Tuesday, October 2, 2007

He's a boss, but she's a bitch, and meanwhile, smile honey

Beware people. This is an AGGGHHHHHHHH! post.

I'm going to be doing these posts from time to time. You'll recognize them. Maybe the title should say AGGHHHHHHH? The one above is an amalgam of some of the things that are pissing me off. Every day, we all face those annoying situations that make us go, aggghh. Sometimes that's a lowercase agggggh, sometimes an all capital AGGGGGHHH, and frequently perhaps, that AGGGGHH should be followed by exclamation points, expletives, and dramatic symbols that haven't even been invented yet. And let's be clear, that is not an ahhhhhh sound. It is not the sound of rest and relaxation, not the sound of Calgon taking anything or anyone away. AGGGGGH is the opposite of ahhhh. You're with me, right?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately actually, in light of this blog. What makes me react? I tend to be a fairly stoic individual. I'm calm most of the time, especially on the outside, and maybe I could even be described as quiet to those who don't know me well (although my elementary school teachers would certainly disagree--I was a "talks-too-much" kid), and then I get to that point, the AGGGGHHHH! point, and I just can't hold it in. But do I flip out and lose my shit? NO. And I find that sad. I think I need that. I think we all do. But I digress . . .

Over the last few weeks, as I've watched the news, read my news and culture blogs, tried to keep up with life--barely--I've been asking myself about my internal reactions to things. Is this an agggggh (annoying) or an AGGGGGHHH (holy crap) or worse? Is it worth posting about? That's been my big question. It's hard to know. Each day, the most annoying thing has to be ranked among the other things going on that day. Are you with me? The day I rear-ended someone in my new car? BIG FREAKIN' AGGGGGHHH! But no one was hurt, the guy I rear-ended didn't care a bit, the damage is small, (aggghh) but that dent is a daily reminder that I was stupid, that I made a mistake. In that way, it's an agggghhhhhh with staying power, like a time-release capsule or the energizer bunny. It just keeps on going.

Then there's what's going on with Britney. It makes me want to scream at my TV. I watched the Today show this morning, which I try to do once a week if I can to see what they're doing, which authors they're interviewing, what subjects they're tackling, etc. Today, whoa. A very slow news day indeed. Most of the time, there's not enough time for a big news story. You need more information; the 36 seconds allotted are not enough. Not today. They spent a long fucking time on crucifying Britney. Pundits, legal experts, parenting experts, they were all called in. Photos of Britney carrying her kids. She's lost custody of those children basically. She's been ordered to turn them over to that guy, Keven Federline. You know the one, ewwwweee.

Now I'm not saying Britney is going to win any mother-of-the-year awards. She wasn't ready to be a parent. And like so many other young, troubled women who believe that having a baby is going to fix things, to make life warm and fuzzy, when it's hopelessly depressing and sad, they soon find out it doesn't. So her troubled life continues under the intense heat of the sun-hot spotlight, but now she's a mom. And she's face-to-face in a stand-off with America's image of what a mom should be. We all face it in one way or another. Who of us could stand up to the pressure of that intense heat, that magnifying glass? I don't know what's going on with Britney, we don't hang, but I feel such sadness for her. Over and over again with Matt Lauer and the legal experts, photos of her getting her kids out of the car and over and over another photo of her glammed up for a night out. We're destroying this young woman with our spotlight. That's a big AGGGGGHH, enough already for me. I want to give that young woman a hug, and a new identity.

And then there was the deal with the man on Solano Ave. last week who said, "Mmmmmm, girl, you looking good. Why don't you smile for me now? Why you not smiling? I likes it better when you strut your stuff with a smile." What the hell? To me, on that particular day, when I was tired and worrying about work, money, my kids, whatever, it was too much. It was the biggest AGGGHHHHHHHH! of my week. I didn't want to smile. I didn't want to be polite. I was instantly mad. I refuse to go out in the world and be stepped on and then be told to look pretty and be polite while the stepping is going on. But sadly, I didn't say anything really good to that guy. I didn't smile, I flipped him off, I kept walking, but there are so many things I should have said. My polite meter is often on overdrive, and I want to stop that. I should have said, "I likes it better when you're not standing here drunk." Or, "I like it better when you shut the fuck up." (OK, knowing me, probably not that last one, although you never know what could happen on any given day?) But at the very least, "Why should I smile for you?" Has any man ever asked themselves that question? Why should I BE something for you, look a certain way, live my life to make you more comfortable?

So I leave you with that. What do you say when some guy tells you to smile? I'd love to hear. In her new book, It's A Jungle Out There: A Feminist Survival Guide to Inhospitable Environments, Amanda Marcotte deals with this issue specifically. Spring 2008. Watch for it.

I hope your AGGGGHHHH's today are aggggghhh's. Or better yet, ahhhhh's.

Until next time.

Oh, what's that? You have a question? Is the lady in Turkey ever coming back? I know, I know. That's a really good question, and I'm glad you asked it. I ask it myself. Yes. Yes, she's coming back. Back in the office next week. And that, that my feminist friends will definitely make me smile.



Teresa and kids said...

Those aaaaggggh! moments are what blogs were made for, or so it seems.

I have to admit that while I don't like Britney at all, it is interesting to watch how they crucify her. It's often this way for us mothers and I think especially for single mothers. We are damned if we do or if we don't. Dating, working, etc. There are so many areas that mothers take the blame for and this is but a sampling. Now, I'm not saying that she was right to be using drugs (if that's true) because, for me at least, that is inexcusable. But the fuss over driving her kids when she didn't have a (California) driver's license is a little inane.

Here's to a day with a little less aaaggh in it.

Sarah said...

Oh, you can't respond to that man on the street. All he's looking for is any kind of a reaction so he can make sure he's not actually invisible. It's sad, really. I mean, if you want to scream at him to fuck off, I can get on board for that. But mostly a look that says "Are you fucking kidding me, loser?" should do it.

l said...

i was walking down telegraph leaving the art murmor when i saw two men approaching. one told me i had nice eyes. when i turned the corner they kept walking but the oggler told his friend: "where we going? i want to fuck that bitch."

i didn't say anything either (risk further attention.) anyway sometimes there are not enough words for how wrong things can be. arg.