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Posts Tagged ‘Pecking order’

Dear Reader’s Digest,

Thank you for your efforts to empower women. I’m sure this title didn’t seem patronizing when you published this pamphlet in 1973 — 10 years behind the start of the second wave of feminism.

Now, though …

I’m surprised every chapter doesn’t just say, “Call a man.”

To be fair, it doesn’t ever say that, but there is a whiff of condescension. For example, in the “Starting difficulties” section of the “Six dilemmas with your car” chapter, the unnamed writer states:

If your car refuses to start, but the battery has enough power to crank the engine, you may not be using the correct starting procedure.

You must use your delicate lady feet to depress the accelerator.

To your credit, there is some great information in here. But let’s be honest: Not all men are handy, and not all women take to their fainting sofas when faced with an emergency.

Shock? Or Reader’s Digest’s expectations of a woman’s general nature?

A better title would have been the simple, “Guide to household emergencies.” Oh wait — you thought of that as you published a similar guide in the same year under that exact title. Why not call it, “Men’s guide to household emergencies?”

Anyway, lucky for us, the women’s guide is enhanced with these special illustrations:

You too can change a tire without damaging your manicure!

Yet no self-respecting woman (or man, for that matter) should heed your advice regarding toilet clogs:

Try reaching as far as possible into the toilet to dislodge the blockage.

Um … no.

My 1950s June Cleaver-style mom clearly found this guide useful, as it was one of the few things she kept. (She wasn’t particularly sentimental, and thankfully wasn’t a borderline hoarder like someone else I know.)

My mom always liked to be prepared. In fact, she tucked in the pages of your guide this clipping from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution:

Note that the AJC did not select target audience gender. So that’s nice. And rather forward-thinking compared to you.

Anyway, thanks for providing amusement for me 45 years after publication.

Dying to get my mitts on the “men’s” version for comparison,
Beth

 

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Dear MTV Programming Honchos:

I was sick for days, but now I’m cured. You get the credit.

Without you, I moved slowly through the five stages of illness (yep, just like the stages of grief).

Denial
My throat is not sore. I’ve just been running my mouth too much.

Anger
I refuse to get sick.

Bargaining
Please, I can’t get sick right now. I have too much to do. I’ll take NyQuil tonight and be fine tomorrow.

Depression
Why now? Why me?

Acceptance
This is where you come in. I cancelled all plans and did what I should have done in the beginning: Curl up on the couch and binge-watch “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.”

Yes, y’all: Almost 10 years since the debut of “Jersey Shore,” but some things haven’t changed (including Pauly D‘s hair).

I’m your target audience. If it’s reality TV, I’ll watch it. As you know.

In case you gave the green light but stopped paying attention (and shame on you, if you did), let me recap my favorite episode of the marathon:

Ronnie was grinding on slop tarts all night, but in a 2018 development, there is Instagram evidence. His girlfriend isn’t answering the phone. He assumes she is pissed off at him. He finally gets her on the duck.She hasn’t seen the photos/videos and isn’t upset. He instigates a fight. The rest of the guys can’t believe it.

Then they act it out in the interview room like The Roots do “The Bachelor.

I’m on the edge of the couch, phlegm forgotten: Will they work it out? We’ll see when she comes to visit.

In the next episode, Deena crashes guys’ night out, gets drunk and starts falling like she does. Best line from Vinny, who did not want her to come with them:

“She’s a drunk little meatball. You have to contain her or she’s going to roll off the plate.”

I love this show. So much.

Trish, who stayed with us this weekend, was mortified.

Trish: How can you still be smart when you watch crap like this?

Me: It’s because of crap like this. It’s a palate cleanser!

So thank you, MTV people. I wouldn’t say I’m mint, but I’m not jacked hideous.

Yours in neutral,
Beth

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A summary of “Avengers: Infinity War”

Dear People of Earth Who Want to See “Avengers: Infinity War” But Didn’t See It On Opening Weekend:

I have thoughts about the movie, if you want to hear them. I’m just a regular person, not a movie critic. Here are some other disclaimers:

  • I’m not a DC fan. Sorry. Too dark. No humor. I fell asleep during “Batman vs. Superman” and didn’t feel like I missed anything. I refused to go with my family to see “Justice League.” I did like “Wonder Woman,” though.
  • I’ve seen all of the Marvel Universe movies. I wish Stan Lee were my grandfather. When my kids met him, I was the one breathing into a paper bag. As I do.
  • I love Thor, Loki, Iron Man and Bruce Banner (not the Hulk, though).
  • I don’t like Captain America, Bucky, Spider-Man, Vision and the Scarlet Witch. There: I said it.
  • I cannot get enough of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
  • I haven’t read any of the comic books.

