Friday, October 28, 2011



JOHN ROBIE: Miss Stevens?                       FRANCES STEVENS:  Yes, Mr. Burns?
JOHN ROBIE: You know what I think?
FRANCES STEVENS: I don’t really care.

  —To Catch a Thief, 1955, Alfred Hitchcock.

LET ME TELL YA, sex, sports, and booze.

All right, thank you for coming. That’s all for today.

Whoa…whoa…whoa… really?!

Okay, I will give it a try.

A couple of months ago, I went out to Starbucks to get a tall ice coffee, light ice, no room for milk for Kim—I gave up saying my real name. I can’t spend fifteen minutes pronouncing it—. So at the time of walking in, an incredible gorgeous guy checked me out from head to toe.
“Thank you,” I said politely, while he was holding the door open to me.
“No, no. Thank YOU, and good morning,” he said, stressing the vocals.
I kept staring at him with my jaw dropping. At the other side, I had one member of the Starbucks staff holding a walkie-talkie asking me what I wanted, I replied briskly, “grande, macchiato, hot!”
A week later, I was sitting comfortably in one of the armchairs, when the same hot guy came in. I did my hair quickly, swirled open the tube of lipstick, painted it on my lips and smacked them together, lifted a bit my head, and with my GPS on, I sent him my vibes: hellooooo, meeee, the goodmooorning girl!


What’s wrong with guys?!

Alas, my Dedicated and Long-suffering female-Readers, when a single or married or divorced or unclassifiable man sees a woman that lights up his sexual circuit board,1 his brain instantly produces a quick sexual thought that will most likely disappear in no time.

I won’t deny this information cleared up some things, yet arouse a quite intriguing question. What do men think? Or put in other words, How does the male brain process romance?

In order to plumb the depth of it, I read “The Male Brain,” written by Harvard neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, and got some interesting hints. So I invite you to join me to a pleasurable Trans-Siberian trip. A journey that will transport us through the pleasurable centers of the male brain. All aboard!

*Moscow. Day 1.
The Kremlin Clock announced midnight. George got in the restaurant car, sat on a table, and checked out the passengers. His visual brain circuit is always on the lookout for fertile mates, so he promptly is allured by Nadia’s beauty.
A group of neurons at the very centre of his brain—the ventral tegmental area—process the information. George’s brain is manufacturing testosterone—the party animal gets into scene. They played the contact readiness sport2 for a while.

*Siberia. Day 2-3.
The train was crossing the vastness of Siberia while Nadia had breakfast. With fortitude, George asked permission to accompany her. Her exquisite beauty attracts most passengers’ eyes, disdaining to look at the window’s view of endless birch trees. George felt fortunate, so he used all the honey-tongue blandishments. He releases a pheromone called Androstenedione—the seducer’s home. He yearns to get her into his deluxe 2-berth compartment and have sex right away. He actually yearns it from the moment he saw her but he knows she will be more prone to it with males who bring them meat.
He accompanied to her compartment, thinking his next move. Men fear enomoursly to be rejected3. He didn’t want to gump up the works, though took the plunge by kissing her. Her smell and saliva confirms him that genes matched4.

The chemical messenger—dopamine—goes to another structure in his brain called the nucleus accumbens. George’s mind cannot stop having mental imagery of pleasant and emotional scenes.

*Lake Baikal. Day 4.
The train was rounding the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal, while Peter and Nadia had a delicious Russian dinner. He touched her hand several times. He regaled her with stories about his adventures that made her laugh. They were not concerned about the camels and yurts—the circular tents used by Mongolian nomads. Dopamine—the energizer—is increasing in the area for anticipation of pleasure and reward.  They ended up making love.

*Mongolian customs. Gobi Desert. Day 5.
The train passed through Mongolian customs and got into the open wastes of the Gobi Desert. At his deluxe 2-berth compartment, the drapes remained closed. The more Nadia and George make love, the more addicted their bodies and brains become. Early-stage romantic love brings a person straight to the brink of euphoria.

*The Great Wall of China-Beijing. Day 6.
After the train had crossed the mountains through the Great Wall of China, George and Nadia arrived to Beijing’s main station. He, with a long version of the vasopressin receptor gene, asked Nadia to see her again soon. His caudate nucleus has memorized the one who has given him pleasure, Nadia. The love and lust circuit has been completed.

