So If I Were Ugly, It Would Be Alright To Be Unpleasant?

The other morning, these two guys came in to get breakfast, like many before them. One of them ordered and waited for the other to order. The other man, however, was apparently too busy talking on his phone, standing first inside and then wandering out. When he finally hung up and deigned to acknowledge to me, it was only to make me wait even longer while he first found the menu (which seems to be very difficult for most people, even though it's right there on the fucking wall) and then tried to figure out what he wanted. Now, all of these things are not necessarily gauranteed to make me dislike someone; I've been realizing more and more how almost everything depends on the individual. Something that makes me hate one person is more forgivable in the next. My opinions about my friends' ex-boyfriends vary, even though the break ups are all very similar. You get the idea.

So saying, maybe with another person I would have been less irritated, but something about this guy just pissed me off to the nth degree. Especially when, after I had rung him up and was waiting for him to pay, he said, "Oh! So beautiful, and yet so serious!" in very lilting accents. Not sure I understood, I said "Uh, what?" and he said it again, only formed as a question. Out loud, I said it was rather early in the morning and inside my head I yelled about what an annoying douchebag he was. I was pretty much fuming by the time he finally left.

In high school, in the English class from hell (Advanced Placement with a bipolar crab of a teacher), we read an essay about why women smile. The point the writer was trying to make was that women are always expected to wear this pleasant mask, that doing so allows everyone else to be at ease. I managed to find it on google here: http://www.smartercarter.com/Essays/Cunningham%20-%20Why%20Women%20Smile.htm

It's very well written, and I only wish I could get my thoughts and opinions out half so well. At any rate, what that man said perfectly exemplified the point here. Even more so, since his implication was that being beautiful requires me to be cheerful and pleasant. The aforementioned essay claims that the image of the perpetually smiling woman is particularly American, and that women in other countries are less likely to smile without genuine reason. I thought it was funny when she mentions American fast food franchises trying to open up shop in Europe and finding it nearly impossible to get workers over there to smile the way they do here.

I've noticed this before, especially when looking over the reviews on yelp. Many people go into cafes and restaurants expecting the cheery, bubbly barista or waitress, and their tips often depend on how much she kisses their ass. I say this all the time, and now I send it off into the internet: Excuse me, sir, for not kissing your ass, I couldn't quite get past the enormous pole stuck up it.

Please, quote me on that. And please, creepy middle-aged men, you're not going to regain your youth by the insincere smile of your cute server-girl. And if she fails to deliver said smile, more than likely it's because you're not worth wasting it on.


I Don't Know How Many Of You Are Aware Of This, Buuuut

Linda Perry and Courtney Love are pretty much my heroes.

And why? Oh god don't ask. No, it's not really much to do with them as people. I don't know them as people. I only know as the raw, bellowing voices that are undeniably feminine, screaming words that people should probably listen to.

Honestly? I'm pretty much enamored with them as they were back in their day. I guess I should say their past selves are my heroes. I'm like basically in love with them as they were back then. Oh my god, just look up the pictures, for christ's sake. I don't really care whether other people think bands like The Husbands, The Avengers, L7, whatever, are better examples of angry grrrl bands. For me, they can't touch this. L7 comes a bit close, but seriously?? Who else can do that wild ululation like Linda Perry? Who else raged onstage in ripped stockings, babydoll dresses, and high heels like Courtney Love? Can't. Touch. This. Motherfucker!

And fuck all you idiot boys who think us girls are dumb for listening to our angry counterparts. Who are you, anyway, listening to your shitty metal, absorbed in the wandering of your single note? Go smoke some more pot.


And What Are Words?

Today in my art class, while we were all simultaneously finishing up our projects and talking smack about celebrities, one guy explained that the reason Edward Cullen does such-and-such is because he's a faggot. The teacher, one of your run-of-the-mill stereotypical-looking San Francisco lesbians, happened to come out of the back room at that unfortunate moment and lit into him. It was one of those moments you always dread as a little kid: not the quick, hot anger with yelling and cursing, but the cold, quiet kind that comes up from behind and sinks in worse than anything. She made him apologize to the class, which he did with a faint air of one who does not feel he's entirely in the wrong. Another woman said "thank you," though whether to him or the teacher, I'm not sure. For his part, he was nearly silent the rest of the class, while the conversation resumed around him. The teacher reiterated toward the end of the period that she would not tolerate such offensive language as faggot, queer, homo, etc.

I admit, I was glad to see this guy put in his place. Right before class, he came up with the brilliant revelation in front of some of our other classmates that he had only just noticed the HUGE gap in my teeth. He seemed to think everyone would find this hilarious. In fact, he often seems to think that when shit comes out of his mouth.

However, I was also surprised at the teacher's and the other student's reactions. They are of the previous generation, and I wonder if that is something to do with the strength of their anger. Certainly I've heard plenty of young and pretty gay men refer to themselves as fags in the most lighthearted and careless of ways. I know I've heard the word often enough in various contexts (though not directed at me) that it doesn't seem that bad anymore. And maybe my generation just thinks itself far above all that inequality bullshit, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Think of this: Black people started referring to each other as nigga to distance themselves from the painful history of the word. They couldn't fully take away its original meanings, though, because white people are most definitely not allowed to use it, according to the unwritten books of slang law. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jEBh1VtdT0 And this: It's not too uncommon for people to throw the word Nazi around. You disagree with someone, particularly an authority figure, you call them a Nazi. Nevermind the war crimes the Nazis committed back in the day (granted, under Hitler's orders, of course), people now find the term easy enough to use semi-casually. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4lJ9vsZjMU And even after all those feminist movements, women like to call each other bitches, as though the word were some genuine token of affection. Yet, to listen to a man call you that, as a woman, you can't help but feel offended, even outraged. The word retard? They don't even call actual retarded kids that anymore, do they? It's become such a blase term for anything slow or stupid that retarded kids, to keep off the stigma, are now properly called "mentally challenged."

