Personality Traits

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There are three dominant personality traits that run throughout my family. Each person has two. They have other traits of course because otherwise we would be incredibly flat and boring. The three traits are as follows:

  1. Misanthropic hermit
  2. Insatiable wanderlust
  3. Conformist control freaks

My dad was a consummate traveler that loved culture and adventure, as long as there were no people. He wanted to explore everything without enduring a crowd. His sister has the wanderlust and the control issues. So she goes everywhere and tries to get everyone to do things her way. The resorts in exotic locations serve her well. My uncle is a hermit that…well I’m not really sure what else. He’s that good at being a hermit. He really embraced it. We haven’t seen him in thirty years. My aunt gets information about him, probably from his wife, that she doles out to us as she sees fit (control freak!).

I have the misanthropic hermit and the insatiable wander lust. Essentially I want to travel, explore, meet new people, and do new things unless I’m at home. Then I want you to leave me alone.

I was bitten by the travel bug early. My great-aunt was a retired school teacher. She loved to tell of her adventures. In a time when opportunities for women were limited this feisty lady rode a motorcycle to work and traveled the globe on summer break. She would take her students camping and they learned about nature and science. When I was in high school she bought a mini van, gathered up a few neighbors in her senior development and they drove to the Grand Canyon. She left a note for us on her kitchen table.

When I was in school she would pick me up early on a Saturday morning. I would get in the car and she would hand me the road atlas. Perhaps she had a plan, perhaps not. But we would explore. She never got on the highway but always took a back road. We would randomly turn down roads when she exclaimed something looked interesting. My job was to figure out where we were and how to get home.

I learned how to read a map, read road signs, do simple math to figure out if we needed gas or how mileage translated into time to the next rest stop. We picked blueberries, visited landmarks, discovered forgotten bits of history, chatted with strangers, got lost, and had some amazing adventures. She was trying to teach me reading, geography, math, and history. I learned to be fearless and open to possibilities.

My parents divorced when I was eight. By the time I was 10 my dad had gotten stationed out of the country. My first international flight was from JFK to Panama as an unaccompanied minor when I was 11. Dad never lived on base. He always took his housing allowance and lived off the local economy. He was big on immersing into the local culture. He didn’t participate in it because that would mean interacting with people, but he knew all the local shops and restaurants.

That’s where we ate. At some open air, concrete slab, iguanas on the wall type of place where they tried to make pizza and no one spoke English. He dragged me into the jungle to see churches that the conquistadors built and we stopped on the side of the road to research flora. One time we were driving along a dirt road in his Buick (because Dad had to have an American made land yacht!) and there was an animal in the road. We pulled up and stopped. He got out slowly, threw his sports coat over his head and shoulders and slid out of the car, camera in hand. This man proceeded to crawl slowly up to said animal trying to get a good photo of it. My step mother and I got out and walked up asking him what he thought he was doing. He said he didn’t want to frighten the animal. I said “Dad, it’s a sloth. It’s already running as fast as it can.”

Dad took me to see the canal and I endured an entire day of watching ships go through the locks while he droned on about the history and politics of the canal. This was the first inkling we both had that I was a bit different in my world view. It’s the height of the cold war and a Russian ship is going through the locks. Maybe it was because I was hot and bored. The process to get a ship through the canal is slow and mind numbing. You could let the crew off at one side and the could walk across faster if the jungle wasn’t in the way. Dad got all animated at the Russian ship. My comment was that it didn’t look any different from the American ships.

While in Panama I somehow ended up with a gang of local kids. They were fascinated with me and happily practiced their English which was far better than my Spanish. They took me into the fields where I ate raw sugar cane. Common now, but unheard of in the early 80’s. They scaled trees to give me fresh mangoes and when I declared I had never had plantains promptly started a fire and cooked me some that we ate off sticks. We ran around barefoot. We crawled under the house, they taught me new games, and I taught them the ones I knew. I was hooked!

 

The Baron Sends a Minion…

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Too often is this in my head!

