This is going to be an unusual format for a social justice post. I am not going to inform you in journalistic or reportorial fashion about the problem because everyone who reads here is savvy enough to know about it.
What I am going to try to do is cover some of the things the recent reports on CNN and NBC Dateline have neglected to address.
The core solution.
Predators operating on-line, soliciting sex, is just a microcosm of the larger problem. The real point is that sexually predatory behavior is nearly everywhere. The computer is just one more available vehicle, one more means to an end. It beats trolling girls at the mall.
So, we can watch Dateline "To Catch a Predator" shows until George Bush reaches Enlightenment and it's not going to change a single thing.
Here's my suggestion:
I believe we need to institute character education back into the school curriculum. There is no way to convince me that with all the brilliant minds present in the world that it is not possible to come up with a culturally-neutral set of standards that would apply in any society. It needs to be something that all parents can support.
There seems to be a distorted belief that sex is a form of validation. People use sex for all sorts of things but mostly I believe predators use it to fill up an empty hole inside themselves. It is how they validate their existence, their feeling of inclusion and, after all, it doesn't really take much talent to perform. Any reasonably healthy human body can handle sex.
I believe we need to start teaching children at a very young age that sex is a normal and healthy part of committed and loving relationships with others, gay or straight. It is pleasurable. There is no need to include shame and condemnation around it at all. That approach is one mistake made too often by social conservatives.
We need to teach young men that character is still what counts. Honor. Dignity. Courage. Being a good partner. If the young man is straight, a good father. We need to teach young men that emotionally manipulative, deceptive or aggressive invasion of other peoples' bodies for selfish gratification is immoral behavior.
We need to teach young women that their bodies belong to them. There is no requirement to "put out" to prove to a boyfriend that she "loves" him. Emotional manipulation is not a part of "love" in any regard. We need to teach her that any kind of intimate touch always requires her permission, no matter what the circumstances. We also need to teach her that the things she sees on TV and in music videos is not real life. It is fantasy.
Indiscriminate sex is unsatisfying and usually leaves an even greater feeling of alienation and emptiness. Being used by another is demeaning and degrading. There is a price to be paid for that in terms of self-respect.
We can spin our social wheels for generations to come with legislation and horror stories. We will not "scare" the predators away and we will not "scare" potential targets into recognizing it.
In other words, this requires a holistic approach, an approach that includes respect for self, respect for others, respect for parents and respect for society.
So, go ahead. Rip it apart. I welcome the dialogue. :)
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
This is going to be an unusual format for a social justice post. I am not going to inform you in journalistic or reportorial fashion about the problem because everyone who reads here is savvy enough to know about it.
Monday, February 26, 2007
I wasn't quite sure what I would write about tonight and something triggered me.
One of my favorite bloggers had a post on his site, telling that a new format may be initiated because people are busy and the new format would allow them to scan a summary, get a thumbnail of the content and move on to the next.
I'm not picking on anyone here but I did leave him a slightly disagreeable comment because, honestly, the whole idea made me kind of sad. It felt like someone had sneezed on me, spraying their germs hither and yon. It was a micro view of a macro issue.
Communication is important in all its venues. It is how we sustain each other. It is what makes us human instead of a bunch of androids. It is how we form community. It is how we get to know each other, make friends, share wisdom, support each other and generally participate in the human experience.
Now I know that my blogger friend was not trying to be offensive. It is not even in his nature. If anything, he is trying very hard to be considerate of other people and provide a way to keep up with his adventures and not have to miss out because of a crowded schedule or other concerns. Yet there is a part of me that stamps my foot and says "I don't want the f***ing Cliff Notes!"
I do remember what that life was like. Truly. While I've been out of the over-scheduled, over-stressed life since June of 2005, I make a conscious effort to remain aware of how many others must live. After all, it did drive me literally insane. My sympathy is completely there for those who still live it.
Even back in those days, I knew there needed to be a refuge from it, some part of life that was unaffected by the need for efficiency or conservation of time, a part of life untouched by market values. We all need a soft place where we can escape the mentality that everything has a price attached to it, even our recreational blog-reading or -writing. We need to breathe. We need to reflect. We need to relate to each other. We need to be present and available.
Of late, "I'm too busy" has become an excuse to avoid common social obligations. It has become an excuse to cease being a human being. It's an excuse for rudeness, for indifference and for not doing what most of us often know is the right thing to do. It is a way to escape from the gnarly and occasionally demanding world of friendship and relationships. Real people are messy and complex. And this avoidance has become socially acceptable. Have your people call my people. Maybe we can do lunch.
It is my hope that we can all remain mindful of our real purpose here on this plane of existence .. and what makes our lives worth living when all the rest is stripped away. This statement of course does not apply to blogging. I am talking about every facet of our lives. Do we really give of ourselves or are we content to offer Cliff Notes? Are we really happy with getting Cliff Notes? Does it seem something is missing? When all is said and done, I don't think any of us will be on our deathbeds, regretting that we weren't more efficient.
What say you? This is a landmine for me ~ so feel free to give me a different perspective or agree with me ~ whichever seems appropriate. :)
Sunday, February 25, 2007
I was surprised this morning when I visited Julie's blog "The Ravin' Picture Maven" and found that she had acknowledged me with a "Thinking Blogger Award". Needless to say, I am very grateful! My ramblings here seem to be all over the map and I wouldn't have considered them to be the product of a "thinker", a term that brings up a mental image of a thoughtful professor, stroking his goatee while pondering the gnarliest of questions, ultimately laying the answers down before us.
It got me to consider what standard I would use to describe "a thinker". Not the comic book image but the real thing. A thinker is one who is awake and aware to the nuances of his or her own life, able to see the invisible print between the lines of their experiences, process and integration into a worldview that benefits not only themselves but everyone who comes in contact with them. It's the wisdom that passes from person to person, often in small unrecognizable nuggets that take time to sink in but finally find a cozy spot in our own process of integration. It is what creates the tiny silver thread that runs through all of us and connect us to each other. It is the thought and experience that creates growth in each of us. We create a worldview and we live it. Roots and Wings. There are very few Oprah "AHA!" moments in this life. Most of our growth and wisdom comes from nuggets that are slowly digested.
