Posted in Advice, Women

Smiley Miley at the VMAs


Nancy and I were talking about Miley at the VMAs, last night.  I’ve come to be something of a Miley apologist because I recognize that so much of what drives me up a tree about her, so much of what makes me want to yell at her to get off my lawn, is that I went through similar phases.  I am sympathetic to her plight, and moreso because she doesn’t even know she has a plight.

First, go read the article by Duana over at Lainey’s blog.  I have nothing but agreement for this.  I especially have nothing but love for this:

So I feel like Miley was bound and determined to write her own script [at the VMAs] and not just be a pretty fangirl and not just a “good girl” who secretly likes to be talked into sex [as part of the Blurred Lines performance], and what came out was…what we saw. It just makes me sad because I think she thinks she’s doing something other than what she’s doing, which is…still playing right into it.

I spent a lot of time doing something other than what I thought I was doing, which was playing right into “it” when I was about her age.  And if I’d had her platform?  Good lord.  I’m always going on about how glad I am the internet hadn’t been invented when I was coming up.  I am ever the more thankful that my parents never actively pursued a entertainment career for me because I sure would have been the misguided, well-meaning twerp showing up to an MTV party in rubber underwear, motorboating someone else’s magnificent nalgas.

It is hard to be a girl.  It is hard because the choices are so black and white.  Are you a good girl, or are you a bad girl?  Boys don’t have to make this decision.  Boys who have sex, who like sex, who say they want sex aren’t bad–they are just boys.

Miley has clearly chosen to tell the world that she has sex, likes sex, and wants sex, and she appears to believe that this requires giving the public an all access pass to her backstage–it’s a choice a lot of girls make.  If I’m going to be bad, then I’m going to be bad in your face so you can’t talk about me behind my back, you can’t call me a hypocrite, and you can’t say I’m a tease.  This is me, ass cheeks a’flapping.  I can’t stop.  I won’t stop.  It’s my mouth, my house, my song, my butt cheeks.  Deal with it, or go home.

For counter-balance, you have a Taylor Swift, who has clearly chosen to tell the world that she is a good girl.  Blurred Lines was written for Taylor Swift.  The girl who might want to go all the way, but who has to be convinced of it because that’s what is ladylike and proper.  It isn’t a sin if you can’t help it.  It’s only a sin if you want it.  My mouth is yours, my house is yours, my song is about you, you can tell me what to do with my backside.  Please love me and take me home.

Late-Teenaged and Early-Twenty-Something Lane was going to get up in your face about your misconceptions of what a good girl was/did/looked like.  Do you want to know what happens when little girls wear vinyl to the Campus Crusade meeting?  I could tell you all about it.  So could Miley.  I feel Miley.  I get it.  I understand.  I’m not calling her out for being sexualized or overt.

The performance was sad because it was so limp and dull.  It was sloppy and breathless, and the costuming was shameful in the sense of how poorly it fit, and poorly it reflected what was going on.  Miley Cyrus has a glorious figure, and whoever put her in those booty squishing shorts should be fired–and branded with some mark so that everyone knows not to hire him/her ever again.  I was okay with the Chuck E. Cheese swimsuit.  That was kind of cute for what she was doing.

Miley isn’t a performer who can carry a show, so she needs something more than dancing Pedobears to help her along.  She needs a better song, better choreography, and better fitting costumes, or just a better jam all the way around.  See her performance of Rebel Yell–that was a very good performance for her.

No one can tell a 20 year old girl who thinks she is making a statement by being blatantly sexual that the statement she is making, doesn’t mean what she thinks it means.  Because no one can tell a 20 year old anything.  All we can do as adults is be there to form a wall between her misconception and the dudes who are agreeing and nodding along with strings of drool hanging down their chins, telling her that it is a great idea to twerk upside down against the wall while they photograph her.

I told Nancy that I could sum up all my thoughts about the performance and the child with this:  Bless her heart.

And bless mine, too.

Thank you, God, for not inventing the interwebs until after I was far too old to twerk on camera.  Because You know it would have been out there somewhere.

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Posted in baseball, Family, parenting, Women, Women Worth Knowing

But She’s Just a Girl


My mom and I were watching Thor’s batting practice tonight.  As always, she was watching the coach with one eye, and Thor with the other, muttering praise, or worry as the coach did this, or that.  With most mothers, that would be some armchair quarterbacking, but with mine?  Mine knows her baseball from the inside out.  My mom played baseball for years.

She was squinting at how Thor was standing and I asked, “Which team was it that came and scouted you?”

“The Cardinals,” she said.  “St. Louis.”  That turned her around in my direction.

“I always get that wrong,” I said.  “I always think it was one of the sock teams And tell me again how they found you?”

“My coach.  Coach Ball.  He was talking about Jo Young, telling them how good this Joe Young was, and they thought he was talking about a boy.”  Now she was squinting at me.

I smiled at her.  “And tell me what the scout said.”

“He said I was amazing.  He told my coach that everything he said about me was true, and I was one of the best they’d seen.”

“But you couldn’t play.”

“No.  I couldn’t.  He said, ‘She’s everything you said, but she’s just a girl.'”

