Category Archives: general stupidity

You Don’t Have to Understand

I don’t understand transgender people.  There, I said it.  I am a straight, white, privileged female, and I cannot understand how someone is born a female but identifies as a male, or vice versa.  I can’t wrap my brain around it.  Never, in my life, have I questioned myself in that regard.  I had my first crush in kindergarten, (Bobby Rossi, thank you very much,) and my first real crush in the fifth grade.  (Oh, Danny Andreeff, how you broke my permed hair with an overbite awkward heart.) It was always boys.  There wasn’t a question, never a real curiosity.  I didn’t have to think about it.  I was a girl, girls like boys, that was pretty much it.

But bear with me here.  Because there are a lot of things I don’t understand.  They include, but are not limited to, the following:

* Being a cat.
* Having a penis.
* Being African-American.
* How gravity really works.
* Being really rich.
* Being truly poor.
* Not having family that loves me.
* Why Kim Kardashian is famous.
* Tumblr.
* Why my cats are assholes.
* How a man walked on the moon.
* Why children get cancer.
* How ten minutes when I’m in a spin class can feel like eternity, but ten minutes before my alarm goes off is a nanosecond.
* Why McDonald’s diet coke is far superior to any other diet coke.
* That people actually believe Donald Trump could lead a country. (Sorry.  Had to throw it in there.)
* How a parent can harm their own child.
* Where the extra socks go to live after they’re put into the washer, never to be seen again.
* How the internet works.
* How the telephone works.
* Really, how anything electronic works.
* Being disabled.

The list could go on and on and on and on.  But here’s the thing.  All of those things?  Happen.  They are real.  They are true.  Some people understand them.  Some people make them their life’s work.  They EXIST.  They are reality.  Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t make it untrue.  It doesn’t make things not happen.

We used to think the world was flat.  We used to think women weren’t capable of voting.  We used to think it was okay to enslave an entire race based on skin color.  We used to believe that we were untouchable, that no one could ever use our own planes and training against us.  We used to think only gay people got AIDS.  Guess what?  We were very, very, wrong. 

To denounce something because we don’t understand it – is that not the absolute height of all arrogance?  “Well, that doesn’t make sense to me, therefore, it’s impossible.  Case closed.”  That’s like insisting two plus two equals five, or that Mars isn’t a planet.

So no, I don’t understand being transgender, any more than I understand standing up to pee.  And I’m not going to lie, I’m glad for it.  I’ve never had to defend being who I am, defend who I love and have to explain why.  I can’t imagine having to do so. 

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But that doesn’t mean that population doesn’t exist.  It doesn’t make them less real, or less than anyone else.  People are people.  And most people?  Are good.  Even the ones you don’t understand.

And they all deserve to go to the damn bathroom in peace. 

Well, This Could Be Fun

In the back of my head, I had a whole post planned about the GOP and the orange man with the small hands for today.  But then today was super irritating and then Kasich dropped out and the orange man is likely going to be an actual Presidential candidate and I’m too scared and angry and plus, I just saw a GIF of Cruz’s face morphing into Grandpa Munster and I’m still too disturbed by the whole thing to write anything productive.  (Seriously, look it up.  It will haunt you.)

I was recently talking to some co-workers about online dating and it got me thinking about how much more difficult dating has to be now than it was back in the days when I was single and there was (thank you baby Jesus) no internet or Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat.  I wouldn’t have been a good internet dater.  For one, I am an anxious person.  If you don’t immediately respond to my text, please know that my brain has decided you have finally remembered some minor transgression from two years ago that in reality, wasn’t a transgression at all but just something I’ve obsessed over for twenty four months like an offhand comment about a dress.  For two, I would have been a stalker.  There’s no sugar-coating it.  Oh, you wanted to stay home and watch your favorite movie, “The Godfather,” did you?  I would have been the asshole combing through your social media, trying to find any reference to said movie, looking for any proof that you had ever referenced said movie.  I would have been “that girl.”  I’m not proud of this, mind you, just telling it like it is.  (Also, the fact that the first movie that came to mind was Godfather should tell you that I’m also old and have only been to a movie theater five times in the past ten years.)

Anyhow, I did some Googling – I love that this has become a verb in our lexicon – and came up with a list of questions that might be on dating sites, a getting to know you type quiz, if you will.  Which brought me back to my favorite MySpace pastime, (I told you I was old) which was answering a bunch of questions about myself.  Let’s have some fun and forget about the fact that a sexist megalomaniac is about to be a formidable nomination for the PRESIDENT, shall we?

