The Decline of Humanity

Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me, HEY, Look at Me!

Posted August 14, 2012

So, I recently decided that I should update my photo on my Facebook profile.  The old one was nearly a year old, somewhat blurry, and frankly, I had a pretty crappy year following the taking of that photo; I considered that perhaps the picture was bad luck, and that maybe a new picture would bring new and happy things to the life of Catherine.

Now, here’s the thing:  it really concerns me when people post a million pictures of themselves on Facebook. I’m not talking about pictures of them with their spouses, kids, friends, Mickey Mouse; I’m talking about just full on close up (or otherwise) photos of themselves. 
A lot of them. 

I find that young ladies are the main culprit in this, and every time I see these updated photos and profiles, I can’t help but roll my eyes.  In one of my first forays into the world of Facebook, I was looking over my son’s shoulder at the photo album of a female friend.  I said, “well, she must really like herself.”

Now, in my younger days, I was never one to really shy away from a camera.  I never quite understood why people did not like to have their pictures taken.  Back in those days, one would take photos at special occasions, bring the roll of film (or a disc, if you were cool) to the local drugstore, and wait for three days to see the documentation of said occasion.  The photographer was almost never in his or her own pictures.  Imagine how bizarre it would have been to have an entire roll of film developed into pictures of only one, singular, face.  Not just any face, but the face of the photographer. Yet it seems to be a highly fashionable thing to do these days, rolls of film or not.

I often wonder about this apparent self-love prevalent in Facebook profiles.  Yes, it is good to have self-confidence, and yes, it is important to love yourself- but to have multiple albums – updated daily- of your shining and adorable face- by itself- seems a little strange to me.

I’m not even going to give the benefit of the doubt here by allowing that perhaps the person was taking multiple test shots to find the “good” one, or is sharing a picture of some updated feature (like a hairdo, pair of clogs, or nose piercing), because there will be multiple photos taken within seconds of each other, all with the same hairdo and outfit. 

Here’s me raising my eyebrows.  Here’s me pouting.  Here’s me crossing my eyes.  Here’s me smiling seductively.  Here’s me smiling seductively at a different angle.  Here’s me smiling seductively at another different angle, this time with my cat.  Me, me, me, me, me, aren’t I fantastic?  Oh, and here’s me looking fantastic.  With a seductive smile. Yay, me!

Enough already, I say.

So, back to the whole photo update.  Since I am completely averse to and bemoaning of people who update their photos every three seconds, I was extremely concerned that I might somehow be lumped into that category, even though I haven’t updated my picture in a year.

I checked the “only me” box as I was trying to upload and figure out the whole cropping process, made sure I didn’t hit my own “share” or “like” or whatever other buttons are there, and went to every setting available, trying to sort out how to just change my cover photo, quietly.

As I was trying to figure out how to change my cover photo (Is it edit?  Do I delete the old one first?  Why can’t I click and drag?  Why did it make a new album?), I noticed that the little globe at the top of my page had the number “2” emblazoned upon it (I won’t add here that I only just figured out what that was, within the  past month or two).

“So and so ‘Liked’ your picture.”
“So and so commented on your picture.”

Wait, what?  How did they see my picture?  I’m not even done figuring out where it goes, and somehow, people have seen it.  I frantically started clicking and went to my own Timeline page, and there is a gigantic version of my new photo posted there.  I immediately deleted it (even though supposedly it is “only me” who can see most of my timeline) in TWO SPOTS and went back to the photo albums, trying desperately to stop this worldwide publication of my photo update.

Well, I never figured it out.  I was absolutely mortified that somehow, people were getting gargantuan photos of me posted on their Walls indicating that I had updated my profile, or whatever I was allegedly doing.  HEY EVERYONE, HERE’S A PICTURE OF ME!  LOOK AT ME!

Good Lord.

So, to anyone who received some nefarious posting in your Facebook, alerting you to the fact that I changed my photo, I apologize.  Thank you for your lovely comments.  Thank you for liking me.  Please know, though, that you will not likely see an updated photo of myself for at least another 40 years.  In the meantime, I don’t want to see another picture of your face.  You’re great and all, but, just. Stop.



Facebook Would Be a Bad Dinner Companion

Posted August 13, 2012

So, I was recently chatting with my brother in law (yes, this one’s for you, Dave) about the evils of Facebook, and I mentioned that most people in Facebook have forsaken the golden rule of never discussing politics or religion in mixed company.  Of course, this rule generally applies to the dinner table, and yes, I know, our computers are not (supposed to be) our dinner tables, but there is some merit to this rule.

I never quite understood it when I was younger, but I certainly understood it as I grew older.  I do not necessarily consider myself overly passionate regarding any side of any fence in regard to religion nor politics.  I lean to the left on certain topics, and to the right on others.  They are personal beliefs, all of which make up part of who I am.  While I strongly disagree with the beliefs of some people, and I will always defend my own, I still like to think that I can reasonably agree to disagree if necessary, and leave it at that.

