Actually, Sexual Assault IS a Big Deal.

Yesterday, while sitting at my desk at work, one of my male co-workers noticed that I had opened and was presumably reading a “Crime Alert.” I work for a University that sends alerts whenever crimes occur on or near campus, and luckily, we don’t get them all that often. Lately, however, there have been many reports of sexual assault. These assaults are all linked to the same suspect, but he hasn’t been identified or caught yet. He sees a girl walking alone, pulls her out of sight and attacks her. Most of the women have gotten away before he can complete his objective, but at least one has been raped, and all have been traumatized. It is scary and awful. I hate thinking about the fact that there is a serial assaultist on the loose. Most women hate it too, I imagine. Now, when my male co-worker saw this crime alert on my desktop he was surprised – surprised that I hadn’t immediately deleted, surprised more that I cared enough to read it.

*The following is a non-exact, but fairly accurate account of our conversation.

He said, “Why are you reading that?”
I said, “Because it’s scary and I want to know what’s going on…”
He replied with something along the lines of: “What’s the big deal? He’s a serial gropest.”
Then my mind turned red, and I clenched my chair hard, saying, “WHAT?”
“Why is it scary? He’s a groper.”
“It’s scary for women. You’re not going to be attacked by him because you’re a man. But it’s scary.”
“You’re right, I’m not a woman…”
“Yeah, so you can’t understand.”
“I guess not.”
I shook my head and made some kind of face at this point. “It’s just scary. Okay?”
He said, “What? He’s only groping them. Ooo, scary.” (Sarcasm on the end there, FYI.)
This is the part where my voice got a little higher, “What do you mean, ‘Only groping?’ As if that makes it okay? For the record, he has raped at least one of the girls and just because the reports use the word ‘grope’ doesn’t mean it’s your same definition. Either way, it’s still assault and it’s still a traumatic violation!”
This is the part where he laughed (which made me feel weird), then he calmly said, “But he could do so much more. It’s just groping.”
I think I might have raised my voice a little more here. “Are you kidding? It’s fine because they got away? He’s pulling these girls into dark alleys! They’re just getting away.”
“Yeah, so he’s weak.”
“WHAT? That doesn’t make it okay.”
He said, “I’m just saying, he’s only groping them… ”
Then a brave and very wise co-worker recommended, “Just stop talking. You’re digging yourself a hole. Just stop talking.”
Then he stopped talking.

This is not an attack on the co-worker because I know what he means, or at least what he was trying to mean to say. His point is if no one gets killed, everything will be alright. In a way, I get it. These girls are alive and will live on, but he’s missing the point that a violation like that will forever change your life, your feeling of security and your view of those around you. What if you were walking home when a stranger attacked you? Regardless of what that person did physically, you would not feel safe in the same way for some time. Maybe it’s just that men cannot imagine the fear women have about this kind of thing. Men and boys do get attacked though; it’s not just a women’s issue. Rape andsexual assault of any kind are severely damaging and should not be played off because no one died. Maybe no one died, but something might have. That something might be a sense of security. It could be a person’s self-worth, or their ability to love – others and themselves. Sexual violence can change a person’s life. It can shape how the world is seen and how relationships are dealt with for a person. Let’s not pretend it’s fine if no one dies; people still get hurt, damaged and perhaps, irrecoverably changed.

As for the Ann Arbor attacks, the suspect is still at large. Please exercise caution and please, PLEASE do not walk alone at night. Visit the University of Michigan’s Police Site here and please also take a look at the suspect’s composite here (pdf file).

It’s a big deal. Let’s treat it that way.

Update: msnbc.com reports that the FBI is now a part of the search for the suspect or suspects involved in these attacks. Annarbor.com additionally states that there have been a total of six attacks, two of which were rapes, since July 15th.