Do you have any pets?
Yes.  I have two cats.  Ramon recently scratched a hole out of my face and Potato peed on my shoulder while I was on the phone.  They’re super cute, if you’re a masochist.
Name three things that are physically close to you?
My phone, because it is physically attached to my right hand, a vodka seltzer because I saw a meme that said it has less calories than a banana and I’m nothing if not health conscious, and a solid bronze statue of a monkey holding a bucket that I put a votive candle in.
What’s the weather like right now ?
Well, it’s Chicago and it’s May, so it’s forty degrees and stupid.
Do you drive ? If so, have you crashed?
No.  The last couple of years we had a car, I turned into everyone’s great aunt Sylvia whenever it snowed, there was traffic, it was wet, or it was too sunny.  It’s better for everyone that I’m no longer in charge of anything on wheels other than my bike.  Which, incidentally, I almost got killed on yesterday when an aggressive John Hancock Shuttle Bus driver broke many laws on Wacker Dr.
What time did you wake up this morning ?
Well, I woke up perfectly rested at 7:30.  But because I am bad at being an adult, I forced myself back to sleep until my alarm went off at 8:30 so I could rush around like a crazy person and have to run to the bus.
When was the last time you showered ?
8:42 – 8:44 AM.
What was the last movie that you saw ?
I think we rented the Minions a couple of months ago after many drinks.  It took us WAY too long to be sure that they weren’t actually speaking English.
What does you last text message say?
“A pop if it’s not too late!  My RC is nothing but ice water…”  From Tony, in response to me asking if he needed anything from the store.  He had left a two liter of RC in the freezer overnight because he is also awesome at adulting.
What is your ringtone ?
I have no idea.  My Fitbit vibrates when I get a call and I am incapable of not answering immediately.
Have you ever been to a different country?
I went to Canada once on a choir trip?  My friend Steve fell in Niagara Falls and lost his bandanna.  (Yes, that’s my main memory of Canada.  Other than that they have black squirrels.)
Do you like sushi?
I wouldn’t know.  I hate fish cooked and the idea of it raw makes me want to never stop vomiting.
Where do you buy your groceries?
Well, I finally discovered Aldi and was enthralled, but – as things tend to go in my life – it immediately closed for renovations for eight months.  So I’m back at good old Cermak produce, where I have to frantically count in Spanish while at the deli counter trying to figure out my number because no one speaks English there.  As I can only count to ten and the numbers are usually in the seventies, I spend a lot of time smiling and holding my ticket up.
Have you ever taken any medication to help you fall asleep faster?
Does whiskey count?  If so, then yes.  If I have a cold, whiskey and Theraflu is my jam.
How many siblings do you have ?
One younger sister who did me the massive favor of being awesome and having a gorgeous child so I don’t have to.
Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop?
A tablet.  (See?  This wouldn’t have even BEEN a question in the nineties.)
How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
38.  Apparently my 20 year high school reunion is this year, but that’s impossible because only old people have 20 year high school reunions.
Do you wear contacts or glasses ?
I have both.  But I’m lazy and like to tempt fate, so I wear my contacts 24/7 until I get an eye infection.
Do you colour your hair ?
Oh yes.  I’m pretty sure the phrase, “Dirty/dishwater blond,” was invented to describe my natural color.
Tell me something you are planning to do today:
Well, I’m going to finish this vodka seltzer and eat an entire head of cauliflower for dinner.  Because I like to party.
When was the last time you cried?
A couple of weeks ago when I saw a picture of a German shepard puppy on his first day on the job as a police dog with the caption, “It’s my first day!  I hope I do great!”  Seriously – he looked so excited and proud!  (Side note, I may have been pre-menstrual.) (Side side note, apparently that doesn’t matter because I just teared up again thinking about it.  If this were a dating site, I would for sure be gone by now.)
What is your perfect pizza topping?
Doesn’t really matter.  Pizza is just a vehicle to get bread into my mouth hole.
Which do you prefer, hamburger or cheeseburger ?
Cheeseburger.  Because there’s when there is an option for cheese, you should always take it.
Have you ever had an all-nighter ?
This is where one would assume that I’d have some crazy college story – or not, because I probably come off as pretty fucking boring, but I did have some all-nighters in college, being a professional procrastinator and all – but my most recent all-nighter was at my niece’s second birthday party.  Because that’s what one does at a toddler party.
What is your eye colour ?
Green?  Hazel?  I never really thought about it.  That’s something I should know, right?
Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke?
What kind of terrorist can’t tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi?  That’s madness.

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So yeah, I think we can all safely assume it’s a good thing I stopped dating in 1999, because otherwise it would for sure be just me and these stupid cats until one of them killed me.

Yet One More Reason I Would Make a Poor Soldier

I haven’t written a post about working out or being healthy in quite a while, largely because I had a bit of a slip down the rabbit hole during which I remembered how much I like eating potato soup and forgot how much I enjoy being able to button my pants and only having one chin.  While there are other things I’d like to write about as there’s a lot going on right now, I’m still too angry at what I’m calling Bathroomgate, too sad about Prince, and too disgusted by Trump and his merry band of idiots to write about them.  Plus, if the internet has taught me anything in the past few months, it’s that no matter how many opinons I put up, or memes I use as a comment, or facts I present, or how RIGHT I AM  – chances are no one is going to read my diabtribe and decide, “You know what? Everything I believe is wrong.  Thanks, Courtney!”

So I’m trying to focus on the positive.  When I finally decided it was time to get off of my expanding ass and get back to feeling good, it took awhile for my stomach to catch up with my brain.  Sure, I was still going to the gym, but it was halfhearted, and while last year no matter what was happening – rain, snow, sleet, apocalypse – it wasn’t stopping me from getting my workout in, since about November it’s been more, “Well, it’s sort of dark and the Voice is on, so I should probably just go home.”  As for food, I had great intentions nearly every day.  But despite solid, tried and true evidence in the form of losing over fifty pounds, I kept just trying new ways of eating that would allow me to incorporate spaghetti on a daily basis.  (Spoiler alert?  There isn’t one.)  I decided about a month and a half ago to get back to basics, to what I had the most success with originally, which was an accountability group, a new challenge program, and the shakes that always made me feel great.  (Yes, it’s Beachbody.  No, I don’t sell it.  No, I’m not trying to get you to buy it.  Just throwing that out there, because some of the coaches give the company a really bad name.  Mine in particular is great, and the programs have worked for me.  That’s all.)

