The Naked Eye

In Mark Twain’s time they must have not had women comparable to the Kardashians.


Bear in mind, I am all for women feeling comfortable in their own skin.  I’ve not felt comfortable in mine since I was a teenager.  Most women can wear yoga pants to the gym without feeling self conscious, I on the other hand wear them with shorts over them.  Sure people might giggle, but I’m at the gym to work out, not to catch someone’s eye.

It is this uncomfortableness with my own body that has led me to this post.  That and the issue of regard for self-respect.  

At my second of three jobs, I generally work the photo equipment.  Invariably there is always a vacation pic of someone pretending to pick someone’s rear at a distance, people who are too tall to climb tiny sculptures, babies, babies, babies and naked pictures.

Unfortunately, if something is an Internet order, we can’t always catch the pictures to censor them. They slip by, with the purchaser hoping it goes unnoticed.  Here’s my thing, if you have to submit it over the internet because you can’t put it on the large screen in the store, then maybe you shouldn’t print it at all.  Our printers are out in the open where anyone can see them; two key groups, children and perverts.

Recently last week a woman apparently went to a professional studio to have naked pictures done of herself.  In terms of nudity, the pictures didn’t make sense. She was waist deep in a creek, wearing a blue jean shirt which she purposely pulled behind her so you could see her chest.  A fully made up older woman, with perfect make up and hair, waist deep in a creek. The last time I was in a creek or around any body of water I face planted and had snail shells stuck in my crack; definitely not sensual.

Last night was a doozie.  We had printed off a booklet of boudoir pictures.  No big deal. We usually print these off at Valentine’s for women sending them to their boyfriends who are in the service.  Usually the women are covered sensibly.  Last night, the woman was covered, but then by the time the 4th page printed out, it looked like maybe her butt was starving and ate her underwear.

I couldn’t take it.  I immediately posted my frustrations on Facebook saying, “Please, no more…”

Then as if to taunt me the machine then printed out two 8×10 pics of a woman who looked like a real estate agent in a company van flipping off the viewer.  I was definitely not happy.

In the past someone has been sneaky and printed pictures of him and his girlfriend doing inappropriate things, men have told me I can take off the inappropriate pictures on their order if I want (when they are trying to save all of the pictures on their phone), and women printing off pics and using the big screen then saying, “Oops” and looking at me.  

By all means I am not a prude, I have drawn many naked people.  There is a huge difference between art and pornography.  If you go to my Etsy page you will see tons of naked drawings, but none of them are nefarious. 


 If you are going to take pictures for your significant other, send it to them via text or e-mail, then quickly erase it from your phone so you don’t have to worry about anyone seeing it who shouldn’t. If anything think of the photo booth ladies, spare our eyes.

What is something you have had to do in the name of public service that bothered you?

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Stop the toots

Have you ever heard the expression, “Not to toot my own horn…”?  For whatever reason the other night I was thinking about this and how much it doesn’t really seem to make sense.  How did this start? Whose horn?  Why are they tooting?  Why is this positive?


I woke up from a deep slumber pondering this question.  The only thing that came to mind was a bunch of chambermaids in medieval times having a good laugh impersonating a boastful, flatulant queen.  

Why is the horn used to draw reference to oneself for a good deed or job well done?  What makes it more annoying is if the person is a trumpet  player because they can toot their own horn twice. This brings no satisfaction for the person whose ears were just singed with the sounds of a humble brag.  If the person was not a member of the brass section then there would be some relief they couldn’t complete the often used expression.  The  brass instrument sections almost always get too much satisfaction because they can make this true even if there isn’t anything worth telling everyone about.

So I did a little digging.  Where did this start?  According to the US Herald this is how it all began:

United States about 1776 (a “declaration of self-independence”?) in the “Warren-Adams Letters” as “I think modesty is highly overrated as a virtue — my motto is ‘Toot your own horn lest the same never

The truth is, if you have to toot your horn, chances are you can’t even play a reveille.  You’re drawing attention to yourself to make it look like you’re doing something.  Instead of tooting that you’re awesome, just be awesome instead.  Save your breath and your toots.  Get to doing and stop tooting.