Part of this project is that I am supposed to pick five bloggers to pass the award along. That is nearly impossible because I value every blog I read regularly and I read over 100 a week ... easily. So I tried to come up with some kind of kernel that would make five stand out in one way or another. Two of the standards I used is that I wanted to acknowledge those I consider both smarter and wiser than me ~ which then elevates me because I learn from them.
So... I'm stuck with 14,269 or so blogs. What do I do now?
Third standard: I have had some personal experience with them, leading me to think more seriously about something.
Okay. Now we have only 30 blogs or so.
I'm getting there.
Teaching can be done in so many ways. It can be done with words ~ or art ~ or poetry ~ or through journalistic reporting.
The first person who came to mind is someone who teaches through art. Pam at Mind Trips.
Her beautiful work is the result of her own very positive thinking style, one that refuses to acknowledge or allow negativity in her world, in spite of some significant physical challenges. I admire her very much and learn from her in many ways.
I have a true admiration and affinity for people who have overcome significant things in their backgrounds and have somehow found peace with their lives today. They are the future wisewomen and wisemen who will influence lives without even realizing it.
Penny at COAHTR and De at Sober Briquette are two of them. Both of these women are brutally honest about themselves, their own growth processes and the circumstances that brought them to where they are now. They use a lot of invisible ink between the lines and that is what makes them so intriguing and so inspirational.
I am someone who needs to be challenged occasionally on a purely intellectual level, too. I appreciate those who do that without knowing it, who present their own views and leave me to sit and think about it. One of the things that matters a lot in this regard is that they think very differently than me. It is easy to reinforce our views by reading people who think exactly the way we do. It's harder when someone's views are the polar opposite.
My political views are certainly no secret to anyone who reads here. For the most part, I am typically progressive with some very conservative views mixed in for good measure. The one thing I am not is an individualist.
That is why The Atavist is such a good challenge for me. He presents his libertarian views with a large component of compassion and wisdom. He is what I believe my ex-husband (who is a radical libertarian) could have been with a lot more maturity. The Atavist states his views with clarity and intellectual integrity. There is never any sense of him dealing with his own personal issues and using libertarianism to justify selfishness or egoism. He's pure gold in that respect.
And finally, the blogger who has probably been most significant to me personally is Jen at One Plus Two. Over the months, we have gotten to know each other in a reasonably significant way ~ in a way that can be done on-line at any rate. I love watching her grow. I love watching how she winds her way through the ethical labyrinth of the personal and the global. I love her instincts and her passion. I believe she is raising an Indigo Child. She is a budding wisewoman who will one day end up writing a book (I don't think she believes this yet) ~ and will be influential far beyond the blogging world. She has a message. And she freely allows us to participate in her see-saw process of sorting it all out and fashioning a worldview that is somewhere between Ghandi and Nelson Mandela.
Jen is 20 years younger than me, almost to the month. Yet in many ways, she is my elder. I learn from her regularly.
Okay. I have chosen five.. and it was very difficult because my head is so full of those who I value equally but did not mention. Laurie, Cecilieaux, Doodee, Kate, Lucia, everyone on my sidebar and the ones listed on my writing tablet to be added as soon as I get eye surgery are equal in my mind. Just know that, please.
I nearly forgot to mention this but each of the five I mentioned should take the "Thinking Blogger" graphic from my site, keep one for your site and acknowledge five bloggers who will, in turn, do the same for five more. Yeah. It ain't easy, is it? :)
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Due to my fatigue the past few days, I've been able to read two great books!
The first was "The Measure of a Man" by Sidney Poitier. This isn't a celebrity book or ego book. It isn't a chronicle of achievement. It is truly like listening to an elder, someone who speaks wisely and cautiously, using an economy of words to allow them to sink in on a deeper level.
He writes of his childhood in Bahamas. He tells of the lessons he learned from his parents and his childhood. He then takes us on a winding road to the present, documenting many things, experiences and people, most notably how he maintained his dignity during the 60s and 70s as a Black man in America. In many ways, he reminds me of Nelson Mandela who warned his prison guards that "I will call you sir. You will call me sir. We will respect each other." It's an honest glimpse into someone else's life, someone who has had to assert his personhood, his manhood and his dignity in the constant face of those who would take it from him. Yet he does it without aggression or defensiveness. He does it by behavior.
Last night and this morning, I read "Eat, Pray and Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. One of the reviews states, "If a more likable writer than Gilbert is currently in print, I haven't found him or her...."
I agree. Reading the book is like listening to a good friend over pizza and beer, telling of her travels and her insights. She is painfully honest about her own shortcomings, her own failings. In that, she becomes a very real and delightful person. Even with my failing eyesight, I couldn't wait to get a little bit more of her, to read just one more tale. I sat here, magnifying glass in hand, savoring each word. Even though I have been writing for many, many years, I often whispered to myself, "Ghod, I wish I could have said that!"
I recommend both of them.
What are you reading? Do you recommend anything in particular?
** I know this post is dull and boring. Hope you'll stay with me. I'll try to come up with more interesting topics next week. Hopefully, Social Justice post Monday. It's one of those topics I have to think about....
Friday, February 23, 2007
Note to everyone who reads here: I just wanted to let everyone know that I am not ignoring all of you. Often I am able to visit your blogs but can not comment. The reason I am unable to comment is because of the warped "security words". As my eyesight continues to deteriorate, the double vision is a bear ~ especially when those combinations of letters are warped, too thick or otherwise masked. I can only do perhaps five at a day, some days not even that. Anyway, if you see a comment from me that is a week late, that is why. I love reading the entries and it's really frustrating to have to occasionally skip commenting. Some time in March, I will have eye surgery and this condition will improve. Until then, I have to live with it. Most importantly though, I am not ignoring you guys! I wouldn't do that. -- Chani
Thanks to everyone who left me messages yesterday. I did spend most of the day sleeping, off and on. Today I am a bit better but won't be engaging in any strenuous activity; physical, mental or intellectual. :)
Yesterday while hanging out in the LazyBoy, I gave some thought to patience. It's something that's in such short supply for most people and it's difficult from this vantage point to understand what brings about so much impatience.
No matter how hard we try, we'll never make the river flow any faster than it already does. Being impatient won't change a thing, make our lives any easier or create anything that wouldn't have been created anyway. That kind of energy isn't creative energy.
A few people commented that I seem like a patient person (thank you :) and I suppose that's true enough. Over the years, I've learned that urgency creates a feeling of dis-ease (which ultimately becomes disease), destroys my sense of peace in the world and leads me to make poor decisions.
