Sluts, Studs, Locks, Keys & Infinite Stupidity: A Feminist’s Rant

Warning: This post is a response to a comment I saw on social media. I got riled up and chose to write about it. My feminist side is out and angry. Proceed with caution.

The Facebook group ‘Sarcasm Society’ recently posted a joke by my friend Leah Knauer:

“I hate how if a dude sleeps with a million girls he’s a stud, but if I do it, I’m a lesbian.”

I love this joke and was super happy for her that it got to be seen by so many. To me it’s a perfect one liner joke construction. Sounds exactly like a common phrase used by many, ‘I hate how if a dude sleeps with a million girls, he’s a stud, but if a woman does it, she’s a slut.’ But then it twists at the end to a literal meaning. By no means is it the greatest joke ever told, but it’s a damn good one in my opinion.

Then I read the comments section which I know is a recipe for disaster. Internet comments often represent the worst of humanity and the first comment to that post was no exception:

“Well if a lock is opened by every key it’s a shit lock…. If a key opens every lock it’s a master key :))”

I have several problems with this comment. And I feel like ranting, so here it goes:

1. It completely bypasses the cleverness of her joke.

His response only makes sense if he’s responding not to her joke, but to the phrase her joke is based on. I get that the guy’s a douchebag, but he comes off as a completely aloof douchebag. Either he didn’t read the whole joke or he did and chose to use it as an excuse to promote his own immature brandy of  misogynistic idiocy. Either way is not okay.

2. It’s illogical

The argument requires that we equate a woman’s vagina with a lock. But a lock is a tool meant to keep people from getting into something. A vagina is a body part that a woman can do whatever she wants with. To compare it to a lock implies that women have some sort of obligation to remain virgins or keep a their number of sex partners to a minimum. Nope! Women have the right to do whatever they want with their vaginas. Some may choose to stay chaste their whole lives. Others may decide to go into porn. Some may wish to have many sex partners and some may wish to have very few. It’s their choice.They are not locks.

3. It’s gross

The argument also requires we compare men’s penises with keys. That’s flat disgusting. A key’s job is to work in tandem with a lock to give someone ownership over property. Women are human beings just like men. They are not owned, lorded over or used. They are people. Asinine comparisons like this imply they are somehow less than people. And that’s disgusting.

4. The person is delusional

He put a smiley face at the end of his comment to be funny or cute. It’s not. At all. To think otherwise is completely delusional.

I realize that the person who made this comment is not worthy of the time I’m taking to respond to him, but I’m not writing this for him. I’m writing this, because his comment represents a greater sin in society. Even now in 2015 in the United States, we are still a patriarchy that treats women in general with less respect than men.

I absolutely believe that men and women are different in many ways and those differences can be important. But so many people treat those differences as better or worse. They’re not. They’re just different. And any differences between the sexes should not justify the mistreatment of women in the workplace, in our social lives or anywhere else. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m so sick of seeing the evidence all around me that so many people alive today still intentionally or otherwise continue to foster an anti feminist culture.

The hashtag #yesallwomen is great. How about we make some kind of campaign that publicly educates/shames men for shitty behavior? Maybe #notcooldudes or #douchemove or something like that. What hashtag would you use?

Thanks, y’all!

How I Got So Many Amazing Friends

My friends are amazing. Many of my friends are those kinds of people that you know you’re gonna like within minutes of meeting them. The rest of my friends tend to be a bit more introverted and don’t necessarily flourish around big groups nearly as much as they do one on one. Regardless of their differences however, I can say with confidence that I am privileged to be friends with a large number of outstanding individuals. Here are some of their many amazing qualities…

Conversation: Not all of my friends are all into the same stuff, but everyone I know feels passionately about at least one or more things. Many of my friends have several passions. And when my friends get the chance to talk about the thing(s) they love, it’s a pure joy. None of my friends make me (or anyone) feel dumb if I don’t know what they’re talking about and always go out of their way to include everyone.

Intensity: Some people don’t like to talk about deep stuff I’ve noticed. Either they’re not comfortable with it or simply enjoy surface talk more. I don’t tend to friend those people. I always wanna be pleasant and group them into the category ‘This person’s awesome, but I’m probably never gonna hang out one on one.” I have many acquaintances that I love to see at mutual friends’ parties, improv theatres, reunions, etc. But those I call friend aren’t afraid to go deep into their soul and talk about the really interesting stuff.

Judgment: My friends have different beliefs. Many of them feel strongly about their beliefs. But no one I call friend would ever make someone feel bad simply for not thinking like them. In fact, I love talking to my friends that I disagree with. How else would I get trustworthy opinions to consider? Watch Fox News? I can guarantee you that’s not going to happen. I love that I can have a civil, intellectual discussion with my friends and we will never yell or belittle each other.

Commiseration:  Every one of my friends is happy to hear me bemoan my life for a little while even if they can’t identify with the subject matter. And on the flip side most if not all of my friends will also call me out if my commiseration becomes pointless whining. And that will almost always help me even if just a little bit.

