Saturday, November 11, 2017

The CLIMATE of Sexual Assault and Washington, D.C. and my MAD RESPECT for Veterans

Remember when people even engaged in conversation about morality?

The Jefferson Memorial.  My fav quote of all time.

Aiight, I'm going to admit right up front that I get all my news from The Hollywood Reporter.  I clicked on something like an old person and now I get literal ALERTS from the Hollywood Reporter on my phone.  Whatever.  Every time I get a notification on my phone which is a gazillion times a day, it is from the Hollywood Reporter.  I shit you not.  So right now my whole world is SEXUAL HARASSMENT. It's one outing after another.

And how does this make me ANY different than someone who only gets their news from say CNN or FOX?  It is skewed.  I admit. But at least I am willing to admit it. I RECOGNIZE that my news source has a special filter.  So what?  So does everyone else's.

Call me crazy, but is sexual harassment NEW? I can site two MAJOR BLATANT sexual harassment instances in my work life which to every one's amusement centered on my breasts and I guess I'm a douchebag, but like it happened a hundred years ago and even though I am totally gonna OUT them here, I do not in any way mean to empower anyone.  I just wanna tell a good story.  And then you can take away what you need to take away from it...a laugh, recognition, empathy and then awareness, I guess, if I am being honest with myself.

Up front, I will say that I DO feel that there is a TRUE delineation between a Perve with minor power and a distorted sense of self and a lineage of misogyny versus a genuine sexual predator.  Let me throw some names out there:

Bill Cosby
Louis C.K.
Harvey Weinstein (duh)
Brett Ratner
and apparently Kevin Spacey aka President Frank Underwood

and then there's DUSTIN HOFFMAN, NOT a predator, but perhaps just a product of his generation and upbringing and let's not forget CHARACTER, which I'll get to later.

Could this BE?  I actually ENJOY the work of all of the above and they are DIRTBAGS?  How do I get my BRAIN around this?

Oh, I already have.  Woody Allen.  LOVE his work.  His films speak to me.  He is a TRUE artist.  Right?  STILL watch his films and look forward to each premiere.  He has MUSES.  It's fascinating. Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow, Mariel Hemmingway...Scarlett Johanneson. He likes 'em young. And as I am writing this, I am conflicted because I literally LOVE his work, but he married his step daughter.

Ol' Woody's gotta be shitting his pants right now.  Given the CLIMATE and all.  Wonder if Bill Cosby is sweating?  Or have we forgotten about him?  He has over 40 women accusing him of drugging and raping them and he is a free man.

On the other hand, you can literally TWEET that someone sexually harassed you two decades ago and it is NEWS.  I am not discounting these women and men, I am simply trying to achieve a balance.

I was just in D.C. and took a few tours and basically, J. Edgar Hoover would just ADORE social media.

You can annihilate someone with a single post.

My goal, here, is twofold. And this is something I am struggling, first, look at the inequality of everything and to examine if it is OKAY to ENJOY the work of someone who is a DIRTBAG?

And for those of you who are intellectuals, NO this is not an analogy for the current Presidency. Although, the recording of him saying to just "grab that pussy" came out BEFORE he was elected.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Bill Clinton did.  Maybe it's better for you if you VAPE it.

OK. Back to my sexual harassment follies.

1. Mr. Taylor:  He would summon me to his office TWICE a week to turn the pages of house specs (They were huge.  Imagine like the ancient books in Raiders of the Lost Ark) that he had to initial in the corner and he would look down my blouse and laugh about doing such act to all the other males AND females in the room.  This was 1992.

2. Gary:  He was my boss at a newspaper and HE used to call me into his office and BULLSHIT for HOURS while he stared at my breasts and I fake laughed at his jokes that emanated out of his crooked, antibiotic stained front teeth (I asked him about it once. Couldn't help myself. Or maybe he offered it up. They were LOOONG seshes.)

Now, with GARY, I actually brought it up when Corporate came in to give us one of those "workshops about sexual harassment in the workplace".  His wife was HR.  Nothing happened.  I knew it wouldn't.  I don't mean to be a defeatist here but it was a different time.  He was, in his mind, just being HIM.  I offered up a hypothetical at the conference table during the seminar where he was not present, but his wife was.  It was MY way of fighting back, making he and his wife squirm, and I did it because I was ANGRY.  Angry at the fact that I had to ENDURE his bullshit to continue on with my day.

That being said, not ONE boss or interview I had ever had ended with a man masturbating in front of me or touching me, unless you count the Mexican restaurant I worked at in college where they would regularly press themselves against me when they handed me my Spanish homework.  I'm joking.

