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Apr 22 2006

Stingray and the Old Bat


Fried oysters (with fried calamari at the other end of the plate) at Ranch 616: highly edible

Stingray and I have embarked on the Fried Oyster Tour of Austin. The purpose of this endeavor is not so much to determine a gold medalist as it is to simply eat fried oysters as often as possible. Our exertions in this quarter have led us more than once to a huge black naugahyde booth at Ranch 616, where the excellent oysters come with a convenient side of fried squid and two sauces and, if you like (which I do), a glass of Zardetto brand Prosecco.

As far as this spinster aunt is concerned, the ubiquitous Zardetto is the new Budweiser. But this essay, perhaps ill-advisedly, is not about Prosecco, or even, to the extent that any post of mine ever abstains from so a succulent theme, oysters.* It is about the fear and loathing expressed by a woman who encountered Stingray in the washroom queue at Ranch 616 the other night.

Though Stingray is—to borrow a lunkheaded monosyllabic qualifier from Hub (you remember old Hub, the guy whose blogger wife famously opined that a post-nuptial weight gain is the moral equivalent of a vinyl siding swindle)—hot, she does not practice femininity. Her unwillingness to capitulate to the sexbot mandate is, frankly, a danger to the kidneys of certain members of certain classes. To wit:

As our story opens, Stingray, our hero, feeling the effects of the aforementioned Zardetto, was in line for the women’s john. Before long she was joined by an older woman of, it would transpire, somewhat provincial proclivities (we decided later she was Not From Around Here). This gnarly specimen gave Stingray the once-over, detected no “girly” appurtenances, and evidently decided thereupon that S. was a dude (or possibly, as I brightly suggested afterward, a pree-vert). The burning question of Stingray’s rightful claim to a position in the women’s queue thusly settled in her own mind, our villainess initiated butting-in-line maneuvers. But what’s this! She registered great displeasure when apprised, in mid-butt, of Stingray’s resolute intention to use the girls’ can no matter what assumptions had been made about anyone’s genitalia. The woman scrammed, apparently so flipped out by this…this insanity, that holding it in—which, any doctor will tell you, is no good—seemed preferable to hanging around a dimly-lit pissoir with so audaciously androgynous a character as young Stingray.

Why did a hasty retreat the old bat beat? Because Stingray was clearly a reprobate, if not a criminal. According to patriarchy’s gender fraud laws, women must be plainly labeled at all times to ensure that they are a) continuously and easily available for male scrutiny, b) more easily construed as “other,” in order to make discrimination and marginalization and violence against them justifiable, and c) properly processed in social contexts as subordinates or competitors for male attention or bathroom queue contenders. Stingray’s washroom opponent, an enthusiastic apostle of patriarchy, could naught but flee the taint of Stingray’s terrible sexbiguity.

All human interaction is directed by a universally enforced fetish for dominance and submission. Thus, any social encounter, however trivial, demands that sex identifications be established immediately—prior, even, to diagnoses of class and race. This requirement isn’t just some arbitrary folly. There is no room for ambiguity! A dude must know who to oppress, and oppression is often a split-second decision. Say a dude hasn’t leered at a woman in a few minutes, and he feels the need for a self-gratificational ogle coming on. The consequences of leering at another dude are dire; patriarchy permits him to leer only at women, who are constrained to the sex class for that purpose. But he shouldn’t have to interview the next person he sees just to determine whether they’ve got a pussy. For the sake of efficiency, pussy must be clearly marked and plainly evident from as great a distance as possible, so the requisite assholicity can commence with all speed.

This operation is facilitated by the practice of heterosexual femininity, which behavior is more or less mandatory. Our hypothetical dude easily recognizes the warning signs of femininity: there’s makeup and clothing and the tireless pursuit of “beauty,” obviously, but he also detects the deferential head-tilt, the going one-down in social stand-offs, the perma-smile and other supplicatory body language, and of course the quiet desperation.

A woman who repudiates this pussy-identifying feminine drag is an affront to the hive. Censure and other punishments await she who resists. She can also cause great excitement in public cans.

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*Indeed, whereas on the surface my blogular secretions may often appear with some regularity and no little venom merely to implicate patriarchy in various crimes against humanity , a close reading will reveal a masterfully occult molluscoidean subtext.

100 comments

1 ping

  1. A White Bear

    Oh, if only one could escape from the patriarchy by moving to one of the biggest, most educated, and queer-friendly cities on the planet and be free of those fuckers! But one can’t. Even here in good old NYC, a conspicuously short haircut and tits not on full display often result in violent assaults — even during the day, even in midtown Manhattan. The message is, if you’re a girl and you’re gonna dress “queer,” get thee to the queer ghetto where straight men don’t have to be injured by the sight of you!

    Meanwhile, straight fashiony NYC guys are insisting on the right to wear pencil skirts, in a totally straight-dude fashion way. Don’t oppress them any longer! Their suffering under female-fashion-oppression is boundless!

  2. A White Bear

    I should add that I recently visited your fair city and found it truly delectable, with special thanks to your restaurant reviews

  3. Puffin

    Ha, White Bear! Free the metrosexuals!

  4. kathy a

    my mother considered herself quite the open-minded bon vivant, and used to brag about having gay male friends. however, she became totally unglued when she encountered lesbians, especially in restroom situations. we couldn’t figure out if she felt she was so hot that she was certain to be ravished in the stall, or if she was just so freaking offensive that she caught some glares and sharp remarks. possibly both.

  5. A White Bear

    I think it must be really extra-disturbing to women who have dedicated so much of their time and energy to pleasing men to see women who don’t care whether men feel flattered by them or not. I find my mom (conservative though she is) is not so much bothered by lesbian sexuality as by the fashion sensibility that allows one not to wear makeup or uncomfortable clothes and shoes. It’s as if she feels gender-nonspecific fashion is cheating at the game, when the person in question is playing another game entirely.

  6. Mandos

    Can humans avoid categorizing and avoid reactions to broken categorizations?

  7. Ms Kate

    My grandmother NEVER wore pants in my lifetime at least, stole here brother’s clothes as a kid, never had long or styled hair that I saw, always carried tools, welded Liberty Ships so well they kept her on to train shipyard workers after the war, drank beer and smoked, taught me to pee standing up, and always worked outside the home in non-traditional female jobs.

    Considering she was born in the early 1920s, this was no small source of confusion for those around her. Oddly enough, on the rare occasion she would stumble into a dyke bar unawares, she didn’t understand all the attention. Didn’t really bother her, just didn’t under stand it.

    I don’t think anyone ever tried to cut the line for the can on the male presumption. We lived in the northwest, though, where politeness is a higher status value than how one is dressed. Then again, I’d never know her to wait for the women’s can when the men’s was available.

