Weird Things We Learned in 2015

Celebrities and assorted whack jobs expanded our horizons and vocabularies in 2015. Here are some of the takeaways:

 2015 Year in Review

You Can Be ANYTHING You Want To Be

Perhaps the most intriguing lady of 2015 was Caitlyn Jenner, who at the age of 65 was the oldest woman ever featured on the cover of Vanity Fair. She won Glamour Magazine’s “Woman of the Year Award” despite not having been a woman for even a full year. Perhaps a “Best Newcomer Award” would have been more appropriate.

Caitlyn shocked the nation with her unexpectedly stunning looks while she narrowly avoided vehicular manslaughter charges. What a fast learner – she was only a woman for a few months before she started driving like one.

But just as soon as we were warming up to Caitlyn, we were introduced to a young lady with a spray tan and a dream, Rachel Dolezal, who was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black. She was president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, which in Spokane stands for “National Association of Artificially Colored People.” Rachel introduced Americans to a new word: Transracial. It finally became okay to be the race you identified with rather than the race you were born into. Across the country, white women asked hairdressers for “The Rachel” and sashayed proudly out of salons with heads full of weaves and braids.

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Then things went from weird to sad, as we were taught a new phrase: Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) – a rare condition causing able-bodied people to believe they are supposed to be disabled. Enter Jewel Shuping, who dreamed of being blind since she was a little girl. She became so obsessed with losing her sight that she paid a psychologist to pour drain cleaner into her eyes. Afterwards, she gradually lost her eyesight and is now almost completely blind.

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Perhaps the best “you can be anything you set your mind to” story came from Canada this year, when a 52-year-old Canadian father of seven changed his name to “Stefonknee Wolscht” and decided to live a new life as a six-year-old girl. Transgender. Transage. Transresponsibilitylevel. He even found a nice couple to adopt him (her?). Adulting clearly isn’t for Stefonknee. His children must be super stoked about this transition.

 Stefoknee Wolscht

These inspirational stories remind us that we can be anything. Transfinancial. Transbeautiful. Transathletic. Heck, be all three if you’re a rich, buff stunner trapped in a poor person’s out-of-shape body.

 

Food Addiction Can Lead to Mild Pedophilia

Since losing 235 pounds, the uncharismatic Jared Fogle has been riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels, making millions of dollars off his old fat pants and that toothy, awkward smile. For over 15 years, Subway, one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world, has inexplicably relied on this unlikeable creature as their only spokesperson.

Jared somehow convinced Americans that eating substandard lunch meat was a smart, health-conscious decision. His “Eat Fresh” slogan inspired customers to wait in slow lines for crummy ingredients served by “Sandwich Artists” who need repeated instructions during every step of their art-making process.

The Subway diet became a national sensation. Devotees lost hundreds of pounds trying to horn in on Jared’s national commercial campaigns. It didn’t matter to Subway that every one of these dieters were significantly more appealing than Jared – they would not change horses in midstream.

Then one day – while signing autographs, letting strangers touch his fat pants, or whatever stupid thing he would do during his various press tours – Jared met Rochelle Herman. She was a complete stranger and a stereotypical soccer mom, so naturally Jared broke the ice by making inappropriately lustful remarks about tween girls.

In that moment, Rochelle decided to become a trusted confidant to this sick dillhole for the sole purpose of becoming an informant. For nearly 10 years, she delivered information to the FBI regarding his sex trips to Thailand, his penchant for boys and girls of all ages, and his various methods of seducing underage fans.

Jared even started a foundation to raise awareness about childhood obesity and then used it to optimize his access to young children. He strategically arranged parties with children to gain their trust and had his top executive, Russell Taylor, secretly film the victims. This continued for year after year as more children were preyed upon. The FBI sat on their hands for a decade while building a proper case.

Over time, anonymous child sex had become a monotonous routine for Jared, who was sick of bland sandwiches and craved something more exciting. Hankering for a sweet piece of forbidden fruit, Jared asked Rochelle to secretly video her own children while they were naked so that he could get his rocks off.

By now, Rochelle had had enough. It was time for the FBI to finally get off their asses and stop this monster. And stop him they did, negotiating a plea deal that charged him only with two counts: 1. Distribution and receipt of child pornography. 2. Traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor across state lines. Jared also agreed to pay $1.4 million in restitution to 14 of his named victims.

During his trial, forensic psychiatrist John Bradford testified that Jared’s weight loss somehow led to child lust: “Once he lost weight, it seemed as though in a short time he had hyper-sexuality. There are brain disorders that can be associated with sexual drive.” He then deemed Jared’s condition to be “mild pedophilia” because the 14 victims Jared was willing to admit to were girls aged 14-17.

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It’s worth noting that “mild pedophilia” is not a condition recognized by the psychiatric community. If such a condition existed, Jared’s single-minded obsession with child diddling – to the extent that he isolated himself from his own family and created an entire non-profit organization for the cause – would unlikely qualify for such a diagnosis.

When Jared was sentenced to over 15 years in prison, he reportedly sobbed about hurting his family and his wife, who would be a single mother. “You gave your wife $7 million,” the judge reminded, “so she’ll be okay.”

Sometimes is doesn’t pay to eat fresh. On the plus side, Jared will surely enjoy a few foot-longs in prison.

 

Naked Women are Passé

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Why pay to see pictures of stunning nude ladies when you can witness them performing every sex act imaginable for free on the Internet?

In 2015, Playboy Magazine announced it would no longer focus on naked starlets. This strategy was already successful in 2014 for the company’s website, which quadrupled its online traffic and attracted a much younger audience. The magazine will continue to publish a mixture of interviews, fiction, and investigative journalism. It will also introduce more artwork and a female “sex-positive” columnist.

2015 also marked a turning point for the famous Pirelli calendar, which changed its focus to fully-dressed, highly accomplished women instead of artfully nude supermodels. What a difference a year can make. If only Fran Lebowitz would pose in the same outfit Adriana Lima was sporting last year.

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Mr. 21 is STILL the World’s Greatest Lover

Though it’s been several years since Adele wrote and recorded the album “21,” which won 6 Grammy Awards and turned Adele into a global phenomenon, the man who inspired the album still eludes and fascinates the British paparazzi.

What kind of charming, passionate, doting, 14-inch-dong-swinging, genius billionaire supermodel could provoke the rage necessary to write and repeatedly perform classic fuck-my-ex-boyfriend anthems such as “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You?” According to Adele, Mr. 21’s big crime was that he left her and moved on with his life. As heartbreaking as that album is, there are zero references about the guy stealing her money or banging her mother. He just, you know…left.

