How to Date Your Ex’s Best Friend

‘The ideal Evan Jacobs—the brash, confident stud I still want to be—existed for nine months of my sophomore year at the University of Chicago.’


It’s hard to go through life without regrets. Sometimes a decision that seemed perfectly appropriate at the time turns out to be a mistake. It’s happened many times in history: the Bush presidency, the XFL, Prohibition. For me, I realized that I should have been dating my girlfriend’s best friend a few weeks after I had become exclusive with my girlfriend.

Since college, my lack of confidence has betrayed me several times. I’ve acted too clingy with girls, I’ve tried too hard, and I’ve ruled out women just because they were attractive. The ideal Evan Jacobs—the brash, bold, confident stud I still want to be—existed for nine months of my sophomore year at the University of Chicago.

In September 2000 I lived in a dorm called Broadview, an architecturally beautiful building that had previously been a high-class hotel in the ’20s. All the rooms had their own bathrooms, and most were singles, though there were a few rooms with roommates. The lobby was large and inviting, and all the rooms had views of Lake Michigan, the Midway Plaisance, or the Chicago skyline.

Because I already had a year of college under my belt, I felt confident among the wide-eyed freshman who populated the majority of the dorms in broadview. They were a batch of children. One freshman in particular caught my eye. She was tiny, blonde, with a pointy nose and chin and large blue eyes. As soon as I saw her, I wrote her off as a girl that would scoff at any association with me. After all, she was hot—she wasn’t just cute or pretty. And damn, did she know it.


Perhaps it came from years of rejection and snubbing from the most attractive girls, but at the time, I had taken to heart this idea of “leagues.” Is she out of my league? Should I only date within my own league? To be frank, the idea of “leagues” was frustrating beyond the fact that it was a sports analogy. I wanted to prove it wrong. I wanted to overthrow it. Just because a girl was more empirically attractive didn’t mean that she shouldn’t date me.

Convincing her I was a worthwhile pursuit—that was another matter. This blonde girl was decidedly out of my league. When I ran into her in the elevator one day early on in the year, I made a bunch of rapid-fire jokes. I spoke to her in the way I speak to many people, to enjoy the attention and not expect it to lead anywhere. She laughed at everything I said, but it meant nothing. Plenty of people who would never speak to me otherwise, let alone date me, have laughed at things I said.

In truth, I don’t really remember what I said to her, or how it happened, or what the details were, but I do know that I offered to help her with her chemistry homework a couple days after the elevator incident. The offer turned into our talking through the night and into next morning, neither of us sleeping. As a crazy coincidence, we discovered that we were neighbors. I lived in the last door of a hallway, she lived in the second to last. I’m not sure if we kissed that night or if it was the next night, but before I knew it, we were together, naked in my bed.


The world was inside out. Down was up. The sun revolved around the earth. She was mine. She liked me. A girl who was too attractive to be with a schlub like me had willingly joined me in a relationship that defied expectation and logic.

I soon learned that Christine was far from perfect. She was from a small town in Ohio and had grown up very poor in a family that didn’t place the highest value in education. She was the first member of her family to go to an institution with anything approaching the academic rigor of the University of Chicago. This made her insecure; she feared being stupid to the point of terror.

She was very kind, very nice, and although she was very intelligent, I found that there was something missing. She didn’t have the academic thirst that I had. She lacked the same cynicism, skepticism, and curiosity. Even a couple months into the relationship, though I was enjoying spending time with her, I had determined that I probably was not going to fall in love with her. The relationship was doomed to fail.


Christine had three very good friends in Broadview. One of them, Kathy, was a skinny Polish girl with squinty eyes and a long nose. She didn’t have Christine’s sex appeal, but she was undeniably cute—and she had one huge draw that I found myself not only admiring, but lusting after: Kathy was majoring in physics and math.

Science has always been my true mistress. It has an inherent beauty in its absolutism; it shirks sentimentality and pretension; it embraces the universe beyond the insignificant dramas of everyday life; it explains reality and existence more than religion or philosophy ever has. It should be no surprise, then, that I majored in mathematics myself. To find a girl who was fascinated with math and physics was a twofold boon: 1) a girl who pursued these areas of study had similar interests to mine, and thus would almost surely understand my worldview; and 2) science and math, as academic fields, are male-dominated—so the women in the field struck me as brave, exceedingly intelligent, ambitious, and far above shallow pursuits, like obsessing over makeup or dancing to bad music—i.e., things Christine loved.

While Kathy’s looks made her cute, her interest in science made her hot. And her own insecurities fueled my lust even more. She was the inverse of Christine: confident in her intelligence, but unsure of her looks and social skills. And, as every socially awkward male knows, the only thing more attractive than a hot girl is a hot girl who has no idea she’s hot. Thus, even within a few weeks of dating Christine, I had fallen in love with Kathy.

I continued to date Christine. There was no obvious or overt reason to break up with her, so I decided to stay with it. At the same time, I would talk with Kathy every time I saw her, and even started visiting her in the lounge when I knew she was there studying.


At some point, Christine screwed up. After the winter break, while Christine and I were in the middle of making out and reuniting, she began to cry. She had to tell me something, and I already had an idea what it was. Every time she went home, Christine would hang out with a group of local police officers. It was innocent, she said. They were her friends. They would get drunk with her and even smoke weed with her, but it was all in good fun.

I am far from stupid. They were men and she was an attractive female. There’s no such thing as innocence in those situations. Over the break, Christine had cheated on me with one of the police officers, and to make it worse, they had had sex in the back seat of his police cruiser.

I forgave her. Who was I to be angry? I didn’t love Christine. Sometimes I felt guilt for even continuing the relationship. Only now do I realize that this incident may have been her way of testing how I felt about her. If I truly loved her, I would have been much more upset. If I didn’t, I would have forgiven her. She had gotten her answer.


