complaints, controversies, healthcare, law, modern problems

Well… most of us knew this sad and scary day was coming…

I wasn’t surprised yesterday when I read the news about Roe v. Wade, and how six out of nine Supreme Court Justices voted to overturn the landmark decision that has allowed American women to legally access abortions since 1973. I was about to include the word “safely” in my previous sentence, but decided against it. Because truthfully, accessing abortion in the United States hasn’t been safe in years.

I can remember as far back as the 1990s, hearing and reading about doctors who provided abortions being murdered by gun toting, right wing zealots. I can remember hearing and reading about women having to face throngs of protesters when they visited Planned Parenthood, even if their visit was simply to get gynecological care or treatment for a yeast infection. I’ve read more than a few stories about parents who bravely sought late term abortions of their very much wanted developing fetuses due to a medical catastrophe, only to be confronted by some intrusive asshole holding up a sign and pictures of mutilated fetuses, screaming at them for “murdering” their child.

So many times, the people who presume to tell strangers what reproductive choices are appropriate for their lives have no ideas about how to care for babies that are born to people who aren’t ready to be parents. Their usual stock answer is to put the baby up for adoption… but that conveniently ignores the fact that there are many thousands of older children languishing in foster care, waiting for some pro-life person to give them a home. Those who want to adopt, often prefer to adopt babies… preferably babies that are completely healthy. They also don’t pay any mind to the fact that giving up a baby is very traumatic, and many times, the baby is given up only because of finances.

People who regularly read my blog may know that I like to read advice columns. Recently, I read a post written by a mother whose daughter gave up her baby girl for adoption. Years later, the daughter who “chose life” yearned to have a relationship with her long, lost child. The young woman wanted nothing to do with her birth mother, and this was crushing to her– as well as her mom, who had written for advice. I remember reading the comments left, most of which were pretty shaming toward the birth mom. People wrote things like, “What did she expect?” and “This is what happens when you abandon your baby and give it up for adoption!” and “Birth mom is just going to have to suck it up.” With that kind of judgment from the masses, is it any wonder that so many pregnant folks who don’t want to be pregnant would opt for abortion? At least with an abortion, there’s no wondering… and no one has to know or judge.

People who are against abortion also tend to be against welfare, and they never hesitate to condemn anyone who seeks help when they need it. They are usually against universal healthcare, mandatory leave for new parents, and requiring birth control to be covered by health insurance. Hell, they are also against having to have health insurance! And by God, many of them are just fine with people owning as many weapons as they want to own, no matter how deadly they are.

Then there’s the other side of the abortion spectrum. What about all of the developing embryos that were created by people who dearly want to be parents? Those embryos, which to most of the pro-lifers should be considered full fledged babies, are usually discarded when people have had as many babies as they want to have. But now that states can determine what constitutes personhood, there could be a real issue with procedures such as IVF. I’ve often thought about the many children who have been killed in schools by crazed young men with guns. How many of those children were conceived with help from a reproductive specialist? How many of them represented years of dashed hopes, massive money spent, and dramatic upheavals, only to be gunned down in a classroom? We can’t seem to do anything about the gun nuts, but we can sure as shit force people to gestate, even if it might threaten their well-being… or even their lives.

I saw many people opining about this decision. Most of the people I know are heartbroken, angry, and vowing to vote blue. Some of my friends still have friends who are happy that women are now going to be forced to gestate. A lot of the people who don’t have a problem with the Supreme Court’s decision are men, or women who are beyond their reproductive years. It always makes me cringe when I read a comment from a conservative white man who has no empathy for women. It usually doesn’t take long before they make a comment about women’s “personal responsibility” and birth control. They’re often pretty clueless about how to access birth control and what it takes to get it– and afford it. They don’t ever think about the number of rape and incest cases that never get reported, and assume that people who are pregnant and don’t want to be got that way because they were “irresponsible”. I often see and hear them saying things like, “She made her bed. She needs to lie in it.” Really… they think babies ought to be punishment! Like– if a woman has a baby she isn’t ready to raise, that will teach her to keep her legs closed. Well… isn’t that disgusting?

They never think about the times females are in situations in which they are pressured to have sex. The female might not have wanted sex, but she likes the guy she’s with… and HE wants sex. But he doesn’t want to bother with a condom… or the one he’s had in his wallet for over two years has a tiny hole in it. The types of people who blame women and want to “teach them a lesson” by forcing them to birth never think about that scenario. And if you point out to them that all pregnancies are caused by men, they want to argue about it and slut shame.

And then there are the people who say that this ruling hasn’t made abortion illegal, it’s only put the decision back into domain of the states. That conveniently ignores the fact that there are many states that have had trigger laws on the books for ages, just waiting for Roe v. Wade to be overturned so abortion can be made illegal immediately. And there will be other states that will rush to push through legislation that stops abortion, forcing the women with means to go to other places to get what they need (or want), overloading those states’ or countries’ systems. And the women without means will suffer and possibly even die.

Yesterday, I commented to a man who made a statement about how this decision hadn’t made abortion illegal, and was only shifting the responsibility to the states. A woman responded that those who want abortion can “always go to another state”. As if that’s the easiest thing in the world for a teenager with no money or transportation to do… But then she ended her comment by asking me if I wasn’t glad my mom hadn’t aborted me. I had to laugh at that, and I took great joy in telling her in very blunt terms that no, I AM NOT GLAD my mom didn’t abort me. I explained that if she had aborted me, I would not have been any the wiser. Developing embryos are oblivious. They have no concept of life or death, right or wrong, heaven or hell, or anything else. And if she had aborted me, we both would have been spared significant pain.

I was born in 1972, and abortion wasn’t legal everywhere at that time. Even if it had been legal in Virginia in 1972, I doubt my mom would have had one. My father wouldn’t have wanted her to do that because he was a conservative, white, southern male, and I think he liked the idea of being the father of four. But he wasn’t the one doing most of the work of child raising, and to be frank, my mom was not very good at the job. I had to hear many times about how upset she was about being pregnant with me, how obnoxious I was, and how her friends didn’t want to go anywhere with her because of me. And you know, all of that might have been true… but it’s not the sort of thing any parent should be telling a child. I heard it repeatedly, not just from her, but also from my siblings. In fact, when she’d get annoyed with me, my mom would even say “Where did you come from?!”

I grew up feeling resented and put up with… and although I had most of everything I needed or even wanted, in terms of material goods, I wasn’t cherished much. I have often felt rejected by the people who are responsible for my being here in the first place. It’s not so bad now. I’m 50, and don’t rely on my mom anymore. My dad died 8 years ago. We clashed a lot, and I think he was often ashamed of me. There are worse things that not being born… or even dying. Anyway, whenever someone thinks they’ve burned me by asking if I’m not glad to be here myself, I always delight in telling them “no.” I think babies should be wanted and deeply cherished by their parents. I also think that ideally, babies should be raised by the people who birthed them, because even the best adoptive parents can’t erase the biological connection that children have with their parents. People want to know where they came from; if they didn’t, DNA tests wouldn’t be so wildly popular.

