It’s Not Relevant to Me.

In a time where any foray onto Facebook can easily become a trip down the rage management rabbit hole (because, let’s face facts, Facebook is rather awful these days), I have found a solid and consistent source of pure joy: hiding ads.
I can’t possibly describe to you the rich, luxurious feeling of denying advertisers my eyeballs. The bliss that comes from reclaiming ground previously held at the mercy of those who desire my sweet, hard-earned bucks is without social media parallel. Now, this probably speaks to my steady devolution toward being a cranky old lady hermit, shrieking things like “WE DON’T WANT ANY” and “HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER” and “STAY OFF MY LAWN, YOU PUDDING-HEADED RAKEHELL“. It’s a slippery slope, to be sure… but, in my defense, there’s something to be said for the cathartic rush that comes from scrolling through my feed and obliterating ads one by one, then refreshing the page and going through the process again… and again… and again.
Friend’s picture of precious baby:  ❤️ 👶🏾
Politcal post: 😭 😭 🤧
Facebook ad for handcrafted mattresses stuffed with the graciously donated hair of highly educated, farm raised, and organically fed grey llamas: 😈 🔨🔪💣

Why am I seeing this?

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I dearly love this question, which is probably why I always read it in a British accent, with the most lushly peevish of tones. This question demands that Facebook explain why they chose to show you rubbish that only tangentially relates to your life in that you are (probably) human and may have at one point used a calendar or eaten something loosely categorized as food. I click on this question so often that, most of the time, Facebook doesn’t even bothering generating the pop-up answers anymore.
We’re showing you this ad because you like “Door”.
We’re showing you this ad because you clicked on an ad that was related to “cheese”.
We’re showing you this ad because the seller wanted to connect to women in your area between the ages of 25-34 who are over average height, are cranky, and have husbands who are allergic to cats.
Piddle.
We all know that the only reason why I’m seeing this ad for pretty, slim women in wretchedly ugly footwear is cash money on the barrelhead.
IT HAS LITERALLY NOTHING TO DO WITH MY PREFERENCE FOR CHEESE.
MY MOTHER DID NOT RAISE STUPID CHILDREN.
HOW DARE YOU LIE TO ME LIKE THIS. YOUR PREVARICATION IS NOT TO BE BORNE.

Hide ad.

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You are… denied. Whatever you are selling, I do not want it. Take your wares and depart, ye peddler of junk.This ad is not useful, and I shall waste no more time on it.

THIS is what POWER feels like.

It’s not relevant to me.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-2-22-32-pmThis final step in the clearing of my feed is rather arbitrary, considering that the Powers That Be do not care much about the spirit of the law. If I don’t wish to see ads about eyebrow shaping, then the following day, sure as the dawn, I will see ads about the newest innovations in nose hair trimming instead, as if THAT is somehow closer to my interests.
But the knowledge that I am only shoveling sand against the tide has no negative effect on my enjoyment. Let’s choose to claim the small victories.

My go to answer for the ads I dismiss is “It’s not relevant to me”, even for things that technically could be considered relevant (if you didn’t know me at all and simply made assumptions based off of broad demographics).
Ads related to bodily functions? Not relevant (and how dare you attempt to discuss such things with me in public).
Ads related to group exercise classes for WOMEN WHO 💖 FITNESS AND WANT TO MAKE NEW BFFS XOXOHUGZ? Not relevant (and I find your intensity frightening).
Ads related to fun nail polish techniques? Not relevant (Solid colors only and stop trying to make me have fun, Marianne).