It was only about a month later when Christine told me that she loved me, and I was put in the awkward position of not being able to reciprocate. I still don’t know how I managed to stammer through that one. I told her that I enjoyed that she loved me, and that one day I hoped to love her, but I just wasn’t sure, at that moment, if I was able to feel the same way about her, and I didn’t want to lie.

Though she said it was OK, two weeks later we broke up. I didn’t mind. All I could think about was Kathy.

To be sure, I felt somewhat guilty that I might hurt Christine’s feelings. But she had cheated on me; I’d done nothing wrong. I put Christine out of my mind. Nothing was going to stop me from advancing on the girl I knew I wanted.


Over the next few weeks, I thrust myself into Kathy’s life. I asked her to hang out, although she seldom did. I studied next to her. I told her about what was going on with Christine. This was my plan. First I would become friends with her. Then I would tell her how I felt. Then I would date her. Then we would get married. Then we would have children. Then we would both die and be buried next to each other. It seemed foolproof, and for the most part, it was.

The confidence I had gained from dating Christine had altered my personality. No longer was I a loser with low self-esteem. I had become suave, charming, and enticing. I felt no concern that Kathy would resist my advances.

It took no summoning of courage to ask Kathy out—the confidence was already there. About a month after I had broken up with Christine, I was in the study lounge with Kathy, and I told her that there was something I wanted to talk to her about. I apologized for what I was about to say, and then I told her I wanted her—I had wanted her ever since the moment I met her.

“I don’t care about Christine and you shouldn’t either. You should let me take you out on a date.”

Sure enough, she agreed.


I began holding her hand when we were alone, getting her used to touching me. I hugged her often. I took her out to dinner. I hung out with her in my room. Eventually, when I kissed her, I had no worries that she would give me her cheek or pull her head away.

Christine actually happened to live in the next dorm room over from mine, and I had to pass her room every time I went anywhere. I ran into her multiple times after the breakup while I was courting and later dating Kathy. I actually told her that I was dating Kathy, but she already knew—Kathy had told her much earlier on.

It wasn’t that awkward. Christine gave us her blessing, and started dating other men as well. She and Kathy remained friends. Maybe her guilt over cheating on me mollified any anger she might have (quite reasonably) felt toward us. Whatever it was, I had nimbly skipped my way through the minefield of dating two friends.

The thrilling thing wasn’t that I ransacked a clique one by one—it was the fact that yet again, the girl I wanted became my girlfriend. And for at least a month, dating Kathy was amazing. We would go to dinner, talk about physics, see movies at the campus theater, get coffee, meet each other on campus, etc. It was the ideal college romance. We even dabbled in marijuana. Of course, we also kissed each other and slept together—although therein lay some difficulty.

Whereas Christine had liked me too much, Kathy was more aloof. She never complimented me, never told me how cute I was, never told me how much she liked me. She didn’t try to hold my hand, she didn’t caress my back, she didn’t try to kiss me in public. When we did kiss, it was like I was introducing her to the concept of what kissing was.

She just wasn’t very affectionate. She wasn’t bursting to tell me that she loved me. She didn’t seem to understand how awesome I was, and in turn, I started feeling less awesome.

Kathy was shy. It wasn’t her fault. But I found my newfound confidence waning, and I flipped out.

If she didn’t think I was that great, shouldn’t she be with a guy who was? Someone she liked as much as I liked her? Someone she would want to be affectionate with?

So I did one of the toughest, stupidest things I’ve ever done: I broke up with her.


So what if I thought I wasn’t good enough for her? So what if I thought she didn’t like me enough? She had agreed to be with me and that should have been good enough. If she had wanted to break up with me, she would have done so. But my newfound confidence had failed me. I was back to square one—I became the same neurotic, anxious, awkward, desperate jerk that I had ever been. And so she got away.

Like many mistakes in my life, I should’ve learned from it but didn’t. I second-guessed myself—and instead of vowing to trust my instincts in the future, I kept on doubting. I doubted my way through relationship after failed relationship. And it’s only now, 10 years later, reliving this disaster of a romance, that I’m figuring out where it all went wrong.

If I could time-travel and meet my 19-year-old post-Kathy self, I’d say this: You deserved her, dude. Fuck low self-esteem. The next time you meet a girl you really like—and trust me, there’ll be plenty—don’t give up on her. Because even if confidence can be a fickle mistress, regret will break your heart every time.

—Read Jacobs’s “Chronicles of a Phone Sex Addict” here.

—Photo quinn.anya/Flickr

 Reprinted from The Good Men Project

Chronicles of a Phone Sex Addict Part I

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Evan Jacobs’ first love was the voice of a girl he’d never met. Thousands of dollars and hours of therapy later, he’s still coming to terms with his phone-sex addiction.

To say I have an addictive personality is to say that Buddha was kind of laid back. If I enjoy it, I will get addicted to it. Drugs? I’ve been addicted to several. Alcohol? Sure. Video games? Check. Television? Oh yeah. Food? Just look at me. Attention? In the throes of it right now. But one of these addictions started off as something much more innocent. Well, as innocent as phone sex can be.

Ninth grade. My hormones controlled every thought I had, every move I made. I would make marks on my school schedule showing which girls were in which classes so I would know whom to stare at the entire time. I didn’t care if they knew I was staring. If we made eye contact, we might as well have made genital contact. If we made eye contact a second time, she liked me. (More likely, she wondered why the hell I was so creepy.)

When I got home in the evenings, I masturbated to the girls I’d seen that day. What they had been wearing, whether they had talked to me, and other little details all went into a spank bank I built up throughout the day.

But I had never kissed a girl. No Spin the Bottle, no “doctor,” no Seven Minutes in Heaven. As far back as I could remember, I had never even kissed my mother.