I have zero body intelligence, as we’ve discussed before.  I can barely do yoga.  So, the idea that I might not ever be allowed to play sports professionally has never bothered me.  I don’t care that I can’t play baseball professionally because I have XX chromosomes because I can’t play baseball anyway.  You would have to Bionic Woman me to even get me on a playing field with the AAA rookies.  But what if someone told me I couldn’t write professionally because of my sex?  The level of devastation would be overwhelming.  If you’re good enough, what’s your junk got to do with it?  Why should your gender stand in the way of your earning power?  And I say earning power because ARod makes a helluva lot more money than Crystl Bustos.  Who?  Exactly.

At dinner I asked my mom, “How did it feel to know that you had the same, or better ability than some men, but weren’t going to have the same opportunity to make a living doing something you loved?  That you weren’t going to have the same opportunity to create wealth for yourself doing something you were born with a natural ability to do?”

She shook her head, “It was hard.  It was always hard.”

How different, how much better, how much more fulfilling could my mother’s life have been, had she been afforded the opportunity to play professional ball?

I told her I wanted to do a video interview for the blog.  She squinted at me some more, then cocked her head to the left.  She said, “All right.” And went back to her dinner.

Thor went home with her, where he’ll be practicing the drills the coach gave him to do.  No one better to show him the way than the Mighty Jo Young.

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Posted in Health, Women

Sunny-Side Up


You know, having the dog has made something work for me in the mathematics of our household.  We seem to have the right number of living creatures in the pack now, and I’m going to credit Hoo for one of the first not-sad-this-week-out-of-the-month I’ve had in about five years.  Puppies are babies, after all, and I haven’t begrudged the little guy one early morning.  In fact, I’ve been setting my alarm to make sure I get up before his bladder does.

Hoo has been sleeping in his kennel, in Thor’s bedroom, and Thor finds this development suitable.  He told me he would still rather have a brother to share his room.  I told him that ship had sailed.  He said, “It’s all because you refuse to lay any more eggs, isn’t it?”  I blinked at him, remembering the couple of frank where-babies-come-from talks we’ve had, shrugged and agreed.  Yes.  I refuse to lay any more eggs.  I guess we’ll revisit that whole birds and bees thing at a later date.

While Hoo gets some credit, I should probably also credit my decision to take some control over having felt emotionally out of control for a while.  Whereas the emotional angst of PMS used to hit me for a couple of days out of the month, it had progressed to the point that it was taking up 7 to 9 days on either side of the M.  I had gone to the vitamin store and read the backs of forty bottles claiming to help just that thing, but ended up with a multi-vitamin and a B12.  Since I’m giving credit, it was probably the multi and the B that kept me from going down like the castle walls of Helm’s Deep when the flu bug hit.  (I was more like a Flaming Ent than that.  Just a lot of flapping and wailing.)

I finally asked my mother what advice she had to give, and after two weeks of dosing myself with the above and Wild Yam and Chaste Tree, Evening Primrose Oil, and Nutri-Calm, I’m not sobbing over free burritos for wounded warriors.  Just in time for the holidays!  I did not melt down crying once over the holidays (which I normally do), and those holidays included a puppy, an unexpected snowfall/ice hazard, and a trip to the ER with a dehydrated child.

I am skeptical enough to think that at least some of it is a placebo effect, but faithful enough to holistic healing to believe I’m doing something good for my body and reaping the benefits.  Either way, I’m not beside myself with suffering to match my early teen years, so I’m not going to knock it.

 

Posted in Explaining the Strange Behavior, Lancient History, Women

It is Only Funny if I am Laughing–Not if I am Yelling


I told you a funny story involving a half-dressed man at my desk, so now I will tell you a story that I keep hoping will become funny in retrospect, but still hasn’t.  Some of you will have heard the story before. 

I was working for a company, and had a superior who was inappropriate about 60% of the time.  If he wasn’t being outright inappropriate, he was serving up the innuendo.  I was at about a 50/40/10 split of trying to deflect with humor, or saying some version of, “You are making me uncomfortable,” or just pretending not to have heard/understood what I had heard.

There came a day when this superior grabbed me in a headlock and ground his pelvis into my backside.  He ground himself so hard against me, that I could feel his junk.  I struggled and howled, and he thought this was funny, and he held me tighter and ground harder.  When I did wrench myself free, he was laughing and telling me to calm down, and I was doing nothing of the sort. 

I walked away to compose myself, and when I got back into my area (which was full of people for a staff event being held at that time), I tried to keep away from him.  He was having none of that, and kept forcing himself next to me.

I went home, told B what had happened, and didn’t go back.  Then came the process of having to explain to people of varying importance why I wasn’t going back, and being informally deposed by men, in a roomful of men, a group of which kept insisting that a) it had been a poorly delivered joke, but a joke nonetheless, b) that I had misunderstood the intent, and c) that I must have imagined part of it because that superior would never, ever do anything untoward. 

My short answer was repeatedly, “I don’t think I could misunderstand his penis grinding against my buttocks.”

