Tag Archives: feminism

a proper way to flirt.

well well well.  I had written eariler about odd ways of being approached in daily life, but I had an experience a couple of weeks ago that left me feeling positive and complimented, and not violated.

T-storm and I have a BJ’s membership (laugh if you will), which is awesome if you want to buy sparkling water, Fage yogurt doubles and quinoa in bulk at a decent price.  Costco is a better company, yes, but at least we don’t have a Sam’s Club membership.  and I don’t even know where the nearest Costco is.

I was buying bottlewater in bulk for an event, and I headed to the register to get rung up.  maybe the cashier did actually check me out at the same time, but I didn’t feel like I was being objectified.  we had a conversation during the transaction, and he was particularly friendly.  of course, at big discount stores, they check your receipts as you exit, and I noticed on my receipt that I’d only been charged for three giant packs of water, when I’d gotten six.  I didn’t want to get my butt kicked by the exit police at BJ’s.  (that would be a pretty crummy fall from grace story if there ever was one – loss of career due to shoplifting bottled water at a membership discount store.  glory be.)

so I went back to remedy the situation.  and the cashier felt a little embarassed at his mistake.  but he also said to me, “Here I was, thinking you were coming back to get my number.”

I responded, with a grin, “No, I’m married.”  I nodded politely, we completed the transaction, and smiled away.   he said nothing more on the subject, but wished me a good way after he charged me for the other water.

I wasn’t objectified, and he had simply made a flirtatious, yet polite comment.  I certainly got the message that he’d like me to give him my number, but it wasn’t anything creepy or asshole type.  certainly not someone chasing me down in a parking lot at Panera shouting “EXCUSE ME!”

so for any Men’s Rights goons who think that feminism excludes the opportunity for men to be complimentary and flirtatious, please take this as an example of flirting without being a sexist prick.

it is possible!

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Filed under advice, men

that’s not my name

Whenever I hear that song in a bar I’m transported back in a weird way. And a little bit annoyed.  Anyway.

So I am in the process of  changing my name.  For freelance writing that I do, I’ll keep the old girl.  It’s just easier.  Further separate my personal and professional life.  That’s okay by me.  Also my new name makes it really really easy to explain six-eight time to other people.

But at work, my co-workers are refusing to call me by my new name.  I know there’s a learning curve and an amount of time until people learn it.  And shoot, I haven’t even officially changed anything as far as legal documents.  I have done nothing to get the name-changing off the ground.

And then I get confused and I don’t know how to more correctly introduce myself to others, or to identify myself on the phone.  I dislike it intensely.

But still, I tell people my new, bizarrely spelled, Eastern European, weird consonant, three syllable last name, compared to my super duper common single syllabic maiden name.  And then people hear the new name, and they say, “I’m not calling you that.  You’ll always be Miss Name here.”  (Instead of Name, there goes my old name.)

I want to say to these people, “Well, I’m going to call you Captain Fartface, and that’s not your name either.  Would you mind terribly calling me by my name?”

It’s a weird identity thing, and I want to do it and not be a dick about it.  It’s not my intent to make others feel uncomfortable.  One of my very good friends has a very good friend who is experiencing a transition into being a transgender/gender queer, and I keep accidentally calling said friend by the previously used female name.  At a recent event, I tried to say goodbye to said friend, and called the female name instead of the androgynous name, and said friend didn’t turn around.  Later, it was explained, “I didn’t know you were talking to me.”  What wasn’t said was, “That’s not my name anymore.”  I was like WTF.

I wasn’t doing it on purpose.  I wasn’t trying to be obnoxious about it, i.e., I don’t accept you for who you are, or who you’ve found yourself to be.  In this case, I just slipped.  I hadn’t gotten the very important speech about what to call this person now.

But maybe (s)he’s on the right idea.  Truly, it’s not her name anymore.  It’s not her identity any longer.  (Pronouns get confusing here…I’ll figure that part out later.)

