My Reply

Sometimes I read stuff & get cranky & pull a Peter Griffin & play “What Really Grinds My Gears.”

  
Today’s edition: why women are catty bitches & I’m so over it. 

Last night, I watched the Golden Globes because I have worked as an entertainment reporter for many years & I like pretty dresses God dammit. I could comment on the show, Ricky Gervais, but instead, I’ll address why women are catty bitches & why it drives me nuts. 

Actor (& super hunk if you ask all of my friends) Jason Statham & his girlfriend of five years, Rosie Huntington-Whitely announced their engagement at the event last night, with full attention on Ms. Huntington-Whitely’s sparkly new bauble. As always, the comments on this story included why Statham, 48, shouldn’t be dating Huntington-Whitely, 28, because the age difference is gross & of course, why the ring was too small, ugly, etc. I’m sure Ms. Huntington-Whitely cares so much that random women online hate her ring, but it was sad to see few positive well wishes, just women taking shots on another woman. Similar things happened when photos of Blake Lively’s engagement & wedding ring hit the Internet, only that ring was too big, gaudy & why was it pink?! Kevin Costner was forced to address the price tag of the ring he chose for his wife Christine Baumgartner (Joan Rivers famously made Baumgartner cry by mocking her ring, prompting her husband to purchase her a much larger one). But why does it matter to the masses? Unless Ryan Reynolds or Jason Statham is buying you an engagement ring, it doesn’t matter. Those rings are gifts from them to their wives, maybe we should back off. Even on FB, I see people snarking at women about the size of their wedding rings, their homes, their Pinterest crafts. No building each other up, just a sick game of one up-manship. Why? I know when the time comes, I wouldn’t care what my boyfriend bought me, or if it met my “dream ring” criteria (if I really had that. I’m so indifferent hahaha). If he picked it out for me, it could be a garbage tie & to me, it would be the most beautiful thing on the planet because he bought it for me & wanted to marry me & much like thee women, I wouldn’t even notice the cattiness. 

 

We live in a society where wage inequality is still a thing, women’s rights are being marginalized in my neighbour’s land, Planned Parenthood is under attack. Women are still being forced to choose between career & family & told to “keep their legs closed” to prevent sexual assault or unwanted pregnancy. Girls are sent home because their clothing might distract boys, we blame women for their own sexual assaults & child support gets clawed back, leaving women in a cycle of poverty. Meanwhile, instead of taking up for one another, we are belittling each other for things that don’t matter & superficial bullshit that means nothing at the end of the day so women can feel like they’ve “topped” each other. Women are even attacking each other for such things as feeding their babies, as Alyssa Milano learned when talk show host Wendy Williams (who made headlines when she claimed actress Jennifer Lawrence deserved to have her privacy violated and her private nude photos leaked online last year) told her that breastfeeding should not be done in public, as breasts are meant for sexual enjoyment. Ms. Milano shut her down, by why are women constantly defending their basic rights or things that should bring them joy…to other women?

Even when women are successful, we tear them down. Look at the comments about Taylor Swift representing the wrong type of feminist because of her friends. They build each other up, celebrate their uniqueness. So, we cattily tear them apart for being friends because they’re too pretty, they’re models, etc. Okay. 

 I don’t compete with other women. I teach my daughters that we don’t compete with other women. I compete with myself to be a better woman. When I see women belittling other women, I often wonder why they are so insecure that they can’t celebrate the achievements of other women. Women wonder why we’re still fighting the same battles, it’s because of us. We’re attacking each other! Either because we’re the wrong type of feminist, or because they fed their kid or they may possibly have something you don’t. If women spent half as much time building each other up as you did questioning if they understood what feminism means to you or snarking about looks, fashion, etc. women’s rights wouldn’t be something we were still fighting for. 

  
I’m sorry for the rant, but I guess I’m sick of seeing women have their joy trampled by catty women, women who should be supporting other women, famous or not. Perhaps if you can’t be nice, maybe you should just be quiet. 

  

Raised On It

So, anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been reading about the Ashley Madison hack and I find it completely hilarious.

