communication, condescending twatbags, stupid people

Some men just Can’t. Understand. Normal. Thinking… Glad to be Bill’s double shot of tequila.

This morning, I read an interesting Facebook comment thread on an article by The New York Times about CNN’s decision to fire employees who ignored their COVID-19 vaccine mandates. CNN, like many private businesses in the United States, has directed employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to its offices in the U.S.

The Cable News Network has been relying on the “honor system” to enforce its rules about vaccination. However, apparently three former employees are unfamiliar with the expression, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The powers that be at CNN became aware that the three former employees were unvaccinated and defiantly continued to report for work, in spite of the vaccine mandates. The CNN bosses responded by firing the rule breakers.

I usually read articles before I read comment sections. I guess this morning, I was still a bit drowsy from the early hour and the cool, rainy weather we have today. It’s also getting darker in the mornings, which is a sure sign that fall is coming. In a month, we’ll probably need jackets again. In any case, I ran across a comment left by a woman named Margie. She wrote:

It’s interesting how so many people think “freedom” only works for them but not for others. I guess it’s that same lopsided rationalization that concludes that assault rifles are necessary for freedom.

I like Margie’s comment. I think it makes a lot of sense. It’s no secret that we have a serious problem with weapons in the United States. So many innocent people have died of gunshot wounds while doing ordinary things like going to school, worshiping, shopping, attending a concert, or watching a movie at a cinema. And now, so many people are dying of COVID-19. Most of the people who are dying of COVID are people who are vehemently against vaccines and have even taken to mocking them on social media. Interestingly enough, many of the people who are against the vaccines are also people who support the right to bear arms, no matter what the cost is to others.

Sadly… or maybe not so sadly… some of those gun supporting folks are ending up ruing the decision to mock vaccines. For instance, proud Republican H. Scott Apley was 45 years old and the father of a newborn when he died of COVID-19 on Wednesday. Mr. Apley was a very conservative member of the Dickinson County Council, and had taken to social media to lambast COVID-19 vaccine mandates. He cheered about a “mask burning party” that happened in Cincinnati in May, writing that he wished he’d lived in the area, and he claimed that Baltimore’s former public health commissioner was an “absolute enemy of a free people.”

In the end, Apley maintained his “freedom” not to be vaccinated. He caught the virus. And now, he’s dead. His wife, Melissa, who is also COVID-19 positive, is left to raise their infant son, Reid. Reid is currently in his grandmother’s care, because unlike her late husband, Melissa seems to realize that COVID kills people. I sincerely hope she’s smart enough to get the vaccine so that baby doesn’t lose his other parent to willful ignorance. I am also legitimately sorry for Melissa’s and Reid’s loss. It didn’t have to be that way.

I dedicate this song to “Rick”… but I would replace the word “step” with “fuck”. That’s because I enjoy profanity very much. It’s one of my most adorable flaws.

In any case, Margie, who had commented on the article about CNN, had a point that resonated with a lot of people. At this writing, there are 890 likes on her observation about the concept of freedom in the United States. Some people don’t seem to realize that freedom applies to everyone, and there’s civic responsibility that comes with that privilege. But, as we all know, some people just “can’t. understand. normal. thinking.” and they have to show everyone their ass. Such was the case with the response left by a man named Rick, who wrote this:

The fact you said “assault rifle” already tells me everything I need to know….

Margie came back with an impressive response that really should have shut up Rick. She wrote:

…does it? Would it surprise you to know that we have many guns, including some semi-automatic guns, in our home? That my husband conceal carries? So, what is it you think you know about me?

Rick wrote: There’s a reason why “assault” was in parentheses….try to follow along champ.

Then, Rick continued to show his ass by lecturing a guy named John with this beaut of a comment:

Its a common term among you leftists who have no fing idea what your talking about when it comes to firearms.. Thats the issue. It’s not a common term amongst people who have an ounce of knowledge of firearms. Trust me…its worth belittling…since by “assault” you mean “fully automatic”….which with like ten fing seconds of research will tell you have been banned for nearly 30 years. So yes…you now know I know at least basic knowledge of firearms. Congratulations.