My change is obviously less dramatic.  It’s a rite of passage in a heteronormative society.  But it is a change in the most fundamental part of my identity – my name.  One of the most imperative things you can do with kids is get their names correct, and make sure you learn all of them, because that’s important.  That’s who they are.

And while I was a little put off by the “I didn’t know you were talking to me,” who am I to tell someone else who they are?

I just get annoyed that the people who I work with, and who I have worked with don’t seem to want to make an effort.  It’s two more syllables.  I also work with a group of self-contained students, whose (more so) mental & (somewhat) emotional disabilities are too severe to put them into normal classrooms.  Many of them cannot even really read.  But damned if every single one of them doesn’t call me by my correct married name – without having to be prompted.

No excuses, fully grown and in no way mentally impaired co-workers.

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Filed under untested waters

furthermore! on how not to be a douche.

One of the things I love deeply about living in Wilton Manors is that I never, ever, ever get harassed.  Go deeper into straight-ville Bro-town Fort Lauderdale, and it’s all over the place.  I was outside a bar called The Poorhouse (which has just somehow gotten into serving five star bar food…so many contradictions) this summer and some dude grabbed my ass in a walk-by.  I shouted out as severe an obscenity as I could think of as loudly as I could down the street, but he probably still snickered as he walked away.  Fucking asshole.

I wrote a few months ago about an odd fellow whose pick-up line in a Panera parking lot while I was on my lunch was “EXCUSE ME!”  (Incidentally the same line I heard some dude yell in the Publix deli aisle as he was about to start a grocery store brawl – I was just trying to pick up fried chicken.)

But not only do I avoid harassment here, it seems, so does everyone else.  All of the bars here make their intentions clear, whether they be Bear Bars or places with names like Ramrod, whatevs.  But whatever happens indoors, it doesn’t lead out into the street.

One of the greatest mythologies that homophobes have, I think, is the idea that if they encounter someone who is gay, they’re going to get hit on and made uncomfortable.  Having lived here, in the US city with the 2nd highest number of homosexuals per capita behind San Fransisco, for a year and a half, neither my husband or I have ever experienced anything remotely akin to this.  I get hit on in creepy ways by straight men in lots of places, but neither of us is ever bothered here.  I see women get hit on in compromising, uncomfortable ways all the time, but I don’t see anyone hitting on anyone uncomfortably out here.

Maybe it’s because the gay community knows what it’s like to be maligned, even bullied.  But the streets of my small city are some of the safest places to walk at most times of either day or night, it seems.  And not just in conventional ways.

I was reading this article a few days ago, and what I love the most about it is that the author brings up ways in which dudes can gather females’ attention without being creepy, stalk-y, and harass-y.  One of the more important ones being of course, don’t touch her.  (Re: earlier statement – just because my ass is big, whether I’m wearing something short & tight or not, does not mean it’s communal property.  I have plenty of friends who I will freely permit to smack away.  But I don’t know you from pig shit, so kindly back the fuck away.)

I have a couple more to add:

1. Smile.  A smile from across the room is the simplest, most effective form of opening up communication.  It’s an invitation to initiate conversation.  And no, not in the Usher inspired “noticin’ you, noticin’ me” sort of manner.

2. Unless you meet at a fetish club/orgy party, sex talk can wait.  At a coffee shop?  Don’t make bad jokes about foam.  At a bookstore?  Leave out the “between the pages” talk.  You get the drift.  Don’t be a Casanova.  Just be a person.

3. Compliment a conscientious detail of his/her style you like.  “You have really cool glasses,” is obviously kind of a targeted line, but it works.  Compliment something that you can tell the target of your affection picked out themselves.  And yes, dudes, you can compliment a girl’s clothing choice without sounding gay, if you are needlessly worried about that.  A dude I dated forever ago who is now one of my all-time ever best friends first caught my attention when he complimented my black and grey plaid corderoy pants.