If you could view my Facebook Wall, you would see that it is chock full of anti-Obama and pro-Obama sentiment.  It is pro-military, pro-gay, anti-Democrat, anti-Republican, anti-Conservatism, pro-gun control, anti-gun control, anti-Men, pro-bada$$ attitudes, pro-hidden Jesus pictures, you name it.  I have a decidedly eclectic group of Friends and Family, with some very opposing opinions on display.

Now, the thing is, I pretty much know where most of my Facebook acquaintances stand in regard to the “big” issues.  I don’t know if they know where I stand.  And I’m guessing they really don’t care much where I stand, because they are too busy posting their opinions for The World of Facebook to see.  Of course, it’s not anyone’s business to know for whom I voted in past Presidential Elections; but I admit that if I see a poster (unwittingly) (or not) calling me a stupid a$$ anti-American for supporting said person, I am going to take offense.  It’s fine if you dislike my choices, but name-calling is a little beneath us all, is it not? 

I actually respect opposing views, and I think that reasonable debate and the freedom to speak on such topics are Rights that should be strongly defended.  However, I think that much of this can be done with a bit more class, and with respect for the fact that the people who oppose us have the same. Exact. Rights.

When people post strong worded pro- or anti- anything, I suspect that they’re not taking into account the fact that their audience may have very different personal beliefs.  Personal beliefs which have just been denigrated and belittled in the pursuit of freedom of speech and expression of other personal beliefs. 

I appreciate the fact that people have strong feelings on certain topics, but I feel that often, in an attempt to brandish their “righteous” opinions like a sword of justice, they are acting in an eerily similar manner to their alleged oppressors.  People who are often on the side of celebrating “differences” (I’m one of them, so don’t even start) are usually only supporting the differences that they agree with.  If people expect others to be open-minded and allow for our beautiful and unique beliefs as citizens to be accepted, it should follow that the “others” (the opposing side) are included in that world of citizens.

So, my fellow Facebook friends, think twice before you post that political or religious themed poster on your Wall.  If you really liked me, and really knew me, you wouldn’t call me (to my face) a stupid-a$$ anti-American or a closed-minded bigot or suggest that I should burn in Hell or die of a disfiguring disease because I prefer A to B.  Would you?  Do you even know what I believe in?

I’m not talking here about minority versus majority, who is in power, and some of the unfair and outdated laws and rules that we have in this country.  That’s for some other time.  I’m simply talking about realizing the possibly unintended effects of what you post in Facebook.  And also the strong potential for you to be the recipient of a cold shoulder or two at your next dinner party.

Think, people. 

Raising Girls Who Burp in Public

Posted June 27, 2012

So, recently, I was out shoe shopping, and, what normally is a decent experience for me turned into something extremely annoying.

It so  happens that I picked a bad time to shop, because every girl in the region was shopping for Graduation shoes.  This got my annoyance meter running, because teenage girls are very loud, they walk right in front of you when you are trying to browse, and they leave crap all over the place.  This was not the ultimate highlight of my annoyance, however. 

Enter a Family of three:  a grandma, a daughter, a granddaughter. 

Grandma is moving through the rows with her shopping cart, b-tching the entire time that she can’t find her size and that there are no good shoe choices.  Grandma is perhaps in her 60’s, so she’s not ancient and walker-bound.  Thus, I feel no guilt in complaining about her.  She is mindlessly wandering ahead of the other two, and thus, a lot of yelling commences.


As I am trying to concentrate on my shoe agenda, I hear a loud shoe clomping noise to my right.  It’s the daughter.  Now, I had assumed that her shoes were clomping because she was trying them on and seeing how they fit.  They were very high, leather, closed toe wedges.  Pretty, but appropriate for work or perhaps going-out attire.  Not appropriate for short jean shorts, very white legs, and a tee shirt.  I’m sure she doesn’t see me eyeing her getup, because she is now yelling to Grandma that she has found the perfect shoe and would find Grandma’s size.

It seemed that everywhere I went, Clomping Suzy would follow.  It was with some slight horror that I discovered that these shoes on her feet were not being “test run”, they were, in fact, her own shoes.  Clomp, clomp, clomp, and I’m thinking, “what the hell made you think those were the right shoes to pick for today?  And if you’re gonna wear them, learn to %#@$@^& walk in them!!”

Anyway, I digressed there.  As my clomping friend is finding more perfect shoes for Grumpy Grandma, the two of them are yelling at Granddaughter and telling her to keep up with the pack.  Granddaughter is sitting on the floor in the middle of one of the aisles, doing I don’t know what.  This is a 10-12 year old girl, mind, not a 4 year old.  And the aisles are small and difficult to navigate.  People are having to nearly climb over her.

Granddaughter now starts yelling across the store and complaining.