Because I am a masochist with no sense of my own capabilities, I picked what appeared to be the most difficult program for me, a boot-camp style military workout.  Sure, even at my most fit I couldn’t do own pushup, a pullup bar basically just laughs at me, and I kind of hate to sweat, but the fact that it boasts only 22 minutes a day was a huge seller for me.  Like everything else I’ve ever tried, I was immediately sold and convinced this would be the best thing ever.  (Previous examples include buying a car because it was blue and in my price range, leggings, and researching triathlons  exhaustively despite not having access to a pool and not really being able to swim.)  But hey, 22 minutes a day?  Anyone can do that, right?!

I started yesterday.  Here’s how it went.

Okay!  This is going to be tough, and we’re going to work hard, but I promise, you just need to keep up.  22 Minutes, that’s all I’m asking you.  Let’s go!

Let’s go, indeed, Tony!  I am ready!!!

Wait, remember when you started running, and thirty seconds basically felt like seventeen hours?  22 minutes might not be that easy….

We’re going to start with T-Jacks.  Watch along, and Go!!

(After nearly knocking out a tooth)  Well, this apparently required a new sports bra.  Let’s just close these blinds, shall we?

And, bear crawl!

Well, this is hardly attactive.  It’s kind of like a crab walk on all fours while trying to pee.  Also, where is that handy modifier person?

That’s not a modifier!  He’s just going slower.  If I went any slower I’d be standing (squatting) still.

Burpees!

No. 

What number are we on, Todd?  “Twenty sir!”

Three.  Asshole.  And that’s only because modifier guy showed up.

Round One is over!  Take a break!

Yay!  I love breaks!

Break’s over – Round Two!

The fuck?  I didn’t even get my water bottle open yet!

******Basically, this happens three times over the course of the next fifteen minutes, during which I learned exactly how much stamina I have lost and remember exactly why I never took a bootcamp class in public.  I clamber along, keeping up as best I can, huffing, puffing, and swearing the entire time.***

Day Two!  You’ll need a pullup bar, a resistance band, and a sandbag.

I have none of these things.  I have three pound dumbbells and a couple of cats I wouldn’t mind tossing around the room.

But yay!  I like weights.  I like strength training.  This will be better.

Let’s start the warmup with jumping jacks.

I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to do cardio two days in a row.  Step it out, I will, because I still didn’t get that sports bra and if I lose a tooth I’m quitting for real.

Pushups!  Let’s start with thirty. 

Are you sick?????  If you told me, right now, that you would give me ten million dollars in cash if I did ten true pushups, I would still be broke.  And even more angry with you.

Core Work!  On the floor!  If you can’t sit all the way up, only go halfway, but don’t let your shoulders hit the ground.

I got my shoulders OFF the ground, and I would like my reward now, please, in the form of rock hard abs and some size six jeans. 

***This one I actually am able to keep up better at, save the pushups, and I actually do okay with it.***

And – DONE!

Wahoo!!!!

But there’s three minutes left, so BONUS MOVES!!!

Fuck you, my man.  Mean it.

Running-burpee-pushups!!!  Let’s go! 

I know you’re kidding.

“What number are you on, soldier?”  “Ten sir!”  “And how many are you going to do?!”  “Thirty sir!”

None, sir! 

I decided to hang out in downward dog because I can’t even hold a pushup position at this point, but am trying to “keep up.”

Seriously, why does every new workout I attempt end with my face in my own chest, contemplating breast reduction and the possibility of just living in yoga pants and Cubs t-shirts, happily drinking beer and feeding Burger King to my cats? 

And, done!

You better mean it, SIR. 

Yay, he meant it!  Stretch time is my favorite time!

I don’t need to be told all of the standbys – I know I will get better, it will get easier, etc., I just need to keep at it.  I really do know all of these things and when I finally get that ever-elusive fucking pushup done, believe you me, I will be shouting it out loud and from every form of social media at my disposal. 

I always said I’d be a terrible military person for a variety of reasons; I can’t go more than five hours without talking to my mom, I panic on a very real level if I can’t get a hold of anyone in a reasonable amount of time – which, with texting, is really no more than 90 seconds, if I’m hungry for more than half an hour I get homicidal, I immediately burst into tears if anyone yells at me, and I don’t like to be uncomfortable or hot for any reason. 

I’m just adding, “Cannot do pushups in any capacity,” to this ever growing list.

I salute you, real soldiers.  And anyone else that can do a thirty pullups.

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Um, Ready for Duty??

How to Host Easter Like an Actual Adult. (Sort of.)

In my family, holidays are a big deal.  I’ve written about this before, detailing the extraordinary lengths my grandparents and later my parents, sister, aunt, and cousins go to to set a beautiful table filled with delicious food.  As we have always lived in an apartment, we haven’t really been in a position to host any holidays, and I always kind of wished we could. (I suspect no one in my family has been too heartbroken about this, as I’m not really known for my organizational or homemaking skills, plus, my cats keep sending them to the hospital.)  But while we do still live in an apartment, it’s now a very nice one with space and a pretty kitchen and lots of countertops and places to lock cats and their sharp, angry teeth away and room to sit down.

So I thought this year, Hey, you know what?  You should offer to host Easter!  You have room!  People don’t hate coming over anymore, especially if the cats aren’t allowed in the room.  Even you can’t fuck up a ham!  (I started drinking wine in the past few months.  Thus far, all of my brilliant ideas have come after a couple glasses of Walgreen’s finest Pinot Grigio.) So when my mom brought it up, I tentatively said, “Well, I thought maybe I could do it?  Since we have space?”  I suspect she was surprised, but gamely said, “Sure!  If you want to do it, that’s fine!”

