#YesAllWomen

Have you seen this hashtag?  If you haven’t, you may want to check it out before reading this here bliggity blog so that you know what in the heck I’m even talking about.  I’m glad the movement finally has some feet, but good Lord WHY do we even have to say it?!  So here’s my take on it, as a woman, as one who walks this path every day of her life, as someone who has been preaching #yesallwomen for over a decade.  Because I’m fired up.

 

I’m fired up after being harassed, again, for the ten thousandth time, by a man because I dared to be a woman out in public.  I’m fired up because there’s NOTHING I can do to stop the harassment.  There is no response that these particular men will accept that doesn’t get me either followed around and called names or hit on.  There’s nothing I can do that will allow me to carry on my daily tasks in peace.  I’ve been down this road 100 times.  We all have.  #yesALLwomen

 

I walked into the grocery store (Yes, ladies, the grocery store isn’t even a safe haven for us, and for the most part, it’s only full of US.)  I saw the man hovering by the front door as I approached.  I saw him eyeballing me (by me, I mean my ass) the second I got out of my car.  I had a decision to make.  A decision I have to make every time I see this look in some dude’s eye and I know he’s going to “hey, girl” me while looking at my breasts as though I am privileged to be ogled by such a specimen.  Do I feel like being called a bitch today?  If not, then I’ll have to be polite and say “hi” back when he tries to make contact.  I know the consequences of this are that he’s going to try to get in my pants, because CLEARLY I have shown interest in his penis with my polite response.  I can also choose to ignore him, meaning he will then call me a bitch or, most likely, since he appears to be doing nothing in particular, follow me around in order to make sure I know that I’m missing out and that I’m a stupid whore.  After assessing the situation, I chose the polite version.  The guy wasn’t doing anything, so I knew that no matter what, he was going to follow me (he did), but he was also alone, so he didn’t have anyone to impress, so maybe I would get off easy.

 

No such luck.  His four buddies were waiting for him inside the store.  Let the ignorant games begin. *sigh*  I just want to get my groceries and get out of here.  My kids are on summer break and have been at one another’s throats all day, so I wasn’t gonna drag all 3 of them to the store, which meant I had to go after bedtime.  It was late.  I was tired.  Just let me get my milk and eggs and be on my way, MFer.

 

He stalked me through the produce section leaning back and making disgusting spittle noises and saying “damn” over and over.  Wonderful.  He sounded like the Bot when she’s stuffed too much apple sauce in her mouth and she’s trying to slurp it all back in.  I flourished my wedding ring.  His buddies laughing at my obvious discomfort.

 

I yawned as I walked down the juice aisle.  It’s 9 pm and I’m 30 minutes from home loading up on Juicy Juice after what amounts to 2 months of OT for a stay at home mom (summer BREAK?)  A dude in the aisle says, “You look tired!”  He’s making eye contact and smiling pleasantly and NOT staring at my ass when speaking to me. SWEET!  So I smile back and say, “Yeah, just trying to get this done.  Summer break isn’t a break for moms.”  He chuckles a little and tells me to have a good night.  Too late.  I realize that jerk face is right behind me and has seen me talking to another dude.  His heckles are raised, my friends, and raised heckles are a terrible thing to waste.  Polite, non-leering man received some of my attention; therefore, touch my penis mcgee has decided that I owe him some as well, only he’s not going to make normal conversation and let me go about my business, OH NO! He is not.

 

I could barely understand most of his mumbles as I nodded and inched away through ten minutes of questions on whether I am married (yes, you eyed my ring several times), and “how married” as though there are degrees of married (hint: there aren’t.)  There was something about working on the railroad and a Mercedes and a Jaguar and he has 5 kids and here are their names tattooed on his arms and he’s divorced and whatever.  And then, “it’s too bad you’re married, or you could get my number.”

 

O.M.G. Seriously? No one is THAT douchey!  I almost wish we were in the pharmacy department so that I could grab a box of douche and physically hand it to him while walking away.  He tried 3 more times to get my number, saying I may need someone to talk to.  Really? Are you a psychologist? Because I think I need one after talking to you.  I also probably just got crabs by being in your vicinity, so thanks for that.