But really, the main reason why I do this is because I don’t want to see ads.
I don’t want to see any ads.
I don’t want to be sold things.
I want to be left alone, with my rapidly diminishing wardrobe and my old shoes and my non-organic foodstuffs. I don’t know why you think I’m concerned about grey hair and wrinkles (I’m not… LET ME AGE IN PEACE, WOULD YOU?!), or finding a good looking single man who likes to party (L’horreur!). I’m not the least bit interested in Sears or skydiving or why someone that I don’t know thinks I should stop eating gluten, and I’m not sure why you would assume that I am. I don’t care about your latest Kickstarter campaign, I’m afraid.
For me, being an intense and committed introvert, being buffeted with ads is no different from being harangued in a department store by a helpful associate (who is only doing their job and I applaud them… I also avoid them, but that’s not their fault). I do not want to be chased and harassed and finally worn down and convinced to buy. I want to recognize a legitimate need or want in my life, conduct a thorough and exhaustive search, and discover a product that I’m then going to excitedly share with my friends.*
I realize that I’m asking businesses to return to a previous era in marketing, and I realize that there’s very little reason for them to do so. So, as it is, I will continue ruthlessly shutting down all attempts to connect with me, because DANG IT, I have to squeeze some enjoyment out of Facebook.

 

 

*THIS IS TECHNICALLY HOW I MET MY HUSBAND. 

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The Good Girl -or- I Will Slap Your WHOLE FACE.

 The Good Girl

This book, man.
This… book.
Overall, it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read in my life. To give the author a few points, the bones of a good plot are there, but… unfortunately, the meat is stringy and tough and utterly flavorless, and could have done with a lovely marinade or dry brine. There are some rather thick cliches here and there, the way the author addresses race and POC is, quite frankly gross, and there’s an incredibly problematic romance that’s central to the plot.

I’m going to spoil it, I’m afraid, so if you’re not ready for spoilers, this is a good jumping off point.

Alpha Male Casting Call

“It never crosses her mind that there are a million places I’d rather be than here…”
“I grip her wrist tighter and I know it hurts.”
“I back her against the wall, bumping into a lamp as I do… I hold her there. I tell her to shut up. I say it over and over again.”
“I take a step closer and hold the gun to her head.”
“I yank her into the bedroom and tell her that if I hear her so much as breathe she will never again see the light of day.”
“I saved her life. Who the h___ does she think she is to run away?”
“It’s like I’m caring for a d___ infant.”
“What pisses me off is that she talks like she got the short end of the stick. Like her life is full of hard knocks.”

Brace yourselves, lords, ladies, and jesters, because this clown is our hero.
He is the criminal with a heart of gold… a man who believes that, after kidnapping, restraining, punching, and threatening a woman, what he’s done was for her benefit, and the predicament that he created is ultimately her fault.

Let me set the stage:
After she consents to go to his apartment, he keeps her there, hours after she has repeatedly stated that she needs to go home, he then pulls a gun, forces her into a car and, instead of taking her to his (scary African… we’ll come back to this) colleague who would demand a ransom from her (terrible) father, takes her to a poorly outfitted cabin in the woods on an impulse that we’re perhaps meant to find endearing.
He terrorizes a store clerk. He repeatedly and harshly grabs and restrains Mia, being sure to let the reader know that he’s completely aware of the pain he’s inflicting. At one point, he tackles her, taking time to remind us of the difference in their respective sizes. He hits Mia. He threatens to murder a kitten to ensure Mia’s compliance. He repeatedly sexualizes his naked victim while bathing her in cold water to bring down a potentially deadly fever. He plots to get Mia a fake passport so they can run away together because, of course, she has no say in whether or not she goes home. He demeans her incessantly in his thoughts, calling her weak and stupid. However, despite it all, he seems to think that Mia should be grateful and there’s a nasty implication that he expects Mia to, in particular, be grateful because he did not rape her, or take her to the scary African (we’ll come back to this, I PROMISE), whose scary African grasp would surely mean a fate worse than death for our delicate Mia. Mia’s random nightmares about a black man with a machete are hilarious, considering that she has been kidnapped by a scruffy, cute white dude with a violent temper (but, of course, she can’t have nightmares about him, because he’s doing all this to save her from a black man, and that makes what he’s done perfectly okay, and she should love him for it).

The deeper we go into this squicky narrative, the more the victim and her kidnapper begin to open up to each other (yay) and the more he tries to shame her about her wealthy upbringing (because, you know, if your family hasn’t been on welfare, your kidnapping is justified and you should pity the predator in question). He’s excused for everything that he’s done because his father abandoned the family and they were poor.

The Pixie is Manic.

