succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Dad just sent me a CD full of mp3s, which includes selections from At the Drive-In. When did Dad become cooler than me?

Dr. Dog/Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Thanks to Mike and Corrine, I attended a most excellent little music show last night at the Variety Playhouse (conveniently located within walking distance of my place, and a good thing too, since the Canadians whip up a tasty vodka cream pasta, which of course includes putting most of the bottle of vodka in us rather than dinner). Right, so, the show. Dr. Dog opened, and immediately made up in adorable-ness for any lacking in musical-ness. Actually, that's not fair. Musically, they're obviously quite talented. Lyrically, they're a little less interesting. But when all the bandmates are clearly having as much damn fun as these guys were on stage, it's hard to deny joining in the enjoyment. The lead singer sounds slightly like a more radio-friendly version of Vic Thrill. C and I favored the keyboard player, who looked like he cut his hair with a floabie then licked his hand to smooth down any cowlicks. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah simply fucking rocked. Again, our favorite was the keyboard player (who also picked up a guitar and beat himself black and blue with a tamborine when the occasion called), who wore a constant expression of pure joy. My favorite song went like this, "Satan...satan....satan...satan...satan...SHUT UP!" It was cute, you'll have to take my word for it. Of course, you knew you were in the south when at the end of that song someone shouted, "Jesus Christ!" Or maybe it was a hipster being ironic. Who knows.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sigh. It's International Women's Day (google didn't bother to cleverly manipulate their logo for this one) and Blog Against Sexism Day, and Sid dropped this in my lap. (you're just baiting me, aren't you?) It's an article about a new men's rights group. But not just any men's rights. They aren't all uppity about custody of their children or visitation rights. Oh no. They're pissed about having to pay child support for children they didn't want. Well cry me a fucking river.

At this point I should probably pause for a disclaimer. The thing is, whenever I get into this particular issue, I end up equivocating nearly everything I say because I imagine the things I'm saying applied to the men I know. And like I've said before, I'm lucky to know some incredibly great guys. I know men who have had children, men who have lost children, and men who are trying their best to raise children with estranged mothers. I wish all men were as loving and devoted as the ones I know. But obviously that's just not true. And you can't talk about laws and policies in terms of your friends. You have to be cynical and try to account for potential worst case scenarios.

So yes, I agree with Sid and Shelby and others who have pointed out the many inequalities when it comes to parental rights that disfavor men. But what it keeps coming down to for me is that it is physically impossible for a woman to claim not to be pregnant. Yet a man can impregnate a woman and walk away. And as long as nearly a third of the amount of owed child support goes unpaid ($5.8 billion out of a total $17.7 billion, according to recent census data; linked from the Air Force Academy, not sure why) I'm going to continue to worry more about that problem. Maybe once we've figured out a way to really hold both parents accountable, that will go hand in hand with more fairly awarding some of the nicer aspects of parental responsibility. Because equality really does work both ways, and if you want more control over whether or not a woman pregnant with your child terminates that pregnancy with or without your input, you also have to talk about ways for women to exert more control, real control, over their bodies. How to empower them to demand (and actually receive from pharmacists) birth control, have the ability to leave dangerous and violent relationships, and help them to have real choices regarding that pregnancy. Because you're right, it would be considered unconscionable for a man to force a woman into an unwanted abortion, and it should likewise be morally indefensible for a woman to end a pregnancy against the father's wishes. Sadly, the current power dynamic between men and women make that an untenable position. So working to change that imbalance means we could all win a little more often.

Checking Out

So I do this thing. Call it Momma Megan or Social Chair or what have you, it's all the same. I organize and plan and take charge and just get things done. Sounds sort of nice, maybe, on the surface. Finding fun activities for my friends and I to do...but it's a way of not being there, of being on autopilot, of avoiding...I don't know, of avoiding being more emotionally present. (how's that for a phrase right out of therapy?) Because it's so much easier to be competent and organized than actually, simply, there. It's funny, I think Sudiptya was one of the first people to point out to me how many walls you have to clambor over to really get to know me. Of course, I thought that was bullshit at the time. One of those things you think about yourself to feel more interesting and complicated and mysterious. I'm more of a what you see is what you get kind of gal, I thought. And it's sort of true - I'll divulge seemingly intimate details pretty rapidly into a friendship. And yet...and yet. Well. I'm working on it.

