Snack time.

Visiting one’s child’s school can be so…educational:


This was a vending machine inside Kate’s high school, which would appear to be one of the new, post-Michelle Obama and her TYRANNICAL RULES OF HEALTH machines. If I make the picture big enough, I can see there is no shortage of salty snicky-snacky things, although they mostly appear to be made of popcorn. Baked mac and cheese puffs? OK, whatever. Dried fruit. The sweets are covered by granola bars, which I’ve always thought of as cookies with texture. As for the drinks, if someone can explain the totalitarian nature of Gatorade to me, please do so.

We all know the right wing hates the Obamas, and they especially hate the Obamas eating all their fancy city foods, but this one has always baffled me. To hear some people talk, school-cafeteria food used to be wonderful, delectable food with, yes, maybe a touch too much cheese or sugar, but what’s the harm with growing bodies? Do any of these people have children? Have they looked at a school menu lately? Have they ever heard of mystery meat? Kate’s school in Ann Arbor used to feature cheese-filled breadsticks with garlic dipping sauce. As an entree. (I always attributed this to Domino’s being a hometown brand.) I once arrived at a school in Fort Wayne for the free breakfast, which was a sweet roll the size of a softball. That was the status quo before Mrs. Obama tried to improve things. This is what they’re defending.

There was a story in the paper about the cookies at Kate’s high school — how popular they were, how they can’t be served anymore during the school day, and that’s a shame. But I do not miss the cheese-filled breadsticks, and if a few kids learn that black beans and rice won’t kill them, I really don’t see what the problem is.

Do I have some bloggage? Eh. I’ve been thinking about elections for so long I don’t think I can think about anything else.

Can you? Please do.

Posted at 9:55 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

56 responses to “Snack time.”

  1. brian stouder said on October 29, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    I like that the sodapop machines in the commons area at Wayne High School are magically enabled after school hours, and disabled during school hours.

    If you’re doing extra-curricular stuff, have what you want. But, yes, the anti-Obama folks may be ignorant hypocrites, but they are genuinely blissful about it!

    Remember how ‘Obama is taking over 1/6 of the American economy’, and he’s an executive order-mad usurper and big government tyrant?

    And now, Governor Fatass (aka “Sit Down and Shut Up!”) Christy (et al) thinks nothing of ordering the arbitrary arrest and confinement of an innocent American citizen (up ’til she threatened to sue his ass, and then he deflated like the Hindenberg) – while the Flying Monkeys of the rightwing airwaves gnash their teeth about how our president isn’t using arbitrary powers anywhere nearly enough, when it comes to doctors and nurses and their travels?

    I predict the Democratic party will hold the US Senate (even if only barely), and if I could have one bonus – it would be to see Mitch McConnell get fired by the state of Kentucky.

    Aside from all that, I like the spectral apparition of our proprietress in the photo above!

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 29, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Here’s some good news, regarding some discussions in recent threads. I know what the juvenile court does with repeated probation violations, so why not detention and community service for these clowns?

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  3. Dexter said on October 30, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Poking around Facebook after the thrilling World Series conclusion, I learned Iron Mike Tyson was sexually abused at age 7. Worth the two minutes .

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  4. David C. said on October 30, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I went to the doctor yesterday for my annual blood pressure med check and was asked if I had recently been to Africa (all of it, it seems, not just the parts with Ebola), been in contact with anyone with Ebola, or if I had a fever over 101°. I felt as if I had answered yes any of the choices, even the first and third, I would have been in frog marched into isolation. I know they are just trying to cover their asses, but come on.

    “People are buying tickets to homecoming just to get the cookies,” she said. “I hope I can keep up with the demand.” I call bullshit. It’s just a damned cookie. It seems like equal parts wishful thinking and upholding “truth, justice, and the American way®”.

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  5. alex said on October 30, 2014 at 8:35 am

    What could possibly be served out of a vending machine that isn’t crap, even if it’s packaged and marketed as “natural”? It’s still a bunch of overprocessed slop with enough preservatives in it to prevent it from stinking and hosting maggots like real food does after a few days.