Photo credit queenofyourownlife.com

If you’re going to toot, aim it in the other direction. Nobody likes a braggart.  

When someone has tooted their horn around you, what happened?

Worst Fear: Things my cat ate

Everyone has their worst fears.  I have several. If you went through our pantry you might find a lack of carb related foods.  This is because my cat ate them all. Before we talk about how she likes to carb load before a healthy run around the house after a successful bowel movement (who wouldn’t?) let’s talk about some enviable attributes.

First off, she has guts.  This isn’t referencing her literal tater tot filled innards.  She takes and asks forgiveness later.  Often times I’m too careful and have a tendency to wait and see if things pan out.  My cat’s approach is something like this, “Life is short, learn how to open Tupperware” or “Spare their meat and steal the bun.”

As a kitten I swore she was part raccoon, she was always attracted to shiny things and I would wake up to find my jewelry I was too lazy to put up the night before, hidden.  She was a literal cat burglar. Since then, she has grown up some, and has progressed from shiny things to Bobby pins.  She would rush to find them (even if they were out of sight) and point at them like an Irish Setter who has found a hunter’s duck.

The weirdest thing though, is her love of carbs.  Almost everyone has seen the viral video of cat’s afraid of cucumbers.  She has no fear of cucumbers.  She will however, chase a potato.  After realizing one had fallen out of the bag in the pantry we heard a noise and suddenly we see her wrestling the spud, kicking it with her hind legs and biting it.  We experimented and rolled one down the hallway, she barreled after it, attacked it and sat on it as if she were in a match for the ages.  

She is a master manipulator.  Several times, she has crawled into mine or my husband’s lap only to feign affection to peep her head between our hands and take bites of our cereal…or take the bread from our sandwiches.  She waits until we aren’t looking before she hops up on the counter to eat our left over tater tots.  She’s usually very quiet, and often times she takes more than she can fit and takes off running licking her chops.   

Here is why I’m jealous.  She already knows she will be forgiven, so she takes the momentary “shooing” for a moment of palatable starchy goodness.  She is spontaneous.  I like to make plans weeks in advance.  She sees opportunities and takes them.  She sees an opportunity for a piggy back ride and she takes it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re naked and fresh out of the shower, sitting on the toilet or at the computer.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve missed opportunities and I wish I had the eyes to see them.  She does not lack in this area.  If it isn’t apparent from the drawing, she lives a full life, literally and metaphorically.

What is your worst fear involving your pet?  Do you envy them?

Caucasian woman voting

Last Tuesday was voting day in the United States for most people.  Though it wasn’t the president we were voting for, we were electing state officials which is equally as important.

Bear in mind, I do not affiliate with any particular political party.  I do not feel an American can be defined as a whole by the ideals of one party.  We all tend to lean one way or another and share some beliefs as our counterparts on the opposite end of the spectrum.  It would be unfair to say we are definitely ANYTHING.  You could say I’m a fence sitter, the voter candidates want on their side.  It doesn’t mean I’m special, or think people should fight over me for my opinion.  If a candidate gets my vote, it is an earnestly thought out decision.  Many people fought for the right to vote so people like me could, and it isn’t something I take lightly.

When Tuesday rolled around, I made sure to get ready early for work and vote on the way there. Dressed in my work uniform, equipped with my name tag, I pulled up to the school where we vote.  The school is lodged between two large pieces of farm land and sits across from a gas station.  It’s right in the middle of a burgeoning district where a lot of voters my age are parents and raising families.  We also have the older crowd who are either grandparents, or they are in the age where their children are already moved out of the house.  We are the generations starting to make this place a city, a place to be, a place to live.  As I strolled up the sidewalk, there was a small gathering of middle-aged people in sunglasses.  Fifteen years ago this was a different story.  Fifteen years ago I was 21 and inundated by a gauntlet of volunteers; people my parents age, to vote for fluoride use in the water systems, or not.  I had a handful of flyers and talked to 5 different people by the time I reached the voting booth.  This time I was surprised.


