Christmas List

Dear Santa,

I know you’re busy this time of year.  I know you’re probably inundated with adorable letters from adorable children; children who have probably spent their year trying to be good instead of calling people doucheboxes on the internet and secretly harboring fantasies of tripping people on the bus that were mean to them like I have.  So I’m not going to ask for anything too crazy or expensive, because I just might not deserve it.  But I’ve put together a list that I think will benefit everyone should you choose to grant any of my Christmas wishes.

1.  No more twerking.

2.  A do-over button on Candy Crush for when you notice the move you should have made right after swiping out something useless.

3.  A worldwide, yearlong ban on Kanye West’s name being mentioned in the media.  If any media outlet slips up and runs a story on him or even says his name, they face a punishment of spending an entire day with him and Kim telling each other how amazing, special, and talented they are.  No breaks, even for vomiting.

4.  The Blacklist should be a weekly show all year long – none of this “Season Finale” nonsense until we find Red.

5.  A pop-up box on Facebook anytime a user tries to share a story that says, “Are you sure?  Have you checked Snopes?”

6.  Speaking of Facebook, AnE1 WhO PoSTs a STaTus ThAt LoOks lieK DIs has to go back to third grade for two days.

7. Ditto to anyone who says “supposably,” “irregardless,” or “Valentimes day.”

8.  Every year at this time, we retire one awful Christmas song in the rotation and replace it with a new, good one.  This year I vote we switch “Wonderful Christmastime,” with “Underneath the Tree.”  Sorry, Sir Paul, but Kelly Clarkson rocks that shit and your song?  SUCKS.  So hard.

9.  My neighbor to please drop his new habit of whistling like a mass murderer as he’s walking up the stairs in the middle of the night so as to ease my night terrors.

10. Please let Jay Cutler not throw any interceptions in the endzone this Sunday; I simply cannot handle any more controversy.  (I know this will happen before Christmas, but trust me as I believe in you, if you lived in Chicago, you would feel my pain.)

11. Every news story about a celebrity or athlete being arrested or just generally being a moron is to be counteracted by a story of an athlete or celebrity doing something good.  There are more like Andre Johnson than there are like Lindsay Lohan.

12. Anyone cataloguing the triumphant exploits of their Elf on a Shelf must also show the aftermath, whether that be the cleanup or the careful explanation of why Elfie was in the car with Barbie to begin with.

13. On a personal note, I would like a nonstick pan.  And by nonstick pan, I mean nonstick even when it comes to eggs, or at least an honest advertisement which states, “Nonstick unless you are cooking eggs, in which case you’re going to be really mad trying to clean this.”

Pretty please Santa?  If you can’t accommodate them all, maybe just a few?  Or if you only pick one, can it please be the Kanye ban?

Merry Christmas,

Courtney

Also, can I get my cat to sit still long enough to take a fun picture like this?

Also, can I get my cat to sit still long enough to take a fun picture like this?

 

 

 

 

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Have you ever been reading through Facebook and come across a story, eagerly clicking a story only to be disappointed when you realize it’s actually a fake headline from “The Onion?”  This week has been the opposite of that.

MICHIGAN ‘RAPE INSURANCE’ BILL PASSES INTO LAW

TEEN WHO KILLED FOUR DRIVING DRUNK SPARED JAIL BECAUSE HIS RICH PARENTS SPOILED HIM

SIX-YEAR-OLD WHO KISSED CLASSMATE GETS SEXUAL HARASSMENT SUSPENSION

There is so much wrong with this bill in Michigan I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll try.  The gist of it is that abortion will not be covered by any private health-care plan unless it threatens the life of the mother.  This includes cases of rape.  In black and white and at its worst, this means that if you live in the state of Michigan and become pregnant due to rape, if you do not have the additional rider your state government so generously offered you, your health care will not cover or even subsidize an abortion.  So now, aside from dealing with the trauma of sexual assault, and aside from dealing with the physicality of becoming pregnant, and aside from dealing with the stigma that already comes with being raped, if you are strong enough to still stand up and demand an abortion, you have some more difficult decisions to make.  There’s basically three options for you here: go to a back-alley doctor that you can afford, have the child and give it up for adoption – because you certainly need more mental anguish and pain at this point, or have the child and try to deal with it.  Sounds great, right?  Certainly a decision someone in a fragile mental state who has just been violated in the most personal of ways should have to make.

Of course, supporters are all bent out of shape that it’s being called “rape insurance,” saying that’s not what it is, it’s simply not covering a procedure that not everyone believes in.  Untrue.  Rape insurance is exactly what it is.  That is telling a woman that has become pregnant due to rape that she should have had the foresight to purchase said rider.  That is telling women everywhere that, when deciding on their health-care coverage, they need to think about just how likely it is that they’ll be sexually assaulted and how they would respond should the unthinkable happen.  That is telling mothers and fathers that when deciding on what coverage their young daughter needs, there is a price on their body should it be violated.  This is blaming the victim at its very definition, and you aren’t going to convince me otherwise.  “Oh, not every woman wanting an abortion is a rape victim!”  This is correct.  And not every sixty-year old with a Viagra prescription is banging his secretary, either.  But plenty of them are – should we start questioning their motives for needing it?