Back before there was Web 2.0, OKCupid, Facebook, MySpace, streaming pornography, or even .pdf files, there were the three kings of the “information superhighway”: AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy. Then there was me, in 1996, 14 years old, a social outcast without much chance at interaction with living, breathing women—or anyone, really.

Opening the program in DOS took several minutes. Connecting to Prodigy took several minutes more and was accompanied by the shrieking sound of a dialing modem. Fifteen minutes later, I was talking with real, live people—or, rather, a series of screen names—in a chat room. It felt like I was at my first party.

Your all stupid.



Where are all the girls?

After a pause: I’m a girl.

Quick responses: A/S/L? Wanna private chat? What do you look like?

Everyone in the chat room was a moron or a pervert, and I was free to be the same. My passive observation gave way to benign, then bold, then incendiary comments: Listen to yourselves. You’re all just a bunch of losers sitting at your computers on a Friday night, like me. None of you have lives.

I picked out people and said why they in particular were idiots. Hey, mudbutt69, your grammar and spelling make me question our public school system. Racism and sexism were rampant in the chats. I tried to fight it. These assholes didn’t respond to reason, but they did respond to my having a comeback to anything they said. And before long, I found I had a knack for dominating the conversation.

I spat out clever comments like sunflower seeds. I started intense discussions like it was destiny. I was a brash and fearless contributor to the discourse of anonymous 14-year-old outcasts. Back at school, things remained largely the same. But when I got home and logged on, I was a rock star.


I don’t remember when I was first introduced to the concept of cyber sex, but I thought it was disgusting. That was for losers who couldn’t get laid.

Losers like me.

But I wasn’t ready for cyber sex. Christ, I had just learned how to be social. One has to take things slowly. I felt pure, I felt clean. I was a good boy. No matter that I patrolled premium cable channels for R-rated movies, stalked the Internet for pictures of attractive, half-naked celebs, and downloaded page after page of erotic fiction, skipping to the pornographic play-by-plays and masturbating furiously.

My resistance to the idea wasn’t getting me any closer to kissing—or even knowing how to talk to—a girl in real life. And gradually the appeal of cyber sex—and my hormones, which bubbled like a cauldron of poison when I thought about it—overcame my high standards. It couldn’t hurt to give it a shot, could it?

I thought of all the girls I was attracted to at school. I thought of them being kissed and groped by a group of guys that had swooped down upon the school at the onset of ninth grade. I saw them moving forward, and me moving backward.

And so I logged on.


One of those nights, toward the middle of the year, I got the nerve to private-chat a girl.

Hi, I’m 14/m/PA. What’s up?


Do you wanna chat?


Cool. So what do you look like?

Blonde hair blue eyes. (Wow, I thought, she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met.)

How tall are you?


OK. How much do you weigh?


OK. You sound cute.

Thanks. What do you look like?

5’10” green eyes dirty blonde hair 165 muscular/athletic.

Cool. So what do you wanna talk about?

What a painful question. It often underlined the awkwardness that was inherent in online conversation. But it had its benefits, especially when it paved the way for questions about sex.

But God, how was I supposed to get into sex? How does one segue a polite conversation into dirty talk? I had no idea, but I was hornier than a triceratops and dammit, I had nothing to lose.

What are you wearing?


Anything else?


She had answered the questions without leaving, and hey, she was already half undressed. So I had to ask. I didn’t know exactly how to, nor did I know what I’d do if she agreed, but it just came out.

Are you horny?

A little.

Wanna cyber?


Holy shit. This is it. Frozen in my seat, I typed, Do you wanna start?

There was a long pause. The awkwardness was so palpable I could’ve stuck a spoon in it. What kind of charisma was this? It was so obvious that I’d never communicated anything sexual, ever. But maybe she hadn’t either.

She asked, What would you do to me?

I would kiss you all over, I answered.

Strangely, I never touched myself while we talked. I feigned it, actually. Cheesy, I know, but I was scared of doing something so sexual without any meaning behind it. Shouldn’t I be cybering with a girl I love? But as soon as she logged off, I ran to my bedroom and finished what I’d started.


Over the next six months, through the summer and into 10th grade, I became a cybering master. I had multiple windows open, cybering with different girls at the same time. When the night got late enough, I eventually began to go through with the things I was telling girls I was doing.

And then I began to hit a wall. It got boring—worthless, even. The girls could have been anyone—and, often, would reveal themselves to be groups of kids fucking around with losers like me. I couldn’t even be mad. I’d done the same before.

But one night, in November 1996, I started chatting with a girl named Helen. She was eloquent, had an enormous personality, and eventually put up with me for so long—two hours at a time—that I asked if I could call her. She lived only an hour away, in Princeton, New Jersey, and wasn’t allowed to make long-distance calls. I was. So without hesitating, I ran downstairs, grabbed the cordless phone, brought it into my room, and dialed.

Helen was my age, 15. She had a sultry voice with an attitude to match. She was a dark-haired Greek girl, an avid painter, an amateur astrologist, and spiritual. I frowned upon this kind of stuff, but with Helen, it didn’t matter. Her differences from me made it so we could talk for hours about any given subject. In fact, on the first night we talked, we talked for six hours on the phone.

It was around 4 a.m. when the subject of sex came up.

“You’ve never had phone sex before?” she asked.

“No,” I said, already incredibly aroused.

“Well, are you hard?”

And it went on from there.

Compared to cyber sex, phone sex was a revelation. It was so much more intimate than the cold, black letters on the screen. You could hear the other person’s voice. You could hear them breathe heavily or moan softly—and you knew they could hear you, too. It was the next best thing to being in a room together. A room where you both listened to each other masturbate.

