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Month: December 2018

Mansplaining; A Name for the Last Male Frontier of Marginalization

Mansplaining – the perfect name for obnoxious behavior. One delicious benefit of arriving at a certain age is to have a woman give a name to a practice that women put up with for years.

On the Lucy Show, when her adventures backfired, Ricky huffed and growled, “Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do.” I waited for Lucy to ‘splain to Ricky where to stuff it, but she never did.

Mansplaining rachets up the ‘splaining to give the male a platform to pontificate to the female on unsolicited subjects.

I hoped men might progress and outgrow this practice, but they did not. Women united, and named it and devised a clever name to call it out.

In the land before time, if a man called you “little lady”, you knew an unwarranted homily, was forthcoming; like when the builder who was building our new home tried to put sub-grade shelving in all the closets.

The contractor explained the pine rosin and knot holes would not be discernable once the closets were filled. Juggling three kids who did not want to go to a building site, may have caused me to be a bit impatient. I went ballistic, the oldest child covered the youngest child’s ears as they scurried to the safety of our car. The good news was the contractor never called me “little lady” again and our closet shelves were rosin and knot free.

This was not my first encounter with mansplaining. Years prior, a male interviewer mansplained that I would want a third child, and pregnancy would create a major inconvenience for this position.

Then there was the time I went to the HR director to ask for help with a delicate matter.

My boss’s body odor was so horrible he could have distilled it and marketed it as bear repellent. A few minutes spent in his office drove the aroma into my nostrils where it lodged itself for the remainder of the day. I couldn’t say anything to him, but I thought perhaps another man might could. Nope, nuh uh, he mansplained in four words, “He is an executive.”

I am waiting for eldersplain to become a word. Eldersplain is the practice of younger folks assuming the mature set require unsolicited instruction ranging from the use of electronic devices or how to “google it.”

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Mary Margaret’s Thoughts About Perfume Commercials

The perfume commercials on television are incomprehensible. If there is a subliminal message I am supposed to receive, then I’m  disadvantaged. Frankly, I believe the vignettes depicted on the perfume commercials stink smell.

 I’ve been confused ever since the old Calvin Klein “Eternity” commercial appeared featuring a couple canoodling on the beach.

Rolling around in all that grit doesn’t make sense to me; that’s what motels are for. I certainly don’t think perfume is a requirement for romance in that setting.

I never grasped the concept behind the Chanel commercial where Coco rides off on a motorcycle after a night of  debauchery with some hunky guy. The perfume did what it was supposed to do, so why the hasty morning-after departure? If a quickie one-night stand was all she wanted, she could have saved a bundle on perfume. Walgreens has a ton of cheap stuff.

Then there is the commercial where the woman climbs up a silk rope, dressed to kill and ends up on a rooftop. WTF My goodness, no woman in her right mind would go rope climbing dressed like that and worse yet end up on a roof top. I take the elevator if it’s just one level up or down. If I had a dress like that, I’d put it on eBay and sell it.

The commercial for Dolce features a beautiful woman floating out of a castle. A man picking fruit in an orchard sends her a flower. Long story short, bedazzled by the gesture she sends him a come-hither signal. I will state the obvious; most women expect a higher return on their fragrance dollar. Smart money says she should have stayed in the castle.

 To add to my confusion, many of these fragrances are available at Walmart. There is a ton of internet photos of people of Walmart, but I have yet to see one of them in a Dolce commercial.

Note: Originally published in 2014. Perfume commercials continue to make no sense whatsoever. Mary Margaret believes they are 
demeaning to women.
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These Huddled Masses are Tired and Poor after Navigating Electricity Providers

“Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, “reads the inscription at the statue of liberty.

This motto could serve as the mission statement for electricity providers as well. 
We satisfy all qualifications; tired of being taken advantage of, poor from paying the monthly electricity fee and huddled trying to stay warm.

I’m tempted to call my doctor for a prescription for Xanax before I renew our annual electricity provider contract. I know I am going to flail and swear over the deceptive and sneaky, miniscule small print caveats.

We can choose our service providers, but that is small comfort when the choice is between stick-it-to-me or hello-sucker.

Now I know how a gambler feels when he/she is behind on payments to their bookie. Electricity providers are right up there with organized crime bosses. The only difference is State government sanctions the electricity  provider.

Armed with a spreadsheet, green highlighter and a realm of paper in the printer, and a giant bag of potato chips, I begin the exercise.

One might think it is simple to figure the price per kilowatt hour and make a decision. Not true, and this is where the games begin.

At first glance the rates don’t look too bad, the more kilowatts you use, the lower the rate. But wait! We don’t use that many. You’d think that would be a plus, right? Remember the scene in crime movies where the old guy who owns the candy store has to pay more and more for”protection” from the mob? Well, buying electricity is just like that.

