Archive for the 'Weird news o’ the day' Category



Are you allergic to sex?

no-sex-please-im-allergic4My story on oddball allergies went live today on MSNBC.com. In it, I cover all kinds of strange allergies, everything from nail polish to cockroaches to celery to cell phones to, well, sex.

Or perhaps I should say human seminal plasma hypersensitivity, otherwise known as semen allergy.

According to experts, semen allergies can result in redness, burning, swelling and even blisters wherever the semen has contacted the skin. In rare cases, having sex with someone to whom you’re allergic can even result in anaphylactic shock (not to be confused with a really intense orgasm).

Symptoms usually start within minutes after contact and can last from hours to days. Although men may be at risk, the allergy primarily affects women.

Treatment usually involves “desensitizing” the woman to her partner’s seminal fluid by injecting her with shots containing small doses of semen. Frequent sex is also recommended. As is using a condom — provided neither partner has a latex allergy.

To read the full story on MSNBC.com about weird allergies, click here. For more information on semen allergies — which are rare but often go unrecognized — click here or here.  To read Esquire’s sex columnist’s advice to a single guy whose new girlfriend turned out to be allergic to his sperm, click here.

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Do you measure up?

mr-bigWhat do women want in men? According to a new online dating site, it’s euphemisms! Or rather, men who are “above average in their manhood.” Yes, just when you thought niche dating sites couldn’t get any weirder (MimePassions.com, SingleNudist.com, IBS Singles – need I say more?), along comes 7orbetter.com, a dating site where “size matters.”

The site, which is free, is operated by an outfit called New Life Ventures Inc., which also runs SugarDaddie.com, a site “where the classy, attractive and affluent meet.” 

Hmmm, I’m sensing a theme here. And it’s not Lara’s Song, that uber-romantic melody from Dr.  Zhivago.

So why does this site exist? Because apparently women just can’t come out and ask a guy his dick size at dinner. “For men interested in women, it is quite easy to see if the woman’s breast size is to his liking or not, or even the shape and size of her derriere,” the website tells us. “Unfortunately, because of how society is, it is very inappropriate to ask a man immediately how big his penis is or even if he is uncircumcised or not. A properly behaved woman that is respectful would never ask such a question.”

Thanks to 7orbetter, though, a properly behaved woman — or man (the site is open to gays, too) – can now surf around their website until they find a “perfect match.”  What a relief for singles everywhere!  No more wasting “days, weeks or maybe months” only to be “disappointed with what they find.” As the site puts it, “No more wasted time, no more guessing, hoping or praying that the guy has what it takes to please you.”

I’m still up in the air (so to speak) as to whether this site is an incredibly clever send-up of society’s increasingly shallow nature (and/or that whole male insecurity thing) or whether it’s the real meal deal. I’ve surfed around and it looks legit, but I haven’t joined so I can’t say that I’ve checked out any of the “members.” Speaking of which, the nature of the site makes for some pretty interesting terms and conditions. My favorite passage is on “member disputes” and how 7orbetter.com is not liable for any issues that may “arise between members.”

What can I say? 7orbetter makes me act 9 or worse.

Do I make you horny?

wang-the-human-unicorn-2My piece on cutaneous horns went live today on MSNBC.com’s Body Odd blog. 

What exactly are cutaneous horns?  According to Dr. Clay J. Cockerell, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, they’re a rare malfunction of the body that can occur in response to an  injury or some type of disease.

“The topmost part of the skin is the stratum corneum — it protects the body,” Dr. Cockerell told me in a phone interview. “But if the stratum corneum is damaged due to disease or something along those lines, then it can actually make a different kind of layer.”

Sometimes that layer can blister or become white and scaly, similar in appearance to a psoriasis outbreak. Other times it can become as thick as the hide of an elephant or a rhinoceros. Or start to form a very thick cornified layer in an upward spine or spike. That’s when you get a cutaneous horn, such as the 14-inch spike sported by the Chinese farmer (pictured at top) who appeared in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! in the 1930s as (naturally) Wang, the Human Unicorn.

Cutaneous horns don’t just grow on your head, though. They can occur all over the body and have been reported on the nose, eyelid, ear, lip, chest, neck, shoulder, forearm, leg and hand. They’ve even been found on the penis, in fact, one poor guy in India had multiple cutaneous horns on his penis.

For the full story — including some fun history — click here.

Octomom is enough

the-brady-bunchThis just in … according to In Touch Weekly, the so-called “Octomom” Nadya Suleman and her 14 children (newborn octuplets included) are set to become the stars of a brand new reality dating show.

Billed as a cross between TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8” and “The Bachelor,” the show will feature the celebrated single mom and her children as she tries to locate her very own Mr. Right (Mr. Clean and Mr. Coffee might come in handy, too).

While the reality dating stuff is certainly a new twist, I have to point out there’s a long tradition of TV shows and movies centered around the theme of single parents with large broods.  The Brady Bunch is probably the most well-known example (Eight is Enough is another classic).  There’s also an old Doris Day/Brian Keith vehicle entitled With Six You Get Eggroll. 

The best, by far, though, came out in 1968 and featured Lucille Ball as another wacky “octomom” who falls for single dad Henry Fonda.  Yours, Mine and Ours (there was a remake, but stick with the original) was based on the real-life story of Helen North, a Navy widow and mother of eight and Frank Beardsley, a career Navy man (and widower) with 10 kids of his own. The two meet and marry and as they say, hilarity (not to mention movie rights) quickly ensued.

My favorite line from the movie:  “We won’t be a family, we’ll be a freak show!”   Nuff said, right?

Apparently, tanning CAN be dangerous …

Fresh on the heels of my MSNBC.com story about tanning salons outnumbering Starbucks and McDonalds in 116 large U.S. cities (much to the chagrin of dermatologists everywhere), came this story about a man in South Carolina whose tanning bed caught fire — while he was inside.

According to a story in the Rock Hill Herald, the man (who wouldn’t give his name) said he was “working on his tan when he heard a popping noise, then saw a flame at the corner of the tanning bed near his foot.” The “terrified tanner” then threw open the lid and jumped out of the bed.

The fire forced the evacuation of an entire shopping center and damaged several stores. The salon itself, Ultratan, was said to be “badly burned and its windows … reportedly black.”  As for the man in the “burning bed,” he was not injured. No word was available as to the status of his tan.


What’s the story?

Meet Diane Mapes, your friendly neighborhood freelance writer. My beats include health (with an emphasis on cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship) and lifestyle and singles issues, but I also love writing about history, natural history, pop culture and TV/film. On this site, you'll find links to stories, praise for my writing (*blush*) and the odd bit of social commentary about the single life. Also here, a few shameless plugs for my books (hint: see links below). Have fun, glad you're here and hope to hear from you soon.

Oh! And if you're looking for my breast cancer blog, go to Double_Whammied

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How to Date in a Post-Dating World A dating manual for the modern, mangled single.

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Single women speak out on life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

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