Faking It

Faking an orgasm. Most women have been there, done that, weren’t impressed, but will do it again. Most women in heterosexual relationships feel pressure to have orgasms, even when they’re not really having them…

The polls I’ve seen say that at least 60% or 70% of women admit to faking an orgasm, but I’d venture that the number is closer to 100%. Yes, that’s right. Dudes just don’t know how to play that fiddle. Well, most dudes. And, especially the dudes most chicks are “fiddling” with in High School. 16-year-old boys don’t understand the female body. Hell, 16-year-old girls don’t. What young girls might actually understand is that they are “supposed” to like certain things, do certain things and react in very particular ways. Thus, the fake orgasm. ABC News breaks down the reason why women fake it below:

The partner… Maybe if the ladies were a little less worried about their partner’s expectations, they could focus all that energy on their own pleasure. Most likely, the guys gonna get off regardless of what the lady is doing. Most likely, he’ll be good no matter what. So, you may as well enjoy yourself. If you want it like that, then have it like that.

Be this.

Not this.

Women need to stop faking it, or they’re never gonna get it. Don’t fake it. Keep it going and try to get yours. As women, we are allowed to say what we like and ask for it. If you are having sex with someone, you should at least be comfortable enough with them to ask them to do what you like. If they can ask you to … well, do whatever it is they like, you should enjoy and exercise the same power. Plus, dudes like when chicks take the lead every now and then. Chances are also good that he wants to please you. That dude on top of you, or next to you, or under you, or behind you… Chances are he wants you to get there, so give him a road map.

I also can’t help but think that this is a heterosexual problem. Straight dudes suck. Straight girls are weird. What say ye, gay population? Do you feel the pressure to fake it too?

Get yours. And that is all.

http://www.askmen.com/dating/vanessa_150/152_love_secrets.html

Awkward Tattoos and Other Ways to Kill Your Relationship

Relationships end for lots of reasons: irreconcilable differences, cheating, growing apart, etc. However, tattooing your fiance’s fifth-grade mug on your ribs is a pretty good way to waive a red flag that screams “I’M CRAZY!”

While tooling around msnbc.com today, I ran across this story about Kat Von D’s (of TLC’s L.A. Ink) tattoo of her former fiance’s (Jesse James, the West Coast Choppers guy and Sandra Bullock’s ex) face. The corresponding video is worth a look, as it divulges what the text cannot.

Of all the stupid things…

I used to think it was questionable when someone got a lover’s name tattooed on their body.  But their face? As if women don’t have enough personal image and body issues, now this crazy woman decides she’s going to forever make her body remind her of this jerk-off. WHAT? Not to mention, dude was straight ugly as a ten year old. Jeez.

Additionally, is it just me or is Von D particularly obnoxious? She reminds me of a small animal or child that’s been force fed a bottle (or two) of Five Hour Energy–or crack. Her personality–and, admittedly, I judge from the short clip posted on MSNBC–is all over the place. My brain hurts from trying to explain how a bleach-blonde valley girl found her way into the body of a heavy metal rock chick. Please, for the love of god, ENUNCIATE. Not that James is any winner, either. Dude looks like a deer in the headlights. “‘Whoa, she’s really doing this for me'” is how Von D describes his thought process, but it looks more like “Whoa, this chick really isn’t doing it for me anymore” from his expression.

Moral of the story? Don’t tat your dude’s (or lady’s) face on your body. At least not if there’s any chance you might one day call it quits. Who wants to be looking at that ugly mug for the rest of your life? It only is going to invoke negative feelings that will then be transferred to your own body. Not cool! Not to mention, you never know how your newfound dedication to your partner’s image will leave them feeling. In this case, it’s obviously a little too much for Mr. James.

Although if I was in a relationship with what amounted to a scatterbrained, hyperactive, overly-devoted Etch-a-Sketch, I might blow that popsicle stand, too.

 

 

 

More on tats you probably shouldn’t get.