Talent: I don’t require someone to be talented at something before we become friends, but nearly 100% of my friends are geniuses at certain things. I know fantastic guitar players, writers, actors, computer programmers, athletes, models, artists, parents, designers, animal whisperers (not literally), hypnotists, musicians, etc. So many of my friends are well above average if not in the top few percentile in the world at their respective craft. That’s pretty cool!

Reliability: My friends always offer their place for an out of town visitor if possible. They would do anything they needed to to make sure I feel welcome when I see them. And they would do whatever it took to help someone in need. Particularly one of their close friends.

Good Natured: My friends will always let the stranger know they dropped a $20 bill rather than keep it themselves. My friends will not just talk about doing good in the world, but actually be great examples of good people in the world.

Laughter: My friends love laughing.

How is all this possible? Did I just get super lucky to be surrounded physically and/or emotionally by hundreds of insanely great people? I don’t think so. I think I have a lot to do with it. So, here’s what I try to do with my life and how I select my friends:

  • I try to be the good I want to see in the world
  • I talk about stuff that some find uncomfortable. I never try to give someone discomfort and do my best to recognize my social audience so that I don’t offend someone, but I’m not as animated or myself when I talk about surface stuff. Whenever someone wants to go deep, I light up in a way that I assume some people (like my friends) enjoy.
  • I give everyone a chance. I sometimes forgive people too many times, but I like to be forgiving. However, as I have gotten older I have realized that forgiveness does not in any way compel me to continue to think of someone as my friend. Nor does it require I spend much time with them. That helped thin out some of the less than wonderful people.
  • And if we hang out a few times and you don’t fit my criteria, I’m probably not gonna ask you to hang out again. Not cause you’re bad, but because we don’t have any friend chemistry. Nothing wrong with that.
  • I do wanna say that many people I really love and do absolutely consider to be my friend, sometimes go long periods without any in person contact. That’s not because I’m dropping them from my friend roster. I just put them in a special category called: Friend I wish I spent more time with, but absolutely love spending time with when it can happen.

What is my criteria? 

I thought about this randomly today when I saw a friend’s Facebook post that read:

Requirements for hanging out:

Air conditioning
Personality (Can be substituted with food.)

And it got me thinking about a real requirement I have for hanging out. So, I compiled the list below.

1) Must be one or enjoy when others act like goofballs.

2) Must enjoy and participate in flowing conversations about a variety of juxtaposed topics including but not limited to: ‘What if anything is God’s being in terms humans can visualize?’ ‘Do you want to sing the Super Mario Bros theme song with me?’ (Your answer must be ‘yes’ if I ask you. However it’d be lovely if you beat me to the lunch.)

3) Must enjoy bits. Bits are moments of time where in a non-performance situation one or more friends slips into a character. You don’t have to do a character, but you must enjoy participating with the character as yourself otherwise.

4) Must be cool doing nothing scheduled every once in a while. Most of my life is scheduled and sometimes I just wanna get dumb and play like a kid again. That means, just hanging out talking, drinking something and being silly.

5) Must not bully. The second I see someone act rudely toward someone (friend or stranger) who in my opinion did not deserve it, I get real turned off real fast.

So, that’s been the unconscious process that has landed me so many amazing people. I’m not saying anyone should copy this and try it. Rather, I encourage people to think about what if any criteria do you have consciously or unconsciously. And then ask yourself if it’s working. If not, the fix might be as simple as fixing (or defining) your criteria.

Thanks, y’all!

PS. Thank you Vivi for posting your half joking/half serious (I assume at least) post that inspired this blog article. It got me thinking about friendship.

How I Finished My First Novel (Rough Draft)

When I was 20 I began writing a novel. That unfinished novel is still on my hard drive along with three other unfinished novels. However, as of just a few weeks ago, I finally finished a rough draft of one of my novels. This was one I started in September 2011. I finally finished the rough draft in July 2015.

How did I do it?

First of all, let me say I’m not expert. I didn’t take any classes or read any books on how to be a writer. I read some articles over the years, but ultimately the way I made myself finish was by a lot of trial and error. And what I did may not work for you or it may be an inferior method to several other methods. That said, maybe my experience can help others, so here it is.

When I began the book in 2011 I was working on a cruise ship as an improv/sketch comedian. I had more down time than I’ve had in my entire adult life. I used a small fraction of that free time to write. I worked another three cruise ship contracts (approximately 4 months each) after that one. I barely worked on the book at all during those contracts despite the fact that I had all the free time I could have asked for.

What stopped me? I could say ‘laziness,’ but that answer doesn’t help. There is no cure for laziness. And what does it even mean? I’m not lazy in that I don’t ever work. There have been times in my life where I worked impressively hard at things. So, why did this book go basically untouched for 3 1/2 years?

