Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Double Standards: A Picture Book

Name: Justin Bieber
DOB: 3/1/94 (19)
Profession: Pop singer
Love life: Has been romantically linked to Selena Gomez, Jacque Pyles, and Jordan Ozuna.
Lyrics: "Hey, what's the situation, whoa?
I'm just tryna make a little conversation,
Why the hesitation, whoa?
Tell me what your name is? 
For your information,

Don't get me wrong
You know you're right,
Don't be so cold,
We could be fire
Tomorrow we'll go,
Let's start tonight
You know what it's all about"

Private life: Accused of assaulting a 12-year-old at a laser tag arena (later cleared); locked one of the producers of CSI in a closet and put his fist through a cake on the set; multiple traffic stops and violations; moons his fans; is photographed surrounded by sizzurp and blunts; threatened and attacked a photographer; abandons a pet monkey; apparently has bodyguards that destroy personal property and grope young women; spits on a neighbor and threatens to kill him; is caught with a small amount of weed; reportedly makes houseguests sign a waiver warning of potentially hazardous activities that should not be engaged in unless you're in good health, and warning that sharing the details of your stay will result in a hefty penalty; repeatedly disrespects fans by showing up late to concerts; pees into a restaurant mop bucket; spits on fans.

Public verdict: He's a "brat" and an "asshole", but no one really cares. I mean, it's just Justin Bieber. Boys will be boys and all that. 

Name: Taylor Swift
DOB: 12/13/89 (23)
Profession: Singer
Love life: Has been romantically linked to Joe Jonas, Lucas Till, Taylor Lautner, Cory Monteith, Eddie Redmayne, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Mayer, Harry Styles, and Connor Kennedy.
Lyrics: "She's an actress/ but she's better known for the things she does on the mattress."
Appears to enjoy slut shamingfurthering the ridiculous stereotypes of mother, maiden, and whore, and publicly airing out grievances against exes.
Public verdict: One of America's Sweethearts and a wonderful role model for young women.

Name: Miley Cyrus 
DOB: 11/23/92 (20)
Profession: Actress and Singer
Love life: Has been romantically linked to Liam Hemsworth.
Lyrics: "It's our party we can do what we want/ It's our party we can say what we want/ It's our party we can love who we want/ We can kiss who we want/ We can screw who we want/ To my homegirls here with the big butt/ Shaking it like we at a strip club/ Remember only God can judge ya/ Forget the haters 'cause somebody loves ya/ And everyone in line in the bathroom/ Trying to get a line in the bathroom/ We all so turnt up here/ Gettin' turnt up yeah yeah"

Performs at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards scantily dressed, gyrating, and sticking her tongue out.
Public verdict: She's a whore, a slut, a butch bimbo, trashy, classless, a horrible role model for young women, a Jezebel, a hoe, the "devil's granddaughter". I'm pretty sure I actually saw someone refer to her as a "whore of Babylon". Classic shit.

My Facebook News Feed blew the fuck up with negative reactions to Miley's performance on Sunday, causing me to wonder why people don't have anything better to do but complain about a girl who isn't really doing anything groundbreaking. Madonna popped MTV's controversy cherry in 1984 with her performance of "Like a Virgin", and a bevy of female pop stars have since lined up to follow suit. Hell, I haven't heard/seen anyone saying a single fucking word about Lady Gaga's performance attire...