The comment about patience came from my reaction to the woman at Target who grabbed my wrist. In thinking that through, it occurred to me that if I'd been belligerent or had responded physically, it would have led to a few different possibilities.
It could have escalated into an uncomfortable and undignified yelling match in the middle of the store, causing others to become afraid, concerned or uncomfortable. It could have escalated to a physical confrontation between us which would have caused others to become afraid or concerned, leading to someone calling the manager who would have called the police who would have arrested one of us for assault.
And for all that, nothing would have changed. She would not have changed her thinking about my having a wrist tattoo that she didn't approve of and it wouldn't have eliminated her minor assault on me. (Grabbing or touching someone without permission is the definition of assault.) In addition, I would have lost my dignity by losing cool in public.
So.. it would have caused a lot of upset for absolutely nothing and would have produced no benefit to anyone.
In looking at impatience, it seems to have a lot to do with control. For some reason, human beings in certain settings have to believe that we have individual control over things. Lack of control somehow equates weakness and that is something no one likes.
The truth of the matter is that we have very little control over anything. We can't control the weather. We can't control each other. We can't control events. We rarely control circumstances. But we can control ourselves.
Off to answer Wednesday's comments which also provided me with some gourmet food for thought.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
One of the symptoms of the illness that has disabled me is fatigue. It is a bone-crushing, can't. lift.my.head.off.the.pillow tiredness that makes it impossible to think straight, let alone come up with anything relevant to say to anyone else.
It comes when I least expect it and lays me out for a day or two.
This is one of those days.
I want to answer the comments left yesterday. There are definitely some things I want to say. Please check back tomorrow.
I'll be back then. Hopefully. Today, it is going to be the easy chair and a book.
Hope everyone has a good day. :)
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I don't know how many other bloggers wake up in the morning to nastygrams but I do occasionally. It's not very often. I wake up to email from an anonymous account by an anonymous person whom I have upset in some manner.
These messages aren't the same as those who write and challenge something I have to say. Those are great and I don't mind them at all. In fact, I welcome them. The nastygrams are those notes that come, written at times in all caps, usually less than two lines and are generally angry.
This one stands out:
"You will never be Thai, no matter what you say and no matter how hard you try!"
This particular note came from someone in Thailand. I traced the email and it was sent through TOT's servers.
My response would be this:
I am fully aware that I will never be racially Thai. My heritage is British. I am Caucasian. I've never been good at caring about race or DNA. It's the old "content of his character" thing. Bites me every time.
I believe strongly that all people eventually find what makes best sense to them, what blends with personal values and inclinations. That could be Thai for me and British for the writer. Someone else will have another affinity. Overall, that is the purpose for all of us, the purpose of life itself. We explore. We discover. We learn. We make choices. When we find ourselves at odds morally with our culture of origin, we might try to use the system to change those things. Or we find something else. People move all over the world to find a place and way of life that brings them to peace. Maybe that is what the Biblical passage of John 14:2 means. "In my father's house, there are many mansions."
I think the real concern of the writer, if I can make a wild guess, is whether I am honoring the culture or whether I am using it as a personal "niche", something to stand out as "cute" or "different". Maybe he is concerned that I don't understand or respect the depth of thousands of years of history or results of thousands of years of life wisdom gained through hardship.
While I am not a professional historian, I understand as well as I can. Part of my ongoing process is continual learning. I can assure the writer that I honor the culture very much ~ and I respect those who came before me and created it.
I also understand that there is no paradise here on earth. No place is perfect.
The woman who cuts my hair is Cambodian. While she cuts and colors, we talk. She told me a story from her own background. When she was young, she and her family were moved to a refugee camp in Thailand. During that time, she and her sister remember rapes and torture committed by Thai guards. I have no reason to believe she is lying. There is enough documentation to back up her claims.
That is something that is unacceptable, regardless of culture and history. The continued mistreatment of Burmese refugees in Northern Thailand is equally unacceptable and the guards and government officials who approve or engage in the behavior should be tried before an international court and be brought to justice. Period.
Thailand deserves a good international weenie-wacking for being so lax when it comes to the sex trade and human trafficking.
And we won't even go into the drug smuggling.
So, yes, I recognize that Thailand has issues. And I recognize that those who engage in the behavior use the social mores and culture of the country to justify and rationalize their actions.
I believe as we age, we become less of a "purist" and more realistic. We cull out the good, try to do what we can about the bad and life goes on. Choosing a way of life is a multi-dimensional process and we begin to understand that fundamentalism of any flavor rarely works because life itself is messy and complex.
My choice of Thai culture was not entirely intellectual. That was only part of it. It was also experiential. It is based on personal experience and an internal compatibility. In that regard, it's not unlike finding a wife or a husband. We accept that no one is perfect and nothing will meet our needs or desires 100%. We accept the bad with the good and do the best we can. We make our peace.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Okay. I admit it. Today I've been hooked on Court TV, watching the probate hearing on Anna Nicole's estate. This stuff can be addictive and I sat here for quite a while, listening to lawyers haggle about the disposition of ANS's body and who will make the ultimate decision about her final resting place.
While sitting here, I thought about how difficult it would be to speak for another person or to anticipate what another person might want or need, especially if he or she is not around to speak for him- or herself. I will certainly follow anyone's directions but trying to guess? No!
But ultimately someone has to decide.
Things can be interpreted so differently ~ and if suddenly silenced by death or incapacitation, friends or family left behind would have a very hard time making those decisions.
In my own case, I have a DNR (Do Not Resusitate) order attached to my medical records and a living will. Since I do not have specific heirs and frankly couldn't care less what happens to my "stuff" after I'm gone, it seemed very odd to consider another person to make all those choices in my absence. The person I chose has been a friend for many years and I have no doubt that she would make the right choices, that she would assure that my passing would be treated with simple dignity and that she would be put her knowledge of me and my value system ahead of her own desires or her own convenience. If she did change something, it would be for a darned good reason.
The fact that I want to leave this earth in Khon Kaen is certainly well-known to everyone who knows me. I'd like to recycle out of here the same way I came in... by natural process. However, I might not be able to make that choice because certain medical conditions to which I am prone could result in sudden death.
