Social Myopia


Gossip magazines – we’ve all seen them. Lined up at the checkout lane in the grocery store. Fanned out on tables at the dentist office. Mindless fodder, for passing the time while we wait for the interminably slow checker to scan lettuce, or for the dentist to call us in.

I admit that I’ve skimmed these volumes through myopic eyes while sitting at the hair stylist waiting for the miracle of hair color to occur. There I sit, with my hair smooshed into a style that would never make it into said magazine, except perhaps under the “worst hair ever” section. While deprived of my glasses, I sit squinting at the pics of perfectly coiffed celebrities in evening gowns, and trying to read the recommendations for the best new books and upcoming movies.

But recently I’ve gotten a better look at this drivel, and what I see worries me. I bought something online which awarded me a “free” subscription to one of the more prominent gossip magazines, so now I’m getting a chance to give it a closer look.  One recent headline reads “Ellen: How I finally found happiness.” This implies to me that Ellen must have been significantly unhappy and solved some insurmountable problem to “finally find happiness.” I’m thinking cancer, maybe an abusive relationship, or financial ruin. But, not to worry about Ellen, she is completely fine. Turns out the only unhappiness alluded to in the article was that before Ellen was famous, and before any of us ever heard of her, she was poor and lived on one can of soup a day. But, as she has been rich and famous for some time now, I doubt that one could say she just recently “finally” found happiness. The story goes on about her happy home relationship with her partner, her dogs, her career success, and more, so I am hard pressed to feel too badly for Ellen.

Another article is sure to draw much concern though. Turns out Kylie Jenner had a huge problem, in that “..I felt that no one wanted to kiss me.” Apparently, being beautiful and constantly in the spotlight was not enough. Kylie was so distressed she had to get LIP INJECTIONS. Yes, disturbing I know. Maybe now she will get almost as much attention as the other Kardashians, and finally get all the kisses she deserves.

Just in case you were worried about Gwen Stefani, you can now relax. Turns out that she now is “The happiest I’ve ever been.” Apparently there is happy, and celebrity happy. Rest assured, she has moved on from her heartbreak, and  “is in the next phase” and life has “more meaning and purpose” Whew.

I don’t mean to sound like a curmudgeonly fuddy-duddy, but somehow I remain unsympathetic to the sensationalized plights of celebrity. Sure there are famous people who do have serious problems: illness, financial ruin; family dysfunction; loss of loved ones and so on. I don’t mean to trivialize those who truly do experience the same distress that we ordinary people do throughout our lives, yet I wonder how we as a society have become so superficial that we need to elevate the minutia of celebrity life to the importance of news.

Maybe our penchant for mindless gossip and scandal, and even the glorification of it explains in some way our acceptance of the vapidity of our recent presidential contest. Shock – Donald Trump is a womanizing bigot. Shock – Crooked Hilary deleted emails! Frankly, I am shocked, shocked, not just by these insipid arguments,  gossip, and negative discourse of accusations  and lies, but by how low  as a nation we have sunk, that many believe that this is the norm for candidates vying to become  the leader of the free world.

(Disclaimer: Huffygirl’s Blog does not endorse any political candidates.)

© Huffygirl 2016

Advertisements

Am I finally too old to shop at Victoria Secret?


1940s-Fashion-How-to-get-Christian-Diors-New-Look-4Here I stand, searching through bins of lingerie looking for my size. This store, which used to be a place I enjoyed, has turned into a (insert sputtering here) nightclub. Store associates with names like Amber and Autumn wearing skimpy tops and lace, flit by, arms overflowing with bras. Fifteen-year-old girls wearing outfits I would never let a daughter of mine leave the house in, shuffle through, with the requisite sleazy boyfriend in tow, pants dragging, seeming a little stunned from being  surrounded  by so much  underwear. I don’t want him here – this is supposed to be MY store.

Long ago, it was my store. Matronly women in black smocks with tape measures around their necks, tut-tutted around, making sure that everyone left with the right-sized bra. They still had pretty (and over-priced) lingerie, but in a more moderate, sensible  way. I would leave clutching my pink-striped bag, scented with a light whiff of perfume, feeling special and satisfied, as if I’d just had a pedicure or a night out.

But now, fast-forward to 2015, where clothing, and women’s underthings are a multi-billion dollar industry, fueled by a big corporations and an insatiable appetite for anything sex, and VS is now a lingerie superstore. But, even though I may be the only old fuddy-duddy in the store, I still need a new bra. I stand in line for a fitting room with girls half, no three-quarters my age. “Where is the rest of her outfit?” I wonder. “And how does she walk in those shoes?” The two store clerks are decked out as if for some kind of bedroom espionage: black lacy tops under an array of equipment strapped upon them: big phones, bags of clips, note pads, and tote bags filled with bras slung over their shoulders. At least they still have the tape measures. Sigh.

