Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The PITA award

My dear friend Courtney uses the acronym "P.I.T.A." to describe anyone who is consistently a pain in the ass. I think it would be a lot of fun (and also probably get me sued and/or fired) to give out PITA awards at the end of each semester. Even more entertaining would be for me to start a "PITA pool" at the beginning of each semester to see if I could accurately predict, based on a few initial interactions, which student would be the winner of the PITA award. History tells me, it's not that difficult to predict the winner.

We're now beginning the seventh week of the semester, and I think it's already clear - the PITA will go to a "team" for the first time ever. The inappropriate brother and sister will win the PITA for this semester. Why, you ask? Well, let's see. In the past two weeks alone, here are just a few of their myriad accomplishments:

  • During our discussion of the "Love and Attraction" chapter, one of my male students asked why "chicks like guys who treat them like crap." I figured it wasn't appropriate for me to respond, "because they're still in their teens and twenties; give it another decade or so" and I posed the question back to the rest of the class. Inappropriate sister responds, "I think it's because people are looking for something in the wrong place. People have to realize they can't find fulfillment outside of themselves. They must always look to the Savior." Right. I forgot. I'm surprised the authors of our textbook failed to mention that. I wish I had the wits (and the guts) to have said, "Listen. Enough with the Jesus crap already. Oy Vey."
  • Inappropriate brother strolled into the midterm exam with five minutes remaining. The classroom was empty (except for me and his sister, of course) and he said in his very Pauly Shore kind of way, "Hey, can I take the test?" Me: "Why did you almost miss the exam?" I'd like to think I'm not completely unreasonable. After all, I did listen to all those "scubba" diving stories one fall semester. Tell me something interesting - a kidney donation gone awry, your car got stolen, you got subpoenaed because you're a witness to a crime (also an excuse given to me by a very bright, but very messed up student), etc., But no. Inappropriate brother gets an "F" for effort. Ready for his excuse? "Just now woke up." As someone who will NEVER be a morning person and who REALLY, really, loves her beauty sleep, I can almost buy this. Except. It was 1:45 p.m. Even I can get up by noon, if it's really important.
  • Sometimes, I like to think that I'm a really creative instructor who will actually have a positive effect on students' lives. Last week, I wrote dozens of what I considered "realistic" scenarios and had students practice role-playing realistic scenarios to demonstrate their communication skills (Chapter 8 is called Sexuality and Communication, if you must know.) Inappropriate brother and sister were in the same role play (of course.) They were assigned (randomly! I don't have a thing for self-flagellation) the scenario in which one person must explain to the other person that s/he has recently contracted HPV. I felt this was one of the most important role play scenarios because the rate of HPV in this country (particularly among college students) is just really, crazy-high. And what does inappropriate brother say during his role play? "Baby. I got somethin' to tell ya. I've got a little party in my pants." "A" for comedic effect. "F" for comprehension of sexually transmitted infections. Any moron who describes HPV (cause of genital warts and cervical cancer, by the way) as a "party in his pants" deserves the exact opposite of a party in his pants. Shoot me now, please. I'm failing miserably at my chosen occupation.
  • After class one day, inappropriate sister asks me if it is normal that she can masturbate by crossing her legs and squeezing her thigh muscles together. I would say that MOST people worry that they are "not normal" and if you've seen the movie Sex, Lies, and Videotape, you know this isn't unheard of. However. She tells me that she does this in class. Great. That's taking "in-class participation" a little far, if you ask me.

Would it be wrong of me to present them with a CASE of pita bread at the end of the semester?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Midterm Misspelling Olympics

The first midterm in Human Sexuality typically requires the students to label the internal and external male and female reproductive structures. Up until just a few days ago, grading these exams was a great source of consternation for me. But, yesterday, I read something that was so wrong, and so mystifying and so confusing yet entertaining that I laughed so hard tears rolled down my face. May you enjoy it as much as I have. I present to you the Winter 2006 Human Sexuality Misspelling Olympics.

In the female anatomy category, we have for the General Amusement Event:
Gold: Fallopian tub.

General Confusion Event:
Gold: Mons deferense (which is a brilliant combining of the female "mons pubis" and the male "vas deferens.")
Silver: Gland (written next to the vaginal opening; I say points for just giving it a hell of a guess.)

I Like to Make Up Words Event:
Gold: Frenembrie (For fimbriae. I like it. Sounds like a delicious but frenetic soft cheese.)

General Common Misspellings Event:
Silver: Introinus. I like this one. The vaginal opening is also called the introitus. The thing I like about this one is you might pronounce it with an "oin" as in "groin" sound. Really, it's like two great words in one!
Bronze: Fibiea (Again with the fimbriae. They really struggle with this one. I swear I repeat this word dozens of times in class. Maybe I have a speech impediment?)

Then, in the male anatomy category, we have for the My parents should ask the university for their money back event:
Gold: Pituitary duct (Brilliantly written next to the drawing of the anus. Note to self: Must spend more time teaching students the male reproductive structures, i.e., head is different from ass.)
Silver: Pituitary gland (This one written next to the seminal vesicle. What did I say to make them think the pituitary gland resides in one's nether-regions? Must revisit teaching techniques, I think.)
Bronze: Epidermis. Well, yes, I suppose in a matter of speaking, but we could say that about all of our external structures. I think the young lass meant epididymis.

Event: I'm either a total freaking genius or just so completely fucked in the head, even my instructor can't tell the difference.
Gold: Prenimbrium. I have no idea what body part this is. The student had written this next to the epididymis. I don't have a medical degree. I've never heard of the prenimbrium, but that doesn't mean men (or women or dogs for that matter) don't have one. Kudos to this student for knowing an obscure part of the human anatomy, or inventing one so convincing-sounding that even his instructor is scratching her head.

Crazy-creative spelling event:
Gold: Vas Enderfruns. (I believe the poor chap meant Vas Deferens. what the hell - I gave him partial credit.)
Silver: Vas Defernis. (Can you blame him?? Sometimes it gets hot down there, you know in deFurnace!)