Grandma is like, 50 aisles away.  So, I’ve had enough of this yelling, and I give a Glare of Death to Granddaughter.  A real scorcher.  Granddaughter saunters over to my row, pauses behind me, burps, and then skips along her merry way.  I shake my head, chuckle sarcastically and say, “Nice.”

Now, I know.  I shouldn’t expect much from a girl who has Grumpy Grandma and inappropriately garbed Clomping Suzy for a sister (or mother?  I don’t know), but for Pete’s sake.  It’s really quite sad, because, looking at this trio, you know that there will only be more generations to follow, all yelling across aisles in stores, wearing bad shoes, and thinking burping in public is appropriate.

While you have heard me speak of how Mothers get blamed for ridiculous child behavior, this is one case in which I’d have to agree.  B-tching and yelling begets clomping and yelling begets burping and yelling.  What’s next?  Public pooping and yelling? 

Remember, folks, lead by example.  Good example.  Otherwise, you and yours will suffer the Glare.



Everyday Dishonesty

Posted June 16, 2012

As I was writing my angry post regarding people who b-tch the loudest, it brought to mind some experiences I had while working in retail.

While I greatly enjoyed my job, I became sickeningly depressed over the years with the lack of honesty which seemed so prevalent in mankind.  The number of people who would lie to your face just to save a buck was astonishing.  I suspect that this stuff is done so often, that most don’t even consider it dishonesty, which makes it even more disconcerting.

I have an acquaintance with whom I now refuse to shop, because I’m afraid that some day we’ll either be arrested, or that God will strike me down for bearing witness to dishonest shopping and return practices.  This acquaintance is famous for getting great deals when shopping.  I discovered that the “great deals” were the result of buying items at full price, waiting until the end of season, purchasing the same item at 75% discount, then returning the item with the original, full price paid receipt. 

It doesn’t matter what the store policy is on returned items, the fact is, if you b-tch loudly enough, you will get your way.  I’m not talking about a legitimate situation, where the original item was ill fitting, or received as a gift.  When I asked her to explain her reasoning, she said that it’s not “fair” that she had to pay full price, and that the store is making millions and this is not going to bankrupt them.  Le sigh.

Sadly, I think this is not an uncommon practice.

When I was working in retail, there was a famous story which circulated in my department regarding a woman who had returned a boys’ suit, which had been intended for her son’s First Holy Communion.  When it was pointed out to her that the suit had been altered and that there were no tags intact, she demanded to see the floor manager.  After threatening to have the sales associate fired, threatening to take her business elsewhere, and insisting that the suit had never been worn, she received reimbursement for the suit.  After she left, when the associate was arranging for the suit to be returned or discarded (it couldn’t be placed on the rack, because it had not only been worn, but had been altered), she found a Polaroid picture in the pocket of the suit.  The picture was, of course, of a little boy, angelically posing in a church, wearing the damned suit.  I mean, the poetry of that.  Not only did the woman lie, but she was lying about something indirectly involved with a Sacrament of the Church.  What a shining example to set!

Or how about the man who brought in a large pile of clothing which had been unceremoniously dumped into a shopping bag, and looked like it hadn’t been touched.  He claimed that the items were received for his daughter’s 6th birthday, and, uhhh, didn’t fit.  The items were all high ticket, designer items (never on sale), ranged in size from toddler to teenager, and included female and male clothing items.  I’m not sure why someone would think that a size 18 pair of young men’s Guess Jeans would be appropriate for a 6 year old girl, but, what do I know.  Someone wouldn’t blatantly lie about this stuff, would they? (in case you didn’t put  two and two together, the returned items were suspected as stolen goods)

I’m guessing that these are the same people who speed down the shoulder of a crowded road and then cut you off at the head of the line when the light turns green.  Or the ones who make their own, new line, when the doors of a store are about to open at 5 a.m. on black Friday, and there are 50 other people who have been waiting in the real line, for 3 hours, just to buy a damned Furby.  Or the ones who claim severe medical injury and mental anguish from a fender bender incurred in a drive through.  Or the ones who accidentally break or mishandle an item after using it, and insist that there is a manufacturer default.  Maybe even sue the company.

I’d bet five bucks that you all know someone who has seen or done one of these things.  Maybe you’ve even done it, yourself (shame, shame!).  Now I know that some of this is a result of feelings that we’re being cheated, and now it’s time to stick it to the Man.  Some of this is a result of being desperate, and having no other way to put bread on the table (my fantasy excuse for people who steal).  Whatever the reason, it’s dishonesty, pure and simple. 

I happen to be one of those people who will return to a cashier if they have given me the incorrect change, in my favor.  I’m not just talking about a $10 difference, I’m talking about even if it’s four cents.  Some people have a “limit” that they impose for this situation; for example, if it’s less than 5 cents, they’re not going to bother.  Some people have no limit, and figure it’s their lucky day if they have an extra 10 bucks in their pocket.  Too bad, so sad, for the millionaire store owner.  Now, the problem with this is that ‘the Man’ is not getting stuck here.  You know who gets stuck?  The single Mother cashier who is working three jobs and could be fired for a drawer shortage.  Or the young kid working his way through college.  We’re stickin’ it to the exact people who we claim to be.  

