On Cats and Consent

How do you teach young children about consent? How do they learn what is and is not appropriate touch? How do we teach them to accept and respect the boundaries other people have set for their bodies and personal space?

These are difficult and confusing questions. The issues are complex and nuanced. It’s not as easy as “keep your hands to yourself” and “no means no.” It gets even more difficult when we say no one can touch you with out your permission but then we force them to let creepy Aunt Agnes to kiss them. If you delve into the layers of different relationships and social cues that vary from one society to the other and one family to another it becomes impossible to comprehensively impart this type of understanding to a child.

My suggestion is to give each child a cat. Why? Well, for starters our culture doesn’t expect as much in terms of tolerance and behavior from cats. Mans best friend is not permitted to bite or growl no matter what forms of torture and fear you subject it to. If Jr. pulls his tail and pokes him in the eye, Rover is just supposed to endure. Not so much for Fluffy. If you torture the cat there will be retribution and every adult will tell you it is your own fault. Therefore, I suggest that cats are the ultimate tool for teaching consent.

The alien dog has three cats who are his minions. These are not my cats. They make me aware that they are fully developed individuals who have chosen to live with the alien dog and tolerate me. They permit the alien dog to sleep with them, touch them, and play with them all on a regular basis. I am only allowed intermittent contact. Sometimes they want to sit on me but I can’t touch them. Sometimes they want to be pet or brushed. It’s all on their terms.

One of the cats is very large and has this incredibly fluffy pooch of a belly. It hangs down when he walks and he is very often lying on his back showing it off to the world. It is the softest fur I have ever touched. I love his belly fluff. He does not like me to touch his belly. Some days he will permit me to give it a quick rub. Most of the time he tells me no with a dirty look. If I attempt to touch the belly after the dirty look he will swat me away. If I persist there will be blood drawn. The cat gets to decide when and if I can pet his belly. And he can change his mind at any time.

The cats have also taught me that touch is not always reciprocal. Sometimes one of the minions likes to reach up and gently pat my face. One of them likes to reach out and barely touch my foot while I sleep. This does not mean that either of them like it when I touch their paws or face. I have the scars to prove it!

Ever try to pickup a cat that didn’t want to be held? Ever try to get one in a carrier? Ever try to get the cat off the bed so you can change the sheets? Yeah, good luck to you. Because a cat doesn’t change its behavior for you. It doesn’t allow your desire to determine its movements. If it wants to sit in the sun then you can just wait. There is no amount of begging, pleading, bribing, manipulating, or whining that will change a cats mind. Force them to your will at your own peril.

Now what about all this blood? Cats are notorious for scratching the hell out of you when you have crossed the line. We accept this as a natural behavior from an animal defending its right to personal space and the sovereignty to be felt the hell alone. Why do we permit this in a cat, but not in a human being? Perhaps it is the illusion of control. For some reason we have, as a culture, accepted that cats will never be fully domesticated. As such, we have entered into a contract where the humans  and the cat will respect each others limits. Sometimes we will forget or cross a line. This will result in a gentle reminder, be it getting pushed off the bed when they attack you toes or being swatted at when you pet an off-limits area of the feline body. If it goes beyond that we agree that claws will be employed.

Give each child a cat and let them learn about consent through trial and error.  Think of how valuable those lessons are. I summarized them for those in the back:

Point #1- Each individual gets to choose who is permitted to touch them

Point#2- Each individual can change their mind and owe you no explanation

Point #3- Just because you let them touch you that doesn’t mean they owe you a damn thing

Point #4- Your desire does not supersede any other individuals autonomy

Point #5- Individuals have the right to defend themselves if you don’t respect their boundaries.

 

VWW- Dating (and why I want more than a dick pic)

 

Date: noun a social appointment or engagement arranged beforehand with another person, especially when a romantic relationship exists or may develop

Dating: verb-A form of romantic courtship typically between two individuals with the aim of assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse. The result of dating may at any time lead to friendship, any level of intimate relationshipmarriage, or no relation.