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  6. beb said on October 30, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Jeff @2: Masters-of-the-universe. That’s why Wall Street will continue to skate on their repeat violation of common decency and federal laws. Why are prosecutors “wrestling” with this question, repeat offenders deserve no mercy. If it were a poors, like your juveniles, the book would be thrown at them.

    Blogage for nancy:
    She participated in a video to demonstrate the day-to-day sexual harassment of women. 108 acts of harassment over the course of 10 hours of video. And now she’s getting death-threats for show men for the pigs they are. You can also google #gamergate.

    To paraphrase Frank Zappa, “I’m not female but there’s a whole lot of times I wish I could say I’m not male.”

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  7. Judybusy said on October 30, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Alex, exactly what I was thinking. How much sugar is in gatorade? I think one reason we have many overweight people is the snacking we do. It’s uncommon in other cultures–didn’t MichaelG say something about this during his Spanish trip? Michael Pollan made some good points about snacking in one of his books–questioning, for example, why we seem to have to have snacks at meetings.

    I haven’t watched the harassment video, but it reminded me of how indsidious this behavior is, and how it shapes how I move down a street. I am *always* assessing the guys that are coming towards me. Not in a hyper-vigilant sort of way, but just that low-level background hum of threat assessment. I had a really distrubing incident at my gym last year. I’m on the floor, doing crunches, and a guy says hi to me as he’s running past. I reflexively say a curt “hi” and frown. I’m on high alert because he doesn’t have a shirt on and my creep detector twigs. Sure enough, next time ’round the track he stops and asks if he can give me a massage. “No, I want you to go away and stop talking to me.” I then let the YMCA staff know, who found him, removed him from the facility, and revoked his membership. They have zero tolerance and I was relieved to be backed up in this way. What was also distrubing: when I shared this tale with my intern, she replied she probably would have been much nicer, asking him to leave her alone–aware, too, that this wasn’t perhaps the best way. I told her it’s really OK to be rude, in fact, we really need to be. Damn that conditioning that trains us to be nice, nice, nice.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 30, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Just because.

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  9. Icarus said on October 30, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I’ve read the piece attached to the Catcall video but haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. At the risk of sounding uber naive, clueless, insensitive or just not from this planet…I get that the extreme cases are unwarranted but is it really so bad when a stranger says a “simple hello”? or is it because it’s not just a “simple hello”? Is it a time and place thing, or they don’t look like Brad Pitt, or something else?

    @Judybusy zero tolerance policies seem very extreme left unchecked. Is there some mechanism in place if someone falsely made a claim such as yours?

    [I realize I only lurk here and haven’t established any credibility, I’m hoping this comment will yield some education for me and good discussion for the group.]

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  10. nancy said on October 30, 2014 at 10:25 am

    The blowback on the harassment piece has already begun. I expected this, which I hear a lot from the evolutionary-psych people (aka, assholes): Hey, wait until no one notices you at all. Then you’ll look back on these days with different eyes. There’s also the “why are all the harassers black or Latino, you bitch” people. I will note two things:

    There is a tiny, tiny germ of truth to the former sentiment. I have entered the Invisible Years, and there are days when I think I’m looking pretty good, and yet, when I walk down the street, it’s as though I’m wearing a burka. I understand why this happens, and it doesn’t make me yearn for the hey-baby days, because I remember those, too — and they sucked. I was once followed down a street in New York City by a creep yelling about how much he wanted to fuck me, and it wasn’t fun at all. A little bit of happy medium would be fine. I would appreciate a glance. But not much more.

    As to the guys who are “just saying hello,” well. I work in a city with a lot of street people, a lot of poor people, and I try to meet everyone’s eye and offer, at the very least, a nod. I think it’s common courtesy to acknowledge your fellow human being, and I truly think that’s all a lot of them want: Hey, I exist. Show me you see me. On the other hand, I know that if I were a young cupcake, just a nod or hello would invite extended contact. So I totally understand why she won’t smile, won’t say hi, seems to be rude.