Yay!  I’m hosting!  Look at me, all grown up style!  Wahoo!  I shall make baby girl Violet a beautiful Easter basket and we’ll have an Easter egg hunt and she will love it and everyone will talk for years about how fun Easter was that year and she’ll always remember how Auntie Coco hid eggs with candy in them for her.I told Tony and Tony, and was met with just a bit of resistance in the form of, “WHAT?  Where the hell are we going to put everyone?”  Whatever.  They’re pessimists.  I got this.  I told my sister, who responded with a “Heh.  Okay!  Have fun!” Again, whatever. I’ll be FINE.  I emailed my friend Autumn the next day at work to tell her, and she responded with, “OMG!  Can I please come and bring popcorn to see how this goes?!” 

I faltered a bit here.  Autumn is my champion. She’s my cheerleader.  If she was questioning my abilities, I may just have bitten off more than I can chew.  Oh well, too late now – I have lists to make and hams to buy!  Except, hmm, I have no idea what kind of ham to buy or, now that I think about it, whether my Puerto Rican grocery store even carries ham.  Moving on.

T Minus Two Weeks:
Phone calls with my mother.  “Okay, you need to plan a menu, and we’ll bring a table and chairs, and you need a tablecloth, and do you have enough plates and cups and silverware?”  “Um.well, I thought ham?  And yeah, I for sure have enough plates and stuff.”  (SHIT!  Mental note, go buy all new plates, silverware, and glassware.)  Mom, “Okay, I have little dessert plates and pastel napkins.  I’ll bring you a roasting pan, table, chairs, plates, napkins, and I’ll bring a vegetable and appetizer.  And I’ll send you a recipe for a glaze.”  Me, “Sounds good!  Did I tell you I’m going to do Easter eggs for baby girl?!”  Do you see a theme here?  I am awesome at ideas, poor at execution.

T Minus One Week:
Tables, chairs, roasting pan, Easter baskets, dessert plates, and napkins have been delivered. Me, Oh, well, this is great!  Realistically, all I need to do is buy the ham – SHIT find out if Cermak has ham – and get the Easter eggs for the fun hunt!
Tony, “Hey, my parents are coming too!”  Okay!  More the merrier!  What a fun party we will host!
Phone call with mother, “Okay, well, you’re going to need more food.  I’ll get some fried chicken too.  Did you get a tablecloth?  Did you get a ham?  Did you tell your sister what to bring?   You’re going to lock the cats up, right?  What about dessert?  Do you have brown sugar and whiskey for the glaze?”  Me.  No, no, yes, I don’t know, no, and I’m drinking the whiskey.  “I got rolls?”  “Okay.  You realize Easter is over a week away, right?  Bread won’t keep that long.”  Me.  “Duh.  I put them in the freezer.  I’m not stupid.”  (This is where I suspect my mother began drinking.)

T Minus Six Days:
My mother in law, Sharon, sends my brother in law with a new kitchen table and chairs that seats five.  (Because ours only sat two.  Hey, when you move four times in four years, shit breaks.)  My sister in law also sent him with sturdy plastic plates, silverware, and servingware.  Score! Sharon also comes with two Easter tablecloths, a myriad of Easter napkins and an Easter bunny placemat for Violet.  So really, all I need are the Easter eggs for the hunt.  Dammit!  And the ham.

T Minus Five Days:
“Hey, mom?  So I’m at the store and I know you said get the biggest ham, but I just realized I have no point of reference here.  What’s a big ham?  Three pounds?  Twenty two pounds?  Should the bone be in?” 
Hmm.  I wonder if my grandma ever had to carry a ten pound ham home in her purse? 

T Minus Four Days:
“Okay, Court, so I’m bringing the chicken, a vegetable, a cheese platter, stuff for mimosas – do you have champagne glasses? – and another appetizer.  What else do you need?”  Me, “Oh, I’m all good!  I think we’re ready!  Didn’t you see, I posted the picture of the ham on Facebook??”  Still have no glaze, glasses, Easter eggs, candy, or ingredients for potatoes.  But that’s nothing!

T Minus Three Days:
Tony, “Can we have corn?  So I can eat something?”  Sure!  Let me just put that on my list that I haven’t written out because it’s all up in my head.  “Okay, well you have to work tomorrow, so me and Tony Marzilli will clean and go grocery shopping and we’ll be all ready by the time you get home, and then all we’ll have to do is make the potatoes and set up the tables on Sunday.  We’re good!”

T Minus Two Days:
I should probably get on this shopping list.  I still need to get Easter eggs for the big hunt!  Oh, and glasses.  I know!  I’ll head to the busiest Target on Earth at State St. at four pm on Good Friday.  It’ll probably be empty.  Spend the next two hours growling at tourists, aggressively pushing my cart through the Easter aisle, buying two bottles of wine, an Easter bunny because seriously I am not spending fifteen dollars on a basket, twelve fillable Easter eggs, candy, and rationalize that small plastic glasses are totally acceptable for Easter dinner.  Go home and drink one of the bottles of wine, because really?  There’s nothing left to do.

T Minus One Day:
OMG GET UP GET UP WE HAVE SO MUCH TO DO AND WE NEED TO GO SHOPPING AND FILL THE EGGS AND WASH THE CARPET AND SET OUT THE NAPKINS AND CLEAN EVERYTHING IN THIS HOUSE AND I NEED NEW CANDLES AND WE NEED BEER AND ICE AND THE BACK PORCH IS A MESS AND I FORGOT TO GET MY SISTER’S BIKE FIXED AND I NEVER ASKED JOSE ABOUT PARKING PASSES AND I DON’T THINK WE HAVE ENOUGH GLASSES AND WE NEED A HUNDRED ROLLS OF PAPER TOWELS AND TOILET PAPER BECAUSE CARLY AND BOB WOULD NEVER RUN OUT AND ASK THEIR GUESTS TO USE THEIR NAPKINS, NO MATTER HOW FESTIVE AND HOLIDAY APPROPRIATE THEY ARE.

