Sunday, March 4, 2012

And I Approve This Message Myself

_____ lbs. Since the armed forces are no longer using “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” I was able to buy it cheap and use it for my weigh-in numbers. (I haven’t been on the scale in days).

I got a little over-confident with the Roman chair and a 25 lb. weight plate to the point where my lower back was groaning last night. However, thanks to Epsom salts, Aleve and today’s Pilates class, that was undone. Oh yeah: and a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a miraculous thing: while you’re talking to giant winged bears in your dreams, your body is working like a NASCAR pit crew to repair damage and prep for the next day. Both your mind and your body get this treatment, so don’t cheat yourself out of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is the daily reset button.

I’ve been hearing and reading about a new teenager trend: young girls posting videos on Youtube asking the viewers to rate their appearance: Hot or not.  I came across a good article about it on

And (time to blow my own horn) I’ve written a tangential piece in this blog:;postID=9153169401213506783

This time last week (Last Sunday being Feb 26, 2012 and the Oscar broadcast), I was dressed in a “sexy” cavewoman costume for the best annual Oscar party. Although I didn’t win any prizes (dammit. Next. Red wig, sword, cavewoman costume: Main character from “Brave” even if I haven’t seen it yet. Or red wig, black catsuit: Black Widow from “Avengers.”), I got a lot of kind and complimentary comments on the photos I posted to Facebook and on the ones I posted in this space. Applying the “Hot or not” choice, I think I came out on the hot side (and not because of the hot flashes, either. Youngsters reading this: this is what you have to look forward to. Not fun, but survivable).

Those comments, however great they are and made me feel, weren’t the reason for posting the pictures or for going to the gym 5-6 days a week, experimenting with various forms of exercise and diet (and that’s “diet” in the broad “What I Eat on A Regular Basis”, not “Cabbage Soup” or “Hollywood Juice Fast” diet sense), reading up on things like sleep and stress reduction. They aren’t even the validation I needed to know I’m doing right by myself.

(God forgive me for quoting the Idiot In Chief) “I am the Decider.”

Right now (Americans. Americanas = female Americans), women’s issues are taking up a lot of time and space in the news cycle and the coverage has a general tag of “War on Women.” An amendment to a bill that would allow employers to opt out of covering contraception was narrowly shut down. Rush Limbaugh, one of the biggest (in more ways than one. I used to respect the man, even if I didn’t agree with a damned thing he said. I no longer respect him) commentators in the American media is now on the hot seat for calling a woman who testified before Congress a “slut” and a “prostitute.” One of the MEN running for the Republican nomination for President, Rick Santorum, has said (and I’ve seen the video) that he’d like the US to be under a Christian version of Sharia law (which we know doesn’t favor vaginas). And ALL of the Republican hopefuls are courting the right wingnuts by taking anti-choice stances when it comes to abortion (Since they also like the death penalty, “pro life” is a wee bit hypocritical). “Mad Men” is and has been a huge hit on AMC (it’s a good show), enough for ABC to go ahead with “Pan Am” and I wonder if there may not be some white male nostalgia for the era when white American males were the undisputed  kings of the land. And on top of that, we have a new fad with girls/young women giving total strangers the power to decide their merits based on looks/video.

Where do I start?

Let’s start with the kind of people who write comments on the Internet. This is an anonymous place, unless one is a hacker of Lisbeth Salander skills, it’s unlikely that an anonymous writer is going to be unmasked. Part of the vast Internet community is a sub-group called “trolls”. Wikipedia says, “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

Or it could be your irritating 13 year old brother and his jerkwater friends.

Trolls will post any and all kinds of crap in the comments section just for the sake of posting crap. They don’t consider the audience (unless it’s their jerkwater friends and they think they’re the heirs to the Algonquin Round Table), they don’t think about (or care about) the consequences of their actions or how it will affect the blog poster or other commenters. The Internet creates bubbles of personal space and there are no consequences in the real world. Or so we think. Especially the trolls.