I’m not one to revel in the misfortunes of others, but watching guys like Josh Duggar, who for years have tried to make LGBT families, divorcees and anyone who doesn’t fit into their traditional mold of marriage feel like they are somehow deficient try to squirm their way out of this makes me giggle. Watching them try to blame Satan for their hypocrisy warms the cockles of my tiny black heart.

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However, the fall of the Ashley Madison website brings me a personal joy for a more personal reason. During my year as a newlywed, my former husband & I had a million and one problems, most of which stemmed from the fact that we were far too young and not ready to be married. But he worked midnights and my roommate and good friend had discovered that this website was real. So, we looked it up and were horrified at the number of people we knew that were on this site trolling for affairs, one of which was my ex husband. In the infancy of our marriage, maybe even before we had said our I do’s, had been looking for an affair. I chose to stay with him for the next seven years, and I’m glad I did as we later had two beautiful children, but the shock and betrayal stayed with me, as our marriage was marred by a lack of trust, which was pretty valid as he cheated on me pretty much all the time. After our first year of marriage, I discovered that the weekend he sent me to visit friends in our hometown was so he could meet a friend in a hotel for a tryst. About two years ago, he admitted to me (while heavily drunk) that he had slept with the stripper next door. I received an email from his former friend’s wife confirming they had been sleeping together while I was pregnant and on bedrest with our second child. And he was once banned from working as a photographer at two separate bars in our old hometown for sexually harrassing the staff. These all stuck with me for years, negatively impacting my future relationship. I would remember the female friends who weren’t platonic friends, the comments about how if he didn’t think I’d get mad, he would be trying to get with our female friends, or the time he propositioned my best friend to have a three way with him and our friend Sarah. It bothered me so much that I didn’t know how to trust a man who said he loved me and it took three years of therapy to feel okay and accept that not every man on Earth was out to hurt me or cheat on me.

I sent an email to the creator of Ashley Madison and blasted them for providing this service. I asked them how could they sleep at night knowing that they were making it easier to break the hearts of so many trusting souls. The reply I got was that maybe I should have been a better wife and lover, and my husband wouldn’t have wanted to stray, a sentiment he would tell me when I would put him on blast for his flirting, or whatever I caught him doing (that he would always say was misunderstood, or he was misunderstood, because he was the victim and why wouldn’t I just do *insert sex act here* and he wouldn’t have to want to cheat?).

This is why I laugh when I see the cheaters on Ashley Madison squirming and crying about their privacy.

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I feel for the victims, and by victims, I mean the actual victims. The spouses who used the tool on Wired and got the unfortunate surprise of “Guess who’s email address was compromised?!” or the stammering conversations where they explain their behaviour. I don’t feel the tiniest bit badly for the “victims” who’s privacy was breached. Oh, I know the dark side, this could happen to anyone and boo hoo and credit cards aren’t secure and the like. But a bunch of horrible people are going to be exposed for betraying their spouses and I’m glad. I hope they feel violated and like their integrity is compromised and awful. You know, the way their spouses have felt for months when they have suspected for months that their partner was cheating, or when they found out the truth.

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I have had a few friends who have said to me that since I was a staunch defender of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence when they had their private photos leaked online last year, I should take the same stance on this. I disagree. There is a big difference between private photos that were meant to be viewed by one person privately (such as Jennifer Lawrence’s photos for then partner Nicholas Hoult) and cheating on your mate. While yes, cheating isn’t illegal and having your credit card information compromised totally sucks, you were betraying your partner, and in the case of a guy like Josh Duggar, you were doing it while condemning other people for not living life according to a belief system that you yourself weren’t following. So, I don’t feel totally badly for these “victims,” just the people they have been victimizing, for having to learn that the person that they are with actually sucks in such a public way. Even if you didn’t pick anyone up on Ashley Madison, you had an account, the intent was there and you sir or madam are a raging douchebag. Your partner deserved a million times better and you should feel violated, because you are walking a mile in their shoes and I hope you wear them well.