So who on Earth is this guy? Could he be the goofy-looking Slinky Sunbeam who allegedly left Adele for a Burberry model, despite Adele’s claim of never having dated Slinky? Could it be her former photographer Alex Sturrock who built a solid portfolio of Adele bedroom pics? Could it be one of many mystery men, like Giles, who call up radio DJs in London claiming to be the notorious Mr. 21?

We may never know. What we do know is that “21” was released in 2011, the year Adele supposedly released all of her demons and moved on with her life. It seemed her dreams came true when, later that same year, she started dating Simon Konecki. The pair currently cohabitate and raise their three-year-old son. Every day brings a new tabloid rumor about a possible engagement or secret wedding. Happily ever after at last.

So when she released her next album “25” in 2015, we were expecting to hear some upbeat tunes, forgetting that if she sang happy songs, she wouldn’t be Adele. She would be Meghan Trainor.

Sadly, “25” was the “I’m still clearly obsessed with Mr. 21” album, which enjoyed sales totaling $7.13 million in the US during its fifth consecutive week in Billboard’s top spot. Her album immediately skyrocketed to #1 with her hit single “Hello,” which features lyrics such as:

Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore

That’s just the lyrics to one song. The other songs are called “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” “I Miss You,” “When We Were Young,” and “Water Under the Bridge.” Despite having a new man and a toddler, she still finds time to relentlessly stalk her ex. Her current man must be too busy spending her money to actually listen to her music.

Mr 21., if you are reading this, please seduce and then break up with Alanis Morrisette to inspire the greatest album of all time.

 

 

Unconditional Love DOES Exist

It can’t be easy staying married to ANYONE for over 50 years. Such a thing requires deep friendship, fair fighting, daily compromises, mutual goals, shared values, and the tenacity to put up with the same un-changing bullshit year after soul-diminishing year. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to have a wonderful spouse.

The most understanding wife of all time once wrote: “Bill and I were very young when we married; he was 26, I was 19. We had to mature, we had to learn the definition of unselfish love, and we did. When we committed to each other wholeheartedly years ago, our marriage became healthy and solid. Also, we blossomed as individuals. Our marriage encompasses mutual love, respect, trust, and communication. Sound relationships must have positive reciprocity; they can’t be one-sided and strong.”

What man wouldn’t love to be married to a great friend like that? Too bad she’s spoken for. She’s been married to Bill Cosby since 1964. Her name is Camille.

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And what a wonderful ride it’s been for Camille. As Bill’s career began to blossom in the early 70’s, he had many affairs with all sorts of starlets, models, and various Hollywood worker bees. Some of those affairs were even brought to Camille’s attention. She knew he was not a faithful man. Still, she remained true and raised their five children (or at least Bill’s five legitimate children) while he pretended to be a devoted husband and father on a nationally beloved television show.

In 1997, tragedy struck when the couple’s only son, Ennis, was murdered. The untimely death of a child can rattle even the world’s best marriage to its foundation, but Camille was steadfast in her love.

A few days after their son’s demise, Bill received a phone call from a young lady named Autumn Jackson, or as she referred to herself “Autumn Cosby.” Autumn, who claimed to be Bill’s illegitimate daughter, had dropped out of school. She was homeless, destitute, and pregnant with twins. Desperate for income and her father’s attention, she threatened to discuss his paternity with the tabloids if he didn’t dummy up $40 million.

As it turned out, Bill enjoyed a long affair with Autumn’s mother, Shawn Uptown, in the 70’s. Of course, when Bill first admitted to the infidelity, he downplayed it as a one-night stand. After witnesses and mutual friends came forward, it became clear that their affair had lasted for years. According to Shawn, Bill used to mix it up in the bedroom, alternating between consensual sex and drugged-up rape sessions. One of these many encounters resulted in Autumn’s conception.

In court, Bill testified that he paid $100,000 over 20 years to keep this extramarital affair a secret. He said he also paid for Autumn’s education and gave her a car. Under cross-examination, Bill admitted that he canceled a paternity test he was going to take, because he feared the media would discover it and damage his reputation. He denied that he was her father, yet refused DNA testing to confirm the truth.

With the help of his mighty legal team, Bill slapped Autumn with a two-year federal prison sentence. During Autumn’s incarceration, she gave birth to twin boys – boys who are most likely Bill’s grandchildren. She was also legally barred from ever contacting Cosby again.

Camille was fully aware of the entire case and all associated testimonies, yet stood by her man. In 2000, she evangelized the value of marital commitment to Oprah Winfrey:

“You go through a transition, if you are committed to each other. You cleanse yourself of all of that baggage, and you look at each other and determine whether the relationship is worth salvaging, whether you really love each other and want to be together. […] When we knew that we really wanted to be with each other, that we didn’t want to live without each other.”

Cut to 2004 when Andrea Constand, a lesbian basketball player at Temple University, settled a civil lawsuit after accusing Bill of drugging and sexually assaulting her at his home outside Philadelphia. With the lawsuit came the affidavits of 13 other women who shared similarly terrifying stories about pills, cocktails, and rape.

2015 has been a banner year for Cosby rape awareness. As of October there have been 55 alleged Bill Cosby rape victims and counting.

 

 

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Yet forever by her man proudly stands Camille, unflappable and unwavering in her faith. She is the patron saint of co-dependency.
 

 

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6 Silly Things Modern, Empowered Women Need to Stop Doing Immediately

If you’re a “strong and independent woman” that people don’t take seriously, perhaps it’s because you’re doing one of these six silly things:

1. Throwing Home Sales Parties:

Back in the 1950s, home sales party companies like Avon and Tupperware made perfect sense. They were a beacon of hope and freedom for kept women with domineering husbands who forbade all non-grocery shopping trips. Today, we have the Internet and take shit from no men. So why do women keep alienating their friends and losing money in this weird way? Nostalgia?

I’ve been tricked into FAR TOO MANY parties where the hostess lured me in with wine only to sell me jewelry, lingerie, kitchen supplies, or worst of all, $125 baskets that you would ordinarily pay six bucks for at Hobby Lobby.

partyFor some reason, men don’t think to do this. Never once has a man invited me to a party and then suddenly asked all the attendees to sit in a circle while he demonstrated nifty little office gadgets.

Sure, we all know that one token girl from high school who became a multimillionaire by selling Tupperware, but she’s the exception, not the rule. Most of these companies are just product-filled pyramid schemes who are finally, thankfully, starting to die out.