  8. schatze

    I read and post to a New Orleans food board, “Mr. Lake’s Nonpompous New Orleans Food Forum”. I am still surprised by people who feel somehow betrayed when they learn that Mr. Lake is in fact, a woman. The idea it’s deceptive to host an internet board using the “Mr.” amuses me every time. I thought we were to assume everybody at their computer out here in cyberspace was a dirty old man sitting in his underwear.

    I must say that I also spent the day in the company of fried oysters and taking pictures of them for the above mentioned board. Mine were at Casamento’s on Magazine St. in New Orleans, a place covered inside with old tile, some decorative, some plain. In fact, the whole freakin place looks like a bathroom, but my mother went to the can and reported back that it, too was all tiled. Perhaps I should have taken a picture of that as well. I will also mention she encountered no lesbians there, only two large black and white cats who are said to eat shrimp all day. I cannot comment on their sexual preference, only their dining preference.

  9. Pony

    Arrgggh. So it’s YOU who leaves the toilet seat in public washrooms splattered.

  10. Ms Kate

    Um, no, Pony – we’re talking outside here.

    I hate it when I find spatters – I usually declare loudly (while the offender is still around) “My, SOMEBODY here never learned HER proper potty manners!”

  11. The Fat Lady Sings

    No excuse for the old bat. Prejudice of any kind is reprehensible. She should have been ashamed of herself. I remember when Al Campanis made those racist remarks on Nightline many years ago. People said he should get a go by because of his advanced age. That those views were common to people of his generation. Well fuck that shit. He wasn’t living in 1940. And those views stunk back then as well. I’m glad Stingray stood her ground. I’m so sick of it being OK to discriminate these days. Had I been there the old fart would have been given a sharp dressing down.

  12. Ms Kate

    I will also mention she encountered no lesbians there, only two large black and white cats who are said to eat shrimp all day. I cannot comment on their sexual preference, only their dining preference.

    Somebody should tell those cats that eating shrimp is an abomination! Read The Bible for details. (It’s in Leviticus, too!) http://www.godhatesshrimp.com

  13. buttonwillow

    Damn those oysters look good.

  14. Annie

    Forgive me if I can’t stop laughing long enough to contribute to the blaming banter, but your relay of Stingray’s trip to the crapper is just way too funny.

  15. Ron Sullivan

    Couple years ago I had an expensive encounter with one of Texas’ finest on the freeway somewhere in the jurisdiction of Amarillo. OK, I don’t wear makeup, and I do wear jeans, and who knows what shirt I had on, and I was driving, but I wear my hair down to my generous ass and I wear earrings most of the time and he had my driver’s license in his hand, with my legal name on it, and that’s fairly femmy. I mean. Veronica. It’s practically “Pussy LaFemme.” And there’s a F next to the “Sex” on the license besides. But the unfortunate document he handed me referred to me as male.

    So maybe it’s something about Texans.

    Wasn’t enough of an error to void the damn thing, though, speaking of voiding.

  16. scratchy888

    Here’s something which I writt elsewhere. I do suspect though, that Aussies are more concerned with body language rather than dress, comparative to ‘Merkins.

    Most women *don’t* strike such head-tilting submissive poses naturally, in fact; they’re highly learned behavior.

    I am sooo inclined to agree with this, mostly because I find that the converse is true, too. Let me explain.. .

    I am now at a fairly advanced stage in martial arts and have been doing it for a while. We are trained to adopt a very forcible strong stance at all times during training — even and especially when we are not feeling like it due to fear (or, more commonly), fatigue.

    I find that the routine practice of this kind of strong demeanour has now sunk into my unconscious mannerisms and entrenched itself there. It unsuits me to certain vocations which require a female suppliant for the job (also, mostly an unconscious requirement of people).

  17. TP

    As a great admirer of Stingray’s I have what I hope is license to wax as poetic as a gentleman might muster on the sex-free coolness she exudes. Stingray is quiet and steady, unflinching and bold. Stingray is, as far as I can tell from the dozens of times I have shared a room with her, the strong and silent type, though exactly how strong she is has always been hidden by virtue of tact and seemliness.

    Stingray is very good looking, almost shockingly so, and gives off no clues as to what gender she is. She dresses like a human being and acts like a human being, so she doesn’t give any sense that she is of the sex class. Yet she in no way hides or disguises her sex, if not advertising your sex can be described as not hiding it. To many women, not flagrantly advertising your sex is hiding it.

    I never cared to speculate as to the sexual nature of Stingray, since I felt no sexual attraction to her. Yet I admired the beauty almost as much as the coolness. Stingray, to the person who is relatively unabsorbed by sexual politics, exudes such an air of effortless cool, an almost sprezzatura that is rare to find so completely expressed, that I found myself wishing that I could be her friend.

    She is as excellent an example as I could ever wish to know of a woman who has very few shackles of the Patriarchy visible or implied. The funny thing is, thanks to this blog, I have completely forgotten her real name. So if I ever see her again, I will be forced to call her Stingray, which might not be cool.

  18. Annie

    Stingray must have substantial sprezzatura, as evidenced by her willingness to have her food photographed at regular intervals. Traveling with a camera as the constant companion of your companion is no small business. In my life, the commands, “Wait” “Stop” and “Move” “Shh” get more air time than they probably should.

  19. Pony

    Wow. What a tribute. If that were mine I’d be having it etched or carved into something.

    Pardon my ignorance but is Stingray a public figure? (Apart from featuring in the Twistosphere of course).

  20. Pony

    I don’t know about that scratchy888. I have seen such behaviour in very young children, babies.

  21. witchy-woo

    Yay Stingray!

    *I think I’m in love* (albeit by proxy)

    Nothing fucks the patriarchy off more than not being able to positively identify exactly whom to oppress and how.

    Stingray is, obviously, one Sister in Subversion of all that is patriarchal.

  22. Gertrude Strine

    Fitting blog entry for the against heteronormativity date.
    Also very much enjoy the Wooster allusion.

    And scratchy888, stop it or you’ll go blind mate.

  23. scratchy888

    What behaviour, Pony? Head tilting as a submissive trope?

  24. Pony

    Yes. Head tilting poses. Submissive is your word.

  25. Pony

    My point is I don’t think it’s learned behaviour, entirely. I think it’s survival and probably instinctual, and maybe one of those things babies do, both male and female and young of all species, in order to survive. I think either you probably have to learn your way out of it. Or maybe it’s one of those things, like hair standing up on the back of your neck, that is vestigial.

    I don’t know what the word trope means. Cute though. Is that like meme?

  26. Mandos

    I’m told that I tilt my head a lot and it irritates relatives of mine (which is how I know I do it, I don’t notice it myself).

  27. piratequeen

    I (heart) Twisty’s vocabulary. “Sexbiguity” is wonderful, but “assholicity” is going directly into heavy rotation among my compadres y commadres.

    I also quite admire “sprezzatura”, but lack the sprezzatura to employ it in casual conversation.