Finally I stand in the crowded check-out line. I’m wedged in between a girl with purple hair and a bin of orange lip gloss. Orange? Who would wear that? Every single person in the store except me, that’s who. At last I leave with my pink striped bag feeling heavy in my hand, head pounding from the club-beat music and the heavily perfumed air. I don’t think I’m too old. But my values feel that way.

© Huffygirl 2015

My annual spam brunch with Jane, Mark, Beth, Corrine, Cheryl, Erin & Wendy


100_6079, https://huffygirl.wordpress.com, © Huffygirl 2014It happens every year right before Thanksgiving: my annual spam email from Jane Fish. It’s a group email that “Jane Fish” sends out every year inviting all of us to meet for brunch, aka “turkey day brunch” around Thanksgiving time. Included in the group are Wendy, Wendy’s new boyfriend Brent, Mark Elder, Cheryl Davin, Beth Ide, Corrine Castano, Erin somebody, and me, Dave Barry. We are supposed to meet somewhere in Massachusetts at places that sound really real – The Bolton Street Tavern, the Horseshoe in Hudson, The Old Mill or Black Diamond II. The exchange of emails lasts several weeks and are always the same theme. Jane Fish wants everyone to meet for a turkey day brunch. All the members of the group, except me, Dave Barry chime in. This person can’t meet on Monday but could do Tuesday, someone else wants dinner instead of brunch, could they meet at 6 or 7 PM, can we meet after the holidays, how about skiing instead, and on and on. It sounds overly perfect with little newsy asides – is Keith bringing the baby this year, and unfortunately, Mark’s wife can’t come; someone else has soccer practice, and every one of them can’t wait to see the others. I’ve gotten this email every year now for at least ten years. There are some variations. Sometimes I get it again in the spring, as it seems they may want to meet for brunch around Easter too. Sometimes it ends right after Thanksgiving, but this year the group is still trying to plan that “turkey day brunch” now only a week before Christmas. The whole thing sounds very convincing, although a little too fake and cheery to be real. One’s first instinct upon getting this email is to think “oh no, I should reply right away so they know that they have the wrong email address for Dave Barry.” After all, I wouldn’t want Dave Barry to miss all the fun.

But, every year I resist because I know this email is not about turkey day brunch, but some elaborate phishing scheme. How do I know this? What are the tell-tale signs?

  • The email originates from Jane Fish. Really.
  • Everyone in the group chimes in with replies year after year, except me, aka Dave Barry. Yet, no one every says “Has anyone heard from Dave Barry?” or “How come Dave Barry never comes?” The group is totally unconcerned about the perennial absence of Dave Barry, someone presumably so important that they invite him year after year, but don’t miss him when he doesn’t reply.
  • The event never takes place. The emails wax on about all the times and dates for the event, but it is never planned. Replies pass hot and heavy at first, then dwindle, and eventually the exchange is done, with the annual Turkey Day Brunch having never taken place.
  • Everything about the exchange is too perfect. It sounds like a Hallmark movie script. Comments like “I will pencil you in” and reply “I’d feel better if you used a Sharpie” seem sappy and unreal.
  • Don’t these people know about texting? Really – who would spend weeks planning an event via email when a few texts could take care of the whole thing? Or how about an evite or Facebook? It would save so much time, were this a real event.
  • Blocking the senders does not help. I’ve blocked all the email addresses repeatedly for years, yet, every year they are back.

Dear Jane, Mark, Beth, Corrine, Cheryl, Erin and  Wendy,

Unfortunately I am unable to meet any of you for brunch, dinner, appetizers, skiing, Christmas mass, or any other event, either before, during or after the holidays. Sadly, I will miss all the updates about everyone’s kids, jobs, ski trips, sporting events and Wendy’s health issues. I will not be able to meet Wendy’s new boyfriend, Brent. I will never know why Mark is flying solo, or why the Old Mill is closed on Mondays. I am hurt by your continual unconcern for the lack of communication from me, and quite frankly, wonder why you still invite me when I never reply.

Looking forward to hearing from all of you next year.