A study in Sweden found that men with the long version of the vasopressin5 receptor gene were twice as likely to leave bachelorhood behind and commit to one woman for life.

So longer is always better?—Wink.


(1) University of California’s researchers found that it takes the male brain only one fifth of a second to classify a woman as sexually hot or not. 
(2) A non-verbal flirting sport, which if you master it, you score the most.
(3) Men’ stage fright is proportional to how hot the woman is and how much they want to impress her.
(4) Pheromones carry genetic information.
(5) A hormone that plays an important role in social behavior and bonding.

Copyright © 2011 by THE PYTHAGOREAN  STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 21, 2011



[discussing their daughter
Eduardo Acuña: Maria is going to wait until the right man comes along. 
Mrs. Delfina Acuña: Why should she? I didn't. 

—You were never lovelier, 1942, William A. Seiter

LET ME TELL YA, once upon a time, I got invited to a party called “Singles & Fabulous” in Miami Beach.

To a great extend, the word “Single” is still considered one of the most frightened words, especially for some women and in some parts of the world, albeit cities like New York, London, Sao Paulo—single women are not advisable to go unless you are extremely gorgeous—, Miami Beach—totally advisable since men think that all women are models—Berlin, and probably Tel Aviv harbored the most beautiful single women on Earth.

Another story lies on the vocable “Fabulous,” which remains indefinable in terms of being absolutely subjective. And it reminded me an e-mail I got in my mailbox several years ago that apparently had been traveling around some forums.

The e-mail was about a lady who introduced herself as a young—I think she was in her early twenties—single, pretty, and most important, looking for a man with $500 K annual salary (or above, of course) to get married with. In her e-mail, the hunting woman complained that she had only dated $250 annual salary preys, and that surprisingly she had met some women not so attractive as her married with men that come with a $1M annual trophy. As she considered herself as a fabulous and non-greedy woman—“a $1 M annual salary is considered middle class in New York”, she remarked. She ended up by asking for a top list of bars, restaurants, and gyms where she would be able to meet those wealthy bachelors.

A Wall Street investor guy replied her promptly with this opening: “Dear Ms. Pretty,” and explained her how, even being a hypothetical prey, he estimated her offer a bad investment for the following reason: The equilibrium of the old concept of exchanging goods, here between money and beauty, would fail over time. From the viewpoint of economics, he considered himself as an appreciation asset since his money might increase from year to year, and considered her as a depreciation asset (with an exponential depreciation) since her beauty would fade. Then, he encouraged her to make $1 M annual salary on her own. Yet if she happened to be interested in “leasing services,” she definitely must contact him.

First off, let me point out that Ms. Pretty was honest—think that the odds a married woman will report she got married for money are 1 in 100 1—. Plus, this lady was certainly willing to invest some capital to get her prey. Not even want to think, my Valued Readers, how much money cost the wrapping paper of a sweet: Hairdresser’s, makeup, design clothes, creams, shoes, accessories, jewelery, inter alia, but I think her shot was not accurate at all: she truly was (a desperate) single, but seeing her begging statement, I frankly cast doubt on “fabulous.”

After all, it’s good to know that some wealthy people are not such fools. I can’t tell how many millionaire divorces we see everyday in the tabloids. Perhaps someone should have taught her some statistics lessons to meditate on. Or much better, show her that Pretty Woman is just a romantic movie. A good one, though.

On the other hand, it is true that if you have been traveling in third-class train car from home to work daily and window shopping on weekends, and one day the private jet is awaiting you for a Caribbean trip, and you are able to get dressed with an exclusive design and get seated in the front row of Chanel Haute Couture any week day, you might start loving wanting the trophy. There is so much hunger around2. Let’s be sincere, my Dear Readers, it’s very difficult to separate the “surroundings” from the being. It’s the whole package that counts.

So how do you find out if you are truly in love with the man/woman?

Let’s make a deal: to sign a written waiver where both parts relinquish the economic rights (and obligations, of course) as a wife/husband now and forever.

And Howie Mandel asks: Deal or No Deal?