    You go, Stingray!

  28. MzNicky

    Twisty: I know how you feel about fried oysters, but what about raw ones on the half-shell? Yummy, or no?

  29. cypress

    from what water do the oysters you eat in austin come?

    i live in an oyster part of the world – the s.w. of british columbia. i love to eat them too.

    what are the two sauces, please?

  30. Mandos

    I’m assuming they come from the Gulf of Mexico but I have no idea whether anything oysts there.

  31. winna

    I had no idea head-tilting was feminine. I’m partially deaf- my head is permanently cocked to aim my ‘good ear’ toward the thing to which I’m listening. I blame the Patriarchy for making me look feminine when all I’m trying to do is hear!

  32. erbie

    Speaking of body language…

    I’ve recently been experimenting when out in public. I read somewhere (possibly here) that men, especially white men, expect women to move aside when crossing paths. So I’ve made a conscious effort not to do so. I’m obviously third-trimester pregnant and having trouble moving as well. I have found that when I just keep on my path and don’t get out of the way, nine times out of ten, white men will walk right into me and looked shocked that such a thing has occurred. Women almost always and non-white men more often make way, but white men rarely do. I usually look pointedly at my large belly and say “Excuse me!” in an annoyed voice.

  33. scratchy888

    Hi Pony — trope is pretty much zacktly like meme, the way I use it. It implies something literary though, like we’re all fictionalising our lives.

    On the baby held tilting thing — I guess we’re all born to enact a wide range of behavioural patterns, which gets selectively limited to gender stereotyped ones as we go along in life.

    The head tilting comment I originally posted was BitchPhD’s. The further comments were my own. I guess my point was that if you expect certain feminine meme-tropes, and you don’t get them, then you start to develop suspicions towards the one who fails to purvey these. I wonder if that is why I have so few female friends who are not in the martial arts.

  34. scratchy888

    I meant, BitchPhD’s was the comment which suggested that we all learn this head tilting stuff to soften our demeanour and appear less threatening .

  35. lavalamp

    Once, when I lived in Brooklyn, my partner and I (neither of whom, at the time, looked especially butch) had come to help a friend build some shelves in her kitchen. Her landlady, an Italian woman who was elderly but by no means senile or blind, came downstairs to see what was going on. She wasn’t happy that my friend was building shelves in “her” house. An argument ensued, and right there in front of us, because we were holding hammers and power tools, kept referring to us as “workmen.”

  36. Scarpediem

    Re: the head tilting etc. Long before the fabulous Bitch PhD, Erving Goffman wrote a pretty revolutionary book, Gender in Advertising (1979), in which he systematically showed how women are “posed” in submissive, helpless, subordinate, child-like positions in ads (“displays”).

    Using anthropology, sociology, etc., he also debunked the idea that these poses are somewhat a “natural” occurence, that is, rooted in biology. Instead, he argued that biological differences between sexes do not “naturally” evolve displays, but rather become an imagistic reservoir, a “cultural resource” that such displays draw on.

    Another source that gender relationships draw on is the parent-child relationship; he writes that “in our society whenever a male has dealings with a female or a subordinate male (especially a younger one), some mitigation of potential distance, coercion and hostility is quite likely to be induced by application to the parent-child complex. Which implies that, ritually speaking, females are equivalent to subordinate males and both are equivalent to children”.

    Such gestures (tilting of the head, for instance) are highly conventional and symbolic gestures that facilitate social interactions (as defined by patriarchy, of course); he also argues that they “may provide a very poor picture of the overall relationship between the sexes”-in fact reducing said relationship to a bunch of ritualistic, schematized behaviors which, you guessed it, perpetuate the patriarchy. He stops short of talking about such patriarchal perpetuation, but the implication is pretty obvious.

    Other such gestures he catalogued (with rich instantiations in advertising) are: relative size (women have to be [represented as] smaller than men), the “feminine touch” (women are more often represented as “touching” something with their fingers, somewhat suggestively; by contrast, men hold, manipulate, etc. but never ‘touch’), and licensed withdrawal (women are often represented as shielded from the environment, or unoriented in the particular social situation they’re in, making them vulnerable and dependent, so to speak, on the kindness of strangers–they cover their mouths with their finger, gaze abstractly into middle distance, concealing their face momentarily, averting their gaze from an anchor in their surroundings, etc.).

  37. Pony

    I don’t deny the existence of prejudice toward gays, or women. Nor do I disagree with the guys demanding right of way, all the time, whether they’re on foot, bicycle (don’t get me started) or automobile.

    Nor do I disagree with the feminine body language. There’s guy body language too. We’re animals. We look for signals from other animals about who they are, what they might do to us, how we can deflect it, where we stand in the pecking order. I don’t think we’re going to escape that, but maybe rearrange it somewhat.

    But I want to make a case here for something alluded to but not quite gotten at: when people get older they lose what they learned newest first. The language, memes (heh) behaviours and subconscious knowledge we use to make our way through life slowly revert to what we knew as we were younger. It will happen to all of us if we lucky enough. That is, to live to be old rather than the alternative.

    Old people revert to their mother tongue more and more if it wasn’t English, so maybe someone who was pretty facile in English when 40, will speak German or Italian more and more, and lack ability to find those words in English. But it’s not only second language speakers who will do that. All of us will, with our thinking and reference.

    I think the reasons are manifold and can include illness and conditions which affect the brain, and then just ageing, which does indeed affect the brain, even if we are healthy.

    I know. I’ve had many little strokes, and find I’ve lost language ability, ability to read, understand what I read, abstract thinking, and find often I embarass myself by sounding like someone I’m not.

    Probably not making myself too clear here either. But just a thought: not all is prejudcie, not all is directed toward us, when it comes from older people. And yes, I know there is someone you know who is crack on at 80, Great. They are the exception not the rule, and it is not some virture. But luck.

  38. TP

    I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the idea that women find the idea of women who look “manly” threatening. I think it’s because to them all men are threatening, and the momentary presumption of lurking male presence in one of the few male-free zones available could give them one of those nasty startled flashes that seem so much worse than the circumstances that caused them.

    Generally in case where I am startled, I instantly blame whatever I can think of for what seems like an overreaction on my part, for which I also feel a concurrent flash of guilt and a need to deny or exculpate myself somehow.

    So a normal woman — who has never even given a thought to the possibility of blaming the patriarchy — would be shocked at finding a human being who is not advertising herself as blatantly female and is therefore, by standard definition of appearances, a male, in one of the places she had hoped to be safe from male presence. Unable to blame the patriarchy for her error, she of course, blames Stingray for not playing the game. So even though she was a twit, I still blame the patriarchy. It’s just like the matrix!

    Ideas like the sex class and the default human being is male seem really radical and unprovable when a man first hears them, but daily examination of this blog reveals through countless examples just how universal and deep seated such truths actually are.

