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Showing off the legs in question

 

At the risk of sounding vain, I love my legs.  A few years ago, when I was complaining to my mom about the fact that I had inherited her nose, she cut me off by replying, “Yes, but you inherited my legs too so stop complaining.”  And you know what?  She was right.  I take a lot of pride in my legs and I enjoy showing them off.

At one time, of course, showing them off would probably have meant being accused of gross indecency.  Most famously, during the Victorian Era, it was considered scandalous for a woman to even show her ankles.  

Fortunately, especially for those of us who live in the Southwest where it’s usually just a little bit too hot and dry to wander around covered head-to-toe in several layers of clothing all in the name of public decency, times have changed.

Now, if you’re like me and you like to show off your legs then you probably know that there’s a lot of advice to be found online on how to wear a miniskirt without 1) looking trashy and 2) letting the entire world know what color underwear you’re wearing. 

A lot of that information is actually pretty helpful.

And then some of that information, like this video that I came across on YouTube yesterday, is from 1967…

That’s right, ladies.  The key to wearing a miniskirt is to make sure you carry your chastity board with you everywhere and try not to distract the men from getting their work done.

You’re welcome. :)

I came across the following AP story earlier today: “Slutwalks” Put Provocative Message On The Street.  The story is by Russell Contreras:

BOSTON – This social movement really gets around.

An international series of protests known as SlutWalks, sparked by a Toronto police officer’s flippant comment that women should avoid dressing like “sluts” to avoid being raped or victimized, is taking root in the United States.

Some women and men who protest dress in nothing more remarkable than jeans and T-shirts, while others wear provocative or revealing outfits to bring attention to “slut-shaming,” or shaming women for being sexual, and the treatment of sexual assault victims.

“It was taking the blame off the rapist and on the victim,” said Nicole Sullivan, 21, a student at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and an organizer of the SlutWalk planned here for Saturday. “So we are using these efforts to reclaim the word `slut.’”

The police officer made his comments in January to a group of York University students at a safety forum. He later apologized, but his comments were publicized widely on Facebook and Twitter. They inspired a march in Toronto last month that drew more than 3,000 people, as well as SlutWalks since then in Dallas; Asheville, N.C.; and Ottawa, Ontario.

In addition to Boston, marches are planned in cities including Seattle; Chicago; Philadelphia; Reno, Nev.; and Austin, Texas.

“The event is in protest of a culture that we think is too permissive when it comes to rape and sexual assault,” said Siobhan Connors, 20, of Lynn, Mass., another Boston organizer. “It’s to bring awareness to the shame and degradation women still face for expressing their sexuality … essentially for behaving in a healthy and sexual way.”

The events are similar to “Take Back the Night” rallies and other marches that aim to bring attention to sexual violence. But there are key differences.

SlutWalkers have danced to hip-hop, worn T-shirts with the word “slut” and held signs that read “sluts pay taxes.” Some women have skated around on Rollerblades in lingerie, while their male supporters wore shirts reading, “I love sluts.”

The rallies typically end with speakers and workshops on stopping sexual violence and calling on law enforcement agencies not to blame victims after sexual assaults.

In San Francisco, SlutWalk organizers want to make their protest a family event.

“Singles, couples, parents, sisters, brothers, children, friends,” the SlutWalk SF BAY Facebook page announces. “Come walk or roll or strut or holler or stomp with us.”

Connors said organizers had initially planned for about 100 people to attend the Boston event; by Thursday, more than 2,300 had responded to a Facebook shout-out. Another 2,000 people have similarly committed to attend the SlutWalk Seattle on June 19.

“Everything happened organically,” Sullivan said.

The officer who made the comments, Constable Michael Sanguinetti, was disciplined but remains on duty, Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said Thursday.

“We said at the time that his comments were entirely unacceptable, that they didn’t reflect in any way what we train and teach our people,” Pugash said.