There are many ways to earn extra income without pestering acquaintances and loved ones. You could sling french fries, you could provide telemarketing services, you could design your own line of sparkly cat butthole covers, you could sell your damaged (sorry – vintage) belongings on Etsy, you could be a niche web cam girl and pop balloons with your butt. Nearly all of these options will provide a more reliable source of income and keep your friendships intact.

Unless of course someone catches her husband jerking off to your balloon popping demonstration.


2. Mistaking Narcissism for Empowerment:

Women really need to spend less time on Facebook bragging about their strength, independence, and tender hearts. Ladies, these sentiments are not true simply because you post them on Facebook. Let’s face it, the woman who posts about how “I’m the kind of person that tries to make everyone smile,” is the most depressing bitch you know, and the woman to brags about her ability to “let go” has a voodoo doll with her ex’s hair on it.

i_am_generous,-25357Aimless bragging posts only make you look insecure. They let me know that on our next girls night out, you’ll be sobbing into your second glass of wine with all the vibrant confidence of an emo poet.

Oh wait, I’m sorry – you really meant every compliment you bestowed upon yourself? My bad. You just know in your deepest heart space that you are a good, caring, and honest person, and the world REALLY needs to be alerted to this glorious truth. If you’re so altruistic, tag yourself doing volunteer work at a homeless shelter, if you’re so caring, post about how great you think other people are, if you are extremely generous, other people will surely sing your praises. That’s how the world works.

Per my favorite bit from Louis C.K. “Self love is a good thing, but self awareness is more important.”


3. Waving the Banner of Strength and Independence:

I am so sick of the phrase “I’m a strong, independent woman.” Well, what do you want for that – a cookie? Like Chris Rock, I hate it when people want credit for shit they’re supposed to do. You’re SUPPOSED to be a strong, independent woman, or as I like to call it, a “grown up.” It’s 2015 ladies. Everyone is expected to earn a living and find ways to support themselves. If you’re over the age of 25, please find something more impressive to brag about, because with the “strong and independent” nonsense you’re basically just admitting to people that you have a job and a vibrator.

This boasting about strength and independence is usually followed by the other tired old chestnut “Men are intimidated by strong women.” To be perfectly honest, I’ve never met the men these women are referring to. While I understand there are some extremely insecure, misogynistic, and abusive men out there who are genuinely intimidated by a strong woman, they are clearly the exception, not the rule. I’ve never once intimidated a man with my strength. Oh, I’ve scared the hell out of many men with my rage and my crazy, but never with my strength.

If you are intimidating the boy you are dating, trade him up for a man, and rest assured there are millions of modern fellas out there who enjoy dating successful, confident women.

If you are being assertive at work and a man complains about it, let him complain. Per Jennifer Lawrence’s brilliant essay on the topic, don’t worry about trying to be adorable all the time. The top-ranking female CEOs in this country don’t become successful by being adorable. You can never be top dog if you’re not at least as bold as the other players, so get your bark on, bitches!

Of course, if you’re intimidating every man you encounter, it’s not because you’re strong and independent, it’s because you’re scary and need to work on your communication skills.


4. Fixating on Female Bodies:

Girls with toned and tight bodies post nearly-nude selfies and tell all woman-kind to be proud of the skin that they’re in. To remind us they’re not being shallow, they end their posts with some bullshit about how it’s really the soul that matters.

Soul Selfie

Plus size girls pose in bikinis and assure all that is needed to have a bikini body is to put a bikini on your body. Bigger girls never feel obligated to make the soul disclaimer.

Everyone posts about how the super fat Marilyn Monroe (with her dumpy 23-inch waist) still somehow managed to be sexy.

It’s tough enough being a woman and knowing that every straight man you encounter is scrutinizing, judging, and evenly openly discussing your body parts as if anyone cares about their opinions. We’re all so sick of the mind-numbly dumb conversation about whether or not he’s a “boob man” or a “leg man” (Spoiler Alert: They’re really all just vagina men who will gladly accept imperfections). Let’s not amplify the stupidity any further.

Look ladies, I don’t care what “real women” look like, or what kind of bodies “real men” prefer. It doesn’t matter – everyone is different. You’re all precious little snowflakes with rockin’ hot bodies. You’re all worthy of love and great sex. Now please fixate on something more meaningful. Like the Kardashians or something.


5. Belittling Men to Empower Yourself:

No, not every man on the planet is a liar, cheater, user, or whatever awful thing you deem them to be. Like women, men are precious little snowflakes – they each suck in their own, unique way.

When you say, for example “All men are cheaters,” most people hear “I only date cheaters because that’s what I’m strangely attracted to.” Rather than hating on nearly half the world’s population, perhaps you should see a shrink, identify your triggers, change your dating habits, and find a guy who will disappoint you in a whole new way.

True feminism is the fight for equality and fair treatment. Unfortunately, feminism gets a really bad rep because with it, often comes this odd notion that men are inherently bad and have to learn good traits from women. Conversely, many feminists are under the very false impression that all women are inherently good and only do bad things as a reaction to mistreatment.

Nope. Men and women are equal. Some are bad, some are good, most are average, all will fib about how many sexual partners they’ve had.


6. Having Impossibly High Expectations:

Much in the same way I think porn has damaged the way men relate to women (particularly the way many inexplicably regard online dating sites as magical realms where women just want to be treated like walking Fleshlights), I think romantic comedies have really warped our views on what kind of lavish attention we can expect from our men. Yes, some men are incredibly romantic, just like some women are completely comfortable having sex in public with strangers – unicorns do exist. But most men aren’t going to chase you to an airport, hold aloft a boom box outside your window, or invite you to take your pick of engagement rings at Tiffany’s.

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So please stop complaining to your girlfriends about how he’s never trailed rose petals up to a bubble bath, or that his Facebook profile pic doesn’t include you, or that he got you cheap flowers. Such laments sound insane to single women, or to the many women out there who feel it’s a miracle if a man can simply remember birthdays and anniversaries.

And why we’re all at it, can we just finally agree to stop comparing ourselves to anything we see in movies, magazines, or television? It’s all fantasy. You’ll never be like any of the Sex and the City Girls, because you don’t have time to maintain daily relationships with three best friends while fucking every man in Manhattan, sustaining a successful career, and never wearing the same outfit twice. And that’s only about women who don’t have children.

My heart breaks for mothers who feel perpetually inadequate because they didn’t have time to throw that Pinterest-perfect birthday party, or because they packed on a few pounds having barely enough time to snarf down convenience foods, or because they are not in every single way the perfect mother.

We can learn a lot from men in this department. Fathers don’t stress themselves out over these things. They’re just proud of themselves if the kids don’t get injured and praise their beer bellies as a new “dad bod” craze. Next time you want to fret about not “having it all,” please check out this hilarious Twitter feed about how men can have it all too.