Now, if it were limited to critique on the performance itself, I wouldn't have a problem. I have a problem with the personal attacks leveled against a young woman who's done absolutely nothing wrong. She has no moral obligation to your children. You are supposed to be raising them, not a celebrity. You bear the responsibility for how they turn out, not society. Stop showing your kids that unmitigated hatred and judgment are perfectly acceptable. Stop letting them see their parents frothing with rage over the actions of a young woman who has absolutely no power in your lives except that which you give her. Oh, and take a moment to think back to your own 20-year-old self. Odds are you weren't a paragon of virtue, either. I recently read a blog which was an "open letter" to Ms. Cyrus, and while I commend the compassion with which the piece was written, I couldn't help but wonder why the author (and thousands of others) have chosen to single Ms. Cyrus out. If you're going to hem and haw about a celebrity's supposed obligation to moral decency, why is the tide of indignation more often than not narrowed down to only a few celebrities? Why aren't we deriding Justin Bieber for being a despicable human being? Why aren't Taylor Swift's anti-feminist lyrics causing a drop in her album sales? Why is Lady Gaga even famous? Why aren't male celebrities who objectify women being scorned by parents for sending the wrong message to children? Why is the obligation for moral decency placed on the shoulders of young women? Everyone wants to talk about how Miley rubbed her ass on Robin Thicke's lap junk, but no one wants to talk about about Robin Thicke, a 36-year-old husband and father, pressing his lap junk against Miley's ass. 

Good job, America.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Slut Shaming is the New Black

This is why I have to take vacations from social media.

"That is your opinion."

No, it's an actual fact. You don't have the right to talk shit about someone. 

"If she is going to put it all out there in public...she is giving me the right to say she's nasty."

OHH! Oh, I totally get it now! She's asking for it. Right? Good job employing the same psychotic justification rapists use.

Definition of LIBEL

a : a written statement in which a plaintiff in certain courts sets forth the cause of action or the relief sought
b archaic : a handbill especially attacking or defaming someone
a : a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression
(1) : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt 
(2) :defamation of a person by written or representational means(3) : the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) : the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel

"See, I can use big words, too, and pretend to understand what you mean by 'subjective'. Now let me be a horrible person in peace."

I love reading through this and watching the escalation of personally affronted feelings from the main poster and her puke green friend. Everything I said, every valid point I made, was shot down as nothing more than my "opinion", and my intentions were twisted up like a pretzel until the one girl honestly believed my actions were spurned by my love of Miley Cyrus. They weren't. I'm trying to wake women up. Stop attacking each other. Stop being catty assholes to each other. And stop trying to tell everyone that the reason you call a girl out for "dressing and acting like a slut" is because you think it's gross. We all know it's because you're jealous. You secretly wish you had the brass lips to dress and act like that every once in a while, and don't try to deny it; if you don't like velour track suits, do you personally attack the women wearing them? If you don't like appearing in plays, do you call the drama girls names? 

I am so tired of idiots. But it appears I'm surrounded.

"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." - H.G. Wells

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Women have a much better time than men in this world. There are far more things forbidden to them." ~ Oscar Wilde

For those who maybe don't know, I'm a feminist. Though, I'm not sure feminist is the correct term. I'm more a humanist. I do, however, find myself more indignant on behalf of my own sex than I do the opposite, and sadly, I'm often driven to that indignation by my own sex. And that, dear reader, is exactly what I'm going to write about today; female misogyny.

I recently saw a post on Facebook that one of my friends had "liked". It was one of those topical pages, and the guy running it made me think of one of those crazy dudes who walks down the street talking to himself and violently swinging his arms at imaginary flies. In the status, he left a link to the new Miley Cyrus video for her song, "We Can't Stop". His thoughts were pretty warped. He started off by saying something along the lines of, "Miley Cyrus or Manly or whatever the hell that butch bimbo who won't shut her mouth's name is...." then proceeded to go off about how Ms. Cyrus is a drug addict and a slut and a bad example for children. Needless to say, the entire thing made me a bit livid, and reading the ensuing comments from other well-wishers only cemented in my mind how truly cruel and ignorant some people can be. Nearly every comment was some kind of insult, the most offensive ones calling her a slut, a whore, a crackhead, a tramp and, bizarrely enough, Satan's granddaughter. This vitriol was brought about by the assertion that Ms. Cyrus' behavior makes her an unfit role model for young girls.

I want you to stop and really think about that for a moment; these people, these supposed adults, many of whom I'm sure have children of their own, are calling a young woman they've never met derogatory names and claiming she is the bad example to children.

It's almost enough to make you laugh, and it would probably be quite funny were it not so tragically sad.