  39. lavalamp

    Pony, I don’t know about the old bat in Twisty’s story, but I know for a fact that the woman in my story was sharp as a tack. We just didn’t read as women to her.

  40. Ms Kate

    Twisty, if you ever make it this far north to the Boston area, you simply must visit the Diesel Cafe in Davis Square.

    Not only is one of the owners a ringer for Stingray, the bathrooms are painted in heavy colors and equipped with any manner of industrial hardware crafted into functional holders for sinks, tp, the works. Very photogenic. Then there are the vintage gas pumps and signs, the coffee tables full of washers and bolts and stuff, and the 60s era black and white photo booth. On warm days, they pop open the giant garage door and open the front area to the street.

    As the restrooms are one-seaters on a gender-neutral first come, first serve basis, there will be no cutting in line.

  41. Pony

    My comment wasn’t really directed to these two incidences but to what might be going on with people, especially women, who behave that way when old. We don’t just wrinkle when we get old. The brain changes. We will not be who we are now. That includes impusive behaviour and speaking, outburts. Not accepting change as easily isn’t always because we’re ignorant, stupid, prejudiced or don’t have a good education. It can be because we can’t cope anymore, or are alone or both, so are afraid. I was going to say, irrationally afraid, but fear is such a primal thing it can’t be irrational.

    Just as we give an inch for those of different cultures and may be operatiing from something we don’t understand but would if we knew, we should give an inch for the elderly. They ARE a different culture. It’s not just that they learned something different or are a different political belief than you. It’s a country of it’s own, and we will all get there, with much of who we are left behind, both good and bad. It’s a big mistake to think because we are smart and right and competent thinking now, we will be then.

  42. lavalamp

    You are right, Pony. I had to come to somewhat of an understanding of it when dealing with my mother’s aging and decline. I say “somewhat” because I think it was so frightening and final to me that I couldn’t really grasp all of it but once I accepted it as simply true, and stopped waiting for her to change back into the mother I remembered, it made dealing with who she had become much easier for both of us.

  43. Twisty

    A few notes about oysters:

    We get’em from the Gulf (of Mexico), where they oyst in abundance.

    I love a raw oyster as much as I love my eye teeth. Our Louisianan Vibrating Liz might have something to say about this, but: Tabasco, no. I like to dunk’em in champagne mignonette. There is always some trepidation about eating a raw Gulf oyster in the summer, since you never know how long they’ve been sitting on the docks in the hot sun. Death by rotten oyster is, I am told, one of the more grisly deaths a person can die.

    Oysters can change their sex at will to suit themselves.

    The sauces that come with Ranch 616 oysters are a chipotle mayonnaise and some kind of avocado cream.

  44. Sara

    That’s hilarious.

    You know what’s weird about this sort of thing though? I’m not sure men have this problem, this terror of sharing a public restroom with the opposite sex. I have been known, when there is a line for the ladies’ room but not for the gents’, to just use the gents’. I have startled more than one man upon exiting, but I’ve never encountered outrage. In advance of such circumstances, when I’ve told men I was with what I planned, they just shrugged and said, “Well, of course. Do it.” (or words to that effect)

    On the other hand, I do remember when I worked at a law firm in San Jose and a guy who worked for the city on another floor of our building started on a gender transition. He got to a point where he was ready to start dressing as a woman — or at least femininely — all the time, and began showing up to work that way. The men wouldn’t let him use the men’s restroom anymore. The women on his floor wouldn’t let him use theirs. He — who was by then being referred to as “she” — had to come up a few floors to our office, borrow our key, and use our women’s restroom.

    I wonder whatever happened to her. We moved here, and I never heard from her again.

    In France they don’t have men’s vs. women’s restrooms — or at least they didn’t. The whole institution is bizarre.

    Oh, and Erbie (#32), I’ve been doing that, too, and had the same experience. I can’t remember what got me started doing that — something I read that pissed me off. But ever since, I’ve been unyielding. When I wear shorts in hot weather and my clearly artificial leg is plain for everyone to see and a man still plows right into me, I’m afraid I’ve been known to be even more openly derisive than when a man plows into me just because he expects me to step aside.

    Tsk tsk. The language I am sometimes tempted to use is not ladylike at all.

    Another thing which kind of boggles me is the effect of makeup alone, on women or men. Way too many people are shocked, of course, if they detect cosmetics on a man. But not wearing cosmetics while being a woman can apparently render a person invisible and even unworthy of the mildest amount of compassion.

    I am, as noted elsewhere, big, blonde and bosomy. I’m a real blonde, too, so my eyelashes and eyebrows are very, very pale. Most of the time, not to make a point or anything, simply because I cannot be bothered, I don’t wear a lot of makeup, just mascara and, on a strictly as-needed basis, something to cover what the fashion industry coyly refers to as “blemishes.” Still, I did an experiment once where I went several months without any cosmetics at all. I wanted to see if people would actually treat me differently, or if it was just an irrational fear I’d gotten from the fashion media and kept since teenage. You know what though? Yes! They did treat me differently! I got terrible service at the various businesses I frequented. When I put mascara back on and visited the same places I got better service. Without mascara, the male and female bank tellers at Wells Fargo couldn’t help me when I got into a jam, and also couldn’t possibly be nice about it. With mascara, they were totally at my service, no matter what happened. It was the same in restaurants, convenience marts, the grocery store, riding the bus, everywhere.

    This was probably close to twenty years ago, and I was probably as close to “hot” then as I’ve been since attaining voting age. I’m rather far from that description now that poorly restrained gourmandizing and gravity have begun to take their respective tolls. Now I’m a bigger, even more bosomy blonde. But you know what? Regardless of my shape, if I go out with my hair pulled back and no mascara, people often mistake me for a man out of the corners of their eyes. I can tell because I’m often called “Sir” until the person speaking looks me right in the face. This amuses me no end.

    It also confuses me. What oh what is it that makes one lump of flesh feminine or female and another masculine or male? I really thought the big tits made it kind of a no-brainer. I guess not. And in any event, heaven help a woman who might go out in public without seeming to care whether she looks “pretty” or not.

  45. Betsy

    I went to Oregon once. The single-stall restroom weren’t labeled male or female. They were just bathrooms. Wow.

    Ever since that trip, whenever I encounter a pair of single-stall bathrooms that are labeled “men” and “women”, I just use whichever one is unoccupied.

  46. Pony

    I have found it absolutely unbelievable to hear my mother speaking a language she hasn’t spoken since she was 6. Not all the time, but here and there, to her surprise to sometimes, and other times, not.

    Sara I don’t dispute your experience. Mine is different. I’ve never worn make-up until recently, lipstick. I’ve never been anything but a babe. And I’m not apologizing for it either.

    But back to the original post; age and it’s losses yes. But probably yes, prejudice too if that means to judge before you know.