What will happen is simple. My friend will take my ashes to Thailand and spread them in a particular area I've designated. No fanfare. No difficulty. Aside from a week out of her life to take a trip to Thailand, I can't see any possible negative impact on her life. A small life insurance policy with her as the beneficiary will pay for the trip and her expenses.
I believe the last thing any of us would want is a circus after we've passed to the Other Side. Whether it's Anna Nicole Smith or someone with only a small percentage of her resources, the emotional and spiritual toll on those left behind would be incalculable. The best way to prevent it is to leave something in writing, simply notarized, appointing one or two people to speak on our behalf.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Things are looking up, regaining balance.
Something happened yesterday afternoon that threatened the possibility of my swearing off humanity, at least until I get to Thailand.
I went over to Target to buy something. It's good for my 30-minute walk and the weather was rather extraordinary yesterday. A hint of spring.
For the first time I can recall, I got a negative reaction from a stranger.
Seriously. This simply doesn't happen!
I stood in line minding my own bee's wax and a woman close to my age was next in line. I began the process of taking stuff out of my cart to place it on the check-out belt.
Out of nowhere, unprompted by me, she said, "What's that on your wrist?"
Perhaps she was fearing that I was another Brittany. Who knows? I wasn't buying any shears though ... just boring stuff like Lean Cuisine, green tea and toilet paper. You know, nothing worthy of her attention.
I chose to ignore her question. It really wasn't something I felt necessary to address with her.
She actually grabbed my wrist to look more closely!
My eyes must have gotten as wide as saucers as I pulled my hand away. I wasn't angry, just shocked that anyone would do something like that.
"Thailand? What is that supposed to mean?"
Uncharacteristic of me, I snapped back at her with a terse, "Is it of some concern to you?"
"I just wondered why someone would do something so stupid."
Again, I was rendered momentarily speechless. I just looked at her and for the second time in too short a period of time, I responded with "I don't even know how to respond to that."
I also said that to the "Birthday Boy" (thanks, Doodee :) a week ago, almost to the hour.
She gave me a look that could have curdled milk and turned her attention back to her own shopping. I could physically feel her disgust.
I went on about my business, thankful that she'd turned her attention elsewhere. I am not one for ugly scenes in public places. I paid for my stuff and left. Jai yen. Jai yen.
On the walk home, I realized that I have started to draw negativity. There have been a few minor incidents over the past week or so that are out-of-whack. Ordinarily, I always meet nice people and have pleasant experiences ... nearly all the time! It's obvious that when we create the same experiences repeatedly, we are supposed to be learning something. I needed to pay attention.
Once home, I made a cup of tea and went to sit in the back yard. It was time to figure out how to turn this thing around.
I did some deep thinking, trying to understand why I was holding on to negativity of my own which would then draw it from others. After reflecting a bit, I realized that I was still angry at the "birthday boy".
Then came the question of what to do about it. Call him? Give him a piece of my mind?
That would be like playing the violin for a water buffalo. The guy wouldn't understand a word of it. How do you explain "objectification" to someone who has the insight of a garden snake? How could I possibly explain that while his comments weren't directed to me personally, they were often so disrespectful of women that I blamed myself, figuring I must be misunderstanding him?
How do you explain to someone with the intellect of a bottle of Coke that the inner rage of many women over the ages has been caused by that very attitude ~ that it is somehow our duty and destiny to exist solely for the physical pleasure of men?
Not my job.
That is what I decided.
It's not my job to educate him. It's my job to protect myself and other women from it as much as possible. And it's my job to let it go. His lessons are not mine and I don't have to "save" him from the consequences of his own beliefs and behaviors. I made a conscious decision to refuse to carry around garbage from other people's poor attitudes, ignorance or personal growth issues. I have to trust the universe, God, karma ... however you choose to conceptualize it... to deliver other people's lessons to them in its/his/her way.
I ritualized that process to a degree in the back yard last night. His name is now written on a slip of paper which will have a place of honor on my krathong when that time of year comes.
This morning, I feel like a weight has been removed from my consciousness. Today is a stunningly beautiful day, cool but sunny, a little taste of spring and I spent it in the garden. Weeding.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation of society.
While reading this passage earlier today, I became frightfully aware that this is still a weakness with me. I do not consume food mindfully. Until I get through this, it is unlikely that I will make any further progress.
Still processing this. Any input is welcome. It's something I need to work through.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Turning on the news this morning, I heard that Britany Spears has shaved her head.
Don't click away yet. This is not about Britany Spears. I couldn't care less what that woman does. However, it is about women with shaved heads.
Personally, I have no problem with it. Four or five years ago, I tried the look myself. It looked okay but that isn't why I did it.
Before actually taking shears to my head, I thought about it for quite a while. Probably for six months or more. Before doing it, I bought a wig. If it felt absolutely horrid and I hated it, I'd be able to wear a wig for a few months until it grew out.
The reason I finally did it is because I wanted to see what the experience would communicate to me. It would be interesting to know if I could take such a step, knowing the possible ramifications. I'd read a book by Tenzin Palmo and she discussed the shaving of her own head as part of her commitment to Buddhism and simplicity. It was a visual reminder to be mindful.
I did it in Spring. The weather was beginning to get warm and I was spending more time in the garden. I put my wig on the table, looked at it and felt some security in its presence, took the scissors and cut my hair as short as possible. I then took the shears and finished the job.
At first glance, it was startling! I was grateful that I didn't look like a short pudgy little troll. Actually, it wasn't all that bad. With my sharp features, it looked pretty good although I'm certainly no Sinead O'Connor.
Over the remainder of the day, it began to feel better and better. Out in the garden, the sun felt wonderful on my bare skin. The breeze felt great. It made me very aware of skin sensations.
As time went along, it created a shift in my consciousness. It did remind me to be mindful, to eliminate attachment to silliness like hair styles and grooming for vanity rather than cleanliness. It reminded me of those women who'd lost their hair due to cancer treatments. It reminded me of those who had diseases or disorders that stripped them of their hair and there was nothing voluntary in it for them.
It also created a feeling of freedom that I'd never known. That part isn't easily described in words but it was a feeling I thoroughly enjoyed.
Do I recommend it? Not particularly. It takes a certain kind of person to do something so radical. Thick skin is really necessary because people will gawk and stare ~ or alternatively give long pitying looks. If you have a rebellious streak, it is definitely a way to spit in the eye of dominant culture. It is a good way to make a very conscious and deliberate break from vanity. It's raw, it's basic, it's simple.. and some may even say it's sexy. That's a completely individual choice.
