Sunday, February 26, 2012

I am a de(genre)ating degenerate.

I'm on an invent-new-words kick. Today's word (inspired by my addiction to ABC's The Bachelor)
is de(genre)ate.  This can be defined by one who's taste in literature and the arts was once based on intellectually challenging genres of high quality but has since degenerated to works of such low caliber you can't help but hang your head in shame. Most de(genre)ates attempt to make themselves feel better by rationalizing this behavior through long drawn-out explanations that fail to mask the fact that he/she is, in fact, whole-heartedly, albeit disconcertingly, participating in said behavior. Example of such an explanation - "Yes, I am reading Twilight - but only because I find the gender dynamics in the novel so fascinating. I mean, it really says a lot about our society's archetypes of masculinity and what the young women of the world today believe a 'real' man to be......... For instance,  I find it quite revealing that I, for one, have recurrent fantasies about Edward protecting me from evil as we fly over the mountains while sparkling in the sunshine."

I was once a woman of great taste and culture. In high school, I frequently visited the city's Shakespearean theater and I think I read The Fountainhead like three times. In college, my Borges reading group appeared in a locally produced documentary in which I played myself -  a.k.a the girl wearing a hat that looked very much like a beret smoking a clove cigarette. In graduate school I read One Hundred Years of Solitude. In Spanish.  For "fun". But now?!? Now, I find myself, every Tuesday morning, unable to resist watching the latest episode of The Bachelor on Hulu - no matter how many other things I should be doing. Its like I lived my life as a Vegan foodie health nut only to end up a fast food junkie.

And you see, The Bachelor, really is like fast food. You know it is bad for you and you should probably not let it into your body. You know you will most likely feel guilty and gross afterward ... but it just tastes so good going down.

And WHY does it taste so good?

Well, in case you are unfamiliar with the show it is a competition in which like 30 women go on dates with the same guy and fight for his hand in marriage. It is totally crazy and awesome. These ladies essentially get to lay around all day (on what look like really comfortable couches) and gossip while drinking wine in their pajamas. This is, of course, unless they are on a date with Ben. Then they get to do things like ski down a fake-snowed-on hilly street in San Fransisco (while wearing a bikini.) Or jump out of a helicopter into a crystal clear pool of water next to a beautiful deserted island (while wearing a bikini). Or swim with sharks, or ride a horse, or dance around with an indigenous tribe in Panama (while wearing a bikini).... all the while getting to learn about how relationships really work by making analogies such as "bunjee jumping with Ben was just like our relationship. I really have to take a leap of faith." Or "I was so scared of those sharks, but Ben really made me feel loved and protected. Just like he does in our relationship." 

Now, as a self-proclaimed de(genre)ate it is my duty to give you all my faltering, behavior-rationalizing explanation for watching this drivel:

I have this whole theory.... The Bachelor is for people who judged their worth by whether or not they were what we call "popular" in high school. Most of these people then go to college and join a sorority/fraternity where they continue to socialize and meet people within a certain structure. I teach at a University where sorority/fraternity culture dominates. I was never a part of this phenomena when I was in college, but now I talk to my students about it all the time. They tell me about their formals and their date nights and their themed parties and their charity auctions. Their entire social lives are arranged for them, as if by a Director or a Producer. They get set up with certain boys for certain dates with certain activities already planned out. So, for those that end up out-of-college and without a man, they go on The Bachelor - where they live in a house full of girls, obsess about their appearance, drink all the time, and fight over some guy. And the guy? He doesn't really matter. This show is all about lady competition and the self-validation felt after being picked as the prom queen, or in this case, as Ben's fiance. I only watch it as part of a sociological study of modern day adult inter-feminine relationships and woman's response to masculine judgment. (I also can't wait to find out who he is going to pick and secretly hope that its me.... but don't tell anybody I said that).

Its time to de(genre)ate. Throw away your Ayn Rand, toss your Shakespeare in the toilet. This is reality TV ya'll - and its powerful stuff. 
Thats the poopy scoop!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hot tubs and (pl)anarchy

Planarchy. I've decided this is the perfect word to describe the juxtaposition of 1. how well organized I am when planning out my day and 2. how unruly and disruptive said day can be when he disregards all plans I have made for him.

I am quite the planner. I have approximately 12 stickynote to-do lists on my computer at any given time (each with its own category). I check my google calendar over and over and over again during the day and get a sense of satisfaction every time I add a new color-coded event. I usually have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing months in advance. The act of drafting out my day ahead of time, knowing whats coming next, planning it all out, makes me feel good. This, of course, also leads to a bad feeling every time the day doesn't follow the plan, which is of course all the time. 