 

I wish I could say this was an isolated incident.  But it’s not.  I deal with this a few times a month.  Can I walk down the street without being cat called out of a car window?  Can I take my baby for a stroll or walk a dog or even get the mail without at least weekly harassment from a man in a passing car?  Nope.  I can’t.  Not at my biggest, not at my smallest, not even when I gave myself a hideous boy haircut and wore only men’s clothing.  I can’t walk down the street without being cat called and having inappropriate comments about my body. Because I am a woman. In public. And so I deserve it somehow.  We’ve all experienced it.  #yesALLwomen

 

And there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

 

Or is there?

 

Dudes.  My good men out there.  Hear my plea!  TEACH YOUR SONS THAT THIS IS NOT OK!  Cat calling women is NOT ok!  We don’t LIKE it.  It’s NOT a compliment.  Call it what it is.  It’s showing off.  Because no man alone in a car cat calls women.  It’s the man in the passenger seat making a woman uncomfortable for the benefit of his car full of friends who find her discomfort amusing.  GOOD DUDES, if your friends are cat calling women or harassing them in the grocery store, or the library or the bar, then tell them to CUT IT OUT!  When you stop making them feel like the coolest POS in the room for it, THEN things will change!  When you see your buddy staring at a woman’s breasts while she’s obviously uncomfortable and not interested, a, “Hey, man, let’s go over here and grab a beer, you’re making her uncomfortable” would do the 50% of us with a vagina a heck of a lot of good.

 

Teach your sons that it is perfectly OK if a woman isn’t interested in him.  There are 3.5 BILLION of us on this planet.  One of us is going to like him.  Teach him that going back to his buddies and calling her a bitch because she DARED to shun his affections is completely inappropriate.  Teach him that if his friend is rejected by a woman, that’s ok, too, and if his buddy comes back and calls her names, to STAND UP FOR HER.  She has every right to not be ok being leered at and hit on or have her marriage or relationship questioned.

 

Stop letting your friends follow women around and eyeballing their bodies or making comments about their bodies, especially when the woman is just trying to go about her day!  Stop laughing at our discomfort!  Stop making your pal feel like the more uncomfortable he makes us, the cooler he is.

 

HELP US!  WE can’t change this alone.  We need your help.  Man the eff up and do something about this!

 

If you’ve got the stomach for something a little more graphic, click and watch this.  Welcome to a day in our world.

 

http://www.upworthy.com/a-french-film-showing-men-what-being-a-woman-feels-like-kinda?c=reccon1

Experiment results!

So, I wrote this AGES ago….and apparently forgot to actually push the publish button.  Go, Mom Brain!  I was wondering why it had no views.  My intelligence is UNMATCHED in the human world!

So, I was inspired by Allison over at MotherhoodWTF to see what happened when I didn’t nag my family to pick up after themselves.  And by inspired, I mean I copied her idea exactly.  Here are the (surprising) results of that experiment.

NAG ZONE 1: THE KITCHEN DESK

A recap of what it looked like before, when I had cleaned it of everything that did not belong on it.

Image

Progression:

desk1

desk4

Look how much win this is!  I only added a book, a couple of pencils, and stuff that belongs on the desk because the desk is for paperwork, and it is paperwork!  GO, TEAM NO NAGGING!

NAG ZONE 2:  THE KITCHEN COUNTER

When it was clean:

 

kitchenbefore

The progression: Day 1

 

kit1

Day 2:

 

kitchen4

The pile of crap just…SPREAD OUT! AAAAH!  Also, bread.  There is no need to pick up things that you have gotten out to use when Karen will just beg and plead with you ten times to put it away.  Or will she?

NAG ZONE 3: THE LIVING ROOM

Before:

lrbefore

After 2 days:

lr1

This was another surprise for me.  Not much damage, when, in general, when I’m Naggy McNaggerson, this room is a DISASTER of toys and pillows and blankets all over everywhere.

NO NAG ZONE 4: BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.  I.E. THE STAIRS

Before.  Really.  This is the “clean” version.

stairsbefore

After:

stairs1

I HATE these stairs and all the stuff that collects on it.  There is NEVER not anything on the stairs to be tripped over.  DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND?!  I am a hovering helicopter parent, and I have nightmares that they trip on the stairs and break a tooth and get an oral infection and DIE!!!!!