Also, at this point I feel the need to give a little shout out to A White Bear and Phutatorius' Chestnut - I talk about you guys a fair amount in therapy, and how living with you was good for my mental health (among many other pleasant things about us living together). So, you know, thanks.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Canadians and I on the jetski in the middle of Tampa Bay Posted by Picasa

I swear it's been ages since the last time I had a day to myself. Which clearly isn't true, since I just got back from a luxurious beach vacation (the link goes to Corrine's blog, where she has posted a gorgeous pic of Egmont Key). But it has been a while since I got to sleep in in my own bed and just putter around the house. Not that my puttering has accomplished much (two loads of laundry and a trip to the grocery store) but it's the thought that counts, yeah?

So, yeah, camping trip this weekend in Fort DeSoto Park in Florida. I'm not sure what I've done to deserve vacations like this, but whatever it is I promise to try to keep doing it. Arrived Thursday night, hung out at the campsite and walked over to the pseudo-beach around the little inlet next to our campsite, where even those of us not getting stoned managed to freak ourselves out - little groups of jumping fish made loud enough splashes that we all started wondering if we should be worried about alligators. Friday we loaded up the cars and headed over to North Beach for sunning and jetskiing. Andy got up on the wake board, but by then it was late enough in the day that the rest of us deemed it too cold to get submerged and then windblown. Saturday we hooked up with Travers's parents and their boat (I'm sure everyone else on the beach was highly amused by our multiple trips ferrying people and way too many bags and coolers from beach to boat via jetski) and spent the afternoon on Egmont Key, which is, wow, beautiful. I felt like I wasn't even in the US anymore. We climbed all over a weird fort-esque structure that was incredibly creepy, collected shells, and even saw a gopher turtle and dolphins! I took the jetski out by myself, which was awesome, but of course drove a little too fast and after hitting a wave at a poor angle I realized that perhaps rolling this thing over in the middle of the bay all by myself would not be the best idea ever. Oops. On the way back to the boat dock the water had kicked up a fair amount, and I was in the front of the boat going up and down like a rollercoaster and getting drenched in saltwater spray. It was fantastic. I could have done that all day, though I think my thigh muscles would have given out sooner rather than later. Afterwards we treated ourselves to a night out, where Andy made friends with our Russian waiter at a Cuban restaurant. Before leaving town on Sunday we explored the fort, which is really just the battery now, and a hysterical trail with markers every few feet in front of empty fileds with pictures of the buildings that used to stand there. Then it was the long car ride home and back to reality. Just four days was enough for culture shock - yesterday morning I sort of marveled at the coffee pot and Anna was psyched about how easy it was to take a shower.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Two excellent responses to SD's abortion ban (Amelia even read the full text of the thing, proving that she clearly has a stronger stomach than I):

whether or not any of those women think that they would choose abortion (most of them would probably say no, i'd venture), i'd like us all to live in states where wacky pseudo-christian misogynists didn't get to institutionalize their sense that females have no capacity for moral reasoning.

Amen sister. Because really, that's what this debate comes down to. Couch it any way you like - the vast majority (and yes, I'm generalizing here) of the most vocal and rabid individuals in the anti-choice movement are actually anti-woman. They hate to acknowledge the possibility that we might be people, with a full set of rights, and the ability to think and make decisions. Even incredibly painful, complex, moral decisions.

And Pandagon (in response to a whole slew of other blogger posts and comments):

Whether Digby is or isn’t doesn’t matter, though, because if Digby is male then he clearly understands why those who can’t get pregnant aren’t in the position to tell people that can that pregnancy is a perfectly acceptable “consequence” of sex. I’m not one to say that men shouldn’t be part of the abortion debate, but I’m inclined to think that if more men showed some decent humility in the face of the fact that they’re debating whether someone has a right to get out of a situation they could never actually be in, there wouldn’t be an abortion debate at all.

I'll reiterate - yes, of course, it takes two to tango. Yes, of course, when a woman gets pregnant that child belongs to both the man and woman who created it, and yes, of course, he should have a say in the matter. But please, I beg of the kind, generous men I have the pleasure of knowing - before you open your mouth, take a moment to stop and think about how offensive it can sound if you speak in absolute terms and with absolute knowledge about a physical state in which you will never, ever be. That isn't your fault, and you shouldn't suffer for that, but it is a fact. Like Pandagon, I'm just asking for some decent humility.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Car unpacked, house mostly put back together, mail gone through, load of laundry started, and cat fed in under 45 minutes. Not too bad. So I'm home safe and sound, with tons of beach stories to tell and pictures to show, but for now I have a midterm to study for and a short paper to write, so that will just have to wait.