I noticed this morning that my response got a few likes, as well as a comment from the woman who asked me if I was not glad to be born (which I didn’t bother to read). It also got at least one angry reaction. I want to ask the angry reactor if she would have preferred it if I’d lied. People who ask such personal questions of perfect strangers should be prepared to handle the truth. I don’t feel ashamed of myself for feeling the way I do. My life hasn’t amounted to that much, in spite of my best efforts when I was younger. If I died tomorrow, my husband would be devastated… but I don’t have any descendants, and my family of origin mostly feels alienated. I live in country that isn’t really my home, and my home country is becoming a place I don’t recognize anymore. I don’t look forward to the process of dying, but I would be lying if I said that dying wouldn’t probably be a relief. Because it means I no longer have to worry about anything at all… or engage with clueless idiots who don’t understand why people are so very upset about this ruling, and what it will mean for all Americans.

Well… I probably ought to close out this rant… because I suspect some people might not like it very much and may feel the need to “correct my opinions”. And while I think that writers should be brave enough to be truthful and tackle the rough subjects, this feels pretty raw and painful. I’m glad I’m 50 now, and this ruling will have no bearing on me, personally. And I’m also glad I don’t have any children to worry about. The United States is quickly turning into a dystopian hell.

But… on the positive side, at least I’m feeling somewhat better. Second COVID test was also negative. Of course, some people want to insist that it might still be COVID, and I should test again in a week. If I’m still sick, I’ll do that. But this really feels like every cold I’ve ever had… and I have no doubt that colds still exist. I don’t understand why people seem to want me to have COVID. What difference does it make, as long as I get well? It’s not like I ever interact with people, anyway.

ETA: I forgot to add that just yesterday, Germany’s leaders struck Hitler era legislation that forbade physicians from “encouraging” abortions. Doctors were being fined thousands of euros simply for providing factual information about abortion. And it was a brainchild of Hitler and is only just now being stricken from the books. The USA needs to take a lesson from more civilized countries.

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communication, complaints, humor, rants

It’s a messy morning for me…

If you’re squeamish about sickness, you might want to skip the first few paragraphs of this post.

So, I think I brought home a souvenir from Belgium. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent yesterday. I had a sore throat and a runny nose. I was sneezing, too. It all culminated last night. I had been really hungry, because we didn’t have much food in the house after our brief trip. I didn’t have much of a lunch. So when Bill made bacon cheeseburgers for dinner, I was all for it.

Just as I finished my burger, my body erupted into a violent coughing fit that nauseated me. I froze, looking horrified, and Bill asked me what was wrong. I said I felt like I was going to vomit. I got up and made a move toward the bathroom.

I didn’t quite make it to the toilet and, let’s just say, it was quite the Technicolor yawn. I spewed puke all over the bathroom and the rug outside the door. It took some time to clean everything up, because everything got doused– the floor, the toilet, the walls, and any items that were in the strike zone. Since this house doesn’t have closets, that meant a few things got sprayed. Bill had to go to the grocery store to buy more sponges and I had to do a sudden load of laundry.

Then, after I got most all of the surfaces cleaned, I got out my steam mop and started to give the floors a once over to get the last residue from my sickness. In the process of doing that, I scalded the fuck out of my toe. Naturally, that led to a lot cursing and an urge to burst into tears, which I somehow managed to avoid doing.

I would definitely feel better if Bill did this nurse’s routine…

This morning, I woke up after a reasonably decent sleep, but my nose is running and I’m sneezing… This could be my allergies, or it could be a cold. Either way, I don’t feel well. However, I still have my senses of smell and taste, and I don’t feel overly tired or achy. So whatever this is, I’m sure it will pass. I’m still horrified about last night’s vomit fest, though I know it could have been worse. At least I didn’t also have diarrhea. I just have a very sensitive gag reflex and will hurl at the slightest provocation, just like the Maggie Blackamoor on Little Britain.

I relate.

And now that I’ve brought up Little Britain, it’s time to move on to today’s topic… because Little Britain offers a fine segue into what’s on my mind this morning.

A little while ago, I ran across an article in The Atlantic about comedy and comedians. The article, titled “When the Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Joke”, was written by Conor Friedersdorf, is partly about the comedian Dave Chappelle. Mr. Chappelle is no stranger to making jokes that sometimes go over like turds in proverbial punch bowls, as my Aunt Gayle would put it. Personally, I think Chappelle is often funny, but I’m not a super fan of his work. I never saw the Netflix special that got him into hot water, during which he made fun of trans people. Chappelle’s special was pulled from Netflix, and many people were talking about how insensitive and “bullying” he was toward a marginalized group. Some people tried to take it even further, attacking his career, trying to ruin him.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m not a fan of “cancel culture”, especially when it comes to comedians. I may not like every joke I hear, but I am a big proponent of free speech and letting people vote with their wallets and consciences. Also, I like provocative content that makes people think. Sometimes so-called “offensive” humor is thought provoking. Even if a joke is cruel, if it gets people talking, it’s not all bad, in my opinion. Moreover, I enjoy being able to make decisions for myself about what is, and what is not, acceptable humor. I don’t need “help” from the masses.

In his article, Conor Friedersdorf begins by writing about Chappelle, and the performing arts theater at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. Mr. Chappelle is a former student at the school and has donated a lot of money to it, so the theater was going to be named after him. But then Chappelle got into trouble for his jokes about trans people. The renaming ceremony was postponed, and Chappelle eventually told everyone “that for now, the venue will be named the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.”

Friedersdorf wrote that his colleague, David Frum, had attended the event and offered an interpretation of what happened.

In sophisticated comedy, comedians play with the tension between formal and informal beliefs, and Chappelle’s is very sophisticated comedy. The function of humor as a release from the forbidden thought explains why some of the most productive sources of jokes are authoritarian societies, because they forbid so much. In the squares of Moscow today, protesters physically reenact an old Soviet joke, demonstrating with blank signs because “Everybody already knows everything I want to say.” That same function of comedy explains why “woke America” is the target of so much satirical humor today, because so much of wokeness aspires to forbid.

When Chappelle deferred adding his name to the theater of the school to which he’d given so much of himself—not only checks, but return appearances—he was not yielding or apologizing. He was challenging the in-school critics: You don’t understand what I do—not my right to do it, but the reason it matters that I exercise that right. Until you do understand, you cannot have my name. Someday you will understand. You may have it then.

The article continued with Friedersdorf’s thoughts on modern comedy and what the role of a comedian is supposed to be. Comedians make jokes and offer humorous positions on any given topic. The great George Carlin once did a bit called “Rape Can Be Funny”. In it, he talked about how comedians run into backlash over “tasteless” jokes all the time, with people who try to tell them what is or isn’t funny, and what can or can’t be joked about. Back in 1990, Carlin said:

I believe you can joke about anything.

It all depends on how you construct the joke. What the exaggeration is. What the exaggeration is.

Because every joke needs one exaggeration. Every joke needs one thing to be way out of proportion.

