Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Storm Center @ Baby Central

I attended a really fun baby shower this weekend! The parents-to-be chose not to know the gender of their baby till it’s born. I kind of love that—the fun of the surprise appeals to me. This is not to say that I don’t completely understand wanting to know in advance so that you can purchase the clothes and accessories that go along with your baby’s gender identity. I do get that, and I respect both positions. It’s great that parents now have a choice.

These particular parents are decorating the baby’s room in a monkey theme, and the most adorable (and completely gender-neutral) gifts were opened! More fun than a barrel of –well, I won’t go there.

So anyhoo, the thing about showers in general is that there are generally games played that just make you wish you were home in bed with a fever of 104 and body aches. They normally range from annoying and cloying to degrading and undignified. Not this time.

Little Mama’s sister handed everyone a diaper pin upon entering the home. You were to hold onto your pin, and not say the word “baby” throughout the shower. If you heard someone else say the ‘b’ word, other than the Little Mama or the hostess, you were entitled to confiscate her pin. The guest with the most pins at the end of the shower won a prize. Best. Shower game. Ever. Props to the genius Auntie!

Back to the issue of sex. (Not yours—the baby’s.)

There was a recent article in the newspaper (remember those?) about a Canadian couple rearing their baby without regard to gender. The baby is named Storm (as in Storm of controversy?), and the mother is quoted as saying that Storm should be able to develop his or her own sexual identity without having to conform to social stereotypes or bow to predetermined expectations associated with gender.

I get this, too. It’s kind of a noble objective, but talk about an uphill struggle… Sure, now the baby’s four months old, but what happens when it’s four years old and needs to use the bathroom at school? Gonna have to choose one of those doors and eschew the other.

Storm’s probably got some cool monkey clothes, though. And I do like the name. Not that there’s anything wrong with Pat, Chris, or a couple of other either-way-type names…

This all reminds me of something I read in the ‘70s called The Story of Baby X, or some reasonable facsimile thereof. It was a fictionalized version of the same controversy, and was completely cutting edge at the time. It made for some good reading, and really provoked some thoughts about how we program our kids along gender lines.

Wish I could find it now. I might share it with Little Mama. Or with Storm’s family…

Meantime, it’s something to ponder.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to Decrepit Old Me

You may officially wish me a happy birthday! I celebrated yesterday, and let’s just say that there will be a social security check coming in the near future. You do the math.

So it was a wonderful day—lovely cards, e-cards and Facebook posts wishing me a happy day, a prosperous year, good health, long life, clean fingernails, and something about memory loss… I forgot exactly what. It was great to be remembered by so many people, and I enjoyed every single message.

My husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU) took me out for a fun day’s adventure. We went to Soulard Market, which is a wonderful indoor/outdoor produce/meat/spice market. We walked up and down several blocks in the neighborhood and had a fantastic lunch at Bogart’s Smokehouse on South 9th St. Wow! We love barbecue, and this was an amazing—I said AMAZING lunch. Don’t mob the place, we still want to be able to get in there when we want. Mmmm… the brisket and the pulled pork were both great, and the sides were wonderful, too. Yeah—I kind of dropped the diet notion for today because it’s my %*#&#@ birthday. Wanna make something of it?

Anyhoo, we were driving home (skipped the museum plan in favor of a nap) and I thanked CoTU for not taking me to Denny’s for a free meal. I might have complained just a little about turning 62. CoTU commented that when we met I was a kind of ‘chipper young thing’. (These are words not normally in his vocabulary.)

I said, “Yeah, and now I’m old and decrepit.”

Boldly, he said, “That’s okay—it’s only going to get worse.”

“Hey,” I said. “I’m working out almost every day-- that’s not a great observation to make!”

“No—that was a compliment! Like saying I love you more today than yesterday, but less than tomorrow. Um… but the opposite.”

“See,” I answered. “So it’s the opposite of a compliment, which in our language is called an insult.”

“I don’t think it applies,” he replied. “At least not to me.”

“Right—men can age and not worry about it. They think they’re attractive no matter how out-of-shape and wrinkled they get,” I observed.

“Wait—are we talking about ME now?” he asked.