A guy named Bill (not my Bill) wrote this for Rick:

An AR 15 is an assault rifle bro. No matter how you sugarcoat it

And Rick insisted that he knows better and responded thusly:

No it isnt….people are afraid of how it looks. It’s a fing rifle…..like any other semi auto hunting rifle. They just “look” scary. An “assault” rifle in the sense that people are so adamant against it would be anything that can lay down fully auto…added with huge like 75-100 round drums. Big diff. Those are already illegal. There litteraly is no difference between a Ruger ranch rifle and an AR-15 for example…..other than ones black and scary…which is kinda funny and ironic….One is acceptable by even left wing anti gun nuts for hunting purposes and the other one is ostracized….even though it’s the same thing. People are litteraly afraid of aesthetics. (He can’t spell either, can he?)

At this point, I was scratching my head. Rick must not have much to do in his personal life, since he was hanging out in the comment section of a notoriously left leaning newspaper that is known for its excellence in journalism. And instead of engaging with people on an adult level, he was resorting to insults and bragging about his knowledge of firearms. Obviously his vast knowledge of firearms doesn’t extend to knowledge of basic English grammar. Reading and writing are still considered fundamental skills, aren’t they? And yet, here he is in the comment section of a respected news source, taking on people who are clearly intellectually and developmentally superior to him, so he has to bring his “guns” to the fight. What a big man!

Rick, being a typically stubborn and obtuse sort of person, continued to engage. He was clapping back at everyone with personal insults and condescension. So I decided to leave him a comment, having noticed that he apparently doesn’t know the difference between quotation marks and parenthesis. I wrote:

I like how you can’t tell the difference between parenthesis and quotation marks or “your” and “you’re”. And I like how you belittle and name call to make your points. That tells me all I need to know about you, “Champ”.

Rick’s response to me? Unsurprisingly, he tried to insult me, too…

I like how you think men are actually looking for a booty call from you 

Wow… LOL. I thought that was funny on many levels. You see, in order for Rick to make that comment, he had to visit my Facebook profile. He was referring to my latest tag line, which is: “Not looking for friend requests or booty calls from strange men. I’m also NOT German.”

Several weeks ago, I posted that tag line in response to the tons and tons of unsolicited private messages and creepy comments I was getting from scammers. I’ve actually written about those messages in this blog, and have included screen shots of the more entertaining ones.

The scammers were writing icky messages about how “beautiful” they think I am. To be clear, I know the people (male or female) behind those messages are just shady fuckwads who have ripped off other Facebook users’ profiles. My own profile was also ripped off recently. Those lowlifes are ultimately just looking to scam money, and trying to use flattery to do it. I was getting a lot of these messages. So I posted that tag line to express my irritation, not because I think men actually believe I’m “hawt” or “fuckable”. Even if they did, I’m a happily married woman, so other men’s opinions about my appearance are irrelevant.

‘Ol Rick decided to zero in on that tag line to insult my looks, which is typical of people like him. What he fails to realize, though, is that the fact that he took the time to visit my profile instead of just blowing me off tells me that he found me attractive on some level. Maybe I’m not his “type”, but my comment obviously got to him. Otherwise, he would not have responded to me at all. That implies an attraction of sorts. Remember, negative attention is still attention, and the fact that he took a moment to check out my profile means that he noticed me.

Rick also seems to think I care that some random guy on Facebook apparently thinks I’m ugly. LOL… hell, my own father regularly criticized my appearance! So Rick’s opinion about my attractiveness is irrelevant, and frankly, pretty juvenile. I mean, that’s the kind of thing people say on the playground. “You’re ugly!” Well, I know you are, but what am I, Rick? 😀

Anyway, I laughed at Rick and wrote, “Thanks for creeping my profile, you strange man. Why don’t you run along now and play with your assault rifles.” I was going to add the word “loaded”, but decided that I didn’t need to encourage more gun violence. For all I know, Rick might take my suggestion.

A kind man named Stephen wrote, “…yes it is not worth engaging him in conversation. He seems to love insulting and using words he doesn’t understand.

So I wrote this:

Thanks for that. I don’t actually care that Rick apparently doesn’t think I’m cute. I’m married to a wonderful man, and he’s the only one whose opinion I care about regarding my attractiveness or lack thereof. Besides, I figure ‘ol Rick must have found me interesting on some level, since he took the time to stalk my profile. 😉 Like I said… creepy… just like the booty callers who send me random PMs.

Some people reading this might think I shouldn’t be writing this blog post. Why give guys like Rick a second thought? But I’m writing this because Rick actually did give me something to think about this morning.

There was a time when I was much younger that Rick’s comment might have hurt my feelings. Back in the days when I was less secure, had lower self-esteem, and cared more about what people thought of me, it actually did sting when someone insulted me on a personal level– especially when they criticized my appearance.