  47. Annie

    Sara: “I’m not sure men have this problem, this terror of sharing a public restroom with the opposite sex.”

    LOL! Of course they don’t have this problem, dear!

    1) When y’er a dude ‘n ya gotta pee…well, then you just can and do wherever, whenever. I need not point out the opposing end of this socially constructed binary.

    2) A man who gains entry into the designated female can is a pioneer, a rascal, a brave dude. Women who enter male crappers are “pree-verts” (LOL! Twisty!) and subversives.

  48. joolya

    Twisty, I fucking love you.
    I have toyed with the idea of gender bending, but the most blokish I can get is 13-year-old boy. Chubby 13-yr-old boy, actually, since I my tits are reaching epic proportions and are not easily concealed. And 13-yr-old boys, while sinks of entitlement, are not exactly the ruling class in our great society! Ah well.
    People love labels, though, don’t they? If you’re a het girl, you better look like a het girl. If you’re a dyke, you better look like a dyke. I think what makes people the most uncomfortable isn’t people who are obviously different, but people who can’t be easily pegged as this or that identity. Good post.

  49. Pony

    Not to mention desperate Annie.

    The Starbuck’s (and other) loos here are single use but designated. I’ve never seen anyone there stand on ceremony either way.

    So what’s everyone’s point of view on sending your six year old son into the mens alone while you’re at the baseball game, because he won’t go into the women’s with you. Or nen taking the five year old daughter into the mens with you? I saw the latter just this week. It made me pause. The loo was not a single use and I assume there were urinals. If I had been closer I’d have offered to watch the little girl. But then, I don’t know if that would have been ok either.

  50. Pony

    Lavalamp I am also keenly aware of how cruel older people can be. Some use age as an excuse for bad behaviour. Some use age as an excuse for everything, and are quite willing to be a wobbley duddy old senior in order to get freebies. Makes me sick. And I also remember that the white haired old man down the street might be the white haired old pedophile who was just released from prison in my city. Never sentimentalize aging and the aged.

  51. joolya

    Dogs and other pack animals do that head tilting thing to signify submission to the alpha, so that the alpha will know they are not threatening and not beat them up.

  52. joolya

    MsKate! I knew I liked you. Are you a regular denizen of the Deisel? Hooray!!! Twisty, if you are ever in the Deisel, I think it will be a Deisel holiday – and I hope you make it known so that your fans can all come and buy you an “8-Ball”, which is a scoop of yummy homemade ice cream floating in a tall glass of hot coffee. Mmmmm.

  53. Pony

    There’s a funny and somewhat appropos video at BitchPhD. Maybe the first part of it is where the ladies discussed above got their sex ed. I don’t know what the etiquette is re info from another blog so apologies if I’ve goofed. Go there to see it?

  54. Ms Kate

    Well, Joolya, I used to hang there quite a lot until I changed jobs and don’t commute through the area anymore. Then True Grounds popped up in Ball Square, closer to home, and set up free wifi. They also have the really good Terroir coffee.

    I’m still mourning the Someday as it once was, early-mid 90s, before it shifted to the corner – back when the staff turned the abandoned area upstairs into a basketball court, ala Clerks. Mourning Jeff too, who actually first met in high school, as he was a major Portlandizing influence on the scene. Way too young to die.

    I do the Diesel now and then, particularly when I want food too or want to sit half-outside or have the kids along. I love that place.

  55. Amanda Marcotte

    She must not be from around here, because it would take a lot of willful stupidity to think Stingray is a dude.

  56. nolo

    There is nothing quite so amusing as watching someone who’s just mistaken you for a man . . . especially when you’re on the way to the bathroom. Been there. You can see the wheels turning behind their little beady eyes — or more precisely, you can see the wheels start to turn, and then the little motor in there just throws a rod. People who have a big investment in gender dualism (and is that not the bedrock of Patriarchy?) really flip their shit when they find out they just Got It Wrong.

  57. scratchy888

    HI Scarpediem !

    Why do you think that licenced withdrawal is considered to be such a negative aspect?

  58. Sara

    Pony, #46: No one sane would ever expect you to apologize for being a “babe.” Honey, enjoy it! As to my own experience, while I — unlike Stingray and, apparently, you — have been a lot of things but never really “hot,” per se, I put it to you to make up your own mind. Here are two relatively recent (within the last two years) pictures of me:

    http://movingrightalong.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/ski3_2.jpg

    http://movingrightalong.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/digging3.jpg

    In neither of these photographs am I dressed “femininely.” Hell, I’m not even wearing makeup. However, in spite of the fact that I had to PhotoShop the second one for modesty (there’s a reason I only garden in that T-shirt), I still think I look like a chick, not a dude. Having seen photos of Stingray here, on this very blog, I also think she looks like a chick not a dude and, like Amanda (#55) am startled and amused that anyone would be confused about this — unless that person was really, really drunk.

    Nevertheless, many people mistake me for a man, and I really can’t figure out why. But when it happens, it is, as Nolo says in comment 56, really hilarious to watch the aftermath.

    The only thing that ever upset me about any of this was people treating me badly when I didn’t wear mascara back when I actually was far more attractive with or without it than I am now. It wasn’t about being attractive. It was about people making assumptions about me that had to do with things like whether or not I deserved consideration if I didn’t seem to care about my appearance because I had neglected to draw on my face before leaving the house. That was unsettling.

    Maybe people are better about that sort of thing outside of California. I certainly haven’t experienced anything like mascara prejudice here in New England, but then I’m so much older now, and people seem to expect less of me appearance-wise on that basis alone. And here a lot of people seem to think I’m a guy, anyway, at least at first.

    Puzzling as I find that, it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s as close as I’ll ever get to experiencing life as an oyster.

  59. Penny

    Meme: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

    Trope: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trope

    So if I understand this correctly, all memes are tropes, but not all tropes are memes.

  60. Scarpediem

    Scratchy888: because it perpetuates the image of the woman that can’t be/won’t be/has no place being involved in reality, with all that it involves (politics, social issues, etc.), but rather has to be shielded for (by keeping her preoccupied with either the home or with shiny glittery things to distract her temporarily from ‘rea’ life). As such, she can never be in control of reality–of the world–she is perpetually a subordinate.

    In licensed withdrawal, writes Goffman, “women more than men … are pictured engaged in involvements which remove them psychologically from the social situation at large, leaving them unoriented in it and to it, and presumably, therefore, dependent on the protectiveness and goodwill of others who are (or might come to be) present”.