It was close to 100 degrees out.  Everyone seemed to huddle in the sun near their campaign posters.  As I got closer I flashed a huge smile to the man with a pot belly in his 50’s wearing a straw hat and police issue glasses.  He kind of smiled back.  Finally I said, “How ya’ doin’ today?” He exchanged a mundane platitude and a comment about the heat.  Just past him was a woman who just looked at me, had a slight smile on her face, not saying anything to me. To her side was another male in his late 60’s shooting the breeze with someone close to his age.  The woman still didn’t acknowledge me.  They all stayed close to their signs like lizards wearing shades under a heat lamp, not speaking a word to me.

Once inside the school library where the voting took place, it was a different story.  Air conditioning may have greeted my skin but the poll volunteers there (who are to be impartial) greeted me with warmth.  They were glad to see the turn out they had.  We talked about education and teased about penmanship.  It was a contrast to the “heir” outside.  Their smiles made me want to stay and talk to them longer and have an intelligent conversation about topics that ACTUALLY matter.

After filling in the little bubbles next to soon-to-be-important names,  I turned in my voter ballot.  It was anti-climactic.


I wanted to celebrate for those who couldn’t vote in the past, for my great grandmothers, my great aunts, those family members who wrote in newspapers trying to get the word out that our voice, though it may feel as though you are one, lone, female voice, it still matters.  I wanted to celebrate that I wasn’t taken away in handcuffs like Susan B. Anthony for being a voting female, or that I was allowed to vote even though my ancestry isn’t 100% white.

Yes, that is Susan B. Anthony being beaten and pummeled for standing up for her right and women’s rights.

Confetti didn’t rain from the ceiling, the pollsters didn’t start a slow-clap erupting into applause. It was silent. Silence followed by the whir of the machine sucking in my ballot like a spaghetti noodle and two elderly people trying to remember what they were going to do next.

With my hand on the metal bar of the door, I was already regretting the feel of the heat on my face, but even more so, I wasn’t looking forward to the secret cold judgement of the political volunteers that stood on the other side of the sidewalk.  To my surprise, when I opened the door and moseyed down the sidewalk, a man was approaching the school the same manner. Idid.

The man was in his mid 40’s, Caucasian, wearing a plaid collared dress shirt, nice dress slacks, a black leather belt and scuff free shoes.  The volunteers moved toward him and started to bring him into their huddle. They did all but break out the ticker tape parade. The man had to greet, greeted this guy with open arms, a smile and a polite exchange. The woman said a sentence to him. The other man who couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to a potential voter when I came in,  greeted this guy with a huge hello, open arms and a pen.

I went back to my car, got in, and while waiting for the heat to dissipate I looked out wondering, “Where’s my pen?”

Have you experienced anything like this at the voting booth?  Was it due to age, gender or race?



 

Snapchat Hypocrite

A few months ago you may recall a piece I wrote titled, “Obligatory Selfie” where I poked fun at people taking selfies as a part of an everyday mundane practice that has currently become socially acceptable.

I recant this piece.  Although I compare the obligatory selfie to yoga pants being accepted as full fledged pants, I have seen the worthiness of an appropriately timed selfie.

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Steven Tyler eat your heart out!

Sure, at first I was smug.  Why would a 36-ish something like myself want to have a phone full of pictures of myself?  Who would want them?

Then came an evening spent with my in-laws and niece.  When my sister-in-law and husband stepped outside for a moment, my niece came back into the room with a blanket, we snuggled up together on a bench and she showed me this “new” thing called “Snapchat”.  She snapped a picture and showed me how you can transform yourself into a dog.  Once finding out she and my other nieces were using this app, I immediately signed up to stay in touch with them.

On the way home I was researching how to work snapchat, how to use filters and how in general to “Snapchat”.  Do I take 5 seconds in public by myself to pucker my lips and pose for the camera?  No.  However I do wait till’ I’m on lunch break at work or at home and snap a few selfies to catch up with my nieces, cousins, sister-in-laws and friends.  Only once has anyone been in the break room with me when this was going on, but he was completely aware of what was happening.  I didn’t leave my behaviors an unknown mystery to him like our customers have done in the past.

There is no joy greater than being able to send the ugliest selfie possible to those you love to receive one equally as horrible back.  In fact, there was a fun competition my niece and I had one night.  If you are ever down or feeling blue, this is the best thing ever.  Try to make the goofiest face possible and just hit send.  It is the greatest feeling not caring what you look like because the worse, the better.