I began speaking to Helen every single night, for hours at a time. We would talk for a while, then have phone sex. But it was deeper than that. I thought about her when I was in school. I obsessed over her.

At some point, I told her I loved her and she said she loved me back. It might have been a month into it, or it might have been that first night. At the time, I confused love and infatuation, and these days, who knows what would have happened? But I did love her. She was my first love. Rather, her voice was.

We sent letters to each other too. I remember when she first sent hers. She had included a picture and sprayed the letter with perfume and had kissed the letter itself, telling me that I should imagine those lips on my cock. And did I ever. Helen was beautiful, very Mediterranean-looking. She had curly dark hair, full lips that seemed to pout past her lip flesh, and a chin that had a straight, flat bottom.

Weeks went by. We would speak every night until one of us began to pass out. Sometimes we would both pass out, phones in hand, the line staying on, recording our deep breathing.

Even though we lived so close together, neither of us told our parents about the other. We had no way to meet. Neither of us drove yet. We might as well have been in different galaxies.

That is, of course, until December’s phone bill came.


My mother was driving me back home from school when she asked, “Evan, why is this month’s phone bill 900 dollars?”

That is literally all I can remember from that discussion. I broke down almost immediately. For the 20 minutes it took for my mom to drive me home, with tears streaming down my face and my diaphragm convulsing, I told my mother everything about my talking with Helen. Of course, I never mentioned the phone sex aspect of it, because it was more than that: it was love.

The thing is, while I was carrying on and crying, my mother was trying to calm me down. She didn’t know how to react. On one hand, she was very upset that I had spent so much money, and said she was going to put a password-activated block on the long-distance line, much to my vehement protest.

On the other hand, she was happy that I was talking to a girl of any sort. So half of the conversation was spent with me telling her about Helen; the other half was spent apologizing and asking what she wanted me to do.

It was simple. All I had to do was get a job and pay the money back. A few days later, I started working part-time at McDonalds.


It didn’t take that long to make back the $900, and so I quit after a couple months of hoarding Big Macs and putting up with being called stupid. In the meantime, Helen was no longer a secret. I had to punch in a long-distance code to talk to her, so our conversations were shorter. We didn’t have phone sex at all. But by the time summer came around, my parents agreed that I could go out and meet her for the first time.

We met at the Cherry Hill mall. I brought my friend Todd, who was the only one who knew about Helen, and she brought her cousin, Crystal. At first, things were incredibly awkward, but then Helen and I kind of hit it off. We talked, we had fun, she made me buy a pair of pants that flared out at the bottom, which I would never wear again because they looked so stupid.

The interesting this was this: we didn’t kiss. We hugged, I think. After weeks and weeks of describing how we wanted to exchange bodily fluids and telling each other exactly when we were having orgasms, meeting her came with so much built-up pressure, nothing happened.

My no-kissing streak went unbroken until early in the next school year, when I set my sights on Violetta, a profoundly promiscuous Spanish exchange student. Being an excitable idiot, I told Helen, who still loved me. This was probably not the best idea. Or perhaps it was. She became very jealous and concerned, and then seemed determined to meet me again.

Finally, on what was to be the last time we would meet in a romantic setting, I took Helen to the sophomore dance. She wore a dark dress, dark eyeliner, and dark lipstick—my friend Matt gave her the nickname “Princess Nightshade”—and, at the end of the night, kissed me. We clumsily groped each other. It was one of the most unsatisfying romantic experiences I’ve ever had. Neither of us had an orgasm. There was so much built up. We were just too young to express it all.


Shortly after, Helen ended up having sex with a friend of hers. She told me about it, of course, over the phone. That was basically the end of the relationship. I was devastated. I cried for hours and ended up staying up late, my mother holding me while we watched Grosse Pointe Blank.

Despite the heartache, I knew something had changed. This saga of virtual sex had transformed me from a horny 14-year-old boy to a horny 15-year-old man. The floodgates opened then. I kissed a few girls. Then we weren’t just kissing. Eventually, I lost my virginity to a real girl, someone I genuinely loved.

My phone-sex addiction didn’t end here. In college, I spent so much of my parents’ money on phone-sex lines that they sent me to a psychiatrist. Around that time, Helen and I reconnected. We’ve now become friends. She married and hopes to have children soon. She’s still living in Princeton, still painting and reading her horoscopes.

Out of all the addictions I’ve had in my adult life, she truly was my first, my worst, and my favorite.

Reprinted from The Good Men Project

My Dad, the UFO Expert

Fourth grade isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but for Evan Jacobs, having a dad who knew a lot about space aliens was the ticket to social acceptance. It’s been mostly downhill from there.

My father, Dr. David Jacobs, is a professor of American history at Temple University. He’s also the world’s leading researcher of UFOs and alien abductions. He’s studied the subject for 50 years, written multiple books, appeared on hundreds of television and radio shows, is cited in the works of nearly every other UFO researcher, and teaches the world’s only class on UFO phenomena.

He’s been on Howard Stern, NPR, SyFy, and the History Channel. People recognize him in the street and sometimes ask for his autograph. He is the biggest fish in a pond that couldn’t fill a shot glass.

Originally a skeptic, he’s come to believe wholeheartedly in UFOs and abductions. His research might or might not be valid—but that’s not important. What matters is that I am his son.

His research has been detrimental to his professional and personal life—it has affected me, my mother, and Alex, my brother.

It’s not that he could be a lunatic—I don’t think he is. Most scholars in the field are conspiracy theorists and raving psychotics. At worst, my dad may just be a mediocre researcher who refuses to accept that his life’s work is a psychological phenomenon. (“I wish it were,” he says, “because then I could have led a normal life.”)