Some Thoughts on Debt

Why Debt Matters

I’m just so frustrated with people not understanding the gravity of personal and national debt. Hitting the debt ceiling is embarrassing and dangerous for our nation. I think rich people need to shut the hell up and pay more taxes. I think America needs to stop intervening in other nation’s conflicts because we simply cannot afford to right now. Yes, I would go into debt to help my family, my friends, and probably an enemy, but that would be a personal decision. If going into debt further would affect 300 million people, I might reconsider standing up to the bully I didn’t like so much. I get why America intervened in Libya. I do. However, when you put that on top of overthrowing as many governments as this nation has in the past 10 years, it’s really starting to seem excessive. Obviously, I have a problem with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have a problem with seeing Americans dying and going into debt to fight an ill-defined, ill-planned, endless war. I work with these people everyday, and even if they believe in America, in their fellows, in themselves, they don’t seem to believe in the “cause” anymore. Sure, the policitians called it “freedom,” no one really knows why we’re fighting. Regardless, we’re just spending too much money on war. We’re spending money we don’t have.

This is a baby without money. He symbolizes America. The only difference is that this baby knows that he doesn't have money to spend. Thus, he doesn't spend any. Genius? Genius.

America’s Money

Money. America used to have tons of it. Now, we’re just making it up. The Euro is kicking our ass. Maybe in a couple years the peso will even have us beat. I don’t want to see that day, but we just might get there. We were once a super power, now we’re just super screwed. This debt crisis has been a looming cloud for years, but only now is anyone really paying attention to it. My excuse? Well, a couple years ago I was a child (or at least a teenager). What the hell were the leaders of the free world doing then? Seriously!

Stop spending money. Stop it. Just f’ing stop it. We don’t have it. Don’t spend it.

These are simple principles I follow in my own life and I expect my country to follow these principles at least some of the time. Yes, some of the issue is that our country simply had more people and things to take care of than it had money for… To some degree, that is good and fine. At first, America was taking care of its citizens by going into debt. However, we’ve now reached a point of tax cuts, war and crazyass spending that has led to crazyass debt. What happens now? Why can’t people accept that taxes have to go up? Taxes HAVE TO GO UP. There’s simply no getting around it. Look back 50 years, taxes are pretty good right now.

Fiscal Responsibility and You

Since the last round of elections, we’ve heard a lot about “fiscal responsibility.” That is, one would think, not spending outside of our means. And while a lot of Americans like to point their finger at the government as a shining example of what a lack of a familial budget would do (on a large scale), it is also something we need to think about when we look in the mirror. Credit card debt, minuscule down payments on homes, a slew of new vehicles, and other fiscal irresponsibility that was acceptable only a few years ago is clearly no longer working. In fact, we have a foreclosure crisis to prove that. So before you slide your VISA across the magnetic strip reader at the store next time to buy some useless crap, think about Obama. Think about Boehner. Or Reid, or Cantor. Do you really want to be like those guys?

The Debt Ceiling

The debt ceiling problem is a stupid problem because it’s a non-problem. The debt ceiling is an invention of congress for purely political reasons and goals. There’s no *actual* debt ceiling, just a piece of paper that says there’s an imaginary ceiling that’s been agreed on. And why have we wasted an eternity arguing about it? Oh yeah, because Congress is made up of a bunch of dipshit five-year-olds who need a timeout. It would just be nice to have a bunch of mature adults making mature decisions. You know, like grown ups.

And yet, the argument goes on. And on… and on… And the August second deadline draws nigh. First things first; let’s be clear: letting the nation default on its debt is not only bad policy, it’s bad politics (someone please tell Michele Bachmann, I don’t think she’s been updated…). Losing our good credit rating from agencies like Moody’s will spell disaster for US Markets and world markets. It’s bad economic policy all around. And bad economic policy + weak-seeming America = ? You guessed it, bad politics. In fact, I’d venture to call it political suicide. Which I don’t think the Republican establishment is willing to do, but it’s those Tea Baggers (sorry, Tea Partiers…) that worry me. People like Bachmann seem to not understand the negative effects of default, or they’re choosing to ignore those effects for show to “rile up the base.” I get that these people are desperate, but it definitely cannot justify screwing everything, literally everything up. Plenty of presidents have raised the debt ceiling before, just friggin’ do it again (like the TEN TIMES you did it under Bush and I heard nary a peep!). If they hadn’t raised it before, it would still be a grand… Ahh! Get over yourselves and do something normal, reasonable.