You might think that Mia (being the eponymous “Good Girl”) is the focus of this story… but you’d be wrong. Mia is nothing more than a blank page that the other characters simply project their own perceptions onto. She’s a list of characteristics with no actual personality attached, and while I hope that was intentional on the author’s part, it made for an irritating read.
For Colin, she’s a waifish, delicate, manic pixie, who enthuses at length about the colors of the sky, used to wish on airplanes because stars aren’t visible in Chicago, and blithely dismisses the very real possibility that she could have been killed by Colin, because she “would have killed him” if she had the chance.
Of course, being the victim of a BRUTAL KIDNAPPING, her act would have been JUSTIFIED, but sure, whatever.

For Eve, (Mia’s cardboard cutout mother), Mia is a shadowy reflection version of the young Eve, and one who doesn’t really become all that interesting to Eve until everyone thinks Mia might be dead. Eve barely has a relationship with her daughter prior to her kidnapping, and manages to make Mia’s ordeal into a long personal whinging session about how Eve used to be beautiful and how she married a jerk. She spends page after page obsessively longing for a daughter that she couldn’t be bothered to contact for weeks on end… and also apparently wants to see the detective’s badge and weapon, if you know what I’m getting at.
Detective Hoffman is such a cliche himself that he deserves an entire blog just about him… but we’ll just say that he wasn’t as consumed with finding Mia as he was with sniffing her mom’s perfume.

Mia is such a void that caring about her (other than in a general sense) is difficult, and considering the format of the story, you know that she is ultimately found. She’s a walking plot device.

People of Color = Danger

“… and as I looked around the bar, I saw that I was the only one who was white.”

“When I saw him, my throat rose up inside me and I found it hard to breathe. His eyes were black, like coal, his skin dark and rubbery, like tires.”

“He was black, like the blackest of black bears, like the rubbery skin of the killer whale, an alpha predator with no predators of their own.”

“I looked into his black serpentine eyes…”

“Nearly everyone there, except for a twentysomething waitress in jeans and a too-tight shirt, was male; all, besides me, were black.”

These gems are all from the last few pages of the book. Previously, we had just been treated to the usual reiterations of race relations from people who somehow still don’t seem to know any better… Detective Hoffman judges how safe neighborhoods are based on the ratio of white people to people of color. People born in other countries do not speak fluent English. White people (like our poor sweet Mia) do not really belong with inner city types and teaching art to those inner city types makes white people like Mia saints.
All you need to know to navigate the world is that African men have skin like rubber.

To wrap this review up, which is much longer than this book deserves, let me state the following:
Black men are not animals. That’s an ancient trope, and it’s an unacceptable one.
The presence of numerous black people in one place does not indicate danger. Again, ancient and unacceptable.
If a man thinks that hitting, restraining, and terrorizing a woman is for her own good, then he needs therapy, not a lover. This is yet another ancient trope.

I want to say something good about this book, because I really don’t like feeling as though I’ve taken a hatchet to someone’s work, even if I hated that work with the heat of a thousand suns, so…
Um…
I liked the cover art.
It’s very pretty.
Good job with that.

 

“So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” – or – It’s Gonna Be Hard To Apologize With My Boot In Your Mouth

“I suppose it’s no surprise that we feel the need to dehumanize the people we hurt—before, during, or after the hurting occurs. But it always comes as a surprise. In psychology it’s known as cognitive dissonance. It’s the idea that it feels stressful and painful for us to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time (like the idea that we’re kind people and the idea that we’ve just destroyed someone). And so to ease the pain we create illusory ways to justify our contradictory behavior.”
Jon Ronson, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

In my undergraduate psychology courses, I was fascinated with the concepts of disintegrative and reintegrative shaming. Disintegrative shaming pushes the shamed further and further away from the community, while reintegrative shaming punishes transgression but uses means that will reinforce the communal bonds. As we examined mental health treatments and facilities, prisons and systems of punishment, I realized that we are not particularly interested in the area of reintegrative shaming. We’d much rather drop the hammer (proverbial or not) and smear our bodies with the offender’s blood (figuratively… or not). We specialize in disintegration. That’s the sort of visceral, immediate, and devastating justice that society prefers (for some people), and the people who suggest more reintegrative methods are usually dismissed for being “soft” or “liberal” or “panty waists” or whatever terms seems most insulting to the issuer of said insult.
As a society, we’ve decided that it’s acceptable to dog pile people who should “know better”… you should know better than to joke about X and Y… you should know better than to have an opinion about Z… you should know better than to have THAT opinion about Z… you should know better than to express your opinion if you’re an A, B, C, or W… and nowhere are these arbitrary rules enforced more strenuously than on the internet.

