It’s Raining Men

I went to a male review this weekend. The word review has a bad connotation for me. I think of my former job and the dreaded performance reviews that were meaningless and painfully boring. The feeling that comes along with that word has not changed – I still feel a little nauseous, and now maybe like I need a shower. I’m also a little confused about why these shows are called a review. I didn’t get any score card to fill out. Maybe it is more of a review for the audience about what the correct body parts are or what a guy is supposed to look like naked. Either way, review is not a word that makes me jump up and say “I want to go to that!” Yet I did.

I have never been to a male review so I didn’t have a reference point. I haven’t even seen the movie Magic Mike, but I have seen quite a few memes with a bunch of half naked dancing dudes, so that was pretty much what I expected. This particular show was a group of touring performers, so I assumed the guys would meet a certain standard. None of my expectations were met. I felt like maybe the club owner walked onto the street and stopped random guys leaving the gym to see what they were doing that night. By gym, I mean the local YMCA. Oh, and he only found four guys. That’s fine though, the audience/performer ratio was still 5 to 1.

The audience consisted of a very drunken bachelorette party, a group of gay guys and their fag hags and us. The bachelorette and her posse were all wearing tight white dresses, and one of them was roughly the size of half of our group. She turned out to be the only member of the audience who really appreciated the attention from the dancers – so much in fact that she ended up on the stage with them more than once with her cell phone recording all of the incriminating evidence. The stripper/comedian on stage referred to these ladies as the “wasted white wedding” and us as “the sober divorce club” since we were the only patrons still able to stand up unassisted. He had no clever name for the gay guys which surprised me because I had about twelve. One of the gays was wearing a flannel shirt and what appeared to be a toupee. I had a half hour commentary about that guy alone before even looking at his companions.

Maybe the best part of the night was that we actually watched these yahoos setting up for the show. We arrived an hour after doors opened, right as a group of guys was hanging up a giant blanket on the back of the stage. This blanket was the highlight of the show. It was covered in dancing lights that mesmerized me for a full hour while half naked smarmy guys in cowboy hats danced around. It was magical. I spent the better part of the night trying to figure out how to remove this masterpiece from the stage and get it into my car without getting tackled by a shirtless guy with half a boner. I decided the odds were against me and left empty handed.

At one point my girlfriend turned to me and asked “where do you think they get these outfits?” My reply was “Walmart. Definitely Walmart.” They fit right in with the venue though. It was like a VFW hall outside of a trailer park. At one point I reached under my chair to move it and stuck my hand in something sticky. The makeshift bar may or may not have been on wheels and the ladies room was right outside of the dressing room for the dancers where they could be heard getting changed. At least they had a professional sound system or we may have missed all that witty banter from the guy with crooked teeth and cornrows. He announced he was from the south. No really!?

I was surprised at how many dances occurred with less than a half dozen men performing. They had group dances, individual dances, costume changes and even a few props. I think it was as entertaining as it could be given what they had to work with. From my understanding, a male review is supposed to be somewhat fantasy inducing, and my mind was definitely wandering. Unfortunately, my mind was reeling with questions like “I wonder how adonis ended up here, did he want to be a Juliard trained dancer but just couldn’t cut it?” or “I wonder if any of these guys were actually in the armed forces. Does putting on the military vest cause them to suffer PTSD?” or “who the hell picked this music? I heard the same songs at Drag Queen Bingo!” I mean seriously, when the song that is played repeatedly is pretty much the drag queen anthem, you have picked the wrong music to dance to.

When the country song came on, it was time to leave. I can only endure so much. Unfortunately, I think half of the audience was just waiting for someone to make the first move. I didn’t have to be asked twice. As soon as one of my friends made the “let’s bolt” face, I was at the door waiting. As we exited, the bachelorette party stumbled out behind us. A few other stragglers followed as well.The dancers were left with the gays and their crew which I think was right up their alley.

The woman who planned this event apologized profusely as we walked to our cars and we all assured her that the comic value made it a worthwhile night. She ended with saying “maybe we should stick to the arts and crafts…” Somehow I think we are going to end up in some DIY studio and they will also be playing “It’s Raining Men”.

