[Wrote this Wednesday. The process is instructive so I’m keeping it.] Hey ya’ll. I’m forcing myself to write because I’m not really feeling the muse so much at the moment but I know that when it hits me sometime oh, say, Saturday afternoon, I’ll be away from my computer and won’t be able to justify getting back to my computer to capture the brilliance (ahem). So, here we are. I have some thoughts on a few things, for sure. I mean, of course I do. But I don’t know how eloquently they’ll flow. But I’m finding as I write this, just the act of typing seems sublime to me. Really, really comforting and reaffirming. If you ever want to know why some people that write don’t call themselves writers, and others that write do, it’s probably somewhere in there. If the keyboard feels like home — all the backing up and changing of language and stopping and grinning with satisfaction at a well-crafted thought — you can legitimately own the skill. If it’s a chore every time, then you may have made a vocational error somewhere down the line. [end Wednesday effort]
Saturday — Got negged by a 70 year old man yesterday. One of the strangest things that has ever happened to me. I’m finding that there is a subset of men who share a similarity of character that is one that, I’m guessing, many women find endearing (?) but I do not. Women must find it endearing or these guys wouldn’t do it, right? Isn’t that the whole point of negging? The veritable definition, even? But I do not enjoy it – I find that tactic not only in tremendously bad taste, but also dull and clunky and not very smooth, playa. Not even in the slightest. And I have the hardest time not simply calling them out verbally – seriously, I had to stop myself from verbally dressing down a 70 year old man — in the moment and embarrassing them just as egregiously as they are trying to do to me. But my momma raised me better I guess because I politely make a joke, count to 10 until my ears stop burning and being beet red (I hate that so so much), and then try to act like it doesn’t bother me at all. Because I have grace (ahem). But inside, my 5 year old little girl is crying and punching a wall. Here’s what went down…
I went to a small exhibit at the portrait gallery that was all about dance! Of course I did, and I went with a young female friend of mine who is a compatriot in the dance thing. She also happens to be working toward fundraising in the dance world (she’s in fact interning at the Washington Ballet this summer. Badass.) and so she’s testing out her hobnobbing chops with some of the mucky mucks who throw their money at the arts. So we were wandering around the Portrait Gallery and this older couple called out her name and I could tell based on the conversation that they were patrons, if you know what I mean. And so I politely stood and listened and tried to be as pleasant and quiet as possible when the man – who had been cutting his eyes at me and definitely had that little glimmer of mischief, finally said to me, “So, you’re her mother?”
Oh holy fuck.
Look, I’m not really sensitive about my age. Never have been. Don’t care about it, probably never will. Which, honestly, has, looking back, been a detriment because I’ve never felt the pressure to do any of the stuff that requires youth. Stupid, I know. It only bothers me a little when I think about being able to do certain things – specifically not being able to do things I used to be able to do — and missing out on doing other things because of the constraints of the physical self as one ages. But this man assumed, I’m sure, that I was sensitive because most women (maybe most people) are. Now, my friend is about 14 years younger than me so I guess it is technically possible that I could be her mother. But I’m aware that I look relatively young for my age (HUMBLEBRAG!), and I was standing there in a dress and blue Chuck Taylors for Christ sake, which generally gives one an idea about what generation someone belongs to. So this man didn’t for one second believe I was my friend’s mother. But he wanted to get my attention. And the way he wanted to do it was to try to embarrass me and make me uncomfortable. Sigh. As a Southern woman, I’m familiar with the tactic – although women are way more apt to do it in the South as the concept of “gentleman” still has some meaning down that way – but it’s just unimpressive as a behavior. Hell, it’s unimpressive when a frat bro does it in an attempt to get laid. And it’s downright pathetic when a 70 year old patron of the arts does it. So, guys, let me just end by saying this: stop. Because if this tactic works, you’re not dealing with the right kind of woman. I think Tucker Max was fond of this strategy and the women he … ah, got? were probably not that impressive either. Just a guess.