Jon Ronson’s “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” covers the squicky topic of online shaming thoroughly and adequately, and it was clear that Jon had done his homework, although the slightly random forays into Jon’s research jaunts grated on me a bit…
“I joined this group and everyone shouted obscenities at me and told me that I was condescending and looked at my phone too much, and I condescendingly rejected their opinion while looking at my phone.”
“They wanted me to dress like a woman and I thought it would be cool because I would experience street harassment, but then I felt weird and didn’t do it, and they were annoyed with me.”
“I watched a live S&M act in a club!”
These diversions weren’t exactly non sequiturs, but they didn’t add much to the narrative for me, and I started to get a bit bored when we would suddenly transition from “Online Shaming!” to “Sex Club Stuff!”

On the positive note, Jon makes several points about the internet’s ability to give power and influence to those who have traditionally been people without either, and how that power and influence can give way to large swathes of people who, feeling their oats, will collectively dive onto a target who says something stupid or offensive.
I do understand the instinct. There comes a point when one gets tired of hearing people say stupid and offensive things and being expected to swallow it without reply, or worse, with a hearty laugh. The resentment that such encounters leaves behind could melt your insides into acid, but in the real world, I’m not allowed to go up to such a lout and belt them in the face. Online, the medicine is being dished without reserve, but it’s also transforming a group of people into one of nature’s ugliest phenomenons: a mob.

Perhaps the solution is simply, “Cool your jets and don’t be a jerk online.” People who consistently run off at the mouth need to take that suggestion to heart… I’m sure you think you’re funny… I’m sure your friends think you’re cool… but free speech applies to everyone, and if you can tell a gross joke, I am technically within my rights to promptly call you a “purple hued maltworm.” However, setting our agreed-upon rights aside, we have to look at what is healthy for us as individuals and as a society of people who hate each other’s guts.
Calling someone out on their nonsense? Healthy.
Publishing their address and encouraging violent crimes to be committed? NOT HEALTHY.
Disagreeing with someone? Healthy.
Making sure that said person never works… anywhere… ever, ever again?  NOT HEALTHY.
Some people are TERRIBLE and TERRIBLE people need to know that their TERRIBLENESS is on record, but if everyone holding said TERRIBLE folks to a higher standard of… er… NOT TERRIBLENESS… has devolved to be their own flavor of TERRIBLE, then what have we accomplished? We’ve just spread the terrible around, denying humanity to the person being shamed and cheapened our own humanity in the process.

There’s so much more to this… but this post was simply meant to be a book review and here I’ve gone all preachy.
Bottom line: “So You’ve Been Shamed on the Internet” is an okay read (three stars, give or take it), worth sharing with friends, and don’t be a jerk on the internet.

#24in48 Readathon

I’ve made a rather last minute decision to indulge in a full 24 hours of self care… because, let’s face it, the last few years weeks have been less than agreeable, and darn it, sometimes a body just needs a minute.
My retreat has come in the form of the 24in48 Readathon! The objective is to read for a solid 24 hours over the weekend, which will allow me to knock off a number of books on my Goodreads list, get ahead on my reading challenge, and finally… FINALLY… GET OUT OF OZ.
I’m so tired of Oz, you guys.

To Be Read (in this order):
The Scarecrow of Oz – L. Frank Baum
Hamilton: The Revolution – Lin Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
Rinkitink of Oz – L. Frank Baum
In the Woods – Tana French
The Lost Princess of Oz – L. Frank Baum
The Intelligent Conversationalist – Imogen Lloyd Webber
The Tin Woodman of Oz – L. Frank Baum
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Magic of Oz – L. Frank Baum
Lament – Maggie Stiefvater
Glinda of Oz – L. Frank Baum
The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien

Can I plow through all of these books in 24 hours?
No.
Probably not.
I occasionally display some (unfortunate) tendencies toward ambitiousness, BUT I have lots of tea and Zebra Cakes and the remnants of an actual chocolate cake and I’m sure I have meat somewhere in this house, so there’s really no way to lose this game.