They TOTALLY pressed themselves against me, just not after they handed me my Spanish homework.  Just when I had to lean over to get chips out of the warmer and pretty much any time we were in a small space.

I had this conversation with Hallie, my eldest, on her sixteenth birthday trip to D.C., her happy place, besides Disney World, that is.

"Make no mistake," I said, over lunch at The Old Ebbitt Grill, an institution in Washington, "There is a distinct difference between someone who made their employees uncomfortable by being a PIG 20 years ago, and an actual PREDATOR that masturbates, gropes and rapes it's victims because they are in a position of power."

Gawd their food is good.

Look, dialogue is important, and it raises awareness,  and a predator is a predator is a predator, but let's spread equality and fairness across our swift persecution and be sure to include predators past.

I just LOVE that inappropriate bosses are forced to reexamine.  It doesn't really bother me that retired folks are being self-reflective.  You have to understand, too, that this was a different time.  When I look back, I am more disgusted by Gary than Mr. Taylor.  You know why?  Because everyone in the room with Mr. Taylor understood that he was never going to change, including his son, who would also be in the room from time to time.

I wonder if HE does the same today.  Sitting in his father's big, imposing desk, ripping people off who can barely afford to rent, with the dream of a big, prefab house.  Maybe he's listening now because the CLIMATE has changed, but let's not tarnish his father's memory by all this talk of breasts and pages and laughter, right?

See how powerful that can be?  It reduces a person to a moment.  My inner turmoil comes from those that were a product of their time and they were extremely inappropriate and those that are TRULY damaged and dangerous.

So, in D.C., Hallie and I went to the night tours of the Capital.  You go in a bus and you have a tour guide that gives you both important and anecdotal information on all of the nation's most famous landmarks and memorials.  It is a MUST DO if you go.  We lucked out and got an amazingly young black tour guide.  They all know each other, as they would high five each other in passing. 

Chistopher explained, " I am new at this so please, please review me on Trip Advisor.  It is a tour guide's life blood." 

He was hip and energetic and involved and informed.  He is the epitome of who I want the next generation to be.

It is awe inspiring.  It really is.

At one point, we were outside the White House on one of the last stops, late at night, and a dude with dreadlocks and ear buds buzzed by during one of Christopher, our guide's, soliloquies, with his music blaring and his middle finger in the air as her strolled by the fence separating the President's residence and a park and we all had to laugh, right?  Our tour guide was all, "Welcome to the White House".

We also went to the White House, BTW, through our Congressman's office and I was detained, of course.  It was very dramatic.  I was almost executed.  Ask Hallie.

If I am honest with myself, I was compliant in the sexual harassment.  Sure, I may have staged a small coo, but at the time, the "law" was not on my side.  I appreciate that everyone is so open now and I applaud those that are speaking out, but you cannot speak out of both sides of your mouth.

You CANNOT, say, ENJOY the mighty who have fallen and still respect the work, or can you?  JFK.  He had orgies in the White House pool and was an infamous womanizer, yet he is lauded and did great work.  He literally changed the social landscape of this country.


Are you uncomfortable yet? Because I am.

Equally obsessed.  What a STRONG ASS woman.  This was at the NEWSEUM.  I MUST SEE. The exhibits are mesmerizing. A definite highlight.  We spent HOURS there.  I could not get ENOUGH.

By reaching back into history, and outing these people it is empowering, and it is informative, but it can also be unfair and I'm talking harassment here, not assault, because the person you are accusing is on the cross, unable to defend themselves and the time.

In today's world, we TWEET transgressions and then the transgressions TWEET back and then no one stands a chance.

Is it any coincidence that Ronan Farrow is leading this charge?  Woody Allen was in his family.  He has an ax to grind. And he should, but we need to level out the playing field.  It appears persecution via social media has replaced the good ol' fashioned justice system.  And why is THAT?  Perhaps it is because the justice system has failed victims in the past and social media is the victim's new platform. And that is FIIINNE, as long as it is fair.

Everything has changed so quickly, yet stayed the same.  We are all so paranoid, and we should be, it is our new reality, whyyyy I was just at Reagan Airport when Hallie and I were in the bathroom and an officer yelled in to "GET OUT!   There is a threat! And brought his bomb sniffing German Shepard in while we waited in line to wash our hands.

Now there is nothing more filthy than an airport in my mind and as I laid my hand on the small of Hallie's back and told her to run, not walk as far away from the bathroom as we could get, I couldn't help thinking of all the smut on my hands.

It is a new World order.  In every sense of the word.  Constant information and stress and confusion about what is real and what is not.