I think that comes from having family members who cared a lot about image, and what others thought of them and our family. When the people responsible for bringing you into the world– the people who were your first “love”– criticize things like your appearance, or your laugh, or they tell you that no one will ever love you, that tends to make you think that everyone feels that way. After all, they made me. You’d think they’d love me unconditionally for that alone. But they couldn’t love me unconditionally, because they didn’t even love themselves that way.

My parents are/were good looking, talented, and intelligent people, and they expected their four daughters to be the same. I think we all did turn out alright. I may not always be camera ready, but I clean up fine. I’ve never had a problem turning Bill on, and he’s the only one who matters. I mostly hang around with him and my dogs, and my dogs think I’m awesome because I’m the one who feeds them and walks them. I value their opinions a whole lot more than I do Rick’s.

I’m old enough to know that it’s not true that my parents’ opinions of me are reflections of what all others think. The world is full of people, and they all have opinions. I’ve been around long enough to know that no one is everyone’s cup of tea. I know I’m not… but I’d rather be someone’s double shot of tequila, anyway. Thanks to Bill, I know that I AM someone’s double shot of tequila! That makes me pretty blessed.

Besides, my mom is a lot more appreciative of me now, especially since she doesn’t have to look at me. 😉 My dad is dead, so his opinion is irrelevant, too. He was wrong, anyway. I found someone who genuinely loves me, even though my dad often said I never would.

I don’t have to be physically gorgeous to turn Bill on. He was very attracted to me even before he saw me in person. And when he saw me in person, it only confirmed that we belong together. I can simply write something erotic, sing him a siren song, or touch him in a certain way and he’ll get a “raise”. We have a lot of chemistry, and always enjoy being together. I am very fortunate because a high quality person loves me no matter what; but I would be okay, even if I were still single.

I could gain twenty pounds, get hit in the nose with a football like Marcia Brady, or look like death warmed over from illness. Bill would still love me. That’s what makes him vastly superior to cavemen like Rick, who are only interested in big guns, conservative politics, and what his eyes superficially see in a photo. And again, HE’S the one who came to my profile, looking for something to criticize. Why would he do that if he didn’t find me attractive on some level? If he didn’t find me interesting, he would have ignored my comment and kept scrolling.

What a guy like Rick thinks of me is completely immaterial. The fact that he criticized my looks as a means of shutting me down is pathetic! Obviously, he had nothing of substance to say, but had to say something to defend his pitiful male ego. He needs a big GUN to defend himself, too, which tells me all to know about his so-called strength and resilience. What a small-minded man he is… and I’d venture to guess that he’s not very satisfying in the booty call department, either. 😀 That’s why he plays with big guns. They make him feel bigger and more powerful than he actually is.

Anyway, I’ve concluded that Rick is just another guy who Can’t. Understand. Normal. Thinking… Read between the lines on that one. It’s sad that he has to resort to insulting and belittling people on social media rather than engaging in respectful and meaningful dialogue with others. He must live a very limited life.

I’m happy to report that Facebook finally seems to have done something about the PM issue. Or maybe the scammers don’t like my most recent profile photo. I haven’t been getting those PMs recently. It might even be time to change that tag line. Maybe I’ll write one that says, “Creeping my profile to find ways to insult me simply proves that you think I’m interesting.”

Hope you all have a great Friday. It’s time for me to find something constructive to do. Maybe I’ll drink some tequila and watch the below video again, simply because it’s hilarious!

Don’t act a fool… otherwise, Alfredo might be forced to tape you to your seat.

Standard
humor, music, social media

Oscar the Grouch never invited anyone to his trash can…

The weirdness of the past nine months are starting to get to me somewhat. Last night, I was feeling “cheeky”, as the Brits would say. Although I haven’t personally suffered as much as a lot of people have, I have been feeling kind of “tense” lately. Little things bug me more than they might usually, not that I’m a particularly laid back person to start with.

I always get a bit nutty during the holidays. When I was growing up, the holidays were always fraught with expectations that were never quite met. As I became an adult, the holidays became downright unpleasant. For several years, my eldest sister hosted our family gatherings in her house. I can remember a lot of fights with my sisters and tense moments with my parents, especially my dad.

The last time I spent Christmas with my family of origin was in 2003, just after my sister Sarah had her son, who turned out to be the last grandchild. Imagine that. My parents had four girls. You’d expect there would have been a lot of grandkids for them. But nope… My sister Betsy had two kids, a girl and a boy, Becky never married, Sarah had a son, and Bill and I couldn’t have kids thanks to his vasectomy. The older I get, the more I think that might have been a blessing. Family life has become surreal these days. I feel kind of divorced from mine.

