Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, July 21, 2021

Like I said when I first encountered Victory Brewing Company’s appealing logo-works, I don’t foresee sampling their beverages anytime soon.

But a trick of the light and a half-empty beer glass make for a noteworthy “happy hour” photo moment. Even if the result is reminiscent of an evil clown face.

Almost makes me want to forgo my usual liquor-based cocktails for a tall, cold one. Almost.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/21/2009 03:41pm
Category: Creative, Food, Photography
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A recurring theme among my hitched friends is the concept of “temporary bachelorhood”, or (my preferred term) re-bacheloring: The supposed bestowal of freedom upon the married man when his wife and children go out of town, leaving him and his suddenly-open schedule behind.

I had thought that this idea was somehow limited to my social circle. But recent mention of it in a random tweet clued me in on its more widespread practice. I’m not inclined to go too deep into research; the New York Times referred to it in a headline 22 years ago, so I’ll assume that temporary bachelors have been seizing the spouse-free moments for at least a couple of decades.

What have I noticed about this state of being? A few things:

1. The temporary bachelor always keeps the timeframe top-of-mind. If momma and baby are away for 11 days, then the re-bach is acutely aware of just how many days, hours, and minutes (down to the airport run he’ll have to do for the return flight) he has of sweet freedom. Everything he does within that window is mapped out accordingly.

2. The temporary bachelor always has chores lined up. Somehow, all the paint jobs and yardwork landscaping that need doing can’t be done with the whole family around — too many appointments and juggled schedules get in the way. So having the house all to himself means he gets to work on the house all by himself.

3. The temporary bachelor always has one day or night of wild times set aside. “Wild” is highly subjective — it could be catching a movie that he otherwise could never go to without taking the wife (or else going without her, and then dealing with the consequences of leaving her alone); or it could be a boozing, poker-playing, strip-clubbing romp with the fellas. Whichever extreme it is, one thing’s for sure: It’s never more than one night out of the re-bachelorized time period. Preferably in the middle of that stretch of freedom, so as not to interfere with the day job and the household chore-work, and also to leave plenty of recovery time before familial restoration.

4. The temporary bachelor always gets bored after a few days. Always. As appealing as it seems to have everybody out of his hair for a change, the absence of the usual cast of characters (even if it’s just one other character) leaves a void: No extra help with daily chores, no tag-teaming on errands to run, and so on. And the latitude for how to spend that extra free time becomes limited with the realization that, well, it’s not all that free: The reverted bachelor comes back to the same house, deals with the same bills, and sleeps in the same bed — now emptier. He’s reminded of the drawbacks of bachelorhood, and typically can’t wait to get the brood back together.

This is strictly from my limited perspective. I’m sure there are guys out there to go in different directions when unfettered, both bad (cheating) and good (business as usual). But I’d guess a fair number of married men go through this spasm of liberation, declare it long and loud in the lead-up and start, and then decompress on the way to settling back into the domestic routine when both the “temporary” and “bachelor” parts conclude.

Also, from what I can tell, women don’t share this mindset. When their husbands go on a trip, they seem to pretty much stay the course, without too much variation in the routine. Mother usually stays with child during these temporary separations, so maybe that’s part of it; or maybe the nesting instinct is that much more ingrained in the double-x chromosome. Whatever it is, the temporary bachelor doesn’t seem to have a “temporary bachelorette” counterpart. Related to this, temporary bachelorhood doesn’t really kick in when the husband goes out of town — it’s strictly a home-bound thing.

Fascinating phenomenon. Almost makes me wish I was married, just so I could experience this spurt of short-lived reprieve. But being single, I guess I’m always experiencing a prolonged spurt of free time — without the chores.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/21/2009 01:57pm
Category: Society
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If you haven’t started Junior on French or Spanish lessons by the time s/he is seven years old, it’s probably too late: Research shows that a child’s developing mind best absorbs multiple languages during infanthood.

And it’s all in the procession:

Mastering your dominant language gets in the way of learning a second, less familiar one, Kuhl’s research suggests. The brain tunes out sounds that don’t fit.

“You’re building a brain architecture that’s a perfect fit for Japanese or English or French,” whatever is native, [University of Washington professor Dr. Patricia] Kuhl explains — or, if you’re a lucky baby, a brain with two sets of neural circuits dedicated to two languages.

It is remarkable that babies being raised bilingual — by simply speaking to them in two languages — can learn both in the time it takes most babies to learn one. On average, monolingual and bilingual babies start talking around age 1 and can say about 50 words by 18 months.

Italian researchers wondered why there was not a delay, and reported this month in the journal Science that being bilingual seems to make the brain more flexible.

More flexible, and more schizophrenic, too. In the most benign, linguistic way possible, of course. Since I’m the product of just such a dual-tongued upbringing — being taught Greek and English concurrently during childhood — I definitely think that that process shaped my mental profile. Presumably for the better.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/21/2009 11:40am
Category: Science, Society, Wordsmithing
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