“Plus” what, exactly?

ImageThe woman to the far right is Jennie Runk, pictured here in a Glamour spread circa 2009. The intarwebs have been a-buzz because she’s H&M’s new “plus size” swimwear model.

Let’s take another look. Here she is in H&M’s new swimwear shots:

ImageYes, apparently this size 12 woman is “plus-sized.” Excuse me? She looks HEALTHY. AND NORMAL. And pardon me, but I believe one finds size 12 in the “misses” (that is, the NOT plus-sized) section. Since when is this plus-sized? Certainly it’s not the size 0 we normally see, but should we really be calling this “plus”? Plus what? A normal amount of body fat and muscle?

As two women who are not size zeroes, we object. We object first because calling this woman anything other than normal is a gross misstatement. To imply that this woman is somehow heavier than she should be is nonsense. She looks beautiful as-is. I don’t just say this because when I look at most retailers’ models, I want to feed them giant Katz deli sandwiches by the fistful, but because this is the same kind of nonsensical distortion we get with the size zero model. Girls who are Ms. Runk’s size and one higher (14) are shopping in the section that advertises with size zeroes. Women who are size 16 and over are shopping for the clothes Ms. Runk is modeling. Isn’t it time we have just a bit of truth in advertising? If you’re going to sell “plus size” clothing, you need to use a plus size model. A model, that is, who wears size 16 or higher.

Additionally, there needs to be some parity across sizing. I give you the following anecdote: In December, I went looking for a New Year’s Eve dress. I headed to the predictable spots: Forever 21, H&M, etc. H&M was my first stop. My dress size, 95% of the time, is a 6 or 8. I do have a bit of trouble finding dresses that fit because I’ve got a lot of booty and not a lot of booby. But, I digress. I went looking for a black sequin number I saw on the website, and found they only had a size 4 left. I thought to myself, I might as well try this on. It’s realistically only one–maybe two–sizes below me. Maybe it will fit.

And what do you think happened?

Not only did this “dress” not fit over my ass, it hardly fit over my boobs! My tiny boobs! Most women who are my size or a bit smaller have bigger boobs than me! And, on top of that, the notion that this thing was a dress was a joke. Even if I had gotten it to begin fitting over my hips, it wouldn’t have made it much farther because there just wasn’t any more fabric! The damn thing was shirt for a 10 year old being passed off as a dress.

My call, therefore, is for parity in sizing as well as in advertising. I should be looking at models smack dab in the middle of the spectrum of “misses” (that’s a size six, by the way) and smack dab in the middle of “women’s.” And I should be able to reasonably enter a store and try on one or two sizes of clothing and find items that are at least close to fitting. I shouldn’t have to shop at store A as an 8 and then go over to store B and have to buy a 13/14. If we could actually get some real sense of what size we were and stick to it, and saw real humans modeling the clothes we’re buying, we’d significantly reduce the amount of body-hating that goes on.

Horrible Realization: I’m Too Old for Cheap Beer

When I was in college, I could drink like a fish.  I put huge douchey dudes to shame with my incredible ability to chug, handle, and hold my cheap liquor and beer.  I preferred nicer beer, even in those days, but I wasn’t about to turn down a few dozen free cans of Natty Light or PBR.  You just don’t do that in college.  You drink what you are given… You know, if it’s not from a very shady source.  Hell, even if it is shady, you might consider it if it’s totally free.  I mean, you’re supposed to be poor in college.  Why not enjoy cheap-ass bear?

College students love beer.

Everyone loves beer.

However, not everyone can drink cheap beer like 20-year-olds.

Once graduation occurs, and you move on graduate school or perhaps a real-life, grown-up job with benefits and a salary and everything, your lifestyle inherently changes.  It just does.  Life is very different after college.  Now, instead of just wanting to get drunk and maybe get a date or two out of some dude/lady, you are actually talking about relationships and even….  MARRIAGE.  Well, maybe just long-term or like… living together or something.  You’re still figuring that part out.  Anyways…

Life after graduation is quite an adjustment.  It takes some g.d. time, y’all.  And that’s okay.

There are many lessons a post-graduate must learn, and one of the first I learned…  Nah, actually the most obvious one I learned, was that I cannot drink the way and the crap I once could.  I’m a grown-up now, and Natty Lite ain’t gonna cut it.