It’s not even the crazies that pop up every now and then in our home life. Not exactly. In the late ’80s, a woman who claimed to be an abductee turned out to be an undiagnosed schizophrenic making up stories to get attention. She called our house over and over again until he finally cut ties with her. Years later, another woman began calling five times a day with “emergencies.” When my dad told her to quit, she undertook a smear campaign against him, sending letters to Temple University, radio shows, TV stations, and other UFO organizations in an attempt to ruin him.

These aren’t lone incidents. They come with the territory of his work. His having lunatics as peers has nurtured a tendency in Dad and me to get extremely defensive about our sanity. Me, I’m proud of his accomplishments. I essentially believe that his work, not just his scientific method, is valid. But I know that talking about it is going to elicit strange responses. To this day, I’m wary about telling people about what my dad does. But my need for attention and validation from others, combined with my need to impress and entertain, usually overrides the instinct to keep my mouth shut. So I tell anyone who will listen.


Telling people about my dad’s work usually prompts one of six responses:

1. “That’s amazing. Tell me more about it.” This is my favorite. I like talking. I like people who like listening to me. Everyone’s a winner.

2. “Cool. Hey, did you see Mad Men last night?” This is my second-favorite response—it allows me to change the subject and talk about virtually anything else. I’m known to ramble on about my dad, and I recognize that this can be boring for the listener.

3. “I have to go now.” I understand and even respect this response. UFO research does sound crazy, especially in bar conversation. I don’t expect anyone to take it seriously. Actually, when they do, I get wary. (See #4)

4. “Oh my god. I know him! I’m obsessed with aliens!” Anyone who can out-UFO me is a freak. I stay away.

5. “That explains a lot about you.” This mostly comes from my comedian friends. Har har.

6 . “Everything you believe is bullshit, and I’m going to mock you.” The problem with this response is that I am suddenly put in a position to defend my father. My dad gets this response on countless radio and television shows, when the producer decides to hire whichever astronomer happens to be free that day to provide the counter-argument.

The fact that most media outlets believe that any old astronomer is capable of refuting 50 years of research just off the top of his or her head is naïve, not to mention insulting. Of course, that’s the life Dad chose, and one he didn’t want me to have. But he’s still my dad, and like any son, my instinct is to defend him. This is the response my dad warned me about. It usually ends in a lot of drama. Or it did—when I was a kid.


I went to grade school in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. I was friendly with most of the kids there, although I was a something of an outcast, due to my rampant ADHD and several personality quirks, such as befriending girls, not enjoying sports, and throwing tantrums.

I first remember being conscious of my dad’s research in third grade. His world-renowned scholarly abilities fascinated my brother and me. You want to talk aliens? My dad can talk aliens—for hours and hours. He and his friend, Budd Hopkins, another UFO researcher, would tie up the line for up to four hours at a time. When they were through, he’d hang up the phone, turn to me, smile, and say, “Wrong number.”

When Dad would talk to me about aliens, he tended to end each lecture (he called them “conversations”) the same way. “Evan, remember, you shouldn’t tell people what I do. They’ll make fun of me, and they will make fun of you.”

“OK,” I always said. But it wasn’t OK. His being a UFO researcher was all I knew—and it was beyond cool. I couldn’t keep it quiet. Even if I didn’t find it awesome, everyone else did.

The kids at school wanted him to speak to the class. He agreed, and one day he delivered a funny and eloquent lecture that left the kids—and my teacher—in awe.

For the first time, I felt validated and accepted—and that’s putting it lightly. I felt like I had just made the game-winning touchdown at the Super Bowl. My classmates telling me my dad was cool? They might as well have hoisted me up on their shoulders.

That was in fourth grade. At the time, not only had my dad just released his first book through a major publisher, but he was touring, and they even had a show about him at the Franklin Institute’s planetarium in Philadelphia. It was objectively, empirically cool. Everyone loved him. Everyone loved aliens. Everyone loved me.

“Trust me, it won’t always be like that,” he told me.

He was right.


Fifth grade. Enter Seth.

Seth, the new kid, was tall, skinny, good-looking, and a huge jerk. He was completely unaware of the dynamics of the class. Sure, I’d been a social outcast, or at the very least tremendously unpopular, but kids would at least talk to me and knew who I was.

Nobody, except my only friend, Kalen, wanted to hang out with me outside of school, but at least they were cordial, even friendly at times. Seth knew none of this. Surely, this rookie would be put in his place by the established social order.

But Seth was a revolutionary. His personality was as large as his wit, his confidence was that of a much older sixth grader, and he was able to accrue followers by rallying them behind a common enemy: me.

I’m not sure exactly when it started, or how it started, or what exactly he said, but through constant remarks, derisive laughter, and egging on the others, Seth gradually turned the opinion of the class from “Evan’s dad is cool” to “Evan’s dad is a whack job.”

And thus I became more of a loser than I ever was.

I didn’t fight back—that wasn’t my nature. Although I didn’t agree with this new interpretation, I understood. They were no different from the many regular adults who didn’t believe in my father’s crazy theories.

“You should never get into a fight,” my dad, who had never been in a fight, would say. “But if you do, always throw the first punch.”


My situation got steadily worse as the year went on, to the point where I dreaded going to school. But what was I supposed to do, fight Seth? No, it was much safer to hate him from a distance. I wasn’t quick with a clever comeback. My responses were limited to “Nuh-uh!” or “No, I’m not!”

To make me feel better, Dad suggested Seth had been abducted and was now lashing out at me, afraid we’d uncover his secret. I didn’t care. Seth was still an asshole.

It was hopeless. Recognizing my difficulties, my parents made the decision to put me in a different school for sixth grade.

Then, at the end of the year, the dam broke. There was a fair at school—a here-comes-summer party—with tents, games, and arts and crafts. Parents and siblings were invited. My brother came. At the time, Alex was a pale 5-year-old with a shock of black hair. He was cute, precocious, and although I spent every day berating him, teasing him, and punching him, I was an extremely protective older brother.