Having someone–someone who directly controlled my finances–assault me was one thing.  Having to sit and be told that this person thought it was just a joke to assault me, and having to sit and be told that I had imagined being in a headlock while someone ground his pelvis into my backside was something else entirely.  And having to do it with only men in the room–men who (save for the one who was representing me) had the best interest of the company and the company’s bottom line at heart–was like having my face rubbed in a big, hairy, corporate crotch.

I hate confrontation, but I’m no wilting plant when it comes to standing up for myself.  Ask any HR department…ha!  I also had two or three things on my side that meant I had legs to stand on, should my chair be kicked out from under me–one of those things being a husband who had a good job.  I worry for women who are less able to confront, who don’t have the luxury of the Father-in-Law I have, and who aren’t married to spouses who can make ends meet until they find another job.  I worry for women who are truly at the whim of the smegma who think it is funny to sexually harass their underlings.

I worry.

Now, though, to cleanse the palate, I will leave you with a list of things that have become funny in retrospect–actually, these things were pretty funny when they happened.  Funny=not threatening, by the way.  As long as it isn’t threatening, it can be funny.

  • The time a boss who was wearing pantyhose, but no panties, pulled her skirt up and asked me if it looked like her thighs were rashy.
  • The time I walked in on a manager fondling a coworker’s new, naked breasts.
  • The time a coworker came up, bit me on the neck and said, “That’s how I ask girls out.”
  • The time my boss’s wife called me from the bathtub to tell me how sexually satisfied her husband (my boss) had just left her, only to have him come around the corner whistling.  I literally fell out of my chair onto the floor, trying to avoid eye contact with him.  He thought I was a moron.
  • The manager who used to walk up behind me and sit her belly on top of my head.  For fun?  I don’t know.  Nothing quite like being Fat-Hatted in the middle of writing an email.

 

Posted in Howling Sea Lane, Style, Women

Underneath it All


I have a friend close to my age, whose guyfriend complained that her underwear aren’t sexy enough.  *sigh*  Really, Guyfriend?  Really?  Life is neither a porno, nor a Victoria’s Secret catalog.  I didn’t like sexy underwear when I was arguably sexy.  I certainly don’t like them now.  Now, I like underwear that give my butt a little life, my tummy a little support, and hit me at the waist so I don’t have to deal with my belly fat escaping from under the top of the bikini style panties that I trade off and on with my ladypants.  Ladypants.  Not Granny Panties.  Ladypants.

But, yes, sometimes I wear Granny Panties.  You don’t like that?  Suck it.  Sometimes, I wear great, big, cotton drawers that are cool, comfortable, and breathe in the crotch-sweltering heat of Texas summertime.  In fact, I am wearing such drawers right now.  No heat rash for me!

Listen, I always want to look my best–even when I am scruffing around the house, I am (at the very least) aware of how I look (though I might not do anything about it–I do think about it.)  But I quit buying in to the media fantasty that underwear are about anything other than keeping my bits away from the inner lining of my clothing and furniture, and smoothing out lines under fashion many years ago.  Well before I got married, in case you worry that once he put a ring on it I went out and bought the tallest pair of underwear I could find. 

I have owned a g-string or two in my time.  I even owned them back when it was visually appropriate for me to wear them.  I did not like them.  I did not like that I had a permanent wedgie–ditto and worse with thongs.  I wore them because I thought it was the expectation, and because the supermodels I idolized were always talking about how a g-string was a girl’s best friend.

I also owned tanga bikinis, Brazilian cut panties, scoops, string bikinis, side-ties, and any other filmy under-confection you can imagine.  Hated them all.

My cousin, M, will tell you about the underwear envy we had when we were little.  I always had white nylon and lace panties from Her Majesty.  She had colorful cotton panties with days of the week printed on them.  It was hilarious as adults to realize how jealous we had been of each other’s underwear.  I’d have given her the lot of my lacy undies for just her Saturday and Sunday. 

Nylon is hot.  Cotton is comfy.

When it comes to adult times, certainly my wardrobe changes.  You don’t wear your Fruit of the Looms to seduce.  I’m not worried about comfort then, but I’m still aiming for flattering.  And where a thong might have been flattering 15 years, 40lbs, and one large baby ago, now it is a sight gag in a Ben Stiller movie.  I refuse to set myself up as a punchline just because Big Media has convinced us that the Very Visual Creatures we call men cannot have happy endings unless we are wearing 3″ of elastic and polyester that cost $25 a pop, and another half pound of padding under cheap satin that costs upwards of $50 per.  Maybe if I could talk my husband into wearing one of the old flamingo g-strings for men that Frederick’s of Hollywood (whose sexy underwear is among the most comfortable, and longest lasting–I highly recommend them for your flirtier frills.) used to sell?  Then we could be sight gags together.

Flattering for sexy times.  Comfortable and supportive for the 16 hours a day that I am up and running.  I do have a motto:  You are only as well dressed as your worst pair of panties.  Keep ’em clean.  Keep ’em in shape.  Keep ’em flattering.

You have to wear what works for you.  So, to my friend whose guyfriend made her feel small because her panties were big:  Buy a pair of his and hers fishnet thongs.  If he’s willing to wear it, then go for it!  If he isn’t?  You know what you’re dealing with and where to drop him off.