Sex and the Single Pig-Faced Man

Not long ago, a man in Taiwan went to a plastic surgeon so he could look more like a pig for the new year. The man, not the surgeon. Amazingly the doctor was very unpig-like and refused, which points out a major cultural difference between the two countries: in Taiwan if you refuse to do unneeded surgery you get your name in the newspaper, in the U.S. you get thrown out of the AMA, the house, and the country club.

The man wanted to have this done so he could marry Miss Piggy without being prosecuted for miscegenation or bestiality. Just kidding. Actually it was Rosie O'Donnell. Kidding again. The truth is, Chinese tradition says that the shape of your face determines your luck in life, so he figured that changing his face would change his luck. The only other place where this belief is widely held is Hollywood, which explains why they have more plastic surgeons than stars in the sidewalk, though Hollywood being halfway around the world, the doctors perform the surgical procedure the opposite way -- they turn pigs into box office successes.

According to the China Times Express (motto: "All the news they let us print"), it's not uncommon for people in Taiwan to try to improve their lot in life by having moles removed, noses reshaped, or be smuggled out of the country in a small crate along with 487 now close friends. Even so, this was an odd request. True, the pig is considered to be a symbol of wealth and a comfortable life, but how comfortable would your life be if you walked around with a pig nose? People would stare, children would laugh, there's no way in hell they'd let you near an all-you-can-eat dim sum restaurant, and Allah help you if you even thought about going to a Muslim country.

On the other hand, it could help you get a job as spokesperson for Smithfield hams. I think a Taiwanese Frank Perdue with a corkscrew tail is just what they need to get people eating more country hams. If that didn't work out you could always appear at openings for barbecued rib stands, hire Al Gore's attorneys to sue the NFL for kicking your immediate family through the goal posts, and be a stand-in for Bill Gates when he pigs out by buying yet another company which has a great idea his couldn't come up with.

It could be worse. The Chinese New Year is coming up and it will usher in the Year of the Snake. I'm not concerned that people will decide they want tails with rattles or split tongues, after all, this is Taiwan we're talking about, not San Francisco. But I do know that I don't want to be standing in the doorway at the Taipei Plastic Surgery Clinic and Discount Noodle House when men come rushing in for their year-end penis enlargement operations. Though you have to admit, of all the things they could change, this is probably the one that would do the most to change their luck.

And lord knows they could use it. Sex in Taiwan, it turns out, is a sometimes thing. Okay, so I'm not one to talk, but that's a personal problem, not a national one. According to the Global Sex Survey conducted by Durex condoms (motto: "If everyone used one all the time eventually we'd be out of business"), the average person in Taiwan has sex 78 times a year. The survey didn't say whether this included Jo-Jo the Pig-faced Boy, but I suspect he'd have sex about half that often. If he was lucky. And paid. Dearly.

Contrast this with the U.S., where people say they have sex an average of 132 times a year. This verifies something we've always suspected: Americans are not only more obsessed with sex, but also the world's biggest liars. The Japanese, on the other hand, came in dead last, and dead may be a good word for it. They have sex an average of 37 times a year, which is about once every ten days, or about as often as some South American countries change their president.

In Germany, which came in 13th, people claim to have sex an average of 97 times a year. While this appears to be much better than the Japanese, you have to factor in a survey the German newspaper Bild reported that said 4 in 10 German women are unhappy with their lovers. This means the German DSR (Discounted Sex Rate) is actually 58 times a year, putting them next to last. After all, unlike Americans, Europeans are concerned with quality, not just quantity.

Interestingly, men claim to be more sexually active than women, making love 103 times a year compared to 88. No matter how I look at these figures I keep thinking it should come out evenly. I'm not sure if this is because men not only think oral sex isn't intercourse, but also that masturbation is. Or maybe Durex just neglected to release the survey figures for sheep, plastic blow-up dolls, and pig-nosed Taiwanese men.

It's hard to say for certain if changing your face will improve your sex life, but I'm sure there are people who will continue to try. And why shouldn't they? There are a lot of things we do hoping to change our luck. We carry rabbit's feet, lucky amulets, and platinum credit cards to flash around. We have our tarot cards read, our horoscopes cast, and pull D&B reports before going on a date. Hope springs eternal. And if we're still not lucky there's always the American way: lie.

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