 

So go ahead with your bad ass self and take over the world or whatever.

My Spiritual Awakening at Olive Garden

It was the night of the blood moon lunar eclipse, and much like a werewolf, I felt a powerful urge commanding me to venture into the night and troll some of the villagers. Well, maybe I was not so much like a werewolf. I felt more like Garfield the comic book cat, as this impulse came with a ravenous craving for pasta.

This happens to me frequently, as I am a devout Pastafarian, which basically means I am atheist (or agnostic, if there’s even a difference) who occasionally enjoys a good plate of spaghetti. I’m considering going on a low-carb diet and converting to the Church of Bacon in the near future, but on this particular Sunday, the Flying Spaghetti Monster tapped my shoulder with his noodley appendage and sweetly invited me to take communion.

Unfortunately, it was 8:45 pm, which in my sleepy neighborhood is considered late-night dining. Most of the restaurants were closing in 15 minutes and it normally takes me that long to locate my car keys. The nicer nearby Italian restaurants were no longer a viable option, and the only local establishment with an open kitchen was, to my dismay, an Olive Garden.

I always feel like I’m acting snobbish when I say I don’t like the Olive Garden. By no means am I a high-class dame or a nit-picky foodie, but every time I give it another chance I wind up thinking, “that food’s not very good.” That said, in our neighborhood, the Olive Garden’s parking lot is always jammed packed with cars, so clearly they must be doing something right.

I took my boyfriend to dinner and was initially impressed. There was a decent wine selection, cool décor, and the menu wasn’t silly with items like deep-fried spaghetti jalapeno poppers. Our waitress, who was bubbly and attentive, served me a nice carafe of pinot noir, accompanied by one of those cheesy logo wine glasses with grapes etched on the side to remind servers that wine goes into this glass, and ends at the bottom of the grapes. The food was still unremarkable – sweaty, salty bread sticks and college dorm spaghetti – but with the right wine, atmosphere, and company, I was at ease, and enjoyed the overall experience.

Then the waitress came back with our tab and a special hand-written card, asking me to have a blessed day and to like her Jesus page on Facebook. (I blocked the name to protect the innocent, perhaps even angelic).

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This waitress had been exceedingly friendly and provided excellent service, so I still gave her a good tip. I tried to suppress my natural liberal, knee-jerk reaction of haughty irritation, but I couldn’t help glaring at the card, and being haughtily irritated.

My boyfriend, who was raised in a very religious household and is not prone to liberal, knee-jerk reactions, was amused. “Maybe she took one look at us and just knows we’re going to hell,” he speculated.

No. This wasn’t an act of judgment. She probably gives this same card to all her diners. She was not rude – quite the opposite. This was perpetuated more in the spirit of “I’m promoting my boyfriend’s band. Please like and share their Facebook page,” but even that would elicit an eye roll from most patrons.

I imagine most customers would gruffly dismiss a “Vote for Bobby Jindal” message, annoyed a server would even consider pushing a political belief when all that was requested was some over-rated bread sticks.

This lovely server had no knowledge of my religious beliefs. She was blithely unaware that I was actively practicing communion as she slipped her message in under a ridiculously large pile of after-dinner mints.

I crossed my thumbs, bowed my fingers, and said a quiet little prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, asking Him to lay his noodley appendage upon our waitress in understanding. I prayed He would forgive this transgression, gently show her the error of her ways, and somehow stop her from delivering such messages to future patrons. Perhaps He could bless her with 30 more years of serving spaghetti and meatballs to local Pastafarians eager to feel His love in a Jesus-free Olive Garden.

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I imagine this is the kind of prayer a devout Christian would perform if, let’s say, a Muslim server asked them to follow their “For the Love of Muhammad” Twitter feed. Assuming, of course, they would only pray, and not issue a complaint to the manager. I would never issue such a complaint, though I should have left a little card on the table, inviting her to like and share my Uncouth Marie page.

Upon my return home, I looked closely at this card, reading it over and over again, until both the card and the Facebook page it promoted became my single-minded obsession.

I’ve lived in the United States for over 40 years and no one has ever once mentioned this Jesus fellow to me before. Could this be the day? The day where Jesus finally, through the divine actions of this Olive Garden server, tap me to become born again? Did God try to reach me through that pile of after-dinner mints and say “NOW you must believe in My son’s divinity and enjoy eternal life at my side. You will savor these never ending bread sticks with the weirdly chunky crusts, for they represent Jesus’s body. His blood is actually better represented by the Cavit pinot noir – you will need to upgrade your wine choice next time.”

Since this miraculous card appeared in my life, I spend every waking hour at the church and have committed the Bible to memory.

Well….. not really.

I mean, hey, it’s the Olive Garden. Not Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

And quite frankly, far more aggressive Christians have tried and failed.


Back in my early years as a retail sales girl, I had a co-worker trap me in a fitting room and coerce me to pray to Jesus. She begged out loud for Him to save my soul and help me be a better friend to my friends. This woman knew nothing about me or my friendships – she was just bat shit crazy.

She did this to other co-workers as well. Some were Christians who didn’t mind, and the rest found their own methods of escaping her lunacy without reporting it to management. Even if a Christian is acting wildly inappropriate, it sucks to be a tattle-tale or to fight back because then you end up feeling like the intolerant liberal stereotype. And yelling at someone because they want to share their love for Jesus makes you look like a total dick.

My tactic was to lie and say I was Jewish. That seemed to stop her, though I was always nervous she would actually ask me questions about Judaism, as I was uninterested in layering up the bullshit.


Just a couple of weeks ago, I encountered a bunch of aggressive Christians who wanted to, yet again, harsh my mellow. I took about a dozen of my Hoosier friends to Cincinnati’s incredible Oktoberfest, where 500,000 drunks line the streets to drink craft beer, eat fantastic German food, listen to tuba music, and lock arms in the world’s largest chicken dance. My friends, being the bad ass super drinkers that they are, were already three sheets to the wind upon arrival.

We chicken danced, purchased funny hats, joyously clinked beer mugs, and then stumbled into a group of Christians who adamantly wanted to warn us about the dreaded hell fire each of us would inevitably face for imbibing alcohol. These Christians were decidedly not joyous. In fact, they seemed rather irritated at having to explain their position to extremely intoxicated people.

