27 September 2017

Seriously, What Is the Deal With Men?

OK, that is a gross generalization, as I know plenty of men who are wonderful human beings - fun, talented, smart, reasonable, and as far as I'm concerned, "normal." 

I won't be talking about them in this post though.  Instead I will be making gross generalizations, which is not something I usually do, and which I know is not an ideal way to look at the world.

But.  Seriously, what is the deal with men?

The local news had a story last weekend about a young guy (in his 20s I believe) who showed up at his ex-girlfriend's house.  When her mother answered the door, he shot her.  This was because the daughter had broken up with him.

This or some variation of it seems to happen a lot.  Men who have somehow been wronged, or one of my least favorite words, "disrespected," turn to violence against the woman/children/her family as their first line of action.  I'm not saying that women don't occasionally behave poorly after a break-up, but I don't hear about as many of them killing or badly injuring anyone.

In what world does it happen that your girlfriend dumps you, or you get a divorce, or your ex gets remarried, and the ONLY choice you have is to "get even" by killing them?  I'm being serious.  I don't get it.  I get being angry, hurt, even mortified.  But even on my worst day, it wouldn't occur to me to kill someone over anything like that. 

On a lesser note, but still as ridiculous to me, are men who immediately turn to extreme language name-calling if you do not 100% agree with what they have said. 

I have two examples that happened recently to yours truly.

Example 1:

I  attended a going away party for a neighbor.  OK, it was not so much a party as it was a small get-together with wine and cheese.  But I digress.  I got a glass of wine, and was talking to another neighbor who knew a lot more people than I did, and a short while later, there were about 7-8 people who had joined us.  Someone mentioned that they had been to the gym that day.  One of the men said, "Well, be careful that you don't work out so much that you look like that she-man, Michelle Obama!"  Everyone laughed but me.  I started to walk away, and another man asked me where I was going.  I responded that I was going to wish the moving-away neighbor well, and head home.  He said, "What - you don't like us?"  And foolishly, I said, "I wasn't comfortable with the conversation.  I happen to admire Michelle Obama."  That's all I said.  And I said it politely, in a normal tone of voice. 

He responded by immediately flying into a rage, and yelling, "Well then get out of here, you ____, ____, miserable libtard!"  (I cannot bring myself to even type the first letter of two of the words, but let's just say there are words used only at females.)  Another guy from the group said, "What did she do?" and as he was regaling them with my offending comment, I hustled out of there and headed home. 

I was really upset by this - not at anyone disagreeing with me, but by how quickly it had escalated and become me vs. them.  Yes, I could have just said something benign like, "I'm heading home, I'm tired," but a) I didn't, and b) I shouldn't have had to worry about it in the first place.  But it went from zero to 100 mph *immediately.*

Example 2:

This is from Facebook, where I know people are happy to hide behind being online, but it's still just as ridiculous.

There is a local reporter who is an architecture critic for the local newspaper.  She writes really interesting columns, and I follow her on Facebook.  Last weekend, she posted a link to an article about some local hair salons that were looking into using hair dye that was not dangerous to their clients.  The article discussed some of the dangerous chemicals, etc. used in hair dye.  The reporter posted the link with the comment: "This is good news for those of us who color our hair."

Then other people posted comments about the article, but one man commented "I think Ms. ____ should stick to writing about architecture," and a woman responded, "I respectfully disagree - she can write about whatever topic she likes."  His immediate response (and trust me, I'm paraphrasing) was that she should go home, mind her own business, and serve her purpose of having babies.  To say it had escalated quickly was an understatement.  And then he proceeded to lambast any other female who commented, regardless of what they had said. 

Because I am nosy (or to quote my mother, I am a "nebshit,"), I went to his FB page, where from what he had posted, it appeared he was an older man in a relationship with another man.  His FB page was benign as far as posts so if you had only looked at that, you'd think he was just a regular person.

I don't get this.  And it also makes me angry.  I'm really tired of having to tiptoe around men in case their fragile egos are offended.  And especially when they don't seem to make any effort to be considerate in the first place.  Plus, since overall most men are physically larger than I am, there's always the threat of physical violence lurking in the background.

I don't expect people to get along perfectly, or that the sun will shine, flowers will bloom, and birds will sing happily every day while I skip to and fro going about my business.  But I do expect basic civility, from women AND men. 