Two hours, a hundred dollars, and a very grumpy Tony Marzilli later, we’re ready to begin cleaning.  Approximately thirty minutes later, Tony Drobick walks in the door after a full eight hour day, quite dismayed to find me scrubbing the vents with a toothbrush on the floor and Tony Marzilli covered in bleach, yelling, “I swear to God, if I see an Easter bunny I’m punching it square in the mouth.”  I throw paper towels and windex at him, saying, “Here.  You don’t have to do anything.  Just dust the entertainment center, wipe off all of the books and everything in it, sweep the floor, and take out the garbage.”  He complies – seriously, once I hit this level of crazy there’s no reasoning – muttering, “Have Easter, they said.  It will be fun, they said,” whilst rolling his eyes.  Finish all the cleaning, and my beaming, “Hey, look, we’re all ready!” exclamation is met with hostile stares. 

D DAY:
Okay!  All we have to do is set up the tables and stuff the Easter eggs, and then it’s time to cook! 

Hmm.  This tablecloth is really big for this table.  Let me just tape it up with the flourescent green duct tape.  That’ll work, right?

WHO THE FUCK SEALS PLASTIC, FILLABLE EASTER EGGS WITH TAPE?!  Terrorists, that’s who.  The next forty minutes are spent stabbing at them with scissors, swearing at each other and sneaking far too many M & M’s. 

Okay, let’s hide these eggs!  (Brief yet extraordinarily heated argument questioning the timing of cleaning out the fish tank.)

Another, increasingly hostile argument regarding my festive idea of putting colorful napkins on the bathroom sink for guests to wipe their hands on.  Physical struggle ensues as Tony Marzilli wants to fold up actual hand towels instead.  Culminates in me yelling, “I DON’T LIKE THE TOWELS THEY DON’T LOOK PRETTY PUT THE FUCKING NAPKINS IN THE GODDAMN EASTER BASKET!!”

I should probably have a glass of wine.

No, Courtney, no one wants to stick their hands in salt cellars, I don’t care if they were your grandma’s.  I passive-aggressively leave them on the duct taped covered table anyhow.

OMG START PEELING THE POTATOES THEY’RE GOING TO BE HERE IN AN HOUR.

My family shows up, complete with carrots, crackers and cheese, an antipasto platter, a seven layer salad, champagne glasses, two bottles of champagne and a bottle of wine because they know I get my wine from the drugstore, orange juice, an Easter basket for the baby full of chalk,  a gift for my new nephew, and a bag full of toys. 

My glaze is not thickening as the Pioneer Woman had promised.

Violet is pointedly disinterested in her Easter egg hunt and is much more interested in the fish.

My oven grates are upside down, apparently.

An hour later, my in laws show up with Tony straight from work, also carrying another chair, a leaf for the table, two pies, and a gift for Violet.

You know what? We had a great time.  I didn’t drop the ham, the cats didn’t escape and attack anyone, the baby had way too much candy and enjoyed bossing the boys around, and everyone liked my potatoes.  My mom took a picture of my napkins in the bathroom to send to my aunt Sheila, who is basically Martha Stewart, so it was pretty much the highest of praise.  My cousin showed up around dessert, and we finished the night watching old home movies – during which I was mercilessly mocked, I might add – happy for a great end to a fun day.  Everyone ate, we laughed, we drank, we enjoyed our company and I looked around and felt very grateful for this family of mine.

Everyone praised me for doing a great job hosting my first holiday.  This is my thank you to all of the people that basically did it for me.

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Martha's got nothing on me and my Easter basket napkins

I’ve Been Shamed!!!

I love the internet.  All of it.  I love Facebook, I love blogs, I love Huffington Post, I love Twitter wars even though I still haven’t quite grasped the concept.  I love the memes and the emoticons and all of that shit.  I’m a part of a couple of separate groups on the book face and love the sense of community.  I spend a lot of time perusing online and interacting with people I haven’t met in real life.  (Yet.)  That being said, with this significant amount of screen time, there’s a lot of things that drive me crazy about the online community.  Some of the words/phrases/taglines which are now a normal part of our lexicon that started out on the internet make me nuts, and sometimes I’ve found myself literally sitting on my hands trying not to comment on a Facebook post about politics that I know no good will come of.

Most of it, I’ve learned to just ignore.  For instance, I now know better than to read the comments on any story that could be considered remotely polarizing.  If it has to do with race, religion, politics, or how to raise a child, I steer clear of the comment section.  Mostly for my own sanity, because if anything makes you question your faith in the human race, it’s the comments section on an article about at what age it’s safe to leave your child at home alone (never is the correct answer, according to most.)  On a side note to this, I don’t know how you parents do it.  If I had kids I think I would have to turn off the internet forever.  According to the internet, you are ALWAYS doing something wrong.  I’m already steeling for the next election, as I’ve learned that politics bring out the stupid in everyone on both sides and really, there’s no point in engaging.  No one wins these arguments; the chances of someone changing their entire belief system based on my Facebook comment are pretty low.  And yet the temptation is still high.

