love, Memes, silliness

Being a “vulgar” woman…

A few days ago, my friend Alex shared with me a post he found on the God page. It was about people taking some guy on Twitter, named Eric, to task for posting this…

For some reason, Alex thought of me when he saw this…

Not that I think Alex is offended by vulgarity… it’s just that he thought I’d appreciate people slamming this Eric guy for being such a judgmental asswipe. And, I would imagine Alex also identifies me as a “vulgar woman”. It’s true, I like to cuss. It’s something I’m really good at, despite my parents’ efforts to quash it. My dad, in particular, didn’t like cursing. I rarely heard him say anything stronger than “hell” or “damn”, despite his almost 22 years as an Air Force officer. My dad flew on missions in Vietnam that very likely resulted in people’s deaths, but God forbid if I ever said the word “fuck” in front of him (and I did on more than one occasion). He wouldn’t hesitate to knock me upside the head for that.

I remember often getting in trouble for having a potty mouth when I was growing up. I also remember being hired to work at a Presbyterian church camp and actually worrying about my vulgarity getting me into trouble. Little did I know that my boss was going to be a hilarious Scotsman who also cusses… even though he eventually became a minister and performed my wedding. Of course, now he’s left the ministry and converted to Catholicism.

Bill doesn’t cuss as much as I do, but he seems to enjoy my foul mouth. He likes it when I randomly burst into song, making up little ditties about dicks, vaginas, asses, and unusual sex positions. I always ask him what he sees in me whenever I fall down the rabbit hole of made up silly songs. He laughs and says he admires my ability to come up with weird shit on the fly. He appreciates my ability to let things fly… I think he kind of enjoys a vicarious satisfaction from it, because he’d like to be more that way himself, but is too buttoned up to let it all hang out. That’s probably also why he’s employed and I’m not. 😉

I’ll bet this guy is a barrel of laughs at parties.

Anyway, when Alex tagged me in that post, I laughed and typed “moi?” But I know why Alex thought of me. For some reason, a lot of my friends, especially the guys, have noticed that I’m kind of a vulgar woman. It used to bother me. Actually, it used to hurt my feelings when some dude would get disgusted and ask me if I “kiss my mother with that mouth.” Actually, yes, I have kissed her with “that mouth”. Why do people get so hung up on curse words? They’re only words! Another guy said I have a “potty mouth”. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to kiss my potty mouth… but the funny thing is, I actually find open mouth kissing rather disgusting, anyway. I’d be fine with never having some guy’s tongue in my mouth ever again. Yuck! I’ve actually never kissed Bill like that in almost 19 years of marriage.

Truth.

Personally, I prefer raw language to raw brutality. I think it’s healthier to “use my words” than use my fists. But I will acknowledge that language can be hurtful… People can use words to abuse others. But a lot of times, it’s all in good fun.

I wonder why Eric is so offended by the word “vagina”? There’s nothing wrong with that word. It’s the name of a body part. What would he have gynecologists do? Especially if they’re female? He probably objects to women being doctors, though… It sounds like he’d prefer a trophy wife who stays silent, gazes adoringly at him, and has no spirit or spunk… except maybe the spunk he shoots in her mouth. Yep… I would not be surprised if he was that type of guy– the Josh Duggars of the world– who preach about family values and decency, then behind closed doors, abuse women and children and treat them like objects.

I was gratified by my friend Andrew’s comment. His response was,

Jenny – please don’t ever change. Those who need to change are the ones who mistake a vibrantly expressive personality for vulgarity or vice.

Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate that very much. The older I get, the happier I am when I find people who appreciate me just the way I am.

I have just checked out Eric’s Twitter account. It’s very interesting. He’s supposedly in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but it also says he’s in Kenya. And his email address is a Kenyan account. In that case, I guess I can understand the misogyny and judgment. Not all of his advice is bad, either. But then he resorts to calling women “sluts”. That’s a shame. Also, he doesn’t like women who get angry and “throw tantrums”. I can only shake my head at some of this stuff. And, I suppose I would tell Eric what I tell everyone who doesn’t like me… he can go fuck himself. He’d probably enjoy it more. I’ll just keep being a “vulgar woman” and shocking people with my “loose morals”. Actually, I’m a pretty moral person who is the very opposite of a so-called “slut”. I just cuss like a sailor. I also drink like one.