Think about the word THREAT and what feelings that conjures up.  It makes me feel vulnerable and exposed because it is VAGUE.  With social media, anyone can do anything they want to do to you with total anonymity.  And that is not fair.  It is not JUST.  And Justice is what our nation's very principle was found on.

The Constitution is a set of laws that was put into action because people needed to know what to trust.  Something to refer to, when they feel THREATENED.  Something to believe in. I don't know about you, but I don't trust anything anymore.  I have always been the eternal skeptic, but today's world has brought this to a whole new level.

I have three girls and they TALK.  They tell me everything.  I know shit about people I don't even KNOW and I always ask them when they offer up some salacious anecdotal information to consider the source.

But what source do YOU trust these days?  The Hollywood Reporter?  The New York Times?  CNN? FOX? The President? Your Congressman?

I'm going to leave you with a few quotes on the walls of the Martin Luther King Memorial that struck a cord with me.  What a visionary.  Truly.  He was a THINKER.  He was a REVOLUTIONARY.  And best of all, he was a DECENT HUMAN BEING in his personal life and that used to mean something.

He had CHARACTER. Remember what that was like?  More than formidable, more than distinguished, more than even respected and respectful.

Character is defined as "the inherent complex of attributes that determines a persons moral and ethical actions and reactions."

Conversely, PREDATOR is defined as "a person or a group that ruthlessly exploits others".  That is pretty broad.  Does the word "ruthlessly" make that person more menacing?  Or do his/her BEHAVIOR define the action?

Here is what Doctor Martin Luther King has to say:

I think we all want justice, don't we?
They left this one.  The memorial is three stones.  His memorial of his likeness is the middle one.  The others rough.  Magical to see.  Poetic, really.

I like pics with people in it.  Hallie was happy to oblige.  This is her favorite memorial.  The detail is unparalleled.  

Words to live by.  Who thinks like this anymore?  It is all just rhetoric at this point.

They have since removed this quote because "people felt it was too arrogant".  I don't know who these people were.  I am assuming it was the family.  If it was anyone else, they are assholes.

GUIDANCE:  Go to D.C.  Take your children.  Take your parents.  Everyone has a different reaction, but a reaction just the same.  Not the kind of reaction you get from a twitter feed or an Instagram post, but a visceral reaction to all that affects the senses.

All of these people died for you.  Respect their memory.  Be a better American.  We are extremely lucky to live in this country, but ultimately it is up to us to make it a country we are proud to live in.  We owe it to THEM and we owe it to ourselves and our children.  It's LEGACY time, y'all.  Look backward and look forward.  My daughter has hit REFRESH for me on how important HISTORY is and I am truly grateful for that.    Thanks Poppy for the hotel points.  We wish you could have been with us.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Massage Parlours and Blankets on a Lawn

I'm making out like the whole night was a big buzzkill...quite the opposite.

Soooooo... recently I made the mistake of telling my tennis pro about getting a massage at a "massage parlour" that just popped up in our neighborhood.  I should have left that image to his imagination, but on not ONE, but TWO occasions during what should be a typical middle aged clinic on a Tuesday at 1:00, turned into me SIMULATING said massage, only THIS time, Keith was ME, and IIIIII was the tiny Asian woman who accosted me on that FINE Sunday afternoon.

Allright, let's back up. I sometimes like to mess with people on Facebook at night when I am bored. (Not as much, anymore, considering how SENSITIVE everyone is) but from time to time I will post shit that entertains me, or make fun of people who I encounter on vacation, or whatever.  Who cares, right?  I ain't looking' fo' no JOB! Not yet, anyway. Still waiting to be discovered like a super model in an airport.  Where do all the literary scouts hang out?  Not, apparently.

Aaanyway, a little bit ago I was avoiding my kids by going by myself to PIADA at 2:00 in the afternoon on a SUNDAY, and this sign caught my eye, as it had a hundred times before, when I was escaping my family to hang out by myself on a weekend.  

A new Asian Massage place had opened up in between the neighborhood toy store and deli at the twin strip mall beside Piada's. The shades are all drawn, and they have this cheesy banner announcing their new residence, flanked by Easy Living, this German delicatessan that makes my stomach turn, but my husband finds both nostalgic and delicious, and then there is like a BOUTIQUE toy store.

My neighbor and I were discussing it one day and he (this is second source, y'all, a source close to the subject) had been binging on Shameless as of late, and suggested that the "relaxing massage place" was run by Easy Living employees and they would run over in the middle of making sandwiches and give massages.

Which brings me to my SOURCE.

A professional writer NEVER reveals a source.

Not too long ago,  my source and I went to Louisville together to see The Lumineers.  The venue was amazing.  I was in my HOMETOWN,  and we had an absolute BALL!  It was fun to show someone I really care about where I grew up.  I don't get to do that very often anymore.

