Category Archives: rebuttal

All the lonely people, where do they all belong?

Earlier this week, I was directed toward this article in The Atlantic about how Facebook is the downfall of society as we know it.

Now, it’s a long article. TEN PAGES. I know you’re totally all busy people and don’t have time to be reading ten pages from The Atlantic. So what did I do, because I’m the most helpful human being in the history of all the world? Printed this sucker out and red-penciled it for you while I read it. I know. You’re probably all totally impressed right now. Don’t be too impressed. I did it at work. And when my coworkers came by, I pretended I was proofreading something work-related. I know. It was evil. But also the smartest. And the most multi-tasky.

In a nutshell: the author hates Facebook and spends ten pages telling you how it makes us all lonely and eschew REAL-LIFE social interaction for fake internet relationships.

Oh, you want me to go into MORE detail? Or, you don’t WANT me to, but you’ve come to expect such from one such as me? Sure. Sure, I can do that.

The author, Stephen Marche, has a theory. The theory is, as our social networking grows quicker and our social networks broader, our real-life interaction – which, to him, is the only way to keep the evil, evil loneliness at bay – disappears. Therefore, we’re a nation of lonely, sad people, just sitting in front of our screens, hanging our hopes on other sad, lonely people who aren’t real friends at all.

So alone. Sooooo aloooone.

He backs this up with nebulous facts and figures that, to the critical eye, seem to have little to do with the situation at hand. For example: “A 2010 AARP study found that 35 percent of adults older than 45 were chronically lonely, as opposed to 20 percent of a similar group only a decade earlier.” Well, that’s sad. And I feel sorry for these lonely people. However, according to this website I found with a quick Google search, only 32% of people over the age of 45 are even using social media, as opposed to 67% under the age of 45. If you look a little further down on their infographic, it even breaks down Facebook users by age – and only 19% of total Facebook users are over the age of 45. So this, to me, doesn’t seem like the best use of facts and figures. Shouldn’t a study have been used testing the loneliness levels of those UNDER the age of 45, since they’re the ones more likely to be using the product that’s being vilified?

He also brings up other statistics about loneliness: we’re more likely to be in non-traditional families and live alone (which he follows with a “heh, heh, but of course THAT, ALONE, doesn’t mean you’re lonely, heh heh”) and that people who are religious tend to be less lonely (followed by a sentence about how probably also religion might NOT help with the loneliness – um, way to waffle, Marche.)

He says the best way to measure loneliness is to use the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Well, you know I researched that puppy. Here it is, in case you wanted to know how lonely you are.

Ten pages. The article was TEN PAGES LONG. And what it boils down to is this:

  • The author is transparently biased against social media.
  • The author thinks that – and I quote – “Facebook is primarily a platform for lonely skulking.”
  • The author thinks that looking at other people’s triumphs on social media will make you more depressed about your own life.
  • The author thinks that America’s national pastime is loneliness; that, through our pioneer spirit, we have fostered loneliness, and that will be our downfall.
  • The author thinks that, because of social media, we are no longer able to either interact with others meaningfully, or be alone with ourselves, and this is dangerous.
  • The author thinks that we are the loneliest we have ever been, and has facts and figures he says back up this assertion.
  • The author does not believe that friendships can exist anywhere but in real life – “The ‘real thing’ being actual people, in the flesh.”

Well. That’s a lot of assertions. Good thing this article was TEN DAMN PAGES LONG MARCHE.

The title of the article is “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely.” If you go into an article already knowing what your stance is, probably make it more of an assertion. “Facebook is Making Us Lonely.” Something like that. Right? I mean, I’d punch up the title by putting in some ALL CAPS or a song quote or something, but not everyone can be as awesome about titles as I am. I know. I’m sorry.

Now that we know what Marche thinks, let’s talk about what I think. What, you thought I was going to let this go? Nope. That’d be unlike me.

Let’s take his assertions one by one.

Social media is the devil.

Well, social media is what you make of it. It’s an excellent tool for a lot of things. Let’s take Facebook. It’s great for staying in touch with far-flung loved ones (for example: how would I have seen a photo of Baby Girl Awesomesauce less than 12 hours after she was born, were it not for Facebook? Email, I suppose. But it’s a lot easier for a dad who’s just dealt with a whole day of his wife’s labor to post a photo on Facebook for everyone to see than it is for him to fiddle around emailing it to his contact list but make sure you don’t email EVERYONE, I mean, you don’t want to email, say, PayPal, or that guy you had a fight with that time, or whatever. Oh, and by the way, Baby Girl Awesomesauce a., is BEAUTIFUL, b., has the most wonderful feet, c. will hereafter be known by her new blog alias, which is Ceevee) and it’s excellent for keeping up with what’s going on locally if you’re involved with something like theater, because there’s always something going on, and I could never keep up with it all if it weren’t for Facebook event invites and such. It’s also got a lot of crap on it. “Please repost if you believe in not killing puppies with makeshift potato guns” and such. I know. But if you’re intelligent, you can either skim over that, or you can hide those people from your feed. There are always going to be asshats. That’s just the way of the world.

Social media is also a must if you’re in any facet of the entertainment industry, all the way from Oprah to the lowliest little blogger named Amy. You make networks and connections and you sell your product and you put yourself out there. Not using social media to its full advantage is like trying to run with your ankles tied together. It’s ridiculous. (Also, it bears note that at the bottom of the article in The Atlantic, there’s a link to the author’s Twitter and Facebook pages. It’s like RAAAIIINNN on your WEDDINNNNGGG DAAAYYYY. Don’tcha think?)

Facebook is primarily a platform for “lonely skulking.”

"And the towel boy snickers as he walks by the lonesome skulker." Virtual internet cookies to whoever gets that bastardized reference withOUT a Google search.

Um. Well, first, wow. I can see someone saying this about Twitter more than Facebook, to be honest. You can be a lot more anonymous on Twitter than you can on Facebook. I mean, I guess what the author means is, you’re there reading everyone’s status updates and not interacting and being all troll-like or something? And sure, there are people who do that. But why are you friends with those people? That’s your fault. Don’t friend weirdos. RULE NUMBER ONE DON’T FRIEND WEIRDOS.

Also, this wasn’t marketed as an op-ed piece, yet the author’s opinion on Facebook came through loud and clear. Listen. I am not head-over-heels with Facebook. It has its problems. I know that. I don’t check it as obsessively as I check Twitter. But as a tool? It’s kind of invaluable. I mean, I got to catch up recently with a friend from high school I haven’t spoken to in almost twenty years. One of the GOOD ones from high school. One of the few. Where else would you get to do that? Would you stalk him and send him a letter, for the love of Pete? Facebook can be annoying, sure. But, as with anything else, it’s a good tool, if used properly.

Heh, “lonely skulking.” Does it help you create a mental image of this author if I tell you his regular gig is as a writer for Esquire? Thought it might.

Looking at other’s triumphs on Facebook will make you more depressed about your own life.

Dammit! My friends are so HAPPY. I HATE THEM.