Moving on.  Is there a bigger piece of shit than defense attorney Scott Brown, who successfully argued his client out of a 20-year jail sentence for killing four people while drunk, other than possibly the judge or this kid’s father?  I don’t really think so.  If you haven’t seen this yet, the short version of this story is that Ethan Couch, a wealthy teen in Texas, robbed a Wal-Mart, got wasted to more than twice the legal limit, went out driving in his truck looking for more booze, and killed four innocent people, injuring and paralyzing several others.  His attorneys used the defense of “affluenza,” arguing that he was too privileged, overindulged, not taught that there are consequences to actions because his parents did not instill these values in him.

I’m not even lending credence to the fact that this was an allowable argument.  To me, this is a pretty clear case of mommy and daddy have money, paid off the judge and psychologist and hired a brilliant attorney.  (I said he was a piece of shit.  I stand by that.  However, he did his job, and certainly did it well.)  If Ethan had been a poor child with a crackhead for a mother who had been exposed to drugs, violence, and rage his whole life; if he had been left to fend for himself from a young age because his father wasn’t around to teach him right from wrong and went out and shot and killed someone, does that mean he gets a free pass as well?  What’s the difference?  How should he have known better when Ethan Couch couldn’t have?  I bet there are an awful lot of gangbangers down in Cook County that would like to know.  This decision is more than proving the argument that money fixes everything, but that isn’t the biggest issue.  The biggest issue here is that this ruling sets a precedent that allows the defense, “I didn’t know any better.”  It opens up a whole new world of loopholes and defense attorneys arguing that there are logical reasons for breaking the law.  I’m not saying that money bought Ethan Couch a happy life or that he doesn’t have problems.  But he is NOT a child that doesn’t know right from wrong.

Which brings me to my next point.  Little Hunter Yelton in Colorado – him, we expect to understand that there is apparently a fine line between being a child and being a sexual predator.  A six-year-old boy who kissed his “girlfriend,” on the hand during class was not only suspended, but suspended under the reason of sexual harassment.  How heartbreaking, on so many levels.  One, that this child, expressing his affection for a little girl, now has to be taught what sexual harassment is; his mother now has the fun task of explaining sex to a six-year old who probably has only been using the big boy toilet for a couple of years.  Two, that we made this happen.  We did.  Everyone is coming down on the school district – how dare they?  What were they thinking?  It was an innocent little kiss, how could they label him like that?  Folks?  The school district did exactly what they had to do.  We tie their hands in matters like this.  Same as the children who get suspended for pointing a finger like a gun, who innocently bring a knife that their grandfather gave them to show and tell, who get suspended for picking up a drunk friend because it violates school policy.  We have forced our schools to adopt a zero-tolerance policy, and then when a situation arises that showcases the ridiculousness of said policy, we turn around and blame the people that we are insisting enforce it.

I remember my first crush – I was in kindergarten.  His name was Bobby Rossi.  I don’t remember much about him other than he had brownish hair and I think he wore a plaid shirt. Did he ever kiss me on the hand?  I have no idea.  I was five and my memory of that time is pretty much limited to riding my bike and having a Cabbage Patch doll.   But I do remember Danny and Scott and Joey and Jeff when I was in elementary school; I remember giggling like only little girls can and teasing (or, let’s be honest, I’m sure I was the one being teased,) about kissing a boy.  How do we teach our kids about healthy relationships between boys and girls?  We don’t allow for innocence anymore.  If parents today could see some of the “love letters,” that were passed around in my elementary school, we’d probably all be hauled down to the counselor.  Not because they were overly sexual – I’m pretty sure I was at least 13 before I completely understood how sex actually worked, and even then I was a little cloudy about the logistics – but because they were outright professions of affection.  “I love Joey and when I grow up he’s going to be my boyfriend forever and ever like my mommy and daddy.”  What do teachers today do with that note?  Is it a conference?  Do we have to tell Joey’s parents that there’s a little girl bound and determined to trap him into wedlock?  Do we tell the little girl she needs to find another way to be happy and that boys aren’t always the answer?  One thing is pretty clear – we’re not going to leave it to the kids to figure it out.  We’re too suspicious; we’re too focused on the underlying meaning.  We don’t consider that children are children, and at the core, they don’t have ulterior motives.  They say and do what they think and feel.  That’s it.

One thing is clear.  For all of our intelligence, we live in one fucked up country. In one week, we’ve set women’s rights back about thirty years, let a murderer go free because he’s rich, and slapped a first grader with the label of sex offender for simply acting like a child.  One week.  Let’s make the next one better, shall we?

I bet what they have to say makes more sense than the shit we put up this week.

I bet what they have to say makes more sense than the shit we put up this week.

Politically Correct and Stupid

You know how sometimes you hear or read something, and something about it just sticks with you for awhile?  You’re not sure what it is or why, but it just keeps rolling around in your subconscious until you have to do something about it, like Google it or ask a friend, “Hey, I know this sounds stupid, but have you ever heard of insert your own weird thought because it’s driving me crazy?” You know what I mean?  You’re watching TV and someone uses some off-the-wall phrase like “cattywhompus,” and wham, you’re thinking about second grade for two weeks before you connect the dots that the lunch lady at your elementary school used to say that all the time.  Or you can’t get a song out of your head for six days and don’t know why until you realize it’s because the singer pronounced something incorrectly and NOW it’s really driving you crazy.