Pugash wouldn’t comment on the movement the officer’s comments have spawned.

The Boston SlutWalk group has had to delete several “inappropriate comments” about women and faced criticism from a group that promised to organize a counter “Pimp Walk” in Boston, Connors said.

“We think it was put there as a joke, but it’s disturbing that a number of young people still feel that way,” said Connors, referring to sexist comments left on the page.

Pages dedicated to other cities’ SlutWalks also deleted inappropriate comments.

Connors said the Boston SlutWalk will start at the Boston Commons with protesters marching around the area and will end with a roster of speakers.

As a matter of general principle, I support the idea behind the SlutWalks.  Far too often, women are told that rape is not a crime but instead, it’s a misunderstanding.  If only we dressed appropriately or watched what we said then apparently, rape would be a nonexistent crime.  When a woman is raped, she is first expected to prove that she’s not a “slut.”

(And, let’s be honest, this point of view is not exclusively male.  I’ve seen firsthand that women are just as capable of being as judgmental and narrow-minded.)

If the idea or the name “SlutWalk” seems to be extreme, it’s simpy a reaction to the extreme circumstances that we find ourselves expected to deal with on a daily basis.

Most of the criticism directed towards the slutwalks is that — by dressing provocatively and embracing the term “slut” — the Slutwalkers are, in fact, trivializing the issue.  And to that I say bullshit.  No, none of the men who show up to leer at a slutwalk are going to have their attitudes changed.  But maybe it’s time that we admit that it’s too late to try to change men.  Maybe it’s time that we, as women, admit that we need to change our attitude that somehow, we’ve brought our victimization on ourselves or that we should be ashamed of who we are. 

Until we are willing to stop playing the victim, we will continue to be victimized. 

At the same time, I do have to say that I have no interest in reclaiming the term “slut.”  You guys can keep the word.  I’m perfectly happy with “independent.”

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye

Even though everyone knew it was time

I can’t get my mind to accept it

Nobody asked me if I had anything to say

Nobody told me it was time

I still see it all so clear

I reach out and take your hand

Mom, are you okay?

I don’t think so you say

And you slip away

I’m told the tears will dry in time

But I don’t think so

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye

Okay, so this is what happens when I don’t get enough sleep the night before and don’t have any major “ah ha” moments during the day. I ened up taking silly random quizzes on the Internet and posting the results.


Now, to be honest, I usually have a tendency to try to find the most sordid, potentially TMI tests possible. However, tonight, I decided to keep things fairly tame by taking the following quizzes:


What age do you act? (My actual age, by the way, is 25.)


You Act Like You Are 15 Years Old


You are a teenager at heart. You don’t quite feel like a grown up yet, but you don’t feel like a kid.
You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

You’re quite rebellious, and you don’t like being told what to do. You like to do things your way.
You have your own unique style, taste in music, and outlook on life.


Do you follow your head or your heart?


You Follow Your Heart


You’re romantic, sentimental, and emotional.
You tend to fall in (and out of) love very quickly.
Some may call you fickle, but you can’t help where your emotions take you.
You’ve definitely broken a few hearts, but you’re not a heartbreaker by nature.
Your intentions are always good, even if they change with the wind


What personality disorder are you? (To be honest, a better question would probably be which personality disorder aren’t I?)


You May Be a Bit Borderline…


Your mood swings make a roller coaster look tame!
When you’re up, you’re a little bit crazy…
And when you’re down, your whole world is crashing
Scary thing is, these moods can change by the minute!


Are you a feminist?


You Are 91% Feminist


You are a total feminist. This doesn’t mean you’re a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It’s a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.


How Irish are you? (The technical answer, by the way, would be that I’m a fourth Irish. I’m also a fourth Italian, a fourth German, and a fourth Basque. Of course, most people would probably just say I’m a country girl from Texas.)


You’re 80% Irish


Congratulations, you’re a shining example of an Irish lass (or lad).
There’s hardly anyone more Irish than you!