Well, again, that’s on you. If you are so insecure about your own life that you’re all green-eyed monster whenever one of your friends has a triumph, that’s really your issue, not theirs, and not Facebook’s. Do I sometimes see something one of my friends has done and have a fleeting flash of envy? Of course I do, don’t be insane. I’m not a robot. But I’m secure enough in my own life, and the amazing things therein, to say, hey, listen, I’VE GOT IT PRETTY DAMN GOOD OVER HERE. Also, I love my friends. LOVE THEM. And if they’re triumphing? I’m celebrating that for them. I have some of the best friends in the world. I want all good things for them. It would break my heart if all they posted were negative things. So when two of my friends got engaged last week? I cheered out loud. When I read that Ceevee was born and saw her perfect little footprints? I cried a little, thinking of how I’ve known her mom for twenty years and am so, so happy that she’s now a mom and that Ceevee is perfection and she’s married to a great guy and I couldn’t be happier for her. There are no sour grapes in that. There’s pure, unadulterated happiness. I want all of my friends to have the most amazing things in their lives. Don’t you all want that? And if you don’t – well, maybe shine the light on the beam in your own eye, you know? If you can’t rejoice in the triumphs of the people you love – well, I don’t want to be judgey, but there might be a hole in your life you might want to look into filling somehow, and Facebook’s not going to do that for you.

America’s national pastime, brought upon by our pioneering spirit, is loneliness 

We're so LOOOONNNEEELYYYYY

Now, this is just kind of stupid, to be frank. Who can judge such a thing? I can just see this guy coming up with this while “lonely skulking” at his computer, all Mr. Burns-y rubbing his hands together, thinking he’d reinvented the wheel with this theory. (In additional “I thought of a cool thing, Momma!” news, he says the great American poem is Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” the great American novel is Melville’s Moby-Dick, and the great American essay is Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.” Who appointed you poobah of choosing such things for me, Marche? I’m an American and I’d choose otherwise. I bet a lot of other Americans would, too. And you didn’t even throw in an “arguably” or something. You put it as these ARE the great American works. Wow, I’m glad I know now! I can just stop reading, then!) I don’t even have a rebuttal for this point; it’s just that foolish. Also, being alone does not always mean you are lonely. This is a point which Marche brings up, actually, a number of times throughout the article. However, he then goes on to say that cowboys, pilgrims, and astronauts, all American icons, all struck out on their own, and are deified in our culture; being alone, they must have been lonely, and therefore, we worship loneliness. You’re double-talking, Marche.

Social media does not allow us to interact with one another meaningfully; nor does it allow us to ever be truly alone, which we all need.

Let’s just ignore the fact that the whole essay is all “YOU SHOULD NEVER BE ALONE YOUR SOUL WILL WITHER AND DIE” and therefore ignore the second half of this assertion, ok? It’s how he sums up the article. The end honestly reads like a junior-high kid who just learned how to write a five-paragraph essay but didn’t realize you’re not supposed to introduce new information in the last paragraph. Is the fact that, with the addition of social media in our lives, we’re never truly alone, an interesting one? Yes. Does it belong in this essay? No. It’s stuff for another essay altogether. This is akin to a beginning chef adding JUST ONE MORE ingredient to a dish, and being surprised when it flops. You need to know when to stop.

As to whether social media allows us to interact with one another meaningfully – well, I’ll go into that in more detail in a moment. But I’ll bring up an example. Jim – you all know Jim, right? Jim’s one of my favorite humans – is doing a walk to benefit ABOARD’s Autism Connection of Pennsylvania. Through mainly social media, in just one week, he beat his goal of $1,000 in donations to go to the charity. (He’s still collecting! He’s not done! Click the link and help him DOUBLE his total, how about? It barely hurts at all, promise.) Is that not a meaningful interaction? People who’ve never actually met Jim, or his family, donating money because he’s an amazing human being and he’s walking for a good cause? I could bring up hundreds of other examples. Thousands, probably. People whose lives have been saved because the support of their social network. People who’ve married people they’ve met online. People who’ve started businesses, donated organs, money, time, hell, things as inconsequential as made each other laugh. Who are you, Marche, to say these are not meaningful social interactions? 

We are the loneliest we’ve ever been. 

You can tell how lonely this guy is by the sad, sad mirror. And pouty duck-lips.

Well, I cast some light on one of the statistics that Marche used to come up with this assertion above.  And over at Slate, the actual author of one of the studies quoted says that the study Marche used isn’t considered a good source – he thinks that the results somehow came out skewed. This seems to be an example of someone skewing the results to fit the picture they want to paint. Listen, when I was in high school, I was on the yearbook committee, and we did this shit ALL THE TIME. We did these senior polls, and if we didn’t like how they turned out, we’d manipulate the numbers until they looked better. It happens. On a small level, in a podunk high school, and on a bigger level, like in The Atlantic. Or on Fox News. Ahem. Sorry, Dad. Moving on.

Friendships can’t exist anywhere except in real life. 

This is what bothered me the most about the article. This is what made me stabby. This is what made me sit down and write this post.

OK, so I took the UCLA Loneliness Scale test I mentioned above. I scored barely above the average, which means I’m only slightly more lonely than your average Joe or Jane.

Had I taken that same test a year ago, before I discovered social media (mainly Twitter – I was on Facebook, but just barely, a year ago, and Facebook’s never been my drug of choice)? I would have scored much, much higher. Dangerously into the red on the old loneliness scale.

Now, I know I’m not your average American. I know I’m not good at the social interaction and I actually PREFER the social interaction I get with a keyboard and a screen. I’m not saying I eschew the face-to-face interaction. I’m just not overly good at it. I never have been. You’re a lot less likely to say something ridiculously embarrassing or to spill spaghetti sauce on your blouse if you’re interacting with a computer. Also, I kind of have social anxiety where my whole chest closes up when I have to be social? So my circle of friends was small.

Introduce social media into that – well, maybe it doesn’t work for some people. It’s worked wonders for me. I’ve met people from all over that I just adore. People that I would never have met otherwise. I started blogging. I built a community that I never had a chance to build in real life, due to issues in childhood and trust issues and anxiety issues and issues issues issues ad infinitum.

So Marche tells us that the people you meet online aren’t REAL friends. Huh. Well. I do have to wonder what his definition of friend is. His seems to be “someone you see in real life regularly.” And that’s it. End sentence. And maybe that was a definition of friendship pre-internet. But doesn’t that seem limited now?

To me, a friend is someone you can share your day with. Your secrets. Someone you can rejoice with and commiserate with. Someone you worry about and love as fiercely as family; someone you’d do anything for; someone you look forward to interacting with, someone you laugh with, someone you can have long, rambling talks with. Someone who accepts you just exactly how you are, yet isn’t afraid to call you out on your bullshit. Someone who knows you’ll always be there, someone you know will always be there.

Does this seem fair? Does this seem like a fair definition of a friend to you?

I have these people in real life. Of course I do.