  
Maybe I’m biased, because I know how it feels to find out that your spouse has an account with a website designed to help him cheat on you and I know how people like Anna Duggar feel. I hope Anna Duggar takes her kids and leaves him and finds happiness with a man who recognizes how beautiful and special she really is, but I doubt her religion will allow it. Ironically enough, her church will likely badger her with the same answer that Ashley Madison gave me and she will stay with her unfaithful husband. If she does, let’s not shame her or call her stupid. We are not walking in her shoes. We don’t know what her “church” has done to devalue her. But for all of those who are scrambling to “save” their marriage and blaming the Ashley Madison hack, I don’t feel one bit sorry for you, because you already destroyed your marriage when you strayed (or attempted to stray) from your partner; it’s just now everybody knows you were doing it.

  
And to those encouraging people not to check the list for their partner; I disagree (although I haven’t for reasons that make sense to me). Chances are, you won’t be shocked by the answer. My Texan bestie looked up her own email & hubby, even though she knew the answer just for the lolz. But most people who are checking are either;

a) bored like me or

b) confirming an answer they already knew subconsciously, an answer they have every right to know. 

Day 26: My Dream Wedding

I hate weddings.

Like, a lot.

I hate planning weddings.with the exception of the psych major’s wedding and my friend Sarah’s upcoming nups, I don’t really like attending weddings. I’m not big on standing up in weddings. I hate every little thing about weddings almost as much as I have no desire to ever remarry. I wasn’t terribly keen on it the first time & found my vow renewal to be a pain in the ass. The absolute WORST assignment I’ve ever been given was to go to a wedding show & review it by planning a wedding. My photographer was dying of laughter when the florist said “you look like you’d rather be shot.” Yup. I probably would have preferred it.

A photo from the wedding show...this is right before I texted people asking for help
A photo from the wedding show…this is right before I texted people asking for help

The most wedding planning I’ve ever done was a file on my computer while I Skyped a friend & mocked her Pinterest account & picked some wedding dresses and bridesmaids crap & some flowers for my future wedding (as it was planned I would be announcing my engagement on my birthday & we had half seriously picked a wedding date) & nearly puked. Then, some kind hearted person booked an appointment for me (on my birthday) with the dress @ a bridal shoppe with all of those details; my tentative wedding date, my “fiancé’s” info, the dress I had picked, the bridesmaids dresses, all ready to go. My relationship ended 18 days before. I have never cried harder than after that phone call where the wedding store associate was excitedly congratulating me on my engagement, and ON MY BIRTHDAY and why didn’t I come in to try on the dresses?! The Gleason Table called to wish me a happy birthday only to hear my heartbroken sobs. To that person, you are mean & you suck. But even then, when I was happy about wanting to spend my life with a person, the idea of a wedding made me kind of want to barf. Personally, as I said to the guy when he brought up marriage the first time (Because he brought it up often & even spent one night picking tentative wedding dates) if a man could be content with us being engaged forever, I’d be thrilled. It’s not the commitment that scares me, or the life (well, it would now); it’s the idea of being MARRIED. Getting married AGAIN so people can quietly judge me from their seats. I tried being married and it failed and I’m afraid to do it again. Having people cluck their tongues while saying “oh, you’re getting married…again?” and worried about them disapproving. I felt self conscious that people would wonder how I thought this marriage would work when the first one didn’t. I worried my lack of enthusiasm would dampen his desire for the big party. I’d have to plan a wedding where everyone fights and bridesmaids feel entitled and all of the guests make demands and you spend a bunch of money that you could have used to buy a house and by the end you just want it all to go away. It’s not about the couple or the commitment, it’s all “Ew. Why those colours? Why that bridesmaid? Why that dress?” While I buy food & drink for relatives I never see & don’t terribly like. Blah.

But I digress.

My dream wedding sucks. There is no dress. There is no party. There is no engagement. There is nothing. There is me & my partner & some chapel that specializes in elopement. There is no one we know, except maybe my daughters. There is just us, the celebrant, and the witnesses they provide. We’ll tell people when we’re ready; or on Facebook with a status update. Whatever.