I would say that if the desire is there, it's worth doing it. It's an interesting experience.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Okay. So today I take a break from tolerance (one of those .. um .. "traditional Thai values") to express complete and utter perplexedness (no such word. I made it up) at the blatant stupidity in this Anna Nicole stuff. While I do things around the house, the news channel is usually on in the background. We're all overdosing on the Anna Nicole Smith dramafest. At first, it was marginally interesting. It had all the elements of a cheesy Joan Collins novel and became temporarily addicting. I watched most of it in the same manner I'd read one of those books by the pool with a Coke on a hot summer day.
But... Too much of anything is a buzzkill. Knock it off, already!
Anna Nicole Smith was an intellectually challenged woman who became a celebrity because she has big boobs. Let's be upfront about that. If it wasn't for "the girls", no one would have paid her any attention at all.
She offered little of anything but herself to the collective society. Never once did I hear her express any concern over a cause or for anyone outside of herself. With the exception perhaps of an obvious devotion to her son, she was completely self-absorbed and concerned only with her own financial security and sensual pleasure.
Now the court is clogged up with a "property rights" issue over who should have possession of her body and where she should be buried. Her mother sat with an attorney, despite nearly twenty years of estrangement, claiming her rights to the body. Her boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, who is starting to sound like little more than her drug connection, also sent his attorney to protect his rights. There was an attorney present for Larry Burkette, a man who claims to be the father of her 6-mo-old baby. (Take a bloody number! Next we'll be hearing from Thaksin Shinawatra!)
The judge is an affable guy and is listening to all of this with a certain glint of humor in his eye but hasn't said a single thing of substance. He's bifurcating the issue to include the "preservation of the beauty" of ANS's body and the rights of her now-orphaned daughter.
First of all, if she'd cared a bloody bit about her new daughter, she would have laid off the drugs long enough to raise her!
This kind of mentality has begun to irritate me and is challenging my commitment to "tolerance".
As far as I'm concerned, the woman shouldn't even be making the news, let alone a weeklong AnnaNicolefest that has no relevance to anyone, as Phil Ochs once sang, "outside of a small circle of friends."
Get that, Fox News. Get that, CNN. Get that, CourtTV. Get that, KOVR. Get that. Get that.
Okay. I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
Hope all have a good weekend. :)
Thursday, February 15, 2007
No, this post is not really about instant potatoes. :)
It is about instant gratification, instant intimacy, instant food and disposable people.
A few things have occurred over the past few days that got me thinking about this, how so many of us have the inability to wait gracefully.
Upfront: I know I do not live a life that is as fast-paced as some find necessary for survival. I have the gift of time. And I use it.
Still, I can't get beyond the feeling that we've all lost the ability to wait for something worthwhile, to sit gracefully and know that most worthwhile things do take time.
In this last relationship, I was amazed when the guy asked me to marry him after knowing me for less than three weeks, how quickly he expected intimacy and how he honestly believed it was Right Action. I nearly didn't know how to respond. It seems so obvious that marrying someone in such a short period of time and expecting to have all the benefits of a carefully-considered courtship is anything but Right Action. It's the mindset of a child.
I'm not criticizing him. That's the way he's been trained to believe. It's the way he's been trained to function in the world. That is his logical expectation.
We're surrounded by instant everything. Instant food. Instant news. Instant analysis. Instant decisions. If you want a loan, someone promises to make an instant decision. If we need to talk with someone, we expect that person to be available and ready. Heaven forbid we should have to leave a message and wait for a call back. Instead, we call someone on their cell phone, caring not in the least whether we are interrupting or what we are interrupting. After all, our needs come first. There are plenty of devices and programs to make sure we don't have to wait for anything. We are promised instant gratification for nearly anything we want or believe we need.
In choosing a life partner, I believe we need to experience all the seasons of life with that person to know whether or not s/he will be compatible. There are passages to be met. We have our first fight, our first sex, our first shared experience of family trouble, our first political disagreement. We need to know each other's money styles, fighting styles, sexual styles. These things take time. The good has to be nurtured and the bad negotiated. We have to grow together.
It is not the venue for having our needs met immediately.
The guy I saw Saturday night waited three days before putting a rather pathetic, desperate ad out on a dating website.
I'm sure he will meet someone who will marry him in three weeks. And I'm sure he will end up unhappy for not taking the time it requires to develope a relationship with her. That's kind of sad, really.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Here's something else to chew on...
You might notice here that I generally talk about whatever's on my mind and don't consider whether it's a Hallmark holiday or not. This morning I wrote something that is clearly not of interest .. I've deleted it .. but there's been something else on my mind that might be a bit more interesting to others.
The picture above is a young girl named Jessica Lunsford. Last year, she was kidnapped, raped and killed by John Couey, a guy who is a drifter, a convicted sex offender and generally a bad dude. He kidnapped Jessica from her bedroom, hid her in a closet at his sister's home, raped her repeatedly and ultimately buried her alive. She died in a plastic garbage bag, clutching a stuffed dolphin. There were scratch marks on the inside of the bag where she used two of her little fingers to scratch her way out.
His trial started this week. Currently, they are in jury selection so aside from Couey's confession, we don't know what evidence might be presented to the jury. By the time they stop haggling with the judge, it will likely be a watered-down version of what actually happened.
I got to thinking... at what point does someone cease to be human? At what point is someone so far beyond redemption that there is no benefit in trying to make any sense of their actions or their reasoning?
I am anti-death penalty. I don't like it here and I don't like it in Thailand. There is something so final about it that it will never feel morally or ethically correct. I would not be willing to vote for the death penalty, no matter who was involved. I wouldn't choose the death penalty for Adolf Hitler himself. It's just not my place.
Couey is a horrid man. There is no doubt about that. He is a shell of a human being. He definitely needs to be isolated from the rest of humanity for the remainder of his life.
This would be my suggestion: Absolutely no human contact in prison. No media. No television. Nothing that can possibly provide fodder for his sick fantasies. I believe the best way to deal with someone like that, someone who is beyond redemption by the consequences of his own choices, is complete isolation.
It's said that people who are entirely isolated eventually go insane. Let the demons in his head eat away at him until he finally dies in a hell of his own creation.