That’s been me this week.  I read an article the other day – which I can’t find, and for that I am sorry to not give proper credit to what I’m sure is a great organization – regarding a group that is raising money and donating meals to those in need this holiday season.  I haven’t been able to get it out of my head all week, and I couldn’t figure out why.  While I’d like to say it was an epiphany about helping the less fortunate, some guiding force telling me to stop whining about taking the bus and instead focus on giving, that’s not it.  I try and give when I can, whether it’s a coffee to my homeless buddy Kevin at the blue line or a buck to the Streetwise guy on the corner, and while that certainly isn’t winning me any philanthropy awards, I knew it wasn’t guilt about not contributing more than I do.  Nope, it was something different.  Why couldn’t I get this damn article out of my head?

“Food Insecure.”

My brain finally caught up with my subconscious and realized it wasn’t about the article or the organization; it was stuck on one little phrase that didn’t fully register.  And when it did, I thought, “What the fuck?  Food insecure??  That’s what we’re saying now?”  Then I did some Google searching and apparently this isn’t new.  This is the actual term that the USDA uses to describe those who are unable to put food on their table.  Hunger is apparently not a problem anymore.  No one is going hungry.  They are simply food insecure.

Does this ring like a sack of BS to anyone else? It makes poverty sound so patronizingly trivial, “Oh, you’re not hungry.  You’re food insecure.”  Just the word insecure takes away the significance.  You’re insecure about your looks, about your talent, about your job, about measuring up to someone else’s standards.  Being insecure is a personal issue, a feeling that one has.  If I heard the term “food insecure,” outside of this context, I would assume it was being applied to a person who is uncomfortable with what they eat, who is worried about what food they put in their mouth.  The first definition that comes up in Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary for the word “insecure,” is as follows: “Not confident about yourself or your ability to do things well.”  Well, that’s nice.  Now you’re hungry AND being judged for it.  That certainly gives off a bunch of good feels, doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing.  There’s a difference between being worried about feeding your family on a short budget for a week and being hungry.  I would wager that a good portion of middle-class families whom we wouldn’t normally consider “hungry,” have gotten their paycheck, looked at their bills, and thought, “Shit.  How am I going to stretch a hundred dollars to feed us for the next two weeks?”  That’s worrisome.  That’s not being comfortable with your situation.  That’s buying whatever meat is on sale and skipping take-out and eliminating morning coffee; it’s eating pasta when you want a steak and leftovers instead of a sandwich from the deli.  And that sucks.  It does.  But that’s not being hungry.  Literally coming home to nothing in the refrigerator or pantry, going to work on an empty stomach – that’s not insecure.  That’s hungry.

I don’t know why this struck such a chord with me – I’m certainly not in danger of going hungry.  If anything, I am a little *too* secure with my food, as in, “Well, of course I can eat all of these mashed potatoes tonight, I can make more tomorrow!”  It just seems that by changing the definition, by using the politically correct term instead of the word that defines the problem of hunger, we dehumanize it.  Think about it.  Take a picture of an average-looking man with the caption, “I am food insecure.”  Then take the exact same picture of the exact same man and change the caption to “I am hungry.”  Which one gets your attention??

There’s many, many terms in our lexicon that we don’t use – at least in polite company – anymore, instead opting for the PC term.  These are usually terms that can be construed as insulting, demeaning, downright mean or ignorant. Hungry isn’t one of them.  Hunger is hunger, and to call it something else simply does a disservice to an entire population that didn’t get dinner tonight.

Insecurity.  A million strong and growing.

Insecurity. A million strong and growing.

****All jokes and ranting aside – if you’re in Chicago and would like to help, please visit No 1 Goes Hungry to see how you can provide for a family this holiday season****

Blame the Media! Blame the Media!

I saw this video yesterday entitled “How the Media Failed Women in 2013,” and it confused the hell out of me.  It’s only about three minutes long, take a look.

Am I the only one that thinks the message got a little lost here?  Don’t get me wrong, overall, I think The Representation Project, which produced the video, has a great mission and anyone striving to make the world a better and fairer place should be commended.  But this particular video completely missed the mark to me for a couple of reasons.

One, women did a lot of great things this year.  The first part of the video supposedly focuses on this, but I lost the plot.  How is the Hunger Games and Gravity  breaking box-office records a win for women?  Because it’s a strong female lead?  That’s great and all, but we can’t just skim over the fact that two stunning, Oscar-winning actresses starred in said movies and that just *might* have had something to do with it.  Malala Yousafzai being named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people?  Yes.  GoDaddy veering away from the sexual in their multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad and sticking with humor?  NO.  Not the same thing.  Not even close.  Aside from the fact that one is fighting for women’s rights in a war-torn country at an age where most American girls are still getting a allowance and one is changing their advertising – the real reason they’re not doing those commercials is because they were stupid, awful commercials, despite the pretty and talented women involved.  I promise you they’re not changing their tune out of respect to women. It’s simply a poor example.  What is being celebrated here is a lack of perceived sexism as opposed to actual accomplishments, and it defeats the purpose.

Which brings me to the second part of the video, where we start to see how far we have to go.  In this segment, there’s several clips of current advertisements, music videos, and performances all portraying women in a sexual manner.  There’s Rihanna in her own music video, Miley Cyrus in a performance she helped design – and seriously, we all just need to get the fuck over that one – Megan Fox on a magazine cover.  To say that they are being sexualized and exploited is ridiculous.  These are grown women who are using their sexuality and talent to make money and achieve celebrity and there is nothing wrong with that.  They aren’t the victims we somehow we want them to be.  But by victimizing them, we make them into poor misguided little girls who don’t know up from down or left from right instead of the strong, confident women they are.  Which only perpetuates the stereotype that women are easily confused and will blindly go along with whatever the media tells them they should.  We live in a world where sex and beauty sells.  What do you want them to do – put on their sweats and recite math problems onstage to prove a point?