Love, Dave Barry

© Huffygirl 2014

Size matters


size chart, https://huffygirl.wordpress.com, © Huffygirl 2014Aha. You thought this was going to be about something else, didn’t you? But, alas, it is indeed about another very important issue of dissatisfaction for women: clothing sizes. Most women, at least in the states, have grappled at some time with the inaccuracies and frustrations of women’s clothing sizing. Unlike men, who will find their sizes fit true in almost any store, catalog or online retailer, women are constantly guessing at sizes, trying on items in every store, and mailing online purchases back because what you thought would be a size medium turned out to really be sized like a small. Sigh. There probably are a few perfect size zero women out there who don’t have to deal with this, but I expect most women know exactly what I’m talking about.

Then, there is the sizing secret code terminology. Men have it easy. Sizes are clearly described as regular, tall, short, portly (a diplomatic code word for overweight), and slim. But for women? Nooooo. I clearly remember the day I explained what women’s clothing terminology actually means to my sons. Misses or missy is code for average or regular, and uses even numbers such as 2, 4, 6, 8 etc. . Juniors is for average height but slim build, and uses odd numbers – 3, 5, 7 etc.  Petite is for short women 5′ 3″‘ and under, but of small to average build, and uses even numbers. Half-sizes, probably the most confusing of all, is for short women of stocky/overweight build, and uses even numbers with half added.  And women’s, which one might think is actually what should be for all women, is in fact, for average to tall height and stocky/overweight build. Whew. My kids stared open-mouthed at the end of this explanation, and said “nuhuh.” I concur.

Sizes such as small, medium, large, extra-large, are especially problematic. If I buy a regular T-shirt, I can probably get a small or medium. But if it is a fitted tee, I would have to get a large or extra-large. But generally fitted tees don’t come larger than large, so if the large, which actually fits more like a medium or small, is too small, I am out of luck. Case in point: The size chart above is for a pair of ladies exercise compression shorts. I had bought them before so I knew to skip the trying on and go right to my size. This can sometimes be dangerous though, as I’ve often discovered that I can wear a certain size at one store, but come back another day, still the same height and weight, and find that size no longer fits. And my size in these shorts? Large. Yep, large. According to the chart, for my 5’ 2″ height and weight, I should easily fit into a small, or maybe a medium if I want them to be a little more roomy. According to the table, size large starts for women at 5’7″ and 190 pounds, through 5’11” and 170 pounds. Most of the time I know better than to even pay any attention to size charts, but I found this one especially vexing and just had to share. Meanwhile, while I’m going through all this work to find a few things that fit, my husband can walk into any store, pick up a size 32 waist pants, and will find they fit perfectly 99.9% of the time. And I forgot to mention that all sizes change according to the quality of the store. A small in Talbot’s or Macy’s would probably be a medium or large in Wal-Mart or K-Mart. And often two identical items of the same brand and size will fit differently. I could go on and on.

So why are women’s clothing sizes so random? Part of it lies in the way clothes are made. If the fabric is at the end of the roll and the cutter is cutting out mediums, the last couple shirts will be cut a little smaller to get more product from the fabric, but still are labeled “medium.” Part of it comes from appealing to women’s vanity. I might feel better about myself if I’m buying a small instead of a medium, unless I start thinking about how my small would really be a medium or large in a less expensive store. Then, it just becomes depressing. Probably many people remember the recent brouhaha over remarks made by Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries. Jeffries asserted that A & F only carries female clothing up to size 10 (which is really a 6 or 8 in other stores) because “…we only want cool, thin people wearing our clothes…” And that about sums up the problems of women’s clothing industry.

Huffygirl in her size large shorts.

Huffygirl in her size large shorts.

© Huffygirl 2014

I’m sick of the right to bare arms


It’s the holiday season, so I thought it would be nice to have a new dress for Christmas and other holiday occasions. Fast forward several shopping hours later to find me frustrated, with about two suitable dresses from which to choose. Buying a nice dress should be easy right? This time of year every store, catalog and online shop have a plethora of dresses, with great prices and free shipping. The problem? The majority of the dressy dress choices are sleeveless. Sleeveless. For winter wear. When over half the country is covered in cold, wintry weather, and the warm locales are shivering in their air conditioning. Who started this nonsense? Of course, I blame Michelle Obama.

Media folks began noticing Mrs. Obama’s arms during the presidential campaign, but really took off following them after her husband, what’s his name, became

Michelle Obama, official White House portrait.

president. Forget about important issues like healthcare, unemployment, and terrorism – what kind of sleeveless dress is Michelle wearing today that shows off her extremely toned arms?  Fashion and fashion icons followed in kind, and now we see just about everyone prominent in the media wearing sleeveless. Morning talk show hosts, the Weather Channel people, even local news folks sometimes, and of course, that annoying combo of Kathie Lee and Hoda. Granted, many of these sleeveless folks have lovely arms, almost as nice as Michelle’s. But, hey, it’s winter. I spend about 80% of my life being too cold, even in pleasant weather, and I’m not going to deliberately worsen this by wearing sleeveless dresses in winter. It’s time for we goose-bumpled women to speak up to the fashion industry. We want sleeves! No more sleeveless-only choices. Speak up America.