I recently encountered one of Baron Von Fruitroosters minions. Oh, he seemed normal enough but that was only a facade meant to draw me in.

The dialog was polite and slightly witty. He explained that he was new in the area due to business and was looking for suggestions for food, etc. That quickly devolved into him expressing his desire to attend a swinger club and demanding requests for my sexual preferences.

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Starts off well, then this happens

This loser got a strong dose of the radioactive nipples! Of course I had to monologue first.

Really asshole? You are a 55 year old man, not some college kid. Show some class! In what universe is a grown woman going to listen to your slobbering, mouth breathing demands for sex and just rip her clothes of and give it to you? Why do you think that your existence and the fact that you paid me attention should equate utter gratitude and acquiesce from me? I’m a person, not some convenient hole that exists for you to get your dick wet. Manners!!

He then became indignant. As if he was owed something for the initial two minute conversation that wasn’t offensive. Clue-by-four asshat, you are not owed pretty, or my time, or access to my body. You are owed nothing but the common courtesy you have failed to show me.

I’m busy. I don’t have the time or the patience to deal with your inability to interact properly with other adults. Hitting him with the nipple lasers was a public service, really. He has been shrunk down to binary code and captured on an app on my phone. I still haven’t figured out what to do with these bottom feeders once they are in the phone. Suggestions are welcome!

Gravity is a Bitch!

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Several women in my family are rather well endowed. My sister has a pair rivaling Dolly Parton. All my life I was warned that women with large breasts had to dread the effects of gravity. Instruction was given to always secure solid foundation garments to avoid having them down by my knees by the time I was 40.

As puberty approached I, like so many other young girls, began to wonder what Mother Nature would provide me with in terms  of mammary tissue. I would alternate between what I wished for.

Did I want a  big pair like my sister? That came with lots of attention and admiration, but also back pain and the future threat of sagging. Did I want small, perky breasts? Those left no doubt you were a woman but still offered you the option of going without a bra. In the end it didn’t matter what I wanted. Like everyone else, I got what I got. Deal with it. And like every other woman before me I did not appreciate what I had until it was gone.

When I was younger were glorious. Middle sized, not too big, not too small. High, round, and firm. I would lament that they were so dense I could not get them to move together to form cleavage. When lying on my back they would disperse, but still looked divine. Well, that’s long gone.

They aren’t sagging to my knees, but the density that gave them their shape bailed around the same time my knees lost their elasticity. As a result I can now get cleavage. I can also do shadow puppets with them. It doesn’t seem so much like the effects of gravity as a rearrangement of surface area. Now the moment that my bra comes off they immediately try to take cover in my armpits. I’m not sure if they have developed social anxiety or a shifting of tectonic plates. Thankfully men have also become slightly more mature, or at least more tactful. It’s been a while, but the last few partners kept the commentary to themselves when they had to scoop the girls out from under my arms. Or maybe they found the nipple peeking out from my axilla cute. Whatever, no one is complaining.

Overall, it’s not that big of a deal. I had to make some minor lifestyle adjustments. Putting on a bra now requires me to bend at the waist while pulling the cups away from my body. This causes the girl to fall out of their safe haven under my arms and into the bra. Then I can straighten up and adjust them. I still have the concern of cup spillage, only now it’s the other side of the cup. The silver lining to this is that I have an extra layer available when the under wire pops out. It has to go through a titty before it can stab my in the artery. And it’s made sports bras easier to find. Since they lost density they compress much easier. No more bouncing.

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A few years ago this would have offended my sensibilities. Now I am the target market and I understand. Perspective.

I guess that’s what aging is all about.  Realizing that things change and sometimes it isn’t good or bad, but just different.