Anyway, there I was, fully aware that my friend is starting her career and these are the kind of people she’s going to need to hit up for money, so what could I do? Swallow it, make a joke, retain my composure, and feel sorry for his wife. All of which I did, with as much dignity and grace as I could muster. Because slapping a 70 year old man and going full redneck on him would have been excessive.
In any event, my friend will probably be okay with them, and that’s what counts. But I reckon I can only expect more of that as time goes on and especially if I stay here in the land of one-uppers. Why do they teach you that here, Washington area natives? Are you afraid if you aren’t putting people in their places you’ll be vulnerable somehow? Because honestly, vulnerability’s okay. It can actually be a very good thing at times.
As an aside, I’ve noticed the men trained to do this tend to choose women (for a time and possibly indefinitely) who can dish it as good, or often better, than they can. It’s kind of an ugly in fact. And it will forever make me think of George and Martha from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Or, ya know, this. Because I’m sure the pictures do show a happy couple. Isn’t that just the perfect macrocosm for the little social media superstars today…
Speaking of toxic marriages, not too long ago, someone suggested to me I was a little odd for not being married. Meh. Look, I want that. Always have. But I just don’t want to be trapped in a miserable life that I can’t extricate myself from given how seriously I take the vow of marriage. I’ve been in long term relationships that were only not marriages because I hedged. They taught me plenty. And thus far, I’ve not met anyone else who takes that vow as seriously as I do. If I never meet him, so be it. It makes me sad sometimes for sure. But all you fools who settle for misery and then divorce are the weird ones to me. And I get the argument about rolling the dice, but I don’t gamble unless there’s at least a reasonable chance I’ll win (see above statement about taking the vow seriously).
Anyway, I see the manipulation and efforts to control in a lot of relationships around me and it alternately makes me laugh and then cry, particularly if I like one of the players. But how do you ask someone why they let themselves be demeaned without offending them? You don’t, that’s how. Okay, other stuff.
So an old article about Hobby Lobby investing in the offending abortifacient manufacturers was emailed to me because of something I wrote on the Supreme Court’s decision. Here’s the thing about that 1) it’s already been addressed here; and 2) Hobby Lobby is actually going against their own evangelical religious beliefs to offer something to the employee via their investment choices. They’re not being hypocritical. THEY’RE BEING NICE. What’s with the hate? I really don’t get it. And I’m not trying to be a bitch about it, I’m really not. But have we gotten so far removed from acts that aren’t directly selfish that we no longer recognize them? Please tell me that’s not the case. Please.
God this was interesting. Turns the idea that higher compensation is the best motivator absolutely on its head and then kicks its butt out the door. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing Dave. But then, since you employ me, what are you trying to say man? (kidding…)
Yeah, pretty much. I don’t know about y’all but I get drained by the shallow and the surface and the Disneyland ride of “Concern for your fellow man!” thing. Seriously, it’s like the Disneyland approximation of the the real thing. With animatronics and everything.
God this was good. I like #11, with apologies to my friend Hallissey, who is both English and lovely.
And, to round it out, a Facebook friend posted this in honor of the holiday and it is an uncommonly eloquent turn of phrase(s), and also inspiring and true.
I do not choose to be a common man,
It is my right to be uncommon … if I can,
I seek opportunity … not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen.
Humbled and dulled by having the
State look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk;
To dream and to build.
To fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;
I prefer the challenges of life
To the guaranteed existence;
The thrill of fulfillment
To the stale calm of Utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence
Nor my dignity for a handout
I will never cower before any master
Nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect.
Proud and unafraid;
To think and act for myself,
To enjoy the benefit of my creations
And to face the world boldly and say:
This, with God’s help, I have done
All this is what it means
To be an Entrepreneur.
― Thomas Paine, Common Sense
“If Obama were a movie, he’d be Gigli.” Man, that’s harsh…But you know what? Treat people like shit long enough and eventually they’ll call you a flop without caring you are mortal and can be wounded. Respect is a two-way street.
Grrr. This was irritating. He’s laughing at the hubris of communists. Not drawing a parallel. But nice work Reuters. Way to move the window.
Oh dear, I’m in trouble. So delicious chilled.
Y’all, I seriously love this movie. Melissa McCarthy is a comedy genius.