VWW- Compliments

Part of the backlash of the Brock Turner rape case was responses from men declaring they won’t commit rape. Thanks guys, but that is about as useful as me saying I won’t levitate since I had no intentions to do so in the first place. Then there are the blogs and comments about the good men attempting to enlighten the not good men about the realities on everyday sexism. I applaud your efforts, but that is a brick wall you are talking to. Besides, you are going about it all wrong.

One of the commonly used arguments for harassing women is that the perpetrator is only trying to give a woman a compliment. I have seen many content pieces where these good men are stating that they don’t want to compliment anyone anymore because women have so many men approach them and behave rudely. That banner is being taken up by the not good men as a claim of victimization. “Oh, now we can’t even compliment a woman anymore?” Read that with the correct tone of whining, disbelief, and hyperbole. You know the one.

I would like to point out that the issue isn’t that women don’t like getting compliments, but rather how too many people have forgotten what a compliment is. So we are all on the same page, Webster’s definition of the word Compliment is as follows:

  • an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration; especially :  an admiring remark
  • formal and respectful recognition :  honor

Looking at that we can derive that the not good men that catcall and harass women under the guise of compliment have the admiration part down. Usually for a body part that is sexualized. They have seemed to ignore the part about esteem, respect, and honor. If you wouldn’t walk into a family gathering and tell grandma she has “a nice ass, no wonder grandpa wanted to tap that shit. But bitch, you should smile more,” then you probably don’t want to say that to a stranger. Note the part of the definition that states a compliment is formal and respectful. It’s important.

Want to know how to give a good complement? Watch how women compliment each other. Example:

Hey, that is a great top. I just love the color.

Oh, thank you. It’s new.

It’s very flattering. And it looks really comfortable.

Yes, it is. The material isn’t clingy at all.

Well, it looks great!

Thank you.

Have a nice day

You do the same.

Take a moment to compare that to the following:

Hi baby, how you doing today?

I’m fine

You need to smile more honey, you look so much nicer when you smile.

Silence

Don’t you want to give me a smile?

Silence and looking away

Bitch, don’t let it go to your head. You’re not that hot. You should be grateful I gave you a compliment.

Can we see the difference here? OK, I know you are thinking that is fairly extreme. You would be incorrect, but let’s examine the two scenarios.

The first one focused on an object, the wearer’s top. There was an expression that identified an admiration for it and why, the color. It was met favorably so then the conversation continued to point out other positive attributes of the item. Notice they were still talking about the top. The top looked flattering, not that it flattered any specific part of the wearer’s anatomy. Then the compliment was stated again and they wished each other well and went about their individual business.

Notice that there was no implied quid pro quo in that dialog. It was positive comment given with the intent of making the other party feel nice. The giver got nothing in return. It was polite, respectful, and there were no strings attached.

Now the second example started off with diminutive pet names that should only be used by people who have a certain level of familiarity. Right off the bat that will put someone on the defensive. Then there was a command issues. You need to smile more. This was then met with refusal to acknowledge. The command was then changed to a pleading request and a second rejection. This was then met with hostility. The entire exchange was a type of gas lighting designed to get something for the person giving the compliment as opposed to showing respect or admiration for the person receiving the compliment.

Still confused? OK, there are many subtle clues you can look for to see if your compliment is being well received or crossing over into harassment territory. Did the person answer you with a pleasant and friendly tone? If so then you can proceed. If not, perhaps your opening should be more general and to the point. For example, I like your sunglasses. Are they not responding and/or looking away? Do they have a strange expression on their face? Are they turning their body away from you or trying to create space? Are their eyes moving quickly around the room as if they are attempting to determine the fastest exit plan? Answering No to all of these means you are doing it correctly. Answering yes means you fucked up.

And should you respond with venom when you have crossed over into the creepy guy zone? No. You should acknowledge that you have made them uncomfortable. An example “Oh, I didn’t mean to offend you, my apologies.” That’s it. That’s the end. Don’t try to justify or clarify. You’re sorry and you will now demonstrate that respect by silently moving on with your life and no longer bothering the other person.

 

 

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

VWW-Unclubbable

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Unclubbable

having or showing a disinclination for social activity : unsociable

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And this pretty much sums me up. It is spotlighted during the holiday season with all the parties and mad rush to celebrate. I have no interest in any of it.