Now… I want to state right away that, on many occasions, I’ve heard Carlin’s routine about how rape can be funny. I own a copy of the CD it comes from, and have listened to it enough that I can recite it from memory. Personally, I don’t think “Rape Can Be Funny” is Carlin’s best work. He makes some very tone deaf jokes about rape that, to me, just plain miss the mark. Carlin’s rape jokes aren’t funny to me, though, because he seemed to think rape is about sex and sexual attraction. In my view, rape is about people who want to take power over another person. It doesn’t have to be a man who does it, either. Women are capable of raping men. I know this because it happened to my husband during his first marriage. He trusted his ex wife, and she rewarded him by violently assaulting him when he was not capable of defending himself. I don’t think she did it because she was turned on, or wanting to turn him on. She did it because she wanted to hurt him, and show him who was in control. That had nothing to do with love, sex, or bonding. It was an act of violence and, to me, it was definitely NOT funny.

However– even though I don’t agree with Carlin’s opinions about rape, I will admit that he made a very good point in his routine about how anything can be funny to certain people. The most skillful comics can make the most horrifying topics funny. I think Carlin was one of the best comics ever, but sometimes even he flubbed things. I didn’t find his rape routine that funny, but I appreciated the one pearl of wisdom within it, in which his main point is that comedians should be free to tackle all topics. If we don’t like it, we don’t have to laugh. We don’t have to watch the show or buy the album. That would be a fitting consequence of not being funny. Trying to ruin comedians’ careers over one or two bad or offensive jokes may not be a fitting consequence– especially when a certain community presumes to make that decision for everyone.

This is the best part of the routine, in my opinion. The rest of it, not so much. But it would have been a tragedy if George had been canceled for saying this. Because most of the other stuff he said was genius!

As is my habit, I went to the Facebook comment section, just to see what people thought of Conor Friedersdorf’s article. As usual, plenty of people who didn’t read it were chiming in. There were also some virtue signalers in there– mostly white guys– trying very hard to prove to everyone how sensitive and “woke” they are, by calling Chappelle a “bully”.

First off, I don’t think that merely joking about someone or something makes them a bully. In my mind, the term “bullying” connotes abuse and harassment that includes threats and intimidation, not merely insults or ridicule. When I think of bullies, I think of people who use their positions of power to control or coerce others. Simply joking about a group, tasteless and mean as the joke may be, isn’t really acting like a bully. Now, if Dave was also trying to force trans people to give him money or property, or threatened to beat them up after the show, that would be more like bullying, in my view.

Secondly, the main virtue signaling offender in the comment section was being very insulting himself. Anyone who disagreed with him was labeled an “asshole”, among other derogatory terms. It seems to me that if one believes comedians should be kinder and gentler, one should be the change they want to see. Name calling those who have a differing viewpoint, especially when you’re pushing the view that people should be pressured/forced into being politically correct, is quite hypocritical. Below are just a few comments made by this guy. I thought about pointing it out to him that his habit of name calling isn’t very PC, but decided I’d rather frost my bush than argue with him.

…life would be better people were nicer to each other and didn’t try to fill the empty voids in their miserable lives by punching down at people more vulnerable than themselves. And it’s okay to call people who do that assholes and say you don’t want to be associated with them.

We’re having that conversation, and a lot of it is “wow, Chapelle really seems to be an asshole who delights in saying hurtful things about marginalized people from atom his giant pile of Netflix money”. But the Atlantic doesn’t like that conversation so they’re trying to shut it down. Fuck that.

…you say “that’s not the world we live in” like this is some divinely ordained state. But it’s a choice. Powerful assholes get away with attacking marginalized communities because others choose to accept it (as long as it’s happening to other people). But we could chose not to just brush off this kind of hate. We could be better.

There was one very sensible woman commenting who brought up that if people in the trans community want to be recognized as “mainstream”, they should be “tough enough” to be made fun of on occasion. One can’t ask to be treated like everyone else, and also demand “special” treatment or membership in a protected class. I totally agree with that notion.

I don’t find all attempts at humor successful, and some jokes really are tasteless, offensive, and too close to the bone, in my opinion. But it’s just MY opinion. Other people have different opinions, and personally I prefer having the right to speak freely over being threatened with being canceled if I express the “wrong” thing or have the “wrong” opinion. And to be clear, I don’t consider refusing to attend a show or buy a DVD to be “canceling” someone. Canceling someone is when a person or group tries to shut someone up or punish them by attempting to ruin their lives. That goes too far, in my view. Especially in a society that is supposed to be “free”, allowing freedom of expression and open exchanges of ideas.

ETA: I had to comment to the virtue signaling guy who was insulting everyone with name calling, as he also called for kindness. I wrote:

“Does it not strike you as slightly hypocritical that you keep labeling people ‘assholes’, as you preach about how we should all be more sensitive and kinder to others? Shouldn’t you start by being the change you want to see? Name calling isn’t the best look if you want to convince people that you’re a good person.”

I just had to do it. This guy seems to think that he should be the one who decides what is– and what is not– appropriate humor, and what jokes we should find acceptable. To quote him, I say “fuck that.” I can make up my own mind about what I find funny, and I can also vote with my wallet, and my feet. Moreover, I don’t respect someone demanding that we treat everyone with kindness and decency as he dehumanizes those who disagree with him by calling them “assholes”. He’ll probably come at me hours from now. Hopefully, I’ll be in an antihistamine induced coma by then.

I will hasten to add that I know I use the word “asshole” a lot myself. The difference is, I try really hard not to presume to “set an example”. I try not to tell people what they should be saying, thinking, or finding funny… or, at least I hope I don’t. I definitely don’t think anyone should necessarily look up to me, or value my opinions… I just like to express myself sometimes. I usually confine my expression to this blog, though, because otherwise, I’ll find myself engaged in a dialogue with someone preaching about being kind to the marginalized, as he calls me an “asshole”. Moreover, simply finding a joke funny– even if it’s vulgar, tasteless, or crass– doesn’t equate to “hate”. I can still laugh at Avenue Q or South Park, after all…

I saw this show in England a few years ago, and was crying at the end of it, it was SO good… it was basically about MY life as a Gen Xer! Should I not have found this funny? Some people might think that. Why don’t I get a vote, too?

As someone who loves humor, I don’t want to see comedians being canceled. I want them to be free to come up with jokes on any topic. I’m smart enough to decide for myself if I think something is funny or not, and I can choose for myself if I want to consume what they’re selling. I don’t need guys like the woke dude above, calling Dave Chappelle an “asshole”, as he condemns his comedy for being too “mean” and marginalizing groups that he deems “at risk”. I want everyone to have a vote, and I want them to be allowed to choose for themselves. That’s freedom, to me. And dammit, I love irreverent humor, even if it sometimes hurts.