The Urban Dictionary has a more realistic definition of the nuances that are modern dating.

 

 

I fucking hate dating. I hated it before there was technology and I hate it even more now. Lets put aside the fact that swipe culture and the anonymity of the internet has created short attention spans and an increased level of shallowness. That rant is for another time. I want more than a cock.

That seems that all a modern man is willing to invest is his cock. Sometimes it is blatant in sending of unsolicited dick picks (Please, just stop!) Or they say they only want casual and that means that you have no value as a person but they don’t want to actually pay for a whore. They will try to avoid dates because your pussy isn’t even worth the cost of a cup of coffee. Instead they offer some version of Netflix and chill. WTF is that? Hell, I’d be happy if a man offered to permit me to see where he lives. Often they only want to come to my place. I guess it’s easier to leave. The old-fashioned ones will lie. They will pretend to be the things you want, will act like they have a genuine interest right up until you sleep with them. Then it’s all “I don’t want commitment” and “I thought we were just having a good time.” Ugh! We were until you decided I had no value and it was OK to treat me like I had no value.

 

What every woman thinks when opening a text and seeing a dick pic

I feel like this is the narrative inside the average mans mind; “What is the minimum effort that I can put forth to get her to fuck me. If I like fucking her what is the minimum effort I can continue to exert to get her to keep fucking me, but only when it’s convenient for me and never for her. Because she isn’t real and doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I get my dick wet and get to live out some of the porn fantasies the internet has shown me.”No one is allowed to have feelings anymore. Emotions might as well be herpes. Actually, I think saying I had herpes would be received better than if I said I enjoyed spending time with a man.

Examples from my recent experience (names changed because I have integrity, not because they deserve it). Carlos has been texting and fucking me since the spring and I just realized that he may not remember my name. Jack is married and claims to be in an open relationship. He only wants sex and only on Tuesdays. So, what do I get out of that? Dennis and I had great conversation and amazing chemistry. But I realized that he never asked me any questions, nor did he compliment me on anything that wasn’t sexual. He wants to fuck me, but I don’t think he likes me or finds me attractive. Then there is the growing trend of men that claim to be “ploy”  and the assholes that think this is licence to act like fuck boys,

Is it too much to ask for a man who knows his masculinity lies in his strength of character and not in his pants?

I want to find someone I have a connection with. I’m not talking marriage. I don’t really have an end game in mind. It would be nice to have some companionship to enhance the physical relationship. Someone who will hold my hand, put their arm around me, and watch a movie to the end before trying to get my clothes off. Really, I am setting the bar pretty low here.

Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving. And on this day let us not forget the true meaning of this beloved holiday. The brutalization of indigenous people.

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Yup, it’s still happening as we speak in North Dakota. Sure, the authorities are denying that they were intentionally targeting individuals with water hoses in below freezing temperatures, but what did you expect them to say? Do you really think they would stand in front of the press and admit to valuing human life so little? Do you think that humans have evolved to prioritize equality over ego? If you do I want to know what rock you have been hiding under because that fucker is impenetrable!

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So eat your turkey, drink your booze, and make sure you take some time to shop, shop, shop for those good deals. Don’t give a moments thought to people standing in the cold trying to peacefully protect not only the water that affects them, but the water supply for all of us. Don’t ponder for a second that these are the people who have been lied to, stolen from, demonized, and systematically abused by both the government and the rest of the population. Forget about the violence, the forced sterilization, and the diseased blankets. Turn a blind eye, again, to what our tax dollars are supporting.

Because it’s Thanksgiving, the day we feed into the fallacy of an inclusive America.

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Underboob and Vegan Cooking

I am not a good cook. That’s a lie. I’m an awful cook. There are fires and the possibility of stomach pumping. With this in mind, it does seem odd that I would sign up for a meal delivery service. Let me explain.