Yes, there is the argument that if a person makes an error, there should be retribution.  But I feel that to knowingly participate in someone’s downfall just because you gain to profit- that’s bad.  I think it’s time that we all think a little more honestly, the next time we think we’ve gotten lucky or are getting “what we deserve.”
Ever wonder why insurance rates are so high?  Think fraud.  We’re stickin’ it to ourselves, my friends.  And that’s just… dumb.


Rude Drivers

Posted May 20, 2012

Well, I am unsure as to whether this subject belongs under the “Decline of Humanity” heading, but I suppose if flip flops made it, why not add rude drivers to the list?

The reason I was unsure is that I often suspect that people, when they get behind the wheel of their vehicles, imagine themselves in an alternate dimension, or suddenly become mind controlled zombies with one purpose:  MUST.  GET.  THERE.  Since there may be some alien influence on the conduct of many drivers, this perhaps should be under another topic, entitled, “Stupid Things Humans Do Which Must Be Caused by Extraterrestrials.”  95% of driver behavior is so bad, I can only guess that this is not purposeful human behavior.

I suppose that I wasn’t as irritated by rude drivers before I became the transporter of another human being, namely, my backwards-facing infant strapped to a piece of plastic and metal.  Suddenly, rude drivers weren’t just “bad”, they were the intentionally evil humans who were out to murder me and my child.  I was literally awestruck at how selfish, stupid, and uncaring for human lives people could be.

As unlikely as it may seem, I am one of those people who believe that, deep down inside, about half of humanity is “good.”  Maybe even more than half.  I’m one of those who believes, when the going gets really really tough, there will be the bad ones who rape and pillage, but there will be the good ones, too.  There is a really interesting sidebar here, regarding “end of times” and the possible destruction of humanity (for real), and whether people are really just animals by nature, but I will save that for another post.  What I will say, though, is that these mindless bad drivers may actually be good, on the inside.  This may be a fancy I have created in my head, in an attempt to believe that people are not monsters.  They’re just being mind-controlled.  Yeah, that’s it.

Since I am supposed to be discussing rude driving behavior, I guess I should actually provide some examples of it, and how it is destroying humanity and everything good in it.

Let’s start with the use of the “signal” or, “turn indicator.”  For those of you who do not know, there is a lever located on or near your steering wheel.  Depressing it in a downward fashion will cause some small lights located on the front and rear of your vehicle to blink, indicating to other drivers in your surroundings that you intend or wish to move your vehicle in a left-ward direction.  Similarly, pressing this lever in an upward fashion will indicate your intention or wish to move your vehicle in a right-ward direction.

Oh, there are so many sub-topics here.  Since it seems that 89.4% of the driver population either have broken or missing levers, broken pinkies, or short-term memory loss when they enter their vehicles (or are mind controlled), we can start with that group.  The group which refuses (or is unable) to use the lever.  Ever.

This is the group that will slow down dramatically for no apparent reason, and you are forced to use your Extra Sensory Perception in order to determine whether your life is in danger, or, at the very least, you will incur massive points on your license and suffer hikes in your insurance rates.  Yes, folks, it’s up to you to figure out if the person is braking for an animal or small child, is looking for a house or landmark, is looking for a parking spot, or suffering a cerebral hemorrhage and you should be calling 9-1-1.

The Kind and Forgiving Catherine reasons that perhaps the person is lost and confused, is scared, or is experiencing a serious health condition, and thus, has temporarily forgotten the lever.  The unforgiving, “I Hate People” Catherine, who has been stuck behind this non signal-using continual brake-r for 3 miles is starting to resemble Cruella de Ville.  You know, red eyes filled with rage, hair standing on edge, maybe even some steam erupting from the ears.

A note of advice to the lever forgetters who are genuinely lost or confused: there is another button located in your car which will enable the use of things called “hazard” flashers. Use them instead. It’s only one button to push and you don’t have to try to remember how to depress it.  This way we only have to guess whether your car is breaking down or if you just don’t know where the hell you’re going.  At least we know in advance to get out of your lane or suffer the consequences.
To the rest of you, there is a special level in Hell reserved just for you and your kind.

Now, let’s move on to the other drivers who are kind enough to use the lever, but have forgotten that a flasher is used to show directional intent, rather than a brazen and murderous announcement that they can go wherever they please because they pressed it.  These are the same people who never check their blind spot (what’s a blind spot?), who weave in and out of lanes, who cut you off, who enter a 65 mile per hour speedway at a rate of 2 m.p.h.(or 82 m.p.h.) and cause 47-car pileups.  They believe that the lever is their ticket to freedom.  Their equivalent of emergency vehicle light bars.  The lever is their god-mode. 