Yes, Christmas is great. So is Chanukah, and Yule, and Festivus, and probably Kwanza (I’m woefully ignorant about Kwanza). But it’s getting cold and it’s dark at three in the afternoon. My circadian rhythms are flooding my body with signals to hibernate, not celebrate. I want to crawl under a warm, fuzzy blanket and whisper words of devotion to my pillow.

Lets not even start with the New Years parties. I get it. Out with the old, in with the new. But why? I mean, it’s just some arbitrary date on a calendar. It’s not really a good starting point. I mean, it’s not really mid winter since winter only started on the solstice a few weeks ago. That marked the shortest day of the year. There would be a good place to start over. When the days begin to get longer and the sun returns. I could have a party for the return of the light.

But I probably still wouldn’t go. I hate small talk. I really don’t like socializing. I loathe having to repress my thoughts, opinions, and expression in favor of a socially acceptable mask. Standing in a room full of people I hardly know, holding something I most likely won’t consume, and attempting to be mildly pleasant so no one is offended is exhausting, not entertaining. On the flip side, drunken revelry isn’t appealing either. Who wants to drag themselves out of the house only to be surrounded by strangers with no impulse control? That doesn’t seem fun anymore.

So I am unclubbable.  And I think I am alright with that. You go have fun for me.

VWW-Objet Trouvé

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objet trouvé:

a natural or discarded object found by chance and held to have aesthetic value

We need more of this in the world. In our consumer driven end of the year spending rituals, Holiday Shopping, we seem to have forgotten that some of the best presents are not the ones with the biggest price tag. Why is a piece of jewelry more valuable than a hand-made quilt? All the jewelry took was money. While the quilt took thought, planning, sweat, and time.

But what about discovering something, seeing its inherent beauty and sharing that with another person. Isn’t that a far more valuable gift?

Forget about gift giving for a moment and try to think about the last time you found something and upcycled it. Brought it new life. Gave it a second chance. One man’s trash is another man’s art.

Shouldn’t we all be trying to do a bit more of this?

Do any of us really need another brand new thing?

Have we lost the ability to envision the potential of anything that hasn’t been aggressively marketed to us?

Sigh…

If we stopped listening to the advertisements perhaps we would regain the ability to see how wonderful the stuff we encounter every day can be. If only we took the time to really look at it.

 

 

 

 

VWW-Lalochezia

Lalochezia:

the emotional relief gained from using abusive or profane language.

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Ah, profanity! What joy it does bring to my life. And release. Yes, there is something about letting out a strong of curses that is incredibly cathartic.

Stubbing your toe isn’t as bad when you can exclaim “Shit, Damn it!” As opposed to a restrained “Oww!” Though personally, I have found that the profanity doesn’t increase with the severity of the injury. At a certain point you plateau and swearing no longer provides an effective outlet. Breaking an ankle, lots of swearing. Smashing head with resulting arterial bleed, no point. I think it has to do with the adrenaline released into your bloodstream.

Now for everyday stress there is nothing like profanity to provide you with a little reprieve from the mass of humanity surrounding you. Someone cuts you off? Call them a selfish motherfucker. Bob waits until the last minute to inform you he dropped the ball on the big project? Go in your office and call him a cock juggling douche canoe. The company declares there won’t be any raises or bonuses this year? God damn mother fucking son of a disease riddled whore!

Does it fix anything? No, of course not. But it does allow you a reasonable way to release your anger. Then you can take a deep breath and get on with life. So go on everyone, let it out. Get creative. It’s gonna’ make you feel just a little bit better.

 

VWW- Prevaricate

Prevaricate:

To deviate from the truth: equivocate

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“Not that I am aware of” and ” I was out of pocket” are my two favorite examples of this in the work place.

Let’s look at the first one. “Not that I am aware of” You probably are aware of it and are just pretending so you can’t be accountable for turning a blind eye as the walls fell down on the project everyone else invested so much time working on. It implies that you were not kept in the loop and that others were trying to hide information from you. The reality is that your team probably couldn’t find you while you were out playing golf or locked in your office watching YouTube videos. And isn’t it part of your job as an executive to be informed? If you don’t know what is happening in your office then exactly what is the point of you?

“I was out-of-pocket” Really? Did you transport to the North rim of the Grand Canyon for the day? Because the company issued you a smart phone that they pay for. This is so you will be available and have access at all times. Hell, there is even WiFi on the plane now! How is that a viable excuse?