Add in the shitshow that 2020 has been, and this year’s holiday season is even weirder than usual. So I had a good laugh when I ran across a funny video by Sandy and Richard Riccardi, a talented couple on YouTube and Facebook who make funny parodies of popular songs. A lot of their material is political, but sometimes they do songs about common situations that come up in everyday life. I think the first song I ever heard by this funny duo was a song called “Unfriend Me”…

Listen all the way to the end for the punchline.

Since Trump came on the scene, this couple has come out with some very amusing songs about him, as well as some of the current events that affect everyone. I like a lot of their stuff, but I don’t always love what they do. Like, for instance, I wasn’t a big fan of this song…

Yeah, I know… I know… but I am so fucking tired of hearing about it.

To be clear… I get that the masks are necessary for now. I’m just really fed up with some how people feel emboldened to constantly clobber people over the head about them. I hate the aggressive, belligerent, and obnoxious hashtags, and in your face slogans like, “Wear a damn mask!”. I don’t think those types of messages are helpful. They certainly don’t inspire respect or compliance.

Yesterday, I was reading a Facebook thread started by true crime author Kathryn Casey, who wrote that she had sent away a couple of maskless workers who had come over to do work on her house. The workers mocked Casey’s husband when he asked them to wear masks while they were working. A thread ensued, in which people were congratulating Casey for sending away the maskless workers and hiring a different company. Casey’s choice to fire the workers would have been alright with me, but accompanying those comments were others that were hostile and aggressive. One lady wrote about how she was tired of how non mask wearers were so “belligerent”. Then she wrote, “Wear a damn mask or stay home!”

Another lady wrote that she was tired of people telling her to “wear a damn mask or stay home.” She explained that she has an eating disorder, lives in a remote area where grocery delivery is unavailable, and has a medical problem that prevents her from wearing a mask. None of her friends or family have offered to help her, so she’s been having to deal with people getting up in her face about her lack of a mask for what, I assume, is a real medical problem.

A third woman came along and, in a rather haughty, holier than thou tone, asked what the woman’s medical problem was. She included a news article (which is what everybody seems to use to cite their points these days) and claimed, per the news article, that there are very few medical problems that actually prevent a person from wearing a mask. This woman added that maybe she could see it if the woman with the eating disorder had a burn on her face or something. But otherwise, she felt the lady with the eating disorder was full of shit– despite not knowing her or her personal situation.

I couldn’t restrain myself from commenting. I feel like a lot of people aren’t really giving this issue much consideration. If I sit here and think about it, I can think of several medical problems that might make wearing a mask difficult or impossible for some people. Just off the top of my head, I’m remembering the two men I’ve met at different times in my life who were literally missing parts of their ears and had trouble using their hands due to injuries they’d sustained in wars. Then there are people who don’t hear well, have speech impediments or breathing problems, deal with severe anxiety or PTSD issues, or have trouble with their vision.

But most people don’t stop and consider people who really do have legitimate problems with wearing the masks. They just say, “Wear a damn mask!” If someone doesn’t or can’t comply, they think they are entitled to an explanation regarding another person’s private medical situation. And they think their opinions about another person’s circumstances have merit, and they are entitled to weigh in, even though they don’t know the other person from Adam and aren’t any more knowledgeable about the pandemic, or public health issues in general, than the average person is.

The “Wear a damn mask” slogan, in my opinion, is too aggressive. Those who truly don’t care about others will simply ignore it. Those who can’t comply will just feel worse than they need to about something beyond their control. And that harsh directive just adds to the overall dehumanized, dystopian, and downright creepy vibe in the air this year. It’s very depressing to me. Although personally, I don’t have it bad at all, I often think of the relatives I’ve recently lost and think they’re lucky to have escaped this living hell. The future seems bleak, and the constant anger and polarization only makes it worse. It makes me want to check out.

I can’t be the only one who feels like this, so I decided to respond to the woman with the eating disorder. I wrote that I was sorry she was having a hard time and I hoped it would get better for her. And I find it rich that people are complaining about belligerent “anti maskers” while they make aggressive demands like “Wear a damn mask!”, and aren’t willing to consider why people legitimately can’t or won’t wear a mask. I added that I won’t ask her what her health problems are, because they are none of my business.

