Fashion, Female Anatomy and Other Touchy Topics

This will be the third time this week that I've linked to Avery Tooley. What can I say? The guy writes an interesting blog. There are so many reasons to link to this post I hardly know where to start.

Avery links to an essay about white women with big butts and then talks about his own rating system for female tushes. It's hilarious, unless you happen to be a serious feminist, a White Southern Baptist or otherwise humor challenged. But then, in the next to last paragraph Avery gets philosophical and has some excellent thoughts about self-confidence and dressing appropriately. Finally - an exciting bonus - he gives the definition of a big, obscure word that I hadn't seen before. I love words, especially big, obscure words.

And now a story - My enlightened libertarian half is often in conflict with my old-fashioned morally conservative half. Last Friday I experienced a major flare-up of this confict. At the video rental store I ended up in line behind a thin, young blonde woman. She was signing up for the first time and you know how video stores are. You have to fill out forms, show them your driver's license and a major credit card and provide a notarized affadavit signed by a minimum of three reliable witnesses who are willing to swear on the Bible, the Koran and the Wiccan Book of Spells. Therefore, I was standing behind this woman for a long long time so I had more than enough opportunity to get a good look at her attire.

The first thing I noticed - the thing I would have very much preferred not to have noticed - was her sky blue, meant-to-be-seen underpants with hearts and the word "cutie" repeated around the waistband. Waistband isn't really an accurate term in this case because the top edge of the underwear was nowhere near the girl's waist. Over that garment - or perhaps I should say "below," as it was mostly below - she was wearing baggy, plaid pants that looked like men's pajama bottoms. These pajamas exposed the top two or three inches of the underwear, hanging precariously on her thin, straight hips as if by magic or perhaps they were sewn to the underwear. I don't know how else they could possibly have stayed up. To top it all off she had a thin white knit camisole and I thanked my lucky stars that I was behind her the whole time because I did not detect anything underneath, although, to judge by the rest of her, she probably didn't have anything to put in the appropriate topside undergarment if she had had one.

After the first long gape I stood there in line, watching the movie previews on the store monitor and still seeing the slut girl in my peripheral vision telling myself, 'it's none of your business... it's none of your business...' but at the same time wishing that an older woman or a flaming Bible thumper would get in line behind me so we could talk bad about her in meant-to-be-overheard whispers. Maybe I'm just turning into an old prude, something I always said would never happen to me, but the thing is, it's not just about exposed skin, the outfit wasn't even attractive. It looked like something she stole from the Good Will donation bin. She was a very pretty young woman (I did get a look at her profile) but she spoiled it.

I don't think the way women dress is all about attracting men, at least not conciously. On the concious level it's more about being fashionable and measuring up to other women. What is "attractive" is defined by one's peer group. It's kind of hard to tell girls that what they're wearing is "not appropriate" when they define "appropriate" according to what everyone else is wearing.

Anyway, I think I was going somewhere with this but I got lost on the way and now I'm almost out of time. I never got around to the different ways beauty is defined in different cultures, even the subcultures within the larger American culture. Maybe there will be a part two.

Saturday Night's Entertainment

You won't believe what I did Saturday night. Late Saturday afternoon the husband and number two son informed me for the first time that they had been planning for weeks to go to an antique tractor pull that evening and asked me if I wanted to go.

Well... what a choice! I could stay home and have the house all to myself, something I do every weekday but rarely in the evening. Evening is the best time for listening to music. I don't quite know how one time of day could be better than any other but it is. So, I could have the house all to myself during prime listening time or I could go watch a bunch of farmers competing to see whose tractor could pull a weighted sled the farthest.

So how did I end up at the tractor pull? Good question. I just thought it might be healthy to get out and partake of the local culture once in a while. Or something like that. Hell I don't know. I just felt like it for some reason. It actually wasn't my first. I went to one once before - a few years ago.

Believe it or not tractor pulling is surprisingly entertaining. Of course it's not up there with opera or football but it's at least as interesting as golf and probably more fun than about 90 percent of the movies made in the last five years, although, admittedly, that's not saying much. So that I won't have to try to explain tractor pulling go read this.

The pull we went to was just a little small town event. There might have been as many as a hundred spectators sitting on wooden bleachers and a few in lawn chairs. First, starting at 7:00pm there was a pedal tractor pull for kids ages 4 through 12. Then they had, both at the same time, side by side on two tracks, a lawnmower pull and the antique tractor pull. Many of the lawnmowers were "souped up" especially for pulling. Some of the same kids who were in the pedal tractor pull were driving the lawnmowers.

We stayed for two hours and it was still going on when we left. I didn't take my camera with me. I sort of wish now that I had but not for the tractors. The sky was beautiful yesterday afternoon and evening - lots of clouds with just enough clear sky to let the sun through to create a lovely, long sunset. It was nice just being outdoors in such perfect weather.

One more thing about tractor pulling: I discovered while googling for the above link that it's not just one of those crazy American redneck things. Tractor pulling is big! Even the British do it so it must be respectable, maybe even a little bit sophisticated.

Political Questionaire

For lack of anything better right now. This comes from Michelle Malkin via Twisted Spinster and Dustbury.