A note of advice to you people:  go back to Drivers’ Education and re-learn what you have forgotten.  Using your lever/turn indicator translates to this:  I would like to change lanes/I will be turning at the next intersection/I am entering the highway, PROVIDED THAT there is a safe opportunity and I have followed all traffic rules.

The only people to whom I will give an ounce of leeway are the ones driving on parkways in southern New York, upon which you have .06 seconds to merge from the entrance ramp into traffic before you are either in a ditch or suddenly in the exit ramp for the next exit.  Everyone else, I hate you.

So, that covers just one small portion of idiotic/dangerous/rude driver behavior out there.  Rather than going into the details of all the other bad behaviors, I’m going to try to shorten them into a list of sorts.  The following behaviors are not only rude, but are dangerous, careless, and make the “I Hate People” person come out in those of us who actually drive safely:

*people (usually ladies, I’ve noticed) who drive gargantuan vehicles who have never gone off road exploring nor been involved in Armed Combat, usually talking on cell phones and not paying attention to a #$@(^#^^ thing, because, they don’t have to.  They can and will crush any vehicle in their way.
*people (always male) who drive with their shoulders and head in the middle of the car, in order to have their one arm stretched onto the steering wheel in a macho fashion. 
*people talking on their cell phones.  The main reason this annoys me is because they never get caught, and I know that if I ever tried to do this, there would be 3 State Troopers pulling me over.
*people who suddenly remember their gas pedal as you’re trying to pass them, even if they’ve been going 22 miles under the minimum speed for the last 45 miles.  YOU. SHALL. NOT.  PASS.  Screw you, buddy.
*people who cut you off from behind when entering a motorway and either block your entrance or force you to be the moron driving on the shoulder with your signal on, waiting to get in and causing all sorts of problems.  Wait your effing turn and enjoy your time in Hell with the non lever pullers.
*people who speed or tailgate in poor/low visibility weather conditions.  Thank you for splashing 86 gallons of rainwater onto my windshield and causing complete temporary blindness.  Also, thank you for forcing me to test the limits of my anti-lock and tire balancing system on an ice covered road with my kid in the back seat and someone who is following me so closely I can see their eye color.  Thanks.  The only comfort I take is that the tailgate jerk will get the ticket when he rear-ends me, and will have to live with the guilt of taking the lives of two innocent people just because he was in a hurry or too stupid to slow the hell down.
*people who drive 5 miles under the speed limit in the passing lane.  These are the same people who may have been previously speeding and decide to slow down just as you are behind them, and in the No Zone of a tandem with his left turn indicator flashing.

Oh, I could go on for days, but, you would all be asleep by the time I’ve finished.  As I previously mentioned, I can only surmise that the lot of you are being mind controlled by an alien race.  There are so many out there, ruining the daily commutes and possibly the lives of their fellow human beings, it is truly mind boggling.  Please, challenge yourselves and others to be respectful, law-abiding, and careful road citizens.  Additionally, invest in some aluminum foil covered helmets.  It blocks the alien signals.



Posted May 16, 2012

I was speaking to a friend recently, and we were discussing some of our mutual on-line acquaintances.  I mentioned that there was a particular female I disliked, because she had a mouth like a truck driver.  I went on further to say that, sexist as I am, I am more offended when females talk trash like that, because I feel that:

(A) they should know better, and
(B) I am embarrassed for (womanhood) them

Now I will say that I am all for occasional swearing, male or female, in the right company.  I don’t really consider “shit” to be an overly bad swear word.  Of course, you wouldn’t use it, in, say, an interview with a potential employer.  Otherwise, it’s not so bad.  Slightly impolite, but not going to Hell worthy.

The f-word is okay in some circumstances, as well.  Again, in the right company.  And by that, I mean, with a close friend or friends, a spouse, a relative who is close to your age, and in a non-public place.  And the context is important, as well.  “I can’t find my f-cking keys” is somewhat okay.  Using the word to describe a sexual act is not.

To reiterate, it’s not occasional swearing I’m talking about here, it’s using the f-word as every other descriptive, using it in mixed company (strangers, children, parents, whoever), and making no apologies for it.

This post is not going to be simply concerning females who swear like sailors (poor truck drivers and sailors… such bad reps..), but completely, about females who have no clue as to what comprises ladylike behavior. 

I guess I should kind of go into what is considered “sexy” these days.  Things that once were considered naughty were considered so, because it was a rarer thing to behold.  If a woman used a swear word in a “heat of the moment” situation (I’ll let you interpret that one at will), it was considered sexy.  If her dress flew up in the air on a windy day and you could see her underwear, it was sexy.  If a woman raised an eyebrow or winked in your direction, it was sexy.

I ask you, if every other word is the f-word, if you can already view multitudes of underwear with no wind present (thongs), and a wink is replaced by a hand on the crotch,  where is the sexy?  To me, sexy is more about being subtle, and today it seems there is about .02% subtlety present in the female population.

