The Classic Battle

One day early last week, on Facebook, I posted a picture of a male actor – you would know him, he was amazing in that thing about the thing (won an Oscar!), with an even more amazing body – posed provocatively, wearing only a micro-Speedo.   I was very pleased at the way the picture focused on his … um, attributes. When I posted the picture, I was hoping to get a bunch of likes and exploit the man, you know, as you do.

Right about now, there are two groups of readers.  Half of you wonder where the picture is, and the other half said, “Well, now, that just isn’t right.”  Okay, so there is also a third group, comprised of members of both groups, who are trying to bleach the picture of the Speedo out of their brains.

Of course I didn’t really post any picture like that.  But I have to wonder; were you more outraged over the idea that I would exploit someone for “likes,” or was that outrage brought about because it was a man?  Men don’t commonly get exploited and paraded around for their bodies instead their talent; that is a privilege usually saved for women.  In fact, it’s expected.

I belong to a Facebook group that focuses on films from the “Golden Age of movies.”  The ground rules are simple: be respectful, no politics, no religion, and discuss classic era movies.  Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

In any group, there is bound to be the one who pushes the rules to the limits.  In this group, one guy not only pushes the limits but crosses them over and over, to the giggling joy of his caveman supporters.  He continues to  post pics of actresses in their most sultry persona and one, he even cropped to be sure her breasts were on clear display…in fact, it was just her breasts, so if he hadn’t mentioned who the actress was, there’s no way you would know. Unless you’re a breast aficionado.

Not all of the actresses he ummm … discusses … are from the classic era either. A cropped, very risqué photo of Catherine Zeta Jones, who is truly a lovely woman (inside and out from what I understand), was duly submitted for inspection and I don’t think she was even born in the classic movie era, let alone acted in any movies from that time-period.  His pics, as no doubt intended, elicit the usual responses from other men, suggesting graphically what they would like to do to the women, among other lewd comments.  The moderator keeps deleting the posts, but somehow the guy is allowed to remain.

Finally, a female member took a stand against this sorry excuse for classic movie discussion.  She made a post about how she’s tired of seeing it, that it’s disrespectful, goes against the rules of the group, and stop being assholes basically – though she was very nice and polite about it … more so than I would’ve been.  Predictably, her post was met by a bunch of men jumping on her saying,  “Just block the guy, choose your battles, it’s not important, get over it, scroll past it, let it go, grow up, stop being a snowflake,” and  complaining that she was “on her soap box,” and that it wasn’t a real problem so why complain, etc.  One guy, who I guess was trying to “help,” said “Agree with the concern, and more, but believe part of the solution is to stay calm and positive. Just breathe.”

As is the norm, although the post she made was calm, cool, and anything but hysterical, she was, quite literally, accused of being hysterical and over-reacting.  The reactions came, of course, from men who have never had to battle these types of attitudes and comments personally; in fact, these same guys are the very culprits who keep feeding the caveman’s posts in the first place.

I am sure there are lots of good guys in my group, too, just like in real life.  Most likely, they stayed quiet throughout all of this to simply keep clear of the scuffle – just like in real life.  The women, as could be predicted, came out in full force to support the female member’s post, rallying around her in true “girl power” form.

The problem is, this idiot guy and his rude followers probably genuinely don’t even perceive a problem.  But come on! Why on earth should a woman have to block someone, scroll past lewd pictures, or just suffer sexism silently? I mean, this question is relevant every day of our lives, but especially in a freakin’ group meant for classic film discussion of all places!  Then, God forbid, a woman has the spiritual fortitude to confront the men and call them out on their overt sexism … well, then she’s down-played, ignored, ridiculed, and gaslighted.

Sexism is real, and it plays out nearly every single freakin’ day in women’s lives. Women are taught to ignore it, deal with it, cope with it, and never act on it or they’ll be perceived as “over-reacting” or being “hysterical;” it is, after all, just boys being boys.  When can women unite and finally say, “Enough is enough?” If not now, when!? Sexism is so pervasive that it shows up everywhere and anywhere, even in an innocent group on Facebook that was formed to discuss classic movies.