Frankly, if I see someone who isn’t following the rules, I just stay away from them, if I can. I don’t automatically assume they’re selfish assholes. While I’m well aware that there are selfish assholes out there who simply don’t want to comply with the rules, it’s less depressing to me to assume the best about people whenever possible. Or, at least I like to tell myself that.

After that little exchange, I was feeling tense. But I ran across another funny, snarky song by the Riccardis. This one was called “Braggy Christmas Letter”. It had nothing to do with any of today’s most annoying and pervasive topics. I just thought it was funny, so I shared it.

I don’t get too many of these. It’s probably because I don’t go to church.

I had a good laugh as I listened to this song. It reminded me of how, about fifteen years ago, I ran across a family Web site created by a Mormon doctor in Wyoming who, by all images, seemed to be living the perfect life. I remember this guy had every single braggy Christmas letter he’d ever written posted on his site. He’d been divorced, but he even included the letters he’d written while he was with his first wife. I remember sharing that site with people on RfM, who are very familiar with “braggy Christmas letters”. While I don’t think the Mormons have cornered the market on this particular habit, I do think churches that promote a “prosperity gospel” message– ie; if you’re doing really well financially, that means God is smiling on you– prompt certain religious people to send these types of Christmas messages, even if they’re stretching the truth. It’s the whole, smug “seriously, so blessed” vibe that, on the surface, may seem harmless, but can make other people feel really small and devalued.

I didn’t think the above video would be controversial, but somehow even the most innocuous things can become that way. Why? Because everyone is different and sees things differently. Apparently, some people like getting “braggy Christmas letters”. I’m sure they have their reasons for feeling that way. Maybe they genuinely like reading that others are “seriously, so blessed”, with expensive houses, fancy cars, perfect figures, and fat bank accounts. I guess they’re above the petty, snarky people who poke fun. Or they like to appear that way.

I don’t mind getting newsy letters that contain positive news, especially when they aren’t mass produced. But there’s a big difference between a friendly letter with happy news in it and a letter that seems meant to make other people feel insignificant and second rate. The letter Sandy Riccardi is singing is the latter type, and I can’t imagine being happy to receive one of those, especially if they come every year like clockwork. I wonder if the people who were being contrary on that thread actually listened to the song before they commented. Or maybe they just wanted to feed their own egos by being contrary and “above” the snark.

So I got even more tense and grouchy… and Bill, who is always game to make me laugh (and it’s not hard to do), said “You know, Oscar the Grouch never invites anyone to his trash can.”

To which I responded, “But I invited you, Bill. How do you like the smell?”

And then we both laughed.

There was a time when most people had real conversations with people face to face or, at least, on the phone. Nowadays, a lot of us connect via social media. That can lead to a host of communication problems that range from everything from misunderstandings to people feeling emboldened to be mean or smarmy because they’re behind a screen. Some folks also feel that social media is the best place for them to preach or “set a good example” for others to follow. I will admit that it’s annoying to me when people feel the need to check their neighbors and give them unsolicited “special help”. It makes me grouchy.

At the risk of rambling on too long… here’s another example that came along last night. I read a news article in the Washington Post about people who have decided to get plastic surgery during the pandemic. Why? Because they don’t like how they look on Zoom calls. I don’t usually comment on newspaper’s Facebook pages because comments there invite interaction with unusually obnoxious people. But I thought this was an innocuous comment…

I don’t even wear a bra anymore. I figure people can deal with my sagging boobs as well as my wrinkles and jowls. It’s been a rough year.

A lot of people thought it was funny. But then I got this response, which sounded like something my mother might say…

I choose to care about my appearance because if I look good, I feel equally good!

(My mom did actually say that shit to me when I was a teenager, dirty and stinky from hanging out at the barn all day, or simply not wanting to dress up and put on my face. Mom likes wearing her makeup. I don’t. What can I say? People are different.)

So my response was…

Here… have a cookie. Or a Coke and a smile… and then, kindly STFU. You do you, and I’ll do me, mmmkay?

Most of us are legitimately guilty of being smug sometimes, and inflicting our self-righteous, superior bullshit on others. Sometimes I do it myself, although I try to be conscious of it. I mean, you might say I did the same thing to the woman who was harassing the lady with the eating disorder about her reluctance to “wear a damn mask”. But I doubt the lady with the eating disorder will offer me a cookie, especially as I dwell in my trash can of grouchiness.

