Mellow Monday

Am I losing my edge? I got actual work done at work today and then sat around for an hour with the Professor and the Naughty TA (I was about to christen him the Man with the Pretty Penis, but good god, I don’t want to get into that again. Suffice to say, on Tiny Cat Pants, penises can be cute or ugly, silly or sly, handsome, striking, shy, unkempt, filling, awe-inspiring, giggle-inducing, anything at all, except pretty. Unless they are wearing pink bows–that’s the one exception I’m willing to make and I’m unsure and happy to remain unsure of the status of the Naughty TA’s nether-regions.) laughing it up as we speculated about various philosophers’ ass cracks.

Then I came home and made myself a big plate of spaghetti and was perusing y’all and looking at Twyla and PPB and Frog and thinking “It makes me glad to feel connected to heart-felt Christians.”

Yes, America, my cold hard heart has softened a little bit to the earthly expression of a god I can’t stand. What’s next? Will the orange cat finally deign to play with Mrs. Wigglebottom? Will the Butcher find a job he likes? Will I soon stop making a point of telling the Professor how prejudice her department is against polytheists? Will wonders never cease?

Anyway, I’m not coming back. I’ve met folks I love out here and can’t imagine leaving them. But it’s nice to get correspondence from home and to know some folks are working to make it a place I’d be happy to recognize.

Hold that door, you sexy thing, you.

The Shill is apparently trying to kill me off by sending me a link to this article at CNN.com which asks the ever-pressing question “Does It Pay to Be a Flirt?” and sends me into an uncontrollable rage.

The article raises more questions than it answers. Here are the questions I have.

Did all of the respondents work at the same place? If not, how can we be sure that we’re actually seeing cause and effect? What I mean is that I’d like to know how the study concludes that women who flirt are paid less because they flirt, and not that they are flirting because they’re in a situation where they see no other way to get ahead.

Let’s look at this in a hypothetical. Suppose I worked in a really great office where my contributions were acknowledged, appreciated, and rewarded. If I wanted to advance in my career, I would know what was expected of me and work hard to do it. I wouldn’t ever need to flirt or even consider flirting in order to get noticed, because I’d know my ingenuity was prized, not my body.

But say I worked at an office where I worked hard and well, but didn’t seem to be getting ahead as quickly as my male colleagues. Say I tried working longer hours and drawing attention to my accomplishments and still nothing, that the corporate culture was just such that I felt like it was already sexist-ly stacked against me. If I feel like my legitimate accomplishments can’t be recognized just because I’m a woman, might I eventually feel that exerting my sexuality might give me some control over the situation?

I think a lot of women, especially pretty women, feel a lot of power in their own sexuality. It therefore would not surprise me to learn that, when faced with a power structure that seems inhospitable to them, that they would attempt to change the paradigm in which they’re operating back to one they feel more in control of.

I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying that it seems to me that this phenomenon is much more complex than the simple “See, sluts get punished in all sorts of ways, even economically, so don’t be a slut” message of this article.

Plus, don’t even get me started on the difference between sending flirty emails and wearing revealing clothing and letting someone open a door for you. Okay, I am started, so I’m just going to point out that it’s a subtle but effective rhetorical strategy to start out blaming women for the necessity of punishing their slutty behavior and then to shift to blaming women for failing to control the behavior of the men around them.

Tulane professor Arthur Brief says that “the study suggest that women should be careful about letting men open doors or lift boxes that aren’t particularly heavy, because chivalry is ‘benevolent sexism.'” Brief, excuse me, but what the fuck?

No, we actually don’t know what the fuck your study suggests because it’s unclear what type of workplaces these women are in. But even if we concede that it might show some correlation between women’s slutty behavior and the amount of money they earn, I don’t believe that has much to do at all with suggesting that women stop “letting” men do shit for them.

Plus, if the whole corporate culture is one where men open doors for women, lift their boxes, and women repay them with provocative behavior and less of a drain on the payroll budget, I don’t really see anything “benevolent” about it at all.

My Remembering Brain Dog, err Brother

Last Tuesday I was sitting at Starbucks with the Professor, Taketoshi, and the Little Red-Haired Girl who Tried to Hit on the Butcher But Failed to Take into Account His Unsmoothness with the Ladies (let’s call her the Little Red-Haired Girl for short) talking about some shit.

I can’t remember what shit we were talking about but it lead me to realize that none of my friends really know why the Butcher lives with me. Yes, tangentially, it has to do with his police record and the police record of the recalcitrant brother and the requirements that they both had to not associate with other felons and how that made it impossible for them to live together, but really, it has to do with my terrible birth defect.

You see, I have a crappy memory.

I don’t know if I was born with a crappy memory–I don’t think so because I can remember many things from that long ago–or just developed one as a response to all the things I’d rather not remember. But here I am, with a crappy memory.

The Butcher, however, has an amazing memory. He can remember people, places, conversations, directions to places he’s only been once, etc. This is even more surprising when you realize that none of my bad habits involve substances that cause memory loss and almost all of his do. If the Butcher were straight-edge, I’ve no doubt he’d have every book he’s ever read memorized.

So, the Butcher lives with me for much the same reasons that other people have assistance dogs. It’s his job to go around and remember things for me.

I could have used him last night. I called the Professor to tell her about my battle with the tub, which was growing things. I have a high tolerance for mess, but I cannot abide by any place growing things, especially places I like to get naked. So, I screamed, “Die motherfucker” and covered the whole tub in a generous wash of bleach. It might not be conventionally clean, but everything is dead and that’s what counts.

Anyway, as I was talking to the Professor, it became quickly obvious that I had already told her about half of what I was currently telling her and that the first time I told her, it was better. Imagine my embarrassment!

Not only don’t I have any memory, I was apparently much more clever and brilliant a few months ago!

Worse than that, as we were talking, the Professor was saying many insightful and profound things that blew my mind and I was going to come here today and tell you all about them, but… well, obviously, I’ve forgotten what they were.