Alas, my Gentle Friends, to free ourselves even from the needs of our own ego is not an easy task: much courage, self-esteem, and love are needed. The truth is, you must be really Fabulous to propose and to accept the Deal.

Are you single plus fabulous?

(1) Survey made in the US, 2008.
(2) Expression coined by my mentor.

Copyright@2011. THE PYTHAGOREAN STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 14, 2011



NINA: What do you do for a living?   
PHIL BLACKWOOD: I’m a writer.
NINA: Oh! What kind of books?
PHIL BLACKWOOD: Mystery, detective novels.
PHIL BLACKWOOD: Don’t impress you?
NINA: No, I just read serious books.
        —Her alibi, 1989, Bruce Beresford.

LET ME TELL YA, there’s an endemic pathology in categorizing humans.

This matter came out over dinner with a friend of mine in a Vietnamese restaurant several months ago. She works for a financial enterprise in Wall Street, and she’s surrounded by the type of species whose education has been fostered by Yvy schools, such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and so forth. Over mojitos, which by the way ran out of sugar, she told me that when she moved in to that elitist environment, she got tired of hearing the same questions: Where did you study? Where do you work?
It is quite telling that depending on your answer, they stick you a quite dissimilar label: “Welcome-buddy-you-are-one-of-us” or “Who-the-hell-are-you-and-what-the-hell-are-you-doing-here?”

That reminds me that something quite similar occurred to me in the past.

I was at my office dealing with some capricious clients, a common species that suck your time like vampires suck blood—no matter what, the nub of the issue is to suck—when all of a sudden I received an e-mail from a dear friend of mine:

“Wanna sail the British Virgin Islands?”

H.O.L.Y  C.O.W.!

I flipped my chair and I dropped the receiver making a strenuous noise. As you may imagine, I said yes. Actually, I said: Yes, yes, and yes. The sailing trip was organized by the LBS’ Sailing Club, and I ended up boarding a ship with five guys from all over the world. Dear Readers, needless to say, I was the Queen of the boat. Ha!

It turned out that I was a mysterious woman for the rest of the sailors. So the second day we docked the vessel to an island, and I went to the shore to refresh myself. Unexpectedly, a woman from another boat sat down next to me and asked me The Questions: Where did you study? Where do you work?

Institute Le Rosey and I’m a Russian Government Spy. Shhhh… Don’t tell anybody.
One night I was dancing reggae with the doctor of the island, who by the way would become my doctor—yet that’s another story, my Inquisitive Readers. I will tell you some day—a guy came to me dancing and instead of the usual move “Wanna drink something?,” he shot me The Questions in my ear: Where did you study?! Where do you work?!

Eton College, and I’m a member of The Secret Intelligence Service. MI6. Shhhh… Don’t tell anybody.

The sixth day, I recall, I was waiting in line in order to pay for some batteries at a shop when a guy from another boat started to chat with me. At the time of walking out, he, wearing the Harvard class ring, stopped me to ask, doncha know?

Philips Exeter Academy, and I’m on sabbatical right now. Wink.

First off, keep your guns down gunslingers. I don’t have anything against those elitist schools. In fact, I am aware that one of the privileges to study in one of them is that you don’t have to suffer a bunch of mediocre pseudo-professors who intoxicate you with the “memorize-and-vomit up” method.

Said that, I wonder: Do we need to be classified as taxonomists do with species? Or am I like the salamander, found in the Central Valley area of California, which taxonomists have accepted as unclassifiable? Perhaps if nature is not concerned with putting her creations into categories, why don’t we, humans,—the rarest species in the wild—dare to surprise?

Copyright © 2011 by THE PYTHAGOREAN  STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 7, 2011



KATE: I wish there was a cookbook for life, you know? With recipes telling us exactly what to do. I know. I know. You’re gonna say “How else can we learn, Kate?”
THERAPIST: Mm. No, actually I wasn’t going to say that. You wanna guess again?
KATE: Oh, no, go ahead.
THERAPIST: Well, what I was going to say was, you know better than anyone. It’s the recipes you create yourself that are the best.
                         —No reservations, 2007, Scott Hicks.

LET ME TELL YA, eating is a very complex thing.