May little Jessica finally find some peace.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Today was a good day for shameless escapism. These days seem to come along periodically, days when I need to escape from the world as I know it and envelope myself in beautiful music, beautiful thoughts, beautiful actions.
A friend in Thailand sent me a tape of traditional Thai dancing. I watched it several times in a dark room with only candles for light. It was magical ~ and so beautiful!
I cleared out a part of the room and began to imitate it. The music flowed into my bones and I moved around the room in such fluid, gentle movements that every ache I may have had, physically or emotionally, went away. Eventually, I decided to get out my finest traditional clothing and enjoyed a few hours of dancing, amateurish though it may have been. There's nothing as magical as dancing ~ my big fat behind notwithstanding! :)
It occurred to me that this is what sex is supposed to be like. It is supposed to be fluid, beautiful and magical. It is not supposed to be crude, crass and indelicate. It's not supposed to be endlessly pursued or discussed with raw, dirty and vulgar words. It shouldn't be sold like a product. It's not supposed to be bartered like tokens. It is amazing how crassness can make something so beautiful ugly and grotesque.
Watch some Thai dancers for half an hour and see if it will not bring about the sensuality in anyone!
Listen to this music and tell me it doesn't reach right to the core of you.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Eventually, I do want to write a post here about ... sex. It's just taking some time to put my thoughts together.
Anyway, this morning the old Mick Jagger song has been going through my mind, based on an experience I had last night. I'm still not quite sure what to make of it because alternately I keep laughing or scratching my head in wonderment. This experience is liking falling down the rabbit hole.
Here's the story:
Last night I went out for dinner with a guy I've been sort of dating.. still in the "maybe" stages.. but since it was his birthday, it seemed important to go and try to make it as nice for him as possible. I wrote him a little birthday card and we went off to the restaurant. I even toned down the Ultra-Thai look because I wanted him to be comfortable.
It was going pretty well. He was a gentleman and we had a nice (if too large) dinner. We talked about a variety of topics and shared views on many things.
The evening began to come to an end. We'd gone out to a local place to see if they had some live music. They did not ~ so it was time to come home.
He pulled up to my circular driveway and we sat in his truck, having a final cigarette.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, he says "I guess I'm not going to get laid for my birthday."
I have a poker face. Truly. I do not show my reactions externally until I am ready to do so. Inside though, I wanted to break out laughing. It took everything I had to keep a straight face. Reaction of any kind would only give him what he wanted. At that point, I had no interest in giving him the time of day.. let alone.. um.. that! That kind of crude presentation is something I haven't heard since high school. Next I expected him to say, "If you really loved me, you'd do what I want..."
He finished by saying that since I would not come and spend the night with him that he would wake up in the morning alone, spend the day alone and go to bed tonight, knowing he would just get up and go to work and do it all over again.
Life's tough sometimes. You know? Sometimes it's a royal bitch! Then you die.
I sat quietly and finally said, "I don't even know what to say to that.... "
As if a whining man is really going to be an aphrodisiac!
(These italicized statements are are the thoughts running through my head.)
He replied that if I'd already made up my mind, I could say goodnight and go inside.
That is exactly what I did after thanking him for the meal. I closed the door to the truck and came inside.
Does anyone else find it odd that a 55-year-old woman would be having such experiences? What would you have said or done in similar circumstances?
I'm still laughing. Really. I'm not in the least upset about it but would like to hear from others on the topic. It's simply hard for me to comprehend that any person over 50 could be so immature as to think such a thing, let alone say it out loud.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
My body is continuing to morph into something longer and a bit leaner ~ but definitely rounded. A few pounds are gone.
I attribute that mainly to exercise. The 30-minutes a day, no matter what, does work! Seriously, I can't recommend it enough.
Older bodies take more time ~ and I'm okay with that. For some reason, I've managed to come to peace with the fact that I will not be orchestrating this to the nth degree and there is no amount of plotting and planning that will make the river flow any faster than it will. While I knew that from the beginning, the fat in my head led me down the wrong road for a time, believing that I could will my body into doing something it is not ready to do.
It's an overall lesson I need to learn occasionally, to remember that attaching to the outcomes of things will usually lead me to frustration and irritation, eventually sabotaging everything I am wanting to see happen. We can get to a point where everything is about goal instead of process.
I look forward to visiting everyone's site this weekend, just to see how you're doing and pluck the wisdom where I can.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Something smells funny in Florida. In fact it stinks.
Don't get me wrong. I am not a major Anna-Nicole Smith fan. Honestly, I never considered her to be the sharpest tool in the shed and she's not very interesting. She has big boobs and lots of blonde hair. Ho hum. I recall her interview with Glenn Beck when she stated emphatically that she doesn't listen to the news or have an opinion about the war in Iraq because "it's too depressing".
That didn't impress me.
Still, I find this sudden death to be very strange, given such a short period of time since her son died. The only one left is her 5-month old daughter, paternity undetermined, who is set to inherit quite a lot of money. (The Blue-Eyed Thai Girl is definitely a Mistress of the Understatement.) A-NS's estate will live on for a long time and the baby is the sole beneficiary.
I recall Nancy Grace's interview with her mother a few months ago. Her message was "be careful who you hang around with because the next time, it might be you." Makes me wonder if her mother knew something about this situation that is not public knowledge.
Okay. Here's my opinion, for what it's worth:
It was homicide.
What say you?
I appreciate all the comments left about this topic. So many of you brought up points I hadn't considered.
Lisa Nowak is a troubled woman. I have no doubt about that. As one person mentioned, the booking picture of her barely conceals her madness. Ultimately, I hope she will get the help she needs.
Romance has always seemed bizarre to me anyway, so my limited understanding renders my opinions rather meaningless in the long run. I don't understand "craving" another person ~ or needing validation on that level. While a good man/woman, woman/woman, man/man relationship can definitely add substance and security to our lives, I don't understand the drive toward it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it won't.
I've always known that I'd be completely okay alone, if that is how my life works out. There are so many things to be learned and experienced that I can fill up two lifetimes, partnered or alone.
Somehow, it seems Lisa Nowak got confused about many things. This story will be an interesting one as it unfolds. I do find it amusing to watch NASA go into damage-control mode, wanting to screen astronauts to make sure they don't have any red flags indicating they could be potential stalkers. Typical of government. They believe that everything can be prevented. It can't. There is no screening that would have prevented Lisa Nowak from answering the demons in her head.