Now, I saw that my friend had liked this status, but I decided to leave it alone. She is a Christian with strong beliefs of her own, and we'd engaged in spirited but respectful debates about religion before. I genuinely thought she was a good person, and respected her attitude toward life even if our beliefs were vastly different. She was what I would consider a liberal Christian, one who believes homosexuals deserve equal rights. I ignored the religious posts and just enjoyed occasionally seeing her take on an issue.

Today, however, things took a turn. As I was browsing through my Newsfeed, I came to her latest update:

"Just watch Miley's new video..... Yes Miley only God can judge you but that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want. Wow she's just Britney'd her self. All the Disney Girl's go ho."

Just for the record, I don't normally enjoy arguing with people. I like a good debate almost as much as I enjoy pie (and I fucking love pie), but trying to combat ignorance like this is draining to me, and I like to avoid it whenever possible. I don't like internet fights. But when it comes to certain topics, I find myself unable to keep from voicing my opinions. This behavior is abhorrent to me, and I don't feel those who participate in it should be given free reign to do so without any fear of recrimination. What follows is a word-for-word recounting of the conversation (my comments in black, the friend's in red):

"I disagree. Within reason, she CAN do anything she wants. I don't understand how judging her is anyone else's business."

"I'm saying that if you say no one but God can judge you then she better understand God doesn't agree with her behavior and she claims to be Christian then she should know what shes doing is wrong. The whole song is about doing drugs, sex, and basically living like you have n one to answer to. So she's either given up her blief system or she's a hypocrit."

"She's 20. It might sound like a cop out, but the human brain doesn't complete development until the age of 25. I think back to the world (way) I felt and thought when I was 20 and it's like looking at a completely different person. I'm honestly having a hard time figuring out why so many people seem so bothered by what she's doing and saying. Is it hurting you in some way? If people spent a little more time worrying about what's on their own doorstep and a little less time worrying about what's on everyone else's, the world would be a much more peaceful place. 

Wasn't it Christ who advised compassion, understanding, and acceptance? Seems to me there's enough hypocrisy to go around."

"As a Christian we're supposed to advise her of her wrong doin in a loving way. Not encourage her to be continuing to do what she is. She's a supposed Role Model and I doubt if you had a daughter instead of a son you'd want her listening and watch Miley's behavior."

"Oh, so being snotty and calling her names is advising her in a loving way?

I'm sorry, her "wrong doing"? You've decided she's behaving the wrong way, so she deserves your censure?

Don't presume to know my parenting, K___. Drugs and sex do not bother me. I've allowed my son to swear for most of his life, and I'm fully aware that he may experiment with drugs when he's older. I'm not going to condone the behavior, but as his parent, the most I can hope to do is guide him in the way I think appropriate and hope I've provided him with the tools necessary to make the right decision for him. I'm also fully aware that he's going to make mistakes in early adulthood. It is not my job to judge him. If I had a daughter instead of a son, I would hope that I'd provided her with the tools to respect herself enough to make better decisions than Ms. Cyrus has. Would I allow her to watch the music videos? Yes. I don't agree with censorship in any form. The only people who are worried about their daughters following in Cyrus' footsteps might be worried with good reason; children don't seek guidance from outside sources if they have it at home."

"Miley will never hear me. Saying she's gone Ho is what seems to be what hollywood does to all the young women. turning them into sex objects. If I was out doing drugs, sleeping around, etc and then calling my self a Christian I'd be a hypocrite. You'd no doubt think that too. I'm just tired of people saying only God can judge me and living like there isn't one. If you don't believe in God don't make such statementam lets just agree to disagree."

"Just because someone will never hear your judgments doesn't mean you're not a bad person for spewing them. Slut shaming is reprehensible, particularly when it's other women doing the shaming. You may think it's OK to talk about someone behind their back, but I do not. Bullying is bullying whether you're face to face with your victim or on the other side of the continent.

If Hollywood turned Miley into what she is, wouldn't that mean she's no longer responsible for her actions, thus making your criticisms of her moot points? She's either a willful, hypocritical ho or a victim of the Hollywood machine. 

