When you realize it doesn’t work, you knock a few times.

Agnes, you scream “Wait a minute” as you navigate through your  living room around stacks of old newspapers, piles of Jell-O boxes and five broken carousel horses. You finally open the door and see the hot, young stud, Tom.

Agnes, your heart immediately pounds, shaking off days of old corn flakes from your stained terry cloth robe. This is the first time a man has made it to your door since 2003. Your crooked-tooth smile clearly says “I want this guy” as you suggestively allow your robe to slide off your shoulder sending more cornflakes into the air and an old TV remote to the floor.

Tom, as you try desperately not to breathe through your nose, you nervously groan, “I have a shipment of cat food for you” as twenty or thirty felines luxuriously rub up against your legs.

Agnes, you beckon Tom in, almost moaning, “Just climb over that pile of Family Circle magazines and bring the food in here.”

Tom, after you finally reach the other side of the pile, you say, “I’ve really worked up a sweat. Mind if I take off my shirt and put it somewhere the cats won’t pee?”

Agnes, your smile clearly implies “Be my guest” as you heave last year’s dirty laundry off the couch and make some space. You lie luxuriously on it and seductively whisper, “You look tired. Sit down next to me and take a load off” while suggestively sweeping some kitty litter off the cushions.

Tom, here’s where you make your move. As you go in for your kiss, you spot a half-used can of Lysol. You grab it and passionately spray Agnes. Agnes, you gasp, choke and whisper, “I’ve been waiting years for a real man to do that.”

Tom, you quickly fashion a discarded clear, plastic dry cleaning wrapper into a body condom, hop in and ravage her as the camera zooms in on stale Fruit Loops stuck to your heaving bodies.

If there are no questions, let’s begin: Scene one, take one, and action!

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.”