I also want to take a few lines here to wish Jen safe travels during her trip to El Salvador. I'm going into whirlwinds of fantasy about warm beaches and friendly people.
Oh, crap. Darn it! I'm thinking about Thailand again. LOL
At any rate, safe travels, Jen. :)
Posted by thailandchani at 10:07 AM
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
It's raining this morning. That's quite a change from the past dry spell which left most of us feeling like we were in a warp of some kind. Maybe a black hole? Worm hole?
What's that about space?
Yesterday, I heard the story of Lisa Nowak repeated many times and it got me thinking.
It has all the titillating elements of a bad novel. Stalking, love triangle, attempted murder, woman scorned, jealousy, on and on. Weird thing is the human heart. It is strange what we'll believe when it comes to "love" relationships.
And it's simply impossible for me to imagine how anyone could want something so badly that she'd drive 900 miles, wearing an adult diaper to avoid bathroom breaks, just to meet up with the "other woman" in Florida and confront her. Jealousy run amok. Emotions out of control.
I can honestly say that I have never craved another human being enough to commit a crime. I've never wanted a material object so much that I would be willing to commit a crime. There's something so inherently evil about craving to that degree.
Lisa Nowak is someone who seemingly "had it all". She's reasonably attractive, had an awesome job that very few can even dream about, three kids, a home and family. Yet she would sacrifice all of that for the attention of a man?
It seems apparent that she had some kind of mental breakdown, a psychotic episode. That, I absolutely believe. It's behavior so out-of-character for her (that we know of anyway) that it's apparent something went horribly wrong internally. It's the subtext that has me thinking.
I so completely have the right to have what I want, no matter who I hurt and no matter what I ruin in the process, that I can take these actions and they are justified.
Even a psychotic episode can't conceal the way we look at the world. Just listen to the rantings of any paranoid schizophrenic. A psychotic episode is an extrapolation of our fundamental way of looking at the world.
I can't wrap my mind around it.
Interesting topic. What say you?
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
An outcast, here I camp by hillside,
Driven from love and home, for a time
To abide under the stars and the dew.
As if stricken by the cold pall of death,
Winter's breath spares far and so few,
What with wind, rain splash all anew,
I can't be among the few to be spared.
All these pains I bear with fortitude,
No abuse on nature, to be fair.
But love's pains all refuse so to bear.
Men swear by the gods to disown.
I seem to be using this blog to create some chronicle of my transformation over the past few years.
In some ways, that's a good thing ~ and in others, not so good. The good overrides the bad, though. Mostly, I'm concerned that words will not fill in the cracks and essence of what this is truly like.
I'm amazed at how the transformation has manifested in my physical being as well as all other facets. Recently, an acquaintance took some photographs and I looked at them with a degree of surprise.
Previously, I always had a "hard" appearance. There was a brittle outer shell that was thick and angular. To say my appearance screamed "unapproachable" would have been a gross understatement. I think I looked like a person who had shut down completely, someone who was hidden in a deep cavern within, a cavern with moats and alligators ~ a place no one else could reach. I wouldn't allow it.
It wasn't attractive.
Now the sharp edges seem to be more rounded. I am amazed at how my face has a heart-shaped look to it. It never did before.
My steps are smaller, less purposeful, less aggressive. It's as though my feet refuse to step on the earth with the same "stomp" that was typical of the past. I remember being constantly admonished to 'slow down'. Now I am admonished to 'speed up'.
Last night, I listened to a radio show at bedtime. Dick Sutphen, the author of many New Age books was interviewed. He gave a good overview of reincarnation, karma, past lives and discussed the regressions he has done. He talked about how having answers about the past often gives his clients a more complete understanding of their lives now.
I can easily see how this would be.
Turn on the Twilight Zone music because I am about to say something that certainly sounds "out there" by current pragmatic standards.
There are times when I can almost feel the Asian Thai woman I once was. I don't know anything about her or her day-to-day life in the practical sense. I don't know where she lived in Thailand. I don't know if it was "Thailand" yet ~ or still Siam. But I just know her. There are times when I almost feel the two of us integrating into the obviously Caucasian Thai woman I am today. Sometimes I think this must be similar to a transgender experience. My body does not match my insides ~ but it causes me absolutely no pain or anguish. I don't dislike my body or feel alienated by it. I know our bodies don't define us, that our bodies are the shells we use, something material, something with form, to house our souls. "Thai-ness" has no relation to physical appearance, even though my own physical appearance has begun to change with the influence. It's subtle. It's a series of small movements. It is the inside that shapes the outside.
It's difficult for me to explain to anyone else what it was like to be as lost as I once was, to not feel any sense of connectedness to the world or my environment. It's not something that lends itself to words because it is a feeling. It's too experiential.
It's an experience I no longer have. Once I set foot in that little country, there would never be that kind of disconnection again. A connection took place there that completely transcends the physical or intellectual.
I am tempted at times to contact someone like Dick Sutphen, just to find out if there are any documented cases of this very thing I have experienced over the past three or four years.
It would be interesting to know.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Yesterday I was gone the entire day. That is highly unusual for me, being the entrenched homebody that I am. I spent the day with a friend. We ate and watched the National Geographic Channel, avoiding all the Super Bowl hoohah.
When I came in (mid-evening), I had quite a welcoming committee. V., PJ and D. all pounced on me, wondering where I'd been all day. They were concerned that something bad had happened and I was either dead or laying in a coma somewhere.
While I found the concern rather sweet and kind, it still bothered me to the extent that I am not accustomed at my age to accounting for my comings and goings. Still, I responded with kindness, thanked them for being concerned, emphasized that I am and was just fine instead of getting defensive or feeling the need to assert my independence. I know I am independent and there is no need to defend it. They were three people who were concerned about my well-being.
Most people mean no harm.
That got me to thinking about a recent post on KC's site where she discusses "inferential leaps". She addresses the habit of always looking for the worst possible outcome and how it has become a normal way of thinking.
I call that way of thinking "awfulizing", a term I most likely got from Albert Ellis' Rational-Emotive Therapy. Overall, I have found it to be such a logical way of thinking that I've adopted many of the principles without necessarily studying the overall principles. I cherry-picked the stuff that works.