I am tired of eating frozen vegetables. I need fresh food, healthy food. I need healthy food for one person. I need healthy food for one person with detailed instructions. Meal delivery systems! I choose Purple Carrot. I would like to be able to say it’s because I had some noble vision of sustainability and global freedom from servitude for all livestock, but it was because they offered the largest discount to sign up.

I won’t review the service. If you want my opinion then you can ask. However, I want to share the spectacular disaster that I am in the kitchen. Some background, these kits come with all the ingredients portioned, grouped, and labeled and have a recipe card that includes photos. This story is about Kale and Quinoa Bowl with Tahini Drizzle.

Step 1– Heat the oven to 425ºF. Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the oven. Rinse, trim, and peel the root vegetables. Cut them into 1/2 to 1/4 chunks, carefully spread them on the heated pan in one layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and return to the oven. Roast (and get to work on the rest of the recipe), undisturbed, until they’re golden brown and easily release from the pan when gently pried with a spatula, 8-12 minutes. Once they can be turned, toss them every 5 minutes until they’re tender and browned all over, 10-15 minutes more. Remove pan from oven.

What actually happened: Find pan. Coat with oil. Put in the oven. Rinse roots veggies and remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Remove cat again, rinse veggies cat was licking, wash hands. Decide you will need wine. Open a bottle and let it breath. Peel carrots. Remove cat from counter and wash hands. Peel sweet potato. Yell at cat for licking the turnip. Rinse and peel after washing hands. Start chopping veggies. Grab towel and wave in front of smoke detector. Return to kitchen, call cat an asshole, remove him from the counter, wash hands, and rinse veggies cat was licking. Take towel and step stool to smoke detector and remove battery. Turn heat on oven down and open a window. Chop remainder of veggies. Get pan out of oven and too late remember that the pan is hot. Call yourself a moron. Take a swig of wine straight from the bottle. Put veggies on pan with salt and pepper. Put in oven and forget to turn heat backup.

Step 2– Rinse the quinoa in a strainer and put into a small saucepan with 1 and 3/4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and bubble gently until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes.

What actually happened: Look at your strainer and realize there is no way to rinse that without all the quinoa going through the slots with the water. Skip that part and put directly into the small pot. Put on stove and forget about it. Realize that the temperature of the stove was turned down. Shout profanity, drink some more wine, and turn up the heat.

Step 3– While the vegetables and quinoa cook, rinse and juice the lemon into a bowl. Rinse, dry, and destem the kale. Chop the kale and toss in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of oil, and a pinch of salt. Massage the kale between your palms until it’s tender and a deep green color, 1-2 minutes.

What actually happened: Completely ignore this step for no good reason. Perhaps due to all the wine you drank. Wash all dishes from prep and congratulate yourself. Have some more wine. Skip directly to step 4.

Step 4– Mince 1 clove of garlic, put in small bowl with tahini, 2 tablespoons hot tap water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk or stir with fork until it’s as smooth as possible. Taste and adjust the seasoning. To serve, toss the kale and quinoa together and divide among bowls. Top with roasted vegetables and drizzle with tahini sauce over everything.

What actually happened: Hunt through kitchen for the garlic. Realize the asshole cat is running around the house with it in his mouth. Wrestle away from asshole cat. Wash garlic and hands and start chopping. Mix with tahini and ask Siri to explain to your ignorant ass what tahini is. Realize you never tossed the vegetables or checked on the quinoa. Turn down heat on quinoa and decide veggies will be ok. Stare at the lemon and wonder what you are supposed to do with that. Read instructions and become grateful it’s not asking you to do something obscure like zest the lemon. Realize you skipped step 3. Swear loudly and drink some wine. Take quinoa off stove and go to step 3. Realize halfway through cleaning the kale that your largest bowl is not big enough. Decide you can work through this and add the quinoa. Spray quinoa all over the kitchen trying to mix with kale. Tell yourself you don’t need all those carbs anyway. Remember that the veggies are still in the oven. Take them out, turn off the stove and decide they look edible. Attempt to divide kale/quinoa mixture and come to understand this is more than 2 servings. Dig out storage containers. Put leftovers in fridge and hope you like this recipe because you are going to be eating this for days. Find your largest glass and fill with more wine. Plop down on the couch with bowl of food, huge glass of wine, and eat.