However, I have these people on the internet, as well. People that I’ve met through social media. People that I’ve met – virtually, perhaps, not in real life, but virtually – that mean as much to me as the people I’ve spent real-life time with.

“What? You’re FRIENDS with people you met via SOCIAL MEDIA? INCONCEIVABLE!” I can hear you now, Marche. And you know what Inigo Montoya would say to that, right?

I’m not saying EVERYONE I’ve met via social media is my immediate BFF. Don’t be absurd. It’s much like real life; some people you click with, some you don’t, and some you downright loathe. However, you’re meeting people who have similar interests, so you find a lot more people you click with.

People that immediately discount relationships that either began on or continue on the internet as “not real” make me insane. They also make me aware that they either tried social networking and were utter failures at it, or refuse to try it at all. It’s rude to discount internet friendships and relationships as not real. They’re just as real as the friends in your life that you can touch and see. “But you don’t KNOW them!” Well, do we really know anyone? Do we, really? I mean, you could be best friends with someone and hang out at their house all the time and still find out that they’re a drug addict or they beat their wife when you’re not around or something. We’ve all heard interviews with people who knew serial killers or mass murderers – knew them IN REAL LIFE – and it’s always the same thing. “They seemed so NICE!” Friendship is a big old scary leap of faith. Every single damn time. No matter if the person is sitting there right in front of you, or if that person is across the world from you.

There’s no difference, none at all, between an in-the-flesh friendship and an internet friendship. (And, not to throw a wrench in your works, Marche, but as the year progresses, here, I have plans to MEET some of the internet people. IN REAL LIFE. Therefore making them IRL friends, right? There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio. You know the drill.) The people I’ve met online that I consider my closet friends – they’re right up there with my closest friends that I have dinner with and I hang out with in person. They’re ALL my real-life friends. Because they’re all my friends. Because – I’m going to tell you a secret, ready? They’re all people. They share my joys and my sorrows and they’re there for me. And vice-versa. And I love them to distraction. And I want to smack Marche in the face for implying that my friendship with these people is somehow sad or wrong or pathetic. The only thing pathetic here is being judgmental about my life, and the lives of so many of us, Marche. We’ve found our people. Who cares how we got here?

So, IS Facebook making us lonely?

No. It’s not. If you’re lonely, go out and do something about it. Get therapy, talk to someone, I don’t care how you decide to deal with it – just do something about it.

But screw you for blaming social networking for the ills of society, Marche. For some of us, it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to us. It’s making us LESS lonely. It’s making us feel part of something bigger and better than ourselves. And if you don’t see that – well, I just feel sorry for you, honestly. I wish you had a good friend to talk to about your feelings. Me? I’m good.

I have plenty.

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Oh, and I will make myself so beautiful.

OK, I’m late to the party here. AGAIN. Listen, it’s the last two weeks of tax season? Deadline is April 17? AND WE ARE BUSY AS HELL. So a lot of things pass me by unnoticed. Dad’s always saying, “Did you hear about…” and mentioned major things, and I’m like, “Nope.” Because I haven’t. I barely have my Twitter feed open. I have come to rely on people to tweet me. It has become a sad and singular little existence, my sugar plums. But the light is at the end of the tunnel. I can barely see it, but it’s there. It’s on the way. Dim, but it’s there.

So I kept noticing this morning everyone mentioning the name “Samantha Brick” and I made a mental note to Google this because they were insulting how attractive she was. And I hate that shit so it was annoying me. But from the tone, I assumed there was a backstory I was missing.

HOLY HELL was there a backstory I was missing.

So you all know about this Samantha Brick thing, right?

Samantha Brick is a British freelance journalist. She wrote an article Monday entitled – ready? – ‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful in the Daily Mail. (British Twitter people inform me that the Daily Mail is the tabloidiest of the tabloidy papers over there. True?)

The article is – well, it’s pretty much described in the title. Samantha Brick claims she is SO PRETTY that she has been discriminated against at work and forced to wear dowdy clothing and passed over for promotion because of her stunningness and the jealousy it instills in the other ladies she works with; none of her female friends will ask her to be a bridesmaid because she’ll look better than them in the wedding party; she gets free food, drink, cab rides, etc. wherever she goes; random people take her photograph; and all the women of the world hate her. Oh, and if you read the article and have a vagina and hate her? It’s because you’re jealous. Jealous because she’s beautiful. And you’re not. Beautiful. At all. Compared to her beauty. Her prodigious beauty.

OK, listen, I think we all have beauty and worth and blah blah blah sunshine flowers? And I’m not here to run down anyone’s looks? But do you have a mental picture of what this woman (bee tee dubs, she’s 41, not 21, so you can’t even blame the idiocy of youth for this nonsense) looks like? If not, fix one in your mind.

Here’s what she really looks like.

Um.

She’s…fine?

Kevin blogged about this today (WAY TO BEAT ME TO THE PUNCH KEVIN), and I was interested to see an intelligent guy’s take on this.  He thinks she’s unpretty and her eyes are cockeyed. 

I’m not going to say she’s UNpretty. I hate to be judgey. I really do. I mean, I totally am judgey, in my HEAD. If you say you’re not, you’re a liar. We’re all judgey in our heads, don’t even deny it. But out loud…um…well, we all have shit we’re going through and dealing with, you know? And adding an extra layer of cattiness to that really isn’t productive to anyone. I don’t go around falsely complimenting people, either, I just want to make that clear. If I think someone looks pretty or handsome one day, or something’s a good photo of someone? If I genuinely think it? I say it. Otherwise, I just keep my mouth shut. It’s rude otherwise. Also, if you keep dishing out false compliments, people stop trusting you when you say a real one. And you can’t sleep with a clear conscience. At least I can’t. I hate false compliments. They taste like ashes in my mouth. Sincerely.

That being said…how to put this delicately.

She’s kind of plain. Not UGLY, I wouldn’t say UGLY. She’s plain. Average. She’s FINE. She’s just nothing special.

And her eyes really are crooked. Nice call on that, Kevin.

So what the hell’s going on in this article? Is she trolling the internet? Is she TRYING to get all the hits? There were almost 5,000 comments on her article when I went over there to gank the link for this post. Most of them all “WHAT AN UGLY HOSEBEAST” but still, that’s 5,000 people moved to comment – and if my own comments and stats are any indication? Only about 10% of the readership comments. So that’s about, what, 50,000 hits, or so?

Also, Twitter blew up, as I mentioned. It’s what we do. We’re good at it. It’s one of the many reasons I love Twitter. Here, click on this. The hashtag (or, if you’re my dad, hashbrown) #samanthabrickfacts is full of people making jokes about her. Some are humorous: “She can’t walk through wooded areas in case she attracts many furry animals, singing to her.” Some are mean as hell and I’m not going to repeat them. The good ones make fun of her self-involvement; the bad ones make fun of her looks, or, worse, seem to vaguely threaten her? Way to be, weirdos of the interwebs.