The Clearly I am Catholic event:
Gold: Seminary Vesicle. (This is for the sperm with the priest gene.)
Silver: Seminal Vesticule. (Maybe it's just me, but it sounds like a cross between vestments and vestibule. Where the priests get dressed before Mass. You know, the Vesticule.)

Event: Just regular, common misspellings that never fail to amuse the instructor:
Blatter. (As in, "urinary bladder.")
Scrodum. (Well, you know - as in, scrotum.)
Cowpurr's Gland. (Because sometimes the Cowper's Gland likes to make an interesting noise.)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

It's Midterms: Do You Know Where YOUR Grandparents Are?

As a student of public health, I can rattle off the top 10 causes of death in the United States like some women can rattle off their bra size (this is not me, because I really don't like to rattle off: I'm an "almost-A"). Heart disease, cancer, stroke, blah, blah, blah. But what the CDC doesn't know is, if you're over a certain age, have grandchildren who are in college and midterms are approaching, the grim reaper is comin' for ya. "Midterms" should be the number one cause of death for grandparents. Midterms started last week and the grandparents - they are droppin' like the proverbial flies.

I should have started this blog a long time ago, because I fear the best stories are behind me. If you will allow me this trip down memory lane, my personal favorite (although not a grandparent - an aunt; aunts also seem to be particularly vulnerable and I just have to wonder, why not uncles?): "My aunt was killed in a freak scubba diving accident." This student e-mailed me about her poor, unfortunate aunt and proceeded to misspell scuba as "scubba" throughout her rambling, tormented, full-of-shit story. Here's the "short" version:

Whole damn family (except my student, of course) went to the Bahamas to celebrate the aunt's birthday. While on the aforementioned scubba diving outing, the aunt bites it. Ain't that a pisser? Your family takes you to the Bahamas to celebrate your birthday, and you die. Kind of makes any vacation stories about food poisoning or Montezuma's revenge sort of, well, not really very interesting. This whole time, I've been avoiding the seafood, when I should have been more worried about dying.

Now, here is where it gets really sketchy: The aunt has 3 little boys who also were apparently not invited to their mother's birthday party in the Bahamas. My student is (fortunately) not in attendance either, so she has to stay in a nearby suburb (near the university, not the Bahamas) to babysit and comfort her 3 little nephews(?) - I think they are actually her cousins, but she said nephews and what the hell do I know? And her grandma (her aunt's mother) was also not in attendance - hey she said that her WHOLE family had been saving and planning for this Bahama-birthday extravaganza forever. But it seems to me that a whole lot of people were left off the guest list. Anyway. Grandma lives nearby, but she can't babysit the nephew-cousins because Grandma is (sadly) waiting for the body of her daughter to be delivered from (say it with me:) the Bahamas.

Let's pretend for a second that this story makes one whit of sense. Heaven forbid I ever have to wait for a relative's body to be delivered to me from anywhere. In spite of my gut-wrenching grief, wouldn't it be possible for me to watch 3 small children at the same time? Or do you need to be in a special room to wait for a corpse? People take kids all kinds of crazy places these days. I don't see why she couldn't take them to do this. But, in addition to struggling with her grief, my student cannot take her midterm today or anytime soon because she has to watch her nephew-cousins. And her grandma, who could normally do it, can't, because she is waiting for this body to be delivered. And we can't begin to plan the funeral or arrange anything because, well, it was a mysterious scubba diving "accident" and the local Bahamian (sp?) police are involved and there will be an investigation that could go on for a very long time. Her nephsins are too little to watch themselves so she is now full-time babysitter until this all gets solved. Hence: she is not able to take my midterm today, or perhaps, ever.

If this actually happened, then I know I now have a guaranteed space in hell (like there was ever any question - but now I have double-secret reservations). But. Is anyone's family SO demanding and crazy that they would say, "Jenny, I know you're in college and all, but Grammy's gotta wait for your aunt's dead body, so how 'bout you move in and stay with your nephsins until we all get on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries?"

This student is trying to get into the radiology program. I think she's a shoe-in for a scholarship in the creative writing department. Or maybe she should go to NYU film school.

And if this shit actually happens or has happened to you, and I am a heartless bitch, well, I'm happy to take it on the chin and I will offer my sincerest apologies to this student. (Did I mention this is the same student who missed 5 classes and then presented me with her "doctor's excuse" which was a cocktail napkin with the words "Ovarian Cyst" scribbled on it?)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Am I Disappointed in Myself?

Are you kidding? Every damn day of my whole damn life. Oh. You just meant today. Here is what I was supposed to accomplish today:

  1. Go "observe" the cheerleaders. I finally broke through the web of crack security that surrounds the university cheerleading coach. She graciously granted me her explicit permission to observe . . . the games. Thank you. That separates me from every other human being with nothing else to do on a Saturday afternoon who also happens to have a student ID or six bucks, how, exactly? Because before you gave me your explicit permission, I could have gained access to the um, public gymnasium, but I was not permitted to look at the cheerleaders? Wow, I guess I owe you big time. Did I mention today's game was also broadcast on ESPN? Thank you for letting me sit in my own living room and watch my own television with the cable that I (okay, my husband) paid for. What a treat. This is better than Christmas. I did not go to the game. What, exactly, would this have accomplished in the world of qualitative research? I'm not sure, which is why I chose to stay home. This will be further addressed in a later post called, "Why I Hate to Make Shit Up for Major Papers."
  2. Grade 50 midterms. I got through 3. There is something so disheartening about seeing the words "pee-hole" where "urethral opening" should be written that it just kind of zaps you of all your enthusiasm. Because really. If you can't get enthusiastic about grading 50 human sexuality midterms, there is no hope for you.
  3. Apply for a summer job. I have been toying with the idea of working at the local scrapbook store. I figure with one master's degree and some doc-level coursework under my belt I just might be qualified. I didn't go there today. I love to scrapbook, but the irony is not lost on me. Until my brother "gave" (it was a gift, right?) me his old digital camera, I did not own one. I don't have kids. I don't go on fabulous vacations (the cruise was a fluke, and of course, I saved every piece of paper anyone handed me and I scrapbooked the hell out of that thing). I am not in weddings. I don't throw lavish parties. I'm not building a house. I don't have kids. Wait. I said that already. But really. Once you're married, isn't most scrapbooking about paying homage to your little wee ones? For the most part, my life consists of very "unscrapbook-worthy" events. But I do so love to play with adhesives, stickers and construction paper. It's very therapeutic. In fact, I enjoy it so much that one summer I took my best friend's pictures of her kids and made a scrapbook for them. Sad, so sad. I know this. But I digress. I did not go to the scrapbook store today.
  4. Make a "visual model" for my public health practice class that effectively combined the public health responsibilities, functions and services. This I did. It took me far too long and I have a distinct feeling it will be meaningless to anyone but me, but oh, is it pretty!
  5. Laundry? Or something? I can't remember.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Woo-Hoo! Coffee and Cigarettes for Everyone!