But what’s most irritating about this argument isn’t the brazen stupidity of Bachmann-types, but the distracting nature of the entire issue. I’m tired of arguing over this stupid non-problem when there are very real problems that need real solutions. E.g. NOBODY HAS ANY F$%&ING JOBS!!! Mostly I wish Congress would just get their heads out of their asses, come to a COMPROMISE (yes, dare I say it? Raised taxes and spending cuts! Lawdy.), and get on with it already. Quit wasting my time and tax dollars! Goddamnit, I’m paying you people to sit there and act like babies! That may, in fact, be the real crime here.

Foursquare is for dummies

This is my anti-foursquare manifesto. (Sort of.) Okay, maybe not, but I still hate this site.

Foursquare is a social media site, for those of you who aren’t familiar, that allows you to update your friends as to your current whereabouts and actions. It’s kind of like an upgraded status update. You can, eventually, earn badges and other shit and become the “mayor” of a given locale, and possibly–if the business is social media-savvy–earn rewards just for frequenting a given place and letting everyone know.

But why would I say Foursquare is for dummies? Seems pretty harmless–maybe a little annoying and creepy, which is, granted, one of the reasons I am loving hating on it–so why ruin the fun?

Because you’re a mule. Foursquare users are advertising mules.

Foursquare isn’t for you, it’s for the businesses you frequent. They immediately, through you, have access to a large group of your friends (via Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook) and your bona fide testimonial touting their establishment FOR FREE (or for the cost of one beer after a slew of check-ins and purchases, for example). This is like localized advertising on steroids. Immediately this business has earned the trust of your friends (through your check-in) and has access to a large group with, presumably, similar interests. They don’t even have to pay for an advertisement because you’re doing that for them. And this, my friend, is why you, on Foursquare, are a mule. Way to go.

I think, however, that Foursquare is only one truly awful symptom of a larger problem: we’re more interested in maintaining our online lives than our real ones.

In the case of Foursquare, we stop living and enjoying the ambiance of the establishment we are at and the people we’re with in order to go through the following ritual:

1. pull out phone

2. find foursquare app

3. sign in

4. find the name of the establishment

5. check in

6. put away phone (I hope)

Just think, in the time you took to do that, you could have begun a meaningful conversation with the friend next to you, or ordered some food, or looked around and maybe caught someone’s eye and smiled. There’s plenty you could have done that would probably have made your day much better than a check-in through Foursquare would.

To conclude, Foursquare is a time-sucking, life-sucking, advertising vampire of a program.

Friends With Benefits – A Movie, A Lifestyle, A Story

Now that the world has experienced “No Strings Attached,” and with the release of a very similar movie, “Friends with Benefits,” I realize that the whole F-Buddies concept is becoming a lifestyle choice.  In this lifestyle, your “F-Buddy,” your “Friend w/ Benefits,” or whatever you’re calling that person is not in a relationship with you, but does have a relationship with you.  This is the part we’re forgetting, I think.  Hollywood has discovered that even if you’re not dating someone, but you’re sleeping with them regularly, you will develop a rapport, a relationship and maybe even feelings.  Shocking!

 

 

Actually, it’s not shocking… Consider the situation: 2 people, nudity, kissing, other-stuff, probably a little chatting along the way.  It makes sense that sometimes those people would be interested in each other.  However, sometimes this isn’t how it ends.  Sometimes, people have sex and then they don’t fall in love.  It’s true.  There are adults who aren’t meant to be.