How cluttered is your mind? (Very cluttered, I imagine.)


Your Mind is 86% Cluttered


Your mind is incredibly cluttered. You have so much going on in there, it’s hard to think straight.
Consider talking to a therapist. It’s a good idea to sort through your thoughts, if only to see which ones are worth hanging on to.


Hopefully, I’ll have an ah ha moment tomorrow because I’m not sure how many more of these quizzes I can take before I start taking them way too seriously.

It’s about 2:2o in the morning.  I got into bed 90 minutes ago and in that time, I’m not sure how many times I’ve fallen asleep and woken up.  All I know is that every time I open my eyes, I look over at the clock glowing in the darkness and I wonder how it’s possible that so little time has passed. 

I’ve resorted to turning on the TV.  Late at night, Channel 27 stops showing old episodes of Cops and starts showing infomercials.  Sometimes, if I’m lucky, it’ll be a good infomercial like the one for the shakeweight or one of those Songs By People You’ve Never Heard Of music collections.  Tonight, however, our infomercial is for Peter Popoff, a loud and shrill preacher who apparently can heal the sick by touching them.  Even more importantly, if you call him, you can get “free miracle spring water” along with what is described as being a “faith tool.”  I’m not sure what the tool is but apparently, if you get it, you can supernaturally cancel your financial debts.  That’s what the man claims.

Much of what Popoff says makes no sense, on either a logical or a theological level.  Popoff screams, “God wants you to be rich!” in between footage of some old woman jumping out of a wheelchair and dancing.  “Oh!  OH!”  Popoff screams, “she’s dancing!  SHE’S DANCING!  SHE’S GOING TO DO A LITTLE DANCE!”

Peter Popoff -- HEALER!

I hit mute because Popoff’s shrill voice is starting to give me a headache.  I watch as Popoff now silently yells and more people jump out of wheelchairs and toss crutches to the ground.  I notice that almost everyone in the audience is black yet Popoff is very, very white and I wonder why I feel guilty about spotting this.

Graphics flash on the screen.  “Cancel your debt!”  they announce.  Men and women — almost all of them black, almost all of them old — are now silently giving testimonials on the TV.  The closed captioning kicks in and I watch their words flash across the screen.  “I had lost everything…” scrolls across the bottom of the screen.

Suddenly, Peter Popoff and a woman I assume to be his wife are both on-screen.  Popoff is waving around a piece of paper.  I have to look away because I feel like I’m staring at the devil.

From what I’ve seen, Peter Popoff’s claim is that God wants you to be rich.  And who am I to say he’s wrong?  I’m a fallen sinner, after all.  I was raised Catholic.  I grew up wondering if I would ever be strong enough to take vows of silence, chastity, or poverty.  (And the answer turned out to be no for all three.)  Who am I to judge this ranting, scary-looking, lumbering creature who clams he can heal and who claims he can magically erase all of my problems?  Who am I to disagree with a man who buys airtime just so he can claim to be God?

Peter Popoff and friend

I’m nothing but a doubter and late night television infomercials have no use for the doubter or the skeptic.  No, infomercials are all about celebrating the fact that people will believe anything as long as it’s on TV.

It’s hard for me to believe that there was a time before I become a doubter.  This was when I could still look at a priest without wondering if he was going to be arrested on sex abuse charges.  This was when I still believed that men and women were capable of doing things out of their kindness of their heart and nothing more.  This was back when I still believed that mom and dad would be married forever and that neither of them would ever leave me behind.  This was back when I believed that happiness was something more than just an interval between pain.  In my heart, this feels like it was a very long time ago.

And back then, I so admired the men and women who chose to devote their lives to serving God.  I admired them because, unlike Peter Popoff, they served God with the knowledge that it would mean being poor and  that it would mean sacrificing everything that spoiled little girls like me took for granted.  I looked at them and I wondered how can they be so strong

And, today, I just look at them and I wonder if they were all just Peter Popoff in disguise. 