Somehow, I managed to find a really nice husband as well as quite a few good male friends who appreciate my vulgar language and potty humor. So Eric and his ilk wouldn’t like me. So Eric and his ilk prefer a quiet, obedient, sober woman. I prefer guys who like a woman who’s a little crazy– a little, mind you. I am crazy in the fun ways, not in the destructive ways. I probably drink too much beer and wine. In fact, I know I do. But at least I’m not a smoker or a slut… or a thot– whatever the fuck that is. Actually, I just looked it up. A thot is a woman who has many casual sexual relationships. That’s definitely not me. Apparently, it stands for “that ho over there.”

At least she’s not cooking wienies.

There’s all kinds of commentary about this phenomenon on the Internet. Quite a lot of people are offended by “feminism” and the idea that women might like to make their own decisions. And the idea that she might curse who use indecent finger gestures is abhorrent to these folks. Tragically, some women agree with the men who have a problem with mouthy women… and they end up married to guys like Josh Duggar, pregnant and facing many years alone. Today’s women really need to learn how to say “fuck you”. They need to learn to be strong for themselves and their own survival. In fact, I think that’s truer now than it’s ever been.

Nah… I think this is a lie we don’t believe anymore.
Okay, Boomer.

I know my dad preferred the women in his life to be more ladylike. I probably wouldn’t have turned out that way, even if I weren’t rebelling against his authoritarian parenting style. I’m just not a prissy type. I don’t think growing up fundie would have caused me to be that way, either. It would have been an uphill battle. I think the men in the independent Baptist circles would be revolted by me. But that’s not a bad thing. Who wants to wind up married to some dickhead in the Baptist church who acts like a reprobate? I look at Anna Duggar. She ain’t married to a prize. Below is a post that came from the Duggar Family News snark group. The top part was on Reddit… the bottom part appears to be satire.

If being “dainty” and ladylike scores me this lifestyle, you can count me out.

I, on the other hand, am not very ladylike, but I have a husband who adores me for who I am… he cooks for me, takes me on dates, and cherishes me. He listens to what I say… he listens to me sing and doesn’t mind my laugh… and he doesn’t try to break my spirit by criticizing me for being who I am. Some men like “vulgar women”. I’ve found that the BEST men appreciate women who are a little earthy and weird. I think a man who tries to squash a woman’s true self is one I’d like to avoid. I don’t think Eric would like me at all… but that’s okay. I don’t like him, either. And he really should go fuck himself. It would be more likely to be sex with someone he loves.

Sing it, Lyle.

At my age, I figure I’m never going to change into a lady with a clean vocabulary. If I did, it wouldn’t be me. I pride myself on being authentic, even if it offends some people. As Bill’s ex says, “I can’t help how they feel.” I do try not to be offensive. Sometimes, I fail. But I think if the worst thing someone can say about me is that I’m outspoken and vulgar, I’m doing okay. At least I don’t plot violent crimes against Bill when he sleeps, right? Ex did… despite her cleaner language and “churchy” visage. No thanks. It’s not for me. I’ll keep cussing and drinking wine until it doesn’t work for me anymore. As Sinead O’Connor says, “How About I Be Me, (and You Be You)”. Good advice. Words to live by. Sinead is wiser than people know.

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Memes, social media

Social Media Evangelists…

I’m in a writing mood today. I have a couple of topics in mind, neither of which are particularly fun subjects. Nevertheless, both are on my mind, and since I don’t have a shrink anymore, I’m going to spill my guts. So here goes…

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of “preachers” on social media. Some people can’t help themselves. They like to get up on their soap boxes and spread their messages. Sometimes the messages are useful, reasonable, and sensible. Sometimes, they’re the same thing over and over again, which is irritating, even if the message makes sense. Many times, the messages are sanctimonious in nature, and more likely to piss people off than get them to change their behaviors.

I realize that in writing a blog, often with subjects about my own pet peeves, I kind of do the same thing. I mostly try to limit my preaching to the blog. That way, people can choose whether or not they want to read it. I think this technique also works better for me because a lot of times, what I want to communicate won’t fit on a pithy meme. Most of the time, people who take the time to read a blog post are already in agreement with me, but sometimes they’re not. That’s okay, of course, as long as the discussion is respectful. Most of the time, at least on my blog, it is. On Facebook, however, the comments can get pretty shitty in a hurry.