© 2013 Huffygirl

Related link: Michelle Obama’s Arms

 

 

 

O Bamacare: It’s Candian eh


Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you do when you want to bring health insurance to an entire nation? Call Canada of course. Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north, is the expert in bloated governmental bodies bringing health care to the masses, having had a publicly funded national health insurance system since 1984, coincidentally the same year for which George Orwell predicted a reign of post-apocalyptic social Darwinism. Our government, not wanting us to miss out on the same success the Canadians have had, hired CGI, Canada’s largest tech company, to build the Obama care website, apparently unphased that fellow Canadians in Ontario had just fired CGI last year for failing to deliver a different health-care IT project on time. Orwell, er oh well. Any minute now the website should be up and running again. In the meantime, let’s sing a tribute to Obama care.

(Sung to the tune of O Canada)

(Want the accompaniment? Click here.)

O Bamacare, health care for one and all.

Click on the link, and watch the website stall.

With anxiety, we sign in for free, to avoid the penalty.

Then we try to call, as our last hopes fall,

There’s no Obama care for me!

God keep us from, social anarchy,

O Bamacare, when will you ever be?

O Bamacare, when will you ever be?

© Huffygirl 2013

Related links:

Create your own shutdown


English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films

“Shut them ALL down. Hurry!” C-3PO, Star Wars

Why should the US congresspersons have all the fun? Now, you too can avoid responsibilities under the guise of budget constraints and create your own shutdown. Follow these easy steps.

1. Decide what you want to shut down – your home, office, after school activities, or, choose the C-3PO method and shut them all down.

2. Inform your family, coworkers, and others who might be affected, that due to budget constraints, you are obliged to shut down (insert selected area here) beginning at midnight on (insert start date – the sooner the better.)

3. Prior to your shut down date, decide what things you want to shut down and what things will remain open. For instance, if you are having a home shutdown, you might elect to shut down the kitchen, but allow take out food to continue. Or perhaps shut down the laundry room, but allow send-out laundry. Or shut down your office, except allow payroll to continue. You see where this is going.

4. Begin your shutdown. If anyone complains, remind them that you have bravely chosen shutdown to prevent unappropriated spending and to save money for (insert name of shut down entity here.)

5. Continue your shutdown for as long as you like. There really is no reason to stop, unless perhaps, if boredom occurs from doing nothing. But so far our legislators have not encountered this, so why should you?

© Huffygirl 2013

Bad plastics


” I just want to say one word to you. Just one word…Plastics.”

-Mr. McGuire, The Graduate

As regular readers know, I recently injured my face in a serious bicycle accident. Fortunately, although I still look bruised and swollen, I’ve recovered to the point of getting out and about and going back to work. Through it all, what has surprised me the most is the reactions I’ve gotten when people see that I just don’t look right. I’ve been somewhat amazed that not one person has exclaimed “What happened to YOU?” I’ve seen a few double takes, but for the most part, people look, flinch a little, but don’t say anything until I offer the information.  Then I see the look of relief wash over their faces as they murmur polite commiseration or say things like “Well I did think you looked a little…different.” Until today.

Today, I walked into the skin care center at my dermatologist’s office, and the receptionist nonchalantly asked, “So, did you have your eyes done?”  My first response was, “If I had, I hope I would look better than this,” and “why would you think that?” Without missing a beat, she informed me that she sees so many skin care center clients coming in bruised and swollen after cosmetic surgery, that she naturally thought I had done the same.

Русский: Хирург Эльчин Велиевич Мамедов на опе...This all gave me quite a pause. First, I was horrified to think that all the people I’d met who politely said nothing about my hideous appearance just thought I’d had bad cosmetic surgery. Equally horrified to think that anyone who knew me before would think I needed cosmetic surgery, because, quite frankly I didn’t think I looked bad enough to have anything lifted, tucked, lasered or Botoxed. Cosmetic surgery is so far off my radar, that it would never occur to me to choose to do anything elective to my God-given face. Botox just seems plain silly to me, and why anyone would want their face paralyzed on purpose is beyond anything my sensible self can comprehend. Other than the necessary surgery I’ve had to repair my face, that I really had no choice about having, I plan to go out from this life with all original parts, wrinkles, lines, and everything else that comes from living life.