    Typical gestures: covering one’s face or mouth with one’s hands (even though there one single finger brought to the mouth—indicative of anxiety); finger-to finger holding of one’s hands-“dissociated self communication”; turning one’s gaze away from the other; head/eye aversion (lowering of head, momentary concealment of one’s face—and feelings, plus height is reduced); withdrawing one’s gaze from the scene as if psychologically removed from it (middle distance look, looking at one’s hands—again emphasizing submissiveness); women are shown “mentally drifting from the physical scene around them (that is, going “away”) while in close physical touch with a male, as though his aliveness to the surround and his readiness to cope with anything that might present itself were enough for both of them” —Goffman calls these “anchored drifts”; sometimes women look at small objects; in ads, “women more than men appear to withdraw themselves from the social situation at hand through involvements, including emotional response” (such as laughter, glee, delight, pleasure, being transported by happiness).

    Shielding is used sometimes to express that the woman “is looking in on a social situation from a distance or behind a one-way panel—a ‘participation shield’” (behind objects—hair, flowers, clothes etc., behind persons, animals, etc.); snuggling and nuzzling—withdrawing from a social situation; women tend to lean more on men’s bodies than the reverse; in the grief embrace—usually the soothing shoulder belongs to a man; arm support, indicating commendation or moral approval—again, offered by men rather than women.

    By contrast, men tend to be depicted much more present, in “control,” in the here-and-now, masters of reality, if you will. When they’re not, the images are startling, ironic, ‘funny’ because they contradict ‘the norm.’ See the web essay Bitch PhD linked to (now I see she delinked, for some reason–but anyway, you can find it here: http://www.uvm.edu/~tstreete/powerpose/index.html).

    Sure, these are generalizations, but they keep being supported again and again, in large numbers, by the majority of media images we are surrounded with.

    Which media images, no doubt, also informed the Weltanschauung of the Old Bat in Twisty’s story.

  61. thebewilderness

    Sara & Erbie,

    I love that you do that. I do it too. In fact I usually stop dead about two steps prior to collision and give them the opportunity to be even more embarassed by the fact that they are complete idiots who cannot navigate a sidewalk.

  62. scratchy888

    Hi Scarpe — I did see the photo-essay!

    I’m just curious (still) why it is that when women infer by their body language that they are not entirely mentally present, that this is seen to defer to the patriarchy.

    Yes, I understand implicitly, that this implies a certain weakness or dependency on their parts.

    It could also imply a rejection of their social and physical circumstances and a desire to stand apart from them.

    And yet, interpretations of this alternative nature are not drawn.

  63. scratchy888

    And in any event, heaven help a woman who might go out in public without seeming to care whether she looks “pretty” or not.

    No-one ever seems to give ME a hard time over that.

  64. Kate

    “Stingray is quiet and steady, unflinching and bold. Stingray is, as far as I can tell from the dozens of times I have shared a room with her, the strong and silent type, though exactly how strong she is has always been hidden by virtue of tact and seemliness.”

    Well fer cryin’ out loud, she associates with a knife witted, kick-ass woman who feeds her oysters and fine wine. Damned if I wouldn’t be all that too. Or die trying.

    As for this post, which seems to segueway nicely with the ‘blog against heteronormativity’ thing which has been going for some time around some time this week or something, I posted elsewhere.

    Might I add that although I can’t hide by boobs, my dress in no way follows the norm. It is sometimes funny, oftentimes irritating and a few times damn insulting the way other women treat me resultant my eschewing of feminine identity markers, aside from the physical ones which i cannot be rid of right now. And yes, in my experience it is women predominantly who are more outspoken about my defiant ways, as if I am in need of a correction from the enlightened.

    I don’t think men bother as they could give a shit what I do anyway, I’m not sexually desirable, so not worthy of their time in any sense of the word — unless I have money for them.

    And I have made the same speeches about gender identity markers and their meaning and necessity in a patriarchy to my two girls. My older daughter wears heels alot. Oh well, i tried.

  65. Scarpediem

    Scratchy–ok, I’ll bite one more time.

    So, it’s either the argument I laid out, or, as you say, “it could also imply a rejection of their social and physical circumstances and a desire to stand apart from them.”

    Let me get this straight: women’s various deferential, submissive, disengaged, shielded, withdrawn, etc. gestures in media advertising may signify their rejection of the system and their detachment from it.

    Assuming that as a working hypothesis–how is that, um, helpful? What sort of a model is that for the zillions of young women bombarded with these poses daily? That they shouldn’t give a damn? That they should act their part–stand apart, and, like a damsel in distress, yearn for the day they’ll be rescued? (by a man, of course). Or that they’re too fragile to do anything to rise above those circumstances and own their lives?

    Also, an element that often gets overlooked in these feminist critiques is that of class. That ‘desire to stand apart’ that you mention is not a passive rebellion, but an expression of ‘high class’, of superior social status. Again, not exactly the most progressive message in the world (not to mention, a lie: the presumed ‘status’ women get by aquiring the product advertised is a mere illusion).

    The body language women are taught, by and large, to assume in a patriarchal society, does not usually imply that women should be their own rescuers. It implies subordination, because the promise of surrender is what pleases the male gaze. And when the images are meant specifically for women only (as opposed to for male audiences), they still subliminally teach women how to behave in order to please men.

  66. Christopher

    A few years back my brother and I used to have really long hair and baby-smooth chins.

    Every once and a while we’d get somebody who’d tell us, “Hey, this is the boy’s room!”

    I’m not sure that that adds much to the conversation. Let me try again:

    Oysters? Eeeeeeeeew, blechy. They don’t taste nearly good enough to offset the fact that they’re giant boogers.

    Wait, that didn’t add much either. I give up.

  67. Arianna

    Wow, I guess I’ve gotten off lucky, given all these stories here.

    I’m 21, I’ve never shaved my legs, and I’ve worn makeup literally once in my life, and that was because my mother would not let me out the door to go to my highschool’s formal without makeup on. I did, however, promptly wash it off. I make my own shampoo, and I don’t use any conditoner or styling products. I have extremely long hair – down to my tailbone now – but it’s very fine and 90% of the time is pulled back into a tiny bun. I pretty much only keep it as protest-value against my mother’s obession with neatly styled “reasonble” hair. I’ve always been on the medium-to-thin side, and never seemed to go over an A-cup. When I used to work at a cinema, I got referred to by “go give your tickets to the nice boy over there” a couple times, but they didn’t seem perturbed when they got a little closer and realised I was a girl.

    I can’t say I really caught any flak from highschool peers for not wearing makeup, but this might be down to me being a complete nerd… in fact, I don’t remember anyone in my classes wearing makeup except the goth kids, and the pentecostal minister’s daughter, though that was a matter of protest against pentecostalism generally. I currently work as a receptionist/admin assistant to put myself through University, and I didn’t wear makeup to the interview, nor do I wear any to work. I guess I’m lucky that the CEO and office manager are female.

    I don’t know if this is just all me being sheltered/lucky, or things being easy for the younger generation, or if Canada is really that much different than the states.