And while you're at it, pass me that keg, wouldja?

Check it out:

Today, British doctors reported that people (like me) who do stupid things (like drink coffee, and wine, and wish for a cigarette now and then) are at lower risk of Parkinson's than other, law-abiding people. Like my husband. Sorry, honey.


Hold on to Your Uterus. Seriously

This is an old bill that was never passed, but I thought y'all should know about it. Is it only a matter of time before I have to check in with my parole officer within 12 hours of starting my period!? What is going on in this country?

A T-Shirt Makes Me Sad

One of my students (male) sported a t-shirt that read, "I Survived My Broken Heart." And I wasn't sure how to respond to that. Was he serious!? Was he really proud that he had survived his broken heart? (And don't get me wrong - if that's not something to be proud of, I don't know what is.) Was he being ironic? (Or as some people who should be shot like to say, "Ironical.") Is this a quote from a movie that I do not know? I really wanted to just give him a hug, but I also do not want to get sued or fired. So I overrode my hugging impulse. Although I frequently embarrass myself by doing (and saying) stupid things, I did not comment on his shirt. Because what if I said, "Gee, I'm so sorry about your broken heart" and he said, "It's a joke. Exactly how stupid are you?" Or what if I said something along the lines of, "I see you've survived your broken heart; I commend you!" and he said, "I thought I was over it, but I'm not," and burst into tears? I know that just a few short days ago, I was whining about all the different ways I know I'm not young and bemoaning the loss of my youth and blah, blah, blah, but you know what? I wouldn't go back to my 20s for a million dollars. Make that a ba-zillion dollars. Way too much angst. And, as evidenced by my student, so much angst you are wearing it on your sleeve. Or your chest, to be more precise.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why Students Can Sometimes Be Great

Today, I made a big mistake - I dropped off my students' tests at "Computer Services." I know it's 2006 and all, but here in the place of the fancy book-learnin' we still use "bubble sheets" and #2 pencils. As I was walking across campus, it started to rain. And not the misty, piddly, girls with curly hair say, "Oh! My hair!" kind of rain. This was horizontal, blinding, ha, ha, you suck for leaving your umbrella at home rain. And guess what my knee-jerk reaction was? I covered my head with, of course, the stack of tests. Then I got to the computer services place where a new guy, with a sweater vest and way too much power, lectured me about the stupid scanning machine and how the scanner was very fragile and special and my crappy wet tests would just ruin it. Have I no respect for the scanning machine? Bow down now, and apologize to the scanning machine. For God's sake, can't you appreciate the wonder that is technology?!!?

Don't you think that if a person is standing in front of you with mascara running down her face and completely, drowned-rat-sopping-wet that perhaps she already feels like a moron and doesn't need your help to feel even more "loser-y" than she already feels? Don't answer that. So I slosh dejectedly back to my building and wonder how I'm going to tell my students (the same students that I often lecture about being timely and responsible) that I don't have their tests yet? Because I didn't have an umbrella and chose to use their tests to cover my head.

Ironically, I bump into one of my students coming into my building. He has a large bag of Wendy's (this now explains why he typically leaves the room once per class period - only an hour and fifteen minutes - and comes back 10-15 minutes later) and says to me apologetically (I don't understand why he was apologizing), "I'm sorry, I have Wendy's."
Me: "Um, okay."
Him: "It's just that I'm really hungry."
Me (confused, because class doesn't start for an hour): "Did you bring me some?" (At this point, I didn't want any, I just wondered why he was telling me this.)
Him: "No, it's for me. Hey, didja get our tests yet?"
Me: (with great shame): "No. I screwed up and just got yelled at by some guy at the library."
Him: "So what. He's a guy at the library. They yell at me all the time. You don't see it making me any less cool, do you?"
Me: "No, that's true." And with that, he walked with great purpose into the basement of our building to eat Wendy's.

And I have to say, I felt great. Really. He's a guy at the library. You don't see it making me any less cool, do you?

(My apologies to members of my family who work in libraries.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Wedding Dress

Ha, ha. As if. Today is my third wedding anniversary. That wonderful day in 2003, I wore a red strapless satin Jessica McClintock gown. I tried to find a picture of it on the Internet, and this is the only red strapless satin Jessica McClintock "gown" (I use the term loosely) image I could find. Not the same. (And boy have things changed in 3 years; I'm glad I got married when I did. 2006 sure does seem to be the year of the ruffle. Yikes. "Do you, miss Ruffle, I mean, satin explosion, I mean, the dress that ate New York, take this poor unsuspecting man. . .")I'd like to think I looked glamorous in an elegant, romantic way, not like an Alicia-Silverstone-rock-the-cradle-of-love-video vixen.