I can’t stand parsley. I don’t like salt cod. But I love salt cod croquettes with parsley.

I don’t like cooked carrots, but raw. I don’t like raw tuna, but cooked.

All right, take your time. Laugh at me as much as you want, though it’s not me who said that blatant statement but Ferran Adrià, the most creative chef in the world. I say creative because you don’t go to El Bulli to have a meal but an experience.

I would have loved to explain you my experience in Cala Montjoi, yet unfortunately I haven’t been one of the eight thousand privileged diners from all over the world that passed by El Bulli year after year.

I have read extensively about him. I listened to him at the New York City Wine & Food Festival at The Times Center, courtesy of a dear friend of mine, last Saturday. However, I missed the most important: to taste one of his creations.

El Bulli Foundation will reopen his doors in two years. I guess that since they are not admitting reservations anymore, I might have a chance. Just sayin’. Anyway, at the meantime, I will try to cook an exquisite dish inspired by the luminary creator, called Success.


*Caramelized Passion
*Liquefied Courage
*Emulsifying Creativity
*Foamy Stamina
*Spherified Visibility
*Frozen Humility
*Airy Chance

Passion isn’t a product easy to find. It requires conciousness and self-knowledge. One is able to recognize that has passion about something when in the task neither look at her watch for long hours, nor need a policeman behind to keep seated at the desk, but when gets involved in what the psychology professor Mihály Csíkszentmihályi called flow.

To caramelize it requires lots of hard work, tons of very hard work. Suffice it to say, Ferran worked 17 hours a day, 345 days a year. Alles Klar tyros? And once it’s caramelized, it’s so sweet that you want to share it. Ferran is as generous as he’s given his recipes and culinary techniques to everyone.

The issue with this product is when you find it out. Some, as Ferran, at their twenties; others, at their thirties, or even later. If it takes you longer to find it out, pour more gallons of liquefied Courage.

For emulsifying Creativity, mix confidence, self-respect, and freedom. Ferran knew he was doing something right. He actually allowed himself to play as children do: with total freedom, in spite of inner and outer conditionings—Ferran has been called charlatan, pretentious, bogus, and even harshly accused of endangering the health of his customers through the use of additives. I got to thinking that revolutionary people will never be totally understood in their time but a hundred years later. And finally he gave to himself permission to make mistakes, experimenting, learning, growing, and evolving.

Surround the dish with great deal of foamy stamina. Ferran explains that he had been struggling for fifteen years at El Bulli, almost nobody went.1 But he took advantatge of that free time by working, exploring, and growing. He never, never, never gave up. His mission was not to have fame, but to have fun. And when you have fun, why to quit?
Of course, Ferran had to be creative in order to survive. He and his team worked on his first volume “El Bulli. El sabor del Mediterráneo,” and in an outside catering years later.

The out-of-the-way restaurant needed just one paramount ingredient. The pure essence of  visibility was enclosed by The New York Times in late summer of 2003 in the front cover of its Sunday magazine “The Nueva Nouvelle Cuisine: How Spain become the New France.”
That’s it. The spherified visibility created the myth.
And the El Bulli hung a placard at its façade: Two-year waiting list, if lucky. The last years El Bulli experimented a tsunami of people each year yearning begging to dine in.

The challenge is to keep a frozen humility—in terms of keep learning and growing—from the day you start searching for the products until the prepared dish will be served.

When some people become a superstar, celebrity, whatever, they start behaving as Divas/Divos. I have heard Ferran saying a thousand of times, “I am a normal person. It’s impossible to learn about cuisine.” And he actually is a normal person. But he’s a normal person who excels in preparing the current dish.

We are not able to see the last ingredient. Call it luck, call it fate, call it airy chance, you name it.

What if Ferran’s parents had obliged him to study a career?
What if his first job had been at a front office bank instead of at a kitchen as a clean-up guy?
What if Dr. Schilling had not sold the restaurant to him?
What if Ferran had not endured privation for so long?

Would he still have become the best chef in the world?

Cook Duration: A lifetime.

Bon Appetite!

(1) “Life has many ways of testing a person’s will , either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happens all at once.” The winner stands alone, Paulo Coelho.

Copyright © 2011 by THE PYTHAGOREAN  STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.