By the time I wade through the electricity facts label my eyes feel like my feet when I postpone a pedicure. Now comes the fun part,finding out where they hide the base charge, user credit charge, and energy charge.

This discovery leads to acceptance; we are screwed six ways to Sunday. I call the provider whose website has the most colors and select that plan.

At the end of a laborious venture, I call the liquor store rather than the pharmacy. The liquor store has home delivery; the pharmacy does not.

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Pack Rat or Collector?

What is the difference between being a pack rat or a collector?

In spite of having recently purchased Roku, we are keeping our VCR and an ancient tv set that has its own VCR. One of us firmly believes we may need it one day.

During a recent reorganization, I unearthed a box with spare buttons. Most of them belonged to garments long ago consigned to Goodwill.

What would happen if I threw away the whole shebang?

I’m telling you, within seconds of the buttons becoming fodder for the recycle bin, my beloved would inquire if there were a spare button for the old jacket he swore he burned. That jacket is so ugly, our dumpster diver wouldn’t retrieve it.  A missing button on that jacket is a minor flaw.

He promises to organize and discard, but the man has serious issues when it comes to eliminating anything. There is no twelve-step program for this kind of retention obsession. At the supermarket, he manages to secure extra twist ties. He has managed to escape arrest, thus far for his petty crime. They are taking over the kitchen junk drawer. We could bungee off the roof with twist tie straps.

He has a lifelong love affair with paper. There is a file on his desk for every conceivable topic. He files most of the stuff under “loose ends” and “follow up.”

He clips newspaper items and prints online articles, but the information disappears. It refuses to cooperate and retreats mysteriously into a file known only to itself. A scanner and back up hard drive will never replace the manila file folders he clutches to his bosom.

He undeniably has a Tote issue. After spring cleaning, we agreed that the plastic Totes we have hauled all over the universe would go to new homes or the recycle bin.

That lasted two weeks. After the last family member’s relocation, he put out an APB calling for the return of all missing Totes, plus their lids. I have run out of places to store the totes. No one actually believes we have a beige, plastic sectional sofa.

I, on the other hand, methodically whittled down my assortment of vases and kept only the fifty that are unique. Organized by size, shape, and color, stored out of sight in their own armoire. I call my stuff collectibles; his treasures defy definition.

He prefers the term “collector,” refusing to accept the more accurate term pack rat. Currently, we are at an impasse, but we have agreed neither of us is comfortable watching “The Hoarders.”

Note: Originally published December 2011.

Should Only The Rich and Powerful Men Escape Scrutiny for Sexual Misconduct?

Powerful and not so powerful men have always had a sense of entitlement that extended to humiliating women, to include inappropriate groping and touching. Men historically believed they were exempt and inappropriate behavior was passed off as men just being men.

(This is not about those who sexually abuse and exploit children. It is a given they deserve a special place in hell.)

Until recently women kept silent. But no more, however, I wonder if we may have gone a step too far. I have more questions than answers about adult women who come forth years after the fact.

Make no mistake inappropriate behavior has never been acceptable.

It angers me when someone, (usually male) suggests that women invite inappropriate behavior.  However, I do believe we have some responsibility to avoid being victimized. Unless drugged, most women would get the heck out of that situation.

When a woman calls out a famous person, twenty years after the fact, I wonder if the perp was a nondescript accountant or a stockbroker would the reaction been made public? I think not.

In the case of Justice Kavanaugh, during his confirmation hearing, his responses toward Senator Klobuchar did little to support his claim of being a choir boy.

Al Franken’s resignation as a result of a photo of him, hands in a groping position, poised over a sleeping woman, surfaced. At the time, I’m sure he and his co-harts thought it was a cool gag to ridicule a sleeping woman. It was not cool, it was victimization at the expense of a woman’s dignity. However, Franken was an intelligent voice in government. Was his behavior, twenty years after the incident, so egregious he had to resign?

Women voted for Trump, a serial misogynist.

Doesn’t this send mixed signals confusing the issue about what is acceptable? Why did he get a pass and Franken does not?

Now we learn of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s alleged misconduct. This guy makes astrophysics almost understandable. It will be terrible if his intelligence and contribution to society are negated by these allegations. Was the woman making the allegations truly a victim? Where was her voice when the inappropriate behavior occurred?

Even the most dim-witted male in the year 2018 by now should realize women are a powerful force and unwelcome, unwarranted sexual advances will not be tolerated.

My native Texan father, in the land before time, told me to never place yourself in a position of vulnerability. He said, if that fails, “knock the fire out of him and run like hell.” This applies to rich and famous men as well as accountants and stockbrokers.

Crying foul, twenty years after the fact, is questionable. At some point, and I don’t know where that is, women should consider the fable of Chicken Little. It would be terrible if the sky falls in, and we lose credibility by focusing on situations, where we could have taken charge and avoided placing ourselves in a vulnerable situation.


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