All right. Now that I have all that out of the way so you know where I’m coming from, here are my thoughts:

1. The movie could have been subtitled, “How Thor Gets His Groove Back” or “The Trouble with Hulky” or “Call Me By My Superhero Name.” (And two of those could be six-word movie reviews.)

2. All the Avengers  (except two) got screen time — some more than others, of course. I’m satisfied.

3. I now like Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man much better. Shocking! (There’s a bit between Spider-Man and Star Lord — with side notes from Iron Man and Drax — that is brilliant.)

4. The best villains are the ones that have an understandable motive and some humanity. Thanos is a great villain.

5. There’s enough in this movie for five stand-alone movies (i.e., plenty going on, so don’t step out for popcorn or a wee).

6. If you haven’t seen any of the movies, you still will understand what is going on. You won’t pick up on some of the comments, but that’s OK.*

7. It’s funny. The best thing about the Avengers is the chemistry among them (and the resulting banter). The best scenes are the ones where characters meet other characters for the first time.

8. The ending is dark. Not really DC dark, but darker than usual.

9. BUT know that this isn’t over. There are more Avengers movies to come, so don’t freak out at the ending.

10. It’s worth the money (but it does make me want to go back and watch the first “Iron Man,” the first “Avengers” and the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” for all the character development and quotable lines).

Hope you enjoy it! I’d love to know what you think.
Beth

* If you’ve never seen prior movies, this will be me trying to explain:

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Dear Trish the Chicken,

It’s been eight years since your untimely death. I miss you on the reg, but never more so than yesterday.

I went to the Northwest Georgia Poultry Club show in Calhoun, Georgia — an hour northish of where we live now.

By myself.

For no reason beyond curiosity.

I did feel out of place, though. For example, I drive a Volkswagen, not something like this:

 

Also, I wasn’t wearing camouflage. (An oversight, really. I do own plenty of camo and a general affinity for rednecks.)

The show made me miss you so much, and also miss having a house where we could have chickens. Look at your beautiful brethren!

This looks like some kind of dog!

I thought the sign said “bitchen” at first, and I thought, “Yes, that is a bitchen’ chicken.”

Look at this handsome specimen!

She’s got legs, and knows how to use them.

What a beautiful bird.

This face!

As I am mostly a “city girl,” it’s hard for me to understand some customs. For example, why is one of the judges wearing a Clinique consultant coat and the other is wearing an apron?

Let’s review your skin care regimen.

The apron on the guy on the left says, “Judge.” It makes me fear for the losers of the competition.

The contestants were vying for these trophies. And perhaps the hand sanitizer as well.

And the title of Champion Cock.

These were the sights. You can imagine the smells. Here are the sounds:

Finally, thanks to the onsite Tabernacle of Praise, I was able to say a little prayer for you.

Anyway, it was an interesting Saturday morning.

And I still miss you.

Love always,
Beth

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Dear Patrons of the Bar I Visited Friday Night:

You are the reason I don’t go out much (though there are other reasons too). I needed to do reconnaissance for a PR project, so I willed myself to exit my home, collect my friend René, and head to Metalsome Karaoke: karaoke backed by a live band.

René and I get ready to rock.

 

This was our view during the karaoke extravaganza.

The night started out great, but quickly went downhill. Why?

The Drunk Girl
I’m sorry (not sorry) I had to hip check you. René nicely asked you to stop flinging yourself against me. You would not stop. And then you took the stage, and we saw that you were way past the point of reason.

The Bouncer
This guy took himself very seriously. It was like he was guarding U2. “Come on, dude,” I thought. That is, until the above tried to rape the guitarist onstage. And then I understood why the bouncer was on high alert.

The Predator
The girl in front of you clearly wanted to watch the band and “singers.” She did not want you humping her. I promise.

After a badly botched rendition of “Bitch,” by a friend of Drunk Girl, René and I decided to leave the comfort of our Stage Left perch and explore the rest of the bar.

That was a mistake.

We waded through the beer soup on the ground floor up the stairs to find two more floors of sweaty bodies. All the guys were short, aging, puffy frat boys. Exhibit A:

Yet the women were Size Zero model wannabes. Exhibit B:

The men outnumbered the women three to one. And there were so many people! There had to have been fire code violations.

Me trying to get out of the bar

When we finally made it through the press of bodies and landed outside on the sidewalk, I apologized to René. He looked over his glasses at me and said:

And that’s why I don’t go to straight bars.