Seth was waiting in a line, perhaps for face-painting, or lemonade, or some other innocuous childhood activity, when he saw me walking nearby with my brother—my defenseless 5-year-old brother.

“Hey Evan, is your brother an alien?”

It was at that moment when I was able to focus all the loneliness, frustration, injustice, and Tae Kwon Do lessons I’d had over the course of those years into one action. Seth smiled proudly as I approached him. He didn’t expect me to grab him by his shoulders, put my right foot behind his legs, and topple him over. Mercifully, I guided his shoulders down to the ground; he ended up on his back with me standing above him.

Sure, I hadn’t hurt him. I’m not a violent person. But I had shown him that I could have done whatever I wanted to him.

“Don’t make fun of my brother,” I growled.

He was shocked, and he never spoke another word to me, or about me, again. But then, it was the very last day of school, so he may have spent the next year speaking of me at length. But in my imagination, he never forgot how I stood up to him, and was so deeply affected that he began his own UFO research and now plans to take my father’s place when he retires.


Most often, I live happily with our family’s unique niche in the scientific community. After 50 years of research, however, my dad can’t say the same. He mentions often that he regrets getting into the alien business in the first place. Ever since his career was nearly sabotaged, he’s been depressed. My mother is now equally afflicted.

I have no regrets. The greatest thing my young self ever did was tell the world about Dad, the alien expert. I would do it again—even knowing that Seth, possibly reeling from a repressed extraterrestrial probe, was about to swoop down and ruin me. I’d do it again because the Jacobses got the last laugh. If all Seth wanted was to get me to admit that my dad was wrong, he failed miserably—he got me to realize that I cared more about my family than grade-school popularity. And that I was actually, kinda, sorta, really proud of my crazy dad.

Reprinted from The Good Men Project

The Prostitute Who (Almost) Saved My Relationship

I met my ex-girlfriend by replying unironically to an ironic Craigslist ad seeking a man who had scored highly on the SATs. She told me I’d intrigued her. Half Czech and half Colombian, she had cute, squinty eyes and hair like liquorice. Her body was soft and curvy; her wit was sharp. On our first date, we ended up at a bar that seemed to attract only polo-wearing ex-frat boys. About 90 minutes into it, she asked, “So are we going to make out, or what?”

By our fourth date, we were dipping our toes in the ocean of couplehood. There was only one problem: I had made a decision weeks earlier that had me excited, even obsessed. I was days away from a two-week trip to Amsterdam, and I was going to get a hooker.


Being an overachieving Jewish social outcast had warped my sense of self-worth and my definition of a healthy sexual relationship. My love life did have its successes, but more often, it had spectacular failures: girls who had never showed for dates, denied me their numbers (or even names), or pulled their heads away when I went in for a kiss.

But now I was in New York, the land of the single-and-looking. I was set on reversing course. I was determined to outshine those charming and attractive guys from my young adulthood who never had my problems.

To this day, I have never been to a strip club (even a Hooters). Being so close to raw objectification makes me uneasy. But Amsterdam had something New York didn’t: a completely legal and regulated sex industry whose workers are healthy and don’t answer to pimps. If anyone was going to be objectified, I thought, it was going to be me.

I was young. There was a whole world of experiences out there—some innocent, some vile—and I wanted it all. The seedier elements of society had always fascinated me. And because I was paying for the sex, I could take the opportunity to try things that I had been too embarrassed to propose to anyone else. How could I notdo it? I convinced myself I would regret it if I didn’t.

I had never cheated on a girlfriend and didn’t plan to start, but the girl I was dating was not technically agirlfriend yet. We hadn’t discussed being exclusive, although I was, and I suspected she was, too. Still, I didn’t feel right withholding my agenda from her.

One night before I left, I told her my plan. She reacted with calm kindness, telling me she completely understood, and had she been going, she would probably get one as well. Yeah, right, I thought. But I convinced myself to take her word for it.


On the first day in Amsterdam, my friends and I walked through the red-light district. Each street was tiny, coated in dust, and lined with glass doors. Women stood behind the doors, watching, beckoning, sometimes standing with their hands on their hips, sometimes dancing.

Some doors had the shades drawn, signifying occupancy—or maybe a lunch break. There were groups of giggling frat brothers at some windows, businessmen at others. Occasionally, I’d see a middle-aged man walking alone, smoking a cigarette, making eye contact with nobody.

It was at this point, this first encounter with the red-light district, when I realized I was actually going to go through with my plan. Part of me had hoped—expected—that I would back out at the last second. I had changed my mind several times on the airplane. But when I saw the prostitutes smile at me, I felt my face flush and my stomach dance with the same butterflies I got as a teenager—I was hooked.


When my friends fell asleep after midnight on our second day, I walked alone to the red-light district. I made my way around nervously, searching for the right woman. Many were old, large, or unattractive. I wondered how they even made a living when faced with much younger, much more beautiful competition.

But where was the competition? I began to think I was making a mistake.

Just after I had given up on the whole idea, an extremely attractive woman caught my eye and opened her door for me. With a head of thin, dark-brown curls, and a slim, toned body, she resembled a young Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I swallowed hard and went in.

The room was bathed in soft red light. There was a coat-rack, a small rug, and a bed the size of an operating table. But for the red bulb, the room felt like a hospital. It was clean and furnished for efficiency. I wasn’t about to have sex, I was about to be processed.

We shook hands. She told me her name: Mila. We talked. I asked her why she was doing this; she told me she needed to pay her way through medical school. I would have believed her if she’d told me she was a disguised space alien researching human sexuality.