The finished product. It was pretty good.

The finished product. It was pretty good.

Things I learned:

  • My cat is an asshole
  • Cooking with a cat ensures good food safety
    • you wash your hands and the food often
  • I can’t multitask. I need to do things in order or I forget about them
  • What tahini is made from
  • Apothic Dark pairs really well with tahini
  • The people that write the instructions have no comprehension of my dysfunction

Lost in Translation

When I was originally developing my warped ideas with J. I had the idea that at some point I should do a podcast. It stemmed from my ongoing frustration with the limitations of Google Translate. At the time I was receiving emails in Spanish and my limited high school training wasn’t up to the task of colloquialisms. The message would be cut and pasted into Google Translate with varying degrees of success. I thought that reading some of them along with a stream of consciousness commentary would be entertaining.

Of course, this got me to thinking and that is often a bit frightening. It was a twisted path that ended pondering literature and just how different it reads in the original language. The belief that writers choose their words deliberately is an argument I have had with every teacher and professor that wanted me to debate symbolism. So much of what we read has been translated. Anyone who has studies language knows there is almost never a direct translation, especially in abstract concepts like sky, wind, love, or home. I started to wonder how different many books would be if they were read as intended.

That took me back to Google Translate. And my apologies to Google, I know you are doing your best. This is a direct translation. Word for word. Wouldn’t that make for an interesting podcast? However, if we wait for me to find motivation, purchase equipment, learn how to use it, and actually post we will all be collecting social security. Maybe I’ll get there, but why should you have to wait?

So here is a passage of Proust. The passage in French, then the same passage as in the English printed version, and last the direct translation, per Google, of the French to English. I think it’s best to read them aloud. If you, like me, can’t speak French Google does have an audio function. Enjoy!

Original French:

Mais à l’âge déjà un peu désabusé dont approchait Swann, et où l’on sait se contenter d’être amoureux pour le plaisir de l’être sans trop exiger de réciprocité, ce rapprochement des cœurs, s’il n’est plus comme dans la première jeunesse le but vers lequel tend nécessairement l’amour, lui reste uni en revanche par une association d’idées si forte, qu’il peut en devenir la cause, s’il se présente avant lui. Autrefois on rêvait de posséder le cœur de la femme dont on était amoureux; plus tard sentir qu’on possède le cœur d’une femme peut suffire à vous en rendre amoureux. Ainsi, à l’âge où il semblerait, comme on cherche surtout dans l’amour un plaisir subjectif, que la part du goût pour la beauté d’une femme devrait y être la plus grande, l’amour peut naître – l’amour le plus physique – sans qu’il y ait eu, à sa base, un désir préalable

English Print:

But at the time of life, tinged already with disenchantment, which Swann was approaching, when a man can content himself with being in love for the pleasure of loving without expecting too much in return, this linking of hearts, if it is no longer, as in early youth, the goal towards which love, of necessity, tends, still is bound to love by so strong an association of ideas that it may well become the cause of love if it presents itself first. In his younger days a man dreams of possessing the heart of the woman whom he loves; later, the feeling that he possesses the heart of a woman may be enough to make him fall in love with her. And 50, at an age when it would appear—since one seeks in love before everything else a subjective pleasure—that the taste for feminine beauty must play the larger part in its procreation, love may come into being, love of the most physical order, without any foundation in desire.