    Bottom line, those ev-psych people, those MRA types, are just fucking trolls.

    Riding a bike through some dodgy neighborhoods, I think the nod-and-acknowledgement is almost a safety issue. Most people aren’t out to do you harm, and I think just a nod, a wave, even a hi goes a long way to humanize you as a tourist in places most middle-class people wouldn’t go with a gun. In a way, it’s sort of me being the street person I mentioned above; I’m telling people I’m a harmless creature made of flesh and blood, just like them.

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  11. Icarus said on October 30, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Thanks Nancy. I think what might be causing my defensiveness is a case of action versus intention. I believe I usually am just being friendly but perhaps my actions match the pattern of someone whose intention aren’t as noble. {I hope it goes without saying that I’m talking about smiling and perhaps innocently flirting not catcalling.]

    I liked this comment by someone on (gasp) another site I lurk:

    “Would the urge to defend come from a place that as men we ourselves at some point in our younger/stupider/drunker/less evolved/more impulsive/(insert noun) moments done/said/thought these things?

    Now faced by the person we’ve offended/hurt by proxy, we now realise what our thoughts and actions have done?”

    –Xynzee commentor on Gin and Tacos

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  12. Julie Robinson said on October 30, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Icarus, you’re a guy, right? Women get this one immediately.

    As with Nancy, I’ve now entered the invisible years (58 yesterday!) and I think it’s great. And Judybusy, you are my hero, because you know this was they guy’s standard operating procedure. And too many women are too nice and they end up getting hurt. Not me, but I know too many.

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  13. Joe K said on October 30, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Being a runner, when I’m out biking with the wife and I see runner I’ll usually say, looking good when we pass. Wife mentioned that this may make a female runner feel uncomfortable. My first reaction is wtf, your kidding. Any thoughts?
    By the by, I still open doors and offer my seat to women, I havnt yet had anyone complain I was being sexist.
    Just sitting in a rocking chair soaking up the sun in Florance S.C
    Pilot Joe

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  14. Sue said on October 30, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I have been invisible for several years now too and am quite comfortable with it. It’s part of a package – it happened a few years before my brain shifted from a mindset of ‘yowsa, that guy’s gorgeous’ to ‘such a nice looking young man’.
    Course, I’ve never been inclined to actually say either to the gentlemen observed.

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  15. Sue said on October 30, 2014 at 10:58 am

    According to my sister in law, at the school where she works all the children are now forced to eat kale and they’re throwing away food by the dumpsterload. Worse, oh so very worse, parents are now packing lunches for their children and the school is taking a financial hit because no one’s buying lunches anymore. I don’t engage her on this, in her mind it is literally all Michelle’s fault, so I can’t get a good read on the bigger picture, but… who buys kale for gradeschoolers? Is Michelle mandating kale?
    There’s obviously something going on but I don’t know where the reasonable middle is on this.

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  16. Heather said on October 30, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Judybusy–that is like totally off the creeptastic meter. You absolutely did the right thing. A couple weeks ago at the pool a guy made some comment to me–I’m focused on swimming, not chatting, so I wasn’t sure, but I am like 95 percent sure he said something like “It’s hard to keep those muffins in place, huh?” meaning the bra thingies in my bathing suit, which do tend to shift. I should have said something. I haven’t seen that guy since, luckily.

    I don’t think most men, even good men, realize how much women are forced to think about our safety ALL THE DAMN TIME. Every time we are by ourselves and out in public, every guy that comes toward us, some part of our minds is assessing the situation and wondering if he is going to do or say something. That doesn’t mean most men are evil would-be rapists, but we have no way of knowing which random guys are bad news. So we have to protect ourselves from everyone.