I don't know what it is that makes up the timetable for each of us to process our own anger, sadness, outrage, or whatever. I wish I did, because part of what makes some of that stuff so painful is that you don't know how long you are going to "feel like that," or if things will "ever get better..." Things DO get better, sometimes they get worse, but one thing is certain- none of us lives in stasis - no matter what is going on now, it will not be "like this" forever.
One thing age has allowed me is the ability to recognize the temporary nature of things, and to appreciate what I DO have rather than awfulizing about what I don't have, or what I think I "deserve." Awfulizing about what might happen. It's an easy trap to fall into. The reward for changing that pattern is potential, and hope. We go through a lot of sh*t in our lives but we can also go through some pretty cool stuff, too.
It's easy to fall into defensive thinking, the part of us that believes we must be in constant battle against possible negative outcomes or the potential negative motives of others. It's as though on some level we believe we can prevent the river from flowing, however it is going to flow.
I'm very clear that I live along with everyone else in a cycle of suffering. It's dukkha... samsara. There is no escape from it, short of enlightenment which is unlikely to come this time around.
My awfulizing won't stop that cycle. If anything, it contributes to it.
Most people try to do the right thing and to be kind in their own ways. There is very little worth getting upset about. Worrying never changed a single thing to the best of my knowledge, so I have adopted a detachment from outcomes that allows me freedom from worrying.
Epictetus, a first century Roman philosopher, said that it is not so much about what happens to us in this life but our opinion of it. Most stress is voluntary, a result of our choices about how we react to something.
I pick my battles carefully and try to remember that most things aren't worth the negative energy we give them. Annoyances and inconveniences are rarely worth it. Trying to second-guess the motives of others is another energy sinkhole. All we can do is observe, use logic and reason, and make decisions based on available information.
Most of the things we find ourselves caught up in are in the Mai pen rai (a Thai term which basically means "never mind") category. In the final analysis, there's very little we control in this life as much as we would prefer to believe otherwise.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
I have to admit that I am still chuckling about the "MILF" label and its meaning.
Most of you probably think I am being less than forthcoming when I admit total ignorance of the alternate meaning. While blaming age is legitimate, the truth is that I am so bored with most movies and contemporary culture that I tune it out. To me, it means "Melting Inches, Losing Fat". If the other meaning is encouraging others to make healthier choices and allowing a community to form for support and encouragement, I'm all for it. It takes what it takes. :)
I have noticed over the past week that my body seems to be leveling itself out, taking on a bit of a different profile ~ a longer, more compact appearance. I don't think I melted inches or lost fat. It is more a subtle change in shape. I attribute that to the "30 minutes walk a day ~ no matter what." I'm beginning to believe there is some wisdom to the idea that our bodies find their own shapes and sizes, regardless of intentional manipulation through fad diets or extreme exercise programs.
In the past, prior to all the technology and industrialization that we all take for granted now, people engaged in a lot more physical activity. Even the act of cooking took a degree of physical effort. People still came in all shapes and sizes but our health was better. We weren't so sedentary.
Most people have a false belief that, for example, all Thai women are thin. While it seems a majority of them are, I also noticed heavyset women. And, yes, even some fat women. The difference between here and there is that their bodies looked sturdy. I could tell the women certainly didn't sit around on their butts all day writing blogs (like me.. *ahem*), watching TV or reading books.
They're active. They're active physically, mentally active, some of them intellectually and most of them spiritually.
That is why I now introduce my very own diet and health program, known as "The Third World Girl's Way to Health and Fitness."
It doesn't involve expensive gym memberships, tapes, CDs, DVDs or personal trainers. It does not include Denise Austin, Dancing to the Oldies, Richard Simmons or Bob Greene. Even Dr. Oz has been relegated to the ashheap of history. Capitalism has been removed from the very simple act of recognizing that our bodies instinctively know what they need and want to function properly. We do not require gimmicks to get fit. We need to cooperate with our bodies. That's all.
It works like this.. a few solid principles: When you're satisfied, stop eating. Eat sensible foods and don't listen to the pundits who come up with a new food pyramid every time their job security is at risk. Walk half an hour a day, no matter what. Take a multivitamin every single day. Stay in healthy touch with your feelings. If you feel sad, cry. Don't eat. Be sensible, be moderate in all things and let our bodies do what they are designed to do by nature which is to be healthy! Be respectful of your body.
Too simple? Probably. No one will believe it works because we're so bloody brainwashed into believing we need something external, some culturally-appointed "expert", to tell us how to do what we already know how to do, if we stop thinking, plotting and planning so much and exchange that for intuition and common sense.
Now.. a minor gripe. We need a rainmaker here in Northern California. The "cold and sunny" weather each day is beginning to grate on my nerves, as though I am in a stupid cosmic remake of "Groundhog Day". Bring on the chants, the rituals ~ whatever it takes ~ and break this pattern!
Thursday, February 01, 2007
(Note: I am unable to reach most of the blogs on my blogroll today due to a blogger error. I will try again later. For now, it's just too frustrating to constantly get "We're sorry. We can not complete your request." Maybe it's time to change sites?)
Yesterday, I was reading a poll on the Internet about shaving and women. It was interesting because there are such strong opinions about it, pro- and con.
One of the things I noticed in parts of Thailand, outside the large cities which have become somewhat (and some would say "too") westernized, women didn't shave. I don't think it was bohemianism. It is a practical consideration since shaving opens up the skin to infection. The act of scraping a razor over the skin opens up pores and becomes an open port for any bacteria that happens to be floating around.
Eve Ensler, in her show "The Vagina Monologues", presents the idea of shaving as being another way women are juvenilized, theory being that to shave off perfectly natural body hair returns women to pre-pubescence. That has also been mentioned by several other feminist writers as well.
Other women, feminist and not, consider it to be an act of vanity and a silly preoccupation with an out-moded standard of beauty.
I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Personally, I've always thought it is a rather bizarre practice but am very "Bohemian" with hair wild and free. I don't recall the last time I ever used make-up. I'm more of a natural, back-to-the-earth, gauze-skirt and Birks-wearing old hippie. That hasn't changed.
How about you? What do you feel or think about this topic? (It would be interesting to hear from both men and women.)
(I will answer the questions from yesterday tonight or tomorrow. I'm finding there's actually something to be said about all of it.... why I chose the lies and why I included the truth. :)