Now, if I could only free myself from this runny nose, headache, fatigue, and sneezing, I’d be batting 500…

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complaints, rants, social media

Things Americans “know” about my life in Germany…

I got into a brief discussion yesterday with people from my hometown of Gloucester, Virginia. One of my high school classmates posted a picture of what she’d spent at the gas pump. If I recall correctly, it was about $125 or so… and that certainly is a mind blowing figure. While I didn’t expressly state it, I was initially sympathetic. I left the first comment on her photo, which was that [gas prices] have been like that in Europe for years. In fact, they’re even higher here than they are in the United States. I had originally meant the comment to be matter-of-fact, but it kind of blew up a bit.

A funny note someone left at a BP gas station near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, about twelve years ago. It was just after BP’s oil tanker started leaking in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last time I checked, which I will admit wasn’t super recently, gas in Germany was about 2 euros per liter. There are 3.785 liters in a gallon. A quick Googling tells me that gas prices near where I live are still at about 2 euros per liter, thereabouts. My trusty calculator tells me that a gallon of gas near me would cost about 7.57 euros. One euro is currently equivalent to $1.05, so that means a gallon of gas is about $7.96. If you’re driving a honkin’ big truck that holds 20 gallons of gas, it’s going to cost you about $160 to fill up in Germany. But that’s not unusual here. I remember it being very expensive here when we lived here years ago, although it wasn’t that expensive. I think it was the dollar equivalent of about $2.65 per gallon back around 2007 or so, which was still expensive for us spoiled Americans.

A few hours later, a woman from Gloucester whom I’ve never met, left me kind of a snarky comment about how everybody in Europe lives in houses that are the size of a U.S. house’s kitchen. Then she went on a rant about how much Europeans pay in taxes (she claimed 58%) and compared them to socialists. She finished her comment with an orange angry emoji… to which I laugh reacted, because her comment was so full of misconceptions and falsehoods that I was kind of flabbergasted.

The front of my current house in Germany. It’s bigger than a kitchen.

I added another comment. I wrote “I live in Germany, and I assure you that my house is bigger than your kitchen.” Indeed, the home we live in now is on three levels, has three bathrooms, three bedrooms, a large, finished basement with a granny apartment, and a fenced in backyard. There are also two large balconies. The one thing this house doesn’t have, that I wish it did have, is closet space. Most German houses don’t have closets. Our first German house was an exception to that trend. It was built by a man who had worked for IBM and was familiar with US houses.

At that point, another person from Gloucester, but living in Arkansas, left a lengthy, but basically polite comment, explaining that she knew Germans had nice homes, but they don’t have to drive much, because of the public transportation available here. She wrote me a tale of woe about life in rural America, and how the high gas prices are a real hardship. She wrote her comment as if she thought I was from Germany, which struck me as funny.

While it’s true that there’s a lot of public transportation here, not everyone uses it, nor is it necessarily convenient for everyone to use in every area. If the usual traffic on Autobahn 3, which is very near my house, is any indication of how many Europeans are driving, I’d say that lady is a little out of touch with how things are over here in Germany.

I do understand what life in rural America is like. I lived there myself for many years. So I commented, “I’m an American, so I know how it works,” adding a winky smiley. I know… that’s a little snarky, but I have to admit I was a little irritated that this person felt she needed to explain life in the United States to me. Especially since I never indicated that I didn’t have any empathy for Americans having to pay a lot for gas. My initial comment was simply that gas prices have been high in Europe for years, not that my friend needed to “get over it”. But after reading a couple of comments from obvious conservatives who blame Joe Biden for the price of gas, I was starting to feel like my countrymen were whining a bit and could use a perspective adjustment.

Then the first lady came back, still seemingly a little pissy, writing that she doesn’t want to spend $10 a gallon on gas, and she thinks taxes are too high in Europe. I was still left with the impression that she had no idea about what she was writing. So I responded with something along the lines of, “Okay, but you’ve made some comments about life in Europe that are not grounded in reality. Germans do pay a lot of taxes, but they get a lot for the money they pay. Most of the Germans I’ve known live perfectly nice lifestyles. Yes, gas is expensive here, but other things are much less expensive, like healthcare, education, and food. And Germany also isn’t a socialist country.”

I also added that here, one doesn’t have to go to college to have a hope of getting a “good” job. In fairness, people don’t necessarily have to go to college in the United States to get a good job, either, as long as they have a useful talent or skill. However, here, the emphasis is on people being able to find work so they can pay their bills. Young people don’t get saddled with humongous loans that will take the rest of their lives to pay off, and workers have rights. In the USA, it can be very difficult to find work that pays enough, even if one went to college, or even graduate school. And vacation leave is pretty stingy in a lot of jobs. You’re lucky if you get two weeks, unpaid.

I didn’t add that in Germany, new parents get generous paid leave. In fact, they also get generous guaranteed vacation time every year, which allows people the chance to rest, and to recover when they get sick or injured. We pay for energy by the year, and it’s less than we’d spend in the United States. We pay for heating oil every year, so we don’t have to worry about getting an unexpectedly high bill every month. Bill and I don’t pay German taxes for most things, because we have SOFA status. We pay US taxes, which are admittedly lower than German taxes are. But the United States makes every citizen file a tax return and pay taxes, no matter where in the world they are living. Most other countries don’t do that. Granted, if one makes under a certain salary threshold, there is a US tax exemption. Whatever one makes over that figure is taxed.

Then the second woman wrote that she didn’t check my passport before assuming I was German, and apologized. It seemed like a snarky comment, but I chose not to respond in a snarky way. I wrote that I grew up in Gloucester, so I know the pain of commuting long distances in the United States. I also know that a lot of people, some of whom have never lived anywhere but Gloucester, and many of whom have never so much as visited another country, assume that the United States is the best country on Earth. I’m here to tell them that it ain’t necessarily so. Even if they did think Gloucester was the best place ever to live, after having experienced living in many other places, that wouldn’t be every person’s opinion. As my Italian friend Vittorio would say, “Tastes differ.”

At this point in my life, I’ve now lived in several countries. No place was ever perfect, but the other countries I lived in had their pluses and minuses. Even Armenia, which was really developing when I lived there in the 90s, had some aspects of life that I later missed. The beautiful produce at the shukas comes to mind… as well as the fascinating churches, amazing art and music, and interesting cultural traditions. It was also a very CHEAP place to live… much cheaper than the USA or Germany is. I was definitely ready to leave Armenia at the end of my Peace Corps service, but that was mostly because of a situation I was dealing with at the time that could have happened anywhere. I also missed Armenia when I got back to good old Gloucester, where I was stuck living for two years post Peace Corps.

Anyway, when I left my original comment about how expensive gas is, it was to the original poster. It was neither a positive nor a negative comment. I just wrote that gas prices have been high in Europe for years. The other people were the ones who made it negative, and then added a bunch of hooey about life in Germany… something about which they clearly know very little, or next to nothing. I probably should have just rolled my eyes and moved on… people are going to complain, and some will continue to blame the president for something he can’t, and doesn’t, control.