**Photos have been withheld from this piece to protect the innocent.

There are only a few guys I want to see sweaty on a stage and Henry Rollins is one of them


You Make Me Wanna Puke

I’m beginning to wonder if a few days with me makes my family sick. Every other time we go out of town or spend a long weekend together we all end up sick. I mean, I get it – I make myself a little sick on a regular basis, but it would be great to spend some time together without having to worry which one of them is going to start throwing up first. I would like to say I am not the cause of it, but I seem to always be the last one to catch whatever plague takes down our house. I spend the first few days after vacation taking care of the other two and then my mom has to take over babysitting while I barf for a day uninterrupted. I attribute this to me having a higher tolerance for myself than my other family members.

The last few times we have gone away for a short weekend have both been to water parks. I know those pools are giant petri dishes so I can’t say I am surprised by our illnesses. What does shock me a little is that my husband always gets it the worst. I would think my daughter would be the one to ingest the most pee from the water slides. Go figure.

The worst part about the illness that wiped us out this time around was that it struck on my daughter’s eighth birthday almost to the hour in which she was born. We returned home from our mini-vaca and went out to dinner with her grandparents to celebrate this monumental milestone. Mini-me decided against getting a cake which should have been a clue that something was amiss. This kid loves cake like Charlie Sheen loves cocaine and hookers.

By the time my 8.01 year old was getting into bed, she was complaining about a stomach ache. She lasted about 15 minutes before she started throwing up. I don’t think anyone in our house slept more than a half hour at a time the entire night. For me it was similar to the night I gave birth to her, and many nights after. Luckily, the wee one recovers quickly like her mom and was done barfing within 24 hours. Her father on the other hand has been down for the count for several days. He ended up at urgent care having bags upon bags of fluid pumped into his veins. I attribute this to his inability to properly process vitamin JEN since he hasn’t had a four day dose in awhile.

I’m trying not to take this too personally since I know there are tons of people who encounter me daily who don’t get sick. I guess I am like good chocolate – a little is awesome, but too much may make you hurl for a day or two. Maybe I should get a little consumer warning sign to carry around with me, or better yet a tattoo of the side effects of my sparkling personality. Until then my family is going to have to learn to toughen up or take me in smaller doses.

I wrote this blog while convalescing and listening to the Queers!!

Kiss With A Fist

Believe it or not, when I was a little kid, I was super shy. I didn’t really blossom until second grade when I changed schools. But, my first two years in school were pretty hellish, mostly because I was small and shy, and therefore, easy prey for the bullies of the public school system. Oh yeah, and I was smart. Smart enough that my teachers were somewhat frustrated with the fact that I already knew how to do a lot of the things they were supposed to be teaching me how to do. I was not particularly popular with my classmates or the teachers.

I remember riding my bike to school one time when I was in first grade. About a block from the school an older boy put a stick in my spokes and I fell. It was the last time I rode my bike to school. I’m sure when I got to my classroom I was told that the boy was being mean to me because he liked me. That was a common statement in my generation. Boys were routinely excused for bad behavior. If a boy put a worm in my hair at recess, I was told that he did it because he was trying to get my attention and the behavior was ignored. Even at the young age of six, I wasn’t buying it. That kid didn’t put a stick in my spokes because he liked me, he did it because he was a little asshole. He was a bully who waited around to attack someone smaller and weaker than him and I was it. The boy who actually did like me was riding with me and helped me up and gathered my possessions as his older brother chased away the bully.

My daughter is going to be 8 this week. She has had her fair share of boys being mean to her, and never have I told her that the boy was doing it because he liked her. I have also never told her that a girl was being mean because she was jealous, which is something I also heard growing up. I have, however, heard several adults tell my daughter or other girls her age these things. I don’t think either excuse is valid or accurate. It’s one of those leftover ways of thinking that makes little girls feel responsible for other people’s actions and base their self-worth on how other people view them. At the very least, it teaches girls to think they are causing boys to behave badly. But far worse, it is telling girls that they should expect boys to be mean to them and that it’s acceptable for boys to mistreat them both emotionally and physically as long as it’s because boys just don’t know a better way to express themselves. That’s a load of garbage.