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I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume these Christians were not specifically invited by the City of Cincinnati to hold court in the middle of Oktoberfest and shame festival-goers for behavior heavily endorsed and encouraged by the festival planners. These Christians crashed the party and then had the nerve to insult the guests to their face. That’s very rude. A good party crasher blends in, is kind to party-goers, and sneaks off with a few refreshments. Apparently, these people didn’t read Emily Post’s Etiquette book.

Drunken revelers from all faiths lined up for the chance to either yell at these zealots, or to slur drunken logic in a calm, rational, “I hope I don’t vomit on your shoes” manner. My friends and I gathered around one zealot in particular, whom I will call “Lil Rod,” as that was the singular name tattooed down his arm in what appeared to be prison ink. I’m not sure if this tattoo was meant to indicate his name, a beloved/departed friend, his favorite gangsta rapper, or his own diminutive penis. I just know the Bible frowns upon tattoos, but on that point, I’ll digress.

Lil Rod wore an expression of calm indifference, trying not to get injured or be clawed at by the mob. His eyes, sometimes getting as big as saucers, almost seemed to blink in Morse code “get me out of here,” as he rotely relayed his hell fire messages. One Christian drunk seemed incredibly agitated that Lil Rod would dare demonize him on behalf of their mutual lord and savior. I thought it was going to come to blows as this particular Christian was quite aggressive and mean-looking, even in lederhosen and an alpine hat.

One of my girlfriends took her turn with Lil Rod, giving up on logic quickly and then asking him if he was okay. She was genuinely concerned, as he looked like a captive who rightfully feared for his safety. Ultimately, after a “please don’t touch me” request, Lil Rod was gracious enough to pose with my friend, though he refused to smile.

lil rod

My friends all encountered this Christian mob. It was a very sobering experience. We all stopped drinking right then and there in deference to their noble efforts.

That night, after all my guests returned to my home, we formed a prayer circle, tearfully asking Jesus to forgive us and save us from eternal damnation. We each took turns emptying beer cans out into the street while reciting the Lord’s prayer. We burned a Dos Equis cardboard cut-out of The Most Interesting Man in the World in effigy. Bottles of whiskey, bourbon, and vodka were crushed. The only bottle that remained was some Cavit pinot noir, which we shared with some shitty Olive Garden bread sticks in communion.


Look, I’m happy for anybody who finds purpose and meaning in their life in any capacity, be it through Jesus, the Old Testament, Allah, science, witch covens, yoga, family, or simply the love of a loyal houseplant.

My personal belief is that humans discussing the origins and meaning of the universe are very much like goldfish in a small fishbowl discussing the origins and meaning of the entire Earth. While such conversation can be intriguing and a great way to pass the hours, they have no idea what they’re talking about and never will. It is my humble opinion that as an extremely limited being, unable to see all the colors, hear all the sounds, or even use half of my brain’s capacity, I will never understand the world or the meaning of life, because I am clearly not meant to. The universe is probably much weirder than I can ever possibly imagine, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I don’t need any more answers.

Nor do I need any more warnings about what hell fire will burn my eternal soul should I make a single misstep during my nano-second of a lifespan. I just want to enjoy my life, face my own consequences, and let the truth reveal itself to me if and when it’s ready.

If you, the zealot, can agree to simply leave me alone and let me enjoy my spaghetti without a side of religion, I will agree never to come into your church with a giant sign and start shouting about how drinking is cool. I will never pass you a card that invites you to visit a satanic Facebook page. Most importantly, I will never stand on a street corner and scream about your transgressions through a bull horn in an effort to publicly demean you for victimless crimes and various bad habits.

That would be rude, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster hates rudeness.

Why My Ovaries May Force Me to Vote for Hillary

For the record, I am not a big fan of Hillary Clinton.

While I don’t think she will lead our country to ruin, I certainly don’t think she will usher in a new dawn of prosperity. Hillary is the establishment. She’s lackluster. She will bring more of the same – unconvincing speeches about how she’s one of the people, agendas that prioritize the needs of lobbyists over those of her constituents, and of course, legislation bottle-necked by a divided Congress that she’s certainly not capable of uniting.

She’s stiff, phony, and uninspiring. Nobody really wants to have a beer with this woman. But here’s a fun fact that may prompt you to jump on the Hillary bandwagon: She’s the only candidate running with a reasonable shot at winning the 2016 presidential election who also has a vagina.

Let me repeat: She has a vagina.

I know what you’re thinking. “Marie, you shouldn’t care about genitalia. You should vote for the candidate you feel is most qualified to run our nation.” And you know what? My brain TOTALLY agrees with you.

My ovaries, however, say “Fuck you. Do you know how long we’ve been waiting for this?!?”

Think my ovaries are being unreasonable? Well then please allow me to paint a picture of what it would be like if women had always dominated American politics and regularly introduced legislation affecting men’s bodies and their reproductive rights. I’m guessing every man alive when faced with the horror of this situation would immediately vote for the first viable candidate with a swinging dick – no questions asked.

So please, jump down the rabbit hole with me, and enter a world where men are the political minority.


Campaign Posturing

Imagine a world where women dominate every election season while trying to be as warm, sweet, and nurturing as possible. Instead of making appearances at local watering holes in an attempt to fit in with the “regular joes,” by talking about their favorite sports teams, candidates would customarily visit beauty salons and get mani-pedis with working-class gals while gossiping about celebrities. Instead of wanting to grab a beer with the person you elect, imagine wanting to sip some chardonnay.

How about that old tradition of presidential candidates getting dressed up in camouflage and taking their buddies on a hunting trip? How many times have you seen this macho demonstration of a candidate responsibly exercising his second amendment rights?

What if instead of hunting, the primarily female pool of candidates tried to outclass one another in book clubs? What if you saw election season pictures like this of women responsibly exercising their first amendment rights by reading and discussing controversial, thought-provoking books?

Politicians wearing hard hats, talking to construction workers, and pointing at random things is such a cliché that there are now websites dedicated to mocking this practice. What if we replaced that old chestnut with female politicians who throw on scrubs, point at random charts with nurses, and maybe even visit a few sick kids? Instead of focusing on working class men who make infrastructure improvements, politicians would finally give a little credit to working-class women who make life improvements.

construction v nursing


What if male body parts were legislated on by female politicians who never attended a health class?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if ignorant female politicians started expressing asinine opinions about the male anatomy? This is what I picture:

AkinRapeimplants

Duct Tape

Politicians have been fixated on female bodies for a very long time. Laws concerning female nipples, breastfeeding, and healthcare requirements are constantly being enacted. In fact, it’s quite typical that in any given year, 700+ pieces of legislation will be introduced in Congress with the intent to restrict, control, or otherwise regulate women’s reproductive rights. Congress never seems to give a rat’s ass about men’s bodies.