When you start to get old, your body can’t handle the vinegar/acid/gasoline contained in cheap beer.  At least, the body can’t handle it at the same level.  When a body is young and virile, it can fight off the poisons of cheap beer – the pee in Busch Light or the dirt in Natural Ice.  When a body gets older, it starts to give up on dying and it wants to live.  Cheap beer wants to kill you and your body.  Old bodies know better.  They demand good beer.

Older bodies also don’t want you to make them suffer with yucky beer.  I learned this the hard way.

I have now learned, once and for all, that I am now too old to drink a whole bunch of crappy beer.  My body hates it.  My body wants to be a temple instead of a garbage can.  I must obey.

Until very recently, I was entirely immune to hangovers.  I had only once had a hangover, and it was after a week of no-sleep and then heavy, celebratory drinking.  You can read about a lot that night in the post, “When Kate and Patty (Almost) Got in a Bar Fight.”  With that one exception, I have been a total boss.  This has annoyed many people.  Understandably so…  Hangovers suck.  Now that I’m a little older, I’m starting to catch them.

After a night of drinking… we’ll say “some” beers, I have started to feel a little less-than-great the next morning.  Therefore, I must accept that I’m now too old for drinking cheap beer like a college-kid.

Damn.

I’ve Been Too Hard on “Skinny”

A while ago, I wrote a post about how amazing Beyonce’s thighs are, which remains indisputable.

However, what I also did in that post was talk about thin, skinny, little thighs as “unnatural” and less than ideal.  That’s not fair either.

I do think that glorifying unhealthy weight – on either end of the spectrum – is dangerous.  It is dangerous to glorify being so thin that for most people to achieve it, they would have to starve themselves.

Thin thighs are not “unacceptable,” “horrible,” nor are they somehow inherently “bad.”  It is not bad to be a thin person.  No one is a villain simply having thin thighs.

What is bad and scary, then?

It is bad and scary to push a body to extremes.  It is bad to glorify thinness above all else.  It is bad to glorify unhealthy habits that push people into unhealthy weights.  Just as a person can be too fat, a person can be too thin.  Both are bad.  The thing, not a lot of people are striving to be fat.  A lot of people are spending their days and nights obsessing over being thin at any price.  A lot of people have blogs and tumblrs devoted to “thinspo” with all kinds of ways to get skinny.  There are too many little girls and women out there who hurt themselves to achieve a level of thin that is not healthy for them.

That said, making thin women the villain is wrong.

Thin women just so happen to be thin.  Many people want to be thin, and that’s okay.  But wanting to be thin, or wanting to have Beyonce’s thighs, at any cost… that’s scary.

Also, Beyonce is amazing.

Bodies should be allowed to be as they are.  When society pressures us to go against our bodies, society is wrong.  Love your thighs.  Even if they chaff and wiggle.  Even if they’ve never touched.

Bitch’s Guide to New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve can be bad or great, but it’s probably going to be bad.  If you are a bitch, or you like bitches, or you think bitches are funny… here are some tips.  Enjoy!

1.  Shoes.  Wear shoes that you feel comfortable in all night.  You have to spend all of the hours up to midnight and beyond in shoes.  People will be drunk and there will be broken glass.  You cannot walk around barefoot.  You cannot walk home barefoot.  You must wear your shoes.  Don’t be “that girl” who spends the whole night whining about her friggin’ feet.  Don’t be the girl who can’t walk in her shoes.  You know the one.  The one who scuttles from place to place and must perch wherever she lands.  The one cannot actually walk without tripping.  The one who topples into the bathroom to re-apply her lipgloss.  Don’t be that girl.

2.  Booze.  Remember, you will be drinking for a long time on this Eve of the New Year.  Your body will be exposed to so much.  You should invest in mid-level liquor – at least.

3.  Shots, specifically.  Keep count.  Even if it means you have to take a sharpie to your arm (a mark for each drink), you must track your drinking.  You are in for a long night, so you gotta have a plan.

4.  Food.  Bitch, you gotta eat!  If you eat nothing, you will pass out.

5.  Cleavage.  This really depends on what kind of bitch you are.  It’s New Year’s Eve, so go nuts.  Show off your boobies.  Get slutty.  Do whatever.  As a really bitchy bitch, I really don’t care what other bitches are wearing on New Year’s Eve.  It’s like Halloween… Free pass.

SO MUCH CLEAVAGE.

6.  Dates.  If you bring a date to a New Year’s Eve party, make sure he/she isn’t a dumbass, can hold his/her liquor, and that your date can dance.  There will be WOO-WOOs.  Make sure they are ready.  Don’t be the girl with a lame-ass date.  Go solo if it comes to that.