Granted, this is a small group on Facebook.  Alarmingly, though, Facebook tends to be an interesting and realistic mash-up of the real world. Meaning, the people who are your Facebook friends or fellow group members are representative of a small microcosm of who you would find on the street every day.

Frankly, I think I need some new friends.

When Good Salads Go Bad

Okay, so picture this. My daughter and I were at our favorite pizza joint in the world.  I’m not going to mention names (*cough cough* Ledo’s).  Our mouths were watering for the best pizza and bread sticks in the world.  Not that there is ever really a BAD pizza, is there?  Even a bad pizza still beats a celery stick any day of the week, but I digress.

My daughter…my 18-year-old daughter… had decided to add a Caesar Salad to her order.

Before I go any further in my traumatizing Caesar Salad tale, let me explain.

This girl loves Caesar Salad.  She has had every Caesar Salad in every restaurant in the state.  She eats Caesar Salad with the same gusto that I have when I eat hot fudge sundaes. So, you can imagine her love for Caesar Salad. She has downloaded every recipe for every dressing she sees on Facebook.  She was given a restraining order from the Kellogg Company because of her suggestion for Frosted Caesar Salads, part of a balanced breakfast.  Her first child will be named Caesar, and rumor has it, she is trying to find a man with the last name Salad.   When she went to donate blood, she was told by the Red Cross that her blood was 90% Caesar dressing and she could not donate. She was crushed. My child has never met a crouton she didn’t like, although she does have her favorites on the salad itself. She definitely knows what is acceptable and not acceptable in the world of salads.  She has a tattoo that proudly proclaims, “I will let no lettuce remain behind.” Okay, so I made that last one up. But she does WANT the tattoo.

 In short, my daughter is a Caesar Salad connoisseur.

The waitress brought the salad and set it in front of her.  My daughter paid proper homage to the gods of salads, and then picked up her plastic cup of dressing.  Eyes full of anticipation, she poured the dressing.  Or, rather, TRIED to pour the dressing.  The dressing was so thick it stuck to the container.  She used an ice pick to chip it out.  Once it was sitting in a congealed glob of goo on top of the salad, she gamely picked up her fork and tried it.  To the horror of every Caesar Salad addict in the world, this dressing wasn’t even chilled.  Still, my daughter would not…could not…be deterred.  “There are no bad salads,” she proclaimed, “they are just misunderstood.”  I watched in horror as she lifted the play dough covered crouton to her lips.  She is the bravest girl I have ever known.

This girl put her fork down delicately, and to my utter amazement pushed the bowl aside.  She wasn’t sure what was in the silly-putty-like dressing, but she suspected it could have been expired yak milk and Gorilla Glue.  The meal continued, and at the end of the meal, the waitress brought out boxes for the leftover pizza.  She had a separate box for the salad, which by now had crawled out of the bowl and was making its way slowly towards me.   I firmly but gently tell the waitress that the salad scared me, as it was then staring at me menacingly.

My daughter, being a nicer person than me, didn’t want to complaint. I had no such issue because, well, I’m me. “That salad was a little off, and I suspect it is plotting our murder,” I told the waitress.  She apologized, and skipped merrily off to get our check.  When she returned, I saw that she was charging us for the uneaten blob that had by now swallowed the salt shaker.  Not one to make a huge fuss, and having already made the salad’s nefarious agenda to take over the restaurant known, I whipped out my credit card and paid for our meal.

Suddenly, we were accosted by a sweet looking fatherly type of gentleman.  He cornered my shy daughter in the booth and demanded – demanded – to know what was wrong with the salad.  So much for fatherly.

My sweet daughter had been so bitterly disappointed by her salad experience that she stood up for herself, despite being a non-confrontational type.  She was speaking up for salads everywhere as she informed him,   “The dressing tasted off.  I think it may have spoiled.  I didn’t trust it enough to eat it.”