Got it.

Still drying out my shoes,
Beth

* Reference for title

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EPISODE 3: Rated PG-13 for Near Nudity and Coarse Language

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON

Two groups of six HARDBODIES each have taken over two corners of the pool. The scent of testosterone is more pungent than chlorine. TWO OTHER COUPLES lounge at the other corners. Each couple basks in the Atlanta sun, oiled up like Thanksgiving turkeys.


DOMINIC and GIDEON and THEIR LESS-SWOLLEN-AND-RASHY MOTHER enter the pool area. They are joined by FATHER, no less a hardbody than the 12 mentioned above. However, the appearance of MOTHER and FATHER in the pool area raises the median age by at least 15 years.

MOTHER and FATHER survey the pool area with dismay. BLINDINGLY WHITE MOTHER needs shade.* They head to the covered area with the plush furniture. DOMINIC and GIDEON are reluctant to get in the water with so many people there (i.e., potential victims for which they will get in trouble for splashing). They sit on the plush furniture and contemplate their next moves.

HARDBODY GROUP NO. 1 starts talking about leaving to go to dinner.

FRATTY GUY NO. 1
I’m down for whatever.

HAIR-TOSSING GIRL NO. 1
We should eat. They are expecting us there by 7.

FRATTY GUY NO. 1
I’m down for whatever.

HAIR-TOSSING GIRL NO. 2
I could eat. Should we go get pizza?

FRATTY GUY NO. 1
I’m down for whatever.

HARDBODY GROUP NO. 1 exits.

Conversation amount and volume increase within HARDBODY GROUP NO. 2 out of earshot of MOTHER. They exit.

DOMINIC and GIDEON jump into the pool. FATHER goes to work out (of course). MOTHER sips her beer and pretends to read about TRUMP in The New Yorker (but really just looks at the cartoons).

SPLASHING commences.

MOTHER spots BASTED TURKEY LADY NO. 1 looking around the pool as if to say, “Where are these children’s parents?” She murmurs disapproval to BASTED TURKEY MAN NO. 1. MOTHER sits calmly waiting for THE BASTEDS NO. 1 to see her. BASTED LADY finally does. Her pinched, angry face relaxes slightly.

TWO RUBENESQUE WOMEN carrying large floats, a massive bag of Outback takeout, and an also-oversized speaker enter the pool area. They commence eating. After their meal, they remove their cover-ups to get into the pool. RUBENS NO. 1 is wearing a bathing suit with a keyhole cleavage opening in the front. There is at least a foot of cleavage.

SMALLER-BREASTED MOTHER wonders if she is breaking a rule by not being busty in the pool area, as large teats appear to be the norm.

FATHER returns from his alone time in the gym.

Despite the fact that music already is playing over the speakers in the pool area, RUBENS NO. 2 begins to play loud hip-hop music on her speaker.

MUSIC
F— them! F— her! The b—- can s— my d—! (and similar).

FATHER and MOTHER look at each other in alarm. Such language is to be heard in the privacy of the home via the many action movies they like to watch as a family. It certainly cannot be heard out in the wild. They are outraged. FATHER and MOTHER give the RUBENS TWINS pointed looks. RUBENS NO. 1 notices their distress and nudges RUBENS NO. 2, who changes the song.

MOTHER and FATHER run out of beer in the cooler. MOTHER decides it is time to go make dinner.

She exits.

Moments later, FATHER, DOMINIC and GIDEON exit.

(END OF SCENE)

 

*EXTREMELY PALE MOTHER visited the Dominican Republic last year on a cruise. She put on 50 SPF, a one-piece bathing suit plus hat and cover-up. She stayed in the shade of a building all day and STILL got burned. On her stomach. True story.

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screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-9-04-59-am

Dear Ms. K.,

I received this email from you at 1:12 a.m. today. Have we met? Your name does not sound familiar. A quick search of Facebook revealed your account. We are not friends, so I’m not sure why I am on your mailing list.

I don’t want to keep you hanging on the edge of your seat waiting for my reply, so here it is:

No.

And not only no, but hell no.

While I was on your FB page seeing if we had any friends in common, I found this:

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-9-08-56-am

And this:

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-9-07-18-am

And, DEAR GOD, this:

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-9-07-39-am

It’s clear we are not on the same page about how to make “Amarica” great again. (“Again” implies there was a time when we were better than we are now. When exactly was that? Based on the information you posted publicly, I’m guessing you believe it is when slavery was A-OK.)

This is a “no trainer” for me.

You stay in your basket, and I’ll stay in mine.

Most sincerely,
Beth

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