If this paper really is a tabloid, I’m guessing content really isn’t that big of a deal to them? Are British tabloids like American tabloids, like, with “BAT BOY SPOTTED IN KANSAS CITY” and “WHITNEY HOUSTON PREDICTED HER OWN DEATH” and such presented as real news items?

Does it depress anyone else that the Weekly World News went out of business? I used to love looking at this thing at the checkout.

Who can answer that for me. Rod? Elaine? My new internet kid sis Emma who I would protect from a marauding herd of water buffalo if called upon to do so?

Or – and this is my inclination – does she really think this is the case? Does she really think she is SO PRETTY that it’s holding her back, that it’s causing rifts in her personal life, that it’s the root of all evil?

If I had to guess, here’s what I think the ACTUAL root of all evil is.

She has an inflated sense of self-worth, she’s kind of a twatwaffle, and no one wants to hang out with her. She, like most twatwaffles, doesn’t put the blame on her OWN plate, no no, why would you do THAT? She, INSTEAD, blames HER EXTREME BEAUTY. Because they can’t POSSIBLY dislike her PERSONALITY! I mean, what’s to dislike? She’s OBVIOUSLY the very model of utter perfection in word and deed. It can’t POSSIBLY be HER. It’s her GORGEOUS VISAGE. And, by extension, everyone who treats her poorly is such a jealous asshole!

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes when no one wants to hang out with you it’s because you’re a complete and utter douche-kebab, you know?

I mean, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she lives in the part of France (the article says she lives in France) where all the people with facial deformities live, so she’s like a goddess, comparatively, I don’t know. I’m just saying, I can walk through my office – which is just your everyday average office – and every single woman in that office is as pretty or prettier than this chick. And no one’s sending them spur-of-the-moment flowers because they couldn’t help themselves. No one’s going all cartoon-goggly-eyed if they wear a skirt. No one’s telling them they can’t be in a wedding because they’ll upstage the bride.

Kevin mentioned this in his post as well, and I agree – I think all these amazing wonderful acts of kindness (which are actually, ZOMG, OPPRESSING her) are like Brian’s Canadian girlfriend in The Breakfast Club. No one’s actually SEEN them happen, but she SAYS they’ve happened, so they MUST have happened. “She lives in Canada, met her at Niagara Falls, you wouldn’t know her.” “Oh, ANOTHER man PAID for my CAB today, help, help, I’m being OPPRESSED because I’m so BEAUUUUTIFUL. When? Oh, when you were over feeding the meter, you wouldn’t have seen it, sorry.”

SHE LIVES IN CANADA I SAID.

I honestly am befuddled about this whole situation. I mean, I’m all for thinking you’re beautiful. I’d like all of us to think we’re a little MORE beautiful. I’d like even a quarter of this self-esteem, some mornings. But if this chick’s for real – um – there’s a fine line between self-esteem and delusional, isn’t there? I’m not saying she’s ugly. I’m really not. She’s just fine. And that’s IT. She’s FINE. She’s AVERAGE. And honestly, I don’t know if, say, Heidi Klum, who I think is just stunning, or Kate Winslet, who’s my total girl-crush, are getting all these random “people buy shit for me because of my stunning stunningness” or “all the ladies hate me because I SO PURTY,” you know? Even the two of them! Who ARE stunning!

I'd be half-tempted to give Heidi a free latte...

...and I'd give my girl Kate anything she wanted. She recently RESCUED someone's GRAMMA from a burning BUILDING. I LURVE HER.

So what the hell? Is it delusion? Is it a day-late April Fools’ joke? Is it trolling the internet, trying to get hits and get the name of either the paper or the author out there? What say you, minions? I’m genuinely curious what your take on this is. I’m just flummoxed.

I know. I know. I wouldn’t be saying all this if I wasn’t just so damn JEALOUS, Samantha Brick. *skulks off kicking rocks*

As I was just about to publish, my lovely Amanda also blogged about this. So check out Amanda’s take, because I adore her. If it matters, Amanda, I’m TOTALLY daunted by both your beauty AND your brains. But I don’t hate you for them. I LOVE YOU MORE.

(Title’s from the Hole song “Reasons to be Beautiful.” Have we talked about my Courtney Love/Hole obsession yet? Probably not. In a nutshell: I have a Courtney Love/Hole obsession. I know, but listen! Have you ever been in a really bad mood? Put on a Hole CD and scream along with the lyrics in your car while you’re driving. IT CURES ALL ILLS. I swear.)


Oh, Randy! You came! And you gave! Without taking!

Hi! Hi. How are things? Good? Your Monday going great? What? Mine? Yeah, it’s fantabulous. As Mondays are, you know. I mean, what isn’t exciting about a Monday, what with the working and the deadlines and the rushy-rushy nonsense? Nothing, is what. Mondays are JUST THE BEST.

Anyway! So let’s talk about blogs, okay? I know, I know, we talked about blogs YESTERDAY. And we’re doing it again! Today! Suck on it, haters, I got some THINGS that need SAYING, you feel me? Why am I talking like I’m from the street? I don’t know. I think I might have accidentally left the television on Law and Order: SVU last night while I was puttering around the living room or something.

So I do this blog thing. And listen, I just dig it the most, baby. It makes me irrationally happy. Like, I’d probably rather blog than do almost anything. Which is good, because otherwise, it’s a little confusing why I’m here at all. And I’m super-happy with this blog, and the work I do over at The Loser’s Table (which I have to do more of, speaking of – SORRY SORRY LOSERS I AM COMING RIGHT OVER SOON I PROMISE) and Insatiable Booksluts (again, I promise, new Death Match as soon as I can! Damn you holiday season full of busy-ness!) Do I know what I’m doing? Eh, I don’t know. Sort of? People read what I write. People seem to like it. I like the people who seem to like it an awful damn lot.

Here’s the question I get a lot. Is this me? I mean, is this how I really talk in real, real life?

Yes. And no.

If I love you and I send you an email from real live me, does it sound like this blog? Yes. Sometimes. I use my all-caps. I like parenthetical asides. I make words up all willy-nilly if the English language doesn’t have a word that quite suits what I want to say. Sure. Sure I do that. Because listen, if I’d created a completely different persona to write my blog with, I think it would have gotten old quickly, and I would have probably dropped it like I’ve done with the millions of other things in my life I’ve gotten bored with and moved on from. Like quilting, and beading, and sleeping 8 hours a night.

The people who know me best have said that reading this blog is like having a conversation with me daily. So yes. Yes, how I write here is very much how I write (and talk) in real life.

But also, I’m not always this hyper. Sometimes I’m a calm kitty. I know! Total shocker, yes? It’s called exaggeration. I do it for effect. It makes things over in these parts more EXCITING. But sometimes I write nice, calm posts. Like the John Lennon post last week. I’m totally bendy. I can do it ALL, baby.

Anyway, this is going off-topic so far that we’ve gotten to the bad part of town and we need to lock all the car doors in case someone tries to get in the car while distracting us by squeegeeing our windows with a dirty squeegee.