One last note: I think my landlord’s grandsons think I’m grouchy. They rang my doorbell yesterday while I was binge watching The Crown. I thought they were delivery people. I opened the door; the dog was barking; I wasn’t dressed; and they were speaking very quietly in German. I didn’t understand or even hear them very well, so I said I didn’t understand and closed the door.

In my defense, in Jettingen, I used to get visits all the time from all manner of people wanting to sell everything from many kilos of apples and potatoes to religion or charities. The visitors came in all shapes, sizes, and ages. I had not met my landlord’s grandchildren, so I didn’t know who they were.

They rang the bell again, and my landlord asked me if I wouldn’t mind fetching their ball, which had gone over the fence. I felt pretty bad, and I noticed that one of the boys was cowering under our front stoop. I got the ball and tossed it to my landlord. Then I noticed he’d left us a wheelbarrow full of firewood. Later, I spotted their ball in the backyard again and felt another pang of guilt. I guess the kids were too afraid to tell me the ball was back in my yard. I tossed it over the fence for them. Hope they find it.

I’m really not a bitch most of the time… I’m just on edge, as we all are. Hopefully, next year will be better.

Standard
modern problems, musings

Half boiled eggs…

This morning, before he went to work, Bill and I were talking about an article I discovered this morning. Someone had found several letters from advice columnists like Dear Abby and Carolyn Hax, as well as sites like Reddit, and aggregated them into a single article. Three of the five profiled letters stuck out to me. Each of the three letters that captured my attention were about the so-called importance of image, which is a recurring issue in my life.

Bill and I have both had to deal with image obsessed people. My late father, for instance, often conveyed that he was ashamed of me. On multiple occasions, he criticized me for not being more like my eldest sister. He had problems with everything from how I laugh, to how I look, to the fact that I hadn’t achieved enough success in life. Even the things I did well, like music and writing, were sources of shame or envy for him. He made it clear that he thought the image I projected reflected poorly on him. Yes, it was upsetting and offensive to hear one of the two people responsible for my very existence constantly telling me about how I hadn’t measured up to his expectations. It was depressing, and I knew that even if I did start doing things to appease him, it would never be enough.

I eventually told him that his issues with how I turned out were his problem and he needed to get over it. I am certainly not a perfect person by any means, but I’ve done plenty of things that should have made him very proud of me. When I pointed this out to him, he was shocked and probably very embarrassed. He backed off. Unfortunately, a year later, he slid into dementia and spent the next few years dying a slow death.

Bill, likewise, had many issues meeting his ex wife’s expectations. Because of the traumatic way she grew up, she felt she should be living an idyllic existence. She wanted a small town life in a cute little house with a picket fence. She wanted new cars, new furniture, and attractive landscaping. She was only interested in her image, and making it look to others that she was somebody special. Unfortunately, she didn’t spend much time working on the internal structures of her life– the things that actually supported her existence. Her focus was all about the external and what other people thought… not what the people involved in the relationship thought. Their relationship failed.

All of the advice seekers in the article we were discussing had what one might call “first world problems”, but the ones that really stuck out to me were about people who wanted other people to change for them. The core issue was mostly about image, and how the perceived importance of image causes relationship problems. Bill said “It’s like a raw egg versus a boiled egg. On the surface, a half boiled egg looks as perfect as a boiled egg does. But when you crack beneath the surface, there’s a gooey, uncooked mess.”

Letter #1

The first person’s letter was written by a woman in her 60s who claimed that men never appreciated her for her mind. They only seemed interested in her looks. She claimed to look at least twenty years younger than her age and was tired of people thinking she was just a pretty face. Dear Abby told her that she should appreciate what she has, since so many people would like to be considered “beautiful” when they’re in their 60s.

I could kind of see the letter writer’s point. I was never a “hottie” myself, so the vast majority of men who are my friends are friends because they value something in me other than my looks. Most of them seem to think I’m smart or funny or talented. They don’t just talk to me because I have big boobs or a nice ass… And while there have been times when I wished men found me more physically attractive, I can also state without hesitation that women who are only valued for their looks don’t have it so easy. It is a legitimate problem.

I’m reminded of an incident I once wrote about in my old blog. Back in the late 1990s, I was in my 20s and working at a very stressful restaurant. I hated the job, but I made pretty good money and some friends. Because the job was very physical and I often worked long hours without eating, I lost a significant amount of weight without trying. Back then, I looked pretty good, even though I was also constantly sick. Of course, it was all relative. Even though I’d lost about 35 pounds, had a new wardrobe, and had started getting my hair done, some people still didn’t think I was all that cute.

