Yesterday we had Ten American Habits Brits Will Never Understand, so today I thought I should do Ten British Habits Americans Will Never Understand. This, even more than the first list, makes me think the author just needs to get out and see more of America because at least some of us do most of these things.
1. Apologizing Unnecessarily – Most Americans do this. We say “sorry” for every little thing but when it comes to apologizing for the big things, the things for which we really need to apologize, we have a hard time with that. When someone does apologize it is, of course, a social requirement to say that no apology is necessary so maybe that’s where a Brit would get the idea that we don’t do this.
2. Drinking Too Much – Yeah, I don’t understand that one at all but I’m pretty sure there are many Americans who do.
3. Forgetting to Eat – I sort of understand that one. Haven’t done it very often myself but I know a lot of people get so busy they just don’t think about stopping to eat.
4. Enjoying the Misfortune of Others – Are you kidding me? That’s one of our favorite pastimes. We just don’t like to admit it.
5. Doing Ourselves Down – This is practically a social requirement. Almost everyone does it.
6. Thinking Tea Will Fix Everything – I really wish we would adopt this habit. It would be much better than all the fumbling for the right thing to say or do in a crisis. And a good cup of tea does kinda make everything a little bit better.
7. Our Reluctance to Fix Our Teeth – I don’t understand this one and it sort of creeps me out to know that this is a British habit but there are a lot of Americans, especially in my part of America, who don’t get their teeth fixed, mainly because they don’t have dental insurance.
8. Poor Communication Skills – This is a very individual thing. Many of us do have poor communication skills and some others are a little bit too good at “looking you in the face and saying what they mean.”
9. Driving a Stick-shift on the Wrong Side of the Road – We get the thing about driving on “the wrong side of the road,” we just like to give you a bad time about it. And driving a stick? Well, I don’t understand that but at least half of American drivers are fanatical about it. Guys on both sides of the pond love to play with sticks. But if you live in an urban area you will probably meet more people who prefer an automatic.
10. Our Desire to Laugh at Ourselves – Well, some of us do and some of us don’t but I think we generally think of this as a good thing, so, yes, we do understand it.
I recently discovered, via Facebook, Mind the Gap. It’s supposed to be sort of a “Brits’ guide to living in America”. I find it rather interesting but some of the “Americanisms” mentioned are not as universal as they seem to think. I would suggest that the writers of this site get out of New York City for a while and see the rest of America.
Let’s go through the 10 American Habits Brits Will Never Understand.
1. Flossing. – Brits don’t floss? Wish I didn’t know that. Kidding. Honestly, a lot of Americans don’t floss. According to a 2008 survey, Only 49% of Americans floss daily.
2. Compulsive Baking – I’m not sure I get what they don’t get about this or why they would call it “compulsive”. Actually, not everyone bakes but in any group there’s always at least one person who likes to bake and to show off their baking.
3. Sending personalized holiday cards – Most of us don’t do the family photo greeting cards. I think more people write annual Christmas letters but still probably a minority of us.
4. Talking to strangers – I think I’m a throwback to my British ancestors on this one. There are certain places where striking up a conversation with a complete stranger is more than acceptable, such as in a fabric store. You know that everyone there has at least one thing in common. It’s like you’re members of a club. You have to talk to each other. But I’m not fond of having random people in line at the grocery store trying to chat me up.
5. Whooping – We expect that at football games and some other sports events but otherwise I do often wish some of my fellow Americans were less noisy.
6. Compulsive sentimentality – Again, not universal. Some of us are huggers; some of us are not. If you see that someone is about to put the squeeze on you, you can usually just take a step back and extend your hand for a handshake and most people will get it. If necessary you can say, “Sorry, I’m just not a hugger.”
7. Drinking milk – Okay but we think you guys are weird for putting milk in your tea.
8. Ordering supersize portions – Yeah, we really need to stop that.
9. Taking home leftovers – Not much to say about this one. Why wouldn’t you if you think you might eat it later? Actually though, we usually don’t unless it’s pizza.
10. Eating breakfast together – Sadly, most of us don’t do this. A traditional family breakfast doesn’t fit into our lifestyles. Some people may do this on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings but even that isn’t that common and to do it every day is almost unheard of.