Alien Dog

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I have an alien dog. At least I think he is a dog. Or he is meant to be a dog. I don’t know. He is weird-looking. It’s like someone who has never seen a dog before had one described to them and created what lives with me. He is small and compact with white paws that have Clydesdale feathers, his face sort of looks like a schnauzer but with a white “beard” that resembles an exploded cotton ball. He has eyebrows. Bushy eyebrows and old man ear hair. There is one little tuft of hair on the top of his skull that sticks up like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals. His tail is tipped in white with straggly hairs at the very end. It curls around in a circle and never straightens. He can lift it up and down, but it’s always curled, almost like a pig. The best part is his fur. He is mostly a deep red with short, smooth hair. The exception being that there is long, coarse, curly hair running along his spine. He has a Mohawk. He is freaking adorable!
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OK, he looks odd, that doesn’t make him an alien. Very true. He also acts a bit strange. Like he isn’t 100% sure how to dog. Nothing you could point out directly, just a bit off. For instance, the time a backhoe drove down the street. He climbed up in my lap and cowered, shook, and whined. Never done it with any other piece of heavy equipment and with all the construction on our roads he has seen plenty. Or the airplane. Every time one flies over he sits down and throws his head back, tracking it with his eyes. I’ve never seen a dog notice planes. And sounds. He has the wrong sounds. Its strange snuffling noises and bleating like a sheep. Once he was at the fence making pig grunts. Then there are his eating habits. I’m sure that he was given instructions to fit in among the earthlings and he was to attempt to eat what the other dogs eat. He doesn’t seem to like food very much. That’s really weird, don you think? He much prefers to ingest his toys. Stuffed toys, but not the stuffing and never the squeaker.

So what’s the back story?

I’m convinced he was sent down by an alien race to assist in the enslavement of the human race. I never bought into the Orson Welles giant robots story or skinny green men with big heads depiction of extra terrestrials. Especially not in America. We are a violent bunch with far too many weapons available to far too many people. Better to quietly observe us and see what we like then mimic that. Pets, we love our pets. If you were going to create minions wouldn’t it be easier if they entered into bondage willingly? And what better way than to convince the subservient that they are essential to the care and well-being of their captor? We humans would never suspect a thing. So he is from a planet in a distant galaxy, near Sirius I’m sure, and his job is to collect data on possible methods of subjugation and upload it to the mother-ship.

He does this by first probing everyone he meets. The probing process is so stealthy that most people just assume he needs his nails trimmed. He scratches your leg. If that doesn’t work he will resort to a small nip on the backside. (Never hard, mind you.) You would spin around wondering if he just bit you, not really sure. Truthfully it is the last resort. He seems to have perfected his technique as recently he has taken to performing what I call drive by lickings. This is where I walk him through the park and he licks every exposed leg he can reach and just keeps on trucking.

Once probed, he then gathers data. Having observed his modus operandi I have discerned that the type of alien he originated from is a Space Invader. This is because he will sit next to you edging ever closer until such time as you scratch his ears, rub his belly, or get up and provide him with food or entertainment. Any resistance results in his head on your shoulder and sad eyes boring into your soul. As time has gone by he has taken to reprimanding the humans if they fail to comply in a timely manner. This is done by standing in your path or line of sight and loudly remonstrating you, with sounds no dog should make (see above). This will continue until such time as his demands are satisfied. Data is then uploaded to the mother-ship after having logged into the subject. Logging in is done by either licking your eyeball or your teeth. One would think this is difficult, but he is very adept in his logging in skills. The subject is then kept in place during the duration of the upload by subsequent licking of the face.

All of this takes a vast amount of energy. Earth nutrition doesn’t fulfill the requirement needed so the alien dog must recharge its power source. Luckily for him I have provided him a reading lamp under which he can curl into a tight ball and permit the glow of the light to rejuvenate. And every morning he will stare at the light next to the sofa until I turn it on for him. There he will spend the morning in a state of near trance. This is also the time he conveys his plans to the cats. They have proven to be great allies in the plot to enslave the humans. Cats have been trying for centuries, but just couldn’t get the balance of cuddly and demanding in the proper ratios. It’s too late for me. I’ve been corrupted by the alien blight. I couldn’t be happier!

 

Indoctrination

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 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?