My best guess is that I was intimidated. The first draft is 95,972 words. That’s a lot. And there are over 70 characters, more than ten settings and a whole world I had to create. It’s a fantasy novel btw. So, part of me was just intimidated by the monolith that it was. Every time I wanted to continue my work on it I knew that meant I had to go back and read the nearly 20,000 words I’d already written in order to remember enough to keep writing the story.

Also, I had this awful mindset for most of my life that anything I created had to be amazing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to not dare to do something badly. Add to that, the idea that I had no real system or plan in place for how to go through the mechanics of writing and what you have is the perfect storm for me to start a book and never finish it. I may in fact be an expert and not finishing projects.

So, here’s a list of what I changed in my life in order to finally finish the book:

  1. Commit to doing it

It sounds like one of those cheesy self help tips, but it was really necessary. After my 33rd birthday I realized that the only way I was going to have a finished book by my 34th birthday was to make that a goal. So, I told myself that by October (my birthday is in July) I would have a finished rough draft.

2. Be realistic with my expectations

As October came I realized that there was no way in hell I would be able to finish my book anytime soon. I set an unrealistic goal without knowing it. So, I gave myself a new goal of finishing it by my next birthday. But I didn’t just pick that date out of thin air like I had when I originally said October. I did some rough math based on how much of the story I believed I had left to write and I figured an estimate for how many hours a week I could work on it and it looked like July was a good goal

3. I stopped beating myself up

I suffer from depression and have off and on my whole life. One thing I love to do is mentally flog myself for not doing things right. I screw up a lot unfortunately. Maybe it’s not a lot, but it feels like a lot. Either way, I always beat myself up for it and rarely reward myself for doing the right thing. Thanks to some books, some advice from great people and time with a therapist I got much better about treating myself better and giving myself rewards for doing good.

4. I gave myself permission to fail

I’ve never written a novel before. How can I expect to be good at it? I can’t answer that, but I know that I absolutely expected perfection out of myself. So, while I was learning to not beat myself up I also learned that it’s not only okay to suck at something, but it’s practically necessary. With few exceptions, no one walks into anything for the first time and becomes an instant expert. I told myself that my first book may take up a lot of my time and not be any good when its done. And that’s okay. Getting it done is way more important than getting it perfect.

5. I treated writing like it was already my job

Once I got my mindset in a healthier place (see #3 and #4) I needed to put in the hours. Thankfully, I still had some boat money in the bank, so when I wasn’t getting gigs (which happened more often than not) I treating my book like it was the gig. I spent multiple hours a day many different days in front of the computer writing as if someone was both paying me to do it and expecting me to get it done.

6. I learned how to be okay with doing just a little

I used to believe that a writing day had to be an all day affair. The idea of sitting and writing for half an hour or an hour never set well with my mind. For some reason I didn’t believe I could let myself go to that special creative place in my brain unless I could settle in for a good 8-10 hours. And since I like most people rarely ever had that much time on any given day to work, I hardly ever worked on my book. But somehow I was able to convince myself that my train of thought about this was incorrect and I was able to bring my A game even if I only had 30 minutes to work.

7. I recognized when I plan wasn’t working and I came up with a new plan

If you play video games you know that you have to change up your tactics each time you lose the game, otherwise you’ll never move onto the next level. The same turned out to be true for writing. I came up with several different plans of attack for finishing my book. In the end, the one that worked was the third or maybe even fifth plan (depends how how you differentiate them) I tried.

8. The plan that worked – Start over and keep a lot of notes

The plan that eventually worked for me was when I started over from chapter one and rewrote the book from the beginning. I took copious notes while I did it. I kept a glossary of terms, drew three maps of the world, kept a running tally of chapter summaries, made a timeline and kept a page of notes going. It was a lot of work, but in the end it was the only thing that allowed me to finish it.

9. When in doubt, remind myself of 1-8

There were plenty of times I got discouraged in the last year, but I kept reminding myself of all the things I just outlined: anything I get done is a victory, it doesn’t have to be perfect, I can change plans if the current plan fails, I can recommit to this at any time, etc.

In the end, I wrote a rough draft. It will change. It may change a lot or a little, but the point is that I cannot have a final draft without at least one (if not several) rough drafts. So, now that it’s out there and on paper I can look at it and figure out how to evolve it into something better.

What now?

A lot of people have asked (in a positively encouraging way) ‘what’s next?’ An excellent question. Right now I have a few trusted friends reading it. They were generous enough to offer to read it and give me notes. Once I get those notes, I’ll rewrite it a bit. Then I’ll send the second draft out to a few more trusted friends. I’ll repeat this process until I’m satisfied. Then I’ll start researching what to do with a completed manuscript and hopefully sell it to a publisher.

But for now I’m going to just pat myself on the back and relish the satisfaction I have in finishing my first book. It only took me fifteen years. Hopefully the lessons I learned on this one will help me write the next book a bit faster. =)

Thanks, y’all!