Like everything else about our two countries, British and American TV commercials are different.
At the risk of turning this into a “Which is better?” debate, it’s fair to say that there’s quite a difference between British and American TV ads. What one viewing audience finds acceptable is often highly inappropriate to the other and I find myself saying “I can’t believe they just showed that” on both sides of the Pond.
While what the censors allow might be different I think our reactions to inappropriate commercials is very similar. Frankly, being a woman I’m not overly fond of exposed boobs but I’d much rather see more of those than all the pharmaceutical ads that befoul prime time American TV. But our American censors, bless their hearts, have decided that it’s okay to talk about bedroom and bathroom topics during the evening news and the family hour. We don’t get a say in the matter.
Once in a while people will get all stirred up enough about a commercial to write letters and make phone calls, causing nervous advertisers to pull an ad, usually one that the majority of TV viewers found hilarious and can’t understand how anyone could have a problem with it. But, strangely, the commercials that offend almost everybody go on an on and on.
I think this is at least partly due to the modern American mindset that it is okay to offend the majority but certain minorities and women are sacred and it is necessary to go to sometimes ridiculous lengths to avoid even the most minor offense. (Obviously I’m not as easily offended as some of my “sisters”.) Thus we get commercials that offend everybody.
It is also a matter of what works for the advertisers. That old saying, which I think originally referred to politics, “It matters not whether you like me or loathe me as long as you remember my name,” is even more true in advertising. When shopping for a product most people won’t remember that they saw an offensive TV commercial for that brand and decide not to buy it in order to punish the advertiser for their offensive ad; they will simply recognize the brand and buy it because it is familiar. People will shy away from an unknown brand because they “don’t know anything about it” even though they don’t know one bit more about the famous brand because the commercial they saw a thousand times didn’t tell them anything useful.
Do you think introverts are more likely to be cat people and extroverts are more likely to be dog people?
Dogs are very friendly and want to be with you all the time. Cats are friendly and affectionate also and sometimes demanding but they don’t mind being alone and they will leave you alone if you’re busy or just not in the mood to pay attention to them. So it seems to me that a cat is a better pet for an introvert and dogs are more compatible with extroverts. This might also be the reason why cat people and dog people just don’t understand each other when it comes to pet preference.
It’s October (What? Already?) and just as sure as death and taxes there will be lists of Outside the Box Pumpkin Ideas. Once you get past the obligatory puking jack-o-lantern, which is actually one of the better ones I’ve seen, there really are some unique ideas – lots of painted pumpkins. I like #’s 4, 12, 17, 19, 23, 27, and 39.
I have to share this, from the comments over there:
…we have this culture right now where people can’t stand being disagreed with and have a weird tendency to take not only criticism but disinterest in something personally. I don’t get this idea that being a fan of something says so much about a person’s identity that they feel attacked at the mere idea of someone not being interested in something they love.
Okay, I admit it: I like when people like what I like. It upsets me a little when people casually dismiss or criticize something they have never even seen (or read or heard). I especially hate it when people act knowledgeable about something they know nothing about in order to justify their lack of interest. (This is extremely common with classical music) But there are limits, folks. What does it gain anyone to verbally abuse people who are not interested in the latest “must watch” show? I can almost understand if it’s a show that is in danger of being cancelled. You want more people to watch it so it will become popular enough to avoid cancellation. But even then, if you call someone an idiot because they don’t watch your favorite show, do you really think they are going to say, “You’re right. I don’t want to be an idiot so I’m going to immediately start watching this show and never miss an episode again.” Is that what you think is going to happen? If so then you are the idiot.
In the case of Breaking Bad, it’s a very popular show. If you’re one of the fans, no doubt you feel good about being part of a vast community of fans. Does knowing that there are people who don’t like it spoil everything? Really? Or do you just need to let the world know that you are better than those awful people who won’t watch your favorite show?
I don’t actually think most people think any of these things. I think they don’t think. It’s just the way people talk now – the way people show enthusiasm. It’s as automatic as saying please and thank you used to be. I’m not sure people really even care that there are strangers on the Internet who are not watching their favorite show. They’re just posting their unfiltered inner thoughts because there’s no longer any social stigma to doing so.