I look back up at Peter Popoff.  The closed captioning informs me that Peter is telling us that God wants us to be rich.  You cannot serve God and money, I think, that’s from the Gospel of Saint Luke.  Chapter 16, verse 13.

Enough of this.  Searching for my last faith isn’t going to help my insomnia.  I pick up the remote and lift it towards the TV, just in time to see that Peter Popoff is finished. 

Instead, Peter Popoff has been replaced with a new infomercial, this one for the Strap Perfect.  The closed captioning tell me that “Strap Perfect is the perfect solution for your bra strap problems.  Stop wrestling with stubborn bra straps…”

I point the remote at the TV and quickly turn the volume back up.

As Seen On TV

 

I'm using this picture because, quite frankly, I think it treats Bin Laden with all the respect he deserves.

Last night, as I watched the news reports about the death of Osama Bin Laden, I heard more than one reporter say, “Now, everyone will remember where they were when they first learned that Osama Bin Laden was dead.”

Myself, I first learned about it at 9:38 last night.  I was sitting on my couch in my beloved black Pirates shirt and underwear, watching the Celebrity Apprentice with my sister Erin and my friend Jeff.  We had already seen the announcement that President Barack Obama was planning on giving a speech at 9:30 and we were ominously informed that the subject of the speech was “unknown.”  Erin was concerned that we were about to get into another war, my (hopeful) guess was that he was going to announce his resignation, and Jeff suggested that he was just wanted to show Donald Trump who was boss.  Luckily, Erin happened to be on twitter and she was the one who first spotted the “Bin Laden’s dead!” tweets.

So, that’s how I first learned that Osama Bin Laden was dead.  I have to be honest, I wish the moment had been a bit more cinematic.  I wish I could say that the circumstances were more like being kissed by a stranger in Times Square on V-Day or something else with a similar romantic appeal.

But no, the reality of the matter is that when I first heard the news, I was lounging on my couch in my panties.  Fortunately, they were at least festive panties.

The panties I was wearing the night Bin Laden died

I do take some comfort, however, in the fact that I probably wasn’t the only person not dressed to witness history that night.  And regardless, history just happens.  It’s not something you can prepare for. 

What’s important, and  I say this as a confirmed bleeding heart pacifist who is opposed to the death penalty and who fervently believes that prisons should be more about rehabilitation than punishment, is that right now, I’ve never been prouder of our armed forces. 

And, in the future, when I’m asked what it was like to first hear that Bin Laden was dead, that’s the answer I’ll give.

Alone in Heels (A Short Story)

As she stepped onto the crowded train, she could feel the eyes on her.  All of the male eyes and, yes, a few female eyes; they were all looking her over and passing judgment.  They were all passing their verdict on the end result of 25 years of existence.

We know you, those eyes said, you are a whore.

And she knew they were right.  After all, hadn’t he just told her that to her face not more than half an hour ago?  Maybe he didn’t use the word whore.  No, that was her aunt and all the other old ones talking.  They were the only ones who used words like whore without irony.  No, this was 2011 and people only said whore if it was being delivered with a smirk. 

No, what he had said was simply this: “I love my wife.”  And when she had broken down and demanded, “What about me?”, he had coldly replied, “You know why we were together.”  It was the were that hit her.  Past tense.  He’d referred to her in past tense.  Nobody had asked her if she was ready to become a ghost; a lingering phantasm of the past.  It didn’t seem quite fair.

You know why we were together.

Oh gee, I guess I’m just dumb because I really don’t know.  Why, oh why, were we together?  Enlighten me.  Fill my pathetic little head with knowledge.  Show me the light.  Ram your wisdom deep into me.

You were a whore and you were only there to be a whore.

She glanced down at her shoes.  Black high heels.  She almost laughed out loud.  What was she thinking wearing black high heels?  How was she going to get around the city in black high heels?  How was she going to fight the suffocating, poverty-reeking denizens of the rush hour commute in black high heels? 