Google Translate English:

But at age already a little disillusioned with approaching Swann, and where we know just be in love for the pleasure of being without requiring reciprocity too, this rapprochement of hearts, if not as in early youth the goal towards which tends necessarily love, still has united however by such a strong association of ideas, he can become the cause, if present before him. Once we dreamed of possessing the heart of the woman we were lovers; Later we feel has the heart of a woman is enough to make you love. Thus, at an age when it would seem , as especially seeks in love a subjective pleasure, from the love of a woman’s beauty should be the greatest , love can be born – love the most physical – not that there was, at its core, a preliminary desire

Underboob and Sarah in Italy

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Sarah has been mentioned before is several posts but I have never taken the time to describe our friendship. I’ll do that now. We met at work. I meet some awesome people at work. Shared misery will really forge the bond and all. Anyway, I had my own lab for the first time and Sarah was newly out of college and hired to do quality control. Because she had similar education she often ended up in the lab with me.

Sarah is ten years younger than I am. I was dealing with putting my life together after a divorce and she was dealing with an engagement that ended unpleasantly. What resulted was two women that were sick and tired of waiting for their lives to matter. We decided we were just going to get out there and experience life. Now both of us are perfectly fine doing just about anything solo. What we found is that you often get a much better price if you go as a pair. Especially in regards to travel. We became adventure buddies.

We go to concerts, shows, and activities. Groupon and Goldstar became our best friends. It was a source of information, inspiration, and cost savings. Pretty much if one of us suggests it, the other goes along. We get out of our comfort zones. Far, far out of our comfort zones.

Once I emailed Sarah and asked her if she wanted to go to an event that mimicked the running of the bulls and tomato fight in Spain. Her reply was “We are probably going to die, but I’m in!” And it’s been like that for a few years now. Occasionally one of us dances a little too close to each other’s personal limit. Since Sarah has a fear of heights it looks like my two-day mule ride in the Grand Canyon will be solo. And responsibility has gotten in the way. I couldn’t go to Iceland because of limits in my vacation time and she couldn’t do a few things with me because of her research for her master’s degree. These are minor inconveniences.

Sarah and I are going to Italy. This will be our first international trip together. Here is how it happened. We were eating dinner before attending The Who’s 50th anniversary concert (because let’s face it, there might not be another chance) and discussing Iceland. She had found an incredible package deal that didn’t include those annoying tour groups. Of course they had limited departure dates and none of them were accommodating to my work schedule. With my wanderlust, the lure of adventure dangled in front of me and then yanked away by something so provincial as work was more disappointment than my psyche could bear. I just about had a temper tantrum over a plate of crab nachos.

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Sarah, being a much more adjusted person than I am, suggested we look for something that would fit into my oppressive work environment. And that is how we found our trip to Italy. It includes the flight, hotel, rental car, and breakfast. It’s someplace in Tuscany. Most importantly, the hotel is across the street from the train station. We have a car, we are near a train. It is on! We pulled out our phones and bought the trip before the server could bring our check. What a great night. There will be stories generated from this trip. Oh, there will be stories! Most current will be available on Underboob’s Facebook page.

Indoctrinations

I have never been a fan of romance novels. It always seemed like granny porn, something older women read to fantasize. At one time I would buy used romances based on the absurdity of the cover at a thrift store, read them with a group of my friends, and make fun of the passages. Nothing like hot, moist, loins ignited with the flames of desire to get us all into a good belly laugh. If we ventured beyond that we would poke fun at the horribly simplistic depictions of interactions between the genders. The men were always in a position of power, often some sort of misunderstood outlaw or unjustly vilified criminal and the women were always some sort of victim, either a hostage or a forced marriage or some sort of dilemma that implies subservience. At some point the female protagonist always attempts some show of defiance or independence in an attempt to remove herself from the situation at hand only to find that she is really in love with the man and thus succumbs to her fate proving that love makes everything better. Apparently, even Stockholm Syndrome.

Tell me this doesn't send a message!

Tell me this doesn’t send a message!