No, actually, I wouldn't think someone was a hypocrite if they considered themselves a Christian while having premarital sex and doing g drugs. Just a difference in our beliefs, but I'd appreciate it if you'd stop assuming how I would react in a given situation. Plenty of people I know believe in god while living their lives in ways that are not traditionally "Christian". This does not make them bad people. If you truly believe the hateful rhetoric you're spewing, I wonder how it is you can defend homosexual Christians. 

I don't understand how she's living like there is no god. Just because she's not living the way you think she should live? You should be grateful that arrogance, hypocrisy, presumption, and self-righteousness aren't deadly sins. Because you'd definitely be right down in the muck with the rest of us."

"And I'm removing you from my friends list now. Not because we have different beliefs, but because I once thought you were above this kind of childish, petty behavior."

So there you have it. The conversation that put me in a pretty volatile mood for the rest of the day. This is my most recent run in with female misogyny, but it is definitely not the only time I've witnessed it. We all see it on a daily basis, as a matter of fact. The entire world is populated by women who are perpetuating misogyny in some form or other. This article from the Irish Times actually spells out a few of the myriad ways we women are hurting ourselves and our own cause by adhering to some bullshit societal standard of feminine worth. If you break it down into its base components, many feel that women are put on this earth to look good, make babies, sleep with only one man our entire lives, cook, and clean. Yet even within those confines, we're regularly demeaned and devalued, often by each other. Women are supposed to look good, but women who do look good are often insulted and ostracized by other women due to nothing more than jealousy and insecurity. When I watch that Miley Cyrus video, I think two things; 1) She's pretty and 2) This song bites. When other women watch the video and come back with statements about Ms. Cyrus' promiscuity, I come to a single conclusion regarding their motives; jealousy. If Ms. Cyrus wearing semi-revealing clothing and gyrating on a couch means she's a slut and we should all call her out on it, why aren't there women throwing hissy fits about the film Magic Mike? Why aren't we calling Channing Tatum is a promiscuous whoreson and demanding he set a better example for our children? Why is there a societal pressure for moral guidance placed on the shoulders of young females and only young females? Why aren't young men held to the same standards?

The answer is as simple as it is chilling; saying that a young female celebrity is a "role model" who should behave accordingly is nothing more than a cover for rampant female insecurity. Women don't like being upstaged by younger, more attractive models. They say a young woman should behave because they know that a young woman showing off the goods will attract men, and those in the righteously indignant camp are instinctively afraid they will lose their own hunter/protector to one of those young women who has no problem displaying what she's got. Thus begins the uprising of vitriolic vomit on social networking sites, blogs, in emails, text, phone calls, etc. calling the young woman a slut, a whore, a bimbo, a tramp, a floozy....because if they shame her enough, she might feel chastised enough to quit, and then they'll feel secure again. Until the next slut comes along and the cycle begins anew.

When a man slut shames it is for control. Men began the practice of slut shaming in order to control women and their bodies. If they made us feel bad for enjoying sex, we would be less likely to seek it out, thus protecting their status as the only male in the vicinity who has regular access to that particular vagina. Women also slut shame out of a sense of control, but not to have access to a particular vagina. When Woman A slut shames Woman B, it is Woman A's attempt at making Woman B's vagina inaccessible to other men. The motives differ slightly, but the goal is always the same; make a woman feel ashamed of her sexuality so she won't use it.