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  17. Icarus said on October 30, 2014 at 11:05 am

    @Julie Robinson Yes, and now a parent of twins, a boy and a girl. you can just imagine the types of conversations I’m going to have to look forward regarding things like this and other landmines of life.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on October 30, 2014 at 11:07 am

    As an über-extrovert, I greet men and women I meet on the street with equal enthusiasm. Only half ever return my hellos, but frequently it’s because they have those damned earbuds in and can’t hear me. I often compliment moms and/or nannies on the kids they’re wheeling around, or the dogs they’re walking. I’m probably also guilty of saying things like “Looking good” on occasion, generally is someone is dressed especially nicely. (I am, sadly, a confirmed clothes horse.) This article makes me ponder whether some of my compliments were not heard in the way they were intended.

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  19. Suzanne said on October 30, 2014 at 11:07 am

    A young woman I spoke with several years ago after she had spent several weeks in Europe mentioned the no snacking thing there. She said she rarely saw obese people. They walk everywhere and eat well and snacks, if they did show up, consisted mainly of fresh fruit.

    I find it amazing too that the same people who thought Bloomberg was a nut for trying to ban large sodas are fine with locking people up for having been in the same country as Ebola. I guess it’s the same thought process that says guns don’t kill people, but religions other than evangelical Christiany do.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on October 30, 2014 at 11:18 am

    This is an important conversation. Joe, listen to your wife. There’s a huge difference between polite (opening doors) and skeevy (“looking good”). Jefftmmo, try “love that outfit”.

    And Icarus, I’m already imagining questions about possible use of infertility drugs, and I don’t envy you that. But at least you don’t have to answer the stupid fraternal or identical question. Tell me you don’t, please!

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  21. Judybusy said on October 30, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Icarus, I’m just not that worried about false claims. I felt incredibly protected when they took such expedient action, and you just can’t imagine what an impact it makes. Let’s say they weren’t as firm. I’d worry about running into that guy every time I went to the gym. Would he give me hassle for reporting him? Be more aggressive? I had a different scene years ago at the same gym. I asked some early teeenaged boys to move their coats from the weights area. They immediately became very foul-mouthed, loudly so and were threatening. I didn’t confront the kids, but the staff heard a ruckus, and I told them what happened. Again, tresspassed from the gym. And two male staff walked me to my parking ramp when I had finished my workout in case the kids were hanging out for revenge. I can not say strongly enough how validating this is, and what a great sea change from how this shit goes down much of the time.

    Also, I’m Minnesotan, so I do say hi to strangers. But I assess the guys before I do. And yes, sometimes getting noticed feels safe, and OK. Last year I was at a stop light on my bike and an older guy in the car next to me said “Those are some strong-lookin’ legs!” I laughed and said thanks. I dunno why that felt different; it just didn’t feel like a come-on. There was a woman riding with him, and we all just shared that laugh and connection. So, Joe, do you ever say looking good to guys? It’s that subtle difference where it’s ok to comment on women, but feels weird to say it to a guy. I think this is likely related to homphobia. What do you think?

    Also Joe, it used to bug the snot out of me when guys opened doors: “What? Do I look like I’m such a weakling I can’t open a freakin’ door?!” Now, I sail past like a duchess and if there’s another door, get it for the guy, which it’s just a nice exchange of pleasantries. Also, I’m envious of your rocking chair!

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  22. Icarus said on October 30, 2014 at 11:29 am

    @Joe K, I’m a runner too and I’ve said “looking good ladies” to a group of runners who were obviously part of a marathon training pace group and it went off well. I don’t think I’ve ever said it to anyone individually but I can see both you and your wife’s point.

    @Julie Robinson, the code seems to be “do twins run in your family?” And I had to Google it to be sure but it is possible they could be identical (monozygotic) but unlikely.

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  23. nancy said on October 30, 2014 at 11:36 am

    There was a tossed-off line in the middle of the final “Boardwalk Empire” that stuck with me: A man and a woman are engineering a high-wire stock-shorting scheme, and it seems to end well for both. The woman is clearly in charge of the whole thing, and has to stave off the man’s near-panic to make it work. After it’s over the man says, “I will never understand the mind of a woman.” She replies, “Think of all the things you want to accomplish in this world, then imagine yourself wearing a dress while doing them.” That seems to sum it up pretty well.