4. Don’t be artificially nice, just be nice.  I would advise from doing anything you feel that you can’t really keep up throughout the course of well, anything.  Honesty is a good point to start from.  Women, men, everyone is starving to meet people who are kind and who are also upfront.

5. Be thoughtful.  Don’t reuse “techniques” or old lines.  Think of something creative, but not too eager.  And if someone wants to be left alone, as previously mentioned, take a hint.  Sometimes women (or men or whoever) just want to be left alone.  Sometimes people doing things individually are not starving for company.  Sometimes they are eating on the way home from work while their husbands are in grad classes.

Just be cool.  And maybe it’ll make the world at least a slightly more tolerable place.

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Filed under advice, civil rights, love, men, women

the trouble with dinner

is that it is never simple.  Even on a weeknight.

T-storm and I were talking about making dinner.  During the course of one month, before we lived together and we traveled 45 minutes each way to see one another (and did it nearly every single day), we made a list of meals for the entire month.  We accounted for late work nights, out of town weekends, the likes.  We went shopping together, and bought food for our planned out month of meals.  And it worked splendidly.

Now, after a year of living together, that ain’t happenin’.  We’ve tried again, and we just haven’t gotten it right.

So we go to make dinner tonight.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, right?  Just sautee/lightly pan grill/whatever some chicken breasts that are defrosting, pop some rice in the rice cooker.

But then I go to do it.  And it doesn’t feel right.  I’ve got to add in vegetables, and we have all of these spices – we should really use them.  We should make something that tastes delicious, rather than simply sustaining our need for food, right?

Because if you have the capacity to cook something really good, you want to, yes?  Even if it will eventually translate to dishes & work and most of the productive part of the evening shot.

And somewhere else on the interspace, someone will talk about the Food Network show they’re watching, and someone else will post a photo of the dinner they’re eating, and someone else’s foursquare check-in at XYZ restaurant will pop up your phone and you’ll develop dinner envy.

It’s all become very complicated.

Maybe that’s going a little too far, but I know for my group of peers (actually in several different groups of peers of mine), they talk about food constantly.  Almost everyone I know can cook.  Male or female.  It doesn’t matter.  Whether they are self-described freaks or newlyweds who live as though they’re middle-aged, they all cook.  And so do we.  T-storm is very likely a better cook than I am.

Which makes me feel guilty, and motivates me to make really great food for him – not just that desire to get dinner on the table for my future husband.  It’s guilt not out of obligation, but out of a desire to contribute equally.

And so we always drive ourselves crazy having these elaborate weeknight dinners, or planning for such.  Or thinking about what other great food we can make.  Or we eat these elaborate dinners, rich in fats & cheese & potatoes and then we veg out, or worse yet, follow it up with some netflix’d Twilight Zone or Dexter, and then ice cream.  And it puts the fats on our hips.  This is also where it turns from First World Problem to First World Scourge – we both are genetically predisposed to diabetes and neither of us are as skinny as we once were.

Back to dinner tonight.  What starts out as “put some chicken on the stove, rice in the rice cooker,” becomes this (with whole wheat angel hair boiling in a pot on the side):

 

And because no wine goes wasted in this house, any wine left uncorked for too long (hey man, stuff happens) becomes cooking wine.  Which sometimes gets consumed by unknowing houseguests, anyway.

At least this experiment didn’t use up too many dishes.  And it was tasty, and somewhat healthy.  No cheese allowed.  And we paired it with unsweetened iced tea.

The problem is, that if we don’t have time to use spices & wine & what not, we get lazy and go out to eat, even though we have turkey & veggie burgers in the freezer.  But I ate enough Morningstar burgers & bowls of Easy Mac in college to last me a few lifetimes.  Socioeconomically, we’re damn near being yuppies, and if that’s the case, we can at least eat like them (if not eat them).

We operate under the idea that if you can’t do it exceptionally well, then don’t do it at all.  Which seems not uncommon in our generation, but is not always a very productive way to progress.

More thoughts on this later.

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