A few of my favorite moments from that day (there were many, but in the interest of not putting any readers to sleep):

  • Spending an insane amount of time (typically at work) poring over the Going Bridal website. She postponed her wedding about a month after I got married and had she done so before I got married, I'm not sure I would have made it. The Calvalcade of Bad Bridal Fashion got me through many a near bridal meltdown.
  • Having my "girl time" at the salon - getting manicures and pedicures with my gal pals. I still remember the color I had my toenails painted - OPI (of course) silver. I bought myself the whole bottle (in case touch-ups were necessary), only to drop it on ceramic tile and have it explode all over our foyer months later. I think it was called "Kyoto Pearl." Whatever it was called, I loved it and I'm completely bummed that they don't make it anymore.
  • Checking in at the Ritz; my husband-to-be was already checked in and out on a run (I know.) The very nice front desk clerk was inexplicably confused by our situation and I said, "Please, you have to let me in our room. I'm getting married in three hours." And a very nicely dressed man standing behind me said, "You're amazingly calm for someone who's getting married in three hours." I don't know why, but I was very flattered.
  • A nice employee at the Ritz who delivered a beautiful cake (heart-shaped, I believe and in the same colors and flavors as our wedding cake) to our room - a gift from my wonderful friend and matron of honor (and her husband) - the first of many wonderful surprises that evening.
  • Walking into our wedding/reception space and feeling like I was walking onto a movie set. My wedding planner (and friend) had purchased 75 red roses and rose petals were everywhere. I thought the effect was stunning.
  • Dancing with my husband to "At Last" - and we didn't really have a dance floor or dancing per se, so it was even more romantic.
  • Eating! I vowed that this would not be like my disastrous first wedding (and first marriage, but again, another story) and I would actually eat the food. Bring on the garlic mashed potatoes served in large martini glasses. The best!
  • It was really, truly, the happiest day of my life. Perfect. If I get around to it, I may post the menu later. (Can you tell the food was really, really important to me?)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More Bad News

From the fashion front. Yesterday, when I received the new issue of Harper's Bazaar (which includes a very interesting photo shoot of Madonna), I learned of the "new for spring!" trends. Ready? Peter Pan collars and (gasp!) "Luxe Leotards." It's a good thing my life is going relatively well, or I'd have to kill myself. Leotards?!?!!?!??!?!?!?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You . . .

An e-mail from a college senior:

Hi, Mrs. Spell-Your-Name-Wrong,i have not been able to acess the guideive been reading, but i would really like the direction of the guide to help me, and it wont come up when i click on it in the web. there are all the chapter links but , this is not the guide tho, right?...if there's any way you can help that would be nice. im going to the library to see if someone at the ref. desk knows how to fix it. thanx ,sister with inappropriate brother who also loves Jesus. A lot.

Might I add the exam is tomorrow. In less than 24 hours. And the study guide has been posted in two different places for a week now. And her subject line reads: "am i the only one having trouble?" And the answer is: Yes, of course you are.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Here is one thing I thought I'd never do again: Buy clogs. Last night, good-husband-man took me shopping for jeans and shoes, as an anniversary present. This is indicative of his infinite patience, as I find jean shopping only slightly less humiliating than bathing suit shopping and just as frustrating. Then, after we found jeans that fit (and I wasn't too embarrassed to ask for; I mean, $178 jeans at Cache!? Even I can't justify a purchase like that. Plus, I'm not 22 and I don't live in California), we went to find new "If you just have to run out and get your husband a sandwich" shoes that would also complement my new jeans. His math/spatial awareness thing really came in handy, because I have been married to this man for almost 3 years and I never had any idea his shoe-shopping skills were so "fierce" - as Tyra Banks would say. We (or really, he) bought two pairs, both of them very clog-like in their presentation. Now here is a question and if I thought Amalah would get to my question (babies can be kind of time consuming you know), I would ask for her ass-vice: Exactly what sock does one wear with a clog? Does one wear a sock with a clog? It has been in the low 20s with an extremely brutal windchill, lately. The last time I wore clogs, I was 10, and I wore them with some stylin' white knee socks that also happened to have a sort of cable knit pattern. I don't think this is a good idea, but then I am new to the clog-renaissance, so maybe it is a good idea? What should I wear with my new clogs? (Style name: Furby.)


What kind of crazy mailing list am I on?

Yesterday, I got an e-mail (my first), not delivered to my bulk e-mail box, that read:

Hispanic Dating. Meet Your Hispanic Match. Don't be alone on Valentines (their punctuation, not mine) Day. Lots of Hispanic singles.

I am reviewing all the things I have purchased in the past month (or year, I don't know) that might have landed me on the "Hispanic Singles" demographic mailing list. I am neither Hispanic nor single (not that there's anything wrong with either one of those things. I just happen to be "non-Hispanic" white and married.)

Oh. My. God. I think I just got it - for my qualitative research class, we have to read this book (one of four, just for this class, I might add. Hey, grad school is hard. This is actually a joke. That is a secret - or maybe not so secret - pet peeve of mine. I cannot stand grad students who actually sound surprised and whine about how hard grad school is. My totally uneducated-sounding response is typically, "Duh.") called Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring. And you know what? I bought it from!!!! Those bastards over at Amazon are selling my e-mail address (and now you're thinking "Duh.") and my book purchases to everybody and their brother. Or everybody and el hermano, apparently. Who knew?

Adios, mi amigos!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

How Did This Happen?

A friend of mine sent me this e-mail the other day. I read it, and much to my horror, agreed with almost all of it. Then, I started thinking: I have become old although I feel exactly the same as I did when I was 21 (but hopefully a version of me with smaller hair and not quite so stupid.) When did I realize I was not a "young" person anymore? Well, the aforementioned e-mail and my additions may offer you some insight. Feel free to include your own experiences. It's sort of like a party game (for old, boring people): "I first realized I was old when . . . "

25 Signs You're Not a Sly Young Fox Anymore
  1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.
  2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.
  3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
  4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
  5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator.
  6. You watch the Weather Channel.
  7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of "hook up" and "break
  8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
  9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."
  10. You're the one calling the police because those %&@# kids
    next door won't turn down the stereo.
  11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around
  12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
  13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
  14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald's
  15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
  16. You take naps.
  17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning
    of one.
  18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely
    upset, rather than settle, your stomach.
  19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not
    condoms and pregnancy tests.
  20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff."
  21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
  22. "I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never
    going to drink that much again."
  23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real
  24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.
  25. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate
    her instead of asking "Oh S*$# what the hell happened?"