I was stammering and stuttering. “Is this your first time?” she asked. I hoped I didn’t look like a guy who had paid for sex before. Of course it was my first time with a prostitute. “Yes,” I told her. It wasn’t until the next day that it occurred to me that she thought she was taking my virginity.

She asked what I wanted, and I suggested something, well, slightly exotic. “Two hundred euros,” she told me. Way too expensive. Perhaps I should have just backed out then, but she looked so kind. She counter-suggested “the usual” for 50 euros. “OK,” I said.

We made love quickly and joylessly. We didn’t kiss. Our arms touched a couple of times. Then it was over.


I thanked her as I backed out of the small foyer. There is no obvious post-coital etiquette with prostitutes. She smiled, and for a second, looking at her, I believed everything was going to be fine; she was going to reveal that this had all been a dream, and I really wasn’t anything like the sleazy men in the rooms around me. Then, as I stepped backward through the door and onto the street, my heel hit the threshold, and I fell on my ass.

Mercifully, she didn’t laugh—she looked genuinely worried and asked me if I was OK.

Was I OK? I had just cheated on an intelligent, beautiful woman, just weeks into our relationship. My friends would judge me. I was judging myself already. I felt cheap. Shame washed over me. All this for one loveless orgasm?

She put her hand out to help me up, and I grabbed it. Yeah, I was OK. Still intoxicated from substances and adrenaline, I stumbled back to my hotel and passed out on top of the covers.


Eight days later, arriving at Newark, I was a wreck. Various debauched activities had taken their emotional and physical toll. As soon as I was home, I called the girl I was dating, and went to her place. We spoke for about a minute before I blurted out, “I did it. I’m sorry. I did it.”

She wasn’t pleased. I started crying. “You told me it was OK!” I yelled. “Well,” she said, “I didn’t think you would actually do it!”

She wanted me to leave, but I demanded that she let me stay, to try to salvage our relationship. The next day, she was still fuming. But to my amazement, she wanted to keep seeing me.

Over the next few months, my thoughts about her wavered. The usual stuff: did I really like her? Was she right for me? Did she make me happy? Every time I came close to thinking the answer was no, I couldn’t get past her caring enough for me to forgive me. What was worse, I knew that I wouldn’t have done the same.

After five good months, she told me she loved me. For the first time, I let go of my fear of commitment. The old instinct to sabotage my relationships was gone. I told her I loved her, too, and I felt liberated. I smiled for days straight. Rainbows formed and birds sang. I was happy.

Then she dumped me.


On the two occasions we discussed our breakup, I accused her of finally dumping me because of what happened in Amsterdam. But she always denied it. She was never actually in love with me, she said, and she could only see it when I returned the sentiment. No, it wasn’t the prostitute. It was just me.

Maybe she was telling the truth. After all, for a young 20-something in New York City, the only thing scarier than a partner who is unfaithful is one who is too faithful. I’ve shied away from women simply because they said they liked me. It’s that old Groucho Marx bit: if she’s interested in me, sometimes I have to wonder what kind of mental disorder she has.

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced: it was the very fact that I decided to go to a prostitute that allowed the relationship to last as long as it did. Had I tapped into the same insecurities that compel women to fall for jerks? In that moment, I was a complete and utter asshole. When I told her I loved her, and she didn’t have to battle her insecurities anymore, the excitement and attraction evaporated.

And at some point toward the end of the relationship, she had met someone else. He could’ve been an excuse to leave me. He could’ve been love at first sight. I’ll never know.

Sometimes I think about the woman in Amsterdam, and I wonder if she’s treating patients in a hospital, or if she’s in that same room, treating patients of another kind. I hope she remembers me—if only as the stammering, stuttering virgin who fell on his ass on the way out the door.

Reprinted from The Good Men Project

Writing Jerk: Grammar Note

The most recent edition of that horrible magazine Entertainment Weekly (see another entry on that) had the following in its bullseye section:

“Boss’ star blah blah blah”

It took me several seconds to realize that they were referring to the show Boss, starting Frasier Crane.

Why did it take me several seconds to realize it? Because it broke several rules of grammar and usage, and, in fact, broke the ones that I cherish the most, the first rule in The Elements of Style.

Names that end in s take ‘s as their possesive form (with the exclusion of bible characters such as Jesus, Moses, etc. But even then, it’s best to use the “of” construction.”)

People think that any word that ends in s takes no ‘s in its possessive form. This is wrong and stupid. People who think this are wrong and are being stupid (they can remedy this).

Let’s get this straight, you losers, by which I mean the entire population of English speakers: The only words that end in an apostrophe are PLURALS THAT END IN S.

So, the boys’ locker room. The girls’ bachelorette party. The zombies’ assault. My balls’ sensitivity.

Each of these snippets has to do with a group of things. A group of boys. A group of girls. A herd of zombies. A couple of balls.

Now, let’s try it with words that end in s.

The bus’s wheels. The bass’s mouth. Maize’s healing properties.

Here we see the different sounds we can get with s, and even the dreaded “triple s.”

Okay, with me so far?

Now, let’s take names. Guess what? THE SAME RULES APPLY.

Tom Cruise’s new movie. (I once heard Letterman say “Tom Cruise’ new movie.”)

Evan Jacobs’s blog.

Boss’s character blah blah blah.

They are pronounced like this:




How can I prove that I’m right?

1. Treating names likes this makes them consistent with all the rules of grammar.

2. Strunk and White say so.

3. It’s LESS confusing like this.

Let’s take a look at 3. Grammar exists for one reason alone, so that everyone has a set of rules by which to create sentences that everyone else can understand. When it comes down to a rule, the answer is always the one that reduces confusion and advocates clarity.

Let’s see how this stupid misconception (which, like my least favorite misconceptions, comes from a place of people attempting to sound educated) makes things more confusing.