It seems to me that anyone whose immediate response is violence is the one with the problem.  And I also think a lot of it starts with the belief that "Boys will be boys."

OK, I'm done, and this rant is over.  I just had to get it off of my chest without worrying that someone would go batshit crazy.

Thanks for listening.

24 September 2017

Sunday Shape-Up Series Announcement

Well hello there!  Fall has officially arrived - though the weather still needs to make the realization (I mean, 91 degrees and humid on September 24?  Pffft), and I don't know about you, but September and the arrival of fall always make me want to start fresh.  In everything and anything, it's actually kind of like a second New Year's to me (but with the holidays still on their way!).

In other words, I am always inspired to "shape-up" and get myself in gear.  And I don't mean only shaping up in terms of exercise and activity - rather, I want to get going in as many ways as I can that are important to me.

So in order to keep myself honest, I'm announcing my Sunday Shape-Up Series, which will officially be underway by next week, on Sunday October 1st.  (The OCD part of me likes to start with the new month, what can I say?)

Here's how it will work:  I'm going to make a list of things that I would like to do long-term (i.e., through the end of the year or more), and short-term (this week? tomorrow?) and post them here.  Then each Sunday, I will regale you with tales of how I did or did not work towards them.  I figure if I have realistic plans, and something both immediate and long-term to think about, I'll do better than if I say that I am going to DEFINITELY do X by such-and-such date.

That's it really.  If I accomplish said goals, that will be a good thing.  If I don't, I will either decide that tomorrow is another day, or that maybe that goal is a) actually not attainable for me, or b) not something I'm really committed to doing, and go from there.

Will it work?  Who knows, I hope so!  Only time will tell.

Care to join me?  Feel free to make up your own version of this and share it - or not - with others.  In a way, it's kinda like a KAL or MAL (in craft terms for those of you not familiar, that means "Knit-Along, Make-Along" where people work on projects together for a period of time), but completely personal and adaptable to your own situtations.  The deadlines, the ideas, all of it is up to you and in the time frame you decide.

In any event, I'm giving it a try and if nothing else this is a warning that if you show up here, there will be a minimum of one post a week, and it will be on this topic.

Things are swimming around in my brain as I write this - now I just have to try to pick and choose where to start!  (OK, that could easily take a week ...)

10 September 2017

Just When I Thought I'd Figured It Out

As you likely know, I am an animal lover.  The Tim and I are vegetarians (though admittedly we eat fish on occasion), and we try really hard not to buy leather shoes, bags, etc. (though we still use/wear things we've had for years).  So we are not perfect - like most people - and we are not vegan - because we are ridiculously fond of dairy products.  But we do try to be conscious about what we are buying and what we are eating.

For many years, I've done my best to be really conscientious about beauty products.  I made every effort to buy and use things that were listed as being cruelty-free.  And for a while, it seemed that more and more companies were jumping on the bandwagon of wanting to be cruelty free, not testing their products on animals.  I was pleased because some of my favorite products and brands were on board, so I could buy and use their products in good conscience.

But that has changed in the past few years, apparently.  I don't know exactly when it happened (because frankly, I was going along obliviously), but at some point China demanded that any products from other countries that were sold there be tested on animals, as that is part of their accepted protocols.

I first became aware of this when I read a letter-to-the-editor in an issue of Allure magazine. The writer was bemoaning the fact that a product she had been using and really liked - Urban Decay Naked Palette - was now something she couldn't buy because they had started doing business in China, where animal testing was required.  Oh crap, I thought, and decided to do some research.  It was eye-opening to see all of the companies - drugstore and high-end brands - who had been cruelty-free, but were no longer.

From what I can determine, a lot of the companies that used to be cruelty-free still are, but have been bought out by larger companies that are not cruelty-free. Which adds another whole level to the issue.

Sigh.  Just when I thought I'd been careful enough to avoid using things tested on animals!  It's very disappointing to say the least.  Of course, China is a HUGE market for just about anything, and businesses are in business to make money.  

I've been making more of an effort than usual lately when I finish a product, to look for a replacement that is acceptable.  And that's OK, it's my responsibility to pay attention when I am buying things - be it safe food, non-polluted water, or face wash.  

But it was sure a heck of a lot easier when more companies were doing the right thing.

Thanks, China.