Also, since when are we offended that attractive people are being cast in commercials to sell products?  This part of the video targets commercials showing attractive women in bikinis because again, this can only be perceived as exploitative and misogynistic.  Untrue.  Why don’t they show average looking people in their commercials?  I’ll tell you.  Because one wants to see me chowing a giant Carl’s Jr. cheeseburger in a bikini.  TRUST.  I certainly don’t want to.  Here’s the thing.  What do we want to happen differently here?  What should a commercial for Axe Body Spray be?  Explain it to me.  Don’t use anyone who fits society’s standard of beauty, male or female, and make it interesting and suggestive to the prospective buyer.  It’s for Axe freaking Body Spray.  Why are we placing one iota of importance on their commercial?

The last portion of the video has nothing to do with the sexualization of women, nor is it exploitative.  To me, it’s a hundred times more terrifying than seeing a woman in weird bikini dancing with a foam finger.  Why?  Because it’s not commercials, it’s not advertising, it’s not music videos.  Nor, to be clear, is it a misrepresentation of women.  It is actual comments from men, both elected officials and media personalities alike, in regards to women in positions of power.  Comments like, “Well, you can’t do that, to be fair…women just haven’t done that much.”  Men lamenting the fact that the changing the hats the military wears to something more unisex actually has a headline that reads, “Military switching to girly hats.”  Fox News, “We only have the prostate, the women have the breasts, the ovaries, the uterus,” in regards to women paying more for health care due to having more working parts, apparently.  Fox News again, “I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but…” which is a sentence that has no possible acceptable ending.  Fox News yet again, “Know your role, and shut your mouth,” to the lone female on the panel.  Perhaps the most frightening, a headline from the New York Post that reads, “No Wonder Bill’s Afraid!” next to a picture of Hillary Clinton.  Why is this the worst, you ask?  Because Hillary Clinton was the fucking Secretary of State at the time, furious regarding one of the most maligned operations of the United States and somehow this headline tried to  reduce her to a hysterical female and elevate her husband – who held no office at the time – as the more important party to the story.

Let’s pick our battles, shall we?  Let’s concentrate on getting ignorance – both male and female – out of office and making our decisions.  I don’t know about you, but I’m much more concerned that an elected official in the United States of America believes that women have super abilities which make their bodies able to distinguish rape from consensual sex than I am about what Robin Thicke’s backup dancers are wearing. I’m much more worried about the fact that people like Rush Limbaugh still have a following than I am about the fact that Flo-Rida’s latest video has half-dressed girls in it.

The fact remains that WE are the ones watching this.  WE are the ones demanding it.  We can’t keep blaming the media for clamoring to provide exactly what we’re asking for.  They aren’t going to change their content until we change the channel.

Yeah, I feel really fucking sorry for this girl.

Yeah, I feel really fucking sorry for this girl.

How Life Hacks Really Work

We’ve all seen those Buzzfeed lists touting life hacks; ways to use everyday items that will simply change your world. It appears to make so much sense. “And you thought bread ties should be thrown away – look at the magnificent ways to use the bread ties instead!” I feel like these ideas fall dangerously into the Pinterest zone. Pinterest encourages average people to do non-average things. It makes non-crafty people think they can be crafty. You can’t. You’re either the type of person who can make art out of melted crayons or you’re not. That’s all there is to it. Believe me, I feel the pain. Deep in my heart, a wannabe crafty soccer mom resides; one who believes that she can turn string into art projects, who can quickly and easily make paper-mache* holiday decorations without covering the cats in glue and ruining the kitchen table. ‘Tisn’t true. Pinterest lies.

*Any option spellcheck gave me to spell this correctly made it look French and capitalized the second word. Sorry. I’m not fixing it.

The problem with these life hack lists is that they have an infomercial-like quality to them. You know what I mean? If you watch an infomercial long enough, it makes perfect sense. “You know, it looked stupid at first, but hot damn, I certainly WOULD like perfect pancakes every time! Where’s my credit card?” Same with these everyday product uses. On the surface, it looks great. In reality? Not so much.

Bagel ToteFirst of all, anyone who uses the term “bagel tote” should probably get punched.  Second, last I checked, bagels can be transported pretty easily in plastic baggies, which are a little easier to find than CD spindles, being that it isn’t 1998.

Paint can

Not Shown: Average American trying to wrestle a rubber band around an open fucking paint can.  This ends in tears. Trust.

Drink at the Beach

Okay, sometimes they work.  This makes a lot more sense than dumping a bottle of rum in giant bottle of grapefruit juice.  Touche, life hacks.

Pool Noodle

You know that the fitted sheet isn’t like a magic sheet right?  Just because things are under it don’t mean they don’t move. Ask my cats.  They’ve been accidentally made into the bed many a time.

Lending items

Yeah, I want to be friends with this guy.  Don’t worry, dude, I’ll bring back “Memento.”  You fucking douchebox.

Ninja fold

This?  Is amazing.  Tried and true, no joke.  Google it.