I think a marriage is two people. I get sharing that moment, but from years of over sharing when I’m happy or confiding in the wrong people, I’ve learned to be more cautious…as I write on my blog for strangers to read & people I know to dissect. But, even when I’m in a relationship, I keep my relationship posts high level or I comment on why they’re great, etc. I will share with my besties but I’m still a girl. I guess I want to keep that moment between us, our moment. A friend of mine reminded me that even my high school dream wedding was to elope. I remember when my marriage was failing, all of my family and friends mentioned they were at my wedding and therefore, they had the best advice for me. I learned from going to people for advice when my last relationship was ending that people can not always be trusted. I would confide in them and they would turn right around and I learned later that there was no confidence, my private feelings were being exploited & twisted like telephone. The judgey people when planning the wedding. The nosy in laws. I would think about what part of all of my past relationships made me happiest, and it was when it was just the two of us. If I did choose to get married again, I would want to be comfortable. I wouldn’t be comfortable @ a big party. I would want it to be just us, so I could get through my jumbled nerves, and spit out what I would want to say in my vows without a million people boring holes in me, placing bets on how long it would last. I would want my partner beside me, and that’s it, because the only person who needs to know what kind of wife I intend to be is him.

I’ll never be Bridezilla; I don’t want to be a fairy princess. I want the man I’m committing my life to by my side while we promise to be partners for life. No one else needs to be there to make that promise any less meaningful.

Walking on Air

When my ex husband & I split up, I deleted all of his family from social media.

I had to block a few of them for referring to me as a “slut” when I moved on, but I always kept one cousin and a maternal aunt on my Facebook, mainly because they kept their opinions to themselves & focused on my photos of my girls. I now have a paternal uncle as well, mainly because I have tremendous respect for his political opinions (even if I don’t always agree).

The cousin has grown from a quirky teen in love with boy bands & devoted to the Red Wings into a beautiful wife (who is devoted to the Red Wings) & woman who is loyal to her friends, her family & most of all her husband. She LOVES her husband. Worships him. Her husband is her whole life. She can’t wait to start her family with him & 85% of her status updates are about her pride & love for a man who took a job that keeps him from home to support them.

…cue the haters.

She’s constantly called immature, childish, love should be private, etc. I used to talk more openly about my love life on Twitter, gushing when someone did something great, but I was still fairly private about the ins and outs. My blog is high level (sometimes). I’m not the super open person, call my girlfriends to over share about our sex life, kind of gal. But I will admit, I LOVE her shmoopy status updates. Why? Because she’s happy.

She’s a happy woman! She’s in love! She’s a newlywed! She wants to shout from the rooftops that she is over the moon happy about her marriage, her husband & his sacrifices for their family. Yes, you may want to puke in your mouth or it may not be how you live your life, but to belittle a woman for being happy proves what a miserable sad sack you are.

Another fine example is one of my dearest friends. She’s getting married in July to the love of her life. I was privileged enough to attend their engagement celebration last night & her Facebook & IG was littered with comments about her happiness, friends, family & the man who is to be her husband. Every one made me smile. She’s a beautiful person, inside & out & her fiancé is a warm & loving man, devoted to his bride to be. I wish for this for myself someday. But my heart burst with joy as my dear friend revelled in her happiness. Revel with her.

Whether you’ve been married for 10 minutes or 10 years, if it’s healthy, you’re going to sometimes want to gush about your mate. The Texan STILL gushes about her husband the Dentist once a week, because even though it’s been over 10 years, she’s in love like a Newlywed. It’s amazing; not immature.

If it’s not your thing, then do things your way. But if you can’t say something nice about someone saying someone nice, then say nothing at all. The comment box is a suggestion, not mandatory. Spread your misery on your own social networking & let others spread joy on theirs.

Shallow Days

Spoiler: Do not read if you have not yet watched the season premiere of Glee.

I rarely watch television, but there are about four shows that I enjoy & one of them is Glee.