7.  Boyfriends.  If you bring your boyfriend or girlfriend, they SHALL NOT GET SHITTY.  They shall bring mints and make out with you at midnight.  They shall bring you drinks.  They shall dance appropriately.  THE BOYFRIENDS SHALL BE FUN.

8.  Dancing.  Please do as little grinding as possible.  Please whip your hair.  Please shake it good.  Please do some work out there.  Sweat it up.  Do yo’ thang.

9.  Tampons.  Someone will need a tampon – it might be you.  Just bring a damn tampon.  You’ll be someone’s hero and it will feel great.  Good for you.

10.  Bi-Curiousness.  You gotta kiss somebody at midnight.  I’m not here to judge that part of you.

11.  Hats.  Party hats are fucking annoying.  Do not make anyone wear one.  If you want to wear one, that’s great… It tells the rest of us that you’re a dumb ass.  Seriously, suck it.  Hats are sucky.

12.  Driving.  You will be drinking.  Just get a cab.  Your only other option is to crash where you are.  The likelihood of someone staying sober enough to be the DD later on is low.

13.  Glitter.  A little glitter goes a long way.  If you’ve got a sparkly dress, maybe cool it on the bling and the white/silver eyeshadow.  Be sparkly, but don’t try to imitate the NYE Times Square ball.  You don’t need 10,000 blinking lights to be beautiful.  Also, if you do happen to over-glitter, it will get on EVERYONE.  I don’t want to wear your damn glitter, so stay the hell away, Ke$ha!

14.  Underpants.  Just wear them.  Underpants are always, always worth a panty-line.  Don’t be the girl without underpants on.  We don’t want to see your hoo-ha.  Anyone interested in your hoo-ha will happily wait to see it.  Seriously, I don’t want to see a single baby-factory on the dance floor or getting out of a cab.  We all have underwear.  Wear yours.

15.  The Midnight Kiss.  Just go for it, bitches.

A slippery slope, and by that I mean a mountain covered in chicken grease

Not that anyone is (or should be) all that surprised, but evangelical Chick-Fil-A hates the gays. Okay, maybe that’s a bit strong–they hate the gays getting married. But, you know. Close enough.

In an article by the L.A. Times, Chick-Fil-A says it is “guilty as charged” and supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Corporations need to stick to what they do best: making money and exploiting menial, part-time labor. Can all of them please get off the social issues bandwagon? Quite frankly, I don’t want to have to think about politics every time I bite into a burger or pop a french fry in my mouth. But you guys are making it goddamn impossible for me to enjoy something as pure and simple as a chickenFUCKINGsandwich.

Two years ago, you had Target and Best Buy giving money to candidates who adamantly opposed gay rights. In the wake of a public backlash, Target has done some pretty cool, pro-gay stuff, like carry greeting cards for same-sex couples. (YAY!)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that everybody, especially fast food joints, need to STFU and just let people be. I really don’t need a heaping serving of self-righteous bigotry with my chicken sandwich.

At the same time, I tend to disagree with Boston’s mayor, who, also according the the L.A. Times, plans to make it extremely difficult for Chick-Fil-A to set up shop there. Now, I’m all about individuals refusing to eat there for political reasons, but I think when you target specific companies for their political leanings (not that I think they should have any in the first place, but let’s take this for a given in today’s reality) and essentially ban them from your city, you’re on a slippery–greasy, if you will–slope. Dissenting opinions are part of democracy. There are going to be opinions out there that you don’t like, that are bigoted and insensitive, and that are just plain stupid. But that’s a risk you run when you enjoy a little right called freedom of speech. Don’t like Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay agenda? Good, don’t buy their (in my opinion not all that fantastically tasty anyway) chicken. Run them out of town due to a lack of patrons. Don’t stretch existing laws because you disagree with their politics. That makes for a dangerous environment for anyone with a dissenting opinion, even leftist ones. I would much rather see a Chick-Fil-A open its doors in Boston and stand utterly empty. That would be a far more powerful message, coming directly from citizens, that we don’t like their homophobic bullshit. Actions by the city government could easily be dismissed as playing politics, etc. etc., but actions by the people themselves? That might just be something.

When did the grocery store become so weird?