When Letterman said, “Tom Cruise’ new movie,” has I not known who Tom Cruise was, I could have inferred two things.

1. His name is Tom Crew.

2. There are several people names Tom Crew and they all have a movie together.

In the written form, I could have inferred several things

1. The rules of grammar have been raped.

2. There is a dropped letter at the end of his name.

3. Cruise’ is a word from a different language that uses apostrophes willy-nilly, like arabic or hebrew.

How about Evan Jacobs’ blog?

1. My name is Evan Jacob.

2. There are several people named Evan Jacob and they all share a blog with me.

Boss’ star blah blah

1. The show is called Boss’.

2. The show is about more than one Bos. (That would still be “boses”).

3. Magazine editors are morons.

For some reason, people think that it’s confusing to have a “zez” or “sez” sound at the end of a word, or, on the other hand, having an “s’s” or an “ss’s” or even a “z’s.” It isn’t confusing, it’s the opposite, clarifying. Please, please, please, stop being stupid and start using an ‘s when in doubt.

New Blog Starting

I haven’t written a blog in a while. I’ve written articles. I’ve written reviews. I’ve written memoirs. But as for an actual blog, it’s been a few years. And I don’t know why I’ve started to write one now. Probably, I have a subconscious desire to sell the blog and make money, like my fellow alum Tucker Max, or like a thousand other writers of similar age who have already sold books.

The difference is this time, my blog has an aim. The subject is how to be happy, healthy, and successful. I guess. Maybe the subject is how I’m going to get myself out of this deep hole of shit I seem to have submerged myself in. In the interest of keeping things short, let’s just cover my status for now, and see what I can change.

Weight: 207

Relationship status: Single, in a committed relationship.

Literary status: No agent, nothing published.

Job: Working 21 hours a week at a college in Manhattan.

Salary: Approx. 24000.

Exercise: Running 3-7 times a week.

Books I’m actively reading: Moby Dick, Foundation and Earth.

Books I’m listening to: Ender’s Shadow.

Diet: Low glycemic index diet.

Watching: Married… With Children

Playing: infamous

I guess I’m not going to update all of these every time I write. And how often that is I don’t know. So let’s keep it this way for now. 

The Story Of Me Being Heckled At An Open Mic

So last night, I did an open mic, and even brought a friend along, something which I never do, because, as all comics know, open mics are soul-sucking, boring, and even unhealthy. This particular open mic was called “SuperEgo,” and is hosted by the lovely Dale Sorenson and the very gay Michelle Dobrawsky. Wait, I got that backwards. No, I didn’t.

To bring you up to speed, on this particular day, the lovely Ken Schultz was hosting, but Dale was still there. Dale spends more time talking about being gay than he spends actually doing gay things. Now, I’m not a homophobe, I’m just frightened to death of gay people. After all, what if they turn me gay? I’m kidding. However, I do like making fun of Dale. When I was a younger comic, I used to make fun of him for being gay. But then I realized that was too easy, and as far as I could tell, I haven’t seen Dale do anything gay in his entire life. He just seems to bitch about it a lot. So I’ve changed my story way of making fun of Dale to the way where I claim that he isn’t gay and just wants people to think he is. I also tend to make fun of his nerdiness, but that’s neither here nor there.

So I start going into my set, and just going to fuck with Dale for the first couple minutes. I’m doing the first part of my joke and going off the cuff and I’m not getting anything really, which is okay, because it wasn’t like I was married to the material. During a set up, I here:


Um, what? Who could possibly be shouting at me at a Superego open mic, especially after I have followed comics who were doing just as well as me. So I ask him.

“What did you say?”

“Next fucking comic, man. Come on.”

Now I’m pissed. Like, livid. I didn’t really care if this thought I was funny. In fact, I really don’t care, at any given show, if anyone thinks I’m funny. Well, I do, but at the same time, I don’t. I’m past a joke bombing and ruining my set. I can move past a bad joke.

So, I spent the rest of my time kind of asking him questions and insulting him. It actually went pretty well, and, in fact, once I started talking to him, I couldn’t resist continuing to do so. I was kind of addicted to it.

It was pretty good practice, and you can watch the video here.

After I went up, some people talked about the heckler, some didn’t, but he kept heckling, and nobody talked to him directly, which I found strange. I think the other comics might have been afraid of doing so. But, to tell you the truth, I was terrified. My leg was shaking the entire time, though the vibrations didn’t push against the sides of my pants, so it was hard to tell. I was afraid and I was angry, and after it was over, I stayed angry for the next couple hours.

It turned out that the heckler wasn’t a comic at all (I dont’ know why I even believed anything he had to say) but was friends with the second to last comic who went on, who was obviously a very uneducated white male who didn’t know how to overcome the obstacles his friend had put in front of him. Also, he was a beginner comic, so his jokes weren’t the best in the world. He also came across as misogynistic and frankly, stupid. But then again, I’m a judgmental asshole.

At the end of this very awkward show, Michelle Dobrawsky went up on stage and told the heckler to get the fuck out. There was a long period of silence, which was utterly awkward. Then I said “Dude, just listen to her and go.”

The heckler got up and said:

“You want me to go? Okay, I’ll go. But I’m going to finish my drink first.” At which point, he finished his vodka tonic in one large chug and placed it on the table.

“Maybe I should take my balls out,” he said, gesticulating to his crotch. Thankfully, he didn’t take his balls out.

His friend, meekly tried to get him to leave the room. The heckler stumbled out to the hallway, not without saying to Michelle

“Hey, you could stand to lose a few pounds.”


Anyway, that’s basically the heckler story.

I’m a terrible person!

My new story that I posted about me and myself and also this guy I know who is me. It’s about me being a horrible human being.

The Prostitute Who (Almost) Saved My Relationship