The man harrumphed like Ebeneezer Scrooge.  If he’d have had a well-oiled handlebar mustache, he might have started twirling the ends of it.  “Young lady, have you ever had OUR Caesar Salad? Have you ever even HAD any Caesar Salad before?  It’s supposed to taste like that.  It should have a bite to it. I think you just don’t understand the type of dressing it is…”  His tone was condescending and accusatory at the same time, a nun scolding a student for texting in class.  “In fact,” he continued, “I had a bite of the dressing in the back, and it tasted just fine to me.”  At this point, it’s not entirely clear if he ate my daughter’s salad or had some from the kitchen, but that’s not important now.  His performance was beginning to draw a crowd as he continued treating my daughter like a puppy who chewed a shoe.  “Do you even know what a Caesar Salad should taste like?” he asked disdainfully.  This man could have been a manager, or the owner, or some homeless fellow who wandered in off the street for all we knew at that point.  He definitely took things to a whole different level.  He was dismissing her not only as both a customer, but as a thinking adult with common sense.

Having gotten past my initial shock at his take on this situation, I stepped in and told him that my daughter was very much aware of what a Caesar Salad should taste like and theirs was bordering on cruelty to customers. (I may have been a little nicer than that, but not much.)

We walked out with a coupon for a free pizza, but the salad was still charged on the bill.  I wasn’t even questioning the charge, had no plans to do so, so I am unclear why this man took this all so personally.  Perhaps this was a long lost (with good reason) family recipe?  All he needed to do was simply say, “I’m sorry you didn’t care for the salad.”  Instead, he made a huge fuss and belittled my daughter.

On the way home my daughter and I discussed this, and mutually decided that we would rather drive the extra twenty miles to the Ledo’s in the next town over, rather than go back in that store because of the manager’s attitude.  We couldn’t help but wonder if he would have treated her the same way if she was a male.  Any girl who has wandered into Home Depot looking for caulk knows the look, the attitude, and the condescending tone I am talking about.  This man definitely seemed to be “mansplaining.” It was uncalled for and, truth be told, more than a little insulting. I sincerely hope he is just a jerk with everyone, and not just the “little ladies” that come into his store.

Enjoy your arrogance, sir, and enjoy it alone.  Here are two less “little ladies” that will be putting money in your pocket.

Not Married, But Attached

I know I’ve written many times before about the weird and wild world of online dating. I’ve written about the “stranger danger” Spidey sense that hits when you decide to meet a stranger in person for the first time. I’ve written about the unflattering photos of men way past their prime flaunting their topless torsos when they really shouldn’t be (in fact, no one should be). I thought I’d seen everything. I thought there was nothing else shocking left. Oh, how utterly naïve of me. The Internet has come through, yet again, and shown me that just when I think I’ve seen it all, there’s another new whacked-out layer to discover.

We all pretty much know the basics of how online dating works, right? You write some things about yourself. You post some of your best pictures. You scroll through other people’s profiles. You swap emails. If you find someone you get along with, you meet and see where it goes from there. Pretty simple.

Recently, I was going through the motions. I was scrolling through the available men out there. I saw a man who seemed to be not a serial killer and decided to check him out. His profile was pretty normal (which is not the case a shockingly high number of times), so I move to the pictures. Picture #1, fine. Picture #2, fine. Then I get to picture #3. It’s a photo of him, at his wedding, feeding cake to his bride. There are plenty of couples who have profiles looking for a third person to add to the relationship. It’s not really for me – I don’t play well with others — but I have no problem with that. To each their own, I say. Every relationship is different. I just didn’t remember reading anything in this guy’s profile saying he and his wife were looking for someone.

So, I read his profile again.

It becomes very clear to me after another read-through that this guy is NOT married. At all. He is definitely single, as in divorced. The woman in that picture is his ex-wife. That’s when the bizarreness hit a whole new level. He actually posted a picture from his wedding—probably the happiest day of his life at that point—to a DATING SITE! I know it’s good to provide pictures showing that you know how to have fun, and yes, it sure looks like he’s having a friggin’ blast, but why in the world did he think it was a good idea to use a friggin’ wedding photo to attract other women??? Is it to prove his lack of a fear of commitment? To show he cleans up well in a tux? I almost messaged him just to ask if he could guide me through his thought process when he was choosing pictures to use…I mean, I’m really curious.