I don’t know what it was that caused me to reject these ideas by the time I was in grade school. Maybe it’s the fact that my mom wasn’t the type of woman to let someone walk all over her, or maybe it’s because my dad taught me how to box by the time I could walk and told me to never be afraid to fight back. I would like to say that these early lessons brought me to where I am today unscathed but that would be a lie. I still dated some jerks, but not one of them tried to feed me a line of crap that they could hurt me because they loved me.

I am raising my daughter to value herself. I do my best to talk to her about why kids behave the way they do, honestly. I try to ask her how she feels and then let her know that she doesn’t have to hold onto her feelings, especially the ones that don’t serve her well. We must be doing something right because she has never said that a boy must like her because he is being mean to her. She has, however, pointed out that there are some kids who are just mean and all she can do is ignore them. I’ll chalk it up as a parenting win!

**This piece is brought to you by lots of Riot Grrrls!

She’s a Supermodel

I took my daughter to get her hair cut last weekend. She has ridiculously thick, curly hair. It is beautiful, but when it gets too long it gets tangles. Some are so bad that it looks like she is working on some natural dreadlocks. One day I expect her to walk out of her room with a crocheted beanie on saying “Ya mon.”

Her hair is hard for me to deal with since I have the exact opposite hair. Mine is thin, soft and fine, much like an infant’s. We spend a lot of mornings fighting over the maintenance of the nest attached to the back of her head. I explain to her that even if she can’t see the back of her head it still needs to be brushed. She disagrees.

I started taking her to the salon when she was just a toddler, mostly because her hair was already getting out of control by the age of two. She has never cared much for it. I can’t wrap my head around that because the salon has always been one of my happy places. Maybe it’s because she has a hard time sitting still for long or maybe it’s because my little control freak can’t stand having her head in the sink staring at the ceiling. Even as a baby she hated lying on her back. Whatever the reason, she usually only lasts for about 15 minutes before she starts getting antsy.

Last weekend was her first visit to our new salon and stylist. I fully expected her to start squirming before the scissors even came out. Surprisingly, she didn’t start to dance around until after the blow dryer was put away. As our stylist was putting the finishing touches on her new do my daughter asked how much longer it would take. She got a clever response of “girl, beauty takes time!” to which my little mini-me responded “yeah, and lots of money!”

Sock It To Me

Apparently my house now has communal socks. A month ago I bought myself new gym socks, but several pair have disappeared. A few weeks ago I found a pair on my daughter’s feet. The best part was she just thought I bought her new socks since she found them in her drawer. This is what happens when my husband folds the clothes. He has no idea what undergarments belong to who either. I found a pair of Wonder Woman underpants in my drawer awhile ago. They were a size 8, as in made for an 8 year old child.

One of the problems is that I buy cool socks. I bought a set of Harry Potter themed socks that have slowly migrated to my daughter’s drawer. The only ones she has not tried to swipe are the Slytherin pair. Anything that is Slytherin themed clearly belong to me, but the rest are apparently up for grabs.

It’s bad enough that my kid steals my socks, but now my husband is stealing them too. He met me at the gym the other day and promptly said “I think i’m wearing your socks.” I told him to pull up his pant leg so I could see and sure enough, I recognized them. He proceeded to tell me how soft and comfortable they were to which I responded “I should hope so. They’re cashmere!” I’m glad he was able to spend his last day at the gym in total comfort, but I don’t know if I even want the socks back now that they spent six miles on his sweaty feet. When he got home, he reached in his drawer and handed me another pair of the same socks. He had managed to confiscate two pair of my favorite socks without me even noticing.

I knew I would one day have to start keeping tabs on my clothing, but I thought it wouldn’t be until my kid was a teenager. I didn’t think I would be needing a lock on my sock drawer. And I certainly didn’t think I would be protecting my socks from my husband. Somehow I have a feeling I will be viewing him in one of my socks in a reenactment of a Red Hot Chili Peppers show circa 1988 soon.