It seems to me that most things become less painful once the meaning is taken away. They say time heals all wounds because with time, the things that wounded you in the past lose importance and come to mean little in the face of the present. It takes a while for a word to lose the vicious intent of its original meaning, and even then, it depends who's saying what. People will take words and try to bleed them dry of meaning by overusing them to each other, but they can't escape the pain when someone else does the same.

There's a history behind words of course. You can hardly get away from that. But everyone tries. I'm part of a generation that is trying very hard not to care anymore. We want to strip these terrible words of their terrible meanings and make them our own, exclusively. In doing so, however we segregate ourselves. We estrange each other by trying to lay down laws about who is allowed to say what, and to whom. We make each other too uncomfortable by drawing these lines in the dirt, distance ourselves from others by the exclusivity of our clubs, our races, our genders.

All of a sudden I am incredibly fascinated by modern language and I wish I had a language historian to talk to, instead of just rattling the same thoughts around in my head. Actually thinking about all this makes me wonder. On the one hand, I'm all for making certain words devoid of their original offensive meanings, but on the other hand, won't there always be those who are too close to the truth of it? Who will always take offense? It's easy for me not to be particularly offended by most words, because I'm not often the target of them. But what about other people?


Musical Revelations

Srsly people, I am starting to become musically depressed. Guys I like, such as Jim Morrison and Eric Clapton, half their stuff's not even original! I mean, I knew rock and roll in the sixties evolved out of the bluesy stuff, but there's a fuck of a difference between evolving and jacking. I would imagine that, back in the day, most of these white, disenfranchised middle class hippie kids didn't think much about crediting the original musician when they stole his songs. Elvis too, you Presley cocksuckers. When I hear the original versions of songs like "Back Door Man" and "Spoonful," I can see what people mean when they say that later bands just took the songs and distorted them and made them all sloppy and messy. Kinda like Led Zeppelin. I mean, especially like. When I realize the resemblances between supposedly classic rock bands and the older bluesy guys, it's easy to see how the older music, the rhythm and blues, was basic and skeletal, with reverent guitar solos that never detracted from the singer's words, but only added to them. Guys like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page practically jizzed their pants every time they got to perform a guitar solo, and consequently went all over the scale like the hobbits in Mordor, nevermind what that one guy was trying to sing. It's hard to sing when you're out of control and jizzing in your pants.

These things I'm saying aren't particularly well-informed, and it's not like I've listened to the real rhythm and blues for hours and hours. Really, this is my first impression of guys like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. Oh my good damn god are they awesome.


Stranger Danger

For those who are as yet unaware, I like to read. I'm also capable of reading under less than perfect reading conditions. I can read while children run over and around me, shrieking with laughter. I can easily sever myself temporarily from the world, whether it be at home, in a classroom, or a cafe.

However, when someone asks me a direct question, I must pull myself back with regret. When that question is, "What are you reading?" my initial feeling is intense irritation. For, you see, when someone is reading, it is because they are not in the frame of mind to talk, and trying to engage them in talking by asking about the very thing they are trying to escape from you with is very rude. Naturally there are times when this is not so, as with most things. But most of the time, when I am reading during a break in class or on the bus or in the park or a cafe, the person (usually a man) who deigns to ask what I read gains my momentary hatred. If you would like to discuss books I have already read, then I will join the conversation eagerly. But jesus christ, allow me to get through the one you're so damnably curious about before we try to discuss it.

This anger on my part applies especially when I'm reading a fantasy novel, since I really have no wish to let the entire work know that I too, like fantasy. A good example is Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, a series that is outrageously self-indulgent, with horrendous covers that scream, "TERRIBLE FANTASY NOVEL HERE! PLEASE BEGIN SNEERING IMMEDIATELY!" Really, google these books. When I was reading them, I hated for anyone to ask, because they were bound to laugh.

And why does anyone want to know, anyway? If I'm still reading it, then I likely haven't formed a very good opinion of it yet. If it's a book you were thinking about reading and you want to know if it's worth it, fine, I'll give my tentative response. But for god's sake, do not use that as a way to chat me up! This goes for music too. In my opinion (obviously), both are terrible ways to begin a conversation with a perfect stranger.


I Watch Movies To Check Out The Booty

28 Days Later...

Oh so good. And not just because Cillian Murphy's got a sexy thunderous Irish voice and one fine white Irish ass. And not just because Naomie Harris had bangin' hair and a rippin' jawline. I'm not generally a fan of horror and suspense, unless I'm sitting next to someone I can latch onto. Interestingly, this movie didn't completely overuse the silence-then-attack-outta-nowhere tactic, which I appreciated. Those scenes always get me, no matter how often they're used in a single movie. 28 Days Later gave more an impression of terrified desolation. The characters recognized their isolated state enough (I would guess) to be able to get around without being constantly on guard. Unless that was just poor scripting. But really, the majority of the population evacuated, so the only ones left were the infected and a tiny number of survivors, with the latter being constantly diminished even further by the former. I was rather horrified by the soldiers, though. Nice to know Britain's army is made up of men just burstin' for a good gang rape. Just kidding, Brits. I'm sure your boys in green are total eunuchs. Or whatever.

I am so watching the sequel, even though apparently it does not have Cillian Murphy in it. I will be incredibly disappointed by that, but I will still watch it.