Personally, I would rather pay higher gas costs and know that if I get sick and need to go to a hospital, I won’t go bankrupt. Of course, we could probably use the military hospital in Germany, but I wouldn’t conclude that’s ideal, except that we would be more likely to get decent pain relief. One of Bill’s co-workers, who is American and a retiree, sought care at Landstuhl for his wife, who had colon cancer. The military hospital couldn’t accommodate them in a timely manner, so they called up the local hospital. They got a same day appointment. She went in, and over about a year’s time, they treated her for the cancer. She’s now in remission. When all was said and done, the whole thing cost about $13,000, which was entirely paid for by her health insurance. Try doing that in a US hospital, even with insurance.

The United States truly does have some great things going for it. I do love my country, and I even miss it sometimes. But there’s PLENTY of room for improvement in the United States. And to be honest, high gas prices are not what I would be focusing on right now, when children can’t even go to school without being afraid for their lives. Yes, it sucks to pay a lot for gas, but I’m afraid the days of cheap gas are coming to an end for many people. It’s not just because of the political situation in the United States; this is a global issue. Maybe instead of whining about high gas prices, American people might invest in more fuel efficient vehicles… or push for better and more extensive modes of public transportation. There’s a high price to be paid for living out in bum fucked Egypt, where there is no bus or train system.

But most of all, I wish ignorant, all-knowing people in the United States would stop trying to tell me how life is where I am actually living. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, and it really drives home why so many non-Americans think so many Americans are so insufferable and arrogant. As an American, I didn’t see it so clearly when I lived in the US, but I can see it plain as day now… and folks, as the “orange hero”, Donald Trump, would say– it’s not a good look.

Standard
Biden, complaints, politics, rants, Reality TV, Trump, YouTube

Things are really getting uglier by the day…

Happy Friday, everybody. It’s a sunny, warm day in Germany so far, and I’m looking forward to another nice weekend with Bill. Right now, I’m listening to another video by Katie Joy Paulson, the woman behind the popular YouTube channel, Without A Crystal Ball. I discovered Katie Joy at some point last year, when I got hooked on YouTube videos while Bill was out of town on business. I mostly watch her videos about the Duggars, but every once in awhile, I watch some of her other stuff.

I know a lot of people don’t like Katie Joy. She’s been sued for defamation by a number of people. Nevertheless, she continues to make videos, and there are lots of rumors swirling around about her. I, personally, don’t have much of an opinion about the rumors. I have not been personally involved in any of the controversies about her. I mainly watch her stuff because she includes clips from the old Duggar shows, and God help me, I find the Duggars interesting… in a trainwreck kind of way.

This week, Katie Joy has been talking a lot about Todd and Julie Chrisley. Until this week, I had never even heard of Todd and Julie Chrisley, but I’m now finding myself falling down another rabbit hole. I think I heard their name for the first time last week, but it wasn’t even Katie Joy who uttered it. In fact, I think it was the lady behind Down the Rabbit Hole at Bedtime who first introduced me to this very southern, apparently very wealthy couple from Georgia, who just got convicted of bank fraud and tax evasion. The Chrisleys are currently trending, because both Todd and Julie are very likely going to go to federal prison soon. However, Todd Chrisley also sued Katie Joy for defamation, and according to a video she put out yesterday, Todd Chrisley has a habit of suing people. Katie Joy quoted Mr. Chrisley as saying that he “sues people for sport.” Charming, huh?

The video that introduced me to Chrisley Knows Best. This video is by Down the Rabbit Hole at Bedtime.

Katie Joy says she started talking and writing about the Chrisleys in 2019, when they were indicted by the feds for tax evasion and bank fraud. The couple were accused of falsifying bank documents to illegally qualify for loans, and not filing tax returns. They finally went to trial last month, and they were found guilty. The Chrisleys are facing up to 30 years in prison, although it’s unlikely that they’ll come even close to getting that lengthy of a sentence. Naturally, Katie Joy has reported about these events, even though Todd Chrisley threatened her and did, in fact, sue her. Below are three videos she’s done in the past week about this situation.

Yikes!
Todd Chrisley accused KJ of lying and threatened her…
It’s pretty ugly stuff.

Again, I don’t have a horse in the race myself. I never watched Chrisley Knows Best and, in fact, had never even heard of the show or the Chrisleys until a couple of days ago. However, listening to Todd Chrisley speak, I come away with the idea that he’s kind of a nasty, hateful, and desperate character. He repeatedly says that nobody cares about KJ, but then he sues her, and spends time talking and writing about her. Obviously he DOES care, on some level, and she is a threat to him. If she weren’t threatening, why would he bother seething about her on his podcast? Why would he sue her, especially since he now has no money to pay for lawyers? I listen to him speak, and he practically bubbles over with hatred. I can hear it in his voice, and it’s very unnerving.

Katie Joy didn’t go after Todd Chrisley for “personal” reasons. He’s a public figure, and his case was in the news. She covers those topics. It’s not like she hated him and decided to destroy his life. She covers him because he has a television show and he got busted by the feds. Todd Chrisley, on the other hand, appears to be going after Katie Joy simply because he hates her. He accused her of lying and defaming him, and yet he’s been found guilty and is very likely going to go to prison, along with his wife. So I’m not sure his lawsuit against her is going to be successful.

So why am I writing about this today? I think it’s because Todd Chrisley, and his nasty vendetta against Katie Joy, sort of epitomizes the way I see a lot of Americans lately. People are so incredibly polarized and negative. It’s just really ugly and trashy. It’s like we’ve forgotten how to respect each other as human beings. Listen to the way Chrisley speaks to and about Katie Joy. It’s the way a lot of people are talking to each other now. If you don’t agree with someone’s opinions or politics, that’s reason to dehumanize them and treat them with disdain. It didn’t used to be that way.

This morning, I woke up to a statement posted on Facebook by a woman I’ve known since I was eight years old. We grew up in the same small town in Virginia. She is a very nice person, and while we weren’t necessarily close friends when we were growing up, we now have similar views about politics. We have both abandoned voting for conservatives, mainly because of the complete shitshow the Republican party has turned into in the wake of Donald Trump. My friend, who works as a teacher and truly loves her students, posted this:

Finally got home and turned on the tv. I wish I hadn’t. Footage from Jan. 6 literally makes me sick. Crazy people shouting “USA” while behaving like animals (who should have at the very least have been tear-gassed). Knowing that people are going to again vote for the hate-monger who invoked that behavior and are condoning that behavior makes me even sicker. Unfriend me if you must, but I will forever speak out against traitors and cowards.

One of her friends– someone else from our conservative, southern hometown, wrote this:

I would never unfriend you for differing opinions as long as we understand, I too will also speak against the idiot leadership we have in office as we speak. 

But honestly I won’t have the discussion because you are so far left and I’m on the right so I will just be a friend! Lol 

And my old friend, God bless her, wrote something that really speaks to me, personally:

I’m glad that we can remain friends too. But I’m actually not far left. I don’t like Dems either and I’m not a party line person. I would NEVER condone or continue to support anyone who engaged in or incited such anti-American acts.