Personally, I have this fantasy that the Internet becomes conscious and she turns out to be a lot like me and starts putting people in time out.
Charles linked to this list of Bizarre Interior Paint Color Names. I don’t think most of these are bizarre at all. I like imaginative color names. “Mayonnaise” strikes me as a little icky. Not that mayonnaise is icky but naming a paint color that brings up the mental image of smearing actual mayo on one’s walls.
But I quite like some of the names on the list. Spirit Whisper – I’m not sure the color really goes with the name but then, I’m not sure what color Spirit Whisper should be. Phantom Mist – lovely, evocative name and the color seems about right for it. I probably wouldn’t paint my walls that color though. I like Obstinate Orange – the name that is. I like the color but I think it might be a bit much to put on the wall. Lavender Secret – one of my favorite names on the list but the color is kind of blah. Cheerful Whisper is a nice name but the color doesn’t look cheerful at all.
Now if you want to talk about weird color names you gotta look at nail polish. And there are lists galore:
And there’s much more. There is a list of “Raunchiest Nail Polish Color Names” that I refuse to link to. I’ve never seen any of those in local stores. I think they might be illegal in Oklahoma. (Joking. I think) There’s even a blog: Stupid Nail Polish Names
I had to look and see what I have in my collection. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the names. Maybe I should so I don’t buy something embarrassing. Most seem pretty tame. I have colors like Fire Opal, Copper Glamor, White Diamond, and Virtual Violet. One of the more imaginative ones is Poetic, a bright pink. The weirdest I have are Solid Rock, weird mainly because it’s a very delicate pale pink which does not make me think of rock of any kind, and Feelin’ Hot, a peach frost, not a “hot” color at all. Oh, and there’s Pumping Iron, a silver metallic. I actually don’t paint my nails all that often I would love to keep them painted all the time but I hate waiting around for polish to dry.
I first heard (or read) the word “twerking” sometime in the last week or two. I had no idea what it meant beyond something nasty that Miley Cyrus did on some awards show. Then Byzantium’s Shores linked to something Roger Green said on the subject. Probably the best way to get an understanding of what it is, is to watch it (not Miley Cyrus) though you probably really don’t want to watch that video, especially if you’re at work.
I did watch it and my immediate reaction was, “Oh, that. So it has a name now.” I recall seeing a woman doing similar moves (though with more clothes and not the full on spread-legged crouch of the modern version) in the video, Lightning in a Bottle, about the history of the blues. It was footage from the 1940′s I think. Definitely the first half of the 20th century. In other words, boys and girls, [yawn] nothing new.
Far more entertaining than Miley (bless her heart) is Morgan Freeman reading the definition of the word. That man can read the dictionary to me anytime.
Do some company or product names make you cringe? Other than Kum ‘n’ Go, I can’t think of any. There’s a fun discussion in the comments over there but I guess my mind works different from most people’s because most of the associations never occur to me. I tend to be bothered by deliberately misspelled brand names. SyFy did make me cringe at first. I sort of got used to it but I still say “siffy” when I see it.
I get a kick out of clever names. Possibly my favorite ever: a hair salon named Curl Up and Dye. There’s also one called Twisted Scissors, which I think is kinda cute. In the tiny Oklahoma town of Foyil there’s the Tin Foyil Cafe. It’s covered in that wavy sheet metal that people refer to as “tin”.
First seen here, though I likely would have got around to it anyway since Fritinancy is on my list.
I first learned of the existence of almond flour from an email from Amazon. I didn’t buy it from Amazon though, because I found it for $3 less at the local Reasor’s. Then I was searching for recipes and this article saying almond flour is really bad for you came up. And to be honest I really hate linking to that because it’s too high up in the Google results as it is but I tell myself that I can’t affect it all that much. I suppose it’s plausible, possibly true, but what I mainly take away from it is that the author personally prefers coconut flour and has come up with a list of reasons why almond flour is bad. And what’s good and bad keeps changing. Saturated fats were bad, now they’re good? Who knows?