  68. Pony

    Scarpediem. You get no disagreement from me. Advertising is over the top femme. I saw a Vogue (or Vanity Fair or one of those) mags recently with a full page ad pic of Kate Moss sitting on one hip. The down hip. The other was up so her whole vulva area was facing the camera. Her plumped up, pulled out labia were front centre and the focus of the picture. Which was selling perfume I think.

    Men however are not exempt from this silliness, just different. We do see them stricking those fey poses in fashion mags. But in men’s mags, and real life, stance walk and facial expression are very “guy” hard.

    This is different in ads for mature adults, where product is pitched to the over 50 . Both men and women are childishly goofy. Fully clothed. Demure. Asexual, even in the Viagra ads.

  69. Pony

    Sara ou’re a babe. No mistake. Do women and men dress very differently where you live? Here you see, everyone is trying to avoid freezing to death 8 months of the year and wears identical mountain gear. You know, the uniform, so I’m not used to seeing women looking very different from men until summer when they’re both practically nekkid. However, this is a big city with several universities. That makes a difference I think. Now rural. Shudder. You’d better conform Bobby Sue.

  70. finnsmotel

    I don’t doubt the retardation of the elder female subject in your story.

    But, context is everything.

    She probably doesn’t remember it, but I’ve bumped into her in situations where I was not ‘with’ you, Twisty. There was a big difference in her response to my salutations. Understandable. I mean, here’s some average late-30′s white guy… whose physical appearance is about as common as the budweiser he’s ordering… balding, slight gut, with the requisite black glasses… easy to imagine how she forgot having met me at a gig. I was sad that I hadn’t left a meaningful enough impression to have been granted the pleasure of recognition. But, I didn’t bring it up because I was intimidated, thinking maybe she had remembered me, but didn’t like what she remembered.

    Stingray can be kinda intimidating. In her (ironic?) Bruce Springsteen t-shirt, keeping bar at the Royale, my friendly salutations were met with the slight disdain one might express for a fly speck in the black pepper.

    One more similar story…

    Through my bass playing in a band with Twisty, and the necessary decompression-session post-practice beers at the WayOutClub, I acquired a taste for the band The Star Death. The Star Death’s rock is worthy of an entire column, so I’ll stay off that for the moment. What’s relevant is that having become a convert to their religion, I spent several post-set conversations with the band, extolling the virtues of virtually every aspect of their awesomeness, not the least of which is the bass playing of Toby.

    However…

    I once bumped into Toby at a Cardinals baseball game. I was there with my two kids, in khaki shorts and an embarrassing jersey of some sort and a ballcap to keep my bald head from getting sunburned. She, of course, looked as cool as she always does… and was there with another rocknroll friend or two. When I waved and said hello, I got looks as though I was a pedo rapist on furlough and they kept on motoring by.

    Context is everything, I guess. Crushed, I chalked it up to the costume of the moment… turns out everybody’s capable of misjudging someone based on their “look.”

    The bathroom seems to put people even further into a heightened sense of anxiety.

    People behave crazy and our reactions are heightened because it’s the bathroom.

    Over the weekend, I took my 9-yr-old daughter fishing. When we stopped in to a restaurant to use the bathroom, we were confronted with the same old conundrum. Do I take her to the Men’s room or let her use the Women’s room alone? Either way, I get looks of disapproval from someone in the place.

  71. grrr kitty

    Once upon a time, a M to F transsexual worked in my building. There was a huge uproar about her use of the women’s room. I may be guilty of oversimplification here, but WTF? As long as you close the stall door, WHO FRIGGIN CARES what gender you are?

  72. finnsmotel

    In my previous post, I didn’t mean to make it sound like I doubted the original story. I was only hoping to illustrate how context can play a role in identification and miscommunication.

  73. stingray

    The over-simplified dichotomy of genders is inherent in our own speaking, and could not be more blind to reality. Even in a feminist forum, one sees the evidence.

    Because a person of the female sex does or does not conform to the patriarchal norm, does not in turn make her “feminine” or “manly”. One’s choice in make-up, length of hair, clothing, speech, or any number of aesthetic variables, should not beg the question, “Where do I fit on the m vs. f scale?” There are but a thousand shades.

    “As far as I’m concerned, being any gender is a drag.” – Patti Smith

  74. stingray

    To finn-

    As for my poor recognition, it was never intentional. I do remember liking you and your bass playing, but obviously I lack the recall. Never meant to be an intimidating ass.

  75. Ron Sullivan

    Hey, Stingray, I think of it as analagous to speaking Spanish, where the table is feminine and the lunchroom is masculine; or Germen, where the chapel is feminine, the hat is masculine, and the girl is feminine until she gets diminutividifiedolatedized and becomes neuter. Didn’t Mark Twain write something funny about that?

    At some point I suppose we’ll either make the language subtle enough to express all those shadings or relieve it of the responsibility to do so.

  76. Mandos

    The thing is that there are languages which don’t express gender grammatically and still people’s behaviour is highly binary-gendered.

  77. finnsmotel

    >As for my poor recognition, it was never intentional. I do remember liking you and your bass playing, but obviously I lack the recall. Never meant to be an intimidating ass.

  78. finnsmotel

    Hey, no apology necessary, Stingray. I totally understood how it could happen, took no offense, etc.

    As for intimidation, I think I misspoke. I was mostly embarrassed for assuming that my typical ass would be recognizable.

  79. Ron Sullivan

    True, Mandos. I for one am only burdening the language with expression, not with altering behavior. I’m not among those who think that changing how we address people, e.g. actually does more than a little to change the way we think about them. What it does do is allow those who would prefer to be polite a good way to do so, and let them both signal their goodwill and lead by example.

  80. Jezebella

    can we get back to oysters here, people? The two best places for fried oysters in New Orleans, pre-Katrina, were Zeke’s on Metairie Road and Bruning’s on the Lakefront. I love a crunchy wee oyster with a cornmeal coating. Anyway, does anyone know if Zeke’s or Bruning’s are re-opened?

    I refuse to eat oysters in Mississippi. And I’m still traumatized by the gooey gloopy fried oysters I ate in Daytona Beach in my youth, so I will never, so help me, order oysters in Florida again.

  81. Mandos

    I too would like to get back to oysters, in particular the verb “to oyst”, which, if I must say myself, is my best neologism to date. I am attempting now to think up a good definition for it.

  82. scratchy888

    HI Scarpe.

    I take your point as it applies to women. There are negative practical consequences.

    However, I was actually considering the same dynamic of standing apart, and appling that to a situation of kind of postmodernist dissent. I’m not convinced that the consequences of not being attached to the dominant dynamic of a dominant social paradigm (even if that paradigm is conceptualised as entailing forcefulness)is always and ubiquitously negative. Think of George Bush’s America, or various forms of ideologically unifying behaviour, and suddenly, standing detachedly apart seems like a very good thing. But this is more of a symbolic take..