A few I’d like to add:

  • You ponder the wisdom of eating certain foods because they might negatively affect your “dental work.” (The first time I was told I needed a crown (at age 30) I cried in the dentist’s office. Crowns are for grandparents!)
  • “Going to a bar” no longer entails waiting in line for 30 minutes.
  • Bran cereal, not Pop-Tarts, is your breakfast of choice.
  • Going to a bar now means you wear a jacket (and carry a purse) if the weather is below 55 degrees. Back in the day, we’d wait in line in 30 degree weather without coats to get in some stupid bar because once you got in the bar coats were just a huge pain in the ass!
  • You’d park 10 miles away and pay 2 bucks for parking. Now you don’t care how much it costs and you valet park, because really. Who wants to walk that far when you’re wearing expensive suede boots?
  • You can make yourself extremely nauseous within seconds by thinking about all the times you drank beer out of a bucket (or ate “Hairy Buffalo” out of a giant trash can. Or called Boone's Farm "Boon-ay" and thought you were actually drinking wine. Strawberry Hill? What were we thinking?!!?)
  • You no longer understand the appeal or the purpose of “shots.” That goes double for Jell-O Shots.
  • A man is no longer a “great guy” simply because he called when he said he would and doesn't hit on your best friend.
  • 15 years ago, “He has a lot of baggage” meant he sold drugs out of his dorm room. Now it means, “He has a crazy ex-wife and 4 kids under the age of 10.”
  • You actually rather would be warm than fashionable (again, the wearing coats to bars thing).
  • You once yelled out your car window at teenage girls, “Zip up your coats! It’s freezing outside! Are you girls crazy!?” And no, I wasn’t drunk when I did this. I think that was the only maternal instinct I ever had.
  • You realize that many of today’s college students weren’t even born the year you graduated from high school.
  • One of your students, reading from Gloria Steinem’s essay “If Men Could Menstruate” pronounces “Potsie Webber” as Poats-EYE and you realize he has never seen "Happy Days".
  • You can no longer rattle off the top 10 videos on MTV – do they even play videos on MTV anymore? Who knows?
  • Cosmopolitan magazine is no longer the source of all your reproductive health information and you don't actually keep the "Bedside Astrologer" at your bedside.
  • Your haircut and color is not accomplished in your bathroom, with your roommate and a bottle of “Sun-In.”
  • You actually have a conversation with a friend that does not involve guys or clothes but does involve property taxes!!
  • You no longer have all pizza places' phone numbers memorized or on speed dial.
  • "Take out" is sushi or Indian food, not Burger King or McDonald's.
  • You have not set foot in a Denny's in years
  • "Going out drinking" is no longer considered an activity on its own. I remember college dates that started like this: "What would you like to do? We could go see a movie? Or we could go out drinking?"
  • You do not know the "nights" of the local bars. ".85 Bud Light Night," and "Drink & Drown" (tell me that wasn't a lawsuit waiting to happen) and "Dollar Import Night" no longer sound like the fun they once did.
  • You no longer hang out with people you hate just because they're a part of your "group." (This is a positive thing, I think.)
  • You no longer go out and do something you have absolutely no interest in, simply because doing something, anything, is better than being at home on a Friday night.
  • You don't understand how (or why) you used to go out at midnight.
  • You think your parents might actually know what the hell they're talking about.
  • Friends ask you what you think of their annuals and perrenials, not what you think of their new body piercings.
  • Getting together with your best friends requires 3 weeks of e-mails, phone calls and negotiating, while (this is sad) it used to entail a phone call and "Wanna go out in 10 minutes? C'mon - don't wash your hair, who cares!? I'm not even wearing makeup."

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Whole Lotta Whatever

Today, I will rant and rave about all sorts of things; nothing particularly important to anyone but me (and maybe you, because otherwise, why are you still reading?)

Entertainment (and I use the term loosely)
I'm a bit behind on my Oscar preparation. I just read today that there aren't the usual number of songs nominated for best song. Clearly, someone at the Academy was scrapin' the bottom of the barrel, because . . . one of the songs nominated is, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." Really. How hard is it? If I may illustrate what the hell is wrong with this picture, here are some past winners in the Best Song Category:

  • 1935: "Lullaby of Broadway"
  • 1939: "Over the Rainbow"
  • 1940: "When You Wish Upon a Star"
  • 1942: "White Christmas"
  • 1944: "Swinging on a Star"
  • 1947: "Zip-a-Dee-Do-Dah"
  • 1949: "Baby, It's Cold Outside"
  • 1950: "Mona Lisa"
  • 1955: "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing"
  • 1956: "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)"
  • 1959: "High Hopes"
  • 1960: "Never on a Sunday"
  • 1961: "Moon River"
  • 1963: "Call Me Irresponsible"
  • 1964: "Chim Chim Cher-ee"
  • 1966: "Born Free"
  • 1967: "Talk to the Animals"
  • 1969: "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"
  • 1971: "Theme from Shaft"
  • 1973: "The Way We Were"
  • 1976: "Evergreen"

Do you see where I'm going with this? Granted, once we get into the '80s, there are winners that probably made my grandmother cringe, like "Fame", "Flashdance", and "Take My Breath Away" and yes, Eminem's "Lose Yourself" also won Best Song in 2003. However. If I may, ladies and gentlemen, the lyrics from "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp":

[Chorus 2X: Shug - singing] + (Djay)

You know it's hard out here for a pimp (you ain't knowin)

When he tryin to get this money for the rent (you ain't knowin)

For the Cadillacs and gas money spent (you ain't knowin)

[1] Because a whole lot of bitches talkin shit (you ain't knowin)

[2] Will have a whole lot of bitches talkin shit (you ain't knowin)