It seems that one of the characteristics of religion is the belief that we must suffer and anything that brings pleasure is sinful. But it is clear that zealotry is not limited to traditional religion. It is not a characteristic of religion but of people. If it were possible to completely rid the world of religion there would still be zealots in the world preaching to us that we must suffer. And secular zealots don’t even give us the hope of a heaven, only a longer life in which to be deprived of the things we enjoy.
My answer to this is the same as always: there’s no substitute for moderation. Almost everything is bad for you if you overindulge. In this case moderation will be easy. I won’t be indulging in the almond flour too frequently because it is expensive – over $10 for just one pound.
Anyway, I searched for a cookie recipe but they all required weird, trendy ingredients that I don’t keep on hand, like agave nectar and grape seed oil and such so I sort of made up a recipe as I went. I started out with two cups of almond flour, 3/4 of a butter flavor Crisco stick, two eggs, one cup of sugar, one teaspoon vanilla, and one teaspoon baking powder. After I mixed those together the dough wasn’t stiff enough for cookies so I added half a cup of regular all purpose flour and a little bit more sugar. I don’t think the extra sugar was necessary because they came out very sweet, but that’s probably a matter of taste. Everyone really liked them. Oh, almost forgot – I also put in a package of fake white chocolate chips. (Wal-mart used to have genuine white chocolate chips but I can’t find them anywhere now.) This “recipe” made about 4 dozen smallish cookies. I made them on Saturday and they’re gone now (UPDATE: That’s not quite as bad as it sounds. There were six of us eating them.) so I would call that a success. At least for our taste buds, not so much for our waistlines.
*In case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t recognize the source of this post’s title
UPDATE: There are some good comments on the “Almond Flour is Bad” article. I didn’t read all of them, just skipped through and read a few. I like this one by PLJ which says, in part: “… in my own unscientific way I surmised that we must have a certain amount of “bad” foods once in a while to help build up our immunity to assaults from foreign influences.” I also like this comment by Elisa.
I was just wondering… Is there any kind of protocol for ending a texting conversation? Like, who sends the last message and do you have to say something like, “I’ve gotta go; talk to you later,” or do you just simply stop? Seems to me that to just stop would be okay because the other person won’t know whether you just quit or you got busy and couldn’t answer or you lost your signal, and that’s what I usually do but, having grown up with old-fashioned telephone conversations, I don’t feel entirely comfortable doing it that way.
I mentioned earlier this week that we bought some sauces from The Pepper Palace in the Mall of America. (This is not an advertisement, even though parts of it will sound like one.) We got around to trying them this week. Some hot sauces have such interesting names. One of those I bought was Iron Thunder. I picked it because it has a picture of a steam train on the label which, I admit, is a silly reason to choose a product but when you’re surrounded by hundreds of bottles of hot sauce and you want to try most of them one method of choosing is as good as any other. I need to try it a few more times on different foods to give a final verdict but it doesn’t seem especially hot nor does it stand out as being exceptionally tasty.
More interesting to me is Dave’s Gourmet Ginger Peach Hot Sauce. The heat indicator on the label claims that it is medium but on my scale it barely qualifies as a hot sauce. I would call it barely warm but I am not disappointed because it is tasty. The label says, “A great sauce to put on chicken, fish, salads and ice cream.” Whoa! What? Seriously? Hot sauce? Ice cream? So you see why I had to buy that one.
Earlier this week I put some on a chicken sandwich and that was good. Last night I tried it on ice cream – Blue Bell Natural Vanilla Bean, which is so heavenly good it seems a shame to put anything at all on it – and it was great. I will definitely do that again and will buy more when it runs out. And I have to try it on more foods.
And one more item: the Pepper Palace’s Blueberry Barbeque Sauce. It sounds weird but, looking at the ingredients list, blueberries are one of the last items listed, meaning it is actually only a minor ingredient. For some reason, it seems to me that it would be best on steak but we’re not really steak people. We put it on grilled pork chops last weekend and I was not impressed. I mean, it was okay but it’s nothing to swoon over. I need to try it on some more stuff though, maybe a hamburger the next time we have those, which I hope isn’t too soon because I really need to quit eating fattening stuff for a while. Except for ice cream. There’s always room for a little ice cream.