Interestingly enough, there is also an element of insecurity when it comes to men who slut shame.The man I mentioned at the beginning of this piece is probably sexually attracted to Ms. Cyrus when he thinks he shouldn't be. He questions his own manhood and lashes out at Ms. Cyrus because he has a small dick or can't get it up or whatever. When viewing the motives for slut shaming side by side, it comes as a bit of a shock to those who haven't previously considered it. Men and women slut shame for the same reasons; insecurity and control (and a desire for control itself stems from insecurity). We harp on men who use such language against women, yet we employ the exact same tactics for the exact same reason. How have we, as women, not only allowed this to come to pass, but also failed in any attempt to put an end to it? I've been attempting to do my part, mostly by expressing opinions on sites like this one, but I'm not sure it will ever be enough. The behavior is passed down from one generation to the next, and it seems there will always be females who are all too willing to allow it to continue. Case in point: a couple of years ago on Facebook (yes, again), a young cousin of mine (still in high school) went off on a rather spiteful diatribe about some "slut" she "hated". It was a nasty, hateful message. Now, I have no idea if the girl it was aimed at was a good person, but that's hardly the point. I made it clear to young D that I was disappointed in her because girls slut shaming each other is not OK in my book. To me, any woman who participates in slut shaming comes across looking far worse than the one being shamed. After I made this statement, there was silence on the post for a time. Then, out of fucking nowhere, her boyfriend pops up and comments, with derisive snark, something like, "Yeah, OK" with an arrow pointing up to my comment. And then? Then a few little girls joined in and giggled with him about it. "Oh, look at us, we can make fun of our own sex right along with you, you manly man! We're so silly and you're so superior and funny! Tell us how to live!"

Teenagers, however, are one story. Adults are another matter entirely. Adults are supposed to know better. We are, at some point, supposed to grow up and start behaving like thinking, rational creatures. So why is it that thought and reason and basic self-awareness are so deplorably absent? Why am I witnessing grown men and women who behave no better (and sometimes far worse) than their children? And why is it so goddamn difficult for otherwise intelligent, thinking individuals to stop and comprehend the idea that they just might be wrong?

I won't go into the religious argument against Ms. Cyrus' behavior, mostly because the religious argument stems from the moral, and the moral stems from the place I've already dissected. Sex is not immoral. Sex is a positive, healthy part of life and necessary for the survival of our species. The fact that there are still people who seek to make it something else tells me we've not come far at all as a species.

As for drugs....well, the last time I checked, there weren't any passages in the Bible, old or new testament, which say anything about the dropping of acid, popping of E, smoking of pot, snorting of cocaine, or shooting of heroine. I know that the "your body is a temple unto God" bit could form a basis for a theological argument against drug use. But seeing as how this particular drug argument came from a woman who is both overweight and tattooed, I feel any attempts by her to deride someone else's bodily self-abuse would fail spectacularly. I mean, you can't get much more hypocritical than that. Or maybe somebody can....

"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." ~ H.G. Wells

Friday, August 2, 2013

"But we wouldn't get too far, two strangers in the dark"

 I'll be 32 in 11 days and while I keep hearing you settle down with age, my restlessness has only continued to intensify. I feel stuck and moody and complacent and irritable and happy and sometimes right. Or wrong. I know I don't make much sense, but this is how it sounds in my own head, so you're getting some unfiltered thoughts. I probably shouldn't write any stream of consciousness stuff. I fear we'd be here a while...and that we'd all be extremely bored.

I'll be getting another tattoo soon. I won't say what it is, but it is going to be far more unique than my first. It will be my husband's birthday present to me. I have, of course, considered how that money could be spent differently. A new lens, perhaps. But I've been dreaming of this particular tattoo since before I even got my first one, so I should probably take advantage of this opportunity and just get it done. It will be a tribute to my son.

Speaking of my son, he'll be 14 in a little over a month and a half, and don't think I have any idea where the time went. One moment he was an adorable, infuriating toddler who cussed better than most adults I know, then he was a...well, I still think he's a cute kid. He's also still infuriating. But he often smells, his voice is deeper, and he's nearly as tall as me.

He still cusses like a champ, though.