1. I have never voted for a Democrat in my life. - False. I voted for my congressman Brad Carson.

2. I think my taxes are too high. - I sort of think so but I'm not really sure. I just wish the government would make better use of them. No more $200 screwdrivers and that sort of thing.

3. I supported Bill Clinton's impeachment. No. But to tell you the truth I wasn't really paying much attention to that sort of thing back then.

4. I voted for President Bush in 2000. No.

5. I am a gun owner. Not me personally but other family members are.

6. I support school voucher programs. I can see good and bad things about them but mostly no I guess.

7. I oppose condom distribution in public schools. Not sure. I don't want to be in favor of it but I can see how it might be a good thing.

8. I oppose bilingual education. - I don't understand the question. Why would anyone be against bilingual education?

9. I oppose gay marriage. - Undecided but I definitely oppose a constitutional amendment banning it. It probably should be left up to the states.

10. I want Social Security privatized. - Depends on how it's handled. Private Jasmin live companies can usually do things more effiently than the government but I would worry about some people being left out like the situation we have with health insurance.

11. I believe racial profiling at airports is common sense. - Maybe. Again it depends on how it's handled. Obviously it would be more effient to search people who look like they might be terrorists rather than 80 year old grandmothers who just happened to be in the right (or wrong) position in line.

12. I shop at Wal-Mart. Several times a week.

13. I enjoy talk radio. - Rarely.

14. I am annoyed when news editors substitute the phrase "undocumented person" for "illegal alien." - Yes! I am always annoyed when news people (or anyone else) invent new "politically correct" phrases and weasel words instead of just saying what they mean.

15. I do not believe the phrase "a chink in the armor" is offensive. - uh... No, why would it be. Another question that I don't understand.

16. I eat meat. Yes.

17. I believe O.J. Simpson was guilty. - I don't believe it's possible to judge whether or not he was guilty based only on what the talking heads on jasmine live TV say.

18. I cheered when I learned that Saddam Hussein had been captured. - I didn't literally cheer but I was very glad.

19. I cry when I hear "Proud to be an American" (God Bless the USA) by Lee Greenwood. - Almost.

20. I don't believe the New York Times. - About what? I can't say that I don't believe anything they say but I certainly don't believe everything they say.


Say hello and happy birthday to Jennifer. She found me via The Broadroom's women bloggers list, a list I started a long time ago on a whim but which I was more than happy to give away the second someone else expressed an interest in it.

Jennifer is turning 40. I am six years and 3 months past that age. "The Big Four-O was not a terribly big deal for me. From about 33 to 38 or 39 I felt sorry for myself because I felt that my life was half over and all my opportunities to be what I wanted to be and have the things I wanted to have were behind me. But by the time I reached 40 we had moved to this lovely little place in the woods - one of my dreams was to actually have trees in my yard - we had gotten connected to the Internet and I was learning more about the music I had always been interested in and I was discovering that there are a lot more things left to discover so I barely noticed 40.

Birthdays in general haven't been a big deal for a long time. We usually go out to eat but we do that about once every month or two anyway. At the place I worked for several years when I was in my early to mid 30s they made a big deal of everyone's birthdays. Except mine. Oh, they remembered but it was more like, "well, we have to do something." In other words it was just a token effort and that sort of hurt. So, partly because of working there I expected birthdays to be a big deal long after the age most people would just as soon forget. For several years I kept thinking, 'maybe next year.'

I've gotten over that but I dread 50. I sort of want it to be a big deal because everybody else's 50th is a big deal and I want to feel like someone thinks I'm worth it but I don't want all the age jokes - the black cake, black balloons, gag gifts like a cane and a box of Depends.... That sort of thing is not funny but I will be expected to act like I think it is.

Oh well... I actually hadn't planned to ramble on like that but it just came out. Happy birthday Jennifer. Remember that saying about life beginning at 40? Make it so.

Oh Well, There Goes the Neighborhood

This probably isn't news to most people but I see that Microsoft is getting into blogging. Maybe I'm being too negative but I'm skeptical of Microsoft's (or any large corporate entity's) ability to fully comprehend blogging. Will these new MS "blogs" have Microsoft's logo emblazoned all over them and will they have Microsoft's look overall?

That brings up the question: What is it that makes a blog a blog? It's more than a look but when I see a blog that has a layout dictated by a corporate sponsor or host, like the Art's Journal blogs, for example, I can't help thinking of it as something less than a "real" blog. On the other hand, Terry Teachout undoubtedly gets this whole blogging thing. Content and the blogger's style are more important than the look of the page, however, the look of the page does mean something. It's like the clothes you wear. It's part of the first impression and may have a lot to do with whether or not people hang around long enough to get to know you.

While we're on the subject there is another category of "blogs" that are not really blogs: celebrity and politicians' blogs. These blogs are very closed and uncommunicative. The audience is kept at a distance and they show no evidence of awareness of the rest of the blog community. While I can understand the reluctance of a celebrity to open themselves up to the public in the same way bloggers do, posting the equivalent of press releases on a semi-regular basis does not make one a real blogger. There are some real bloggers who do not provide any means of feedback (and this does annoy me) but they have blogrolls and communicate, through their blogs, with other bloggers.

But who am I to dictate the definition of "blog"? I suppose a blog can be anything you want it to be. I just hope that The Powers That Be don't turn them into something else before most people even know what they are.