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  24. Judybusy said on October 30, 2014 at 11:37 am

    And naturally, this happened.

    Jeff Borden, I don’t think it would ever be OK to comment on a complete stranger’s clothing. That would just really creep me out if some guy even if said he loved my outfit, as Julie suggested. I’d view it as an opening salvo to some skeezy come-on. I know you’re trying to be nice, but again, do you ever compliment men? Why do you think the woman would be interested in your opinion? Why do you think she needs to be validated in this manner? And since we’re online and you can’t hear my tone, I hope you know these are just questions I’d like you to consider. I’m not yelling at you. What do the other women here think?

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  25. brian stouder said on October 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I think Nancy’s point about ‘acknowledgement’ exactly captures my opinion on how one interacts (or should interact) with unknown people.

    I will exchange nods when walking past people; and maybe a verbal pleasantry if it’s (at least) a familiar face.

    For example, when I go to school board meetings, there’s a room full of people who I don’t know, and who don’t know me – but we’ll nod and/or say hello.

    And – if I meet one of these folks in another setting, the same sort of greeting/acknowledgement occurs.

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  26. Sue said on October 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I’m reading Joe’s ‘looking good’ as a general ‘good job’ kind of compliment and not an observation on physical beauty. So, if that’s the intention, change the wording a little and it works.
    So, this happened one time in a crowded laundromat – two guys came up to me, smiling, and asked me ‘Is this yours?’. They were waving a pair of panties. You know, just joking, can’t I take a joke. Complete strangers. I wanted to tell them ‘those aren’t my stains’ (that was the smart ass comment that came to mind, honest to gods), but I just said no and turned away, because you don’t do that, you know, it’s impolite and just makes them mad. I was pretty safe of course, there were a lot of people around, but have you ever been in a laundromat that was empty except for you and another person or two people? What if I had ‘put myself in a dangerous situation’ by going to the laundromat at the wrong time, right?
    Another time I had to deal with a guy for about six months who came into the store where I was working and wanted me to be in his movie because I had a ‘Madonna quality’. Well of course I had a Madonna quality – what young female in the early seventies didn’t have long hair parted in the middle? (This was before that other Madonna.) And of course the Chicago suburban film scene was rocking in the early seventies, right, so looks like I passed a surefire opportunity to be a movie star.
    Plus the occasional car full of guys slowly following me and expressing their appreciation as I walked to my high school.
    You know, ladies, just the usual stuff.

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  27. brian stouder said on October 30, 2014 at 11:48 am

    but again, do you ever compliment men?

    Last night it was student-lead-conferences at Wayne High School (and at Towles Montessori), and I met a male teacher at Wayne that I’ve never seen before, and immediately complimented his very red shirt with a nice blue “W” (Wayne Generals) logo – and he said it was new.

    But indeed – I don’t think I’d have said that in passing; we were just sitting down for the 5-minute meeting

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  28. alex said on October 30, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I’m entering the invisible age as well, but I don’t consider it a bad thing. There are plenty of creeps in the gay world too, where there’s not only less compunction about catcalls and woof whistles but a lot of people think nothing of groping and physically accosting others in the gay nightclub setting and don’t take it well when they’re rebuffed. Glad to be free of that sordid underground scene and living above ground in a world that’s much more accepting.

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  29. David C. said on October 30, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    She replies, “Think of all the things you want to accomplish in this world, then imagine yourself wearing a dress while doing them.” That seems to sum it up pretty well. Like Ann Richard’s line that Ginger did everything Fred did except backwards and in high heels.

    The I said anything to a woman on the bike trail other than hi or good morning only once. I went past a woman pushing her bike who obviously had a flat. She said she forgot her patch kit and tire levers, so I gave her my spare tube and levers. What I’ve heard from my wife about the things that have been said to her and how it makes her feel I am always careful to never say anything that would make anyone uncomfortable. As the über-introverted opposite of Brian, it’s really easy.