I remember before Facebook became a part of my life, way back in August 2008, I wasn’t constantly bombarded by preachy messages from my friends. Somehow, I was blissfully unaware of how much other people were watching everything their neighbors do and coming up with cute memes with which to shame and criticize them. Every day, there’s something out there from someone– a mini lecture on how we should all be living our lives boiled down to the fun “meme-size” that doesn’t quite encompass all of the facts of a situation.

Until COVID-19 struck, the most common “social media evangelism” was often about children. I’d see posts about pregnant women who drink booze and how absolutely wrong that is under all circumstances. Or– guaranteed– if someone posted a picture of a child in a car, there would be at least half a dozen critiques on if or how the child was strapped into a carseat. It seems like everyone is an expert on every subject, and everyone feels entitled to share their opinions as if they were facts or judge other people for their personal choices, even though they rarely have the whole story.

This has been floating around Facebook recently. I cringe every time I see it. Snopes agrees with me, too. It sounds good and seems reasonable, but the truth is, the efficacy of face masks against the spread of COVID-19 is currently unknown. A lot probably has to do with the quality of the masks being worn, the behavior and hygiene of the wearer and the other person, and plain old luck.

Right now, the hottest subject for social media preaching is the wearing of face masks. Face mask donning is currently a controversial subject. Over the past few weeks, the official advice has rapidly gone from not wearing them unless you’re sick or working with sick people, to maybe wearing them, to everybody MUST wear them (although there are some exceptions and a lot depends on the country). I have been watching this progression with interest, especially since public health is a pet subject of mine. I spent a couple of years studying it in graduate school and used to work as a technical writer in the field of epidemiology.

As of Monday of this week, face masks became mandatory in Germany if you’re in an area where “social distancing” isn’t possible. The rules and consequences of not obeying the new face mask rules vary depending on the state. At this point, Bavaria, which has been hardest hit by the virus, is the strictest about the face masks. Berlin’s rules are comparatively lax in comparison.

I’m just gonna say it. I find the prospect of being forced to wear a face mask depressing and oppressive. They kind of remind me of gags. I know they’re not gags, but they look like them, and I hate the idea that people will be expected to wear them from now on– for an indefinite length of time. The masks obscure people’s faces and make communication more challenging and, for some reason, that makes me feel anxious and depressed. They’re hot, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and make breathing more difficult, although I’ll admit that breathing is surely easier when wearing a mask than when one is sick with COVID-19. It bugs me that face masks have now become a “fashion accessory”, especially when a lot of them are just that, and offer little in the way of real protection from germs.

Look at this flimsy piece of shit. I assume it would be acceptable to shop in this, but the idea of going through the summer wearing this on my face when it’s 90 degrees out isn’t very pleasant.

I hate the idea of having to sit on a long haul flight while wearing a face mask, especially when I know that airplanes are filthy and have been for years. Flights are already uncomfortable and unpleasant enough without adding face masks and flight attendants in PPE suits to the mix. It’s also pretty much impossible to do things like eat or drink while wearing a mask. Since those are things I like to do when I’m in public and with other people, that pretty much means I’m going to just stay home, and that is a depressing prospect for me.

No matter how many times my well meaning friends share pictures and diagrams of how the viruses might be stopped by masks, I know that viruses are unbelievably tiny and can stay airborne for at least a couple of hours. And if you have fogged up glasses and the sides of your mask are gaping, that means that something is getting out from behind it– something tiny and airborne. The masks will probably stop large balls of spittle and mucus that have viruses attached to them, but they certainly don’t stop everything. Given that so many of the masks are homemade, there’s a wide variety of materials being used to make them by people of varying skill, and they are of varying efficacy in stopping the spread of germs. Maybe the masks are better than nothing; but then again, maybe they’re not. Especially if people aren’t laundering them properly or trying to avoid touching them while they’re wearing them.

I have a friend who crocheted her mask, which left the face covering with sizable holes in it. When one of her other friends asked her if she planned to put a lining in the mask, she said her intention was simply to comply with the law of wearing a face covering in public. This friend is a scientist and, like me, has her doubts that the masks are much more than a measure to comfort the masses and make it look like something is being done to stop the spread of the disease. I saw her get into an argument with a face mask “Nazi”, who was adamant that the coverings were/are absolutely essential in all cases and must be mandatory (for how long?). It reminded me a lot of the arguments I’ve seen among “friends” on Facebook, lecturing others about whether or not someone else’s child should be wearing a jacket outside, or whether or not someone was disabled enough to use a handicapped parking space, even if the person had a legitimate placard and a hidden medical condition that was no one else’s business.