NAG ZONE 5: THE KITCHEN TABLE

Before:

tablebefore

After:  I decided to take lots of pictures of this for reasons unknown to me.

table1

table2

Table4

This is what made my eyeballs twitch for the two experimental days.  Because I knew that ketchup needed to be refrigerated and I would have to throw it away.  I just kept whispering to myself, “It’s already almost gone anyway.  I also knew I was going to hear, “But it’s staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaale!!!!!” the next time he wanted to eat that cereal that he left on the table for two days.  Open, of course.

RESULTS:  I learned two things.  One, when I don’t nag, they actually pick up MORE than usual!  CRAZY!  My house did NOT become an unacceptable level of filthy.

Two, and this was the one that surprised me most, I didn’t mind so much (other than knowing I was going to have to toss perfectly good ketchup. I made them eat the stale cereal.)  Also, we were so much happier without me nagging.  We enjoyed our mess and did fun things instead of me repeating myself over and over and getting angrier and angrier and then yelling, as that’s the only way things get done, or so I thought.  Turns out, if I don’t yell or even ask, they clean up after themselves on their own, just not right away, as is my preference.  I was a LOT calmer and less stressed, though it does suck to clean all the things as my job during the day and have stuff explode on it the second they walk in the door.  However, I am, in general, a museum liver (not to be confused with a cow or sheep liver), and that’s just not possible with three kids.  Anyway, no nagging means winning.  We were fun and happy, and only a little messier than usual.

 

NO NAG ZONE CONCLUSION:  SUCCESS!!!!

 

Karen’s No Nag Zone

Allison over at Motherhood WTF has been conducting experiments on what happens to her family’s items when she doesn’t nag them to pick them up.

Inspired, I am hereby conducting an experiment.  It’s called “What happens when Karen doesn’t nag her family to clean up after themselves.”

This family knows that they are expected to clean up their own stuff.  I only clean up after me and the baby, and sometimes Eric when he is busy doing other things like working or taking care of the children or making dinner, what have you.  Still, he cleans up after himself 99% of the time.

However, I HATE HATE nagging.  It’s sucking my soul dry.  I am sick of seeing things sitting where they do not belong and constantly saying, “pick up your ____.  You know it doesn’t belong there.  You know where it does belong.  You have two huge bedrooms upstairs and a huge playroom downstairs to play in.  The toys do not belong on this floor of the house.  Your socks don’t belong in/on/under the couch/car.  Pick them up.”  They know what they are supposed to do.  I’m not some magical being (like a wizard or a cat) who can see things out of place that others cannot.

So I’m not going to tell them to pick it up anymore.  I’m done.  I’ll vacuum AROUND all of their shit instead of picking it all up and placing it on the bottom of the stairs with the implication of “this is yours, take it upstairs.”  And then watching it sit there and pile up for 3 weeks before saying, “Pick up your stuff on the stairs.  You’ve walked by it 2000 times.  You know it is yours and doesn’t belong there and that stuff on the bottom of the stairs means TAKE IT UPSTAIRS WITH YOU THE NEXT TIME YOU GO UP!  If you don’t pick it up, I’m throwing it away.”  That’s the ONLY time stuff gets picked up around here.  When I tell them to (at least 3 times.  It never gets picked up the first time I ask.) and then when I threaten to take away tokens or throw stuff away.

I’m done.  I’m going to take photos of the 5 problem areas here.  The first set are what they look like after I’ve finished my daily housework and before the kids get home from school.  The second set are what they look like when the kids go to bed tonight, without me saying so much as “pick up your homework and put it in your backpack” or “please get those stinky socks off the floor. The baby is eating them.”

The third set of photos will be of what the areas look like tomorrow morning after the kids get on the bus.  And a fourth set will be Thursday night after they go to bed.  Two days.  How messy can two boys be in two days without me nagging constantly to do what they are supposed to know how to do on their own?  STAY TUNED!  I’ll update this post with pictures as soon as I go all MSPaint on them.

