Monthly Archives: September 2011
|September 30, 2011||Filled under Brazen Advice for the Desperate|
How does one make peace with India as a place where they are bound to stay till the end of their days?
When I lived in India, I was torn between two worlds. One in which slaves were cheap, but almost everything else sucked. And now that India is an emerging global power, even they have to make considerations to human rights. Like that most slaves get Sundays off and hardly ever have to fight in gladiator rings with barbaric, diphtheria-laced tools. Chances are though, they still cook with them.
And it’s not really true that India sucks. It’s hot and dirty and the cockroaches carry away small children from time to time, but there are a plethora of ways to find peace:
- Chai Masala.
… and maybe the cheap slaves.
But I think this is really the opening to the exploration of a bigger issue: How do we make peace with the lives we’ve chosen for ourselves?
Approximately once a week on a good week and seven times a week on a bad week, I wake up and think “Who’s fucking life is this and how do I get out of it?” Then I roll into my extra-fluff down comforter deep enough so I can only barely hear my husband’s voice when he says “Here’s your coffee dear” and have adequate padding around me before the blonde energy leper of a daughter I have decides to use me as a human trampoline. When I finally get up and put my healthy bare feet on my clean parquet floors I’m usually still feeling sorry for myself. If my teenage step-son is in the hallway listening to his ever present cell-phone stereo of Lil Wayne I begin contemplation of suicide.
Sometimes it isn’t until I’ve run another espresso through my artisan machine while staring out at my urban roof terrace vegetable garden that I realize I am standing in what I always wanted (or thought I wanted) surrounded by the people I love (most of the time). And that my life is awesome. Sometimes overwhelming, but always awesome.
Ultimately where we are is the result of a series of decisions we have made and continue to make every day. Choosing to get up and not change something that needs changing is still a choice, albeit a passive one. If we are dissatisfied with our choices or the lives we have created, then we alone are accountable. That sounds scary, but accountability is at the same time a kind of empowerment. Recognizing that we are in control of our lives and not a victim of circumstance (or the banes of reincarnation perhaps) puts us in a position to either accept our choices or make new ones.
Sometimes I want a new life and I think I can become a super hero in pretend or just hitchhike to a new life of my choice. I’ll just get on the road and some cowboy will pick me up in a rusty truck and drive me to his ranch on the Oregon Coast and ask me to plant a giant organic garden while he digs post holes with his shirt off. And sometimes I think I should have gone to Africa and dug up bones and hung around camp fires with the !Kung bushmen and been one of those skinny, tan archaeologist types who wears only shades of khaki. Or I could live in India where the weather is beautiful always and saris are in and there are 54 types of mangoes and chai masala and a billion people that are easy going enough to share the roads with the buffalo.
|September 26, 2011||Filled under Androgyny vs. Equality, Brazen Politics|
That was the beginning of my awakening to a reality that years of college lesbianism had blinded me from: Men and women are different. And it’s okay. more
|September 24, 2011||Filled under Miscellaneous Prose, Uncategorized|
In fact, if I think back to other breakups in my life, being drunk was always a critical step to healing, reentering the dating market, and trusting in intimacy again. Usually all in the same night. more
|September 22, 2011||Filled under Uncategorized|
Short answer: Not as long as the number of orgasms you provide are adequately representative of the value of gifts received.
Long answer: The good news is that you’re not the first man-whore in history. There was Paul Varjak in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, who was busy eyeballing Holly’s shoes while he made bank popping some lady from up town. And before that, there was Phaedo of Elis (4th Century BC) who was a sex slave to the Greek higher echelon before Socrates “freed” him. Being “freed” back then is kind of like same-sex marriage in California by today’s standards. And even before that, the Pagan priestesses made great use of boys in return for favors (you know, two turns in the sheets for a pox cure or something).
Historically, artists (Mozart, Chopin) have had wealthy “patrons” that essentially gave them an allowance to pretend they were attracted to said patron, get laid, and then go write some genius notes. Perhaps most famous of all was Casanova, who prologued his epic “My Life” with a long explanation as to precisely why it is not morally reprehensible to offer favors in return of favors. Unfortunately his calling card was syphilis, which I think can put a quick end to any sort of Groupon coupons or Barnes and Nobles gift certificates one may have been expecting.
The bottom line is that various laws of balance should apply to our relationships as adults. There should be some give and some take so that all parties benefit in a currency that they prefer. And then you apply semantics to avoid the nastiness of morals. Philosophy and Logic 101:
Jane buys me stuff.
I am attracted to stuff.
I am attracted to Jane.
In one way or another.
So no, I don’t think it is morally reprehensible to sleep with a woman because she’s nice and buys you stuff. But you better be rockin’ her world. And remember in dealing with other human beings: Openness and honesty of expectations avoids a lot of misunderstandings later. If Jane expects a dinner at The Olive Garden or a shopping spree at Big Five Sports to make you fall in love with her, you might be forced to clarify your definition of attraction. I recommend achieving a safe distance of ten yards and a running head start before doing so.
|September 15, 2011||Filled under Motherhood|
How do you deal with mouthy 16 yr old step-daughters before resorting to violence?