In my eyes I done seen some crazy thangs in the streets

Gotta couple hoes workin on the changes for me

But I gotta keep my game tight like Kobe on game night

Like takin from a ho don't know no better, I know that ain't right

Done seen people killed, done seen people deal

Done seen people live in poverty with no meals

It's fucked up where I live, but that's just how it is

It might be new to you, but it's been like this for years

It's blood sweat and tears when it come down to this shit

I'm tryin to get rich 'fore I leave up out this bitch

I'm tryin to have thangs but it's hard fo' a pimp

But I'm prayin and I'm hopin to God I don't slip, yeah



Man it seems like I'm duckin dodgin bullets everyday

Niggaz hatin on me cause I got, hoes on the tray

But I gotta stay paid, gotta stay above water

Couldn't keep up with my hoes, that's when shit got harder

North Memphis where I'm from, I'm 7th Street bound

Where niggaz all the time end up lost and never found

Man these girls think we prove thangs, leave a big head

They come hopin every night, they don't end up bein dead

Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too

You pay the right price and they'll both do you

That's the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin

Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah


Now. I am all for freedom of speech. I own 2 Black-Eyed Peas CDs. I once owned the Beastie Boys' Ill Communication CD (until my ex-husband sold it, but that's another story.) I'd like to think I'm not the whitest white woman who ever lived. I understand that music is often a reflection of the culture from which it comes. So, does that mean I'm really just an old cranky woman who would have banned Catcher in the Rye had I been a librarian some50-odd-years ago? (God I hope not.) But really. Don't we have enough problems with violence against women, and just, well, women being looked at as something other than "bunnies" or "hoes" to nominate a song that is all about selling women!??!!? I am going to move on to a new rant, because I'm fearing I'm neither articulate, nor interesting - just yammering on like some old out of touch bat. Maybe I'm missing the point of the song and it's really a social commentary on how some people's lives are so difficult that we can't even begin to understand? Or, is it just about how hard it is to be a pimp? And then, am I politically incorrect and intolerant if I don't feel a whole lot of sympathy for the pimp? Maybe you need to see the movie.

Fashion & Politics

Check it out: a new line of jewelry that consists of (among other things) expired birth control pills. Genius. Make a fashion statement AND a political statement at the same time.

I've Seen the Future (and it ain't pretty)

While paging through my Lucky magazine yesterday (the magazine is overrated; the Lucky shopping manual book, on the other hand, a must-have), I learned that: the '80s are back. Why is this necessary? I barely escaped unscathed the first time. If getting a perm that makes your hair fall out in big clumps (circa 1986) or a "spiral perm" in which the solution burns little angry red holes in your skin (circa 1989) wasn't traumatic enough the first time around, well, count me out. Leggings are back. Not legwarmers (although based on Madonna's performance at the Grammy's maybe they are back?), but leggings. Cripes. My 18-year-old-ass did not look good in leggings, and my 35-year-old-ass is somehow supposed to pull this off? Not likely. What's next, the return of the banana clip as a legitimate fashion choice?

More on Politics and Movies

Last weekend, we rented "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" - just in case you're not feeling enraged enough on a daily basis, rent this little documentary. You might want to have a bottle of wine (or three or seven) handy, though.

Speaking of politics, I found a new blog that I like very much: The Left End of the Dial. Dr. Benjamin's "Periodic Musings" included a link to The Political Compass, another site which I like very much. Take the Political Compass assessment and let me know how you do. Me? I'm a -6.75 Economic Left/Right) and a -6.56 (Social Libertarian/Authoritarian.)

I Feel Vindicated (Not Violated, Vindicated)

Yesterday, the same colleague who bought me the Miracle Jesus Action Figure came to my class to do a stint as her fabulous self explaining Masters and Johnson's Human Sexual Response cycle. Inappropriate brother and sister are back sitting together (very closely, I might add) and ta-da!!! Was I not right? She thought they were a couple. Not siblings. So there. It is not just me and my sick, perverted mind.

It's Not Peace in the Middle East

But if you know anything about the history of Minnie the Biting Wonderdog and my husband, you know it's close. More later. And really, that is my husband snuggled up with her. He has long, narrow runner's feet. I have stumpy, wide, Fred Flintsone-flat feet.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Day of Evil

Don't start with me. I am in a seriously foul mood. I'm pretty sure it's hormonally induced, but yesterday my horoscope did say, "Patience is a virtue if ever there was one. Bear this in mind should the day's activities or others' reactions to them have you eyeing your hissy-fit boots as accessories to be worn with that outfit." I'm not sure I 100% get it, but I definitely am not known for my patience, and I do love the phrase "Hissy-fit boots." It almost made me wonder how many mood-clothing phrases I could come up with. My hubby already calls me "Sassy-sad-pants" sometimes, particularly when I'm pouting and scowling and skulking in the corner for no particular reason, which is probably his subtle way of saying, "You have serious PMS and you are fooling no one but yourself when you say you have a legitimate reason to be mad at the woman at Starbuck's because she gave you a 'bring-it-bitch' look when you tried to take the last wooden stirrer." This is how out-of-control-bitchy I am today. Something that would normally give me hours of entertainment - like coming up with the phrase "bitchy bonnet" - is now just irritating the crap out of me.

On a fun note, Big Gay Sam has already declared this a Day of Evil and has posted a hilarious rant about the new Barbies available in New Mexico. If I knew the landscape (socio-economic, not geographic) of NM better, I would be even more amused than I already am.

Even my OWN music is irritating me. I am trying to listen to one of my own CDs that for some reason inexplicably includes Destiny's Child's "Independent Woman." Was I serious!?!? What the f--- was I thinking? It is the fourth song I have listened to in the past minute and it is just as irritating as the previous three (why on earth I ever thought "I'm Free" by the Soup Dragons was a good song clearly indicates that I was experiencing some kind of drug-induced hallucination.) Okay, now we're onto the Cowboy Junkies' version of "Sweet Jane" and it is the first piece of music in 20 minutes that has not made me want to poke someone's eye out. Better. For now, at least.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Serving Suggestion

Someone in some blog somewhere (Mimi Smartypants, maybe?) wrote that the Target brand potato chip (Archer Farms, by the way) is perhaps the best potato chip ever. Since it doesn't take much encouragement for me to buy potato chips, when I was in the Tar-jee last night, I bought myself some.

