Category Archives: Relationships

Job (In)Security

We may live on a small island but our proximity to the US means that we’re made aware of its many controversies, so in the latest episode of “He said/She said what????”, an American sportscaster is starring as the newest person trying to pull his foot out of his mouth – since speaking freely sometimes ends up costing a lot.

Because some people are so thin-skinned that you expect it to tear at any minute, you really can’t call them names or say that you don’t like them or what they do. Add to them, the people who have suffered at the hands of others or who declare themselves to be minorities in some way, and you will realize that it’s a minefield out there.

There really should be something in there first Image credit: tumblr.com

There really should be something in there first
Image credit: tumblr.com

But as my husband would say, there doesn’t seem to be any learning taking place. Some people continue to only think several days after they’ve already spoken and then end up deepening the ruts they’ve made when they find that they have to back that shstuff up.

So this sportscaster guy decided to blame the victim by saying that when some women are abused it’s because they somehow brought it on themselves and that they really need to stop doing the things that cause it to happen.

Well, (as we say locally) “who tell he say dat”? Didn’t the comedian DL Hughley already put his foot in it a few months ago (on the very same topic) and end up having to prostrate himself on the media altar because people didn’t get the joke? And given that social media is where everything’s happening these days you can’t tell me that this guy didn’t hear anything about it.

So of course, after the twitterverse went crazy on his posterior, he did what everyone else who gets caught in that situation does and proceeds to put things in reverse while declaring, “Well what I really meant to say was…”

Now confidentially, I have to admit that I’m not shaking my fists and thumping my chest in indignation, but any fool can see that his words were poorly chosen. But I am going to get on with my day because I’ve heard this story before and I know how it ends. Either it dies down until the next outrage surfaces and/or his head ends up on a platter.

But the really confounding part for me refers to the reason for the sportscaster’s comments in the first place – a football player’s mistreatment of his fiancée in the worst way.

The only reason that there is any evidence at all of the incident (besides the bruises she would have had), is because an elevator security camera captured it. The video didn’t show this, but I’d bet that it wasn’t an isolated incident. Nonetheless it didn’t seem sufficient reason for her to call the wedding off, but maybe him sitting out a few games is penance enough for her.

I’m not aware of whether she pressed any charges, thought about pressing any charges, or dropped the charges, but it seems that she and a million other people believe that the ones who pay his salary are the ones who should teach him a lesson.

Not the justice system or even the person directly involved. Because a worker’s actions have to be corrected if he or she is to keep the job.

But you can’t please everybody, because even when he is reprimanded and he’s made to feel it where it hurts the most, some people still think the employer didn’t go far enough – since they’ve been keeping score. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t follow sports all that closely, but it seems like once you get to the big leagues these people can be all up in your bed grass.

So maybe it’s because of who he works for – or where he works.

Can you imagine if as an employer I said to my employee, “You know what? I’m aware that you’re using your hands/feet/mouth in ways that aren’t socially acceptable so I have no choice but to suspend you for a few weeks and dock your pay while I’m at it, because you have to be made an example of and besides, everybody’s looking at me”.

But I don’t pay my workers nearly enough to be able to do that. And I don’t make enough money to have that kind of clout. Or maybe we haven’t developed the right sensibilities yet.

However, in those utopias where everybody gets along, where people always play fair and where everybody’s rights are equal and respected, there is also the freedom to punish those who disturb the reflection of perfection. And most will feel secure in the knowledge that it’s the right thing to do.

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Ray Rice and Stephen A. Smith – The Manifestation of the Hypocrisy of Sports – The Shadow League

Stephen A. Smith apologizes for domestic violence remarks – The Root.com

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Who Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Image credit: paradoksdanismanlik.com

Image credit: paradoksdanismanlik.com

Whenever I fill out forms that ask for my “sex” in order to determine whether I am a male or a female, I’m always tempted to cross it out and write “gender” instead and then tick the appropriate box. But maybe I should do like one comedian said he would when confronted by the question and write “yes please”.

I can’t admit to seeing it myself, but from what I’m hearing there seems to be a need for more than two boxes because gender and sexual orientation are quite different from when I was growing up. Well not just different, but plentiful.

A couple of weeks ago, a transgendered person was making the rounds on the talk shows because the individual made it on to the cover of Time Magazine. And since everyone was making such a fuss I decided I better educate myself about what the term actually meant.