I don’t have any advice on HOW to write a blog. I just WRITE a blog. Is it good? Subjective. Maybe. Maybe it is. Maybe it’s just a hell of a lot of fun for me, and if you get that, cool, you can hop on my trolley, and if you don’t, great, another trolley’s coming right up, maybe you’ll like that conductor better, I don’t know.

So this weekend, a friend re-posted one of my posts (the one about “it is what it is”) on Facebook, and tagged a couple of his friends who he thought would enjoy it.

That resulted in this: the single most enjoyable blog critique I have ever received in my LIFE.

“I got to the second paragraph and realized I’d need to drink heavily before reading the rest. Where does one sentence stop and another begin? How do you justify entire and completely different thoughts parenthesized within a single, 6-line sentence? WHY DO THINGS NEED TO BE CAPITALIZED? I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I guess it is what it is”.

Now, before you, my loyal and loving minions, get all up-in-arms and “what the hell” and “what a douche” – please know I am not in the least bit offended by this. This has brought me more joy than you can even imagine. It is SO PERPLEXED. And it is SO INDIGNANT. Also, everything is spelled correctly (“parenthesized” made me shiver with delight) – and it’s a commenter on Facebook, where spelling and grammar are, as I’m sure you’re all aware, apparently optional. I’m pretty sure I’m in love with this person right now. AND, you KNOW he’s in love with me. Because, if we’ve learned anything from third grade, it’s that the boys that insult you the MOST also LOVE you the most, right? Yes yes yes.

I’m going to ignore the fact that later on in the conversation he told me that my usage of caps lock was “trite and over-done” because our burgeoning love is JUST THAT TRUE and JUST THAT RIGHT. Also, I hate conflict. I was telling @lahikmajoe about this this weekend. One time, when I worked at the video store, my big old mouth almost got me in a fight. Because there was this chick that worked there. And I was pretty sure she was an out lesbian. So someone said, in conversation, “you know, that girl who’s so mean to everyone” and I said, “Yeah, I know, the lesbian?” NOT DEROGATORILY I LIKE LESBIANS VERY MUCH. It was like saying, “the one with brown hair” or “the one with the nose ring.” I don’t give a shit what gender gets you off, for the love of Pete. Anyway, someone passing by heard that and told her “Amy called you a dyke” (I would NEVER EVER SAY DYKE) and so she showed up at the store one night when I wasn’t working and told my BFF to call me and get me there so she could kick my ass in the parking lot for calling her a dyke. (A., why’d you come on a night I wasn’t scheduled? B., I was like 23 at the time, that’s a little old for a parking-lot rumble, no?) So he called me and told me “Under no circumstances come here because she is scary. Also probably a lesbian so I’m not sure why she’s so mad.” And I kind of wanted to come there? Because I’ve never been in a fight, and maybe you should experience everything once. But he was all “NO NO AMY STAY HOME NO ONE LIKES FIGHTS” so I did. Then a year later she came into my new place of employment with a woman and they were holding hands and also kissing so I’m a little perplexed as to why she wanted to kick my ass for something that was true, but I guess that’s neither here nor there. I really didn’t say dyke. Who says dyke? Assholes, that’s who.

Dear Facebook Friend of a Friend Whose Name I Will Not Use Because I Think You Might Sue Me So I Will Call You Randy (aka Randy):

First, thank you. Thank you for one of the most enjoyable blog critiques I’ve ever had. No! I’m completely serious. I know it sounds like I’m being sarcastic? But I’m not. There was a skit once, on Kids in the Hall, where Dave Foley was sad because everything he said came out sarcastic, and he was so lonely because no one wanted to befriend the sarcastic man. I am the lonely sarcastic man in this scenario, Randy. I mean no sarcasm in this remark.

Let’s break this down, shall we?

First, thank you for reading a whole paragraph and part of a second. That’s further than a lot of people get! You’re the best. Are we in love? I think we might be. I like the direction this is going, Randy. I like it very much.

Second, as I told you on Facebook, yes. I always recommend that any of my readers drink heavily. Unless you’re in AA. Then probably don’t. I’d hate to hinder your recovery. That would be a total douche move on my part. And don’t tell me if you are in AA. The second A prohibits you telling me, I’m pretty sure. Listen, if you drink, I recommend Saturdays. We have Wine Saturdays on Twitter. Do you have a Twitter account, Randy? If you do, you should follow me. I’m a hoot over there. And as we’re totally in love now, I think you’d probably want to follow me. We could talk about cute stuff in our Twitter feed and people would know we were in love, and it would just be the best. In order for this long-distance relationship we’re in now to work, you really have to put some effort in.

As for where one sentence stops and the other begins, the rule of thumb is: follow the period. See? I just used one there. And another! Sometimes I end sentences with question marks; sometimes with exclamation points. Once in a while, I totally utilize an interrobang!? But you get the idea, Randy. End stop; new sentence, starting with a capital letter. Or sometimes with a new paragraph, I suppose. See how helpful I am? Just what you want in a mate, right? Thought so.

Justification of my parenthetical asides? Well, Randy, sad to say, I have none. Wait, no. That’s not wholly true. I have undiagnosed ADD, and sometimes I think of something SO EXCITING I can’t wait to share it. So I pop it in, parenthetically. I’m sorry if you think it didn’t flow. It probably didn’t. We’re still totally in love though, right? I’m a little worried you might not want me to meet your family now, and I’m pretty sure I’d rock at family-meeting.

Now, let’s discuss caps lock. That’s a dealbreaker, my adorable new sweetpea. I love my capslock. And my capslock loves me! I’m sure you totally spent your whole weekend reading all of my archives, and also my FAQ, where I explain my capslock usage, but in case you need a refresher: I actually KNOW that italicizing is classier and the way you’re SUPPOSED to do things. I don’t like doing things the way people tell me to, Randy. (Probably you’ll get that once we move in together. When’s that happening, by the way? Soon, right? I think you’ll like what I bring to the table. I have a red toaster. A RED TOASTER RANDY. I bet you have just a boring white toaster or something! Think of the joy you’ll get when making toast in my – I mean OUR – red toaster! The most joy, Randy. THE MOST JOY. Oh, wait, did I lose my train of thought? HOW UNLIKE ME RANDY.) So to answer your question: why? Why do things “need” to be capitalized? Well, they don’t NEED to be. But how boring would life be if we just did the bare minimum? You don’t seem like much of a go-getter, Randy, to tell you the truth. Like, I bet you don’t even like socks with wacky things on them. I would totally buy you wacky socks, Randy. AND WRITE YOU LOVE LETTERS ALL IN CAPS RANDY. Let’s do this.

Here’s what I like most about your comment, Randy. It ends on a note of hope. “I haven’t finished reading it YET.” (Capslock most definitely mine.) Yet? YET, Randy? So you’re going to, then. Don’t even tell me we’re not totally the most head-over-heels in love you’ve ever seen. I’m pretty sure this is that meet-cute they’re always talking about in romantic comedies, isn’t it. WON’T WE LAUGH AT OUR WEDDING RANDY. Whoo. Listen, though, I wrote a whole post about wedding rules, so you’re going to want to read that to brush up on my dos and don’ts. Like, if you face-cake-smush, we’re going to throw down.