I have noticed that some people feel quite fine in lecturing the masses about wearing face masks, the same way they might lecture a mother about how to strap her child into a carseat or whether or not she should allow her child to be alone outside. I’ve also noticed that when a person does experience a negative consequence for not following the popular advice, people are quick to cheer about their misfortune. Someone posts about coronavirus being overblown and then gets sick? Cue the cheerleaders who crow about karma and laugh with glee. Someone lets their child play in the yard and the child is kidnapped? There will always be a contingent of people who think the parents deserved to have their child abducted. They lose sight of the real culprit of suffering and blame the victim.

Many of the people sharing their opinions have only been informed by the media and memes that are being spread on social media. They haven’t taken the time to read up on the subject in legitimate scientific publications or read opposing viewpoints among people whose business it is to deal with communicable diseases, nor do they even know all there is to know about the other person’s unique situation. They assume the person is just ignorant or being stubborn, and sharing one more pissy or directive face mask meme or “efficacy chart” is going to change their minds and/or behaviors. Or worse, they take the attitude that the face mask is the silver bullet and don’t try to stay home or do a better job of washing their hands.

Some folks are also using ridiculous comparisons to make their points.

I’ve seen the above meme shared in English and German. I don’t think it’s a very good comparison to our current situation. Whether or not you even have the ability to pee on someone has a lot to do with the equipment you have. I don’t know about you, but as a woman, I’m not able to aim my piss at other people. And most people aren’t running around peeing on people, anyway. That’s generally the kind of thing one must do on purpose. The virus is invisible to the naked eye and spreads through the air and on surfaces. It’s very hard to control the spread of it. Pee, on the other hand, can generally be controlled… at least by those who aren’t incontinent. Moreover, getting someone else’s pee on you, while certainly gross, probably isn’t going to make you deathly ill the way COVID-19 might. I also don’t like the rude, derisive tone of the above meme. I don’t think it does much more than insult other people who may not agree with wearing masks. Things are tough enough as it is right now. We don’t need to add to the stress by calling people “dummies”. Especially when legitimate scientists agree that maybe the people who aren’t on the face mask bandwagon aren’t actually dummies.

George made a lot of sense with this bit… I really miss him.

Because I don’t want to get sick, nor do I want others to fear me making them sick, I’m simply going to try to stay in my home as much as possible for as long as it takes. This mostly works for me, since I spend a lot of time alone anyway. Staying at home is the very best way to avoid catching or spreading the virus. I just hope I don’t develop agoraphobia or some other mental health problem by staying isolated. This is a bonafide side effect to social distancing. Some people have become despondent and yes, there have been suicides. God help the person who needs to speak to someone and be reassured during this time. Maybe they can score a Zoom session with a therapist, but that human touch will be missing.

There have also been suicides among healthcare professionals who face the daunting task of trying to help people who are extremely sick with COVID-19. Frankly, I can understand why some people are feeling anxious enough to consider suicide right now, especially those who were already suffering from social anxiety disorder before this virus hit. The idea of being forced to live this way for an indefinite length of time is scary and upsetting. Lecturing people about whether or not they wear a mask isn’t helpful, especially if you present them with “facts” you got via memes from Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and nowhere else.

My personal feelings about the face masks don’t mean I won’t wear a mask if it’s required by law. It just means that I personally don’t believe that they’ll necessarily do a lot of good. This is just my opinion, and I could certainly be wrong. I often am. And if it turns out that masks really are helpful and it’s been proven and peer reviewed by scientists, I’ll admit I was wrong. But I’ll wear a mask only because I don’t want to be fined, harassed, or lectured, not because I’m jumping on the social media bandwagon. And if I’m going to have to wear one every time I go out in public, I think I’d rather exit this existence anyway. It’s no way to live, and makes me really glad I never had children.

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Ex, Memes

Loving “unconditionally”… is it really possible?

My good friend Audra shared this post yesterday. It made me stop and ponder.