My favorite of all the sauces I’ve tried so far is plain, ordinary Louisiana Hot Sauce which I can get at any grocery store. It’s hot but not insanely hot and has a very good flavor. I absolutely love the stuff. It actually comes in quart size bottles but I usually buy the 12 ounce size. That typically lasts less than a month. We put it on pizza and everything else you could possibly imagine with hot sauce.
But I do like to try new stuff and I will try more of the sauces from The Pepper Palace and anywhere else I happen to come across something that looks interesting.
Behold my latest “guilty pleasure.”
I love cable/satellite TV.
Dustbury linked to 15 Over-Used Movie Poster Clichés. My reaction: So what? I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with these “clichés”. We expect movie posters to give us a clue as to what kind of movie it is. Sure, a little originality would be nice but it’s not a bad thing to stick with an overall look for a specific kind of movie. Often, there is originality in the details.
So Rihanna decided to dye her hair grey? Well, not really. The pop culture world has so little to talk about, poor things. Anyway, I first heard about that “Earth shaking” bit of “news” from this grey hair post, featuring photos of some stylish grey-haired ladies and a video of a woman making way too big a deal of the whole issue of choosing to not dye one’s hair. Listening to her the thought crossed my mind, “Perhaps 57 is the new 16?”
Yesterday I listed 10 Movies I Can Watch Over and Over Again. The following are movies that either I have only seen once or I last saw when I was just a little kid. I don’t know if they could ever become “over and over again” movies but there was something about them that makes me want to see them at least one more time.
10. Bubba Ho-tep – I did start to watch this one for a second time but my other half vetoed my choice. There is one crude running joke that somewhat spoils the movie but overall it’s weird, quirky fun. Two nursing home patients – one thinks he’s Elvis and the other (who’s black) thinks he’s President Kennedy. Then weird stuff happens… something about a mummy.
9. Texas Across the River – I saw this a number of times when I was a little kid. They used to re-run it on TV at least once a year and it was one of my favorite movies. Very funny. Or at least I thought so then.
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey – I actually don’t count this as a “have seen”. I only watched it once, on TV, and we were getting absolutely horrible reception so, although I stubbornly kept on watching, I actually didn’t see much of it.
7. The Valley of the Gwangi – Cowboys and Dinosaurs. How can this not be awesome?
6. The Night Walker – A 1964 movie starring Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck. I saw it sometime in the 70s. I don’t remember much about it except that I really liked it a lot at the time.
5. Change of Habit – 1969, starring Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore. One of the better Elvis movies.
4. A Patch of Blue – Sidney Poitier and a blind white woman fall in love. But it’s the 60′s so this is a problem. Actually, I could have put any Sidney Poitier movie that I’ve seen here.
3. W. W. and the Dixie Dance Kings – Even IMDb.com hasn’t heard of this movie. What the hell is wrong with you, World? My husband and I saw this on our second date (or, what I think of as our first real date) so it has sentimental value for me but I also remember it as being fairly entertaining. (UPDATE: Oh. I was wrong. IMDb has heard of it. Their search function just isn’t as functional as it should be.)
2. Vanilla Sky – I don’t remember a lot about this one, just that it was beautifully weird.
1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Asian martial arts movies are so not my cup o’ tea but this was a beautiful movie with a beautiful score by Tan Dun. I want to see it again and probably again.
UPDATE: Oh darn! I meant to include Ghost Rider somewhere on this list. Let’s call it number 2 1/2.
If you had asked me, I would have said that there are very few movies I want to see over and over again but once I decided to make a list I had a hard time paring it down to only ten.
10. Star Wars – I feel like this one must be on the list. I have watched it many times but, honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve felt like watching it again.
9. Star Trek IV – I don’t know if this could be considered “the best” of the Star Trek movies, or even very good, but it has a lot of really fun dialog. (“Did you see that?” “No, and neither did you!”)
8. Oh Brother Where Art Thou – Oh how I love quirky, fun movies and this one has some great music too. Although, we bought the CD and I don’t find the music alone as enjoyable as hearing it in the movie.