Also, just to briefly address your comment of “trite” and “over-done” from last night: I’ll try harder, baby. I’ll work my way up to “hackneyed.” And – do I dare say it? – I’m going to strive for “jejune.” I’ll do that. I’ll do that for YOU. I’m totally into making this work. I’d do anything for love, Randy. NO I WON’T DO THAT RANDY.

So, in conclusion, Randy, I’m so glad we’re in love. And just so you know, I discussed it with my Twitter feed and when you propose (I’m really into platinum rings, just BTW, no, no, babe, nothing gaudy, I’m totally low-maintenance) I have to clear my acceptance with my minions, because if they’re not happy, NO ONE’S HAPPY RANDY. Don’t worry though, darling. I’m pretty sure they’ll love you. I mean, your impeccable grammar usage alone already has me all fluttery.

I eagerly await our lifetime of love together, Randy. I’m readying my capslock now.

LOVE, AMY. (SIDE NOTE: I don’t really have a side note. I just know you love them. IT’S ALL FOR YOU DAMIEN.)


Potato, Po-tah-to, THIS SOUNDS LIKE A PERFECT DATE TO ME.

I have a couple minutes where I’m not getting pulled in a million different directions, so I just have to (HAVE to, you guys! HAVE to! Like, I would probably DIE if I didn’t!) address this OK Cupid/Gizmodo/Magic: The Gathering thing that’s going on.
I know 99% of the people reading this already know, to the point of oversaturation, about this. Because the people who relate to this story are MY people. Which, obviously, is why I have to say something about it.
First, here. If you’re one of my readers who hasn’t read the article, please do – this isn’t going to make a lot of sense without some background.
If you’re just being obstinate, or whatever, here’s the article in a nutshell. (But why you didn’t just listen to me and read the article I have no idea. It’s too good not to, you goofball. Of course by good I mean awful.)
Alyssa Bereznak, a drunk girl (she said this, not me, CALM DOWN) who writes for the tech blog Gizmodo, signs up for OK Cupid, which is a free dating site. She is HORRIFED OMGWTFBBQ by the people who contact her. They are GROSS, y’all. And they CANNOT SPELL. Then a sort-of-normal guy contacts her! So they go out! And he looks normal! So she forgets to Google him. And then he tells her HE IS THE WORLD CHAMPION OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING. (Also he takes her to a play about Jeffrey Dahmer. More on this later.) She is SO UPSET BY THIS HIDDEN NERDERY that she GOES OUT WITH HIM AGAIN to find out MORE. Then she of course does NOT go out with him again (gross ew ew ew gross NERD GERMS), but writes an article on her tech blog calling him out for MISLEADING HER and WASTING HER TIME and NOT DISCLOSING HIS NERDERY UP FRONT. She also uses his real name.
Outcome: the geek and nerd community is UP IN ARMS.
I read the article last night from the back row of my theater, trying not to fall asleep during a very long tech night. I was just kind of confused about the whole thing, honestly. I probably should be more upset? I know she’s really a total douchebag? But really I’m just kind of confused about the entire situation.
A lot of people have addressed this (and much better than I’m about to) today, so if you’re smart, you’ll probably read one or more of these and not continue on here. I’m really, really tired. And this isn’t going to be all that well-thought-out. Because I am LESS ANGRY than I am CONFUSED.
Writers who did this first and some would say much better (I would be one of those “some”:)
THINGS I AM CONFUSED ABOUT
Did she think the commercials about online dating were true and it was easy?  If you were serious about online dating, would you really use OK Cupid? They advertise that on my radio at 2am. That’s not a ringing endorsement as they also advertise Horny Goat Weed then.
Listen, I’m not just talking out of my ass, here. I DATED ONLINE. I did not have luck in doing so. I know people who have – two of my favorite people of all time, actually, met the people they are a. married to, and b. living with, via online dating. So yes! It works. Sometimes. I met, in real life, three people via online dating. I spoke to countless others in email conversations. Some brief stories:
  • One guy brought me to the comic book section of Borders and shushed me while he browsed. That was the whole date.
  • One guy was an abusive scary monster with rage issues and I was seriously afraid I was going to be raped.
  • One guy was so, so nice, and I’ve mentioned him before, and I was the asshole who wasn’t attracted to him. But I wasn’t MEAN about it. It wasn’t HIS fault. I’d fix him up with a friend in a minute. HE WAS SO NICE. I’M THE ASSHOLE.
  • One guy seemed like a keeper until he dropped off the face of the earth and I never heard from him again and I’m not really sure what happened there.
  • One guy got angry I wouldn’t sext him and buy and mail him books because he didn’t understand how a library card worked and kept sending me emails full of question marks and frowny-faces until I blocked him.

ONLINE DATING IS HARD. People seem really, really good in emails, over Twitter, on Facebook, etc. In person, you can’t think over what you’re going to say, and also you’re face to face, where interaction is scary. If you think online dating is going to be like the commercials, where the two pretty people meet and the guy’s all, “I only have one more question WHEN CAN I SEE YOU AGAIN” and the girl just roars with laughter because THEY ARE MEANT TO BE ZOMG – you are DELUSIONAL.

Also, no one can spell. ESPECIALLY not on a free dating site. You’re lucky if they use capital letters. The guy I wasn’t attracted to KNEW HOW TO USE A SEMI-COLON. Seriously, it was painful that I didn’t find the poor guy attractive.
Why did she think it was a good idea to write this article ON A TECH BLOG?  Didn’t she realize that she was going to be vilified by the geek community at large?
I don’t understand people that write these kind of articles in places that a lot of people will see them. Either when they write them they think everyone’s going to agree with them and they’ll get a lot of positive publicity out of it, or they just don’t care. If it’s the latter, great. If it’s the former, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU. If she had written this in Good Housekeeping or something, she might have gotten some sympathy, but lady! A tech blog? THOSE ARE READ BY GEEKS. Geeks get angry. REALLY REALLY FAST. And they are literate, so they write about it, Tweet about it, comment on your article calling you creative variations on female anatomy, etc. I don’t get it. Was this a trolly post just to get traffic to the site?