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  30. Jolene said on October 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    A commenter in another online conversation on this topic noted that a part of the problem is the volume of such remarks that a person can collect in the course of a day. The first overly enthusiastic greeting may roll off your back, but, as the day goes on and you hear the next one and the next one, the impression develops that you are not being regarded as a person but sized up as a piece of meat.

    That said, I don’t think it’s all that difficult to distinguish between a civil hello and head nod and a long “Hellooooooo,” either as speaker or the one spoken to. The former says, “You are a human. I acknowledge your presence in my world.” The latter says, “I want to fuck you.”

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  31. Sherri said on October 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I’m invisible and just fine with it. The only time I get comments these days on what I’m wearing is when I wear my Seahawks jersey, which elicits “Go Hawks” comments from fellow members of the tribe.

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  32. Jolene said on October 30, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, acknowledges in an essay in Business Week that he is gay. Just the right tone, dignified and with an eye toward telling people who are struggling that being a gay kid from Alabama didn’t stop him from becoming the leader of one of the world’s most valuable corporations.

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  33. Heather said on October 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I think tone has a lot to do with it too. This is kind of a funny story I may have shared here before, but a few years ago I was walking to my car from a friend’s wearing a new dress I really liked. A couple of young guys, probably teenagers, were coming toward me. I wasn’t scared, but I steeled myself for comments. And one of then said, very politely, “You look very nice.” It was actually very sweet. Notice they did not say it in a leering way at all. I think it is generally better to avoid commenting on the appearance of women who are strangers, but if you must, that is the way to do it.

    I don’t think most men understand how quickly women’s minds go to “possible rape/assault/murder” in what to them are innocuous encounters or comments. On Facebook I’ve seen guys actually get offended by this. Yeah, it does suck. So maybe the first thing to do to change it is to realize that we feel this way, respect it, and try to understand it.

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  34. A. Riley said on October 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Joe, listen to your wife. If I were jogging along minding my own business and some strange man felt entitled to interrupt my thoughts to comment on my appearance, I would be more than annoyed, I would be offended. I also can’t believe you do that when you’re with your wife.

    As for the vigilance — google “Schrodinger’s rapist” sometime.

    Thank God I’ve reached the age of invisibility. I got so sick of the constant barrage of harassment on the el, the commuter train, the bus, the sidewalk . . . that’s why I quit taking public transportation and bought a car. Yes, I spent an extra heaven knows how much of my meager income on keeping a car because it just felt safer.

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  35. MichaelG said on October 30, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    When I do my AM walks I smile and say “‘morning” to people I encounter. Men, women, etc. About 90 % of the time I get a smile and a greeting back. I watched that video the other day and was appalled. I never considered that some women would feel threatened or offended by my greetings. Now I don’t know what to do.

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  36. Dexter said on October 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I have learned that as a man I am not to address, in public, a woman I do not know, unless she says something first, like asks me where the courthouse is. I have been told by women that they do not appreciate comments of any sort, especially a quip blurted out by a passing stranger. I do not know where the line is drawn…what if a young man wants to make time with a young woman in a singles’ bar setting? Are all bets off?
    I remember one night , late night actually, when I was a divorced young man returning home from the Fort Wayne bar scene (slow night) and I was in the politically incorrectly named Sambo’s Restaurant on North Clinton, and I spied a lovely lady out with a pack of her friends. I thought it would be cool to horn in and schmooze a bit and get a quick phone number. The whole party stopped talking and just iced me out. I got it. I never tried that shit again.
    Not only that, but I have learned that many women just don’t like even talking to strange men. Many appreciate a five foot “safety zone” and are creeped out by guys who sidle up too close.
    Some go out of their way to be obnoxious, however. At one of my “super-secret church basement meetings” , as always, the Lord’s Prayer was said in unison, everybody holding hands. It’s been that way like forever, as far as I know. It was a huge Toledo-area meeting, maybe 100 souls there. I rose, extended my hand left, OK…and then right, and this middle aged lady says hoarsely, “Don’t grip so hard! What are you DOING!? You’re HURTING ME!”
    Well hell, woman…don’t you know the goddam routine? I wasn’t gripping her hand hard at all…she was just a troubled drunk I guess, and my point is you never know, and I would never, ever say “Lookin’ good!” to a woman I did not know, and hardly any I do know. It’s creepy, Joe.