Like today for instance. I had my day all planned out. 1. drive in the cold rain for an hour with barely functional windshield wipers while thinking about sitting in a  hot tub 2. Grade 90 exams confirming my student's complete lack of understanding of the Spanish language while wishing I was sitting in a hot tub 3. (the main event! the reward!) Go to the YMCA to workout, sit in the hot tub(!!!), and read my book.

You see I joined the YMCA fairly recently and did not hesitate for a second to pay the fancy price for access to the "ladies health club" which is essentially a slightly larger locker room with a hot tub and a tattooed lady that washes your towels for you. I go a few times a week, use the elliptical machine and lift a few weights, and then reward myself with a good, long soak. I usually wear my sports bra with some ugly, stretched out bathing suit bottom that's a bit too big for me, wrap a towel around my head, and read a few pages from some lady book that Oprah approves of. I don't really enjoy exercise like some people but if hot-tubbing were an olympic sport I would get all the damn medals. I can sit in one of those hot, bubbly, steamy, sweaty tanks of water for hours. Everybody else is like, "whew! I need a breather" as they get out to drink water. NOT ME.  I once opted out of a raging New Years Eve party because I knew there was a hot tub at the house I was staying at. I returned to the house alone and ended up at midnight, all by myself, drinking champagne and smoking a cigarette in my friend Claire's mother's hot tub. It actually felt very romantic.

My romantic partner, David, however, does not like hot tubs. He says they make him feel sick and he kinda sees them as giant, moist petri dishes full of flakes of skin and breeding bacteria. Someone once told me you can get herpes from public hot tubs. I can't be bothered.

This may be, however, why today, as I was describing my plan, David responded with "you're such a mom." I got mad and argued that me sitting in the hot tub should conjure up the image of a sexy party girl, like in a rap video, not of a "mom". David then started to rap (which he's actually quite good at) lyrics that went something like this: "Yeah baby, yeah, can't wait to go to the Y and get all fly with the ladies in the hot tub reading their novels".

Anyway, I got to the Y. I did my time on the elliptical. I lifted weights. I even did a few sit-ups. I went back to the locker room and changed into my saggy bathing suit bottom, gathered up my water bottle and my book. I grabbed a towel to wrap around my head. I went to the bathroom to make sure I wouldn't have to get out of the hot tub too soon. I was ready.

And the hot tub was "out of order due to maintenance." Planarchy, I tell you.

Anyway... thats the poopy scoop!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy BIRTHday to my blog. (and to jesslyn)

So I've done it. I've started a blog. This was a request made to me by my dear friend Jesslyn on her birthday (Jan 9th) and that girl expects to get what she wants on her birthday.... so I had to deliver. So - after only approximately 35 days of gestation on my to-do list and a relatively painless birth, tonight I proudly become the guardian and caregiver of my own newborn bloggey thing. I hope I don't neglect him/her. (I have a feeling I might.)

In naming this blog I tried a variety of possibilities - most of which just popped into my head at random. Such random titles include 'bloggityblogblog', 'dittydittyblogblog', and 'yowordkeepitreal.' All these names (and some even weirder ones) were already taken. What was not taken, however, was 'thatsthepoopyscoop.' Why, you may ask was such a strange, yet poetic name still available? Because my mother has yet to start her own blog and she is quite possibly the only person on the planet that has ever uttered that sentence. The fact that this phrase, which when used by my mother means something like "so that's whats going on in my life," would never have been taken by any of the thousands of millions of bloggers out there only proves what I have suspected for years. My mother's expressions, those quaint idioms I grew up hearing on a daily basis, are not in fact remnants of some charming southern upbringing. They are totally made-up. Like "dumping the dishwasher" for example. I didn't realize this wasn't what everyone said when referring to the act of taking the dishes out of the machine and placing them back in the cupboards until I owned my own dishwasher and lived with roommates. I volunteer to "dump the dishwasher" and they look at me like I'm nuts. When googling the expression the closest I got was "How do I keep my cat from dumping in the dishwasher?" And nearly every time I talk to my mother on the phone, after giving me the rundown on what's new in her life, she ends her monologue with "so that's the poopy scoop." I'm telling you, I never questioned it until tonight.

This also reminds me of other idiomoms. One new phrase came out recently while she was arguing with my Dad. Apparently he was pissing her off (nothing new there) and out it came, without warning, from the depths of her being. "Bullhockey shit!" she yelled. This was, as I've said, a new phrase and therefore triggered amusement on the part of my father, which of course did not make my mother happy since they were in a heated argument and this was an inappropriate response. The interesting thing about this one is that urbandictionary states 'bullhockey' does in fact exist, but that it originates from Banbury, England. My mother, Darla Jean, is from Alabama. Hmmmm......

I have a Masters in Linguistics and I went all the way to South America to do research for my thesis. Perhaps I should have just stayed in my mother's kitchen. 

Anyway - thats the poopy scoop!