VWW- Ersatz

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Ersatz:

being unusually artificial and inferior substitution or imitation

Originally a noun in German, this word has been incorporated into the English language as an adjective. It was used in WWI and WWII  to describe the inferior products made available due to rationing.

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Interesting substitution suggestion

In the modern world we have an abundance of ersatz products. Not due to the war, but rather as a result of corporate greed to make commodities in great volume but at low cost and quality. I’ve complied a short list:

  1. Imitation cheese slices
  2. “Juice” containing only 5% fruit juice what is the rest of it made from?
  3. Juice named after a fruit but composed of mainly apple juice (pomegranate and blueberry are where I encounter this most often)
  4. Fish Sticks- these are of some type of Osteichthyes of unknown providence
  5. Fat Free, Low Fat, Reduced Fat anything- I generally interpret that to mean chemical shit storm pumped up with sugar
  6. Frozen Dairy Treat- what the hell does that mean?
  7. Food Advertised with “More Meat Flavor”- not more meat, just better additives
  8. Flashlights apps on the phone- that tiny beam of light doesn’t do shit in the basement
  9. Halloween/Harvest/Fall parties for kids- it’s not the same as Trick or Treating. It’s lame and it sucks to watch kids not run wild on a sugar high
  10. MTV- music television? Not anymore
  11. Affordable Care Act- this is not the same a socialized medicine. I’ve traveled. I know.
  12. Responsibility- a poor substitution for a well lived life
  13. Dancing with the Stars- why can’t we just dance with our own partners? Or alone in our underwear?
  14. Reality TV- So much worse than real reality…wait, what?
  15. Non-Dairy Creamers- this has to be the worse thing humanity has invented aside from atomic weapons. It’s flammable and people ingest it. Ewww!

VWW- Contumely

Contumely:

harsh language or treatment arising from haughtiness and contempt. Also; and instance of such language or treatment

Plainly put into the vernacular, this is what mean girls do. It’s the method females traditionally employ to bully one another.

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*stolen from Pinterest, would love to give credit where due

VWW- Longanimity

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Longanimity:
 a disposition to bear injuries patiently : forbearance
    I have none of this. Or if I had it once it is long gone. In the personal sense I have learned to let thoughts and opinions of others roll off of me. Why should I care what you think of my life? You are only passing through it. Maybe you’ll be here for years or maybe you’ll be gone in a few hours. Either way, I and I alone have to answer to myself. I’ve not chosen to obey anyone.
    Words like “should” and “let” are the worst form of impertinence in my opinion, for whoever cares. Who is anyone to tell me what I should do in any situation. Casually telling someone they should read a book or watch a movie is understood to be a suggestion. They enjoyed something and want to pass it along. The height of human kindness. But to tell anyone they should organize their life or manage their choices by your say so is incredibly arrogant. And then there is the word “let.” No one lets me do anything. I don’t need to gain permission. My choices are my own and I am mature enough to handle the consequences of those choices.
    What I lack is the longanimity to endure coworkers, strangers, the mob of humanity we are exposed to each an every day. I rage in my car at the person who can’t speed up or the ass in the left lane who won’t let me pass. Internally I scream at the person who stood in a line for fifteen minutes and never thought to have money ready. There is no forbearance, no patiently bearing incompetence and sloth-like movement. We are all tired, we all want to go home, and we could if you would just get it together and move along. Move, move faster, move more efficiently. Do it at work, do it in public. Just be better or move to the side and let us get on with it.
    That’s not to say I am encouraging some Lord of the Flies, survival of the fittest  dogma. If you need help or a little more time it should be given, but you should ask. You should be adult enough to say “I don’t know how this works” or to have one of those moments we all have when our wits abandon us and turn to the people around you and apologize for your brain fart.
    I will help you, I will forgive you. We have all been there. It has happened to us all.
    Be aware of the people around you. Understand and recognize they are just like you. Extend them the courtesy and kindness of acknowledging that your stumble costs them too. Ripples in a pond my friend.
    But don’t expect to make my day harder and longer and you say nothing, you do nothing as if sucking more from the people around you is your due. What makes you so special? Why should you not have to comply with the social contract of politeness? Why must those around you bear the fallout of your incompetence? When you behave like this I silently and tight-lipped imagine choking the life from you because I know it won’t be appropriate for me to growl and shout at you. And why should I? That’s precious energy. Why waste it on you? I need it for things that matter. Things I could be doing if you would just get the hell out of my way.