7. Mr. Roberts – I love this old classic.
6. True Lies – I don’t know what it is about this movie but I haven’t gotten tired of it yet. Judging by how often they air it on several of the cable channels there are a lot of other people who are not tired of it yet either.
5. The Sound of Music – Wonderful movie! It’s been (20?) years since I last saw it but I have no doubt I would still love it.
4. Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines – So, do I have questionable taste in movies or what? Based on various comments and reviews I’ve seen online this is considered the worst of the Terminator movies but it’s my favorite. Great fun.
3. The Blues Brothers – Lots of car crashes, great music, “mission from God”… What’s not to love?
2. Second Hand Lions – Wow. Just… wow. Incredible movie. One of a kind.
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark – And of course this had to be Number One. (though I was tempted to give Second Hand Lions the top spot.) No matter how many times I see this I’m on the edge of my seat holding my breath at all the same moments. Not to mention, the greatest movie score ever.
At any given time when you are searching for something to watch on TV it can seem like cable/satellite TV is a vast wasteland, or perhaps “garbage dump” would be a better description. For a monthly fee close to the amount of our winter electric bill we get fifty channels of reruns and 50 channels of ever increasingly WTF reality shows and the rest is mostly shopping channels. However, there are more than enough shinies amidst the garbage to fill up our TV watching time.
I meant to say something about Orphan Black (BBC America) a few weeks ago when the season ended. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it but after about three episodes I was hooked. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to declare Tatiana Maslany the greatest actress ever but I’m really tempted. She plays Sarah Manning and several clones, all with distinctly different personalities, and as I’m watching, sometimes I actually forget that only one actress is portraying them all, and then I remember and I am freshly amazed again. Fortunately it will be back for another season.
A&E’s Longmire is back. I really enjoy this show a lot in spite of some rather glaring faults. It’s a fairly typical cop show in a very non-typical setting: rural Wyoming. I don’t really mind that this rural Wyoming county has a higher murder rate than New York City. It wouldn’t be much of a show if it was realistic. That the portrayal of Native Americans in the show is almost as stereotypical as in a 1960′s western bugs me a little bit. Lou Diamond Phillips plays Sheriff Longmire’s friend Henry, the Native American bartender who is very wise and does not use contractions. I have to confess, as silly as it is, I rather like that way of speaking. It sounds so elegant. Sometimes I think perhaps I should start talking like that to weird people out, just for fun. Besides Henry, the Native Americans in Longmire are invariably surly and anti-social. The most annoying character though, is the deputy who’s running for Sheriff. Somebody please shoot him. Or at least, can we please just get past this silly election nonsense? I know it seems like I’ve done nothing but complain about this show but honestly, I really enjoy watching it. It’s one of my favorites right now.
We watched the first episode of the new CBS series Under the Dome. I was hooked in the first five minutes. This is the weirdness I’ve been missing in my TV watching. Everyone please watch this so maybe CBS won’t cancel it in six weeks.
Warehouse 13 is still fun but it’s been getting a little too serious lately. I don’t like too much seriousness in my silly fun shows.
I’ve just recently got into NCIS: Los Angeles. We’ve watched the original NCIS for years and I sort of like it but I’m not really wild about it so I didn’t see any reason to start watching another one. NCIS: LA is very different of course – a lot more fun. I am really loving Linda Hunt’s character. And the other characters too. They all have a chemistry that you don’t see often anymore.
There’s more… I know there was more that I wanted to mention but that’s all I can think of now. You might be in for another TV post soon. Or perhaps not.
In the comments on the Dustbury post that I linked yesterday I found a link to this interesting set of 22 maps. (By the way, as a southerner who has tried to avoid saying “y’all” all my life to keep from sounding like a dumb southern hick I find the attempt to legitimize the the word deeply disturbing.)
Besides the second person plural map there is a map for the ever divisive “caramel”. (It has 3 syllables. Because I say so.) There’s one for how people pronounce “pajamas”. Interestingly, I say it the “wrong” way for my region of the country and I never noticed. Pecan – I have doubts about the accuracy of this one. It is pronounced pah-CAHN. People only say PEE-can when they’re trying to be cutesy.