This month marks four years since we moved in with my parents. It's been an interesting ride. Charlotte is comfortable in that way your hometown will always be comfortable, but I'd be lying if I said I like it. I don't. Not even slightly. This town just continues to dry up, and it's all I can do to keep from setting something on fire in the middle of main street just to stir up some excitement. It's becoming quite a meth center, too, so there are people with blackened teeth walking around to complement their already stinky bodies and lack of clean and/or adequate clothing. The local "newspaper" is nothing but advertisements for local businesses and is run by a bunch of smarmy, incompetent fuckwipes who wouldn't know decent writing if George Orwell jammed his hands up their asses and used them as puppets. Even our chain stores suck. The city council is populated by a team of old fashioned geriatrics who refuse to do anything to rejuvenate the area. Photography has been my escape these last few years, but I've found myself less inclined to pick up my camera because I feel like if I go out and take one more goddamn picture of Charlotte, my head will explode. It's like living inside a black hole. Is it any surprise, then, that even my parents want out? So they're looking into buying a bigger house in Lansing. The idea has been batted around before, but it's picked up steam recently. I think we have the proposed "city tax" to thank for that. Upon hearing that news, my mom looked like she was going to murder someone. Her exact words were, "If I'm going to pay a city tax, I'm going to live somewhere where I get something for it."

So here's to hoping we ring in the new year in Lansing instead of Charkansas.

I've been fixating again. Years ago, I knew a boy. How many women can say that? How many women can say that that boy was special? I know many of you can relate. I've been trying to find that boy again. For years. I even wrote him a letter back at the end of 2010. There were a lot of things left unsaid, so I tried to cover those things and more in my letter. I have no idea if he got it. I have no idea where he even is. How does someone go this long without an internet presence? It's baffling. I know he's out there. Being left in limbo is making me a bit crazy because I am, if nothing else, a person who must have answers and resolutions. There are no answers to be had on this road, and I fear there will never be a resolution. Instead, I will spend the rest of my life periodically obsessing over it. When I get into this mood, I always picture someone walking aimlessly around a deserted beach, having no idea where they're going or what they're supposed to be doing. That's me, alone and adrift inside my own head, my own ridiculous moods and musings and ponderings causing a discontent that makes me want to scream with how unfair it is that someone could have that much of a hold on me after 15 fucking years. I kind of hate him for it. I just wish he knew that. Doubtless he would find it amusing on some level. The bastard.

I'll leave you with some of my latest shots. They're from the Fourth, and yeah, I know that was nearly a month ago, but cut me some slack. My son killed my computer and it had to be rebuilt. I just got Photoshop and all my plugins installed a couple of nights ago and have been editing ever since. Anyway, I was experimenting with fireworks shots. There's a method now of twisting the focus to create abstract shots. It's really quite cool, but I didn't employ quite the same technique. You're supposed to begin out of focus and then dial the focus in before closing the shutter, but I worked in the opposite direction, opting to throw the entire image out of focus before closing the shutter. I got some shots that, while not revolutionary, I wouldn't mind hanging up for the color.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Lewd, Crude, and (now) Tattooed

It's done. I'm marked for life.

And it's fucking sweet

Still, having something permanently etched into your skin (especially where you can pretty much always see it) takes some getting used to. Last week, I moved my arm as I was talking to someone, caught sight of it out of the corner of my eye, and was like, "What the hell is...!!....oh."

If you've been keeping up with my snail's pace, you know this process started three weeks ago when I first went to Vivid Ink to see about getting branded. That day was fun what with my husband trying to change up our travel routine while I was already under stress. Anyone who knows what being an OCD-riddled panic sufferer is like knows that's just inviting bodily harm.

I think I married a man who occasionally enjoys living life on the edge.

Anyway, aside from that little hiccup, the rest of that day was fine. I didn't have a panic attack, opting instead to try and be normal for a change. Like it's a choice, right? Truth be told, I haven't had a panic attack in years because I've become quite good at talking myself through my anxiety, but still, having once suffered them on a regular basis sets a person up to be fearful of triggering one in the future. It's like walking around with a live grenade in your pants. So when I met Phil Vosburgh and talking to him immediately soothed my nerves, I knew I'd made a good choice. We set up an appointment for the 9th, I paid my deposit, and we carried ourselves off to dinner.

That was then. Two weeks of obsession and mounting excitement later, and there I was, making the same drive to Holt. Only this time, knowing that I was in fact going to be tattooed that day ramped up my nerves, as did the fact that I hadn't gotten much sleep (less from nervousness, more from my weird ass insomnia).