Maybe, just maybe, in his warped perception of determining what women want, he thinks that by showing that he has the ability to commit and look good in a tux, he’ll seem more desirable. If that’s the case he is sorely mistaken. All it shows me is that he is clearly still attached to his ex. Or, has no sense. Either way, it’s a no go.

I didn’t think this was something I would ever have to advise, but as a general rule of online dating, whether male or female, I don’t care how great the lighting was or how flattering the pose, DON’T use pictures from a time you legally bound your life to another person. Guess what…it’s a turn off.  I can’t be alone in this way of thinking, right?

Online Dating – Clothing Optional

Online dating is fraught with hazards and humor (mostly hazards). I’ve written about it before. For instance, my previous post about the ads I’ve seen on Craigslist, the ones where guys post—shall we say “intimate”—photos of themselves for all to see. And they’re trying to be serious! (Well, as serious one can be on Craigslist).

Today I’d like to address the “fancier,” the “nicer,” and the more “reputable” online dating sites. I’ll admit it, I check out these sites. Not for the normal reasons, though. Even though I’m on my own these days, I’m not looking too hard to change that. These online ads are sometimes just so funny and so sad at the same time. I’m not bashing online dating in general. I can easily get on board with that. I’m more talking about some of the profiles that are out there…in public…with no shame at all. It’s both hilarious and depressing.

During my periodic excursions into the wild world of online dating, I’ve noticed that many of the photo albums on these more upscale sites aren’t very different from what I’ve seen on Craigslist. They’re just more PG than MA. Whenever I see a “provocative” picture of a guy in some state of undress on these sites, the same question pops in my head. That question, of course, is WTF? Then, the second question: If you (the guy) are trying to find a significant other on one of these dating sites—or God help all involved, Craigslist—is posting a sexually suggestive picture really the right way to go?

is THAT what I think it is!?

Is THAT what I think it is!?

Maybe these guys have nothing left to lose. I’ve noticed that most of the men posting these embarrassingly lewd pictures are usually somewhat older in age. They write that they are looking for romance, an open-mind, and a companion to embark on a long-term relationship with – but no drama! As if no one out there has a backstory. Yet they follow that up with a sexually suggestive photo. Do they think that’s really going to intrigue someone who is looking for the same thing (by same thing, I mean a loving, committed, long-term relationship)? I would think that posting lurid photos would give entirely the wrong impression. But hey, that’s just me.

The latest trend I’ve noticed is that the guy’s main profile photo is one of him shirtless. He’s maybe at the beach, at the pool, on his Harley (although personally, topless motorcycle riding seems a little dangerous, don’t you think?), reclining on a deck chair, or leaning suggestively against a fence in the yard (I know, I know, but they’re out there!).  All well and good, but these guys are getting on in the years and it’s not like they’re keeping it together like Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves, or Denzel Washington. Nor have they somehow defied the calendar and still have the body of a 25-year-old Calvin Klein underwear model. Oh no. They’re in their 50’s or 60’s, and have all the signs that they’ve lived a decadent life that somehow hasn’t involved a lot of time at the gym. And that’s putting it nicely. Some of ‘em have got a sort of werewolf hybrid deal going on. Lots of hair. Lots and lots of hair. I’m sorry. But it’s true. Do these men actually think a photo of them bare-chested as their main profile picture, mind you, is actually going to attract a woman? This is how they chose to introduce themselves? No build up. No “hi how do you do?” Just, BAM, chest hair in your face.

No, no, I MUST have him!

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Maaaaaaybe they want to make sure that the sight of their bare-chestedness isn’t going to turn the woman off. I suppose that could be a possibility, right? I mean, there has to be some logic at play here. It’s not as if these guys would show up to a first date at a nice restaurant or coffee shop without a shirt on. Then again, maybe some would! Who the hell knows these days? The dating scene seems to be much, much different than it once was.