But nothing – NOTHING – gets me more crazy than the “shaming.”  You know what I’m talking about.  Fat shaming, slut shaming, clothes shaming, blond shaming, etc., everyone and everything can be shamed on the internet.  Hell, we do it to our cats and dogs.  Any action or reaction can be considered shaming.  Got laughed at on the beach?  Fat shamed.  Got smirked at wearing a short skirt?  Slut shamed.  Didn’t have a date to a wedding and someone remarked upon it?  Single shamed.

I don’t believe anyone should be shamed for being themselves.  Hey, you want to wear a bikini but don’t have the “perfect” body for it?  Fucking go for it.  Love short skirts?  Wear ’em.  Everywhere.  Big fan of 40’s style dresses in the middle of winter?  Do you, man, and don’t let anyone tell you not to.  But understand me – if someone side-eyes your out of this world outfit, or raises an eyebrow at your miniskirt, or points at your bathing suit – you’re not being shamed.  You’re probably being laughed at.  It’s not nice, and sure, in my world, none of this would happen.  But not everything is being shamed.  Sometimes? People are just making fun of you.  And that’s okay.  It happens to me all the time. 

Look, no one in the world wants a society where everyone is accepting of each other and happy with themselves more than me.  Ask anyone I know – I will defend anyone and everyone’s right to be themselves and be happy with it.  And certainly, the terms above exist and happen.  I’m not making light of that.  What I have a problem with is every time I turn on my tablet, I see another article about how someone was “shamed,” in some way or another, and it’s getting out of control.  I brought examples and everything.  See below.

Teacher Lunch Shames Mom for Sending Kid to School with Oreos.
Lunch shamed??  Are you even kidding me right now?  You were LUNCH SHAMED??  No.  This is not a real thing.  Your kid’s teacher sent home a note questioning your choices.  While I personally disagree with said teacher and would certainly be sending my child to school the rest of the week with nothing but Snickers and Doritos covered in fudge sauce in their lunch box, this is not shaming. Lunch shamed.  Seriously.  Look at that.  Look at it again.  Lunch shamed.  Does that actually sound like a thing to you?

I Was Gluten Shamed in the Liquor Store
Yeah, read that one again.  Look, I get the whole gluten-free movement, and anyone suffering from Celiac disease has my sympathy because it’s a giant pain in the ass to try and eat gluten free, and yeah, I’m sure you get a lot of shit from people who are tired of dealing with people like myself who stay away from gluten because it’s the trendy thing to do.  I get that.  But no.  You weren’t “gluten shamed.”  BECAUSE THAT ISN’T A THING.  Someone was a dick when you asked for gluten-free beer.  Does it suck?  Sure.  Were you gluten shamed?  Again, no, because that’s fucking ridiculous. Gluten shamed?  Are you fucking kidding me?

I have more.  There’s a blog post I read recently about a girl going without a bra for a year.  Apparently people at her work and social circles pointed it out, and this was deemed slut shaming.  I’m sorry, but it’s not.  I respect and agree with the fact that any woman should be able to wear whatever she wants if she’s happy with it.  But if you decide to conduct an experiment with the sole intention of gauging people’s reactions, please don’t be surprised when they react exactly as you would expect.  If you’re swinging around double D’s without a bra – and seriously, how physically uncomfortable was this girl for an entire year? I have to put on a bra to walk into the living room- it’s not a shock that those around you notice it.  That’s not slut shaming.  That’s  “wow, wouldn’t you be more comfortable with a bra??”

If all of the above were real things, I’ve been shamed many times this week.  I was beer shamed when I asked where the Miller Lite was at the super hipster organic, IPA-filled store next to my gym.  Speaking of the gym, I was gym shamed when I tripped getting on the elliptical and the guy next to me laughed.  I was cat shamed when my mom told me – again – that my cat should be set free because he’s a dick.  I was bus shamed when I asked someone to move their bag so I could sit down. 

We need to stop whining.  Seriously.  People get made fun of, people point and laugh at the out of the ordinary.  And yes, in a perfect world, that wouldn’t happen.  We’d all be happy and singing songs holding hands around a campfire, and sure, I’d love that.  But it isn’t going to happen.  So instead of crying, “FOR SHAME,” at everything we don’t like, let’s concentrate on being okay with our own decisions and outfits and Lunchables, all right?  Like I said before – do you.  Be happy.  Stop making mountains out of molehills. We’re all going to be okay. 

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Gluten Shamed. I Just Can't.

Am I The Only One??

To walk across the fire for you????  Ha!  Now that I have that song in your head, you’re going to want to read on, right?  I wasn’t even planning on going there but as soon as I typed the title, Melissa Etheridge was all up in my brain so I had to share.  Aren’t you glad?

Anyway, it’s been a long week.  Well, it’s been a long several weeks, as most of you living in Chicago understand.  I’m not going to write about the weather because it makes me want to punch everything in the face and wish that wind would become a solid, physical thing for like forty seconds so I could kickbox it to death instead of it calling the shots and propelling me face-first over ice disguised as sidewalks and sonofabitch if you people would just shovel this wouldn’t happen….Ahem.  Suffice it to say, it’s been a bad winter.  When the best part of your day is NOT getting impaled by an icicle falling off of a building, the winter has already beaten you.  Trust.  So us Chicagoans have been pretty much of one mind the past couple of weeks, which consists mainly dreamily remembering those beautiful days last year that didn’t require fucking boots.

I saw a picture on Facebook yesterday demonstrating how we can save ducks’ lives by cutting the plastic rings from a six-pack so they don’t get caught in them and choke.  A year or so ago, I wrote this post on that same topic, as I was surprised that other people didn’t do this all the time.  It got me thinking about some other things that I do or think that I assume are perfectly normal, but other people consider to be a teensy bit crazy.