But what if that all changed? What if Congress and religious moderates believed that life truly began in the nut sack, and that sperm control was their sacred duty? I know some of my examples are a bit silly, but it takes two people to make a baby, yet regulations are only made against women.

Instead of groups of men like this forming a counsel on women’s health issues (true story)…

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..what if panels of women looking like this spoke to Congress about how men should be managing their various body parts and excretions?

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Here are some fun topics they could cover:

> It’s considered a lewd, sexual act to expose a man’s nipple or hairy ass crack in public.

> If a man impregnates a woman, he must live with her for the entire pregnancy, wear sympathy pregnancy pillows, and help her during the delivery.

> Vasectomies should be made illegal unless it’s a medical requirement. Why deprive even one child their right to exist on this planet?

> Men considering masturbation should be required to visit a sexual therapist or be forced to look at pictures of smiling children to remind them of the sadness of wasted sperm.

> Legislation should be made against intentionally wasted masturbatory sperm; men caught ejaculating into socks should be shamed as though they were abandoning their own offspring.

> Boys under the age of 18 must get their parent’s signature to buy condoms.

> Condoms and boner pills should never be covered under the Affordable Care Act.


What About War?

What if Congress spent all their time deciding on which diplomatic tactics to employ every time Isis beheads a reporter? What if knee-jerk cries of war were looked down upon as the irrational and overly emotional “manly” thing to do? What if sending missile and drone attacks was considered a sign of weakness, while diplomatic charm and skillful negotiation was how we showed other countries our strength?

What if we stopped spending trillion-dollar sums on failed fighter jets and instead put that money into nutritional school lunches? What if all of this sounds really naive and you were sick to fucking death of female politicians making all the rules on absolutely every freaking thing? Well that’s kind of how I feel about all our old-school cowboy candidates who hyper-focus on fire power in the information age.


A female-dominated Congress would hardly be a utopia, but there certainly needs to be more balance.

Let me be perfectly clear, I don’t think the country would operate better if it were completely run by women, but at least I would feel adequately represented. Our presidents always have to be manly and macho and cater to working class men. Politicians clearly regard women’s issues as secondary even though we comprise the majority of voters.

One day, I would love to see a world where male politicians felt obligated to take their pictures at nursing stations, beauty salons, women’s shelters, book clubs, and wine tastings. Until then, we have this:

female politicians as dudes

Gosh, doesn’t Hillary look comfortable in that picture? If it helps you to vote for Hillary, just remember the second great thing she’s got going for her.

Bill-Clinton-First-Lady

Let’s do this people.

Vote for Hillary’s vagina and help get more vaginas into political office.

How You’re Just Like Hitler

Emo Hitler

Once again, people are acting appalled and butt hurt because Mike Huckabee compared Obama’s Iranian deal to the holocaust: “It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”

People have been exploiting the holocaust for political arguments for decades now, so why are people still shaken by the dumb words that fall out of Huckabee’s adorably dimpled mouth? Aren’t we all used to politicians desperately sputtering out cheap sound bites during election season? At this point, haven’t we all heard Obama being compared to Hitler in at least ten different ways?

Conservatives have taken great care to point out every similarity. The world’s best rapture-loving magazine offered their painstaking report on their Now The End Begins website. My right-wing uncle (and we all have one of those) posts pictures like this on his Facebook feed:

obama-and-hitler-comparisons

Most comparisons are about socialist-leaning political acts many national leaders have long since committed. For example, Pierre Trudeau nationalized energy programs when he was Prime Minister of Canada in the 80s. Of course, no one thinks to compare Obama to Trudeau.

To be fair, ridiculous Hitler comparisons have been made by liberals too. When George W. Bush was in the White House, liberals loved using the N-word (Nazi). Remember when that 6th grade teacher asked her students to make charts comparing Bush to Hitler? Or how about cartoons like this?

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While I’m not a big fan of Dubya, I would never compare him to Hitler. Roughly 4,500 American troops, and anywhere up to 500,000 Iraqis (depending on which report you read/believe) have died during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. I don’t think the Iraqi invasion was necessary, and the death toll is atrocious, but it’s not as though Bush set out to kill all Iraqis as a “final solution.” There were no crazy death camps. Not all acts of war are the holocaust.

Frankly, I don’t think anyone should be compared to Hitler unless they’ve spearheaded the genocide of at least 1 million innocent citizens. Take Ismail Enver Pasha, for example. He killed 2.5 million people, including 1.2 million Armenians during the Armenian Genocide. You can totally compare that guy to Hitler.

And why do we keep pointing to Hitler as the worst example of humanity? I’ll bet Stalin and Zedong are rolling in their graves – they killed way more people.

Comparing a politician to Hitler is a lazy way to get attention and an instant way to lose credibility. The time is now to change all that.


My Final Solution to Hitler Comparisons:

I have little faith that people will stop playing the Nazi card when discussing things they don’t like. As long as it gets a big reaction, people will always hit that button. So let’s take the sting out of holocaust references by incorporating them into our everyday life. Let’s start comparing EVERYONE to Hitler:

  • “Sorry you failed you math test, kid. You know, Hitler struggled in school too and then went on to run an entire country. So, you know… chin up.” (Hitler had to repeat the 6th grade and dropped out of high school without a degree.)
  • “You don’t think people should be allowed to smoke in public places? Good for you, Hitler.” (Hitler pioneered the anti-smoking movement. The scientific research he funded made the very first connection between smoking and cancer.)
  • “When I was younger, I had a Hitler-like ambition to join the priesthood.” (As a child, Hitler wanted to be a priest.)
  • “A toast to the Bride and Groom! I think you guys have an even brighter future than Hitler and Braun.” (Braun was Hitler’s mistress for 12 years until he finally decided to marry her. On the day after their wedding, the pair committed suicide.)
  • “Wow. You were REALLY efficient in organizing those files. Like, Hitler efficient.” (Nazis created highly efficient gas chambers for easy mass murders.)
  • “Oh, you attended the Rally for Medical Research on Capital Hill? You know who else held outdoor rallies? Hitler.” (Annual Nuremberg Rallies drove audiences of up to 500,000.)
  • “Damn it stinks in here. Who the hell has been farting like Hitler?” (Hitler suffered from uncontrollable flatulence and took 28 different drugs trying to fight it.)
  • “You have a very hands-off, Hitleresque supervisory style. I like that you trust your subordinates and don’t feel the need to micromanage.” (Hitler never once visited a concentration camp.)
  • “Get your elbows off the dinner table and chew with your mouths closed. I’m not trying to raise a bunch of Hitlers here.” (Hitler was reported to have poor table manners.)
  • “You buy only cruelty-free makeup? It’s kind of you to think of the animals. Very Hitler of you.” (Hitler enacted several laws to prevent animal cruelty.)
  • “Hey, why don’t you finally grow a pair, huh? Not a sad Hitler sack, but a full, manly scrotum, you big pussy!” (Hitler only had one testicle.)
  • “I regret that, like Adolf Hitler, I’ve never been to the top of the Eiffel Tower.” (When Paris fell to German occupation, French resistance fighters cut the elevator cables to the Eiffel Tower to keep Nazis and their flag off the beloved monument.)
  • “How can you possibly hate Mr. Snickelfritz? Or any cat for that matter? Look, Hitler, if you’re going to disrespect my kitty, you can just leave!” (Hitler really disliked cats.)
  • “I know it’s scary, but you’re going to have to learn how to drive. You don’t want to end up like Hitler, do you?” (Hitler never learned how to drive.)