I kept telling my source that we needed to bring blankets because it was a grassy knoll type sitch, and the bitchy source ACTUALLY said to me, " I can't REMEMBER the last time I sat down at a concert."

And then we exited my Dad's car, cause he gave us a ride, natch, and it was a SEA of fucking  blankets and quilts creating a picturesque patchwork on the grassy knoll disappearing into the Ohio River.  I am talking LIT bridges in the background, and various boats docked in the bay to the right, all partying and listening to the free music.

"In MY opinion," I pointed out to the boats, addressing the source, "THAT is the best seat in the house.  And you were wrong about the blanket.  Big Time." I said for what would end up being forty-five times that evening.

The source then got us two vodkas a piece and we sat down on  a square of grass in between all the blankets and I bitched intermittently for a good 30 minutes about my drinks melting and the rash I was about to get.  Good times.

The venue boasted various food trucks and liquor stations at every turn. It was magical.  I can't wait to go back.

 I still bitched about the blanket whenever I could.  I would ask those of us around us what fabric their blanket was made of and if it felt good on the backs of their bare legs.  I was relentless.

Finally, the source tried to buy me a Lumineers blanket (that I was told I could also"drape over my couch" by the douchy couple behind us, which also admitted to "owning a blanket for  EVERY concert they had ever been to" because it was "their thing"), but they were SOLD OUT to every OTHER dumbass source that FORGOT theirs, OR needed another reminder on their furniture that they went to a concert.

SOOOO naturally I needed a massage after I got home from the Lumineers concert and my belly was full of Piada, sooooo I thought I would finally stake out our new bordello and, in turn, take the untraceable cash I had earned from my ticket sales from the concert (I had extra) to get an otherwise undocumented massage. Until now.

I'm exaggerating.  I had been super curious since they opened, boasting their "relaxion" when I was just trying get a birthday present for a kid that was having a party in 10 min.

At first, it was RECON work for Facebook, but then it turned into something DARK and UGLY, or SPONTANIOUS...AMAZING...and eventually, HABIT FORMING.

I went in and asked if they had any specials, like ANY investigative journalist would do.  The young girl at the podium deferred me to the madam, I mean, the proprietor. She showed me the price list which is published below.

I went back out to my car after taking the pic.  I sat there a full five minutes, I shit you not.  And then finally I was like, FUCK IT, I REALLY want a massage.

I go back in and I am matched up with a 60-year-old Asian lady.  I get necked.

Let me break this down for you.  You have a, I don't know, HAND towel covering your ass, and then the front when you flip over.  She totally manhandles you in the sense that there is no "comfort zone" type conversing, like you might get at a resort.  You just kinda do what she says and you hope that the place does not get raided while you are there.

This all sounds sexual, but it wasn't at all.  It was, should I put it, both mortifying and gratifying at the same time.  Wait. That is sounding sexual again.  Being that we are in the throws of  another Fifty Shades moment and all.

It was a great massage without the pomp and circumstance of it all.  There was a plastic rose on my pillow when I first entered the room for Christ's sake.  There were no candles and you could hear the Lane Avenue traffic outside because YOU GUESSED IT - there was no music.  I'll just bring my earbuds next time, I thought to myself.

I went to a back alley massage, without having to lock my car with the freshly purchased kite and one of those stuffed animals with the big eyes in the front seat from the adjacent Toy Store, as my cover.  "See these presents, muthafuckas," I think to myself, the baby oil segregating the baby hairs into clumps at the nape of my neck as I get into my SUV, "that's my muthafuckin' ALIBI."

I've got layers of guidance today, y'all.  Check out CAAMP, the BAND.  It is not a new obsession of mine, but one that needs to be shared and appreciated. They are still relatively small so they go to really cool venues.
Click HERE:  

They also have a Insta, so you can track them like I do, like the filthy cougar I am.  They are being billed as an "organic" band  (because they are just two guys that came together to write and perform really great music as opposed to be "manufactured" by the industry, I guess) and they have been on a serious tour of the South and the East Coast for the last six months with the equally cool Rainbow Kitten Surprise.  The next leg of their tour is West. Follow them any way you can.  They are worth it.  

Just give me street cred when they make it BIG!

And while I'm on the subject, make plans to sit on a lawn this summer, under the stars, while you listen to great music, but don't forget your blanket, or you will regret it, especially if you bring me.

Oh, and get a back alley massage, especially if you can find one in full view of the most popular pizza place in town.  Be sure to do it on a Sunday, too, when said pizza place has a line out the door.

And then post THIS to make it seem like the last hour never happened.
Just covering my tracks.