Bravo! I wouldn’t go so far as to say “I don’t like Dems”. The fact is, I do like a few Dems. However, there was a time, not so long ago, when I liked conservatives much more than I do now. I consider myself a Centrist. There are a lot of policies and ideas championed by the “left” that I don’t agree with at all. I don’t like cancel culture. I don’t like having “wokeness” crammed down my throat. I don’t want to be forced to wear a face mask for the rest of my life. And, while I do think COVID vaccines are a good idea, I am not in favor of forcing people to be vaccinated, unless there is a very compelling reason to do so. Like, I do think healthcare workers should be vaccinated. I do think that people who are dealing with vulnerable people should get their shots. But I hesitate to advocate for forced vaccinations– just as I don’t think anyone should be forced to stay pregnant.

But, as we all know, there are currently only two political parties in the United States that have a chance in hell of getting elected. Yes, other parties DO exist, but they can’t win an election at this point in time. So, my option is to vote Democrat, or vote for people who promote the likes of Donald Trump, who raped his ex wife, brags about molesting women, has been bankrupt repeatedly, and, when he was in office, egged on a segment of our society who tried to overthrow our government! It is also the party Josh Duggar prefers, and I don’t even need to discuss the likes of Kandiss Taylor, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mitch McConnell, and Lauren Boebert, do I? No, I don’t align with any of those people, and high gas prices don’t enrage me, because Europeans have been paying high gas prices for plenty of years. It’s nothing new here. Americans have been spoiled.

I am not a big fan of Joe Biden. BUT– while he’s not the most dynamic or amazing leader we have ever had, he’s leagues better than Trump is. Joe Biden is not a narcissist, and he does care, on some level, about people. Donald Trump is an absolutely vile person, and he has no business being in a position of political power. I can’t fathom how decent people can champion a man like Donald Trump for president. What will it take before people see how absolutely awful he is? There’s so much proof of how selfish, corrupt, and “above the law” he is. He’s also extremely incompetent, even as a business person. I think countries should be led by human beings who CARE about the people they lead. Donald Trump doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Unfortunately, Trump has emboldened a lot of freaks, and our political system has become a huge embarrassing free for all.

It blows my mind that abortion– which really is necessary medical care for some people— is now potentially going to be illegal in many parts of the United States. At the same time, people are screaming about the prospect of gun control. How is it that so many people are horrified by an early abortion, but they are not equally horrified by an already born six year old being obliterated by an AR-15 in a classroom? How is it that we have ignorant MEN who want to force ALL pregnant women to stay pregnant, even if they are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, which will KILL them, if it continues? I thought we settled this shit a few years ago, when the moronic MALE Ohio Republican wanted to compel doctors to “reimplant” ectopic pregnancies. Remember John Becker, who famously said of treating ectopic pregnancies:

“Part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and re-inserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill,”

Seriously!!!!

That fucking idiot doesn’t even know that ectopic pregnancies CANNOT ever be salvaged, and are often FATAL to the pregnant person if they aren’t treated with ABORTION. And yet, there he was, trying to make stupid laws about pregnancy, something about which he obviously knows NOTHING. And WHY should a woman who needs that kind of lifesaving treatment, have to explain or justify it to ANYONE? No, I don’t cheer for abortions, nor have I ever had one, and nor would I necessarily want one. But it’s not my business why someone doesn’t want to be pregnant or needs to have an abortion. It’s not my body, my finances, or my health on the line. And it’s certainly not the business of a MAN who will not ever face a situation like that, either. Why are these fucking men allowed to make laws about things they don’t know anything about?

Mama Doctor Jones speaks about ectopic pregnancies. She got the below comment from someone who clearly has no idea what they’re talking about…
Mama Doctor Jones is an actual physician! She knows of what she speaks.

It seems that abortion, guns, and gas prices are the only things most Republicans care about… Oh, and banning “illegals”… How disgusting and dehumanizing is it that these “God fearing folks” refer to other human beings as “illegals”? How would they like it if the United States suddenly became so dangerous or inhospitable that they wanted to leave for safer territory, and they were called ILLEGALS by other human beings? Actually, I kind of understand how some so-called “illegals” must feel, as I live in Germany. We are here in Germany legally, but right now, I feel like a refugee from my country. I watch from afar and feel very apprehensive about going home again, because it just seems like such a dangerous, polarized, unhinged place full of maniacs.

Living in Europe has forever changed me, and it’s changed my political views. That being said, I don’t hate all Republicans. I have many friends and family members who are Republicans… sadly, quite a few of my family members don’t speak to me anymore, all because of politics. So… I guess I don’t have a reason to go home. They don’t care, anyway. Fortunately, most Germans seem to have a more mature, humane, and magnanimous attitude about all humans, although of course there’s racism here, too. But at least here, I don’t worry about being shot when I go to the market or walk my dogs.

Anyway… I hope things get better at some point before I finally pass out of this hellhole we call Life. It’s gotten really bad, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’m just so sad to see how people seem to hate each other, simply because they have differing opinions. I thank God for Bill, because I think if it weren’t for him, I would be back in a full on depressive episode. I wish we could all come together and cooperate to make life better for EVERYONE.

Standard
complaints, condescending twatbags, rants, sex, sexism, slut shamers

Pro-life men and fat shaming men have things in common…

This morning, I got a private message from someone who read my recent rant about pro-life men who make me want to hurl. I was surprised to get that message. As of this morning, that particular rant only has four views. However, it does have two likes, which is somewhat unusual for my blog. My posts, by and large, don’t get “likes” very often. 😉

The person who wrote to me indicated that she felt my post was “poignant”. I thought that was an interesting observation. Maybe it does seem poignant, though, that a middle-aged woman who has always had the right to choose would be so disgusted by men with “pro-life” attitudes. Very soon, the risk of pregnancy for me, personally, will no longer exist at all. So, if Roe v. Wade does get overturned, it won’t matter too much for me, at least not in terms of whether or not I would be forced to bear children. If the United States turned into an actual Gilead, as depicted in Margaret Atwood’s book, The Handmaid’s Tale, I would either be a wife or a “Martha”. Or maybe I’d just be a “working stiff” who wears grey. The bottom line is, my actual purpose– according to some men– will soon cease to exist. But, you know, even when I was still young, a lot of men didn’t think I was fulfilling my “purpose”. They probably felt like a vagina was wasted on me.

As I was reposting the two book reviews I added this morning, I watched the latest episode of Fundie Fridays on YouTube. The host, Jen, had a guest named Mickey Atkins on the show. Mickey is a social worker, like I would have been if I hadn’t become an “overeducated housewife”. The two of them were discussing Lori Alexander, aka “The Transformed Wife”. Lori Alexander, for those who don’t know, is a very controversial figure on social media. She believes that women’s sole purposes for being is to make babies and be housewives. I don’t generally pay a lot of attention to Lori’s posts, because I disagree with almost everything she says or writes, and I generally don’t think it’s productive to pay attention to her dumb comments. However, sometimes, when she says or writes something that is especially offensive, I will take note of it. I do casually follow Fundie Fridays, as well. I don’t watch it every week, but I do watch often enough. So, even though I think The Transformed Wife shouldn’t have a platform, I decided to listen to Jen and Mickey talk about her this morning as I multi-tasked.