1st Update: 3 hours, 32 minutes, 3 seconds
The Scarecrow of Oz – L. Frank Baum seemed to name a few of his books after characters who would not show up until more than halfway through the book, and weren’t particularly pivotal to a positive outcome. I won’t give any spoilers, but… WHY ARE YOU HERE, SCARECROW?
Trot and Cap’n Bill are a delight… the Ork is officially my favorite thing in the entire Oz universe.

Hamilton: The Revolution – This is a book that can’t be rushed through… particularly if you’re listening to the soundtrack while reading it (pausing to read the behind the scenes sections and then carefully pouring over the lyrical footnotes). I started crying at “Blow Us All Away” and didn’t stop until the end.
Crying is terrible.

2nd Update: 5 hours, 13 minutes, 31 seconds
Rinkitink of Oz – Rinkitink is not “of Oz”, nor is he the main character (Frank, sir, why do you do this?), but I enjoyed this book immensely… much more than the other Oz books (with the exception of “The Wizard of Oz”). Oz is awkwardly shoehorned in at the end, and I found Dorothy and co. to be rather unwelcome, but Dorothy did bring a dozen eggs with her and I do love eggs, so I guess she can stay if she keeps her mouth shut.

3rd Update: 11 hours, 44 minutes, 32 seconds
In the Woods – Absorbing and brilliant. I never know with books like this one if the reader is meant to spot the critical point early on, so I spent the majority of my read wondering if I had either jumped to a wrong conclusion or if the main character was a little bit of a moron.
I won’t tell you which was correct.

Day 2!

I have less than twelve hours to go, and I’m kicking off today’s jaunt with another trip to Oz. The Lost Princess of Oz is the llth book in the series. I’m officially sending up a prayer that it’s not about Ozma.
Please.
A body can only take so much.

4th Update: 13 hours, 52 minutes, 59 seconds
The Lost Princess of Oz – My feelings about this book are similar to my feelings about fruit-based desserts: Fine enough, but not something that I would choose for a treat.

5th Update: 15 hours, 14 minutes 
The Tin Woodman of Oz – I changed my plans a bit, and decided to save “The Intelligent Conversationalist” for another day… which meant that I stayed in Oz for a bit longer than scheduled.
*sigh* This book… *sigh*
I… I just can’t.
Go read it yourself. Why should I do all the work?

Well, I’m not going to make it to a full 24 hours. I spent the morning at church, and there just aren’t enough hours left in Sunday to make it work, but I’m having a lovely time, so we’ll press on.

6th Update: 20 hours
I’ve clocked 20 hours, I’ve stayed up one hour and forty-nine minutes past my bedtime, and I turned into a pumpkin fifteen minutes ago, so I’m packing it in!

Everything is Different Now.

Now that I’ve written those words, the only thing I can think of is an Out of Eden song with those precise words.

The nostalgia overwhelms me quite.
*sigh* Those were the days, ya’ll… when I had terrible hair and barely spoke and always spilled coffee on myself.
Some of you may be considering a rude comment on the current state of my hair and I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO EXERCISE SOME RESTRAINT.

These days, I rarely drink coffee.
I drink coffee when I’m desperate… or when it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season.
I owe you no explanations.
I am not sorry and care nothing for your heavy-headed nutritional rules.

These days, I speak more frequently but still dislike the exercise as a general rule. If I sounded more like Vanessa Redgrave or Viola Davis, I would blather on without ceasing, but… the sound of my own voice brings me no joy.

These days, I am married, and my husband is a lamb.
Not in a literal sense, of course… were he a literal lamb, he would be considered terrifyingly huge.
I like him very much. He is an immensely superior human.

These days, I have a new job (same camp, different position), a new last name (one of those old Scottish warrior names, too), a new degree, a new extended family, a new perspective on the relative position of boots in the pantheon of footwear and, as you may or may not have noticed, a new name for my blog.