Ketchup

For all of the effort it would take to try and unroll your paper ketchup receptacle, wouldn’t it be easier just to fill another?  Also?  Have you ever used those ketchup containers?  You can easily carry two of them with one hand.  This method makes that impossible and requires a tray.

Pancake Batter Ketchup Bottle

No mess experience.

Not Shown:

1.   Trying to clean a ketchup bottle enough that it is fit for other foodstuffs.  Seriously, I don’t know about you guys but a bottle of ketchup in this house may stick around for a year or so before it’s done.  I don’t really want to think about trying to clean it out.

2.  Pouring pancake batter into a fucking ketchup bottle.  When I think no-mess, I don’t think trying to pour thick liquid from one container with a small opening into another container with a smaller opening.

Spa

I love this so hard.  You know why?  This was born of resourcefulness.  “Well, we’re out of matches and a lighter won’t work.  Get the spaghetti, Betty, I’ve got it figured out!!”

Excuse Me, I Have a Tiny Violin I Want to Hit You With

I don’t read gossip magazines.  I don’t follow celebrity blogs or Twitter feeds, I don’t watch E! or Extra or TMZ.  To be perfectly honest, I’m not even sure if those are the “popular” celebrity sites or shows; those are just the ones I remember flipping past on the television when I do watch my late night reruns.  Part of the reason is that it makes me feel old – either they’re showing videos and photos people like Dakota Fanning and Abigail Breslin doing grown up things when in my head, they are permanently ten years old – or they make me feel dirty and old, i.e. showing a picture of Taylor Lautner shirtless and I’m all “Ooh, yummy,” until I remember that he was probably still in diapers when I graduated high school and then I’m all, “Ew, I’m old enough to be a cougar,” and have a drink instead of continuing to hurt my own feelings.  Another part of the reason?  Is that I despise everything Kim Kardashian and it is fucking impossible to watch any sort of gossip/celebrity show without that stupid bag of hair smiling beatifically for a photo-op with that walking piece of arrogance she’s engaged to.

But the biggest reason of all is shit like this interview with Mariah Carey in which she compares her time on American Idol to working with Satan every day. I had to read the whole thing because I thought to myself, “That’s impossible.  She wouldn’t actually say something so ridiculous.”  She did.  Read the article.  Her exact words? “It was like going to work every day in hell with Satan.”

Really, Mariah?  Was it really so bad?  Was it really just so, so, very difficult to get paid 18 fucking million dollars to judge a talent show?  18 million dollars.  Do you have any concept of how much money that actually is?

 

THINGS I WOULD DO FOR 18 MILLION DOLLARS

Yes – Pretty much anything

No – Eat a baby

I once had a manager when I was waiting tables whose night was not complete unless he made someone cry.  He would scream profanities at you that didn’t even make sense, “Fucking yes bread is slow stop waiting dammit go!” “Don’t care steak broken fryer!” and my favorite, a horrifying Hunger Games version of red light green light, “Get out! Where are you going! Get that out!  Get back here! What are you waiting for?! Pay attention and stop!” until you were slip sliding in your own sweat holding a full tray of food above your head with one hand, questioning every life choice you ever made.  Do you know how much money I made doing that four or five times a week for three years, Mary Poppins?  Three dollars an hour.  And do you know what else?  I did it with a fucking smile, because I had a job and I was grateful. How long would you make it in a regular job, Ms. Mariah?  As a mail carrier, a receptionist, a customer service rep?  A nurse, a social worker, a teacher?  You’re a very lucky woman.  You were born with an extraordinary talent that you’ve used to your advantage, which ensures that you will never actually have to “work,” in the real world a day in your life.  From what the article stated, part of your problem is that Nicki Minaj called you “insecure,” and “bitter.”  Instead of having the audacity to feel sorry for yourself, prove her wrong.  Take a look around and be happy and humble at what life has provided you with. Or at least get a better publicist that will advise you against complaining about the show that paid you 18 million dollars in one year to sit on a stage and look pretty.

Yes.  SHHHHH.  Dummy.

Yes. SHHHHH. Dummy.

 

Great. Now I’m Dysfunctional, Too.

I recently came across the blog post, as I’m sure many of you did, by Matt Walsh entitled, “Abstinence is Unrealistic and Old Fashioned.”  In it, he details a letter written to him by a high school fan who felt uncomfortable with his desire to wait until marriage to have sex after his health teacher called his approach outdated and old fashioned.  It’s an interesting subject, and I certainly don’t envy the high school health teachers of today who have to teach it.  We’ve put them – at least in public schools – in an impossible position; yes, you have to teach sex education because our students are having sex, but don’t glorify it because we really don’t want them to.

I’m a fan of Matt Walsh.  I don’t always agree with him; in fact, I often don’t agree with him, but I like his style and conviction.  That being said, his response to this particular subject?  Pissed me off.  Anyone who blogs – myself included, and believe me, I understand that not everyone believes that all bus drivers and Dominick’s customers are sadists who simply want me to explode in public – writes with a broad stroke, tending to stereotype both sides of an argument.  I’m right, you’re wrong, here’s why.  I get that.  But while I hope that the fan who wrote the letter sticks to his own convictions, it’s because they are HIS opinions, his thoughts, and his beliefs.  Not because his perspective is “right,” but because when it comes to sex, your own convictions and beliefs are the only ones that matter.