I understand trying to prove you are who you say you are, or rather, how you must make yourself stand out in this crazy new cyber-dating world. But can’t regular pictures do the same job? Believe me, I’m not a prude (ackk! I just choked on my drink on that one). I like to see skin as much as the next person, but posting these sorts of pictures on sites that are geared towards forming long-term relationships and finding the love of your life? Um…not so much. It’s not Tinder, folks.

What’s even sadder is that the women don’t really have it much better. If you don’t offer up a swimsuit photo somewhere in your cache of selfies, many men probably just move on to the next profile. Because knowing, or rather seeing, every intimate detail before you even go on the first date is apparently a must these days, whether you want to or not.

Online Hating…I Mean Dating

Raise your hand if any of you readers have started to wade into the cesspool that is online dating. Chances are any of you who have been single for a while have a hand in the air right now. (If you’re not single and you raised your hand, shame on you!)

Match. eHarmony. OKCupid. JDate. Farmer’s Only (the jingle for which haunts me even now). Bemoan their existence all you want, but dating via social media is becoming the standard in how people meet. Answering a litany of personal questions in the hopes that some stranger’s answers will match yours is just the way the world works now.

It’s wonderfully efficient, I’ll give it that. But you know what’s missing…romance! And wonder. And serendipity. And excitement of the unknown. You know the feeling. The feeling when you’re in a bar and catch the eye of someone across the room. The rest of the night is spent trying to position yourself in a place to where you two will run into each other, but totally by accident (wink-wink). Then you have this alluring stranger in front of you that is just filled to the brim with unanswered questions. It’s so thrilling!

If you haven’t been turned off to the idea of online dating after the initial (and inevitable) barrage of bathroom selfies so men can show off their package, you’ll find that the whole experience is more like a job interview than a romantic encounter. Here you are, on your first date, sitting across from someone and you already know that they prefer the lights on during sex and had a cancer scare about five years ago.

Way too much information is available going into a first date nowadays! Say that you somehow make it past the first date and have a few more dates with the person. Congrats, but don’t get too comfortable. He or she could be messaging and swiping and snap-chatting with dozens of other people to find “the one.” Or two. Or three.

Women have to worry that the guy isn’t a creeper who lied about everything on his profile page or worse, an unrepentant ax murderer who’s going to toss you in his trunk for a night of fun. Men have to worry that the girl isn’t a psycho who will show up hysterically screaming at his office if she gets an auto-email from the dating site he’s signed up for or god forbid, he doesn’t return her text in 2.5 seconds flat.

Whatever happened to the good ol’ days of going out, getting drunk, and making bad decisions? Simpler times, my friends. Simpler times.

 

I don't know...he seems pretty legit. And sensitive. To swipe right or not to swipe right. That is the question.

I don’t know…he seems pretty legit. And sensitive. Hey, he likes dogs!  My kinda guy. To swipe right or not to swipe right. That is the question.

Mature Professional Man

What can I say about the world of dating? Times they are a-changing. Whilst perusing the often hysterically funny Craigslist advertisements one day, an ad featuring the headline ‘Mature Professional Man’ grabbed my attention. I clicked on the ad, you know, just curious, hoping not to find my husband using this online name. I suppose I expected a well-dressed middle-aged man in a suit, perhaps with golf clubs in hand, ready to take his date to a ritzy country club. Perhaps a rugged hiker with a twinkle in his eye kneeling down next to his golden retriever puppy or, god forbid, a photo of him standing next to the business he started from the ground up.

Click — it is a picture of his penis. Not sure what it says about me, but I was instantly taken back to a Seinfeld episode with Elaine declaring: “He. Took. It. Out.”

Mature? Professional? Well, maybe he’s a professional (although a professional what I don’t know), but he’s certainly not mature. What made it even worse (or funnier depending on your viewpoint) is it was a serious ad. There was no “Ah-ha, gotcha!” moment. This man was genuinely earnest in his quest for a suitable mate. And all the while you’re reading about his more mundane and appropriate attributes, you’re faced with an up close view of his penis. I mean, I suppose he thought it was important.