I know why she shared it…

I know why Audra shared that post. It’s easy to see why. If you’ve ever had dealings with a narcissist or otherwise personality disordered person, you may come away from the experience completely shellshocked. A lot of people have trouble recovering from abusive relationships. What makes recovery especially difficult is that abusers never acknowledge the trauma they inflict on their victims. They lack empathy. Completely selfish and callous, abusive people act as if the people in their lives are totally expendable. If you’ve fallen prey to an abuser, you have no doubt felt unvalued and ignored. That’s not a nice feeling.

Many people, in the wake of an abusive relationship, resolve to be smarter and tougher. Some of them look at the patterns of behavior that led them into the abuser’s clutches in the first place. Sometimes they share well-meaning memes like the one above, which on the surface, seem to make sense. However, since I am a bit of a word nerd, I have issues with the adverb, “unconditionally”.

According to dictionary.com, the word “unconditionally” means absolute, and without limitations. A person who does something unconditionally, does it with unwavering devotion, no matter what. It sounds good, doesn’t it? However, since absolutely no one is perfect, I don’t think it’s possible for most people to truly love unconditionally. Everyone has a red line, and that is not a bad thing. The closest a person might come is perhaps in a parent/child relationship, but even parent/child relationships can be fractured when one person does something egregiously awful.

Let me put it this way. Let’s say you have a dear friend from childhood. You know each other extremely well and you think you love your friend “unconditionally”. This means that you love him or her regardless of anything he or she says or does. You think there is no limit to your love. This person can do no wrong. You assume that friend has those same feelings for you.

Then, one day, you come home and find your good friend standing next to your dead dog, smiling. You can see the dog suffered before its demise. Your friend, who has never done anything like this before, looks jubilant and asks you if you’d like to have lunch. You react with shock.

“What the hell happened here?” you ask, completely aghast.

Your friend, whom you love unconditionally, says that he or she suddenly got the urge to torture and kill your dog. Knowing you love them unconditionally and will forgive them no matter what, he or she grabbed a shovel and bashed the dog’s brains in just before you came home from work. Then, as you stood there in shock, your friend gleefully described the dog’s prolonged suffering as it slowly died. Ten minutes prior to finding the bloody scene, you thought you loved your friend “unconditionally”. Can you say with certainty you’d still feel that way after your friend’s sudden act of violence, even if it was the first time it happened? What if your friend was later diagnosed with a mental disorder. Would that make what he or she did more acceptable?

What if the situation were reversed? What if you had someone loving you unconditionally and you really messed up somehow. It could even be by accident. What if you had a major lapse in judgment that resulted in severe injury or even death? What if you accidentally killed their parent or child? Would you really expect the other person to keep loving you without measure or conditions?

“Loving unconditionally” sounds like a nice idea. I just don’t think it’s possible or even healthy for the vast majority of people, even the most accepting and loving ones. My husband, Bill, is truly one of the kindest, gentlest, most loving people I have ever met. But even he has his limits. He tried to love his ex wife without condition. She did not return that love. I don’t know why. She might not have been capable of loving him. But it seems to me that requiring someone to love unconditionally, which was one thing she did try to require of Bill, means that she must be willing to do the same. She couldn’t do it. In retrospect, neither could he. When she repeatedly debased and humiliated Bill, he began to withdraw from the relationship. Loving her “unconditionally” would have required him to keep adoring her, despite the abuse. As a person with a healthy sense of self-preservation, he couldn’t continue the relationship. I, for one, am delighted that he couldn’t stay with his ex wife.

Even non-abusive people have different ideas as to what loving “unconditionally” means. Moreover, if you expect to be loved “unconditionally”, then you must also love that way. Ask yourself if it’s possible for you to truly love unconditionally, no matter what. I think if you really consider what that means, you’ll find that you can’t, and probably really shouldn’t do it, although many people might come close to loving their parents or children “unconditionally”.

Sometimes dogs can love unconditionally. They don’t care what you’ve said or done. That’s why they make such good therapists. Dogs, and other pets, don’t judge. They don’t have a concept of judgment and they don’t have egos that get in the way. It’s much easier for a dog to forgive and forget than a person. But actually, come to think of it, not even all dogs can love unconditionally. A really abused dog will remember that abuse and not trust. But they’re probably better at unconditional love than most humans are.

Is it really possible to “love unconditionally”? I don’t think so. I think I’d change that meme to one that says, in essence, don’t waste your time on people who don’t value you. It’s not as catchy, but I think it works better.

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