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  37. Scout said on October 30, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    As another member of The Invisibles who formerly wasn’t, I don’t miss the “hey baby” attention one bit.

    On the other hand, I am a friendly person who looks people in the eye and greets them as I pass and 90% of the time I’m acknowledged with a return smile and greeting. I graciously accept held doors, but if I arrive at the door first, I will hold the door for anyone approaching. I believe these are basic manners and a good way to present in the world.

    Comments about how I look still happen occasionally. They make me uncomfortable, so I would advise all the men who do this to realize it feels sexist on the receiving end, no matter how innocently it was intended.

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  38. Sue said on October 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Such a serious discussion today. Let’s lighten it up a bit.

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  39. Minnie said on October 30, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    A polite nod and good morning as you pass is far different from loud kissing sounds followed by “Ooh, want you to have my baby, baby.” But women with even a modicum of youth and looks – and probably others, too, since the latter sort of comment is as much an act of intimidation as a proposition – can get worn down by repetition. For good reasons, they may avoid responding to comments by all strangers. It’s too bad, but there it is.

    Invisibility is a relief.

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  40. nancy said on October 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Why is Tim Cook’s coming-out a story? Hasn’t he been out forever? I seem to recall hearing about his orientation before Steve Jobs even died.

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  41. Jolene said on October 30, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I think it was generally known that he is gay, but he had never said so publicly. That’s why it’s a story.

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  42. Judybusy said on October 30, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I’m shutting down for the day. I wanted to say a huge thanks for the tone of the discussion today and the give and take. It was really enlightening hearing from the guys in the group, and validating–if sad–to hear from the women. I haven’t bothered to check out any other discussions, as I don’t want to have to deal with defensiveness born of ignorance and insecurity. See you tomorrow!

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  43. Joe K said on October 30, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    I do say looking good to male runners, and I’m not gay.
    Being from a small town it might be different who knows, what’s right what’s wrong? I think from here on out I’m just gonna say screw it, say hi to every one I see. They don’t like it guess it’s their problem.
    Pilot Joe

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  44. Charlotte said on October 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    One of the best observations I’ve seen expressed by women online about this is that they resent the notion that a woman’s attention is always considered available. So, you’re walking down the street thinking about that big meeting at work, or your novel, or the problem of Ebola and quarantine, and random men think it’s both perfectly fine to interrupt your thoughts and then to yell at you when you don’t respond the way they wanted you to … all just because you’re a woman and in public.

    I don’t get it much anymore, and its’ not like catcalling is a huge problem here in rural Montana, but I have found it very creepy the way grown men have felt they had the right to comment on our pack of girls’ bodies as they’ve grown up. Yes, they’re gorgeous. And no, you can’t police their clothes, or make suggestive remarks about the length of their legs, or sneak a peek down their shirtfronts. They are *kids*. Kids you knew as babies. Kids who are horrified that you might think of them in any kind of sexual way whatsoever. So just stop. It’s not complimentary, it’s creepy.

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  45. brian stouder said on October 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Charlotte – the very best thing (education/perspective-wise) that can happen to a fellow, is to have a daughter (or two!)

    Suddenly, it all becomes clear. And then as they grow up, it becomes even more clear

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  46. Jeff Borden said on October 30, 2014 at 4:47 pm


    Yeah, I compliment men on their style of dress, too. I’m a clothes-horse. Yesterday, I complimented a guy walking through the square near our house because he was wearing an honest-to-God bowler, not unlike the one worn by John Steed on “The Avengers.” He wore it well, too.

    And I’ve never gone beyond ‘you’re looking sharp’ or ‘you’re looking good’ when aiming comments at another. I probably should’ve mentioned these comments are 100% uttered while walking, generally toward the el or the bus stop. I wouldn’t do it on the el or on a bus for fear of being mistaken for a skeevy come-on, but until today, I never considered it inappropriate while walking past someone. I won’t do it again.