I guess that old book from years ago entitled “Everything Men Know About Women” featuring entirely blank pages is spot on: Men do not know what women want. It’s definitely not a close up shot of your bait and tackle. I thought this was something that could go without saying but I guess in this day and age a woman has to specifically mention things like this. Do men really believe that all of us women are sex-crazed nymphomaniacs obsessed with viewing grainy, blurry pictures of men’s packages?

woman screaming

just so we’re clear, here is the typical reaction you get

To my knowledge, there has never been a romance novel written where a woman saw a picture of a man’s penis and instantly fell in love and knew that was the man she just had to marry. Sorry guys, but most women seeking a romantic encounter and perhaps even a long-term relationship with someone they meet online, a photograph of his penis is not the first thing they want to see. A picture of his bank account maybe…. You failed, MPM.

So Mature Professional Man, let me make this easy for you (it’s okay to take notes):  1) Women want men who treat them well. This should be a no-brainer but after MPM messed everything up I can’t make any assumptions about what guys understand. 2) Women want chivalrous and smart men. 3) Maybe most important for those of you wondering why your online dating career hasn’t taken off yet; Any woman worth dating is not going to send you a message because you have a nice penis. But then again, what Mature Professional Man worth dating puts an ad like this on Craigslist?

Call me old-fashioned. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong (wouldn’t be the first time). Perhaps one day we will live in a society where women choose their lifelong companions based on penis shapes and dimensions. It may become trendy for women to carry specialized tape measures with them. When they meet a nice man they can use it to say, “Sorry, but before we go any farther I’m going to need to measure you.” and reaches into his zipper without anyone on the street paying any mind at all. Just another girl-meets-boy encounter. These tape measures could be carried on the hip in a fashion-accessorized, blinged-out holster and have voice notifications and alert ringtones made by Nokia or Samsung.

Surely this is not the most outrageous prediction one could make about the future of society. There have been worse prophesies. And worse inventions. Watch, I just gave someone an excellent idea and years from now I’ll be kicking myself for not patenting the damn thing.

Many so-called reality TV shows have already started down this road. Shows such as Millionaire Matchmaker, The Cougar, Momma’s Boys, Temptation Island, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette illustrate how real-life romance isn’t cutting it anymore. Romance, it seems, has been unseated and replaced by more base and dubious motives, most of which are far removed from the traditional concept of love. Society is clamoring for more drama, more sex, more prizes, more to win, and more to lose if it doesn’t work out. Romance is turning into a competition not an act of love. While these TV shows might be moderately amusing, they portray a perverted view of “reality” as far removed from real reality as Barbara Walter’s ego is.

Okay, I’ve got a fantastic, sure-fire hot property, and I’m pitching it to the network honchos first thing Monday morning: Get ready for the newest, hottest, dating drama coming this fall! Get heated up and tune in for (wait for it) … Penis Wars! — Ladies, get your fashion-accessorized tape measures ready, because there’s sure to be some amazing things to measure here on Penis Wars! Sound absurd?

Well, who could have predicted that Naked and Afraid would ever see the light of day? Wait a second … Did you say ‘naked’? As in naked nudity? Oh, right. Nudity sells itself. It was Hogan’s Heroes and F-Troop I was thinking of that would have been hard sells to the network brass.

Listen up, guys — and you especially, MPM — if you take away nothing else from this entry you will still have been served well by heeding this one piece of advice: Stop posting pictures of your penis! Present yourself with a little bit of class. Dust off what remains of the etiquette your mothers taught you and flaunt for us (just to be totally clear, not your penises). We want to see that indomitable, innate charm rise to the surface. There’s no woman out there that will look at your profile and turn her head in disgust because you showed her your chivalrous behavior. Show your junk and you run that risk more times that you would like to think. So, just be a gentleman. I know you can do it. Oh, a nice shirt and tie doesn’t hurt either!