And I was met with more definitions than I can remember. And more terminology than I expected to find. It seems that lesbian, gay and bi-sexual are so old school now. To truly express the fluidity that gender seems to have become you have to use terms such as genderqueer, pansexual, agender and a host of others.

Much like a number line, the traditional gender continuum on which we exist has spaces for people who don’t exist at either end, but who can fall in-between depending on who they like, who likes them and who they see themselves as. Back in the day, you either liked men exclusively, women exclusively or if you couldn’t make up your mind, both. But the current conversation seems to center around not how you were made, but how you feel – you should have been made.

Now I don’t want to say that people are just making things up as they go along, because apparently the several definitions of sexuality have been studied extensively, but what a way that we like to confuse the issue! And to complicate matters further I was made to understand in my research that you have to be careful not to call “her”, “him” and definitely not “shim”.

I suppose because the persons involved are struggling with their identities is why you have to be careful not to mash their corns and cause them any discomfort. And so, being politically correct is key.

So even if you see that Mike still looks like Mike and sounds like Mike, please don’t call him Mike if you are told that Stephanie is the name that is preferred. If you knew her as Caroline back in grade school but you hear somebody else using the name Carl, he is still the same person that you used to know – he’s just seeing things through different eyes.

It’s a pity when this gender confusion affects children though. Things were much easier when I used to climb the almond tree in the back of my yard. I was called a tomboy but it didn’t bother me in the least, and I was happy to wear pants instead of dresses while beating quite a few boys at school in a race around the track.

Girls like me would tend naturally to playing the games that boys play especially if we were around boys, but we couldn’t play all of them. I mean, if you don’t possess the right equipment there’s no way you’re going to win at the game called “mountain”.

But I don’t think any of us was confused about our identity. We knew we were girls – we just liked the stuff that the boys did, better. I haven’t forgotten that even though I had to wear a dress to church I never got in the habit of taking a bag, so I was well into my twenties before my mother insisted that when I was going out, I take something other than my two long empty hands.

My daughter seemed to be following in my footsteps because having an older brother, she gravitated to the cars and monster trucks and action figures that dominated his life. For the first two or three years of her life I never had to buy a single doll since she was quite happy with what she (or rather her brother), had.

Thanks to TV and her favourite cousin she has since gotten an appreciation for all things girly, even though she still competes in countertop car races. However, some children at or near her age seem incredibly self-aware and are somehow articulating that something went awry when they were being cooked.

Image credit: illinoisphoto.com

Image credit: illinoisphoto.com

Since we are first and foremost our sexuality, maybe it makes sense that before they even know what they want to be when they grow up, they already know who they want to be – or don’t want to be.

I just hope there’s a box for it.

 

What If…?

Michael Jackson Image credit: thatgrapejuice.net

Michael Jackson
Image credit: thatgrapejuice.net

Do you ever imagine what your life would be like if you had taken a different path?

For example, suppose you had married or settled down with your very first boyfriend or the person who was your very first crush?

Suppose you had done that before letting that first blush pass or allowing the scales to fall from your eyes? Or before you managed to take off those rose-tinted glasses?

But maybe I shouldn’t be so cynical, because I might have actually enjoyed migrating to New Zealand with Phillip K after we got married, and would now be regaling our children with stories about growing up in the tropics.

I know there are a number of people who actually married their high school sweethearts and probably an equal number of them are still together.

But how many of us know for a fact that we dodged a bullet?

I’m not planning on giving away too much information here, but like other young ladies I know, I’ve had my share of crushes. I can’t say that any of them were people on TV, because I’m a practical girl at heart – I want to know that I actually have a chance in hell of hooking up with the man of my dreams.

Not all of us can be as “lucky” as Katie Holmes.

So no. There were no posters of any actors or singers hanging on the walls of the bedroom I shared with my sister. Sure Michael was a looker in his early days, but I can’t say that I ever wanted to marry him.

I know though, that there are some of us who see where our first crushes (or boyfriends) ended up and are glad that first love means there’s a second or even a third to follow.

How many of us know now what we didn’t know then, which is that he really wasn’t marriage material – evidenced by the fact that he is no longer married to the person he decided to marry?

How many of us are relieved that we didn’t have to understand that even though he said he wanted to be married, it didn’t mean that he wouldn’t continue to look for suitable prospects – even after he was married?

