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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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Frantic Holiday Hype

Due to frantic holiday hype observance of Thanksgiving Day descended to serving as a prelude to Black Friday sales.

To begin with, misguided souls, bundled in fleece and thermal wear, sleep overnight on lawn chairs in retail parking lots while television reporters and cameras record the event.

Is it any wonder hyped up consumers charge stores like they are running with the bulls? They are overly caffeinated and desperate for a toilet.  Consequently, the rest of us feel like slugs or spendthrifts because we will pay more.

These antics produce stories for national and local newscasts. The day after Halloween, newscasters begin helpful hints on how to avoid the hazards of last minute shopping.

Under the guise of avoiding holiday stress, a grinning, giggly journalist begins a series of reports on how to survive. She is not old enough to have survived anything except puberty.

Why have we allowed the media to brainwash us into believing stress is a certain reaction to the holidays? We have more technology and conveniences at our fingertips than any other time in history.

No longer does hosting a holiday event involve fattening and slaughtering animals for food. Decorating is no huge ordeal with all of the retail options. No one gets punctured fingers stringing popcorn and cranberries.

To create more emotional landmines the endless articles about family dynamics proliferate during the holidays. Ranging from dealing with narcissistic family members; the difficult mothers in law; how not to relive your painful childhood memories; and how to revive your joyous childhood memories.

These touchy-feely suggestions are outmoded and there are obvious solutions to all of these issues.

• Stop watching television after Halloween.
• Shop online and enjoy Thanksgiving.
• Give up holiday decorating by declaring it environmentally irresponsible.
• Invite Mrs. Paul, Mrs. Smith, and Marie Callender for dinner.
• Skype and generous portions of white wine can render even the most obnoxious family member tolerable.

Hardcore traditionalist maybe horrified by these suggestions, but deep inside every woman is a holiday nonconformist waiting to emerge.

Note: Originally published December 2011


A Moment of Clarity

Donald Trump gives no indication he is ever going to have a moment of clarity.

For most cartoon characters that defining moment arrives when an illuminated light bulb hovers about the head of the dufus de jour. However, Trump gives no indication he is ever going to “get it.”

My southern grandmother had a sure-fire remedy to enable dim-witted males, as she put it,  to “see the light.”

According to her even the dumbest, severally challenged would turn on a dime once their noggin felt the full force of a ten-inch cast iron skillet.

Grandmother graduated to a higher realm an eon ago, but I like to imagine her having a conversation with The Donald.

For instance, Donald’s statement, “I know words. I have the best words.” I imagine anyone making such an ignorant unfettered, stupid statement would become acquainted with the back of her skillet post-haste.

After that,  a moment of clarity provided by her cast iron skillet would halt Trump’s US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and he’d agree to let Neil deGrasse Tyson explain climate change to him.

I have no doubt my grandmother would be waiting for Donald’s return visit from Puerto Rico’s hurricane with a two-fold strike from her cast iron skillet. She would explain why the leader of the free country doesn’t throw paper towels at people who have lost everything.

If Trump’s tariff on steel created an increase in the price of cast iron skillets, that would prove to be his undoing.

Grandmother knew how to turn a phrase, or more accurately return a phrase. (I know this from personal experience.)  Donald’s schlocky phrase “lock her up” would return to haunt him and he’d find himself cooling his heels in the outdoor smokehouse with the other turkeys.

Thus far, no one has been able to reign in Trump. Perhaps there is a newly elected grandmother in Congress who will bring her cast iron skillet to Washington in January.

Mary Margaret
Mary Margaret


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Conflicting Science

Staying current with science and fashion is maddening these days.

Just when I think I’ve got it figured it out, a new study changes the rules.

A recent study, (probably covertly sponsored by the adult beverage industry) indicated the moderate use of an alcoholic beverage could stall memory problems and possibly decrease incidents of Alzheimer’s.

Another study indicated a small amount of alcohol consumed on a daily basis benefits the heart. Red wine reputedly has some health benefits. Beer may be helpful in slowing the advance of Osteoporosis.

A conflicting study (probably covertly sponsored by the religious right) indicated an increase in breast cancer in women who consumed one drink per day. The study concluded women should abstain or limit themselves to one alcoholic beverage per week. Clearly, breast cancer is to be avoided at all costs.

If I follow the new guidelines, are heart disease and dementia lurking around the corner?