So why do so many women read these things? I think the bodice ripping romance has become the modern parable in that it reinforces for women the lessons we are taught as small girls about accepting rape culture. That’s a bold statement, I know, but hear me out. Remember being very young on a playground and a boy teases you, pulls your hair, pinches or hits you? Remember crying because either your feelings or actual body were hurt? Remember being told by an adult that the boy did that because he liked you? Remember thinking that made no sense at all? I’m pretty sure we all remember that.

This is probably our first indoctrination into rape culture. Being told to accept physical and emotional abuse from a peer as a sign of affection is ludicrous. If an adult woman said a man was hitting and belittling her we wouldn’t say it was because he loved her. We would tell her she deserves better and to get away from him. But little girls are taught to accept that kind of behavior and encouraged to do so with as little objection as possible. Not only does this encourage girls to internalize that boys will cause them pain if they are admired, but also that boys are not capable of processing emotions. Has anyone ever stepped back and thought about how insane this is?

This is just one big self-fulfilling prophecy. Boys will be boys is a permissive encouragement to young boys to continue to be more physical and less verbal in their expression. Not only does it give boys license to be more physical it also discourages them from verbal expression. Additionally, it enforces a sense of male privilege in allowing boys to solve their problems by corporeal means. Girls are taught to accept this as not only a matter of course, but a compliment. They shouldn’t cry or make a fuss when they are hurt or bullied by boys. That’s just what boys do. It’s how boys express themselves. Girls need to learn how to change their instinct to protect themselves from assault, be it verbal or physical, because the nature of boys can’t be overcome. And that’s just the way it is.

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This belief is so pervasive in our culture that it is perpetuated without thought. Sure, we say things like “Use your words” and “Don’t hit girls” but we don’t really back that up. “Use your words” is for situations when being combative is frowned upon. Like the classroom or the grocery store, places even children know they have to fall in line. But once they are let loose on a playground, the natural habitat if you will, those rules no longer apply. “Don’t hit girls” is generally given to mean don’t hit them in anger. You can indeed use physical force to express your superiority, because boys will be boys after all. And children understand this, even if they can’t articulate it. They see hear what we say and see what we do. They learn the lesson by witnessing who gets rewarded for what specific behavior regardless of what the rules are explained to be. They learn very early that the game is rigged.

Sooner or later people become more self-aware and gain critical thinking skills and the ability to question. Here is where the romance novel comes into play. It’s not alone and I don’t mean to get down on a single genre of writing. There are several cousins that assist romances in reinforcing the cultural code of male privilege and rape culture. Romantic comedies, fashion magazines, television, music, and on and on. There is always a subset that works towards sustaining the status quo. But the general form of the romance novel as stated earlier is simply that men are in positions of power, they take what they want, women will grow to like it, and it’s sold to us wrapped up as a love story. So how is that different from telling a five-year old he punched your arm and ripped the head off your doll because he likes you?

Expiration Date Approaching!

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I feel like I am approaching my expiration date as a woman. Sure, we tell each other woman are attractive at all ages, but who are we kidding? In this declining civilization with its emphasis on the perfunctory aesthetic the desire for superficial expressions of worth have gained significance in the social strata. Whether the fault of changing values, the sound bites media sensationalize, or the internet and social media removing our human interaction the result remains that there is an increasing amount of value placed upon outward appearance. This is true for both men and women. Though, as usual, women bear the heavier burden as historically they were nothing more than property and an extension of a man’s wealth and status. To have an attractive spouse and /or daughters was a symbol of prosperity. Much the way we view cars today. Think that has changed? Just look at fashion or gossip magazines. It’s still all about the outer package. We may propound ourselves to be more enlightened about such things but the truth is we still judge women more harshly than men in regards to physical attractiveness. Agree or disagree, my point is that I am approaching my expiration date. How do I know this? The amount of young men who approach me for the Cougar Experience.