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point the grocery store became a magnet for weirdos and really strange behavior. In high school, I worked in a small grocery store, so I knew that weirdos, like everyone else, go to the grocery store. But I also thought that it was only because I was working eight hour shifts four days a week that I happened to see a few of them every week. And granted, we had our resident weirdos. But as a customer, I used to go to the grocery store pretty much without incident. The past few weeks have changed that.

Why is a small child pop-, lock-, and dropping-it on my cart?

I turned away only for one, brief moment. ONE MOMENT, and there’s a small child booty dancing in the one-foot space between my cart and the shelf of cookies. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You’re six years old, and you’re acting like this is the club. It’s the cookie aisle for crying out loud! That’s not a shelf of liquor at a bar, it’s a stack of Keeblers. AND YOU’RE SIX. What is going on?!?

Since when is ass crack an acceptable fashion statement?

That’s called plumber’s crack for a reason. Not appealing. Especially when you’re a woman in her late twenties behind me in the check-out line. The worst part was that this lady was wearing a belt with her jeans, which means that she has purposely slung them so low that her butt is peeking out of the back, not just that her pants slid down while she was walking around–still not acceptable, but, you know, perhaps slightly more understandable?

I don’t need to hear your life stories while you scan my food.

When I was a cashier, I smiled, I asked people how their day was going, and I’d sometimes comment on the weather. There are acceptable topics of conversation between customer and cashier. Talking about your lunatic brother-in-law or your aunt who just got brain surgery don’t fall into that “acceptable” category. It’s especially unacceptable when you expect the customer to share some highly personal information with you as a result of your own over-sharing, and then to get irritated when they act uncomfortable or simply refuse to share similar information. Come off it, ya weirdo.

You’re a friggin’ grocery store; how can you not have heavy whipping cream?

You call yourselves a grocery store? You, sirs and madams, have utterly failed.

Why does everyone in the parking lot act like a jackass?

When I have my blinker on, that means I’m taking the space. It doesn’t mean you’re entitled to it after you see I have my blinker on because you’re in the “lane” closer to it. On another note, if I make a move you don’t like, give me the finger, roll down your window and yell an obscenity at me, but don’t purposefully park behind my car and wait for me to get out so you can fight me, and, when I don’t get out fast enough, slowly circle the parking lot as you lie in wait for me. You creep! That’s stalking!

 

I mourn the loss of days when I could go to the grocery store without being accosted by weirdness and weirdos.

10 Weird Things I Learned On Vacation

  1. Ohio State fans are everywhere, and they keep strengthening my stereotypes.  The ones I saw were loud, made annoying parenting decisions, let kids swim during the adult swim hour, and were simply rude.
  2. Forest fires don’t scare enough people.  No fear.
  3. Don’t scream when you see a spider… At least not while the driver is merging into four lanes of traffic.  He will smite you.
  4. The art of secret farting is lost on some people.
  5. Don’t buy a salad in the U.P.  Don’t even try.
  6. The driver controls the radio.  Give up on those CDs you brought because it’s so not happening.
  7. Freighters are gigantic and terrifying.  So are people from Ohio.  (Not really, but it’s funny.)
  8. Rocks are still the most interesting part of my day.
  9. Bears are terrifying – even when they’re stuffed and in a glass box.
  10. Children are terrifying – especially if they enter your hot tub.  Game over.

15 Reasons Your Waitress Hates You

    1. She knows you’ll give her a shitty tip.
    2. You’ve hit on her.  She’s not interested.
    3. You grabbed her ass.  Really?
    4. You will continue your cell phone conversation while we are taking your order.  Then, you’ll hold up your hand to her, so that she doesn’t interrupt.  
    5. There are kids with you.  Oh, god.  Leave your badly behaved kids at home. 
    6. You will make her say how cute your evil kids are while they are pouring out their food and breaking everything.  Thank you.
    7. You’re blaming her for food you don’t like, or prices you don’t like.  She didn’t cook it.  She didn’t price it.
    8. Your specialty order is out of control.  You want extra onions, no olives, extra cheese, no salsa, replace the beans with fish, replace the salt with ice cream…  Something will be missed in the kitchen.  You will flip out.  
    9. You didn’t tell her about your food allergy until after she brought out your food.  “Oh, does this bread have wheat in it?  I’m allergic.”  If you have an allergy to wheat or gluten, don’t order a sandwich.  If you have an apple allergy, don’t order the apple pie.  Consider these rules.
    10. You complain about the meal, after you eat all of it.  Well, she could have tried to fix that… but okay.
    11. You ask for extra napkins four times.  You’re eating a hamburger.  How many friggin’ napkins do you need?  
    12. You will claim there is something wrong with your diet coke.  She knows that there is nothing wrong.  She will either 1) walk to the back, pause, and bring the same drink back to you, and you will say it tastes better, OR 2) will walk to the same machine which filled your glass last time, dump it out, then refill it, and suddenly, you will like it.  Either way, it’s the same.  You have wasted her time.
    13. You won’t leave when you’re done.  She wants to put new people in your table.  New people who will pay her more.  You are costing her money.
    14. She is stereotyping you based on age and the people you’re with.  Super young = bad tip.  Super old = bad tip.  Bunch of ladies = bad tip.  Bunch of douchey guys = good tip.  First date = good tip.  Super drunk = either super bad or stupid good.  Bitches/Assholes = likely a stiff.
    15. Oh, right.  THE BAD TIP THING.  For the record, 15% is base minimum.  20% for good service.  10% if the waitress attacked you, forgot your food, insulted your hair, hit on your husband, poured whiskey on your dress…