Am I The Only One?

  • That Thinks We Need to Leave Bieber Alone?  Yeah, I said it.  Leave. Him. Alone.  Is he a punk kid with little respect for authority?  Absolutely.  Does he deserve the wrath of an entire country actively awful upon him?  No.  One, making jokes about how hilarious it would be for him to get raped in prison?  Doesn’t make us look very smart.  Ditto for starting a petition to get him deported that received so many signatures the government actually had to act on it.  Folks, if we deported or imprisoned every nineteen-year old that made a couple of really stupid, arrogant decisions, it would be the end of the population as we know it.  Do you not remember being 19?  Hell, I was an asshole at 19, and I was a rule-abiding kid from the suburbs with only $45 a week to work with.  If I’d had access to millions of dollars with no supervision, the least of my problems would have been smoking pot and drag racing, I promise you that.  Is he a shit?  Yes.  Did he make some mistakes?  Absolutely.  In one way or another, he’ll pay for them.  I hope it’s in the form of realizing he’s a shit and straightening up.  Hoping for him to fall into the revolving door of drugs and rehab like so many celebrity teenagers before him, hoping for him to fail, is just mean-spirited.

 

  • That is Completely Terrified about The Missing Plane?  Is it just me, or is this some Langoliers shit come to reality?  Two hundred people and thousands of tons of metal just gone into thin air?  How have we just gone on about our business, like, “Oh, well, can’t find it, that’s weird.”  I just picture them all in some abandoned airport in an alternate universe all, “What the fuck?  Why are we not the top story on the news?  What is WRONG with these people?”

 

  • With the Musical Taste of a Preteen in the 90’s?  I’ve been running a lot, and I’ve found there is a direct correlation between how long I can run and how much 90’s angsty pop music is on my playlist.  Ludacris and Eminem have taken some top spots in the rotation to keep me going, but the number one song that pumps me up and propels me to keep going?  Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend.”  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s been over a decade since I’ve had any reason to hate someone’s girlfriend, and if you really listen to it – which I have, often – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Yet here we are, and every time it comes on, I go faster than I did the day before.  If the folks in the park had any idea what was blasting in my headphones, they’d actually be LESS scared of me than they already are, which is a tough spot to find.

 

  • That Has Notebook Paper Decorating the Fridge with Magnets, Despite Being Childless?  Currently, my refrigerator boasts a notepad, three coupons for Family Dollar, a picture from 1980, a pen-draw picture of an eyeball, my sister’s baby shower invitation held up by a Bert and Ernie magnet, and a note scribbled in Magic Marker that says nothing but, “SOUL TRAIN IS ON.”  The notepad?  Not for grocery lists, or things we’re out of.  (Which is likely we make frequent trips to above-mentioned Family Dollar at 9PM for things like toilet paper and cat food.)  No, it has sports predictions for the upcoming week.  The eyeball was drawn by a friend late one Saturday night and we deemed it a work of art.  The Soul Train note?  My husband was on the phone one Sunday morning and he would not appropriately respond to my frantic gestures to run into the living room for this grand moment in television programming.

Everyone has their little pockets of weird, right?  Right????

Adulthood.

Adulthood.

 

 

 

 

So, There’s a Live Animal in Your Wall.

Thursday, 10PM.  “Hmm, why are the cats skulking along the baseboards in the kitchen?”  “Oh, there’s a loose floorboard.”  “Hmm, I hope that rat/mouse I saw in the summer doesn’t try to get in.”

Friday, 7PM. “Aaah.  Excellent.  Long week complete.  Time to sit down and relax with a drink.  Hey, you’re home all alone for the first time in forever.  This is sort of nice.”

Friday, 7:48PM.  “I’ll just go ahead and stir this pot roast.  What a great dinner this is going to be!”

Friday, 7:51PM. “What’s that scratching?  Hmm, I never noticed that hole below the kitchen cabinets.”

Friday, 7:53PM. “OMG SWEET JESUS THAT WAS A FUCKING PAW THERE IS SOMETHING SCRATCHING ITS WAY INTO THE APARTMENT.”

Friday, 7:54PM. “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK STOP IT STOP IT OH MY GOD OH MY GOD HELP!!!”

Friday, 7:56PM. “No, I don’t THINK there’s a rat in my wall.  There IS something in my wall.  I saw it. Send help, like right this second.”

Friday, 7:57PM -Friday, 8:05PM, Pounding on wall frantically whilst yelling out loud. Go away!! Oh my god oh my god!!!

Friday, 8:05PM to 8:35PM. Hysterics.  There’s no other word.

Friday 8:35PM to 8:37PM. Silence.  No one cares.

Friday 8:38PM to 8:42PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy, motherfucker!  I’m going to get you!!!

Friday, 8:43PM to 8:51PM.  Camped out at kitchen table, making as much noise as possible.  “Come on, Ramon, hiss at the dirty shit filled rodent – yeah, okay, it’s a mammal – trying to attack our lives.  And my pot roast.”

Friday, 8:52PM to 8:56PM. “Why are you throwing up, you stupid cat???  This should be your shining moment!  Your one chance in your eleven years to do something that doesn’t make everyone angry!”

Friday, 8:57PM to 9:01PM. OMG this is totally worse than when that possum got onto the porch.

Friday, 9:02PM to 9:05PM.  And when that stupid skunk had babies in the backyard and they were all digging everything up and trying to act like they were cute but were actually horror-filled stink bombs that ruined entire weekends.