So you really don’t want/need their input.

Then we have the real life mean girls. You could have the looks of Michelle Pfeiffer, the brains of Albert Einstein and the athletic abilities of Tom Brady (do NOT mention the Giants, Eli Manning or Tim Tebow), but people who feel rotten about themselves will seek to undermine you. Misery loves company. Your success or gifts make them feel small and unworthy. And, like water seeking its own level, they will attempt to pull you down to even everything out, whether it’s true or not.

So, you really don’t want/need their input.

We come to the black-hearted; those who would prey on you. (This is scary. I’m sorry, but sometimes, fear does serve a purpose) These are people who would actively seek you out exploit your looks, your youth, your innocence. Traffickers, pornographers, pimps, psychopaths. If you are online seeking approval, you WILL attract their attention and you have shown a weakness that can be used to control you once you’re in their power.

You DEFINITELY don’t want their input.

To thine own self be true. And be the best version of yourself that you can.­­

Look, what are your goals? Who do you want to be or what do you want to do with your life? What are you doing to get there and how’s your progress? There’s something to judge for yourself.

Outer appearance is like wrapping paper: it covers what’s inside and even the prettiest, most admired and costliest paper can conceal a box of moldy dog poop.

Looks fade. Even someone with beaucoup mega big bucks and access to all the plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills loses something along the way; you cannot look 22 forever, no matter how much money and time you spend on the issue. And when they’re gone, what’s left is the real you.

“She’s got a great personality” has been a sitcom staple since TV was invented, used to set up a punchline about an unattractive woman being set up on a blind date. A man may take a hot body to his bed, but he wakes up next to the personality. (And yes, women, too)

“Canterbury Tales,” is a personal favorite, especially the “Wife of Bath’s Tale” (those of you rooting for “The Miller’s Tale,” hold your horses until we talk farting). I’ll let Wikipedia summarize it:

There was a Knight in King Arthur’s time who raped a fair young maiden. King Arthur sent a decree out that the Knight must be brought to justice. When the Knight is captured, he is condemned to death, but the Queen intercedes on behalf of the Knight and asks the King to allow her to pass judgment on the Knight.

The Queen asks the Knight, “What is the thing that most women desire?” The Knight does not have an answer. The Queen releases the Knight, but commands him to return within one year with an answer.

The Knight spent this time roaming from place to place questioning women. Some say they want wealth, others happiness, others to be gratified and flattered. Everywhere he heard different answers. It is time for him to return to the Court and he is depressed for he does not have a good answer.

Outside the castle in the woods, he sees twenty four maidens dancing and singing, but when he approaches they disappear as if by magic, and all that is left is an old hag. The Knight explains the problem to the hag and she is wise and may know the answer, but she would require payment for saving his life. The Knight agrees.

The Queen asks the question again, and the Knight responds that women most desire sovereignty over their husbands. All the women of the Court agree that this is a valid answer.

The Knight is acquitted.

The old crone enters saying that she supplied the answer for the Knight and she now requests that he marries her. The Knight, in agony, agrees.

On their wedding night the hag is upset that the Knight doesn’t attend to his new bride, but her ugliness and low breeding repulse him. She reminds him that her looks can be an asset because she will be a virtuous wife to him because no other men would desire her. She asks him what he would prefer – an old ugly hag who is loyal, true and humble or a beautiful woman whom he would always have doubts about concerning her faithfulness? The Knight responds by saying that the choice was hers. The hag is pleased. She has won mastery over her husband, and she asks the Knight to kiss her. She says, “You will find me a fair and faithful wife”. The Knight turns to look at the hag again, but now finds a young and lovely woman.

Well, that kind of overdoes the looks angle, but my point is: she retains her own power, finds herself beautiful and powerful. So does the Knight.

If you’re thinking about a “Hot or Not” video, don’t do it. If you want to be hot, be hot within your own head (or wait for menopause. You never know when the heat waves will hit). Self-confidence is power and with energy costs these days, you don’t want to just give it away.

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