10 Reasons I Like Winter Dating Better

  1. I’m almost never sweaty without choosing to be sweaty in the winter. When I work out, I sweat.  That much is fine with me.  In the summer, I sweat without warning.  In the winter, I don’t sweat unless I choose to sweat.  This means that the person I’m dating doesn’t have to see me sweating without reason.
  2. I get to wear layers, which means I get to hide things.  Goodbye big sweaters!  Hello sundresses!  Oh god!  So much skin!  So much brutal honesty about my body!  I want to hide under knits!
  3. My skin is rosy and prettier when it’s cold. When it’s hot, I’m sunburned and oily.  No thanks.  I’d rather be crisp.
  4. Snowball fights are amazing.
  5. Cuddling is far more appealing when it’s not 80 Fahrenheit.  Who wants to share back sweat?  How about in-between-boobies sweat?  Let’s stick to each other!
  6. There are no bikinis.  Screw you, bikini season!
  7. There are no sunburns in the winter-time.  There are so many sunburns in the summer-time.  It’s hard to be sexy with a sunburn…
  8. Getting drunk is not as gross in the winter.  In the summer, you’re dewy and sweaty; beer becomes an enemy.  Winter drinking gives you an alcohol-blanket that will be your friend all night.
  9. All the skinny chicks look like penguins in the summer, but me, I look hearty and amazing.  In the summer, I look frizzy and swollen compared to the many stick-figures walking about dressed in napkins.  No hate, they look great.
  10. No mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes are not sexy.

This is me - all summer long.

Why can’t anyone poop?

I assume most are familiar with the above product, but in case you aren’t, this is Activia yogurt. For a long time, they advertised themselves as a yogurt to “make you regular,” or, in non-polite speak, make you shit if you’re currently unable. That’s what that discreet little arrow stands for. And it was primarily marketed to women.

Then you’ve got those fiber cereal/granola bars, which there are a ton of floating around on the market. These are also supposed to “make you regular.” In fact, fiber has become quite the buzz word in the past few years. There used to be products like Metamucil that were covertly advertised as poo-inducing, but the fiber craze has really taken hold as of late–the emphasis on this digestive aid has increased quite a bit.

Additionally, now the sugar substitute “Splenda” comes enriched with a bunch of other stuff. Splenda Essentials include B-vitamins, antioxidants, and (of course) fiber. In fact, the commercial suggests you put it in your morning coffee. I think the subtext here is, “If you couldn’t shit with Metamucil, get ready for your ass to explode.”

On the whole, these products are marketed as products to “make you regular” and they are primarily targeting women over thirty. So I ask: American women, why can’t you poop?

Now, this is not a matter of being too dainty to poop, since they’re all smiles and talking about pooping in a not-so-secretive way on primetime TV. They/we want to talk about “fiber” all the time, and any idiot knows what that means. So what gives? If you’re not too dainty, and you’re not too shy–because its painfully obvious that neither of these options is the case–what is wrong with you? Don’t you think that instead of self-medicating with all these whack products, you might need to go see a doctor? Or, alternatively, you could do something like eat a carrot or two. Eat some whole wheat bread. Pick a salad instead of a burger. Really, there are ways to get fiber that don’t involve adding it to your coffee, drinking orange colored and flavored powder, or eating weird yogurt advertised a little too enthusiastically by Jamie Lee Curtis.

Seriously! This is goddamn terrifying!

I leave you, reader, with the people who can discuss this best: the cast of Saturday Night Live.