First. Mimi SmartyPants (or somebody) is damn right. Excellent, excellent chip. The only criticism I have (if pressed to find something wrong with an otherwise perfect chip) is that the salt does not appear to be evenly distributed. I suppose if you gently shook the bag, or perhaps poured them into a bowl (instead of sticking your head in the bag, old gray mare style like I did), this problem would be alleviated. Speaking of bowls, on the front of the bag o' chips, we find a beautiful picture of the glorious chips in a nice blue bowl. In teeny, tiny white letters in the lower right-hand corner of the picture: Serving Suggestion.

Are they *&^%$# serious?!? Is this what our country has come to? We're either so stupid, or so litigious, or both that we must be told that, in fact, surprisingly, the bag of chips does not come with the bowl. Nor do the chips come already neatly arranged in bowl. I can honestly understand including that in certain cases. I _almost_ bought a frozen bag of those Lean Cuisine "stir-fry dinners" or whatever they are until I saw that the chicken was a "serving suggestion." But you know what? Had I bought the bag-o-stir-fry, taken it home, dumped it into a pan to reveal the dinner's chicken-less state, in NO way would I have blamed the grocery store, Lean Cuisine, or anyone else. I would have cursed my own laziness, wondered at my own stupidity and then thrown it out and ordered a pizza (yes, I am really that lazy.)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Cheerleaders, where ARE you?!!?!?

Okay, I have this completely stupid qualitative analysis class. This is what I hate about "higher education." This is why I started a doc program 8 years after I had been admitted to one. Because of this. People who are in doc programs who take themselves way too seriously and wear jeans, black Doc Martens, black turtlenecks in the blindingly bright warm sun of May and try to use the phrase "Hegemonic Ideology" in every single f--ing conversation. Hate. them. Who ARE you? Did your mother raise you to sit around the dining room table at night and say, "Hey Mom, don't you think the current education system is really nothing more than a hegemonic ideology propped up by the bourgeoise of western Europe? And also, pass the cheesy-peas. They're killer."

I grew up in a "vocabulary words" family. I get that. I am no stranger to people older than me who rolled their eyes when my fifteen-year-old-self blurted the word "oblivious" into a conversation (and really, what synonym is there for oblivious? I challenge you to find one. I couldn't think of any other word.) But. I don't use phrases like "hegemonic ideology" EVER. Even in a classroom setting. Even, I imagine, in a Senate hearing.

So, back to the stupid qualitative analysis class. What was I saying? Oh, yes. How the &^%$#@* minutiae and self-importance of graduate study is really, completely and totally irritating to me. Our assignment is to conduct a "mini-field" study. We are to consider ourselves not so much "qualitative researchers" but "ethnographers." Right. Okay, got it. Self has been considered ethnographer. Our born-again ethnographer selves are supposed to observe a "group" that is different from any group with which we are already familiar or associated. So here's where it gets either completely Bacon-bit-stuck-under-your-fingernail annoying, or just hilarious (depending.) I am in this class (for once) with doc students from all other programs within my college. No other health/human sexuality folks. They are all in reasonable fields, like counseling, or teaching or something else I can't remember. We go around the class and explain which group we plan to observe and our "research" question. Gak! All the other doc students seem about 20 years more mature than me (even the over-achieving little doc-student-brats who are 23) and say things like, "I'm going to observe my partner's support group for Albinos with self-image problems and my research question is, 'Do Albinos have feelings just like everybody else?'" or whatever and everyone else goes "Ooooh" quietly and reverently and our instructor nods wisely like this is truly a research question that has stumped scientists since the beginning of time.

Then it's me. Suddenly, I remember this article about the comedic genius that is Molly Shannon. She was explaining how she came up with the recurring skit, "The Courtney Love Show" on SNL. Every week, they are supposed to come into their meeting with Loren and pitch their skit ideas. Molly was completely out of ideas and walked into the meeting empty handed. They went around the table pitching ideas and when Loren got to her she just blurted out, Tourrette's-like, "Courtney Love Show?" and to her surprise, Loren was very impressed and said, "Great, go for it."

I pull a Molly Shannon and start yammering on about the &^% cheerleaders. "Well, since I study human sexuality and am interested in women's health issues (true), I thought who better to study than the dance team or the cheerleaders?" Assenting nods all around. "My research question" - and this folks, is where I TRULY pull something out of my ass because as I'm saying it, even I have no idea what's coming next - "is if, when women talk about their romantic and sexual relationships, which of course, they inevitably do, what types of advice do they give each other? Do they say things like, 'You'd better get that checked - looks like it could be genital warts to me' or do they say more supportive things like, 'I'm sure you didn't catch anything. He was super-cute and looked like he was clean!'" Then, I get an "Ooooh, wow, nice" and more assenting nods.

And that folks, is why I sometimes think graduate school is so completely ridiculous. Sure, I think I will enjoy the project and I have no doubt the cheerleaders are just lovely, and I will learn something about the qualitative process and isn't that really the point, blah, blah, blah, but. Is anything I learn about the communication patterns of cheerleaders really going to contribute anything to science? Does anyone (besides me and maybe the cheerleaders) really care about this issue? Is it even an issue since I just made it up?

The punchline is . . . I cannot get in touch with the cheerleaders. I have been trying for two weeks and running into all sorts of dead ends. They are a cagey group, those women of the cheer. Honestly, I think it would be easier for me to get Captain Kangaroo's home phone number (unless he's dead, in which case it would be really, extremely difficult.)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Is nothing sacred?

Last weekend we bought a car. I didn't used to care about cars; I thought coveting your neighbor's car was just bad for the environment (and materialistic and shallow.) Then, I went to work in the auto insurance industry and spent lots of time around cars and more time around people who know lots about cars, and I guess I got "car fever." Better than "baby fever" if you ask me, but that's another story. And at least it's not "SUV fever". Sheesh. Talk about socially irresponsible.