This is yet another great video by Jen and James, and guest star, Mickey Atkins.

Listening to this video led me to look up things I have written about Lori Alexander. In the process of doing that, I ran across some old posts on my original blog about related subjects. It occurred to me, as I was reading, that men who “concern troll, and “fat shame” women, are a whole lot like the pro-life men who make me want to hurl. They REALLY have a lot in common. And, I also realized, that whether or not they know it, a lot of pro-life men and fat shaming men are probably motivated by the same thing… the desire to have sex with, and ultimately control, women. I think a lot of men are, deep down, offended by women who don’t do what society expects of them.

A lot of men think it’s a woman’s duty to be pretty, friendly, agreeable, and sweet. They think it’s her role to be willing to have sex with them– and only them. She is to turn them on and, when she gets pregnant, be willing to have their babies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the man will feel like he needs to stick around and help raise the babies. It’s only that to be “good”, a woman is to be attractive and appealing. A smart woman with an opinion– especially if he doesn’t think she’s attractive– is offensive to a lot of men. And women who get pregnant, and then decide to reject the pregnancy, are repulsive to certain men.

Notice that I specified “certain men”. Not all men are like this. My husband, Bill, is not like this at all. He’s a kind, supportive, loving man who doesn’t mind that I’m overweight, opinionated, and often unlikable to other people. Bill loves me for who I am, not what I look like, and not just for my sex parts. I realize that I am extremely lucky, too. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I did. My husband is an absolute gem.

But I know from my past life, and even incidences from my current life, that not all women are nearly as lucky as I have been. Every once in awhile, I run into a guy who seems determined to remind me of what they think should be my place. I see them do it to other women, too. They firmly believe that women are here to entertain them, satisfy them, attract them, and serve them. They aren’t here to be someone in and of themselves.

So how did I come to this conclusion? It started with a post I wrote on my original blog about a group called “Overweight Haters, Ltd.” Back in 2015, a woman named Kara Florish was riding on The Tube in London when a middle-aged male stranger placed a business card on her lap.

The man quickly got off at the next stop and disappeared in the crowd, leaving Kara sitting there, stunned. Kara posted on Twitter, commenting:

“I am not upset myself. I am smaller than the national average and not exactly obese, but this is hateful and cowardly and could potentially upset people struggling with confidence and eating disorders. Please tweet and share this if you are also outraged. Plus – to the person who wrote this card, go back to school, you can’t spell ‘beautiful’.”

I didn’t actually write about this incident until several years later. Florish wasn’t the only one who got a card from this vile group. In another article from The Guardian from 2015, it was reported that another commuter, a man named Sean Thomas Knox, witnessed a woman getting one of the cards. According to the article:

“Young man just got on train at Oxford Circus, gave printed card saying YOU’RE FAT to overweight girl. He jumped off. She read it, [and] cried.

“Am 99.9% sure this wasn’t staged. She didn’t even realise I was watching at first. Her stunned, desolate reaction was very real. Then tears.”

Knox described the man who handed over the card as a “hipster.. smartly, trendily dressed” with a beard. “Perhaps it was a piece of conceptual art,” he tweeted 

“It lasted a few seconds, but the card in that photo [Florish’s] is the same card I saw, in the girl’s hand. And her shock was real.”

I’ve seen a lot of comments fat shaming men leave for women online, too. They often couch their opinions as “concern” for women’s health. But, when it really comes down to it, I think men are less concerned about health as they are their own sex drives. A lot of them seem to think it’s a woman’s duty to be pretty for them, so they will want to have sex with them. And then, once they have sex, if the woman gets pregnant, she should want to have the baby. To not have the baby is to reject the man. A lot of pro-life men simply can’t deal with that kind of rejection. It’s a terrible assault on their egos. Notice, too, that a lot of pro-life men– especially those who are religious– also pressure women to be pleasing to them and pretty, but not sexy or, heaven forbid, slutty. Slutty women end up as handmaids, you know… or they work at Jezebel’s. 😉

Think I’m way off base on this? Consider something that happened to me back in February 2018. I read an article about a woman who had given birth to a baby girl she named Parker. The woman then left the newborn infant outside in the cold. Parker later died. Her mother was arrested and charged with murder, which was eventually reduced to a conviction of manslaughter.  She was sentenced to nine years in prison.

For some reason, a man decided that the comment section was a good place to rail against abortion, even though this story had NOTHING to do with abortion. He pointed out that had the mom aborted Parker, people would be applauding her choice. A lot of women responded to him, including yours truly. I dared to tell him that I didn’t think men really needed to chime in on this issue, since it’s never their lives or health on the line when someone gets pregnant. A few days later, I got a private message from someone who was looking for advice on apartments in Alsace. After I responded to the PM, I noticed I had another one from a “stranger” named Jason. Jason wrote this to me:

For some reason, a lot of men think the worst thing a woman can be is “fat”. So they add that to the word, “cunt”, to be as insulting as they can possibly be…

Interesting that Jason, who is presumably “pro-life”, doesn’t realize that I used to be someone’s developing fetus. And yet, he felt the need to invite me to commit suicide. Sadly, when I complained about this to Facebook, they said there was “nothing they could do about it.” However, I’ve been “on restriction” all month for writing a comment that referred to “dumb Americans”. Go figure.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that I enjoy being referred to as a “cunt”. It’s not a nice word. And no, I don’t like it when people call me “fat”, because I know that’s basically akin to “ugly” in some people’s opinions. Nobody likes to be insulted. On the other hand, I am already married to a wonderful guy who doesn’t think I’m a “fat cunt”, and would be devastated if I died. But this comment did make me realize that Jason must be very, very frustrated by women who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, and would happily deny them, both access to their cunts, and respect for their views. You see, my guess is that Jason isn’t gay. He probably really enjoys having sex with women. And a lot of women have probably denied him sex. At the same time, he’s presumably here because some woman had sex and got pregnant. He probably passed through his mother’s “cunt” when he was born. So he actually owes everything to a cunt, doesn’t he? But he thinks that as a man, he should have power over women. A woman who tells him to STFU is very threatening and offensive. So he calls me a vile word and advises me to kill myself. Makes a lot of sense, right?

As a woman, I have been sexually harassed by men, even though I don’t think I’m conventionally “beautiful”. It started on the playground when I was a little girl, when little boys would try to make me give them some “sugar” (I grew up in the South in the early 80s, and that was a euphemism for kissing). It continued as I got older, when bigger boys would grab me and try to touch me or kiss me, and when the neighborhood pervert, who referred to himself as “The Home of the Whopper”, showed me pornography. Then, it continued when boys would make comments about my body– negative or positive– or try to humiliate me with cruel jokes and pranks. In college, I remember meeting a guy at a party, and within a couple of hours, he was trying to stick his tongue down my throat. I was shocked and horrified, and I asked him to stop. He then proceeded to treat me like I had given him blue balls or something.