Because this situation is gaining popularity, here’s a little cheat sheet.

 

THE USER’S GUIDE TO FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

  1. If you don’t want to fall in love with the person you’re banging, pick someone awful and possibly stupid.  This way, when you do wander into the murky waters of chatting, you’ll be too disappointed, annoyed and confused to actually be interested.  If you kind of hate them, you can have pretty intense hate-fueled sex without worrying about silly feelings.
  2. If you do want to fall in love with the person who’s banging you, be amazing at everything and make sure they are too.  (In other words, make sure you each look like A-list celebrities, ie – Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.)  If you’re the most attractive person in the world except for the person you’re sleeping with, things might get complicated.  Also try being super interesting, funny, relaxed and caring.
  3. Sickness. If you want them to love you, take care of them when they’re sick.  If not, don’t do it.
  4. How old are you? Over 30? Maybe you should just date.
  5. Are you under 21? What the f*@# is wrong with you?!  You’re too young for this.  Stop it!
  6. Alcohol.  Drinking it will help you have more fun.  After all, friends with benefits is all about fun.
  7. Grooming.  Would you shave your business to go shopping with your bffs?  If no, don’t for a simple session of bumping uglies.  If yes, do your thing.  Just remember to consider the implications of your landscape art.
  8. Don’t get dinner, don’t go on trips, don’t do “dates.” If you’re not dating and you don’t want to be, don’t do dating stuff.  Seriously, just don’t go to restaurants.  Don’t watch movies together.  Boom, foreplay.  Boom, sex.  Boom, have a great night and I’ll you later.  Simple.
  9. Absolutely no cute text messages.  Only sexting.  Only when necessary.
  10. Time limits, people.  It has to end at some point.  Either end it before you feel something, or end it as soon as you start to feel those pesky feelings.  Know what you want and hold your lines.  You are in control of your destiny… blah blah blah.


Got it? Good.

“Young, Fabulous, and Broke”

There’s stupid, and then there’s imbecilic. There’s dumb, and then there’s a you’ve-got-to-be-effing-kidding-me-you-can’t-be-serious brand of stupidity and/or bad taste.

Reader, I give you “Young, Fabulous, and Broke.” This L.A.-based clothing company, started by self-described “fashion industry icon” Heidi Cornell has an “About” page that reads thusly:

Young Fabulous & Broke is the quintessential LA brand, designed by Fashion Industry icon Heidi Cornell to suit any wardrobe and to fit any occasion – which is why Megan Fox, Sienna Miller, Blake Lively, Lindsay Lohan and Sophia Bush use YFB pieces as their ‘go to’ clothing whether they are working, playing, shopping or even hiding.

YFB is inspired by young Hollywood” says Heidi “because I love laid-back LA style” which is why the collections are filled with flowy feminine dresses, sexy bohemian skirts, cozy sweat pants and flirty tops made from sumptuous, form-enhancing fabrics such as silk jersey, soft cotton and fine cashmere.The collections are luxuriously comfortable with details that thrive on subtle sexuality and simple, understated elegance.

On the surface, I am not very much annoyed. It reads like most “About” pages for clothing companies; they are, after all, trying to sell a product. It’s the name that gets me. Young, Fabulous, and Broke? Broke, you mean like, Broken, right? Like broken clothes? Surely you don’t mean “broke” as in “I have no money”… right?

Because if you mean “broke” as in “I have no money,” you have no business selling your dresses for over $200. Yes, that’s right. Two Hundred Big Ones. WHAT?

If you’re going to associate your brand name with words that normally signal “inexpensive,” (e.g. the term “broke”) then yousureashellshouldn’tbechargingthatfuckingmuchforonegoddamndress!!!

I think this relates to what I was talking about in another post (You’re Not Poor) a few weeks ago. It’s that same sort of attitude–why would you call yourself broke when it’s painfully obvious you’re the polar opposite? Is hypocrisy the new “in” thing, or something?