If this was one of those grindhouse horror flicks that she loved so much, you would be sitting out in the audience and taking bets on just how long it would take her to twist her ankle in those high heels and end up graphically gutted for the amusement of bitter virgins everywhere. 

Black high heels!  For a commute on a train?  For an afternoon in a motel room with a rock hard mattress, no cable, and no room service?  Black high heels to carry her over into the past tense.  What the Hell were you thinking, bitch?  What the Hell is wrong with you!?

 It was, she figured, the type of stupid thing that a whore did because everyone knew that whore’s just weren’t that smart.

What was it Dorothy Parker — a woman who she once imagined herself to be — had said?  You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.

She clutched onto the pole dividing the car as the train lurched to a violent start.  Looking at all those people on the car, knowing they were passing judgment on her – look at her with that red hair, with that obsessively starved figure, with that short dress, with those high heels, She may claim to be an intellectual but she’s obviously just another whore! – She felt a sickening hatred rising up within her.  She hated that feeling, that bitterness, that anger.  It was a side of her personality that her constant smiles and vapid flirtations were supposed to hide.  But that hatred was there and it was never stronger than on that day.  She hated everyone on that train.  She hated everyone who prayed for her.  She hated him for thinking she was a whore.  She hated you for thinking she wasn’t.  She hated everyone she had ever seen.  She hated them for having lives to go to, for having families to love them, for having anything that brought them any sort of comfort or happiness.  She hated them for not being hurt, for not having tears forming at the sides of their eyes, for not being her.

For not being a whore.

1

Saturday night.  9:00.

            Like an angry infant, a phone shrilly demands to be answered.

            She answers.

            “Hello,” she says.

            “Hey,” a male voice somewhere else says.

            “Uhmm…yeah?”

            “Hey, babe, where you at?”

            “I’m…out.”

            “But you’re in the town, right?”

            “I guess.  Do I know you?”

            “So, sweetheart – you ready to do this thing?”

            “Do what?”

            “You know what.”

            “Who is this?”

            “You know who this is.”

            “I do?”

            “You do.”

            “I do.”

Click

2

            Saturday night.  10:00.

            Like an angry infant, a phone shrilly demands to be answered.

            She answers.

            “Yes?” she says.

            “Did you do it?  Is it done?” a male voice somewhere else asks.

            “Is what done?”

            “You know what.”

            “I do?”

            “You do.”

            “I do.”

            “Is it done?”

            “It is.”

            Click.

Promises, Promises

Anger is the most frustrating of all emotions.

I speak from experience because, though you might not always be able to tell, I’m actually a very angry person.  To be honest, I think most people are.  Sometimes I feel like the whole concept of “personality” is just a defense mechanism that we use to try to keep others from realizing just how close we are to losing control of our emotions.  Personality is what we use to disguise the fact that we’re all essentially just the product of lost dreams, failed loves, and questions that will never be answered.

As I sit here right now, All About Eve is playing on the TV in front of me.  I love All About Eve and I was very much looking forward to seeing it but I’ve barely paid attention to it.

Instead, I’ve spent the entire film trying to deal with the anger that I feel towards one guy that I barely even know.  Without going into too many specifics, he basically made some comments regarding how I choose to express myself. 

Yeah, I know.  That’s pretty vague.

But why I’m angry with him isn’t really that important.  His comments were stupid and self-righteous and, sad to say, that same was probably true of my response.  (The difference between me and him is that I, at least, am capable of realizing this.)  What’s important is why one idiot could manage to piss me off so much as to ruin several hours out of my weekend.

Well, truthfully, he’s not the one who ruined those hours.  I am.  I’m the one who allowed his pointless comments to mean something to me.  Through my response, I gave him a prominence that he really doesn’t deserve.