And of course there’s the popularly controversial Pop vs. Soda vs. Coke divide. I grew up in a region where all carbonated soft drinks drinks were referred to non-specifically as “Coke”. This used to drive my grandmother crazy. She had talked to someone who worked in a Coca-Cola plant who had told her about the corroded pipes in the plant and from that she somehow got the idea that Coke (but not other carbonated drinks) “will rot your stomach.” so every time one of us would say “I’m going to go get a Coke,” she would get upset and explain how Coke was going to rot our stomachs so we would have to explain to her that by “Coke” we really meant Dr. Pepper or Pepsi or whatever. Growing up in Texas I also occasionally heard “sodapop” or even “soda-water”. Now I mostly say “soda”. I sort of wish I said “pop” because that’s kinda cute but I can’t get used to saying it.
Earlier this week I was at Walmart and saw someone who needed to be on People of Walmart but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take a picture. This was an older woman. Her body seemed to be rather barrel shaped and she had long skinny, wrinkly legs and she was wearing a very short, hot pink knit dress. In fact, I’m fairly certain that it was meant to be a top. To be fair, it’s possible that she had short shorts on underneath but I didn’t see any and it looked like she just had on an extremely short dress and that with the next gust of wind her sixty-year-old hoo-hah would be on display for the whole world to see.
So of course I started writing this post in my head but before I could get around to actually writing it I saw Peter Lappin’s excellent post, Should We Dress Better? It’s a very thoughtful post and there is some great discussion in the comments.
I am very conflicted on this issue. I honestly do believe everyone should have the freedom to wear whatever they like. However, it drives me crazy that so many people choose to dress like Larry the Cable Guy or the female equivalent. You know… I don’t expect everyone to wear hats and gloves to the grocery store…
…but it would be nice if most people would at least try to look like they own a mirror. People claim they dress down because they want to be comfortable but I think there is more to it than that. I blame the 70′s. I guess it really started in the 60′s but I remember that one was still expected to at least look decent in public if not “dressed up.” But it was in the 70′s that society started piling on the rules and we haven’t stopped since. I’m talking about “political correctness.” Some of these new rules were good and needed but soon it wasn’t enough that we respect everyone equally regardless of race or gender. We had to have all these specific rules about what we could say and do and even what we should think. And it never ends. Everyone is always trying to add more rules and even if some of them are good rules it gets tiresome.
But we can dress however we please and so we do. We feel that it’s one of the few things in our lives that we can control. The old rules about how to dress in public remain with us at least in our minds and we dress to defy those rules. It’s the one area of our lives where we can say, “Screw you. I’ll do what I please.” But, as it happens with most rebellions, what was done in defiance of the old set of rules has become the new set of rules. If we dress in a way that was once considered proper we risk being ridiculed for being “overdressed” or even “dowdy”.
Right now it seems impossible that the pendulum could swing the other way and people would once again dress as if they care – that exposed bra straps and boxers would once again be taboo and that clothes, even if they are casual, might fit properly. And that people would once again feel the need to dress appropriately for special occasions. But every movement starts with just a few rebels. Those of us who believe in dressing decently to go out in public are the new rebels. Or maybe we’re just old farts, but I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe that there are a few young women out there who want look nice, not skanky. Be bold! Dress up a little and go to Walmart and when a slovenly person asks “What are you dressed up for?” give them a puzzled look and say, “I’m dressed up to go Walmart, of course.”
UPDATE: I know part of the problem, at least in this area, is that, for people who don’t sew, decent clothes are hard to find. It seems like most of the clothes I see in stores are either sloppy or skanky, with the exception of western wear, which is not everyone’s style. It certainly isn’t mine.
I have noticed on some of the sewing blogs that a lot of younger women do not seem to know what the word “dowdy” means. Now I know I probably should say, “I do not like the way the meaning of the word “dowdy” has changed,” but I have decided that I’m going to be a stubborn old fart about this. Because I can.
First, let’s get an official definition. Here are the first two that came up on Google:
(of a person, typically a woman, or their clothes) Unfashionable and without style in appearance.
Lacking stylishness or neatness; shabby: a dowdy gray outfit. 2. Old-fashioned; antiquated.
