Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quick, Anecdotal Social thoughts: Gender roles

I realized when I wanted to write this post how much the purpose of this blog has changed some in the last few months. Because, if you recall, I originally started this as kind of a snarky joke, to share my wellspring of BS with an easily amused audience, but it was in practically no time that this turned into whatever Rachel feels like today, which is sometimes me thinking I'm clever and funny, and sometimes it's not.

Anyways! The reason I thought about this was because something that happened this morning started turning into reflection and the desire to throw my personal views out into the void.

As I've mentioned several times, during the school year, I babysit on Tuesday mornings, and this year, we have a much wider age range and a larger group of kids. The oldest ones are around six years old, and the youngest aren't quite a year old. This morning, the older girls (there are three of them) were all hanging out in the corner of the room monopolizing most of the plastic food and baby dolls, presumably playing at that most horrifying childhood game "house."

I may need to take a moment here to interrupt myself and rail against the horror that inspires in me...There's part of a stand-up routine I watched that the guy is talking about the heinous unfairness to little boys and girls, because when a boy is small, what do we get him? Trucks and guns and Legos and such, but what do you get for a little girl? Another kid, of course! He says something like, "Hey, little baby, here's your baby!" and then adopts this horrified and disappointed face and responds, "But I just got here..." Maybe this a the benefit of hindsight, but why on earth would children want to play at the mundane? There is sadly few thrilling things about keeping a house, being poor, having children, or cooking dinner. I know I played some aspects of that as a wee child, but I'm pretty sure I was usually also building shelter on a desert island, or fleeing Bad Guys, or embarking on a quest...

And now that I've thoroughly derailed both of us, dear audience, I shall continue me story!

One of my unashamed favorite children in the nursery, a little boy named Daniel, a little two-year-old, chubby, ginger kid,  comes over and picks up a little plastic "milk" bottle and this hideous, plastic, Cabbage Patch-esque monstrosity, and promptly pretends to feed it, cuddle it a bit, and place it clumsily in the toy crib with a blanket. And these little girls look at him like he's utterly mad--but, of course, he's only a baby, so he can't be expected to understand that these are girls' toys. They keep giving me side-long glances, as if waiting for me to do my grown-up duty and gently pull Daniel away, informing him sternly that these are for girls, and little boys don't play with baby dolls.

I find that both amusing and infuriating. I came across the same thing in a family I used to babysit for. The youngest girl was ridiculing her little brother, because he wanted the three of us to play the Angelina Ballerina game, and she claimed that was a girl game, because it contained pastel colors, primarily pink, and was about ballet. I gently explained to her that ballet was also for boys, and they're hardcore, and that if she, a girl, could like "boy" things, like green and Legos and guns, it was ok for boys to like "girl" things too.

This might simply be because I know many happily metrosexual men, but I don't understand this double standard in rigid gender roles. You would think that in a country that has experienced not one, but three major feminist movements, we would understand that gender equality is not just about one sex. If women demand to be freed from centuries of social tradition, how can they refuse to extend the same right to their male counterparts? There's this absurd stereotype that men fulfilling traditionally female roles, like stay-at-home dads, or nurses, or stylists, or whatever receive ridicule and criticism for not fulfilling their "role as men." When a woman enters a field that is primarily populated by men, she is either congratulated as a pioneer, or laughed at for being crazy, but when men do the same thing, they pretty much just get their sexual preferences questioned.


How does that make any sense, boys and girls?

Anyway, I think that's about enough from me for tonight. It was just something on my mind that I thought I would share with the silent void.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Rules of Engagement: Relationships according to me

Due to some recent nonsense on Facebook, I've decided to suspend my plans for writing a post on something fun, and I shall rant about relationships, because at least half the people in existence are total freaking morons about them. And I'm not just talking about women. (Yes, that just came out of my feminist mouth. Or hands. Feel free to snicker. I'm only half joking...)

I have decided to give you, my dear audience, the benefit of my vast and excessively snarky wisdom. Because apparently these things aren't obvious. So! Without further ado, my ten rules on relationships. There are probably more, but these came to mind first and most emphatically.

In almost no particular order...

1) Love at first sight is bollocks. Always.

Do you know who believes in love at first sight? Children and stupid people, so unless you're an eleven year old girl or a Disney character, I suggest you stop waiting for the light from heaven to shine down on your Destiny while he/she starts singing the first verse of your duet while grocery shopping or whatever.

Yes, I'm looking at you, Michael Buble!

Sorry to be the one to say there's no love Santa, guys (No, I'm not. That's a total lie), but if you rely on love at first sight, you're probably going to end up divorced. And I don't want to hear about your cousin's best friend's aunt, who met her husband and got engaged three days later, and now they've been happily married for twenty-five years, and I'll explain why in a few minutes. So keep reading until I've offended you enough that you huff away and watch The Notebook. (*Whispers loudly* That's mockery, for those of you smart enough not to have wasted your time on that film. Because it was stupid.)

2) Friendship is not Step 1

Sorry, guys. For those of you crying yourself to sleep because you've been Friendzoned AGAIN, this may be something you might want to learn. As a girl, I've experienced this several times, as have the few females I spend time with (By which I largely mean Becca and Taryn): You start talking to this guy, and he's pretty cool so maybe you hang out a few times, and seven out of ten times, it ends with him abruptly dropping the bomb that he wants to date you, which you then shoot down as gently as possible (don't be nice, chicks out there. They interpret treating them like humans as a signal. Obviously you're attracted to them, and if they're just patient enough...), so of course the friendship is usually ruined.