Anywho, Phil showed me what he'd drawn up....and here's where I'll hand out a piece of advice; trust your damn tattoo artist. If it's someone who does good work and you've seen that for yourself, trust him/her. What Phil drew up was better than what I'd envisioned in my head, and his design adds at least a little individuality to an already popular, sort of overdone design After discussing various options and deciding just what was going to be done, Phil went off to set up while we all all sat around and....well, waited. I didn't sit, though. I couldn't.

When it was time to get started, we all (I had four other people with me. I know, right?) moved back to Phil's cubicle, and he started getting everything prepped, including my arm. Strangely, the closer we got to starting, the less nervous I became. I still reached out for my husband's hand a couple of times because I needed the support at that given moment, but really, I was quite excited. Phil was awesome, showing me all the tools he was going to use as he opened 'em up, just making small talk. Then it came down to the needles. He asked if I was ready, I took a deep breath and said yes, and we were off.


People who say shit like that about getting a tattoo really need a fucking reality check. I'm not gonna say it wasn't painful, but really, the "most painful thing ever"? Now any time I hear someone say that, all I can think is, 'man, you really haven't been through much, huh?' I've torn the ligaments in my ankle, broken bones in my feet, gone through childbirth....fuck, I've had stubbed toes that were more painful than getting that fucking tattoo.


OK, OK, I'll settle down. I don't mean to insult anyone who maybe had a rough time of it. If anything, I envy you your purity (not really, I'm just trying to be nice after hoein' on ya so hard a minute ago). But hey, the fact that I kinda enjoy a little pain maybe made a difference. I seriously fucking liked it. A lot.

It's a dandelion. And yes, I know, sooo played out and overdone and "oh, my god, if I see one more fucking dandelion tattoo, I'm gonna scream!"...but seriously, I have my reasons for it. Anyone who knows me knows I've never done a fucking thing in my entire life just to go along with the crowd. If I do something, you can bet your sweet ass there's a damn good reason for it. It just so happens there are several reasons I chose a dandelion. Am I going to get into them right now? Maybe just one; the word "dandelion" comes from the English form for the French "lion's tooth". When I originally started thinking about what I wanted as my first tattoo, I considered a lion because I'm a Leo. Alas, I had a really hard time imagining anything that would look right, as most lion tattoos are either too cartoonish for my taste or merely look like they've been plucked out of a velvet painting hung in some dingy crack den. Classy. Plus, I later decided I didn't want anything with a face staring back at me for the rest of my life.

The music notes should be obvious. Music means a hell of a lot to me. It's kept me relatively sane and perhaps saved my life a time or two. The placement of them on this particular tattoo will also, I hope, serve as a daily reminder to me to let music float. I sing. I've been a singer since I was a kid, and even though I often tell myself I suck because my self-esteem is in the pits, I'm really quite good. I don't sing out nearly enough. (And see? I hated even typing that and am now tempted to erase it even though it's the goddamn truth and I need to accept it.)

Without further ado:

So the big question: Will I be going back for more?

That's Ms. Bared to You

Tonight I have the pleasure of bashing on reviewing the New York Times bestseller Bared to You by Sylvia Day.

Two out of five stars.

Possible spoilers and definitely NSFW (unless your workplace is made of awesome).

Oh, my god, you guys, this book! Oh, my god...

I went into this thinking it was going to be completely and totally lame. Another Fifty Shades of Moronic Writing. Another horrifying testament to the standards which modern writers are apparently held. And do you know what? It WAS. Buuut...for the most part, I had a good time. How? By laughing uncontrollably at nearly every sex scene (and believe me, there are many).

There isn't much of a plot, but then, I guess there doesn't really need to be since it's just smut cleverly (*snort*) disguised as literature. But fans generally defend the story, and I've gotta say, as far as stories go, it's pretty lame. I mean, come on, peeps. They're damaged, they're melodramatic, they're whiny and self-absorbed, they're like, sooo hot, and the entire "story" is them fucking and then whining about it, and then fucking some more. When I first got started, I was terrified because I hit pretentious wordage in the second sentence:

"I wasn't surprised by my roommate's emphatic pronouncement."