“Would it matter? I mean we thought we were old at 50. Now we look at those pictures and think we looked pretty good. So in ten years, we’ll look back and wonder what we were complaining about at this age, too. Let’s just enjoy it while we can.”

“Okay. Want to stop for dessert on the way home?” he wondered aloud.

“Your pickle was dessert,” I advised. “Save room for dinner.”

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cheated by Time!

Here’s a perfect example of a mixed blessing.

I’m just days away from another $%&#* birthday. I will turn 62 on said birthday. I recognize that not everyone got this far, and that, in fact, it’s something of a privilege to still be up and about at this age. You know what they say, every day above ground is a good day. They say that. They’re pretty much right.

Still… what don’t hurt, don’t work. They say that, too.

So as 62 has been on my radar screen, I’d been thinking, well, at least now I’ll qualify for a “Senior Discount” at Kohl’s!

Yeah. Then this came in the mail.

Whoops-- she's tipsy!

Now the Senior Discount applies to anyone age 60 or more! Somehow I feel cheated.

There had better be cake...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Let's Not Give Pigs a Bad Name

Men and scandals. Now there’s a topic to mine.

Men and sex scandals. Nearly synonymous with the former.

I think I could write all night and day about the number of prominent men who have brought about their own downfalls by their sexual misdeeds. I’ll keep it short.

Last week the awful stories about the head of the International Monetary Fund attacking a maid in a New York hotel was a painful episode. Infidelity is one thing—assault is quite another. Then followed quickly the Schwarzenegger announcement of an out-of-wedlock son. Gasp—the Governator cheated on Maria?

In the wake of these stories, Time Magazine’s cover read “What Makes Powerful Men Act Like Pigs”, to which the ever-witty Roxanne Roberts responded (on the best hour of radio of the week: Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on NPR) (yes, remember—nerdissimo here) that there was no reason to badmouth pigs.

So, need we recap the famous and powerful men who have self-destructed on the basis of their inability to control their sexual urges? Sure, why not?

To name a few, let’s start with John Edwards. I used to think he was a highly principled man of good character, a man who stood up for the little guy and wanted to narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Lesson to be learned? --don’t rely on me for a judge of character. I missed that one by a mile. Bad enough he cheated on his wife (and kids), then he lied about it for a protracted period of time, and denied being the father of a child who he now acknowledges is his. Meanwhile, his wife of twenty-plus years was dying of cancer. Criminy, John—you’re pathetic.

Tiger Woods—the serial philanderer, no—make that multi-philanderer, or serial/multi-philanderer. Am I the only one who lost track of the number of women he was involved with? This guy was on top of the world career-wise, had a gorgeous wife and kids, and threw it away. Now he can’t seem to get his game back, lost his family, lost his endorsements and the respect of the general public. Really, Tiger—for what? You were a guy who seemed to have his moral compass straight. Your parents brought you up with solid values and a strong ethical base. What happened?

Then we can go on to people like Senator David Vitter (R-LA) who was on the D.C. “Madam” list, and acknowledged that he was a customer of the call girls. There’s New York congressman Christopher Lee who had to resign over e-mailing a shirtless photo of himself to a woman who was, sadly, not his wife.

There’s the history of Wayne Hays, Wilbur Mills, Gary Hart, Bob Packwood, Gary Condit, Jack Ryan, Mark Foley, Elliot Spitzer, John Ensign, Mark Sanford (remember the “Appalachian Trail” story?), and of course, the sad impeachment of an otherwise distinguished president, Bill Clinton. Gosh, and I nearly forgot Larry Craig, known for his “wide stance” in the men’s room.

So what can we learn from all this?

Well, now there’s an article in the paper about New York congressman Anthony Weiner (D) sending a “lewd” photo of himself via Twitter to a 21-year old college student. Female. Weiner claims that someone hacked into his account and did this without his knowledge.


It’s hard to know what to think. His gender has set him up to make us doubtful of his claims of innocence. But it’s still possible that he has been wronged, and was set up by a cretinous hacker. We are not here to judge, after all.

But I am reminded of a line from an old tv show from the ‘80s. A father was lamenting the fact that his daughter, Rita, was a slut. His friend tried to console him with the line, “You name a daughter ‘Rita’—what do you expect?”

I just wish his name was not Weiner.