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  47. Sue said on October 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    And lets not forget, in some states it’s A-Ok to take upskirt photos, it’s now a right!
    Texas and somewhere out east I think, maybe some others.
    Men were willing to go to high courts for the right to do this.
    That’s what you get for going out in public without your burka.

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  48. Charlotte said on October 30, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Again, I think a lot of it is tone. I get chatty when I’m out in public, like Jeff, and I’ve been known to tell men, women and little kids that they look nice. Who was it who said upthread about the teenage boys? It’s lovely to have someone smile and say that you look put together, or they like your jacket, or whatever. But friendly interactions usually involve eye contact, and a nod or a smile or some indication that the person would like to be interacted with.
    Creepiness is different — you know it when it hits you. It’s the sexualizing of it all that gets icky. Or in the case of Judybusy’s creep at the gym — OMG — do not touch, offer to touch or god forbid offer to “massage” someone you don’t know. Ack!

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  49. Sherri said on October 30, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Dexter, at some of those “super-secret church basement meetings”, some of us more invisible women have been known to insinuate ourselves around some of the less invisible women when it comes to the hand-holding time at the end. Just because they’re sober doesn’t mean some of the guys in the meetings aren’t creeps, and a newly sober person is pretty vulnerable.

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  50. Dexter said on October 30, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Sherri…the stories I could tell! “No new relationships for a year”. Few adhere…and I personally know several women (friends of my wife from years ago) who used the fellowship as a dating service…and were not disappointed; they had many suitors. Our little pocket-sized monthly publication always runs stories about creepy males who prey on troubled and down-and-out women…it’s a hard world.

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  51. Deborah said on October 30, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Many years ago, probably 30 years ago I went to a construction site to inspect some work for some graphics that I designed. It was a shopping mall but it was at the time of inspection a huge open hall with hundreds of construction workers doing their thing. I came in with some male architects and the place went wild with catcalls and it was extremely embarrassing and humiliating. I know that I could have weighed 300 pounds and been bald and they would have done the same thing because I was female. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Every once in awhile I still get a catcall, from someone behind me, and it is always hysterical when they catch up with me and see how old I am and they look away and walk quickly on. I find it funny now. But when I walk with Little Bird she gets catcalls and it is upsetting to her and to me for her.

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  52. Little Bird said on October 30, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    When I’m out running errands, or walking for exersize,comments outside of directions to wherever are not appreciated. It’s a little different at a bar. Polite conversation is good, but transparent flattery is not.
    The next guy who asks me “if it hurt when I fell from heaven” is going to be met with an incredulous “are you calling me SATAN?!?”
    I’m by no means a “hottie”. I don’t break cameras or anything, but catcalls directed at me do nothing but serve as a reminder that I’m walking in THEIR territory, and Iust be on guard at all times.

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  53. Little Bird said on October 30, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I must be on guard…
    My phone has issues with “m”s at times.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 30, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Julie R., I think you’ve confused me with cousin Jeff. But I will remember “love the outfit” anyhow… I’m one of those guys who doesn’t notice haircuts or new glasses or losing thirty pounds. Whenever someone says to me “you see something different, don’t you?” I know I’m in for an awkward few minutes. Because they’ll make me guess, and I rarely get it right.

    And either as a pastor or a court employee, I never compliment people on their appearance. For any reason. Really. It just doesn’t help any situation.

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  55. Little Bird said on October 30, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Oddly enough, telling a woman “great dress” or “that’s a great color” is FAR better than “nice eyes” or similar. It’s better by far to praise the clothing rather than the body. This has been a topic of conversation between my Facebook friends ever since that video of the woman walking around has been out.

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  56. Jenine said on October 31, 2014 at 9:12 am

    @Michael G: keep on saying ‘morning. We need more people who acknowledge everyone, like Nancy says. Just don’t require a response. That’s when it gets creepy.

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