This is a good question. Lots of people busy themselves with questions like this. Then they write books and share them with parents. They are great books and great examples of how to properly handle exactly these kinds of situations. Their children are balanced and respectful, respond to requests made of them, and think smoking is unhealthy and thus to be avoided. Or at least, if they actually HAD children, that’s how the children would be.
I used to think these guys knew what they were doing because they make a lot of money doing it, but then I read an example in Parenting with Love and Logic (by Foster Cline and Jim Fay). They use the word “sassing.” My grandmother used to say that too, so I was pretty sure their experience is based on 1953 households and episodes of Leave It To Beaver. Their “sassing” example goes something like this (only different so I don’t get sued):
Smart Parent: Please pick up your plate.
Smart Ass Kid: Whatevah Ho.
Smart Parent: Would you like to go to your room or outside until you can speak respectfully?
(Example ends, hypothetical child was miraculously cleared of shitty attitude by Facebooking for hours in their room.)
This is how something like that goes down in my house:
Me: Please pick up your plate.
Smart Ass Kid: Whatevah Ho.
(Example ends, real child most likely maimed by launched wooden spoon and teetering on the speechless end of consciousness while I justify actions by knowing those brain cells would be burned by cheap college beer someday anyway. If he were ever to make it into college, that is.)
Being as that, despite otherwise indicated, I am neither a fan of violence nor the actual mother of said Smart Ass Kid, my options are limited. Step-children make for a complicated mix. Someone else had a long turn at messing them up before you even got in the mix to help mess them up some more, and there’s the mother-load of a divorce somewhere along the way. General advice on this matter is found somewhere on the spectrum between “Run” and “Good Luck.”
There are a few options, as mentioned above.
1. Drugs: You can achieve and maintain a chronic state of inebriation from years 12 to 18. You may be miserable, but you’ll be too messed up to care. Con: You’ll miss the year Leonardo DiCaprio sprouted body hair (which I am sure is soon to come). Pro: You can pre-book your rehab and have a better chance of getting a single-bed room.
2. Violence: This method is only valid if you are Chuck Norris and you live in a 1979 Kung Fu classic. In Chuckality, all conflict can be resolved with a swift roundhouse to the right temple. I didn’t confirm this, but I think it’s illegal in at least 49 of the 50 United States, unless you are in fact Chuck Norris. Con: Easy to pull hamstring muscles and hard to command respect when lying on the floor with a gimpy leg. Pro: Success may land you in prison for most of remaining teenage years, thereby avoiding recurrence of sassing, and you can bet those butch girls in Block B don’t sass either.
3. Consistency: This is the secret weapon of all parents and adults. If you have not discovered it yet, I urge you to try it. It’s like poison to bad behaviors, but it takes more resolve than President Bush on the search for WMD. Because no matter what, you cannot stray from your MO. Con: You sound like a broken record. Pro: You sound like a broken record.
It’s the job of teenagers to try to get us to respond (usually emotionally) and thus a set boundary will be tested, tested again, and tested some more. Contrary to popular belief, teenagers are not evil. They’re learning how to interact. So choose your border, make it clear, and never cross it.
Regardless of your relationship to the said teenager, (parent, step-parent, neighbor, whatevah), it is your right as a human being to demand respect. You wouldn’t let a colleague, spouse, friend talk to you that way, so just because you can’t sell step-kids to the gypsies for organ harvesting doesn’t mean you have to tolerate disrespectful speak. Or sassing. Or smack talk. Or wisin’ off.
Practice impenetrable lines like these:
“I do not respond to a disrespectful tone.”
“If you want to talk like that, you’ll need to leave the room.”
“We speak respectfully in this house, or not at all.”
“Your biological mother may have raised you to be an ungrateful, ignorant heathen, but by god you’ll fucking talk NICE to me or I’ll flame torch your goddamn Justin Bieber CDs and post your entire diary on Facebook before you can say ‘like.’ And that’s another thing: Like is not an adverb!”
The one I used most on my toddler (because she still likes Raffi and not Justin Bieber – and if she ever DOES like Justin Bieber, I’ll be checking with those gypsies) is this: “That was not a respectful tone. Would you like to try again?”
I also recommend opening a change in your behavior with a statement. Something casual over dinner, in the hallway, or after you’ve unplugged the wireless router to facilitate an internet-free weekend for entitled teenagers (one of my favorites). I like a warning that sounds ominous and creepy and requires no response like:
“So the disrespectful tone in the house is no longer tolerable. From now on, I will not respond to it.”
“Did you know your kidney is worth fifteen grand on the black market? Oh by the way – let’s work on talking nice to each other.”