Why did I do this?  This is a question that I’ve asked myself many times.  Why can’t I just let this stupid bullshit go?  Why do I insist on giving in to my irrational, immature impulses when I know that it’s just going to make things worse?

Because I’m angry.

I was angry before this idiot even knew I existed.  I was angry long before I ever had a twitter account.  I was angry before Facebook ever existed.  I’ve been angry my entire life.  25 years is a long time to be angry but I’ve managed to do it. 

My anger is not born out of hate.  My anger is fueled purely by pain.  Everyday is a struggle not to give into that pain and, with each passing year, I get a little bit better at fighting off that pain.  But far too often, I get hit in a moment of weakness and I give in.

I wish I didn’t.

I never feel good about it afterward.

Every day, I promise myself that I will no longer allow myself to be victimized by my own pain.

Some day, hopefully, I’ll actually be able to keep that promise.

Yesterday, I found myself trapped in a haze of ADD and it was all because it snowed.

Our Neighborhood on Friday morning (picture taken by Erin Nicole Bowman)

Since, of course, I live in Texas, my response to this was to say, “What’s snow?”  Well, apparently, it’s very white, it’s very cold, and it forces you to stay inside, watching Lifetime movies and old DVDs while posting too much information on twitter and generally trying to see how much you can annoy your older sister until she asks you if you’re interested in playing “the quiet game” for a little while.

(Incidentally, I don’t know about your older sister but mine turned out to be remarkably tolerant and I’m proud of her.)

It also keeps you from going to work and I know some people claim that’s a great thing but for me, it was really, really difficult.  In fact, if not for the fact that my boss specifically called me to tell me not to bother to come in because he wasn’t going to come in, I would have braved the ice and snow just so I could spend some quality time answering the phoner and saying, “I’m afraid he’s not going to be able to meet with you today.”  Scoff if you will but I would have happily done it and I regret not being able to do it because not going to work threw me off my routine and I spent most of yesterday in an ADD haze.

Like a lot of things, though, an ADD haze is only a bad thing in retrospect.  While it’s occurring, it’s actually kinda fun.  For instance, I spent a few hours reading three books at one time while an old Dracula film (Hammer’s Dracula A.D. 1972 to be precise) played on the TV and Siouxsie and the Banshees played on my laptop and the microwave zapped up one of those “super pretzels” that I love so much.  Now you could argue that by doing 20 things at once, I end up truly experiencing not a single one of them but, to be honest, it’s so exhilarating at the time.  It makes me love ADD.

Unfortunately, the exhilaration of ADD is always followed by the times when the entire world just seems overwhelming and all the thoughts in your mind start to you weigh down, making you feel like you’re trying to run through quicksand.

Things like going to my job, watching a movie, spending Friday night with a certain someone, blogging, spending a few hours a night on twitter, or watching some silly reality TV show — these are the things that I use to pull myself out of that quicksand.  These are the things that I look at and say, “As long as I keep these things consistent, than I can force some sort of rhyme and reason on the chaotic mess that is my mind.”

The snow, as much as I loved it, took away all of my rhyme and reason for the day.  Luckily, that afore-mentioned special someone was able to make his way to the house after he got off from his job and that helped to put me back on track.

But until he arrived, I found myself spending what seemed like an eternity watching the icicles outside of the den door get bigger and bigger and bigger.  Seriously, I was scared to even let our cat near the door for fear that this one icicle would come to life and try to attack us.  Here’s two pictures of it, courtesy of my sister Erin:

I mean, seriously — that thing was scary!

Well, today, the sun is out, the temperature is above freezing for the first time since last Monday, and the snow is slowly melting.  And I know I should probably be happy but I’m sad to see it go.  I’m a Texan and as much as it disrupted my routine, I know there’s a good chance I’ll never see this much snow again for the rest of my life.

But that’s life.

You’ve got the celebrate what you have when you’ve got it and be prepared to accept that everything goes away in the end.

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