Posts Tagged ‘stereotype’

Maybe I’ll Learn to Sew and Other Thoughts on Shopping

January 8, 2012

Today I had to do the dreaded “I need work clothes” shopping trip.  Somethings (root canals, paying bills, dealing with faux-drama) all rate ahead of shopping.  In what can only be described as a twisted sense karma, I can actually shop *for* other people.  I can whip together new wardrobes, provide selections to try on and do all the things somebody who has as, her default position, based in retail.  When it comes to me? Sigh.

Body image 101.  I’m pretty sure this impacts most women people at some level.  Today, I had a fairly normal first stop: I went to the Nordstrom Rack to use some Nordstrom Notes and hit their end of season clearance sale (pics on the hit or misses tomorrow).  Suffice to say, that for the price of one dress, I managed to get a ton of stuff for the nieces and nephews, a dress, 2 sweaters and a shirt.  Not bad.  The warning bell in my head (the one I rarely listen to but really need to!) said “go home, reconfigure your closet and come back again.” Sigh.

I headed over to Central/Davis Square area and a few resale shops including a pretty fairly rated Goodwill in Central Square.  Never again.  And by “never again”, I mean I won’t step foot into the Central Square Goodwill.  I walked in my typical Saturday garb: College logo sweatshirt, hair in pony tail, jeans, Dankso’s.  Not exactly sexy, but I’m doing errands.  I started flipping through the racks and an employee came up to me and very gently said “Honey, we don’t carry your size here.”

I was appalled.  No, I was humiliated.  Look, I’m not a size 10 or 12.  I float between an 18 and 20 which is WAY down from my college weight.  I float between an XL, 1X and 2X depending on the cut and make (hello, most people float between 2-3 sizes).  Now, in my stellar running amuck garb and my hair up, I do look heavier.  I stammered something out about ok, thanks and dashed off a text to some friends who know my disdain of shopping.  I found myself shaking: some random woman had managed to say something that left me feeling worse than dirt.  All I wanted was some stupid layering items, or something fun.  I wanted to try to do something to augment the insane amount of clothing that is purchased new, made in places like China.  Hell, I just wanted to trawl through the racks and see if I could find something fun or funny.  In short, I just wanted to enjoy my day.  And it ended with “honey, we don’t carry your size” and some random stranger walking away.  The irony, is, of course that I did find some things in my size but at that point was shaking and near tears.  I simply walked out.

After wandering around a bit, I went to the store in Davis Square. Ok, it was meh.  They had “helpfully” put the larger sizes in its own section.  But I realized how much I just didn’t care.  I was over clothes shopping.  There was one last hope: Buffalo Exchange.  I didn’t realize it was a chain (I walked by it on my way to Goodwill).  Sigh. I got the eye rolls when I walked in: ok, at this point, I was thinking costume jewelry, cheap ass sunglasses and maybe a purse.  Not only did I laugh at their prices (seriously, you could do better at lower end retail stores), I was off put by their attitude: especially when I left and heard two employees say “I knew she wouldn’t buy anything here”.  Wow.

Look, I know I need to lose weight.  I also know that I’m not going to do it on the diet du jour.  I also have the lovely additional problem of 2 artificial hips that have had about 26 surgeries between them.  It’s not a matter of just “hitting the gym”: it’s a matter of finding the right balance.  Oh, and yeah, losing the $580/month bill for my health insurance so I can afford to buy a gym membership at a place with a pool.  I wanted to scream that at all the ultra judgemental looks, people and asshats.  A few of them, I want them to just stand on their feet for 9 hours and feel the throbbing pummeling pain that destroys my body when I do that.

Actually, you know what I wish? I wish people would just mind their own effing business.  I went into a retail store (which, unless my basic grasp of economics is off, sales brings on profits which, in turn, determines staffing needs which, work with me, helps people in retail keep jobs) and was treated like dirt.  Next time, I’ll just hit up eBay.  At least there, I can’t hear or see the judgements.

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No Baby? No Problem!

April 2, 2011

Usually, it takes me until my first cup of coffee is finished to be completely offended. Today, it took exactly the length of time to read the following 2 paragraphs:

“Women are programmed to be caregivers and nurturers. Give my girls a couple of dolls, and one will be the mom the other will be the daughter, frequently disregarding the obvious gender of the doll. Before a woman becomes a mother, she will coo over her friend’s newborn; and in that lilting, high-pitched voice say, “Oh, I want one.”

 Give a boy child a couple of dolls, and they are liable to decapitate, dismember, or bury it. Prior to fatherhood, most men dread a baby. Responses I have heard include “It smells”, “It’s noisy”, and “Don’t hand it to me. I’ll drop it and break it.” Men are programmed with single-syllabic functions that run along the lines of “hunt, kill, eat, mate, sleep.”  Their responses are biologically simple.”

Seriously? I’d like to sweep the comments under the musings of an uneducated Neolithic person. Unfortunately, I attended college with the writer.  In full as much disclosure as I want over the internet, I will say I attended Hollins College (now university) which is a women’s university (ok, that sounds dumb, another reason I’m still against the name change) in Virginia.  Funnier yet? The last time I spoke with the writer, she was on this “empowered female” tirade. One more time: we do not get equality by belittlement. 

Normally, I’d smile and nod at something this horrifically stupid but I am SO OVER my “fulfillment” as a woman needing to include a child, that a man cannot be more pro-child than a woman, and this feckless idea that all women coo that I might just scream. Literally.

Let me be clear: I’ve NEVER wanted a child. I would not be a good parent, I don’t particularly care for the newborn of the species and I really only like kids once they are interactive. In a now infamous moment, I once tried to bribe my then 4 month old niece into taking a bottle by offering her a horse, a car and a college education: to quote my sister “only my sister would try to bribe an infant”.

The writer continues, “He [brother in law] devoted himself to them with the haphazard parenting that men excel at: half dangerous, half clueless, and frequently mitigated by my sister without him being aware of it. “ REALLY? Men cannot be responsible parents? Can only parent when subjugated to the manipulations of a woman and are too stupid to realize it?

I am simply stunned that in 2010, a woman stoops to such a level as to belittle men. I know gay male couples who joyously embrace parenting – or is that a façade? I know people of different ethnicities, sexual orientations, socio-economic status who do or do not want to parent. It has never been as simple as “It is because person X is a male/female”.  Nobody should be forced to parent when they do not want to: we know how to prevent pregnancy. A couple is as complete without a child by choice as one is who makes the choice to have a child. A child cannot complete a couple and to think so is dangerous. Marriages are hard enough before you add the strains of parenting. Having a child to “save” a marriage is as brilliant of an idea as well, mixing gasoline and a match. 

My 5 year old nephew asked for a baby sister for his birthday. But I suppose that shouldn’t count: his father is an amazing parent as is his uncle.   And neither of those two acts in a “half-clueless” manner; and neither are manipulated into parenting by their wives.  I wish the writer was so enlightened.

There are times after having fun with my nieces and nephews; I float the “what if” but it is quickly quashed: it is the remarkable co-parenting by my siblings and their spouses that gave me wonderfully inquisitive, interactive nieces and nephews.  I know I do not posses that skill set. I know that I do not want to parent. I was the girl that gave her sister the dolls and found a baseball instead. I am insulted – by extension – that there must be something wrong with me for not wanting a child.

 My only hope is that since the posting was on 4/1 it was an attempt to be a “funny” April Fool’s Day posting. But then again, if an idea of humor is by minimization of another, well, that is not funny either.