I got harassed when I lived in Armenia by men who exposed themselves to me. It happened three times that I can remember. I was lucky. I knew a woman who was harassed and violently assaulted. She had to go into the hospital. On a trip to Turkey, a man felt my legs as I tried on shoes that I desperately needed. Another man grabbed my breast when I was trying to find a bathroom. Not two hours later, when I was changing clothes, a different man came into the dressing room, called me “sexy”, and asked me to come with him. The female friend who was traveling with me was also harassed, although she wore men’s shoes and had shaved her head. The trip, which was mostly amazing, culminated when we got stuck on the border with Georgia and the customs manager propositioned me. And no, I wasn’t looking sexy. I had on shorts, a t-shirt, and wore no makeup. He still wanted to have sex with me… and, of course, that was ALL he wanted. He thought I would give it to him, because I’m an American woman, and women from the USA are supposedly “loose”. I was a virgin at the time.

A couple of years later, when I was back in the States, I worked at a country club. One of the members, a guy named J.J., was notorious for hitting on all of the women who worked at the club. It didn’t matter if the female he was targeting was a minor who was still in high school, or if it was the matronly dining room manager who was in her 60s. None of us were spared his attentions. One day, he followed me into the linen closet, which unfortunately was in the men’s locker room. Thinking the locker room was empty, I had gone in there to get tablecloths and napkins. He cornered me, and tried to paw at my breasts and kiss me. It was absolutely appalling, and yes, I said “No”.

And… I have also been fat shamed by men. It started with comments from my father, who would tell me that no man would find me attractive (he also didn’t like my outspoken personality and vulgar language). He would touch me and tell me I had “fat” I needed to lose. Sometimes, he called me names, like “hog”, or referred to me as “retarded”. As I got older, some men would body shame me. It happened a lot in Armenia. I would get stopped by strangers on the street trying to sell me Herbalife, or they would flat out tell me I was “fat”. But it also happened in the United States, or on vacations. Regular readers of my blog might remember when I wrote about the man on SeaDream I who was surprised by my pretty singing voice and said to Bill, “Now I can see why you’d love her.” He made similarly disgusting comments about women, revealing the attitude that he felt like it was a woman’s duty to be beautiful and available to him. And if she wasn’t those things, he could call her a “fat cow” (he literally referred to his late wife in this way– she had just died of breast cancer).

Some men, especially in the military community, are very offended by smart, opinionated women, especially if they’re considered “fat” or not pretty enough. I’ve gotten tons of shit over the name of this blog by men in the military community, as well as some rather clueless women. One time, a military man commented on a blog post I wrote that was shared on Facebook. He wrote, “Ugh. I hope she at least has children.” WTF, guy? I responded that I didn’t have children, and I would be very happy to tell him why I didn’t, if he really wanted to know the gory details.

Frankly, I think it’s probably a burden to be really attractive to men. I remember another incident, back when I was in my late 20s and thinner and prettier than I am now. I was at a bar, and one of my co-workers, who was slim and pretty, was dancing to music. We were friends, but hadn’t come to the bar together. A guy tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to look at him, and he asked me if my co-worker was with anyone. Obviously, he’d spotted her and wanted to meet her, presumably because she was very attractive. But instead of asking her, he approached me, the less threatening “fat friend”. I think I told him that we hadn’t come together and if he wanted to talk to her, he should man up and talk to her. I’m not her “fat friend”, there to help some guy score.

Lori Alexander, who thinks that women need to stay home and pump out babies for their husbands, also fat shames women. She says that it’s a woman’s duty to be pleasing to her man. And if her man thinks she’s too fat, she needs to do something about it. And she needs to let him have sex with her, no matter what… even if it happens while she’s trying to sleep or isn’t feeling well. In that sense, I guess she’s in agreement with famously pro-life mom, Michelle Duggar, who told her daughter, Jill, to be “joyfully available” to her new husband, Derick. The year after the public heard about this advice, the news came out that Jill was one of four of the Duggar daughters who were molested by their eldest brother, Josh. We all know where Josh is right now. Mr. “Pro-Life” father of seven is currently sitting in a jail cell, awaiting sentencing for receiving and possessing images of child sexual abuse… and some of the female children being abused were in diapers!

Josh wanted to save developing fetuses, but he didn’t mind looking at those same, precious babies being abused for his own sexual gratification.

So yeah… I think guys who would like to deny women the right to bodily autonomy are, by and large, not interested in protecting babies. A lot of those guys wouldn’t bother to stick around if a woman got pregnant out of wedlock, and they certainly don’t want more of their paychecks going to providing social welfare safety nets. These guys– Josh Duggar especially– use women for their own gratification and then condemn them as “sluts”. They are repulsed by women they see as sloppy and out of control, whether the lack of control is regarding food or sex. And so, if you pay close attention, you see that a lot of fat shamers and pro-life males respond to women in very similar ways. They have a LOT in common!

I think, deep down, most of these pro-life, hyper-religious, fat shaming guys are obsessed with sex, and controlling women. They hate that a woman has the power to do something they can’t do, and a lot of them are offended when a woman has the nerve to have a vagina, but doesn’t do enough to be attractive. Or, worse, she’s attractive, but denies him access to her vagina. Or she gives him access, but then doesn’t want to accept the grand gift of his sperm, which created a developing fetus. Remember… the vast majority of us owe our lives to a woman and her vagina.

I’ll leave you with one last anecdote. A couple of days ago, I read a Facebook post about the 1987 film, Dirty Dancing, which was released when I was 15 years old. A lot of people forget that the reason why “Baby” has to learn to “dirty dance” is because Johnny Castle’s partner got “knocked up” by Robby, the asshole waiter. She had an illegal abortion, which made her very sick. The poster pointed out that the film was a reminder of what could be at stake if women in the United States lose access to abortion. One commented wrote this:

What is the script was flipped? What if Robby was a loving caring father that wanted the baby, but Penny knew that if she had the baby, her life would change, and she didn’t want that? Robby would have no legal say in it, and would be forced to see his child killed. Not all guys are douchebags. And not all women are angels. If a person, male or female, doesn’t think they can handle being a parent, then don’t take the risk of it happening.

Naturally, I had to respond. I didn’t even address the fact that this dude used the term “douchebag”, which is, in and of itself, a very offensive and sexist pejorative. Who uses douchebags? It’s not men who use them; it’s women. And, in fact, we aren’t repelled by “douchebags” so much as what comes from using them– the residual nasty smelling stuff from a woman’s private area. It’s the “waste” that is repellant. Personally, I consider the term “douchebag” to be akin to calling a woman a “cunt”, but since that was the term the guy used, I went with it in my response to this hypothetical “loving, caring father” who would be “crushed” that his child would be killed by heartless Penny.

If you don’t understand that it wouldn’t be Robby’s health or life on the line, and you think another person should be compelled to stay pregnant for someone else’s sake, then yes, you ARE a “douchebag” (not that I would use that term). Guys who want to be fathers should find women who want to have babies with them.

It’s as simple as that, folks.

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