I’ve seen some women refer to perfectly nice, attractive, classic styled clothing as “dowdy”. And apparently wearing skirts below the knee is “dowdy” too. (Yes, I’m going to keep on using sneer quotes. Deal with it.) I suppose, going by the definitions above, which are quite broad, practically anything that is not cutting edge fashion could be called “dowdy” but I like to think that there are some things that never go out of style. I don’t see how an outfit that is neat and well put together can be considered “dowdy”. If it’s not your style, fine, but that doesn’t mean that it’s “dowdy”.
I suppose it would be helpful if I linked to a couple of examples of non-dowdy outfits that people have called dowdy but I really don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or start a fight. But really! There’s a difference between classic and dowdy and today’s young women don’t appear to understand that difference. What is dowdy? The first example that comes to mind is Amy on The Big Bang Theory. It’s frumpy, ill-fitting clothing, in dull, unattractive or uncoordinated colors. It does not mean simply something you consider out of style.
Addendum: This is probably why none of the sewing bloggers ever comment on my sewing posts.
I’m still watching Orphan Black. The story is interesting enough to overcome the fact that I don’t particularly like the main character. The clones all have different personalities and of them all, the one that you might think I would identify with the most is the one I like the least – the “soccer mom” or as she was once called by Sarah, the main character, “soccer bitch”. My favorite of the clones is the science nerd. I hope they will start showing more of her. The show is getting quite interesting, with a number of intriguing questions and it’s moving along nicely. I rather enjoy the relationship between Sarah and her brother, who is gay. He’s a fun character. This is an adult show and there is occasional swearing and nudity, though, fortunately, nothing like the scene in the first episode that nearly made me stop watching.
I’ve seen a couple of advertisements for Copper, another BBC series. It will be returning in June. The thing I really hate about cable/satellite series is the long, long hiatus between very short seasons. Maybe half a dozen episodes then you have to wait a year for the new season, by which time I’ve mostly forgotten what happened at the end of the last season.
Warehouse 13 (SyFy) will be back on soon. For some reason it always sort of surprises when this show comes back. I keep thinking each season will be the last one. It’s a fun show. I’m not sure I would call it a good show but it’s fun and that’s what matters.
NBC’s Grimm continues to entertain but I’m starting to wish that the long term story arc would move along a little faster.
I’m still enjoying Elementary. I resisted this show at first because I did not like the idea of a modern version of Sherlock Holmes but it’s really a very interesting and fun show. I just think of the characters as completely different people who, coincidentally, just happen to be named Holmes and Watson.
The Following has only a very few episodes left – two or three? I forget. It’s been a wild ride and I’ve enjoyed it but I like that they told everyone up front that it is a limited series so I know they’re not going to keep dragging the story out endlessly.
Seriously? We’re still talking about this? Sweetie, I think you better check your calendar. The 70′s were over a while ago. In case you missed it, most of us decided that we still want to wear bras, mainly because they make clothes look better, but we also decided that everyone has the right to not wear one if they don’t want to. Be warned though, we still might laugh and talk about you behind your back if you choose not to wear one. Oh, and employers still have the right to have dress codes, and thank goodness for that!
Honestly, it’s none of my business but I don’t like to see women going braless in public. It looks sloppy. It’s not so bad if you were cheated by Mother Nature and don’t have much that needs support but I suppose that’s not fair. Size shouldn’t matter, right? Anyway that’s just my personal opinion. Yours may differ.
I don’t really get bralessness as a feminist statement either. So you don’t want to wear a bra because men don’t wear them? Is that it? I suppose that means next time you participate in some sport you will wear a jock strap. I really don’t think that’s it though. I think feminists don’t like to wear bras because they’re uncomfortable and feminism is just an excuse.
It’ funny… when I was a kid, getting your first bra was a really big deal. You looked forward to it. It meant that you were growing up and soon you would look like your Barbie dolls. They had what they called “training bras” with flat stretchy “cups” that weren’t actually cups at all because you didn’t need them yet but that was your first bra and it was so exciting. Is it still the same now or has that changed? I have no idea what the growing up experience is like for girls these days.