The entire book goes on in a similar vein. Plus there's the added bonus of being told very inconsequential details, like what color shoes Eva's wearing, how many steps she had to climb, how often she eats yogurt to keep regular (I'm making up my own, but you get the gist). Having your eyes raped by adjectives and other useless textual diarrhea does not usually make for a highly compelling read. There is seriously a point where Eva tells the reader how in love she is with New York because it's so different from her hometown of San Diego with all the people and activity and sights and sounds (I'm really not kidding). The first quarter of the book was basically just useless info dump nonsense.

Things picked up a little bit when Eva first met Gideon, only because the writing in that scene was so ludicrous. Phrases like "exquisite masculinity", "magnificent maleness", "scorching force of will"...and let's not forget such treasures as,"I thought for a moment that he might be able to make me orgasm just by talking long enough." And "I looked at him in his civilized, urbane, outrageously expensive suit and thought of raw, primal, sheet-clawing fucking."  Say that three times fast!

This was also when I was introduced to Gideon's apparent mind control powers. Eva just goes on and on about how he's put some kind of spell on her, she's inexplicably drawn to him, caught up in his magnetic force, blabbidy blah blah. I suppose it doesn't hurt that Gideon is "savagely gorgeous", and that Eva's eyes "burned just from looking at him". 

 But then! Oh, then I got to the good stuff. I'm not saying that as a pervert, but as a lover of all things inappropriately hilarious. If I didn't know any better, I would swear to everything holy that this book is satire. Because while some of the sex scenes were hot, they were almost always laced with one or two lines that had me laughing so hard I was in tears.

Without further ado, I'm going to treat you to a small sampling. Seriously, prepare yourselves for this. Take a deep breath, make sure your bladder is empty and that you've got water and aid nearby in case you fall over. And for the love of eye bleach, don't let your kids read it:

"...his powerful body straining with the primal need to mate."

 "The rhythmic slap of his heavy balls against the curve of my buttocks."

"Then he ripped open his button fly and pulled his big, beautiful penis out."

"Gideon battered my tender sex with that brutally thick column of rigid flesh..."

"...his breath leaving him in primitive grunts every time he hit the end of me."

"'I'm so deep in you...I can feel it against my stomach...feel my dick pounding into you.'"

Seriously, is that shit supposed to be sexy? Because I was laughing and cringing at a lot of it. Especially that last bit there ^^^^ Yeah, WTF? She calls her ass her rear, and that's silly when you're talking about a guy finger banging your fart box, but when Gideon jammed his finger into her "puckered hole", I nearly lost my dinner/sanity/sense of direction. Just take your pick because my mind shorted out for a few seconds. I hate the word "puckered" and all its variations now. I really wish she'd just called it her puckering poopshoot and gotten it over with. Did I mention he's apparently ramming his semen in there? Oh, and this is after she stands up and drips his load all over the floor, making Gideon all hot and bothered because, apparently, lack of adequate hygiene is a major turn on for rich, neurotic alpha males.

At one point, Gideon says he feels a desire to "mark" Eva like she's his property...

I always get sidetracked when writing reviews like this because all I ever want to focus on is how funny it all is, but maybe you want to hear how the story stacks up, how the characterization is, how the plot progresses, or what the obstacles are. I can probably sum each area up in five words or less.

Story: Two people fucking.
Characterization: Cliched and irritating.
Plot progression: It's two people fucking...?
Obstacles: Sexual abuse and shallowness.

Yes, they're both damaged and need each other and he's dark and brooding and she's blonde and angelic and the two of them end up in this mindfuck of a relationship, this monumentally codependent clusterfuck of sex and jealousy and petty mind games, and when I wasn't laughing, I kinda wanted to shoot myself in the face.

Guess what else?! Gideon gets all rapey when he's sleepy!

It's stupid.

Really, really stupid.

But I give this book two stars. Why two stars? I'll tell you why two stars...

"The room lit up in a sudden flare of illumination. I turned toward him...
And found him masturbating with shocking viciousness."

 Happy Reading!