So to his scathing response, in which he accuses the teacher of being a gossipy teenager at a sleepover and likens her to a bully out to humiliate those who choose to abstain; where he challenges that any sex outside of marriage is dirty, wrong, and casual; and calls anyone who had an enjoyable sexual encounter before marriage a liar – I have a few counterpoints.

No Matter What You Believe, Teaching Abstinence Isn’t Effective.

There are plenty of articles and studies to back me up here, and I’m not going to list them all.  Instead, I’m going to employ some common sense.  Take a hormone-fueled teenager.  Now, pick one thing in the world – doesn’t matter what it is, but let’s say a grape – and tell them absolutely, no, you cannot TOUCH or even THINK about grapes until you’re married.  Grapes can have very bad consequences and if you touch the grapes now, you’re going to regret it.   Now, in every movie, commercial, magazine, and billboard that said teenager is exposed to, show a whole bunch of people enjoying the fuck out of grapes.  But repeat, over and over, that grapes are totally awesome, but just not until you’re an adult and married.  Does anyone else remember being a teenager?  Do you remember how impossibly far away being an adult seemed?  Here’s a clue – they’re going to touch the grapes.  And if the teenager hasn’t been taught the actual significance and importance of them but instead only been told “NO.  YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE GRAPES AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE YOU ANY TOOLS TO COPE WITH THE POSSIBILITY THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE TAUNTED WITH GRAPES,” chances are when they do get a hold of them, they’re going grab and enjoy them with complete and reckless abandon, because they don’t understand what they’re dealing with.  Doesn’t it make more sense to teach them to enjoy and respect the grapes instead of smashing them?

Single People Can Have Meaningful Relationships, Too.

The author disparages what he calls “casual sex,” which in this post, at least, seems to blanket all sexual encounters outside of marriage or a lifetime commitment.  Someone who considers themselves sexually liberated is actually just a sad, lonely person willing to settle for, and I quote, “Use me and I’ll use you.”  The fuck? Say I am a single woman in her thirties.  I have a career, a home, a plethora of interests, and an active social life.  I don’t get to have sex? Or I do get to have sex, but any encounter I have is sad, lonely, and meaningless?  Bullshit.  Not everyone’s life map directs them to a singular committed relationship, and to say that those people don’t understand sex or what it means is ludicrous.

There’s a Whole Lot of Dysfunctional Folks Out There.

There was one particular quote in this post that really made me want to respond, and this was it. He asks, to anyone who had premarital sex, ” Are you glad that you gave yourself to someone other than the person you now love eternally?”  and if the answer is anything but no, “you’re dealing with someone in a very dysfunctional marriage.”  How dare you?  How do you unilaterally decide that anyone who didn’t save themselves for marriage and isn’t despondent about it is incapable of a healthy relationship?  It’s untrue.  And telling people they should be ashamed of themselves for enjoying something natural does nothing but make people question themselves and really, don’t we have enough to fucking worry about?

Here’s the thing.  The letter from the kid who wants to save himself for marriage?  Good for him.  I hope he follows his beliefs and is happy with whatever decision he makes. He’s not wrong – because it’s his decision – and maybe his teacher didn’t respond appropriately. But that girl sitting next to him in health class, the one who thinks she’s in love with the boy that may be in love with her, who is going to “give herself” to him – she shouldn’t be made to feel bad about her decision, either.

Everyone is going to enjoy the grapes eventually.  Let’s not shame anyone for deciding when to take them.

Forbidden grapes.  You know you want them.

Forbidden grapes. You know you want them.

Jimmy Kimmel is Awesome and Please Calm Down

By now pretty much everyone has seen Jimmy Kimmel’s video montage of the reactions of children after their parents tell them they ate all of their Halloween candy.    If you haven’t seen it, please take a minute or six to take a look.

Priceless and hilarious, yes?  Apparently not everyone thinks so.  Here’s some quotes from folks outraged at this horrible example of parenting.

“Is it just me, or does anyone else thinks this sort of borders on emotional and mental cruelty toward children??  It’s pretty darn close to bullying, isn’t it?” Commenter on NBC article.

“Cruel and potentially damaging.” Child psychologist Mark Barnett.

“Inappropriate parental behavior.” Psychologist Jane Annunziata.

That’s just a couple of the criticisms, but you get the gist of it.  These parents are only out for a couple minutes of fame, and by participating in a prank, may be causing lifelong damage to their children’s psyches.

People?  Get the fuck over yourselves.  It’s funny.  It’s CANDY, for fuck’s sake.  They didn’t tell them Santa hated them, that the Easter Bunny didn’t exist, that their favorite teacher was actually an alien, that the dog was dead.  They told them someone ate their candy.  And they didn’t even do it!  The kids got their candy back!

I’m just going to point out two things and then leave it alone.  One – most kids that have parents willing to buy them a costume and take them trudging around in the rain for several hours trick or treating are probably reasonably in tune with their children and whether playing a prank on them is going to destroy their entire life.  Two – if your kid reacts like some of them did, such as the two-year-old who called someone a bitch, they probably deserve a spanking a lot more than a bag of candy, anyhow.

Hell, I believed my dad built the Sears Tower until I was probably eleven.  My cousin Carrie – who isn’t actually my cousin, MORE LIES, MOM AND DAD – was told that Santa vacationed with a bunch of girls in bikinis in the off season.  The list goes on and on.  We’re fine.  These kids will be fine too.  Get over yourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Pay Someone for That??

