The following are some terms/concepts encountered or developed in Sex in the Title.
Straight as a Ten-dollar Bill — a man who is unquestionably heterosexual (this phrase is a corrollary to “queer as a 2-dollar bill”).
SQ (short for “Sexual Quotient”) — a measure of how sexually attractive someone is. In Sex in the Title, Sammy gives Evan a detailed explanation of how SQ is calculated.
Bagel Jew — someone who may be technically Jewish (i.e., born to a Jewish parent) but who knows almost nothing about Judaism despite regularly associating with Jews and/or enjoying Jewish food, culture, humor, or neuroses.
Whiplash Libby (short for “Whiplash Libido”) — used to describe anyone suffering from attention deficit disorder in a situation where the failure to focus on a single prospect – out of the many present – leaves the person empty-handed with a neck sore from whiplash.
Kojak (also “Kojakness” or, as a verb, “Kojaking”) – The inspiration to act like a badass regardless of any obvious challenges that may stand in the way of the objective at hand. Based on the eponymous police detective character played by actor Telly Savalas. In the TV series, the Kojak character is totally bald, but such a badass that you would never think it mattered.
Jewdar — the ability to detect and target someone who is single and Jewish before most other people can (similar to “Gaydar”).
Chiggah — An Asian who has convincingly adopted black urban/ghetto culture. In Sex in the Title, Narc was the only non-black member of the basketball gang with whom he regularly played ball on the court near the Newark, New Jersey home where he grew up. The other players fondly dubbed him the “Chinese Niggah,” which they soon shortened to “Chiggah.” Narc embraced the term as a token of respect and acceptance from his basketball “brothas.”
Insufficient Mileage – when you have “insufficient mileage” for the upgrade that you’re attempting, it means that you’re hitting on someone out of your league. In Sex in the Title, Heeb always flies coach, Carlos always flies first class, and everyone else flies in business class, unless an exceptionally good hair day is involved.
Idol Impotence — the inability to become sexual with that which one deifies, for fear of disappointing or defiling it.
Home Wrecker — pursuing someone who’s clearly taken. This term is usually accompanied by a standard warning: collapsing homes can cause severe bodily harm to those in the immediate vicinity.
The Law of Subjective Progress — the psychological phenomenon that prevents someone from retracing a path just taken. For example, when a New Yorker who has just crossed from Midtown East to Midtown West would (irrationally) prefer to go to a slightly farther destination in a different direction than return to Midtown East. The theory posits that humans subconsciously associate their geographical location with their overall life progress, making it hard to convince them to return to the area that they just left.
TH (short for “Traffic Hazard”) — a woman so stunningly hot that she’s likely to take a man’s eyes off the road and possibly cause a traffic accident.
Relationship Password — Every person is a puzzle with a password. By solving the puzzle, the potential for emotional and physical intimacy is realized. There are two ways to solve the puzzle: 1) a lengthy courtship in which the pieces of the puzzle are gradually assembled, or 2) a brief utterance of that one password – unique to every person – that establishes the same level of legitimacy, comfort, and intimacy that can otherwise be achieved only through a methodical assembly of the various puzzle pieces found during numerous experiences together.
Sex in the Title features the following illustration of how a “relationship password” could work: “Suppose for a moment that Melody had come from a Kurdish dissident family in Northern Iraq, and Sammy had been a leading Kurdish activist in Eastern Turkey, and the two had never met before their random encounter on a New York City bus. Upon correctly intuiting that Melody was also a Kurd, Sammy could utter a few sentences in Kurdish in which he praised the beauties of a town that happened to be Melody’s village, which Sammy had visited in 1999 while on a political mission to negotiate the release from an Iraqi prison of a famous dissident, Mahmoud Ahmet – a man who, unbeknownst to Sammy, happened to be her father. These highly specific and personally significant sentences would effectively constitute a password that would instantly convert complete strangers into potential lovers. This password would have the same power to create intimacy as would an eight-month courtship between two strangers who have almost nothing in common. In reality, Sammy and Melody had far less in common than the Kurds on the New York City bus, but the specificity of Heeb’s apparent knowledge about Melody produced the same net effect.
Penilosophy — the worldview (developed by Heeb and Evan in Sex in the Title), which posits that the penis is the source of all significant acts – good and bad – produced by men. From the Trojan Wars prompted by Helen eloping with Paris, to the muse that Beatrice was to Dante, to the castration suffered by Abelard for his love of Heloise, Heeb and Evan came up with various examples of how the course of a man’s life is determined by the compass of his penis. They then theorize about how the collection of the world’s men being directed by their members in turn impacts the direction of technology, world events, and other big-picture issues.
Power to Reject — A psychological technique employed by Evan and Sammy — after a long period of failure — to boost their morale when approaching women. When men have no intention of actually succeeding with the women they approach, they can more easily reject these women. “The Power to Reject” shifts the burden of proof from the pursuer to the pursued. Women who were once thought of as unattainable become subject to rejection. And the men whose confidence has been bolstered by the “Power to Reject” become that much more elusive and unattainable to the women around them.
Subway Dilemma — as Evan explains in Sex in the Title, this is the quandary that occurs when you’ve been waiting ten minutes too long for the subway to arrive: “At that point, you already feel painfully invested in the next train, and you’re afraid that if you give up, you’ll not only lose the time you invested, but you’ll just barely miss the train, because the longer you’ve been waiting for it, the more likely it is to arrive right after you give up and leave.”