My boyfriend wanted to get in on the Hitler fun, so I present to you:

Some of the Ways My Boyfriend Is Not Like Hitler:

  • He has a cool beard, unlike Hitler who had an ugly little mustache.
  • Unlike Hitler, my boyfriend enjoys hunting and eating meat.
  • You will never see my boyfriend drive around in a Mercedes.
  • Although I think he should totally do it, my boyfriend has never written an autobiography.
  • My boyfriend can’t paint a painting for shit.

In fact, all of these things can all be said about Cecil the Lion.

So to be clear, my boyfriend is more like Cecil the Lion than he is like Hitler.

CecilHitler

A Straight Person’s Guide to Transgender People

Are your weird observations about Caitlyn Jenner causing you to lose Facebook friends? If so, please consult this nifty guide.

caitlyn-jenner-for-vanity-fair

First, a bit about my expertise: Years ago, a loved one confessed his life-long struggle with his gender identity, taking me down a rabbit hole of transgender support groups, websites, articles, essays, and adventures. Over the course of an extremely busy year, I got to know hundreds of transgender people and befriended many. Here is what they need you to know:

You have at least one transgender person in your life

The transgender community is still extremely closeted. There have been many studies conducted to pinpoint the population size, but the numbers run all over the map, since the US Census does not address gender identity. Claire Cain Miller wrote a great article about all of the latest research, but one thing is extremely clear, the vast majority (70+%) of all transgender people in this country hide their true gender identity.

Transgender people come in all shapes and flavors, so it’s actually very difficult to stereotype. I’ve personally known many burly firemen, construction workers, and metal heads who loved being women. I’ve met many female-to-male (FTM) transgender people who would love to be able to grow a mustache, but still love cosmopolitans and girl pop.

You don’t know that Bob from your bowling league likes to wear a nightgown to bed, and you don’t know that Amy the office gossip stuffs socks into her panties. Heck, you may not know that your brother is truly a lesbian trapped in a man’s body, even if he jokes about it constantly. If you publicly deride transgender people, you do so at the risk of deeply offending someone you care about.

 rupaul

Drag queens are not the norm

Most transgender people are simply casual, work-a-day folks who wish to be themselves. They don’t spend hours blending glitter on their eyelids and perfecting Cher impressions. Drag queens are performers who create caricatures in order to entertain you. They also tend to be out-of-the-closet homosexuals who are very loud and proud about who they are. A drag queen is a walking work of art, an exaggerated homage to glamorous women. Drag queens represent a tiny minority of the transgender population.

In contrast, your average MTF (male-to-female) transgender person, who was born a man and identifies as female, will often dress very casually and wear simple make-up. That’s because your average MTF already identifies as a woman. The make-up only enhances what is true in the heart.

helenboyd-bookpartyTransgender people are not often homosexual

Gender identity and sexual orientation are two completely separate characteristics. Just think about the celebrity transgender people you know about:

Born Straight:

Caitlyn Jenner = Born a man. Attracted to women.
Eddie Izzard = Born a man. Attracted to women.

Born Homosexual:

Chaz Bono = Born a woman. Attracted to women.
Laverne Cox = Born a man. Attracted to men.

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Their genitals are none of your business

Do you enjoy describing your junk to strangers? Well okay, maybe YOU do, but most of us don’t, you friggin’ pervert.

Transgender people are no different – most of them hate to be asked about their private parts, so get your mind out of their underwear.

And on that note, transgender people just want to go to the bathroom in peace. They’re not trying to slip into your stall or sneak peeks at your vajayjay. They just want to pee in convenient public places without drama.

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For those of you who are still obsessed with genitalia and consumed with curiosity, just know that sexual reassignment surgeries are rarely performed, since they are mostly cosmetic, still somewhat risky, and extremely expensive. So if you really must venture a guess, odds are favorable that the genitals are the same since birth.

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Their gender identity is not a threat to yours

Much like gay marriage is not a threat to traditional marriage, a person born a man, but identifies as a woman, is simply stating the gender she feels inside. This is not an affront to the painful periods you suffered, the child labor you endured, or the hot flashes you now sweat through. If you choose to be completely butt hurt because Caitlyn Jenner cannot fully relate to the trials and tribulations of being a woman, then please turn the channel, because clearly, keeping up with the Kardashians is not for you.

cisgender

Sorry, but you’re no longer just “straight”

When your grandfather was “straight,” it just meant that he wasn’t high on drugs or booze. These days, you have to identify as “straight” to indicate that you are not homosexual. However, since sexual preference has nothing to do with sexual identity, “straight” is not a simple phrase that automatically distances you from all LGBT categories. Therefore, you are now “cisgender.” I’m sorry, I know it’s a lame word and perhaps someone will come up with a cooler one, but for now, to let someone know that your personal gender identity matches the genitals assigned to you at birth, you can say “I am cisgender.”

 chaz_bono_cher_burlesque

Every transgender story is different

Many transgender people have struggled with their gender identity since early childhood. Some vacillate between their male and female sides their whole lives. Some fall somewhere in between the male/female perspective. Some have a full sexual reassignment early in their life. There are many colors in the transgender rainbow, and that’s okay.

If you are straight and cisgender, you may not understand many of those colors, and that’s okay too. Gender identity can be a very confusing topic. After all, outside genitalia, what actually defines gender? You may never be able to fully relate to a transgender person because you probably don’t put a lot of thought about what makes you inherently male or female, or what it would be like to be the opposite sex – you just play the hand you were dealt.