So, let’s get a couple things straight: 1. If you’re shopping in a tiny boutique that sells two hundred dollar dresses and hundred dollar shirts, you aren’t broke. 2. If you’re “Megan Fox, Sienna Miller, Blake Lively, Lindsay Lohan and Sophia Bush,” you aren’t broke. 3. If you’re shopping in the same boutiques as some of Hollywood’s signature celebrities, you’re probably not broke.

The apparent confusion between “broke” and “I can only afford a two hundred dollar dress (and I’m whining about that)” isn’t just stupid or annoying. It’s in bad taste. In fact, it’s tasteless. “Young, Fabulous, and Broke” is a tasteless, inconsiderate, hypocritical, stupid name for a boutique clothing line. It’s anything but Broke and anything but Fabulous.

The Crash and Burn of the Cain Train

Herman Cain is running for president. And he’s loony. And it terrifies me that Chris Wallance, host of Fox News Sunday, makes a valid, and–dare I say it–perhaps liberal-friendly argument against Cain’s seemingly unconstitutional advocacy for a community in Tennessee to ban/derail the building of a mosque in their town. See below:

Obviously there’s a lot to be concerned with here, beginning with Cain’s gross misinterpretation of Islam. He splits Islam into “religion” and “laws.” But don’t all religions have a set of -gasp- religious laws? What does this idiot think the Ten Commandments are? Suggestions? Or what does one do with the Book of Leviticus or the Talmud? I don’t understand why Islam is classified differently. There are extremists in every faith, but I don’t think that constitutes disallowing the practice of said religion by a country that calls itself the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.”

 

Secondly, what happened to the Republican hard-on for the constitution? Someone needs to remind Mr. Cain that the First Amendment protects Americans’ right to the free practice of religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

 

Thirdly and finally, if we use Mr. Cain’s argument and apply it to a different time in the nation’s history, say, pre-Civil Rights Era, wouldn’t that mean that voters in a given locale would have not only the power but the right to decide what kind of discrimination is acceptable? In other words, wouldn’t parts of the South, theoretically, still be supporting laws that segregated the races?

 

Racism, ethnocentrism, and discrimination based on religion are reprehensible. People should be held accountable for these kinds of views. And, generally, in the court of public opinion, they are.

 

The bright side to this story? 72% of Tennessee voters support or are indifferent to the prospective mosque. Sanity and Democracy: 1. Herman Cain and Discrimination: 0.

 

Original story courtesy of the blog for The Rachel Maddow Show @ msnbc.com.

Alcoholism and You (and U)

There is a joke among college students that they are protected from being called alcoholics for the duration of college because of the nature of drinking habits at their age.  This makes graduation even harder.  As soon as the tassel moves from one side of the head to the other, you’ve become an alcoholic adult, not just an irresponsible student.  Sorry.

So, now that you’ve graduated, here are a few guidelines for deciding whether or not you have a problem.

  1. You insist you drive better after a few drinks.
  2. You’ve woken up in the bushes so many times, you’ve named them.
  3. You have a choice between sex with a hot girl or more bourbon (you are a straight male), and you choose the bourbon.
  4. The last time you went grocery shopping, you only bought alcohol and you spent over $100, and you weren’t having a party.
  5. In a blind taste test, you could distinguish between and name Busch Light, Labatt’s Blue Light, Miller Light, Bud Light, Pabst, etc.
  6. You often wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy and then proceed to brush your teeth with a bottle of Jack.
  7. You often wake up hoarse, but have no recollection of why you yelled, or at whom you shouted.
  8. Your credit card statement reads like a map of local bars.
  9. Even your mother has seen you drunk.  And your dad, and grandma, and sister, and the kids you used to babysit.
  10. Your text message outbox is your retro-active memory database.
  11. You could buy Stoli, but you’d rather have 5 bottles of Burnett’s.
  12. Over the course of the last week, you’ve been drunk 8 times.