Surprise, I suppose.

Now, with all that said, I won’t promise any major changes in the tenor of these posts. At my core, I am still a bit disgruntled, still a bit of an alien, still trying to work out why on earth humans do what they do and, considering the current state of the world at large, I am unlikely to evolve into something a more sanguine creature that sits awash in the sweet giggles of innocence… but given the number of significant recent events, a bit of redecorating seemed the order of the day.

So.
Ta-Da, as it were.
Welcome to The Vulcan Register.

A Lengthy Examination of the Word “No.”

“No” is one of those words that we all learn as children, and we all understand it.
We all know what “no” means.
It means “no.”
It’s not a graceful word… it’s not eloquent or persuasive… it doesn’t linger on the tongue, caressing one’s tastebuds like a delicious Werther’s Original (YUM)… “no” is one of those irritatingly redundant words that really, in essence, does not allow for interpretation or wiggle room.
“No” is, in and of itself, a linguistic full stop.

The bottom line of a no is always “no.”
Do you know what 40 “no’s” add up to?
They add up to “no.”
They don’t add up to “I’m not sure” or “Try again later” or “Try harder” or “Get your head in the game”… they add up to NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
You don’t have to like the way that makes you feel… and you don’t have to understand the reasons behind it… you ONLY have to understand what “no” means. And no means “no.”

Now, if a person delivers a series of other words, strung together in a way that is meant to spare the feelings or pride of another party, but the ultimate point is “no”, then “no” is the takeaway. The “no” should not be disregarded because it was not yelled at full volume, with hands planted on hips and furrowed brow. “No” is a powerful word that does not require raised voices and fisticuffs and pointy-tipped weapons to get the message across. Regardless of whether it has been polished and dressed up in the clothes of delicacy, a “no” is strong enough to be heard and comprehended.

We all know what “no” looks and sounds and feels like… I know this, because whenever people hear it, we go to nonsensical, truly outrageous lengths to pretend that we’ve heard something else (and humans are nothing if not unreasonably persistent in their commitment to delusion).
“You were smiling at the time, so I thought you meant yes.”
“You didn’t taze me and yell additional profanities, so I sensed some ambiguity… and ambiguity means yes.”
“Well, you didn’t say it in French, so I wasn’t sure if maybe you possibly meant to say ‘oui’. Honest mistake on your part, really.”
“You said it so long ago that surely your no has softened into an enthusiastic ‘OF COURSE, DUDE!!!!!'”

Oh, precious.
*sigh*
You’re smarter than that.
That ugly little sensation of disappointment or even anger is a clear indication that you comprehended the explicitly stated or embedded “no.”
At this point… if you persist… then, regardless of the deepest, most pure intentions of your stainless soul, you are attempting to push past a clearly defined, clearly understood “no.”

This does not make you charmingly persistent.
This does not make you John Cusack in the 80’s.
This makes you a pushy creep.
You have donned the slimy accouterments of a pushy creep.
You have transitioned from a regular, probably non-threatening schmo with regular, probably non-threatening intentions into a pushy creep that we all might need to be a bit concerned about.
You don’t want to be a pushy creep.
You don’t want to join those ranks, do you?
You don’t want Norman Bates as your patron saint, do you?
You don’t? That sounds terrible, you say? I’m not that person, you say?
Then stop.
STOP.
Regardless of your reasons or motives or desires… juststop.

Respect the no.

I will not be perfect on Saturday.

Kohl’s makes me cry on a semi-regular basis.
I can’t even say the name without a bit of a sneer… Kohl’s.
I find just about everything about the place disagreeable for some reason, and the one thing that keeps drawing me back into this heated vortex of anger and shame is the simple fact that Lauren Conrad is pretty and her clothes are pretty and pretty Lauren’s pretty clothes are sold at the Hellmouth Kohl’s.
That said, I’ve never bought any of her pretty items, because Kohl’s is dreadful, and yet, today, I was in furious, single-minded pursuit of an item on that website. I found it… then I lost it… then I went and sat in a dark conference room because we are adults and we do not punch computers when we do not get our way, so we need to calm down, don’t we?
Yes. Yes, we do.