Some of this is blamed on the “role models” girls grow up with these days.  Me, I blame it more on the parents.  If you don’t buy your daughter the belly shirt with the word “DIRTY” imprinted upon it, guess what?  She won’t be wearing it.  I’m not saying parents should buy peasant blouses and ankle length skirts, but for Pete’s sake, show a little backbone and restraint.  And if she goes out and buys it for herself, burn it.

On that same subject, it seems that many females today don’t seem to care if something looks grossly unattractive according to their body types.  The “muffin top” is present everywhere.  Everywhere!!! I’m not sure when fat rolls became fashionable, but, I’m pretty sure that they shouldn’t be.  Ever.  I agree that one should “suffer” a little to be “beautiful”, but these outfits look constricting, painful, and do not enhance the beauty of the wearer in any sense of the word.  Some of these females don’t even look like they would have fat rolls, if they just went up one size in the waist.  It’s just like the flip flop thing.  Taking an unattractive feature and attempting to make it look sexy.  Feet are gross.  Fat rolls aren’t pretty, either.

I’d like to address now the fact that excessive cleavage seems to be au courant as well.  I’m not exactly sure where all this cleavage came from, because I know, growing up, there was usually one girl in class with big boobs, and the rest had to wait until they were 17.  Now, they’re everywhere, starting at age 10.  My brother in law insists it’s the bovine growth hormones in cows/milk that has caused this phenomenon.  I don’t know if it’s that, or the creation of the WonderBra, but females are busting out all over, and making no attempt to tame “the girls.”  In one slight bending over maneuver, males have full viewing access to boobs, crack-enhancing underwear, and rolls.  This is not subtle, this is not ladylike.

Back in the old days, males had to work to woo a lady and to have access to her intimate details.  And by intimate details, I mean the name of her parents, and possibly her ankles.  Now, they can get full view of everything before they’ve even said hello. 

Unfortunately, I do not believe there is any sort of fix available for this problem.  Until parents start taking control of their little ladies, and start setting better examples (having your topless photo on the “Single Moms Gone Wild” website is not one of them), I fear that, along with true Gentlemen, the idea of the true Lady will become completely extinct.

I can only hope that, with the prevalence of such in-your-face behavior, that there will be a complete turnaround in thinking where Men (and Women) are concerned.  That, perhaps, subtle will be the new sexy.  That Men will search for the elusive Lady in the sea of boobs and thongs, and that Women will adjust accordingly.

My son used to tell me that it was hard to find one “good girl” in a school system with hundreds in every grade level.  Perhaps there will be a slow turnaround for the better.  Then again, I tried to raise a gentleman. What is the rest of the world doing?  Grow a backbone, parents.

And to the Women out there, grow some self-respect.  Subtle is Sexy.  Make that your new mantra.


Posted May 14, 2012

On the Extinction of Gentlemen

As part of my discussion on The Decline of Humanity, I submit to you my thoughts on the state of gentleman-liness, and it’s near extinction from our society.

Now, I haven’t gone much into the fact that I happen to be an old fashioned girl.  In my young lady formative years, I didn’t really consider myself as such; I felt that I was a modern woman who wanted to conquer the world, and would not be stopped just because the ERA wasn’t passed.

It seems that, as the years went on, I found that I appreciated and respected those notions which supported the opening of doors and placing of cloaks over puddles.  Sure, I can open a door by myself, but isn’t it nice to have someone do it for you?  Just because you are a lady?  I know I’m not a weak lady, so, why should I be offended?

When I was growing up, the Art of Gentlemanlike Conduct was already on the decline.  I mainly only saw it in use by older men; my uncles, my father, some random strangers on the bus.  We were in the post-60’s era, so perhaps there is something to that.

When I was very young, I remember my uncles standing up at the dinner table whenever a female approached or left the table.  I remember being in total fascination of this concept.
 “Why are you doing that, Uncles?”
“Because you should stand whenever a lady approaches the table.”
Lady?  What lady? 
There are no ladies here.  Ladies are royalty, not just a bunch of females living in Albany, New York.

Au contraire, Catherine.  These men were brought up with the notion that all females were ladies.  Unless they were hookers, of course.  And even then, I bet they’d stand if one was present at our dinner table.

As the years went on, that practice went completely out of fashion.  Along with a slew of other practices.  I have heard it suggested that the Women’s Rights Movement put a huge damper on chivalrous activity, and I suppose I can understand that position.  Women weren’t weak objects to be owned and treated deferentially, we were strong (strong!).  We were invincible (invincible!).  Roar, etc.  All very true, but I still expect a Man to open my door.

When Spenser was growing up, I attempted to instill in him the ideals of what it was to be a gentleman.  This is no simple task, since apparently I am one of 3 people in the U.S. attempting this, and, sadly, it seems that there are 0-1 parents of the current female population who expect such ideals.  Oh yes, there will be a post about the ladies, too, have no fear.