    I understand that what you are concerned about are the unfortunate practical effects of this type of advertising on the psyche of many women.

  83. Sara

    The Twisty-NPR link broadens. After reading all this today, while driving home from work, I heard this on the radio:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5359340

    I’m totally too tired to play connect-the-dots right now. Even if you somehow can’t figure out how it relates, it’s a fascinating listen.

    Enjoy.

  84. Irish Goddess

    Nothing high falutin’ here, but I need to say: Twisty, my crush on you now has another wonderful facet: Stingray. I’m afraid you both might be too cool for me, but I’ll let myself imagine.

  85. Annie

    I’m pretty femme and it’s cool with me but I like what Stingray says and I think she’s onto something. I have found myself shying away from any kind of relationships or interactions where I am expected to take up residence in some particular identity position for the sake of someone else’s hyper-gendered ideas about what’s correct. It makes me uncomfortable and I say so. It’s strange because something as unassuming as my passion for outdoor grilling and my comfort and ease with power tools seems to rock my next door neighbor’s world. I find it very difficult to smile him off (he means well)instead of telling him off. Sometimes I just want to shout at people like that and say, “WHO CARES??!!?? GO FIND SOMETHING MORE PRODUCTIVE TO WORRY OVER AND LEAVE ME ALONE!!! I’M JUST ME.”

  86. nolo

    Annie, sweat it not. Treat your neighbor like he’s from a foreign culture. In the meantime, continue with the power tools. This has been my approach ever since 1979, when I got my certificate in auto mechanics from the local JVS.

  87. Summer

    Old battiness can be such a pain in the ass.

  88. Sara

    But someday, if we are lucky, we may all be old bats.

  89. kathy a

    not THAT old bat, though.

  90. Jennifer

    Dear Stingray,

    You win some, you loose some. I would have invited you to share a stall with me.

  91. Amber

    Jezebella, you’re completely right about the oysters in Florida. Don’t go there.

    I feel better reading these comments because it’s apparent that I am not the ONLY huge dork who fantasizes about touring restaurants and eating spicy things with Twisty & Co. If only.

  92. Ms Kate

    Annie, sometimes that is less patriarchy and more simple attraction to somebody who shares interests.

    When I was in high school, I had occasional boyfriends, but mostly ran in a pack. One day in the locker room during gym I overheard some cheerleaders talking about “how come Kate always seems to have so many guys around her?” in their “it’s not fair” voices.

    I was kind of stunned by that. They were half right – I always had guys around me. But they were my friends. We played sports together, sat together in Calculus, took the same shop class, made bongs in ceramics. If I had lots of male attention, it was because I did guy stuff.

  93. thebewilderness

    Mandos,
    You understant how oysters milt? I think to oyst is rather like to lurk.

  94. Annie

    Ya, Ms. Kate true enough in many circumstances of my life, but not with the neighbor (though I do sense a touch of fascination). He has a very nicely domesticated wife. She’s a very nice person and all, but she definitely does the stay at home obedience trip, and would never be caught outside performing a manly task like grilling while sucking down a Tsing Tao, or dressed in a braless tank and shorts sanding a piece of furniture from the garbage, or power hosing the patio. The husband always asks, “Why don’t you get Al to do that for you?” and then he wonders both what kind of woman I am and what kind of husband I have. Of course, the judgment always comes down in his mind, I suspect, that I am one of those recalcitrant women who doesn’t know her place and has hen-pecked her husband. Good grief!

  95. Pony

    He thinks he’s complimenting you Annie. You’re too pretty to be doing that for yourself little lady. Heck. It’s a come on. He’s testing your fuckability. Simper and ask him how he’d do it. Tell him Al just doesn’t seem to care if you wreck your manicure. I think that’s the way this script goes in neighbour’s mind.

  96. Mandos

    I think oysting is more like silently brooding.

  97. Twisty

    Pony in 95: “I think that’s the way this script goes in neighbour’s mind.”

    And in every stupid porn video.

  98. mills

    Lawyer ‘collected skirt images’
    A barrister accused of making indecent images by covertly filming up girls’ skirts has denied getting any sexual gratification from his “habit”.
    Simon Austin Hamilton, 35, of Haringey, north London, told Canterbury Crown Court his pleasure came from collecting and cataloguing the images.

    Mr Hamilton denies charges of outraging public decency and possessing indecent images of children.

    He said he stopped “upskirting” when he joined the Bar as it was inappropriate.

    Collecting is something my family is very prone to

    Simon Austin Hamilton

    Mr Hamilton denies six charges of making indecent photographs of a child and two charges of possessing an indecent photo of a child for show, all between January 2002, and July 2003.

    He faces a further charge of taking an indecent photograph of a child on 10 September, 2001.

    Mr Hamilton told the jury that his actions in filming up skirts had been about getting the image and accumulating a collection.

    ‘Inappropriate habit’

    “Collecting is something my family is very prone to. We’re collectors of pretty much anything you can imagine,” he explained.

    He added that he would spend most of his time cataloguing the images as opposed to looking at them.

    “It was the sort of gratification of a job well done,” he said.

    At the time of the offences, Mr Hamilton lived in Bosham, West Sussex, with his fiancée whom he later married.

    The court heard that he had started “upskirting” when he worked part-time and had “too much time on his hands”.

    He said: “In 2001, I came back to the Bar and it was no longer an appropriate or convenient habit to indulge in.”

    The case continues

  99. Pony

    You got this off The Onion. Tell me you got this off The Onion.

  100. Annie

    Yeah, Pony, he’s right; I’m much too pretty for my life. Good one, eh? (Jeez! If these guys weren’t so consistently unbelievable they’d be absolutely unbelievable!) I’m sure you’re right and there’s a “fuckability” factor at play. Moreover, I have the feeling that there’s a bit of inward questioning over how Al ended up with a slender, pretty, and feistily fuckable wife who cooks life a French chef. Well, cheer up Peruvian neighbor man, the answer to that question lies solely at the doorstep of your beloved patriarchy…and if it is any consolation, I’ve had my own room and a celibate life for quite some time. But then again, Pony, as we all know that just makes me all the more “mysterious” and “desirable” right? Good grief! What a world!

  1. Feministe » “Excuse me, but are you a…?”

    [...] I’ve been wanting to write about gender hell for a while now, and Twisty gave me the opportunity this morning. Apparently, Stingray, a dear friend of Twisty’s, got called out in the women’s bathroom. Twisty describes Stingray’s sartorial sensibility thusly: Though Stingray is—to borrow a lunkheaded monosyllabic qualifier from Hub (you remember old Hub, the guy whose blogger wife famously opined that a post-nuptial weight gain is the moral equivalent of a vinyl siding swindle)—hot, she does not practice femininity. Her unwillingness to capitulate to the sexbot mandate is, frankly, a danger to the kidneys of certain members of certain classes. [...]

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