(ETA – YES. Yes, it was actually a trolly post just to get traffic. Gizmodo = Gawker = the authors get paid per click, so the author was actually “nerdbaiting” to get clicks. What a twatwaffle.)
Does she realize that this is going to get Jon Finkel a ton of positive publicity and offers of dates?
I started following Jon Finkel on Twitter today? And he’s really handling this whole thing like a pro. He’s being really classy about it. I approve. Also, he’s kind of cute. FINE HE’S TOTALLY CUTE SHUT UP. So you go, Jon Finkel. I think you’ll have no problems finding a date for a while. There are like a kabillion hot geek girls who would totally go out with you today. You probably couldn’t roll a multi-sided die without hitting one. (I’m sorry. I don’t think there are dice used in Magic: The Gathering. I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MAGIC: THE GATHERING. Am I fired from writing this article? I TOLD YOU TO READ ONE OF THE OTHER ONES.)
Why does she seem to think it’s “lying” not to mention something you’re into in your dating profile?
How is that lying? If anything, it’s a sin of omission, but it’s not really even that, is it? Do you write EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER DONE EVER in your dating profile? I quit online dating after frowny-face question-mark guy, because I just did NOT have the emotional fortitude to deal with it anymore, but if I remember correctly, those profiles weren’t very long. I don’t think there’s room to write in everything you have ever done, are currently doing, and plan on doing, for the rest of your life forever and ever Amen. Or am I completely off-base and they have an unlimited character count now? I’m being facetious, of course. Listen, we all have stuff. I like crocheting, cats, chocolate, pork products, television, geekery, and nail polish. I LOVE theater. I pretty much LIVE at my theater, when I’m not home. And yes, I would probably put that in my profile. But I don’t know that I would put exactly how many hours a week I spend there. I’d just kind of ease that on into a conversation. Because it makes me look like a kook, a little. And you have to gauge your audience, right? Lying? Really? First, he was worried it would make him look nerdy, and as nerds, we’re all a little shy/touchy about our nerdery. And second, he admitted himself on Twitter today that it was tough to come right out with his status as World Champion without looking like a tool. He was being HUMBLE, Alyssa Bereznak. Also he was worried he’d get the very reaction you gave, so way to deliver!
How exactly did Jon “infiltrate” his way into other dates? Was it ninja-style?
This woman uses very apocalyptical words. “Lying.” “Infiltrate.” I think less over-the-top words would work just fine. I assume what’s meant here is that two of her friends also had an issue with the Magic: The Gathering playing? “Infiltrating” doesn’t really work, though. If you use this word, I imagine him rappelling down the wall of restaurant in ninja pajamas and sneaking in while your friend’s real date is in the bathroom. I don’t think it means what you think it means.
Why is she so upset about the totally awesome idea of taking someone to a Jeffrey Dahmer play?
I love live theater. I am always up for serial killers. WHY IS THIS AN ISSUE. If someone told me, “We’re going to dinner and then I got us tickets to a one-man show about Jeffrey Dahmer” my response would be “You’ve TOTALLY BEEN PAYING ATTENTION and YOU GET ME. Let’s get married now.” OMG THIS IS IT AND IT IS A MUSICAL THAT MAKES IT IMMEDATELY MY FAVORITE THING SINCE CARRIE THE MUSICAL.  Jon Finkel, seriously? Add a margarita or two to that and you have MY PERFECT DATE. I would be riding my OK Cupid match like a MERRY-GO-ROUND-PONY if he brought me to a Jeffrey Dahmer musical. What the hell.
Why in the name of Bill Gates WOULDN’T you Google someone before going out with them for the first time? Were you angling to be murdered and eaten?
This is just stupid. You don’t FORGET to wear pants when you go out; you don’t FORGET to put toothpaste on the brush before you brush your teeth; and you don’t FORGET to Google the hell out of someone you’re meeting for the first time that you met online. That’s Safety 101. That’s just utter stupidity. MURDERED AND EATEN, Alyssa. IT PUTS THE LOTION ON ITS SKIN, Alyssa. Come ON.
Why the hellllll did you go out with him again? Just to get more information for this article?
This was my first question upon reading the article and is still a major one. This made her go from “kind of a bitca” in my mind to “gigantic douchecanoe.” You KNEW you didn’t like him. Because you are icked out by nerdy things like card games ew ew get ‘em off get ‘em off.  But you went out with him again – TO GET MORE INFORMATION FOR THIS ARTICLE. That’s just cold. Cold and heartless. Just for that one reason? You deserve all of this backlash. Seriously. If you know you don’t like someone, don’t string them along. That’s just a shit move. An unnecessary shit move.
This really did nothing for anyone other than show you the state of my mind this week, which is “hamster on a wheel.” I’m really, really tired.
Also, being nerdy about something is sexy, because it shows you have emotions, intelligence, and heart. There’s nothing wrong with not being attracted to someone; there IS something wrong with calling them names (and using their real name) in a public forum. So for that, Alyssa (and I’m only using YOUR real name because it’s on the article and you started it!) – you get the Megadouche of the Week award! Congrats. Now go get drunk and make a Plenty of Fish profile or something.
Also? Jon Finkel? Although I know NOTHING about Magic: The Gathering, I have NOTHING AGAINST IT. You can totally call me. Three words, Jon. JEFFREY DAHMER MUSICAL. I can’t even. So awesome.

Every Time You Speak to Me You Tell Me What to Do

About a week and a half ago, The Huffington Post featured a post in its culture section by Peg Aloi entitled “Tough Gals: Do They Still Exist?” This article was pointed out to me last night by one of my friends. Where was I on August 11th? How did this particular article escape me for 9 days? I know I worked that day, and I’m guessing I had rehearsal that night, because that’s pretty much been my life for the past month or so. I do remember seeing mentions on Twitter over the past week, women saying that they were cupcake-baking, knitting, kick-ass women, but I didn’t know it related to anything in particular. I just thought they were giving their own personal credo, or something. And they are kick-ass women, so I approved of that message.

Although I’d like to not give Ms. Aloi any additional traffic, I do encourage you to click above and read the article. If you’d rather not, for one reason or another, here’s a brief summary:

Women who blog about cupcakes, Hello Kitty, gardening, knitting, and cats are girly. Not that there’s anything wrong with the blogs…but there’s something wrong with being girly. Because we’re women! And we shouldn’t be girly! We should be badass! Feminists who came before us fought hard for that right, and we’re throwing it away with these girly pursuits! We’ve “lost sight of what it means to be a badass, tough, strong woman”! Women aren’t having fun – instead, we like cooking, Jane Austen, and heirloom tomatoes! We’ve “become complacent”! “We’re not tough anymore; we’re soft”!

Oh, for the love of Sanrio.

Listen. LISTEN. We’ve talked about this, here, on my blog, in the past. Women telling us what to do and what to feel and who to be because the author knows the right way to do these things, under the guide of feminism. Because the author is the arbiter of womanhood. Because there’s a mold, and women should fit that mold, and if they don’t, they’re lesser – lesser human beings, lesser women, lesser examples of shining femaleness than the author herself.

I AM SO GODDAMN TIRED OF BEING TOLD WHO TO BE.

Men, sorry to leave you out, here, and I’m sure you face societal pressure up the wazoo as well, but as I am not in possession of a Y chromosome, I don’t know what those are, exactly. This is not meant to slight you. I’d be interested, actually, in reading a post about the type of societal pressures a young man faces; if someone wants to point me in the direction of a good one, it would be appreciated.