Here is an example of one I sent, it’s like Steve Martin meets Frankenstein’s monster.

 

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Or the selfie aptly titled, “I woke up like this…”

 

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However, you want your family and friends to remember you in a good light.  Not to get too dark but one of my worst fears is something bad will happen and they will have to submit a photo to the news for a story. Ensuring it won’t be driver’s license photo, or worse an outdated glamour shot you occasionally have to send them one of you as a butterfly queen. This way the recipients remember you are a real person and won’t be shocked (or disappointed) you don’t have 3 mouths in your face the next time they see you.

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What is your favorite “Snapchat” lens or filter?  Why do you gravitate toward that one?

Minty not so fresh

Do you ever have those days where you feel like the mint rolling around at the bottom of your Grandma’s purse?

You know, the rogue mint last in the pack with a tiny piece of foil still wrapped around it.  The mint that hides under Nana’s wallet when someone with bad breath was desperate enough to need it.

The other day I was that mint.

When my anxiety acts up, I hide from social media.  Even though violent events are far away, I still feel sorrow for those going through such horrendous acts.  Within a few days apart Alton Sterling was in the news, the Dallas police shootings, and Nice; France.  So much violence and feeling helpless I turned inward.  This last month has made me wish superheroes were real and maybe injustice wouldn’t happen.

As soon as news about Alton Sterling hit, my friends were having to explain what it is like to be black in America to those who didn’t understand.  Because of this heinous act they were having to defend themselves, their point of view and they shouldn’t have to.

Then came the Dallas police shootings, waking up to this news before work made me fear for my friends across the nation.  Then came the horrible news from Nice.  Waking up knowing that someone is killing because of warped ideals is frightening to me.  Prior to all of this we had to deal with the Orlando shootings and bombings in Bangladesh.

Each time something happened I would post on Facebook how I was sending prayers and thoughts out to all of the families and people suffering.  Each day it seemed as if I was posting prayers for more victims.  Eventually I stopped watching the news, and turned off Facebook for a while.

Shortly before logging off of Facebook, a friend posted something vague and it seemed as if he was going through something similar.  He was also grieving the loss of a loved one in addition to feeling helpless with everything going on in the world.  Just to let him know I understood I clicked the sad button.

I quickly shut off my Facebook during my 15 minute break and went back to work.  He had sent me a private message saying thank you for the thoughts.  On my 30 minute lunch break we chatted back and forth, I asked him questions about what was going on and in private he was able to get it all off of his chest.  In a way, helping him with his problems, helped ease my anxiety too.  We were both rogue mints waiting for someone with a bad day to help them out.

Thank you friend for indulging this mint.

 

Re-tales

Dear Sir,

Last summer you rolled into my store to purchase a prophylactic. You drove your wheelchair behind me as I walked you to them. You were surprised they weren’t under bulletproof glass, under lock and key. You were impressed that I didn’t bat an eye at what you were purchasing.

Unfortunately you got too comfortable with me. You came in this summer, rolled past me as I was adjusting snacks when you said, “I see you’re playing with your nuts!”

How dare you use your advantage of being in a motorized chair. How dare you speed away before I could come up with a witty reply; or spray you with water like I do my cat when she is innapropriate.

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Please refrain from getting familiar with me as I already know more about you than I care to know.

Sincerely,

Quirky Girl

Dear Madame,

You and your soon to be husband came into our store to collect money from a loved one. Unfortunately my gum was getting stale, so politely, I covered my mouth and spit the gum into the trashcan and apologized if you saw anything.

You then used this as a segue into telling me my behavior was acceptable because your betrothed “shoots” boogers out of his nose while in the woods.

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In 5 minutes we went from platitudes to getting personal. You probably ran into the previous customer who at this point had probably blown up his prophylactic, attached it to his wheelchair flag as a windsock while he rolled down the sidewalk. (A clever ruse to get people to leave him alone.) He probably told you it was ok to tell me of your beloved’s dashing ability to weaponize snot. He’s wrong. Don’t listen to him.

Sincerely,

Quirky Girl

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