Friday, 9:06PM to 9:10PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy!!!!  Ima get you!!  You’ll never sleep again!!!

Friday, 9:11PM to 9:15PM. Yes, yes, I do believe it’s time for another vodka drink.

Friday, 9:16PM to 9:21PM. “Die, motherfucker!” yelled while pounding on the wall.  “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEE!!”  (that’s me screaming, if you didn’t catch it.)

Friday, 9:22PM to 9:30PM. Maybe it died?  Or fell asleep?  Does that happen?  Do they just give up?

Friday, 9:31PM to 9:45PM. “All is calm, All is bright!”

Friday, 9:46PM to 9:47PM. I am not losing this pot roast.  You don’t scare me, rodent!

Friday, 9:48PM to 9:51PM. Seriously, this has to be the one night in six months that the partyboys upstairs haven’t come home around this time to gear up for the night.  I don’t know that they’d be that much help, but this is one situation I’m not ashamed to admit I really wish there was someone of the opposite sex here to give some advice.

Friday, 9:52PM to 9:57PM. Am going to be found here, alone, eaten by rodents.  I swear, Mom, I was just about to clean up and organize that dresser.  I got sidetracked.  I’m sorry.

Friday, 9:58PM to 10:01PM.  Might as well have one last drink.  The thing has been quiet for a few minutes.  I can only assume this means it is gathering reinforcements.

Friday, 10:02PM to Present. Clutching glass of vodka, head spinning as if on a swivel, just waiting for the noise, spontaneously yelling and/or stomping feet.

Just know I loved you all.

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See that little hole right underneath the cabinets? That’s where the scary monster is trying to get in.

It’s Too Cold for This Shit.

And by this shit, I mean absolutely everything.  Seriously.  I usually try and embrace all of the seasons and take them in stride,  “Hey, it’s winter, pretty soon we’ll be complaining about how hot it is!”  I  even believe myself most of the time.  After today, though, when I waited a cumulative 47 minutes outside in subzero wind chills for the CTA, after I slipped going down the stairs, after my I got my stupid coat sleeve wet trying to wash my hands, after I was pushed out of the way by a full grown man for a bus seat, after I dropped my glove and bus card onto the disgusting floor, after I stepped off the bus into a pile of slush up to my ankle, I surrender.  This is a big, huge, miserable bucket of suck and I would give my yet-to-be-conceived firstborn for a single afternoon swimming in Lake Michigan.  Taking a shower in the morning is the happiest part of my day because it is the only ten minutes of the day I’m actually warm.

  • It is too cold to go to the grocery store.  I will make a meal out of zucchini and cream cheese if I have to.
  • It is too cold for that stupid Erin Andrews probiotics commercial.
  • It is too cold to talk about anything other than how cold it is and how much worse next week is going to be.
  • It is too cold for every single living soul to turn into an amateur weatherman.  Today I heard everything from six inches of snow to 40 degrees tomorrow.
  • It is too cold to mop the floors a-fucking-gain.
  • It is too cold to listen to one more word about Justin Bieber and the fact that he acts very similar to 70% of 19-year-olds in the United States and it is too cold to scroll through the hundred or so memes that have already been created and are running rampant on Facebook.   Two things about this: One, if he was a well-loved superstar to adults instead of teenagers here on a Visa and we were making jokes about deportation, the country would be up in arms. He’s not selling government secrets; he’s an idiot teenager    Two, one of the most popular memes thus far is a split-shot of the Biebs and a tough looking criminal with a caption along the lines of “Oh, I’m gonna love you!”  Wait, so rape jokes are okay if we don’t like someone’s music or attitude?  Come on.
  • It is too cold to watch one more fluffed up weatherperson – who is almost always a perky little girl – standing outside in frigid temperatures telling us how cold it is.  WE KNOW.  WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE HER STAND OUTSIDE??
  • It is too cold to remove the plastic Christmas decorations from my front yard because their cords have been frozen to the ground for three weeks.
  • It is too cold to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because no matter how high the heat is, the toilet seat is like fucking ice.
  • It is definitely too cold for this idiot, Republican GOP candidate Susanne Atanus, who believes “God controls the weather and that tornadoes, autism and dementia are his punishments for the gay rights movement and abortions.”  In other news, Santa Claus really does travel the entire world in one night giving gifts to good, deserving (heterosexual) children and the Easter Bunny is totally real.
  • It is too cold to even enjoy the beautifulness that is Harry Connick Jr. on American Idol because J-Lo is wearing a dress without a snowsuit over it and it makes me mutter incomprehensible things like, “I bet SHE didn’t almost freeze to the front gate trying to get in.  I bet her stupid front door wasn’t frozen shut.”  (True story.  That was when it was actually 20 below as opposed to balmy 7 degrees we’re enjoying right now.)
  • It is too cold for Captain and Tenille to get divorced.  WTF???
  • It is too cold to be sitting at the laptop with two fur-covered animals just staring at me instead of keeping my feet warm.
  • It is too cold to not have a fireplace.
  • It is too cold to not be dressed like Randy from a Christmas Story and I hate scarves.
  • It is too cold to drive a car.
  • It is too cold to enjoy national media pointing out how miserable it is here.  Jimmy Fallon has polar vortex songs and I can’t even be happy about them.

I am declaring this weekend Summer in January.  The heat’s going up to 80, static electricity be damned – hey, the ensuing fire will only create more heat!!! – we’re getting beach cocktails, spreading out a blanket on the floor, and only playing Jimmy Buffett for 24 hours.  Who’s with me??

Four short months ago.

Four short months ago.

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.

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.