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some weird amateur expose on prostitution or how sex sells.  Mostly because even if I wanted to, I don’t have the money to buy it nor the body to sell it, so it wouldn’t be all that interesting or factual.  Also because the last time I had a conversation about that subject, it devolved into an extremely stupid argument about whether Hooters girls are being exploited and sexualized or simply using the good looks they were born with to increase their earning potential while having to work as a waitress.  I’ve waited tables, and I can say with complete authority if I’d had the body for it, I promise I would have happily donned the fluorescent short shorts and a push up bra faster than you could say, “Excuse me, miss?”  with nary a qualm.   For all of you shouting, “Oh, but it’s so degrading for those poor girls,”  you know what else is degrading?  Wearing a vest and bow tie while trying to fish a lobster out of a tank in front of a cheering crowd for a four dollar tip.  Trust.

Anyhow, the other day, I got some random email from a site I must have registered for during my desperate days of unemployment.  It was advertising some degree and certification programs when one of them caught my eye and I thought, “Wait – the fuck?  There’s a certification program for organizing your house?  What is happening here?”  And thus came up with a list of jobs that are apparently born from the realization that we are so lazy and stupid that we are willing to pay someone to do almost anything so we don’t have to deal with it.  Here we go.

Life Coach.

Sure, it sounds good in theory.  Pay someone to help realize your untapped potential, uncover your hidden talents, discover what you were really meant to do in life.  Are you really SUCCEEDING as an accountant?  Should you follow your dream to become a world-famous sculptor instead?  Your life coach will help you find your inner happiness, your true calling in life.  Here’s the thing.  There’s a good chance that this life coach that you’re paying to help you realize your true calling in life?  Doesn’t have any fucking idea what theirs is.  Instead, they have some drive and ambition, a decent head for marketing, and a thousand bucks to pay for the course.  Do you know what that means?  That means I could be a life coach, folks.   I am fucking fabulous at taking tests – I promise you I could ace this class.   Sure, my husband decided to have popsicles for dinner and my cats are sitting on the kitchen table, but hey, your life?  I can totally fix thatI got this certificate to prove it.

Animal Behaviorist/Psychologist.

Nope.  Just fucking no.  Of course you want your pet happy.  I want my pets happy.  You know how I make that happen?  I feed them, clean up their poop, and give them a warm place to live.  I give them love and attention, I let them sleep on my head, scratch my furniture, and buy them toys and treats that are good for their well-being.  And if they’re not happy after that?  Fuck em.  I’ll still love them, I’ll still take care of them, but yeah, I’m going to resent them a little bit.  In much of my research as to why my small cat finds it necessary to occasionally relieve himself in places other than the litterbox, I found several articles from these professionals explaining that my pet is stressed, and is “voicing his displeasure,” by acting out.  You know what, doctor?  I’m stressed too.  You know what adds to my stress?  Waking up in the middle of the night and having to change my sheets.  You don’t see me taking a shit in the cat bed, do you?  No.  That cat is clean, well fed, and safe.  If he feels “threatened,” by the different noises in the new apartment, too fucking bad.  Adjust.  If I don’t get Prozac, he certainly doesn’t.  You know why?  He’s a CAT. He’ll be fine.  Promise.

Professional Organizer.

At work, I’m pretty organized.  My job often requires keeping a lot of plates spinning at the same time, and for the most part, I’m relatively good at keeping them all in the air.  At home, however, I kind of fall off the wagon.  In the past couple of years, the list of things I have lost (and found again) is simply ridiculous for a grown adult to misplace.  They include: my crockpot, winter boots, an entire set of tools, my good knife, a garbage can, winter coat, my Kindle, my husband’s wallet, two phones, a set of cutlery, the remote control, my neighbor’s favorite sweatshirt, a significant amount of Halloween decorations, and the glass shelves to my china cabinet.  Things I have never lost sight of include a random collection of forty dice, a solid brass monkey that holds a hackey sack, a singing stuffed chicken, four candles that I’ve had since 2005 and never lit despite having zero personal significance, and a box of collected rocks that neither of us can recall ever gathering.  One might argue that I could benefit from a professional organizer.  If you can believe it, there is a entire association of professional organizers, and you have to have been practicing in the industry for 1,500 hours before you can even become ELIGIBLE to take the test required to become certified.  So maybe they could help me.  Or, instead of giving them money, maybe I could use a combination of common sense – stop being so lazy and throw out the goddamn box of rocks, dummy – and my mother’s advice, “Get a goddamn calendar and put shit back where it goes,” and voila!  I’ve saved a couple hundred bucks and I can find my silverware.

Then again, all of these people are managing to make money completing basic, everyday tasks, while I go to work every day, so who the hell am I to judge?

Hi!  For thirty dollars a month, I'll organize your spices!  Interested?

Hi! For thirty dollars a month, I’ll organize your spices! Interested?

 

 

 

Is Marriage for You? An Easy Test.