So just keep doing that. All you have to do is be yourself and be kind to others who are simply being themselves. Respect their privacy, respect their dignity, and give them the space to express themselves without becoming hostile, rude, or worse yet, violent.

Respect is extremely necessary

The dark side to transgender people is the closets they build for themselves and the people they hurt while doing so. It’s surprisingly easy and common to hide your sexual identity from your community, your children, and your spouse. This creates distance, brings unnecessary shame, breeds heartache, and destroys intimacy. Hopefully, the day will come where no one ever has to live in a closet again, and the Kris Jenners of the world will be a thing of the past.

Even worse, being transgender in the United States can be extremely dangerous. The murder rate for transgender people is 50% higher than the murder rate for lesbian and gay people.

Adding insult to fatal injury, courts in many states still give murderers the benefit of the doubt if their victim was flirtatious. It’s called the “trans panic defense,” which absolves men of accountability for their murderous rampages should their rage be triggered by finding a penis where a vagina should be.

It’s no wonder most transgender people are still hiding in their closets.

 Being transgender is not a mental disorder, but it can be extremely stressful.

A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Transgender people do not consider their gender identity to be distressing or disabling. However, getting the outside to match the inside, and then getting others to accept the real you, can be extremely taxing. Changing your body can be a monumental undertaking that includes counseling, hormone therapy, and expensive medical procedures. And even when you have all that under control, you need to try and alter societal perceptions in order to freely express your gender identity while facing discrimination, broken relationships, and even the threat of violence. With all this pressure, it’s no wonder that the suicide rate among transgender people is at a staggering 41%.

So please, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it on Facebook.

Creepy Sexism in Girl’s Sports

babyslut

When I was 12 years old, my mother reprimanded me for dressing too provocatively. My outfit would not raise a single eyebrow today, but back in the late 80’s, it was still considered trashy to wear a miniskirt that was two inches above the knee and (gasp) lace gloves with the fingertips cut out. Like all 12-year-old girls back then, I was trying to be Madonna, but only had a vague understanding about what that actually meant.

In the most diplomatic way possible, my mother tried explaining to me why it was wrong to dress this way in public. It was a familiar conversation, and always a confusing one. When I was in second grade, both my mother and my teacher took turns both scolding me and begging me not to take my shirt off at recess. It had been a particularly hot spring that year, and all the boys took their shirts off to play basketball. I was playing basketball with them, and I too, was sweating bullets. Why was I being singled out?

“Because you’re a girl, Marie. Girls are different.” They could never bring themselves to explain why girls were different. My chest was identical to the chests of all my second grade male classmates (a trend that would sadly continue for me until I was damn near 20). I just had to accept that girls were required to keep their shirts on, while boys could take theirs off.

So when I was 12 and getting yelled at for my pathetic Madonna imitation ensemble, my mother realized she was going to have to give me a tangible reason why my outfit was deemed unacceptable, one that would save her weeks of fighting and trips to my teacher’s office.

“Because,” she struggled, “when certain men see you dressed like that, they might think you’re selling something you aren’t.”

“Girl Scout Cookies?” I wondered.

“They might think you’re selling yourself.” I stared at her blankly. “Your body.” Still nothing. “They might think you’re selling sex.”

Wait, what?!?! Whoa. Slow down there, missy!!!! To further clarify, my 17-year-old sister chimed in with “Mom thinks you look like a whore.” Okay, I sort of understood the sex-selling part (ew), but what was this “whore” thing? A monster? Based on my mom’s dramatic reaction to my sister, I knew it must have been even uglier than a monster.

So there I was, an ugly monster selling sex, and over the months, I started learning more and more from my friends and society about what attention I could expect to receive from boys (and apparently johns) based on the various sartorial choices I made.

It was about that time that I joined the Laredo Middle School girl’s volleyball team. I loved playing the game and had a pretty mean serve. Unfortunately, joining the team meant donning a ridiculous uniform with long sleeves and very short shorts. I really hated this fucking thing.

The legs would bunch up in the crotch as I scrambled for the ball, and I was painfully aware that my ass cheeks were open to the bleachers every time I had to bend over, which was always, because it’s fucking volleyball. For some reason, however, my parents had no problem with this get-up. Despite the fact that I was not allowed to own daisy dukes, and that I could be sent home from school if my skirt hem reached higher than my outstretched fingertips, it was considered perfectly fine for me to squat and jump in this little number:

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Again, I found myself jealous of the boys in my class. Their volleyball uniforms were comfortable. They could play with confidence in their long, flowing Umbro shorts.

As my team won game after game, I noticed girls from various schools would eye each other up and down. Not to get into each others’ heads, but to sympathetically acknowledge each others’ uniforms. Many girls suffered the same cheek-grazing shorty-shorts, but I remember one team I played (and beat) had shorts more reasonable in length. Unfortunately, they were fabricated in a thin, white polyester that let you see each player’s underwear.

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For many years I mentally blocked the memories of these heinous athletic fashion crimes. It’s been a long time since junior high, and I assumed things got better for girls. Nearly every time I fire up the ole’ Internet, I see some article about a girl being sent home from a school dance for being too scantily clad, or about how yet another female sports team is kicking ass and building a bigger audience. More respect for sport. Less respect for skin exposure. Things must have gotten better for junior high school volleyball players, right?

Infuriatingly, no. A precious 11-year-old girl in my life is currently trying out for her school’s volleyball team. The shorts she’s wearing are so short, they practically look like underwear. She’s afraid to dry them in a clothes dryer, lest they shrink to an even smaller size. The uniform they will put her in if she makes the team will be just as short.

Her school is following a very common trend. And it’s disturbing.

Do a Google image search for boy’s volleyball teams at the junior high or high school level. You will see confident boys in reasonable uniforms looking like they’re going to kick your ass:

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Now do a Google image search for girl’s middle school volleyball teams. You will see in most images, the girls look apologetic and strike modest poses that clearly show how uncomfortable and naked they feel in their uniforms. Sometimes, these girls are blatantly sexualized by people taking bend-over sneak shots.

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There are now many websites like HotVolleyBall.com that let horny men rub out to girls in volleyball uniforms. Is that what we training young girls for?

And why is that top male volleyball athletes still manage to keep their legs covered, like soccer players, for the most basic running and jumping? If there was a competitive advantage to wearing skimpy underwear instead of comfortable shorts, men would have done it by now, just as they do with wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, and ice skating. Male athletes have no shame in attire when it comes to winning.

So could somebody please tell me why schools and athletic teams are still subjecting young girls to this bullshit? What is the message we’re sending to these young ladies? And who are the creepers designing these things?

Seriously. Somebody please explain the logic to me. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.