Still, society has accepted Botox and cosmetic surgery as a “normal” part of looking one’s best, and many people are no longer secretive about “having work done.”  What about you? Have you had anything nipped, tucked or cosmetically altered? Would you tell others if you had?

© Huffygirl 2013

How to run your country in ten easy steps


White House Front

1. Put out of touch, wealthy people in charge. Leave them in charge for a long time so they’ll have lots of power be more effective.

2. Allocate unlimited funds for arms and war.

3. Allocate unlimited funds for saber-rattling with other countries.

4. Allocate copious funds for relief in other countries.

5. Whenever the budget runs low from steps  2-4, stop paying the hard-working ancillary people in the government and call it a “government shutdown.” Keep paying the wealthy people in charge.

6. Limit  and periodically cut funds for education. Give it a fancy name like “sequester” so it sounds serious. Make schools struggle with limited means and then cry incompetence when students do poorly in comparison with those in other countries.

7. When the poorly performing students grow up and are unable to support themselves financially,  make them dependent upon government entitlements for their food, income and health care.

8. Whenever the budget runs low, cut the entitlements that you’ve made your citizens dependent upon in step 7.

9. Legalize gambling, tobacco, lottery tickets and marijuana, so the poor citizens who lack education and income will have some way to comfort themselves over their miserable situation, thus ensuring continued poverty, unemployment, obesity, and poor health. Then cut funding for unemployment and health care and decry the rising obesity rates in your country.

10. Repeat these steps annually, while periodically decrying  the poor state of the country and the government deficit.

Bonus step: Have the people in charge periodically pass laws that irritate the masses so they will have less time to feel  miserable about the state of their country. Things like limiting light bulb wattage and shower head flow and making people take off their shoes in airports work best.

 

© Huffygirl 2013

Christmas shopping = bah humbug


Shopping mall

I’m slogging through the mall, dragging a shopping bag on the ground, and wondering when I turned into a one-hundred-year-old fuddy-duddy. I haven’t been to the mall in months, and I’m surprised to see that the mall has changed, and not for the better.

In my absence, my mall has been transformed into a theme park shopping palace, designed to delight any thirteen to twenty-two-year-old. And I’m clearly not one of them. The delighted ones. Stores I used to know and love I no longer recognize. Victoria’s Secret was once a store I could stroll into and buy an ordinary bra. No longer. Since my last trip to VS, the store has been enlarged into a superstore filled with scraps of lace formerly known as women’s undergarments. A stripper’s paradise. The Home Depot of lingerie. As I wander deeper and deeper into the stripper’s lair, a clearly bored, eighteen-year-old  clerk whips by saying, “Hi, how are you?” without even making eye contact, clearly not wanting to wait on someone as ancient as… her own mother.

Leaving that nightmare behind, I head to J.C. Penney, a store that formerly had clothes for people like me. But J.C. Penney has been transformed into JCP, a stylized combination of The Gap and Banana Republic, or in other words, any store that appeals to the thirteen to twenty-two-year-old demographic. But hope springs eternal, so I head to the men’s  jeans department, hoping to find jeans for Best Husband for Christmas. But this is not my momma’s jeans department, nor is it my husband’s either. The wall shelves of cubbies of sensible jeans has been replaced by an array of counters with every imaginable version of jeans spread out upon them, all of them with mysterious names, and most labeled “sits below waist.” A veritable cornucopia of jeans for skinny twenty-year-old guys. So  where were the jeans for ordinary men? What I wanted was something between the mom jeans that Obama wore in his first term, and the pre-worn-out, acid-washed, pre-wrinkled skinny low waists that populated the jeans counters. And what’s with the bar stools and counters anyway? “I’ll have a venti mom jean with a side of acid-washed boot cut please.”

I leave the jeans department shaken, but not stirred, and stop at the makeup counter on my way out. I just need a simple mascara, and maybe some eye

Bobbi Brown

shadow. I’m pretty sure they can’t have changed makeup enough that it no longer fits middle-aged women. But a rabid Christmas shopper with a fistful of coupons wriggles into my place in line. Turns out she wants to pay for a sweater, and circumvent the line in the clothing department. She makes the makeup counter clerk try each coupon until she finds the one with the best discount. By the time this transaction is completed, the makeup clerk and I have both clearly run out of patience.

Now, it’s back into the mall and back to my Sisyphean task of dragging my bag along the shiny tile floor. Word to the wise: if you’re short, don’t ever buy anything at a mall that requires a big bag, or you too will be forced to endure my fate, of dragging a bag along the floor while wondering when you became an anachronism.

© Huffygirl 2012