One night after work, a bunch of my work colleagues showed up at a local bar at the same time I was there. One friend, a very attractive young woman a few years younger than me, was dancing to Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle”.

I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around. There was a young guy standing there. He said, “Hey, are you with her?” gesturing at my gyrating blonde friend.

“Excuse me?” was my response.

“That girl over there. Is she your friend? And is she here with anyone?” he repeated.

I don’t remember what I said. Obviously, he had spotted her across the room, appreciated her rhythmic movements, hot body, and pretty face, and decided to make a move. However, instead of speaking to her directly, like a real man, he’d decided to speak to her less threatening “fat friend”, to see if it was worth his while. I remember thinking he was an asshole because his message to me was, “I don’t think you’re cute, but your friend is hot. I’d like to meet her and then…”

And then what, Junior? Do you just want to “talk”? Or did you have something else in mind?

At first, I will admit that I was merely insulted by the guy’s tone deaf query. But then, years later, reflecting anew on that incident, it occurs to me that maybe I was the lucky one. Because I don’t think I would enjoy having to deal with randy guys hitting on me all the time simply because they liked what they saw. To be clear, as a female, I have certainly been hit on before. Most women have had that experience. It’s generally not a compliment when some guy who doesn’t know me at all makes it plain that he’s just looking to hook up because he’s horny. Most of the ones who hit on me were not very appealing anyway. Women like my friend probably have to put up with that kind of shit all the time. Relationships built on the external are usually flimsy, at best. They often end in heartbreak.

Maybe some women enjoy being able to charm men with a cute figure and a pretty face, but I don’t think I’d want to be valued simply because of the way I look. I’d much rather someone like me because they think I’m funny, talented, or intelligent. I’d much rather be respected for what’s on the inside, especially since looks often fade. Most of the men in my life are there because I bring something to the table besides big boobs and a dazzling smile. So I can see why the first letter writer was having issues with being called “beautiful” all the time, even if her complaint comes across as obnoxious to some.

Letter #2

The next letter was written by a guy who had taken his girlfriend of three years to Vietnam and Cambodia. They’d spent an amazing two weeks hiking, visiting spiritual places, eating good food, and enjoying themselves. One night, when they were in their hotel room, the guy pulled out an engagement ring and proposed. His girlfriend accepted the marriage proposal, then hit the shower.

When she came out of the shower, the guy’s girlfriend was in tears. She gave the ring back to her beau and said that she was disappointed in how he’d proposed to her. She had pictured a more dramatic proposal, one that didn’t take place in a hotel room. She encouraged him to propose again somewhere more suitable.

My first reaction to that letter was, “Run!” And sure enough, the letter writer, who was crushed by his girlfriend’s shallowness, was considering breaking up with her. He wanted to know if he was being unreasonable. My thought is that if you’ve gone from wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone to considering breaking up with her over her disappointment regarding a marriage proposal, your relationship is in deep trouble. You shouldn’t consider getting married to someone with whom you are considering breaking up, especially if it’s because she’s “disappointed”.

Girlfriend threw up a major red flag when the proposal wasn’t “good enough” for her. I have a feeling that a marriage to her would mean years of his never quite measuring up and her constant dissatisfaction and disappointment. I was reminded of a story Bill told me about his ex. They were at a gas station and she’d asked him to get her a drink. He went into the store and bought her a bottle of Coke. She said something along the lines of, “If you really loved me, you’d know I wanted a fountain drink.” Their marriage was full of these kinds of situations, where she’d demand something and it wasn’t enough, wasn’t done right, or didn’t project the image she’d had in her mind. She was never happy, and before long, neither was Bill. And if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know how their story ended.

I think the second letter writer’s hesitation in a marriage proposal “do-over” is another red flag. If he married his girlfriend, there would almost definitely be a divorce in the future. Think about it. A marriage proposal is supposed to be a very happy occasion. Ultimately, it’s not the proposal or the wedding that makes a marriage work. It shouldn’t matter where the question was popped… and I don’t think doing the proposal over in front of a waterfall or next to a holy temple is going to erase the memory of her reaction to his first proposal. I think it would be a thorn in their sides for the rest of their time together. Divorce is messy and expensive, especially when children are involved. So, I hope he did follow his instincts and dump her, so they could both find partners who are more suitable.

Letter #3

Finally, there was a letter from a guy who was dating a very beautiful, funny, intelligent woman with whom he wanted to have babies. The trouble was, he was ashamed of her because of her weight. She was too fat for him, and because of that, he had avoided introducing her to family and friends. However, he “loved” her and would be heartbroken to lose her… and, of course, he was “concerned” about her health.