Young men, vital and alive, exploding with the promise of the unknown future. These men approach me with all the bravado and pomposity that their egos and some alcohol can produce. They come up to my table, they interrupt my conversation, and they think that I will be impressed by their rudeness. They know that I am older than the girls they normally approach. I am some mythic beast, a gauntlet thrown down before them, K2 that needs to be conquered. I am an “older woman.” I’m not sure what bawdy stories get passed around among the post college young adult males about the sexual prowess of older woman but I can gather from their demeanor the tales have grown to epic proportions. This is not an attraction borne out of biochemistry and pheromones. It’s not a vestigial evolutionary instinct. No, this is an entirely socially constructed bucket list challenge and I am their target. They are going to bed this cougar and live to tell the tale complete with embellishments and photographic evidence of flesh wounds endured at her hands.

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It makes no difference to these young men that I have no interest in their quest. I just want to enjoy my meal, my show, the book, my coffee. But alas, I am confronted with a fine specimen of masculinity at the height of its potential, complete with the confidence that only comes with either youth or the privilege of white male mediocrity. I am inundated with flattery and blatant lies, they pretend to fall at my feet and adore me with false worship thinking, incorrectly, that is what I want. They know my youth is fading, to their eyes it is already gone, they believe the honeyed words with make me delusional enough to believe that they have an actual interest in me. They cannot comprehend why someone teetering on the edge of obscurity and staring into the abyss of middle age and looking down the barrel of the loaded gun that is menopause would deny myself a night of adventure with an exuberant creature such as themselves.

But they know little of women. They are cavorting with what are still girls. Young women who are still playing games, who have time on their side, who haven’t yet settled into their own skin. These girls have not blossomed into women. They have they physical presence of a woman, but not the internal fortitude. The cougar hunter hasn’t developed they skills of honesty and vulnerability, they can’t balance guarding themselves with being genuine. They can only replay the schema that has generated results for them in the past. They know not what a woman wants from a man. And not a man of media construct, but a man who can vanquish his own demons as well as the demons hiding under the toddlers bed at 3 am. A man who knows how precious time is and that to waste a moment of someone’s time is a crime too heinous to consider. A man who understands that being inebriated is not having fun, who understands that enthusiasm is the best gauge of consent, who respects the space and decisions of another person. A man who is discreet.

No, the cougar hunter will get nowhere with me. The posturing, the genuflecting, the capitulation to prescribed gender norms is usually diverting. But not enough to waste an evening. Not enough to try to get them to leave, because the youth never understand when they have overstayed their invitation. Not enough to revisit the unskilled encounter that all women remember too well from their own youth. Nor do they understand how unflattering it is to be singled out as approaching antiquity from the perspective of the youth obsessed culture. I enjoy watching them try though.

Perceptions and Patronizing Assholes

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I find myself stuck in the middle of the age divide. And believe me, it is a divide between “young” and “mature”. There seems to be no middle ground. Professionally I find that men, though occasionally a woman or two, which are older than I am are shocked to find out my age. The response is always “I thought you were much younger.” Why? Because I am immature? No, I highly doubt that with my attitude. It’s easier for them to dismiss my ideas and authority if they believe their perception of me as young. If I am young I can be inexperienced. If I am inexperienced I can be challenged, dismissed even, as not understanding the nuances and inner workings of any given topic. If I’m older and therefor wiser I have the experience, the log time if you will, to justify my position not only in the company but at the table. If my age is known and therefore my experience I can’t be written off as a “girl,” just some kid that is full of idealistic philosophies with her head in the clouds dreaming of boys and puppies and unicorns. If they see me as a peer they have to regard me as an equal with my feet grounded and heels dug in ready to work. It creates cognitive dissidence and they hate me for it. So the only thing left is to go after my appearance. That I’m not pretty.