The thing you guys need to understand is that friendship is not a means to an end. It's an end in itself. You don't become friends with someone to work your way into a relationship. If that happens by accident (it's happened to me more than once), good luck with that, but it's not a bloody strategy game, guys. It's not about being patient, or being there for her, because most times, it's not going to end with her suddenly discovering that "it's been you all along <3" More likely, she already knows you're great, already loves you to death, but--sorry, sweetheart--You're a brotherly lamp.

3) "In a relationship" means off bloody limits

This has also happened to me, and it's usually in conjunction with the Being Friends First Ploy. I was under the impression that having a significant other meant that other people were aware you were not available to pursue another relationship. Apparently that's not so. So let me break it down for those of you scummy enough not to get it.

When one is in a relationship, theoretically there is a significant and committed bond to one's significant other. If someone else breezes in and makes themselves available, they're SOL. "Taken" means "not single." Therefore unavailable.

Maybe that's what they should say on Facebook. Not "single" and "in a relationship" (I'm ignoring all the married and engaged nonsense), but "single" and "NOT single, ie unavailable, no you can't date ____"

4) Friendship is not an in.

See 2.

I think this bears repeating, because it doesn't seem to penetrate most people's pathetic little brains. Relationships need friendship as a grounding point and foundation, yes, but it's not friendship-->relationship. Besides, why wouldn't you want to be friends with your significant other and have friends that are platonic friends? It's so much fun.

5) Time

This probably goes back to the "love at first sight" nonsense, but relationships require time. I've never really understood the people who go, "Hey, you're remotely attractive, and we've been talking for like an hour. Wanna date, so that we can get to know each other better?" How often does that actually result in a lasting relationship? Because every time I've seen it, they last about one to six months. And that's being generous.

Supposedly marriage counselors say it takes something like two years to know someone well enough to make a lasting commitment.

The other thing is that people have a totally skewed perspective on what constitutes a "long" relationship. I've known people who have never had a relationship longer than six months. They're doing it wrong. Relationships are ideally going to end in the M word. Which is supposed to be a life long commitment, though that's a rant for a different day, or possibly never. Feel like a relationship counts when it's multiple years and genuinely serious. Not until then, because those are essentially the same as that two week "relationship" you had in sixth grade.

6) You're not an amoeba

We've all seen that couple. They were annoying at best, and nauseating at worst. It's not--I repeat not-- necessary to be constantly in contact with your squeeze. No one wants to see you snuggling, or anything else. The idea of a relationship is not to be part of this creepy blob. It's two distinct, independent people. You don't need to be physically or emotionally intimate or whatever all the time. Don't lose yourself in that scary morass you call a relationship, because when you've become an appendage or you constantly have that  person's vibe all over you, it's just annoying, and no one wants to be around you. Which only furthers your blobbiness, and then when you break up, no one is gonna be there to tell you what a douche you were dating anyway.

7) The exception is not the rule.

Everybody knows a few stories about those couples that married super young, super quickly, had different *fill in socially heinous something or other*, or whatever, and they ended up perfectly happy for the rest of their lives. 

I have one thing to say about that: How many stories of that are there as compared to the number of stories of stupidly failed relationships? Those are the exception, and not the rule. How many stories have you heard of that one in a million chance that the seatbelt killed someone in a car accident? Do you now no longer put in a seatbelt when you drive somewhere? It's the same idea. You are, in all likelihood, the rule. You are not the exception, and the chances of whatever idiotic, absurd, romantic bullcrap you're believing happening to you is miniscule, so open your eyes and live in the world as it is. You don't need fuzzy fairytales of twu wuv to make the world an amazing place.

8) Other people can see you

Closely linked to number 6, people can see you and your honey. Please, for the love of all that is holy, keep your affection to yourselves. If you want to hold hands now and again or exchange the occasional peck, go for it with my blessing. But keep your lovey-dovey, squishy emotions between yourselves. The point of emotional intimacy is that it's intimate. As in not shared with anyone and everyone around you. I don't want to hear about your relationship either. I don't care how much you love your significant other.

This the correct response. And also clearly a good relationship.

9) Learn the meaning of "anniversary"

I'm not sure how many of you are aware of this, but theoretically, if you're literate, you know the root in "anniversary" means "year." Year, boys and girls. Not month, not week. Year. If I hear you say it's your three month anniversary, I'm going to stab you in the neck with whatever I can reach fastest, and if it's not a stabbing tool, I'm resourceful enough to use it to bludgeon you to death.

10) Know what you're getting into.

This also ties back into a few things I've said before. If you don't know the person you're getting into a relationship with, you're probably boarding a sinking ship, honeychild. Also, it may have escaped your notice, but relationships can be hard. They're definitely not for the faint at heart, because that's usually some strange baggage your picking up. Any time you get two people being close, you're probably going to get some flames somewhere or other, so if you're expecting all sunshine and rose petals (Oh, god! Don't follow the rose petals!), you should probably just give up now.

Also, some advice for the single: Your watchword is "amazing" usually with a smiley face. That's your cue to run. Run now.