I was disappointed that I missed the premiere (as I was on a train heading home from house hunting), so I followed along on Social Media & was delighted to read that my favourite couple, Kurt & Blaine had reconciled & were now engaged. As I read the details of the over the top proposal, I read people everywhere demanding a proposal like that, which reminded me of a recent post on one of my favourite blogs, Mommy Man, sharing my disdain for over the top marriage proposals. (Something I mention on this site regularly after the finale of the Bachelorette)

Credit: Fox Television
Credit: Fox Television

I do not find them romantic; I always feel like that Star Wars character that screams “it’s a trap!” After all, your whole family is there, or an arena full of people, or a flash mob & they’re all staring @ you waiting for an answer, so you have to say yes or you’re an asshole. Then you have to plan a wedding, where the bride is the centre of attention & everyone is staring & critiquing everything, & everyone is mad because so & so wasn’t invited or the bridesmaids hate their dresses & nothing is about the celebration of two people joining their lives, it’s about this party that’s worth the down payment of a house & the whole process freaks me out. While it’s sweet when Blaine plans this for Kurt, as the world of Glee is meant to be over the top, I’d probably stand there, deer caught in the headlights & then puke.

I caught up with an old friend this week & we were talking about how she & her partner are in no rush to wed because it just works for them & she reminded me that even when we were kids, I was never the “wedding” type. I always said I wanted to elope & we would just tell people when we felt like it. I’m not good with commitment; I’ve discussed it twice. Once with the sudden proposal & I spent my entire engagement trying to get out of the wedding, including nearly jilting my ex-husband @ the altar. I got my amazing daughters, so the union wasn’t a total wash, but it’s apparent that marrying him was a mistake. The second time we made a plan & the closer we got to the planned date, the more I panicked. Were we ready? Were we skipping steps? Too fast? Too slow? Do we really have to have a wedding where people will quietly judge me for being married twice? Can’t we just stay in the place we are in the relationship & just remain, because the person was right, but the timing of the engagement plan is all wrong. Maybe I just haven’t met the right person & that’s why it freaked me out. Or, I self sabotage. Whatever.

I’ve often wondered if I fail being a girl because there is no dream ring, dream wedding on Pinterest. I know my limitations & commitment is one of them. I’d either need to be engaged for a million years or one day, where the person I love shows up @ my door & tells me that no matter how much of a mess the rest of life, our relationship might be, loving me is the right thing & we just elope that day. Maybe that’s the key to relationships; keeping everyone else out, which is my big beef about these elaborate proposals. I’ve learned that sometimes, well intentioned friends & family members will butt in to your relationship when times aren’t pretty & it’s up to the two of you to keep them out, because then your relationship becomes the source of third party gossip, with someone else’s hyperbole & is usually completely wrong. Ignore them, talk to each other. You’re killing the trust by listening to your friends & family (or theirs!) over your partner. It’s okay to talk to someone for advice, but I’ve learned you need to limit that too. So, by inviting them all to your choreographed, Bruno Mars lipsynched proposal, you’ve invited them to be part of your relationship. While it’s sweet that you want to share that moment, the choice to make a lifetime commitment should be a private one, the celebration (the wedding) can involve family. When my marriage was falling apart, I had so many people offer me advice because “I was at your wedding,” so obviously they knew how to fix it. Generally, when I’m fixating, I just want a sounding board. I don’t want advice from the peanut gallery, as it makes my mind more jumbled.

I think I’m more like another Glee character, Emma Schuester (nee Pillsbury), who just cannot handle the pressure of a big, public commitment & giant wedding. The actual choice to share my life with someone will always freak me out, even if it feels like the right person. Emma jilted her fiancé Will because the wedding & the choice freaked her out & they went back to dating. They later wed in the choir room, with only their students present. And while it might seem lame to most, the idea of myself & my partner (& the legally required two witnesses) being the only ones present when we make a commitment (after I’ve breathed in the bag) sounds better than all of the flash mobs, dance numbers & Beatles covers in the world.

Credit: Fox Television
Credit: Fox Television