How many of us are thankful that we didn’t have to find out that he wasn’t the one for us when he decided that we weren’t the one for him after all – several thousand dollars and a couple hundred wedding favours later?

How many of us are happy that we didn’t have to discover that our significant other was also very significant to others – which could have meant significant weight loss for us?

How many of us are delighted to have avoided owning the title “my baby’s mother” because he was perfectly happy being nothing more than your baby’s daddy – in addition to someone else’s?

Talk about a close call.

What about you? Do you consider your first love the one who got away, or the one you got away from?

“News You Can’t Possibly Use” – It’s Not That Serious

Image credit: static.tumblr.com

Image credit: static.tumblr.com

I think you all know that I love animation, and having children is a good excuse to see almost all of the movies that employ it. But I haven’t seen “Frozen” yet, despite it having been out of the cinemas for months now and actually having the DVD at home.

 

But I’m going to have to see what the fuss is all about, because for two consecutive days it has popped up in things I’ve been reading about.

 

The first report had to do with the fact that the movie is deemed to be the fifth highest grossing film of all time, with box office earnings of US1.2 million dollars. As with most things Disney, the fun for the people making the money doesn’t stop there, because merchandising all the movie-related paraphernalia keeps the cash registers ringing.

 

I was surprised to hear that these items are still in high demand months after the movie came out, but I shouldn’t be surprised because while off-island a few months ago, I went searching for the Elsa doll for a niece of mine.

 

The section for the merchandise, while clearly marked, was also clearly empty, and I had to resort to the God-awful Monster High dolls instead. Chalk to cheese – but that’s another story.

 

While I’m happy not to be one of the parents who gets caught up in the “Frozen” frenzy, like calling multiple stores to inquire about availability, booking themed cruises, or spending hours in line at Disney Parks (like I could do that from where I am anyway), I can understand that children can become fascinated with the characters.

 

What I don’t understand is being so enamored with the story as an adult that you have a falling out with anyone who isn’t similarly captivated by the tale. And by “falling out” I mean kicking that person to the curb.

 

I know that sometimes you are surprised to know how some people really feel about an issue and you may decide to never broach that particular subject again, or you may tuck it into the back of your head for future reference, or just agree to disagree.

 

But a woman from Japan decided that divorce was the only option she could pursue when her husband told her that he thought that “Frozen” was “an OK movie”, but he didn’t care for it personally.

 

He seemed willing to have a conversation about what made the movie good in her opinion, but she apparently didn’t want to entertain any discussion with the failed human being that he had become.

 

People are wondering whether his perfectly acceptable difference of opinion is not being used as an excuse to end a marriage that she wants to get out of. The husband says that prior to this disagreement, it had been relatively smooth sailing.

 

Guess he didn’t know her as well as he thought he did.

 

So he’s been advised to hire a private detective. Others tell him to just sign the papers and run.

 

I don’t really know what I would tell him, but I know that this story is the perfect start for stories that are news that you can’t possibly use.

Enough is Sufficient

A lot of people (myself and Dr. Phil included), agree that allowing yourself to be continually disrespected means that you will continue to be disrespected.

As with most things, it’s always easy to see what’s happening to someone else. Not so easy when it’s all about you.

Some people close to me know that I am fond of saying that a person must “like it so” if what is obviously a bad situation for a person is encouraged by the very same person. And given that, it doesn’t make sense for me to be the only one who’s worrying about it.

A friend frequently remarks that most of us who live here don’t seem to have a problem with the disrespect and disregard that is sometimes meted out to us as voters. Because why else would we grumble under our breaths instead of demanding that they “come better than that”?

So you can’t really blame the politician then, for assuming that he or she, is doing everything right.

But just like there are many reasons why voters continue to suffer in silence (including giveaways, duty free allowances and next month’s loan payment), I’ve come to appreciate that you can never know what’s keeping somebody in a bad situation or a toxic relationship.

So I no longer judge, because realization is never late – it comes right when it’s supposed to. And when it arrives, by that time, “enough” has not just become enough, but to quote a family member, it has become “sufficient”.

With Friends Like These…

Reading an advice column the other day, the opinion seeker declared that her best friend was getting married, but because she didn’t approve of the fiancé – describing him as a cheater, a liar and a thug (several of many traits that apparently make up a ‘ratchet’-type individual), she wondered how best to break it to her friend that she wasn’t going to attend the wedding – not even as a bridesmaid.