So, we bought a beautiful "pre-owned" 2003 Saab. In Merlot (how freaking cool is that? Naming the color of a car after a type of alcohol? Sheer-freaking-genius, that is. Will there be a day when a car color is "Flirtini?" We can only hope. And pray.) With heated leather seats. This is all I have ever really wanted. In life. Ever. Heated leather seats. Why I like them so much, or when I first learned about them, I cannot say. But I love them. Interestingly, many people do not share this love. I guess heated leather seats are an acquired taste, like sushi, or Kevin Smith movies. But the best thing about heated leather seats is that for once in my life, something I like is GOOD for me!!!! Red wine? Jury still out on that one. Some days, good for you; some days, not so much. Coffee? Well, I just found out if you drink unfiltered coffee (as I do), it is bad, bad BAD for you, and you'd just better hope your cholesterol levels don't shoot through the roof and kill you while you're doing something important, like performing surgery or driving. Sugar? SweetTarts, Sour Patch Kids, Gobstoppers, Runts and every stupid sugary candy ever made by "Willy Wonka?" Bad. And I've got the crowns to prove it. Oy. Are they expensive! Sitting around on my couch, doing nothing, or watching back-to-back episodes of Gilmore Girls? Bad. It's not weight-bearing exercise. I'm not fighting osteoporosis sitting there on the couch. I'm not changing the world. I'm not even lowering my resting heart rate. Blogging? See sitting around on couch, doing nothing. Gabbing on the cell phone? Bad. I'm probably giving myself a tumor the size of a Nerf football as we speak (no pun intended.) Eating salt and vinegar potato chips? Also, most definitely bad. The list goes on and on.

But. Heated leather seats? How could they possibly be bad? Health professor/colleague and friend informs me yesterday that if one is prone to yeast infections, one should be VERY wary of heated leather seats. They can, ah, "cook things up," as she said. For chrissakes. Can't I have ANYTHING!?!?!? This blows.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Don't get me wrong

I know I have a good gig going. Today, the students made accurate representations (or they tried - I'm not sure I could do any better) of the male and female internal reproductive structures using Play-Doh. This was a big hit. I took pictures with my digital camera (obviously) and now the class is voting to see which team wins the "prize" - a point or two of extra credit. Students are such extra credit junkies - they'd come over and dust my blinds if they thought it would get them two extra points. But if they're junkies, what does that make me? Their pusher?

Anyway, before The Great Play-Doh Experiment, I did a brief lecture on the male anatomy. I explained how the penis is composed of three cylinders - two cavernous bodies (the corpora cavernosa) and one spongy body (the corpus spongiosum) - and sometimes, in a very rare twist of "How the hell did THAT happen?" a man can break one of the cavernous bodies (Look at that! Entertaining and educational!) This is always great for shock value. This is also the point where someone usually volunteers that he (or his, um, cousin) broke his penis. There is a student in this class that I had last spring in my Personal Health class. He got an "A" in Personal Health, although I'm not entirely sure how that happened. Let's call him "Biff." So Biff raises his hand and asks, "Isn't the clitoris made of the same spongy tissue?" Well, Biff, yes, you're right. "Then how come the book doesn't say anything about a woman breaking her clitoris?" And this is the point where I say the same thing I say about a million times when teaching Human Sexuality: "You know, I'm not a physician, so I'm not going to say something couldn't happen or would never happen, but it sounds a little bit unlikely." Then Biff asks, "Well, like, but what about like, if you're, like, having sex and she like, you know, falls off and hits a shelf?"

Um, WHAT!?!?!??!?!?!!?!??!

Wait, - I'm sorry, what!??!?!?!?!???!?!?

Dear God in heaven, what EXACTLY are you doing? ? She is going to fall off, hit a shelf and land on her clitoris? I can't imagine it would be more difficult to fall on any other body part. Except for maybe that thing above your upper lip, whatever that's called. Or your earlobe.

I am all for "whatever happens in the bedroom of two consenting adults is their business," blah, blah, blah, bring in the broomsticks and butter for all I care.

Sometimes, this job gets the best of me and I said something I am not very proud of. I was neither composed nor professional. I said:

"If your girlfriend is flying across the room and hitting a shelf, you've got serious problems and I can't help you. And by the way, it sounds like she should be wearing a helmet for safety purposes."

Again. Not proud. Not supportive. Will probably never get a sex-radio talk show like my idol Dr. Judy or even like Sue Johanson on the Oxygen network. Oh, well.

I am procrastinating

"So what else is new?" my husband might ask. I have to teach in less than two hours. Today is the chapter on male reproductive structures. This is the class where some poor unfortunate chap always volunteers the information that he once "broke" his penis. Or something along those lines. Tuesday, during female reproductive structures, I passed around a plastic (NEVER USED) speculum, and the nausea of the male students was not just visible but almost audible as well. Come on, boys! Most of you came into this world THROUGH a vagina, most of you are straight (or so it would seem) and spend much of your free time trying to get your fellow female students to at least show you their vaginas, so why on earth does a never before used speculum make you want to puke? Perhaps that is an issue for a women's studies class. But it is these two chapters in particular that make me feel like I am teaching a sixth grade hygiene course and not an upper-division college course on human sexuality.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Very Good Day

Two things happened today that qualify this as "a very good day."

1.) The Good Grammar Costs Nothing t-shirt is back in stock at Hooray!

2.) Balloon, um, animals seem to be a recent recurring theme in my life. We rented The Wedding Crashers and my favorite part of the whole stupid movie was when Vince Vaughn's character made a giant bicycle out of balloons. Then, the very next night, my husband and I ran into one of his childhood friends. She has turned in her scissors and given up the life of a hairstylist to become a balloon . . . stylist? She makes balloon animals at kids' birthday parties and gets paid $80 an hour to do this. The very next morning I said to my advisor "*&^%$@! school. I'm going to make balloon animals for $80 an hour!" She advised me against this and reminded me that I am a.) too cynical, b.) too impatient, and c.) the kind of person who would probably have all the kids in tears within 5 minutes. Ah, yes. A bit problematic. But then, today - I was perusing the Jesus of the Week website when I came upon the ultimate in balloon art! I think it is the most beautiful and inspiring thing I have ever seen, and am seriously reconsidering my career choices. Peace.