Being slightly dim or having a minor hitch in your ticker is not a bad trade-off for being cancer free. On the other hand, one could do as one pleases, and wait for another study.

Fashion is a challenge, especially to those of us with generous body proportions. One fashion fix indicates hip-length jackets are best to mitigate a large booty. Other states we should cover up with a knee-length tunic or jacket.

This is clearly a no-win situation. Either the thing is exposed for the whole world to see, or it wobbles surreptitiously beneath a glob of fabric. A large following is nearly impossible to hide short of major surgery. Industrial strength Spanx tends to leave us breathless.

Hairstyles for round faces are especially troublesome. One stylist states short hair is best, while another says long hair lengthens the face. If your face looks like a dinner plate, you’re screwed anyway so wear a hat.

Pantyhose, a creation from the seventh circle of Hell, is making a comeback. Most people I know haven’t worn them since God was a boy. I wonder if their re-entry is not an evil plot by the Republicans to create jobs.

I have concluded my lifestyle changes will predicate that hopefully, I will be cancer free, but perhaps ditzier than usual. In case my family and friends do not recognize me, I will be the one in slacks, wearing close-toed shoes, sporting a hip-length jacket and topped by a purple hat.


Note: Originally published November 2011

Screw the Man Cave, It’s Time for Every Woman to Have Her Own She Shed

The revolution begins, and every woman should demand parity for the man cave…a she shed.

For some time now, the man cave has enjoyed prominence in home décor. Featuring a ginormous big screen tv, well-stocked bar, and a recliner; an enclave no self-respecting woman would ever want to visit.

While pretending the room doesn’t exist, wives surreptitiously place room deodorizers in strategic locations and close the door. The cleaning lady makes the sign of the cross and refuses to enter.

For generations, children have escaped to a tree house or playhouse for relief from adult interference, but for women, there was no place to escape. We wised up and created our own space; the she shed.

She sheds are located far from the man cave, kitchen and laundry room. Children are told to go to the important place; the man cave, if there is an emergency.

I don’t have a she shed but if I did,  it would be something like this:

There would be no tv;  soothing music, accompanied by the gentle trickle of a chocolate fountain, would replace the play by play.

No one would dare to disparage my luxurious daybed piled high with as many throw pillows as I want and a coverlet that is “a pain in the ass.”

My mini bar would have an unlimited supply of pinot grigio and white chocolate almond turtles.

Plants and flowers flourish would flourish, and unwelcome indoor fungus gnats would not.

I’m not sure if a she shed will fit on our patio, but I’m checking it out.





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Fun Facts About Venus and Mars

As long as there are batteries, label makers, and boxes, Venus and Mars will be planets apart.

When is it time to give a triple-A cell battery a decent burial? In our household, when remote devices balk, they undergo tortuous scrutiny. Mars shakes the batteries until their little hearts quiver. If this initial effort at life support fails, he proceeds to the battery tester. If there is a minuscule indication of life, the batteries survive for use in another unlucky device. In the meantime, the program Venus wanted to watch concluded hours ago.

The label maker indicates the battery is low, but Venus knows this is similar to the blinking yellow traffic light and keeps on labeling.

Venus waits patiently for the label to print. It huffs, puffs, and refuses to produce a label. Venus surreptitiously replaces the comatose energizers. Violá, a label makes an appearance. Mars hears the gentle tinkle of batteries hitting the waste receptacle and immediately rushes to resuscitate them in the battery tester. Again, they pass muster and join the inventory of iffy batteries.

Used boxes devour available storage space. Mars steadfastly maintains he must have all of these boxes. One never knows when a box will be required.

File folders, wire baskets and post it notes clog Mars desk. The overflow spills to adjacent bookcases and additional wire racks. He is a walking Wikipedia should he ever locate whatever could have been googled in seconds.

Advance planning with directions is a completely foreign concept to Mars. We have had some interesting travel experiences, If you don’t count the time we were lost in a really, really scary neighborhood in Matamoros, MX.

Venus does not own a battery tester. If devices requiring batteries do not function, she puts in new ones and watches a George Clooney movie.

Hide the label maker from Mars. The learning curve is too deep.

If the boxes don’t say “Prada”, they hit the dumpster.

Venus’ desk is neat and orderly. She scans important papers and saves on back up hard drive.

Venus prints travel directions after the scary experience in Matamoros, MX.

As long as there are batteries, label makers, and boxes, Venus and Mars will be planets apart.


Note: Originally published May 2012. 

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