When I was growing up, the telephone (1 in the house, attached to the wall, with a short cord) had a set of requirements surrounding its usage.  No one took phone calls during dinner (and how rude of people to call at such a time), and the girls (when young) did not take phone calls from boys unless permission had been granted ahead of time. 

Growing up today, as you know, there are infinite ways of contacting one another, many of which are completely unseen or unregulated by parents.  Texts at 2 a.m., email, Facebook, whispered conversations via cell phone in the bathroom. 

When Spenser was very young, I’ll say, maybe 6, he was asking where the phone was, so he could place a phone call.  When I asked who he was calling, he showed me a slip of paper documenting a female name and her phone number.  Kids can barely read or write at that age, for Pete’s sake.  But they sure got that number thing down.

“Why do you need to call her?”
“I don’t know. She told me to call.”
“Do her parents know that she’s giving out her phone number?”
“I don’t know.  Can I call her?”
“I can’t believe that girls are just wantonly giving out their phone number!  I bet her parents don’t know!”
“I don’t know.  Can I have the phone?”
“Well, if you’re going to call, you’re going to speak to one of her parents first and ask permission…. you don’t just call a person like that!!….” and on and on  I went.

An adult did answer the phone when he called, it happened to be the girl’s father, and Spenser introduced himself and asked if it ‘was okay’ for  him to speak to the young lady.  The father laughed and handed the phone over.

Now, I realize this is a bit over the line.  But I think there needs to be some standard in place.  Even if it’s an old, outdated one.  Even if the parents of 6 year old hoochies don’t expect gentlemanly manners, it doesn’t mean that my son is excused from practicing them.  Heck, maybe it would uncloud their brains and help them to realize that they should have some expectations for the treasured ladies of their household.

I guess that the lack of expectations is a large part of why gentlemen are a dying breed.  Girls, growing up, don’t expect a boy to open their car door, or any door.  They are okay with a boy beeping the horn in the driveway even if the boy has not met her parents (and, what the hell is wrong with these people? they’re just letting their daughter get into a car with some random, hormoned up boy????).  They expect to fend for themselves, puddles or no puddles, and they are okay with that.

I am all for girls being independent and plucky and able to take care of themselves.  And I don’t know that they should be raised to expect males to open their doors.  But I do think they should be taught to appreciate a dying breed when they see one.  Appreciate the fact that the boy, who is mortally embarrassed, will come to the door and meet her parent/s, and he’s doing it as a sign of respect for her.  Appreciate the effort, at least.

I have, over the years, learned to forgive the fact that parents have forgotten to instill Gentlemanlike ideals in their sons (except in the South, maybe… I hear they’re still pretty respectful down there).  Just because I’m female on a standing room only bus doesn’t mean that a male will willingly offer his seat (imagine my shock when it actually happened, on occasion).  I’m not offended when I have to trundle myself out of a car into a standing snowbank.  However, I am taking mental notes.  Suitors, be warned.

I once went on a blind date, and, though I did try to remember it was the 90’s… not the 1890’s…. I was muttering inside my head the entire time. 

First mistake: the hostess checks our reservation and turns to lead us to our table.  Blind date follows her, with me in tow.  Doesn’t look back to see if I’m even behind him, doesn’t check to make sure I haven’t been accosted or tripped, doesn’t place his hand on my back to lead me to the table, doesn’t say, “ladies first.”  Not a huge deal, but, gives me pause.  It’s only the first 22 seconds of the date, I’ll give it a chance.

Second mistake:  Blind date goes on and on and on about how expensive the menu is, that it’s unfortunate his friend isn’t working because the potential for a ‘deal’ is lost, expensive menu, hard to get reservation, expensive menu.  Needless to say I picked the cheapest items available and insisted that I didn’t expect him to pay for me (I’m actually kind of okay with that, even though HE asked ME, it’s a blind date, I’m alright with splitting the bill) (grumble).

Third mistake:  Blind date leaves me alone at the table within first 12 minutes of arrival.  Of course I was having ultra paranoid and $hitty thoughts about myself- that he was going to try to sneak out the window or that he was mortified with my presence.  He told me he went out to have a quick smoke because he was nervous.  Nervous is endearing and all, but have a little respect.  And self control.  We had just gotten there, for goodness sake.  I don’t care if I was the ugliest, most deplorable female on the planet (which I’m not, thank you very much), he should still have some common decency!  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Needless to say, when he called to ask for a second date (whaaat!?), I came up with a polite excuse.

Anyway, general lack of expectations and lack of inclined parents are the reason for the demise of the Gentleman.  I don’t blame Men, since many were simply not raised in this fashion.  For the most part, they are still raised with some ideals of decency; don’t hit a woman, let her get into the lifeboat first.  It’s sad, though, that the little extras have become so unfashionable. 