As I was reading that letter, I inwardly groaned. Here’s a guy who wants to “fix” someone. She’s too fat for him and he sees her problem as something she should be willing to overcome. If she’d just lose weight, she’d be just “perfect”. I can just hear him now saying, “If you loved me, you’d lose weight.” But what happens when something happens and she gets heavy again? Will he still love her if she loses weight, but then regains it? Or will she be on a tightrope the whole time they’re together?

Well… that just sucks. As someone who has heard insulting comments about my body, I can honestly state that I would much rather be alone than be married to some guy who obsesses over my looks. I know being overweight is considered unhealthy, although I doubt there are many people who are, in fact, in perfect health. If you’re not a healthcare professional with intimate and current knowledge of another person’s stats, you aren’t really in a place to judge their health. You can assume someone who is “fat” is unhealthy, but in most cases, you really don’t know for sure, and it’s beyond offensive to make that assumption.

I’m not saying that people in relationships should not encourage healthy habits in their mates. If girlfriend wants to lose weight, he should encourage and help her within reason. His first concern should be for her health and happiness. If he’s not attracted to her the way she is, the relationship is probably doomed. Plenty of people lose weight and put it right back on, along with more. She could lose fifty pounds for their wedding, get pregnant, have health issues, and put it all back on and never lose it. Would he still love her then? Or, she could lose weight and decide he’s not good enough for her. I’ve even heard of people who thought they didn’t like their partner’s weight realize that after weight loss, it wasn’t the weight that was the real issue in their relationship.

Someone who utters the phrase “if you really loved me” is probably going to eventually end up in divorce court. Again, divorce is expensive, messy, and heartbreaking. So I hope the letter writer in this case broke up with his girlfriend who doesn’t “measure up” to his preferences and found someone more to his liking. However, I have a feeling that he’s a fixer and would find something to dislike in a thinner person, too. Fixers usually have their own issues that they haven’t worked on, so they focus on the flaws of other people. Thinner gal would probably have crooked teeth or crossed eyes or something that he’d want her to fix for him… if she really loved him, that is.

I feel very lucky that Bill and I accept each other for who we are. Sometimes I’m a cranky bitch who complains too much. I have issues with anxiety, and a tendency to look on the dark side of things. I don’t wear makeup every day, fix my hair, or sometimes even get dressed. I could stand to lose weight, and a new haircut would probably do wonders for my appearance. I definitely have my problems, and could make many improvements and changes.

Bill is, likewise, a fantastic spouse, but sometimes he’s too eager to fix everything and please other people. He’ll bend over backwards for others, even when they don’t appreciate or acknowledge it. Being so eager to please gets him into trouble, because he often doesn’t speak up until things have really gotten bad. Then, instead of a little mess to clean up, there’s a much bigger mess.

Bill sometimes does little things that irritate me. For instance, he has a habit of repeating things I say right after I say them. I’ll add something to a story and he’ll repeat what I just said, as if I’d never said it. It’s annoying when he does it in front of just me, but hurtful when he does it in front of other people, because it implies that the other person didn’t hear me and needs him to speak for me. I ‘ve told him about this, explaining that I know that he doesn’t do it on purpose. He knows why I get upset this way, too. It’s because my whole life, people have discounted me, ignored me, or told me I either didn’t matter or wasn’t good enough. I know that’s not how he feels about me, but sometimes that’s how it feels to me– that yet another person doesn’t think I can speak for myself.

Fortunately, we can talk about these things. And even when talking about our issues and idiosyncrasies leads to one or both of us getting upset, it doesn’t kill the love or appreciation we have for each other. We acknowledge that neither of us is perfect, and never will be. What’s most important isn’t the perfect image of a smooth, oval, chicken egg… it’s what’s beneath the surface that counts. Is it a gooey, uncooked mess? Or is it carefully cooked, easily peeled, and waiting for a dash of salt?

I don’t think it’s a good idea to start off a marriage with residual disappointment or with the idea that the other person is a “project” who needs to be improved or changed. Look beyond the external image and consider whether or not that person is someone with whom you are compatible. Bill loves me despite my flaws, because I make him laugh and find fun stuff for us to do together. We’re very compatible, and enjoy each other’s company. We empathize with each other and are each other’s best friend. I think that’s what’s important. If you don’t have that basic compatibility with a significant other, and you can’t love them for who they are, it may be better to be alone.

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