The columnist’s advice was based on her own similar experience, and so she recommended that she buy the dress, put it on and show up to support her friend. Because when she had neglected to do it years earlier for her own friend, their relationship went the way of all flesh. As did the marriage.

I’m reminded of a similar story where I knew the participants. Luckily I was neither the bride nor the bridesmaid, but I heard the story because one of the maids was busy telling everybody who would listen that she didn’t approve of the union. I always wondered whether the person who really ought to have known was any the wiser about how her “bestie” really felt.

And I said to myself, with friends like these – you’re better off with enemies, because at least with them you know where you stand. But, maybe she did tell her to her face, because as far as I know, this bridesmaid did attend the wedding. And I don’t want to think that she did so without ever telling her how she really felt.

So I agree with the columnist’s advice if she also insisted that she make her true feelings known to her friend, otherwise they’d end up in two different places – with one of them being seriously mislead.

Weddings require that you smile – a lot. Both my husband and I are no slouches in that department, but I know some people who shut it down two hours into the reception.

And they’re happy to be there.

So I take my hat off to the person who can smile even though she’s convinced that all the dresses and the food and the entertainment and the location rental are a total waste of money.

I am in awe of the person who can smile even though she thinks that the hours spent hosting a bridal shower, helping to prepare the favours, to choose the flowers and box up the cake were a colossal waste of time.

I bow deeply to the person who can smile when the photographer asks for just one more picture, even though she’d prefer to cut her eyes and suck her teeth instead.

I marvel at the person who can smile when asked to make a speech or give a toast which requires wishing the happy couple all the very best, even though it doesn’t gel with what she’s been telling everybody else.

Anyway, if the marriage that she considers doomed to failure actually survives, she will have already mastered the acting skills required when she’s obliged to be happy at the outcome.

But if the marriage does falter on the rocks, she will have already mastered the acting skills required when she’s expected to feign surprise at the outcome.

And she’ll be there to provide a willing shoulder to cry on.

I just hope she doesn’t spoil it by saying, “I told you so”.

We celebrate Valentine’s Day – Now and then

For quite a few years now, my husband and I have not visited a restaurant on Valentine’s night for the obligatory dinner, because frankly, we can cook a cheaper meal at home.

I’m a girl who loves to dress up and go out, and staying in does mean that dishes have to be done after we eat, but where’s the fun in sitting down in a too-tight dress and looking around at all the other people who en masse decided to take somebody else’s word, that it was the second best night of the year to go out to dinner.

If I’m to be completely honest, though, our tradition came into being by accident. Valentine’s Day invariably fell during the week, and our babysitters just weren’t making themselves available, so although my sister-in-law once took her daughter along in her car seat to a romantic dinner with her husband, we decided to stay home and make our own fun (and food) instead.

My husband cooks quite well, so with a menu of food items that we have only once in a while, some soft music, a few glasses of wine, an early bedtime for the little one, we were set. When the second child came along, we just decided to make it a family affair, with the baby in her car seat and the four year old with his own place setting.

I guess as the years pass, you become a bit more practical and you make adjustments where necessary. I’m not saying that romance goes out the window, but I have to get up to go to work the next day.

But lest you think that I don’t appreciate a romantic gesture, there’s one that my husband made one Valentine’s Day BC (before children), that I won’t ever forget.

Saying that he had a surprise for me, he asked me to stay in the bedroom until he was ready. I was aware, since he wasn’t in the house that the surprise was happening outside, but I was pretty sure that it wasn’t a new car.

Finally he was ready. When he came back inside, I was surprised to see that he was sweating bullets – and having long since proposed, I didn’t know what all that perspiration meant. I wasn’t pregnant, was I?

Across the road from our house was an empty lot. And there on the grass were about forty small paper bags lit with votive candles that had been placed in a heart formation. I took his word for it, because it was probably more obvious when viewed from the air. My first thought was “what a beautiful thing to do”. My second was, “Lord that was a ton of work – no wonder he was sweating”.

Since those were the days when we paid to eat dinner on Valentine’s Day, we got ready to go. But since we didn’t want the neighbours to think that we were irresponsible – or worse, engaging in the dark arts – we made sure to blow out the candles before we left.