Thursday, August 19, 2010


Oh. Boy.
I thought of this post on my way home and I darn near didn't make it through the door before chucking down my bag and typing to get this little rant out. I'm still wearing my shoes, I haven't eaten, and I might be hyperventilating a little. That's how critical this post is.

But first; I've been thinking of using pictures for my blog. Certainly it would spice it up a bit, I guess. Not personal ones, obviously, giving the internet your personal likeness is a recipe for photo-shop related hi-jinks and great jimminy-jilkers I want to run for Prime Ministress one day. But perhaps some random pictures would spruce the place up. I suppose I would have to host them online somehow, though, which leads me to my question: What type of wine would you serve to pictures? I really should consult Martha Stewart's Hostess handbook but she only covers a few anthropomorphic niceties and I really need the full manual. Still, you can't go wrong with an Australian Red, and if they don't like it, then I don't need their low-class taste stinking up my blog, har har.

Now then: stereotypes. One in particular, to be exact; Ladies and the spending. I'm not entirely sure what "Sex and the City" has been teaching people but if I have to dodge one more joke about "spending my boyfriend's paycheck" I might have to have some strong words. Carved onto the side of a cleaver (the knife, not the kitschy American family). I'm fully aware how futile it is to try and refute a dearly held notion with one anecdotal argument, but I have few other options. Usually the situation goes the same way, myself and my boyfriend are loitering around the shop (just hoping to be useful; our favorite past-time) mid-conversation with someone else, when the discussion will amble over to finances, and someone will elbow Vic, hurr hurr, and ask how he manages to support my voracious shoe habit, or some such. It is always crouched in the form of a joke (Aren't they always?) and there is no polite way of correcting the joker without lowering the tone of the discussion several degrees and incurring the most hated phrase of accuracy-lovers everywhere: "I'm just kidding!!" Well Hardy-har-har chuckles! This phrase is the sneaky, self-serving, degenerate low-life phrase of the idiom family, and is usually delivered with a hurt infliction, occcasionally even with upraised hands. It exonerates the joker, who's just a fun-loving scamp, and places all responsibility for social niceness and further conversation-tone on the jokee. Any offense gathered from the "joke" instantly turns the jokee into a "self-righteous prig with (the worst charge) NO SENSE OF HUMOR". Worse, I don't think well on my feet, so of course my response is never witty or clever (which as every conversational fencer knows, lends more credit to your point than an actual argument) so my response is invariably something sputtered and denial-filled. The result? I look incredibly guilty, while my coworkers stare at me wondering how I can spend all Vic's money and still look so shamefully tacky when arriving at work everyday. (The answer, dear reader, is that I don't care to look good entering work. I wear those clothes for about 5 minutes in public view; I literally spend more time naked in the ladies change room, which is why, proportionally, more of my money goes to the gym and health food, than clothes.) The real truth, however poorly I make the point, is that Vic is more impulsive than myself. It is true. I'm frugal to almost a fault. Having decided to buy a netbook for classes and this very same blog, I spent over a month hemming, hawing, and finding the cheapest alternative, finally settling for "offensively cheap" because it had been returned already. Over the course of our relationship Victor has spent more on clothes, shoes, and hobbies, than I have. Now here's where I must back off, and hope that some small spark of trust will be lit in the reader, since to belabor my point (my fondest indulgence) would embarrass Victor, which I've no mind to do (I even tried to consider how to write the post without involving him, but it would be darn near impossible). He is thrifty, and not reckless with his money, my only point is that I'm much more frugal (again, almost to a fault), and I hate being labeled as a "loose-woman" because I'm a lady, therefore obviously I have no idea how to handle money. That's so wrong!
"Seriously though, Michelle, It's just some light ribbing!" I know, I know. (Dear Reader has had so much contribution to the blog, as of late, it may merit authoring credit) I should really learn to let it go. Laugh with the joke, content in my knowledge that I'm not some fluff-bunny, but sometimes virtue is not it's own reward. Sometimes a stand should be made. Women still don't make as much as men, even in the highest professions, and we're still gamely invading the higher echelons of career opportunities. We've won all our large battles, we have the vote, equal rights and no woman may be denied a position based on her gender. But there are still small problems, small fights that crop up, and if we don't talk about them, we're doomed to suffer them alone. I'm not saying we should whip out our bras and light 'em up every time someone makes a quip, but gentle pressure over time should slowly erode the dominant stereotype here. Besides, I'm a blogger, I'm meant to over-react.

P.S. This is the most current and unbiased of my sources. Enjoy!


Roots said...

I think your issue is not knowing how to respond to a sexist joke without compromising your own moral beliefs. Part of this may be because you "Don't think well on your feet", but I suspect it's a simple matter of preparation and practice.

Using myself as an example, I am an intelligent and analytical man. However, I'm not particularly quick (Leaving me to be donned with the ironic nickname of "Quickdraw") and often the last person to grasp a joke or summon a retort until long passed the acceptable window of opportunity.

I've managed to circumvent this by, analyzing the likely situations to happen and studying how other people react to said situations. I also, took the time to watch some stand up comedy and improv work. So my personal humour comes from trial and error as well as personal research on the subject. I need another hobby I know.

In your situation you have a couple ways to approach the telling of a sexist joke. The first, is simply letting it slide, which is good to do if you think a retort would not be well received by the audience. The second I call "passing the buck", in which you would put Victor in the light of being the big spender.

Joker: "Geez, Vic. How do you manage with your girl spending all your money?"

You: "Oh please, he'd only be in trouble if I spent half as much as what he spends on his shoes."

This can be sealed with a wink to let everyone know you were joking. With a simple sentence you have a turnaround that puts the light on Victor as spending the cash and you yourself are plenty frugal in comparison.

You can also choose to employ a third option which is what I call "the turnabout" which is especially effective against men with girlfriends or wives of their own.

You: I imagine he manages much the same way you do with your girlfriend/wife. (said with a smile)

This answer is effective in it's flexibility. If he spends money on his girlfriend then he is just as guilty and the joke loses steam. if he says he doesn't then you just point and say "exactly". either way your bases are covered.

And finally in the event that they don't have a girlfriend/wife, but you are still feeling a little offensive then you would use the "Jealousy angle".

You: Oh, you are just jealous you don't have a girlfriend to spend your money on.

This plays upon the egocentric male desire to entreat the women of their affections with gifts. Believe me this can be a real gut hitter with the right person and will help them think twice about teasing you on the subject.

These are just a few general suggestions and I'd be happy to tailor a more appropriate response for you, but I imagine you to be a clever woman and can figure it out for yourself. Cheerio.

Andreanna said...

Perhaps, (playing devil's advocate here) it's not so much a rib at you, but at the stereotype because they obviously don't know you. Hate to say it, but stereotypes are stereotypical for a reason. $100 pumps are a good example.

Darren spends more, but I shop more.
Spend more time looking around, wanting, dreaming, purchase more things that I'm not likely to wear often (BUT OMG, it's $1!).

And if for some horrendous reason Darren gave me his pay check and dropped me off at the mall, I would turn into a monster.

How many times do we women joke about men being so absorbed with sports or video games that they wouldn't notice the world falling down around them? Not all of them are like that, but some of them are.

Yours truely,
A Personist