On this (desperate) occasion, I was (desperately) looking for something (anything) that would perfectly complete my outfit for my boyfriend’s wedding.

I shall rephrase that.

My boyfriend is not getting married on Saturday, but he is, however, a groomsman.
I am his plus one.
His headachy, panicky, plus one who can decide on nothing to wear but questionable skin, fluffy hair, and a big ole FROWN.
I don’t normally have issues with getting dressed… very rarely do I have one of those days in which I stand in front of a decently full closet and think, “I have nothing to wear”… but this is a wedding full of people who don’t know me from Eve, and I’m not only “the new girlfriend”I’m “the new black girlfriend”,  so if I don’t look like a cross between Lupita Nyong’o, Audrey Hepburn, and an exceedingly well-groomed nun, I will have failed with a failure that will sear the very souls of my future offspring.

I can hear your eyes rolling. Stop it.

I know a handful of people that will be at this wedding, and they are lovely.
Please note: “lovely” means that they are “fantastic”. If I did not think they were “fantastic”, I would have said that they were “nice”, or even “perfectly nice”… which is just a horrible thing to say about anyone.
The rational, psych major part of my brain tells me that everyone else will have a better than average chance of being equally lovely, but the non-Spock areas tell me that I need to lock that chance in by being unassailably perfect (because perfection is a TOTALLY reasonable goal for humanoid creatures).

You see, my very tall, ruggedly handsome, ginger-bearded boyfriend is (if you didn’t catch on with the ginger-bearded… honestly, are you even paying attention?) white.
As we are all aware, I am… not.
He and I are obviously not bothered by this, but there are people that are. 😃
REALLY. 😄
I’ve met them. 😆
So, when we go to dinner together, and our (fluidly graceful) movements are tracked by many eyeballs, I assume that it’s 97% because we’re both huge cute, and 3% because a few souls in the restaurant don’t know that miscegenation laws came off the books years ago.
3% is probably low, but if I want to be able to swallow any of my food, I have to be allowed some delusions so, gosh darn it, WOULD YOU JUST LET ME LIVE, PLEASE?

I’m familiar with the “well, your relationship is going to be hard” argument (because every other kind of relationship is like sliding open-mouthed down an Everest-sized mountain of sweet, freshly-made whipped cream, right?) as well as the “THIS IS FORBIDDEN BY GOD argument (and, you know, I’d argue that point with you, but we’re clearly not friends, so your opinion carries no more weight with me than an onion at a pumpkin farm) and, to be entirely frank, I really have no level of care reserved for people that I don’t know who want to pass judgment on a relationship that doesn’t involve them.

BUT…

… it still feels weird to have people stare, and ask random questions, and in some cases, be openly disapproving (particularly since, in the Ozarks, I’m usually the one being disapproved of). As much as I’ve grown to expect it, it doesn’t take that tiny, sneaky edge of anxiety away. It’s a bit like “Meeting The Parents” a thousand times… it feels like simply everyone is going to have an opinion, and around here, it’s usually on whether or not he’s doing a foolish thing by dating someone who is clearly royalty of some kind a WOC.
So, the non-Spock areas of my brain, in an attempt to construct a reasonable, well-ordered strategy to make myself so thoroughly and irresistibly impeccable that no one could ever pass a negative judgment, insisted that I needed that perfect lacy top to complete the perfect outfit so that I will be inoffensively perfect except DANG YOU KOHL’S it is now sold out and I hate you.

I know that’s ridiculous.
The people that have a problem with the two of us being together are not objecting to my sartorial choices, are they? They’re objecting to melanin… something which neither of us can change. So, if I wear four-inch heels and a different blouse, it won’t change anything. I could say a few words from Coriakin’s Book of Incantations and morph into a being “beautiful beyond the lot of mortals”, exquisite of face and speech and spirit, and that still wouldn’t make me satisfactory to people that will not find me satisfactory.
And here’s the funny thing: the people that I love and respect and care about care about the two of us as individuals… reasonable, huge adult individuals, not as paint chips… and those same people, who speak into my life on a regular basis, don’t think I need perfect blouses to be good enough.

Still and all, though… Kohl’s is terrible.