There has been a lot of buzz the past few days about Seth Adam Smith’s recent blog post entitled “Marriage Isn’t For You.”  Take a look at the article if you aren’t one of the 20,000 people that already have.  From the thousands and thousands of Facebook shares with a “Hell yeah!” comment posted with the link, I think I’m somewhat in the minority in that I just don’t agree with his message at all.   Even a little bit.  The quote, “You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy,” just strikes me as all sorts of wrong.  Everything I was brought up with taught me that marriage is a partnership that you want to be a part of because you make each other happy, not to blindly serve.  And while the idea of being married to someone who did whatever I said just to keep me happy has some bright spots – as in, I would totally never, ever wash any silverware or take out the garbage again – the reality is I would have a lot of trouble respecting someone who didn’t value their own happiness or opinion.

However, every marriage is different and what works for some doesn’t work for others.  What some women couldn’t deal with, others relish.  What some women love, others don’t understand.  Some men have to be protectors, some women find that overbearing.  For every woman who wants a sensitive man, there’s another one that cringes when her date bursts into tears at the movies.  To me, this article sounds like a justification, an attempt at explaining, “Well, no, I’m not happy, but I’m not supposed to be as long as she is.”  But I am not part of Seth’s marriage, so if it works for him and his wife, I’ll try not to judge too much.

That being said, I feel like if I weren’t married yet, this would confuse the fuck out of me.  Like, if we’re both only trying to make each other happy, how does anything get done?  It would be a constant loop of “Whatever you want,” “No, whatever YOU want,” until you’re both ready to scream, “I don’t care just pick a goddamn restaurant before we both starve to death!”  I met my husband at the tender age of 20, when I was still too young and stupid to have any concept of what marriage actually entailed and he was still naïve enough to think that I was actually going to keep looking like that.  We’ve been married for over nine years and haven’t killed each other or our pets and still laugh a lot, so I think we’re doing okay, and this makes us pretty lucky.  But for those of you still wondering if you’re with the right person, here’s a test.  Do all of the below things, together.  If you’re both still standing and aren’t actively plotting each other’s demise, you’re ready to get married.

 

Move a Couch Up Three Flights of Stairs.  Bonus Points for Narrow Stairways.

Here’s the thing.  There are people that can move shit and there are people that cannot.  You and your partner?  Will be one and the other.  One of you is a planner, plotter, and thinker.  That’s me.  “Okay.  Well, if we tilt it at this angle, then lift that side over the railing, and then completely flip it over, it will go smoothly.”  The other is spontaneous.  His thought process is this: “Pick up couch.  Move up stairs.  Fucking done.”  Railings, ripped fabric, the person trapped against the wall trying to help – these things are of no consequence or importance to him.  If you could harness your thoughts and talents together, the couch moving would probably go smoothly, because you’re both a little bit right and a little bit wrong at the same time.  However – and this is always, always true – there is no giving in to the possibility that the other person is right once you start moving the couch.  Being right somehow morphs into being more important than actually getting the couch up the stairs, and you would be more willing to cut it in half and throw it away than admit your way won’t work.

Get the Stomach Flu at the Same Time.  With One Bathroom.

If you can survive this, you can survive anything.  Nothing strips your pretenses and dignity like lying on the floor outside the bathroom, spouting lies such as, “I brought you a 7-UP!” while trying not to vomit on the cat.

Pack for a Trip.

Travelling brings out the worst in a lot of people.  Packing brings out the worst in most.  One half of a couple are economical packers, trying to fit as much as possible in a small carryon suitcase so as not to pay the baggage fee, optimistically thinking they will only need one pair of shoes and a couple of mix and match outfits.   They think they are a lot more organized than they actually are.  The other will need to be prepared for any possible situation, including but not limited to meeting the Pope, taming a tiger, being interviewed on television, playing on a organized sports team, scuba-diving, extreme heat, extreme cold, tsunami, blizzard, tropical storm, and mountain climbing.  You will each secretly mutter about what an idiot your partner is.  You will both forget to bring more than one pair of socks and stare at each other, uncomprehending, when one of you dresses in black tie for dinner and the other is wearing their bathing suit.

Get Lost.  Literally.

Tread carefully on this one, friends.  Technology has had many evolutions in the last fourteen years and none of them have improved our sense of direction, so we’ve gotten lost a lot of different ways.  Getting lost while following a map is actually much easier and less rage-inducing than getting lost while using turn-by-turn navigation on your smart phone, and here’s why.  When you get lost following a map, you don’t have a lot of choices.  You pretty much have to pull over and ask for directions.  When you get lost following the turn-by-turn directions, someone is always and clearly at fault because obviously, the technology knows more than either of you.  Worse, the navigation system makes everyone involved feel as though it will be simple to backtrack and easily find your destination.  It gives you a false sense of security.  Here’s a tip – the navigation system is a dick.  The navigation system will make you yell such nonsense as “Turn left 300 yards ago!  Aren’t you listening?  Idiot!”  while the driver aggressively pulls a U-turn in front of a semi-truck out of defiance; daring the navigator to criticize his driving.  At this point, the driver already has seventeen responses at the ready, just waiting for the slightest provocation.  He is a pot waiting to boil over, a powder keg ready to explode so that when the navigator says brightly, “Hey, there it is!” the driver can’t help but respond with something along the lines of, “Oh, you fucking think so, don’t you?  Is that it?! IS IT?!?!?!?!  Are you sure you don’t need me to keep driving right into this fucking lake like you wanted me to before, fucking Magellan???”

I think it’s a pretty fair test.  If you can do all of these things without taking a hostage or hitting your partner with a shoe, you’re totally ready for marriage.

It's funny because it's true.

It’s funny because it’s true.

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