If you happen to be a Man, I challenge you to endure one week in which you attempt to display gentlemanly manners to the ladies (strangers or not) in your vicinity.
Open every door for her.  Use the phrase “ladies first”, and not in the context of a joke.  Take your lady’s hand as she steps out of the car.  Don’t abandon her within 10 minutes of your first date.  Make her walk on the inside of the sidewalk (the side farthest from the street), because, as a gentleman, you are protecting her from out of control horses and buggies and puddle splashes.  Offer your seat on the bus or train.  I guarantee that you will receive very satisfactory results, and will be the envy of every man in your surroundings.

And, if you happen to be a Lady, I challenge you to act like one.


P.s. In my Mother’s Day card, the following was written:  Thanks for teaching me to be a gentleman, because there aren’t that many out there today, and I appreciate the fact that you took the time to raise me the right way.   Awwww.


Flip Flops

Posted May 13, 2012 (this is not the most eloquent post, but people still make reference to this, years later, so, it made the cut)

Well, it’s the open-toe season, which means that the world will now be subject to viewing the toes, and often feet of complete strangers.  I do not like toes nor feet, unless they are owned by a baby between the ages of 3 days and 12 months old.  After that, no thanks.

I understand the whole ‘allure’ of pretty and perky toes peeping from a scandalous sling back.  How the multitude of designs and enhancements to TOENAILS (yeah, they’re TOENAILS, people) have greatly improved our world of fashion in unimaginable ways.  I also get that some women (sorry, men, you are completely OUT on this one) have somewhat attractive toes. 

I said, “some women.”  Not “half,” not “a large number,” not “most,” but, emphatically, “some.”  And by “some” I mean “three.”

The rest of you are OUT, with the men.

Flip flops.  Tsk tsk.

Flip flops enable one to have viewing access to the ENTIRE FOOT of a complete stranger, or sometimes even a loved one.  This includes feet adorned by hangnails, hairy toes, dry skin, corns, calluses, funk, and yes, even diamond encrusted toenails.

I am here to enlighten all of you, about the proper usage and display of flip flops.  Flip flops are for:

#1. Getting out of the shower.  In your own home, or at a place where athlete’s foot may be prevalent.

#2. Walking from the beach boardwalk to your car/hotel room, at which point you will immediately switch to something else.  Further on that subject, flip flops do not generally work in the sand.  We have to see your feet anyway, just take the buggers off so you can save yourself the embarrassment of looking like a loping moron and additionally plowing up large sprays of sand onto your fellow beach goers.

#3. Walking a short distance in which a very minute number of people will be exposed to your feet.  A walk to the corner store which is the distance of 2-3 house-lengths, tops.  A quick run into the dry cleaners when you are double parked.  Taking the garbage out.

#4. Walking around in your own home, when there are no guests or small children present.

That is, as they say, all, folks.

Now, there are many of you who are vehemently attached to the idea of using your flip flops in any way you see fit, and feel that I have been far too prejudiced in my allowances for flip flop usage.

To further expand on the topic, I will also inform the unenlightened of improper flip flop display and usage.  Flip flops are NOT for:

#1.  Walking farther than the distance of 2-3 house-lengths.  This is a scientific issue, my friends, not purely a fashion faux pas.  There is absolutely no arch/ankle support in that thin slab of rubber/straw/plastic to which you are entrusting your feet.  None.  Your feet will crumble and fall off (not the flip flops, however, they are indestructible) if you attempt a day of “touring the city” in said flip flops.  Do not do this.

#2. Wearing in a public venue where you will be seated closely to a potential stranger, wherein your feet (attractive, or not.  Remember, there are only 3 of you out there) will not only be in close proximity to your seatmate, but also in plain view, thereby forcing others to look at your feet.  For a very long period of time.  With unfortunate innocent seatmate having no option to cover them with a blanket, or change his seat, or alert the authorities.  It’s bad enough that people have to look at your feet, let alone be so close to them that they could actually be touched by them (ew) with no chance of escape.

#3. Anything apart from what I mentioned in my first list.

I am unsure as to why people believe that flip flops are okay to use in the public arena.  I guess they’re comfortable enough, but, so are slippers, and most people don’t brandish them freely.  At least slippers usually cover up the feet.

And, while I’m at it, I’d like to mention to the people who wear flip flops to work:  I don’t care if they have flowers and jewels on them, they’re inappropriate, and so are your feet.  And so is the annoying sound they make.

Overall, flip flops are our strange way of exposing the ugliest part of our bodies, and have somehow become acceptable, even in genteel society.   What’s next?  Adding glued-on feathers to our hairy moles?  Special fluorescent makeup for our pimples?  Red markers highlighting our scabs and scars?  Come on, people, hide that stuff!

Flip flop wearers should be shunned and eventually arrested if they insist on wearing them outside the confines of my four, easy to follow rules.  Unless they are a child under the age of 12 months.  Or, one of the three known humans with semi-attractive toes.   You’re not one of them.  I don’t want to see your feet.  Ever.  Thank you.