Photo set 1.  The before:

This is the desk in the kitchen where I pay the bills.  The kids’ chore list is on the fridge by day.  If they complete everything on the list without me nagging, they earn a token.

deskbefore

 

This is the kitchen counter.  Notice how it is not full of dishes.  Notice also that pile of crap in the corner that I have been nagging and begging to be picked up since Christmas.  Eff that pile of crap.

kitchenbefore

 

Living room.  I.E. toy collection space, though I do keep a few baby toys here, since this is where the Bot hangs out all day.  Notice how the pillows and blankets are neatly on the couch.  This will likely change to strewn across the floor.

LRbefore

 

The bane of my existence.  Predicted outcome is that the hamper will go upstairs and the rest of the stuff will not.  It may multiply.

Stairsbefore

The kitchen table.  A formidable opponent for school papers.

Tablebefore

Marhaba!

Means “hello” in Arabic.  I don’t know if that’s how you spell it.  I’m learning to speak, but I’m not so great at writing.

I had some total funny today, and I lost it.  I re-read my old blog posts to check for grammar errors, and it totally brought the pain and erased the funny out of my head.

BRING THE THUNDA!  Is that the name of an action movie?  It should be.  If I had acting chops, I’d be in it.  If it’s low-budget enough, I don’t need acting chops, though.  I just have to be able to run in heels.  I can totally do that.

Sushi.  No reason.  I just like it.  Know what I don’t like?  Hot dogs.  The Bot loves flippin pig parts.  Parts that are not good enough for ham or pork chops.  At least it’s not scrapple.  Scrapple isn’t even good enough for hot dogs.  I may or may not be a food snob.

I saw Dennis hitch hiking again the other day.  He’s added some winter gear to his wardrobe.  I’m happy to see that.  I don’t want his thumb to get frostbite and fall off.

 

The Wonderful World of Dennis the Hitchhiker

So, there’s this hitchhiker I met in high school.  We’ll call him Dennis.  Not to protect his innocence, but because that’s his name.  I didn’t meet him when he was hitchhiking.  I met him at the counter at a diner.  I only know that he’s a hitchhiker because I see him hitchhiking all the time now.  He always starts out in front of the police station here in our little town.  He’s wearing the same sports coat every day that he was wearing when I met him 15-20 years ago.  Even when it’s 103 degrees outside.  It’s a corduroy blazer.  It’s very important to look professional when thumbing for rides in front of a jail in 103-degree heat.

In another time in my life, maybe I would pick him up.  But now I have children and a distinct want to not be murdered, so I don’t.  I would pick him up because I want to hear stories he would tell.  Since I won’t really pick him up and hear his real stories, I’m just going to make up some fake stories that he might tell me and post them here from time to time.

 

To recap:  Dennis is real.  His stories aren’t.

 

Here’s some stuff I imagine Dennis might say to folks who gave him a ride:

Hey, there.  I’m Dennis.  Thanks for offering me a ride.  I’m headed up to the south side landfill to dispose of this human toe.  A body was found, and I can’t keep this trophy anymore.  It’s a bummer.  It’s one of the better toes in my collection.  I’m pretty sure she used Jamberry nails on this thing.  The polish has definitely lasted a lot longer than some of the other painted toes.  Though, this isn’t as great as that toe with the diamond toe ring that I got in 1974.  I’ll be really crushed when that body shows up.  Unfortunately, due to decay, the ring has gotten a little large for the toe.  Perhaps I should get it sized.  Can you drop me at the jewelry store, first?  The one next to the dry cleaner.  I need to get my sports coat cleaned.

 

 

Eats Shoots and Leaves

There’s a stop sign down the street.  Someone spray painted the word “fags” on it.  I’m not quite sure what they want to stop them from doing.  They already can’t get married, procreate, adopt kids, get survivor or tax benefits.  Dang.  What else do you wanna take?  Unfortunately, I think they want them to stop existing.  That’s nuts.  Asking us straight folks to stop making babies, vandals?  You crazy.

Maybe I’ll go paint a comma on it and take “fags” back.  So it will be all “Stop, fags”.  Yeah.  I’m talkin to you!  Everyone that stops at this sign is a fag.  Everyone.  So now it’s not derogatory, ’cause you’re talkin about yo’self.  Boom.  Now fag doesn’t mean homophobic slur.  Now it means, “safe driver”.  Fags for life.  Don’t text and drive.

In all seriousness, I wonder if Martinsville has a mayor’s action line.  I’d like to get a new stop sign down at the corner.