Women, from a young age, are told how to act in order to fit society’s norms. There are exceptions, but overall, even in this day and age, there are toddlers in frilly dresses and bows scotch-taped onto the bald heads of baby girls for photo day and the moniker “tomboy” (usually said either with a sneer or a knowing nod.) As we get older, more expectations. Makeup. What to wear. How to act. At what age to start dating. What’s appropriate and what’s weird. The list goes on; I’m sure the women reading this can think of a million examples in their own life where they wanted to be doing one thing but were gently (or not-so-gently) nudged in another direction because it wasn’t “cool” enough or “girly” enough or whatever enough to fit in the very strict lines that were drawn by whoever draws these things.

But as we grow up, we realize things, like being who we are is more fulfilling than making other people like us, and that there’s nothing at all wrong with, say, watching Vh1 Celebreality all day rather than shopping or getting a mani-pedi or whatever it is the “cool” kids are doing. We’re not here to please anyone but ourselves, when we get older. And that’s a nice feeling, you know? It’s a feeling I’d like to be able to go back and bestow upon the teenage me, who was always scrambling to keep up with what was expected of her and failing miserably and very unhappy in the bargain.

But then you get women like Julie Klausner telling us that we’re too infantilized if we like Converse sneakers, cupcakes, Etsy jewelry, or birds, and Peg Aloi telling us that we’re not tough if we like knitting, gardening, Hello Kitty, or, again, cupcakes. (Why so much cupcake hate? Do these women equally hate sheet cakes? Who hates cake? I feel like hating cake = hating America, honestly.)

These women are just grown-up versions of the bitches in high school who set the trends. The Plastics, really. The Wednesdays-We-Wear-Pink girls. The girls who arbitrarily decide “on this side of the line is what’s cool, and on this side of the line is what’s not, and I’ll tell you how high you have to jump and how hard you have to beg to be on the right side of the line.” And do you know how to tell they’re bitches? Because they’re telling you you’re not good enough. They’re making you feel less-than. They’re telling you, “Listen, if you like this, this, and this? You don’t measure up.”

I don’t want to be in your Special People Club.

It doesn’t make you less tough if you knit, bake, or garden. The article actually contradicts itself all over the place – Aloi will make a blanket statement like “Tough girls don’t knit because that’s what our foremothers did!” and then couch it with “But man our foremothers, right? Whoo! They were certainly tough, you know, in their own way!” Why are the two mutually exclusive? Why can’t you be a badass tough-as-nails mofo AND make a mean cupcake?

Because Aloi SAYS SO.

There are currently 326 comments under her article. I didn’t read them all – I actually do have a life, sorry to disappoint! – but have read a large number of them, and the themes running through them are:

  • Screw you, Peg Aloi, you judgmental hag.
  • Why can’t you kick-ass and knit?
  • What the hell?
  • This isn’t the 1800’s. We aren’t *required* to knit now. It’s a *choice* we make.
  • I kind of want to stab you with my knitting needles.
  • You know what’s awesome? Feminist women telling others how to behave.

And do you know what’s missing? Ms. Aloi. She hasn’t made a PEEP. She is GONE. Just like Julie Klausner, who, to the best of my knowledge, dropped that load-of-shit article on us back in June and never commented on the fury it ignited, Ms. Aloi hasn’t responded in the least.

Now, I’m not saying she has to. She has the right to her own opinion. It would be hypocritical of me to say I can’t stand women telling me how to behave and then turn around and tell Ms. Aloi how to do so.  On some level, I almost, almost, think I get, in a tiny way, what she might have been trying to say. Because listen, girly-girl giggly shit sets my teeth on edge, too. Feigned helplessness. Doe-eyed false childishness. But that’s never mentioned, so I assume that’s not what she’s referring to, and what I take objection to in these behaviors is that the women using them are pretending to be something they’re not because they think that’s how they have to act in order to get what they want – a man, a promotion, taken care of, etc. (And yes, I realize I’m being a little hypocritical – I tell people they’re doing douchey things on here all the time, and even in judging these type of women, that’s doing something I’m calling her out for. Thing is, I have a blog that doesn’t have a fraction of the readership that The Huffington Post does, and I’d like to think that I wouldn’t make a blanket statement like “knitters= weak women so go out and learn to shoot a gun instead” at all without my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. And “pretending you’re helpless to ‘catch’ a man” is very different than “baking cupcakes = weak”, no?) 

Here’s what it all boils down to, for me. First, being tough is not measured by your leisure activities. Toughness is a state of mind and is reflected in how you react to situations, I think. Am I alone in this? Second, being a bully does not make you tough. Being a bully is actually one of the biggest signs of weakness a person can show. And what Ms. Aloi is doing in this article is bullying. She’s bullying women into thinking they are not good enough, that their pasttimes are an affront to womanhood, that they are weak and small and unimportant and childlike because they like traditionally domestic activities.

Personally? I bake a mean cupcake (although my cookies are to die for – seriously, if you’ve had my Double Dark Chocolate Chunk Espresso Cookies, you know, I am the queen of cookies), I’m wearing a Hello Kitty band-aid RIGHT NOW (honestly, it’s because there was this kickass sale a while back and I got a ton of boxes of kiddie band-aids for free so that’s all there is in the house at the moment), I can’t garden, I hate tomatoes (both heirloom and regular), I love my cats, I can cook enough to keep myself fed, I like Jane Austen but am not in love with her, and I can’t knit. But I can crochet. Like a madwoman. And I’m a badass crocheter. I mean, I can make CLOTHES. I’ve made WHOLE BLANKETS. I’m very, very good at it.

I’m also tough. And no one telling me I’m not, based on my habits and activities, is able to take that away from me. I’m secure in the knowledge of my strength. Bigger bullies than you, Ms. Aloi, have worked me over, sorry to say. You’re small-time.

If you’re not secure in your own inner strength, Ms. Aloi, don’t try to pass that off onto the rest of us. That’s not very tough of you. And as for women who aren’t having enough “fun” – well, I’m glad you’re the fun police? What a nice title to have! But please let me be the judge of what’s enjoyable in my own life.

Women – if you take anything away from this, please let it be this. You are good enough. You are amazing. You are just who you are meant to be; you love what you are meant to love; and anyone who tells you that you are not good enough, and that you don’t measure up, and that your behaviors and the things you enjoy are not acceptable? IS AN ASSHOLE AND A BULLY. People like this should not be in your life. They are emotional vampires. They will take away your inner strength and use it to prop themselves up because they don’t have any of their own. You are the only person who can stop this behavior; you are the only person who can say, “No, you know what? I don’t accept this treatment, I deserve better than this” and get gone, either by removing them or removing yourself. 

I’m not telling you how to act; I’m not bullying you; I’m just saying your personal net worth is immeasurable, and you can’t even imagine the weight that’s lifted the moment you realize that.

(Side note – research on Peg Aloi tells me that she teaches at a college here in the town where I live. So, that’s fun. And maybe when I’m buying groceries I’m rubbing elbows with her! Good gracious I hope I’m not buying heirloom tomatoes OH THE HUMANITY. Don’t worry, I’m not. I hate tomatoes.)

(Title’s from a Cranberries song – “A Fast One.”)


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