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I’ve never been pretty. Not in the mass media, magazine photo shop, female sexuality as commerce sense that has been shoved down our throats as a minimal standard of female worth. I have zero fashion sense, I can’t and won’t wear heels, I hate make up jewelry and nail polish. My hair is brushed but rarely styled. Though I can totally rock a bun! I know the image that conjures is a frizzy haired hag in mismatch, ill-fitting stained clothes clomping through the halls but the reality is that I am presentable. Clothes are clean, pressed, and of neutral color and pattern that they all work together. Shoes are simple, comfortable, and practical. Skin is clear and clean, hair is clean and brushed. Generally this is the same criteria applied to the men. Do I look like I put effort into it? Nope. But I do look acceptable.

Back to pretty, I’ve never participated in the soul sucking, self-depreciating, time killing mania that is pretty. Not to say that the individuals that participate are in some way inferior. I mean, if you find some intrinsic joy in curling your eyelashes and waiting for paint to dry on your fingertips who the hell am I to criticize? But I’ve never been interested. I’ve got shit to do. Things to learn, books to read, fun to have. I can’t worry about my hair or if I am carrying last year’s handbag. The distance between pretty and me has always been a gaping chasm I never bothered to try to cross. As I approach my best by date it gets farther and farther away. Currently it’s just a dot on the horizon, so far away that I often look at it and wonder if it’s really there. I’m confident in who I am and what I do, the contribution I make and I shrug and move on. Pretty doesn’t concern me, pretty is irrelevant.

 

Baron Von Fruitrooster Can’t Manage People

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Everyone has had this manager

 

Your employees suck because you suck as a manager. That’s the cold hard truth. Sorry cupcake, but it’s not that they are lazy, stupid, or don’t want to work. The root of the issue is that you don’t know how to motivate people. If no one gives a shit then that is a direct reflection on you as a manager. You want people to be responsible? Show them that they matter, that the work they do matters. Treat them with respect and dignity. Shut your damn pie hole and listen when they talk.

Do you need to manage them with write ups and progressive discipline? That says more about your failure than it does your employees. Managing by paper trail is the way of the passive aggressive tyrant. You obviously haven’t trained them or they would do it correctly. Either that or they have no incentive to perform.

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Please corporations, realize this is truth!

A true leader raises up the staff. Leaders don’t step on the backs of their workers, they stand in the back ground smiling and cheering them on. You should be a coach not a dictator. These are grown ass people. They work harder than you do. They make less money and their lives are harder than yours. Because of them your life is easier. Be fucking grateful. Say thank you, give them credit, and show them that the work they do matters and that the company gives a damn whether or not they are happy and healthy. Learn the names of their spouse, their kids, and their pets. Ask them about them. Put their birthdays on your calendar and say Happy Birthday. It’s cost you nothing but means the world to someone making just over minimum wage working a 12 hour day so you don’t have to.

Allow them vent their frustrations without judgment. Take their advice. Tell them what you expect from them. Give them the tools they need to succeed. Hold them to a higher standard and encourage them to reach beyond their comfort zone. Be humble. Apologize. You will be amazed at the results.

Continue to ride your ego and stomp around on your inflated power trip and reap what you sow. High turnover, complacency, call outs, extended break times, the bare minimum, and a group of people that constantly need to be monitored. It’s your team, they are your responsibility. If they suck, you suck. Stop you bellyaching and step up your game.

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You want better people? Be a better leader. Can’t do that? Get out of the way and let someone who can show you how it’s done. Just ask anyone who has ever worked for me. You have nothing but gripes about your team. I have loyalty. People that will follow me if I ask. You can’t get people to follow you out the door at five o’clock on a Friday. My team has solutions, yours is just more problems. Face your inadequacies and do better. Not only will your team improve, but so will your work day. Or maybe you are just so overcome with the tiny bit of power and control that you need to make others feel bad to give yourself a boost. Trust me, the team doesn’t care. They have bigger things to worry about and have no time to waste on your insecurities. You are a slimy selfish bastard and the tragedy is that people like you are everywhere