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I’ve come to a disturbing realization recently that Facebook has made somewhat of a monster out of me. It happened slowly over the past 9 years I’ve been on Facebook, and I didn’t notice it as it was happening. But I definitely see that it has taken a toll on my disposition.

Basically Facebook is a big old stage upon which all of my worst character flaws can perform one twisted little musical number after another. In no particular order, Facebook encourages me to be jealous, creepy, passive aggressive, elitist, judgmental, cynical, and angry. That’s not to say that all of my posts are dripping with negativity and awfulness; I just FEEL all this negative shit when I peruse Facebook lately. But it wasn’t always that way…

… When I first joined The Facebook in 2004 it was a different website. The fact that it was only used by people with university email addresses meant that the majority of its users were (presumably) young and smart-ish. The features were few, but we still seemed to agree upon some general, unspoken posting etiquette. I used Facebook casually to share life with friends both local and abroad, and it was mostly a good time. As more and more people were allowed to sign up, more and more features were added to appease them (and to make money). And as all walks of life started to become Facebookers, our little system of mores was basically obliterated. What we have now is a massive, bloated beast with too many features and too many users for my taste. At one point I had 430 friends. That’s fucking stupid.

After much soul searching I’ve determined that it’s the awful shit some people post that’s bringing my worst qualities to the forefront. I can no longer bury my head in the sand about the garbage that seemingly decent people apparently believe. I’m only Facebook friends with people whom I’ve met in person. Every single one of them is a regular person and mostly pleasant to be around, but the shit that some of them post on Facebook makes me secretly hate them. Were it not for Facebook, I probably would have been blissfully unaware of the racism, sexism, homophobia, and ignorance these people are harboring. Being inundated by the bigoted views of people I previously thought were decent chips away at my worldview in a serious way. This is further compounded by the stupidity, egotism, terrible judgment, and naivete I see exhibited by people I’d previously thought had their shit together. Daily reminders of how horrible humanity can be are why I quit reading the news–because it made me perpetually angry and depressed.

De-friending nearly 130 people today was a step in the right direction, but I feel as though I’m required to maintain certain Facebook relationships. Facebook being accessible to everyone means I have to be “friends” with an odd assortment of people I may or may not like in real life. We all have family friends, in-laws, co-workers, etc. who we deal with on occasion because we have to, and it sucks to feel like I don’t have a space where I’m “safe” from them. Some of these people are people I can’t realistically de-friend or block or even restrict because they expect interaction with me and if they don’t get it, I have to put up with their passive-aggressive bullshit whenever I see them in person.

Right now I’m in the throes of the cognitive dissonance that comes from believing that I’m a decent, intelligent person who doesn’t hate everything while simultaneously believing that I’m an awful, deeply flawed individual who would like nothing better than to become a recluse.

I understand and accept that all of this is self-inflicted. Nobody is forcing me to be on Facebook, and I’m going to do something to change the way it makes me feel and behave. Today’s mass de-friending was a step in the right direction. I’m going to continue to de-friend people who set me off and fiddle with my privacy settings until I get to a place where I’m seeing more enjoyable content than junk. I’m definitely going to log fewer hours, too.

I was reading an article on a humor website the other day and stumbled into the comments section because I’m a glutton for punishment. When did people become so fucking sensitive?! Half of the comments were from thin-skinned folks defending their own life choices because (I guess) they felt personally attacked by the author’s piece. This is why I hate so much of the Internet. Every time somebody writes something funny or thought provoking, the comments section devolves–almost immediately–into a bunch of idiots defending themselves against imagined slights. No intelligent discourse can take place when people are so busy nailing themselves to crosses in the comments section. Can nobody take a Goddamn joke anymore?

I’m running into this more and more, on Facebook especially, and it’s really starting to wear on me. I cracked wise about someone ordering a veggie burger and non-alcoholic beer on burger-and-beer night at my favorite local gastropub and the first thing anyone said was, “Well maybe she was pregnant!” First off, I never revealed the gender of the person ordering those items, so sexism is alive and well. Second, who the fuck cares? It’s hilarious that some nitwit went to a place that SPECIALIZES in beer and burgers and ordered basically the most pathetic pairing on the menu. Why do we have to care about the back story of every single person around us? Whatever happened to making a witty observation, having a giggle, and getting on with our lives? Why are people taking so many things personally?

I have a theory, natch. My theory is that people are inherently self-centered (myself included) and can’t help but take everything personally. Especially if it concerns decisions they made but maybe aren’t fully comfortable with. How else can you explain how insanely defensive people get in response to blogs and op-eds? The post I read suggested (facetiously, might I add, because it was on a humor website) that people should get a special license to drive an SUV, not unlike getting a motorcycle license. The comments section was brimming with people crying, “But *I* can drive *my* SUV! WHAT ABOUT ME?!” Uh, then you’d have no problem passing the pretend driving test? I don’t know, man, maybe relax a bit. Unless you’re secretly insecure about your driving…

In my adult life, I have chosen to hold off on being offended except in extreme and/or obviously personal situations. So when I read the inevitable opinion online that “Women with tattoos are trashy,” or “People who don’t want kids are selfish,” or “People who use vulgar language are desperate for attention”… I shrug it off. I don’t get into an argument online about it. It’s never about me; it’s just strangers on the Internet expressing their opinions. Maybe I think their opinions are shitty, but whose mind am I going to change by responding in all caps that I have tattoos and am not trashy?

I wish people would be more introspective. Maybe think about WHY they’re having such a visceral reaction and addressing it internally instead of firing a stream of grammatically incorrect, unbridled hatred on a total stranger.

There is a person in the periphery of my life–I can’t say how I know this person without outing him/her, so I’ll just call him/her “Pat.” So Pat, to the best of my knowledge, believes the world revolves around Pat. Pat has no qualms about making unreasonable requests of everyone around him/her, but Pat makes no effort to reciprocate. Pat actually doesn’t even have the common decency to apologize for inconveniencing others–nor does Pat express appreciation when people go out of their way to help him/her. No, Pat simply breezes through life EXPECTING that everyone will bend over backward for him/her. Because Pat is a special snowflake with whom everyone is blessed to simply share square footage.

So how does Pat get away with it? Easy. Pat is disgustingly nice. Not kind. Not compassionate. Not generous. Not caring. Just nice. Pat will smile regardless of what’s happening in the conversation, laugh at all jokes (even his/her own), make physical and eye contact–all of the necessary social cues to tell people that Pat is super-nice. People are generally caught off-guard by Pat’s unreasonable demands when they spring from such a “nice” person, so they just comply. Why wouldn’t they? Pat is so nice, clearly he/she has no ulterior motives and just needs some help. Again.

Why are we talking about Pat? Because Pat is the perfect example of our shitty culture of niceties. Somehow we have devolved into a society that believes that nothing is more important than being super-nice. It’s not enough to just be neutral. Or earnest. Or honest. No, we all have to go out of our way to smile all the time and make mindless small talk with everyone who stumbles into our personal space and go out of our way to accommodate everyone, regardless of how much it puts us out. Women are especially indoctrinated with this bullshit. To be a lady is to be nice. They’re practically synonymous. We’re taught to be agreeable and pleasant and friendly. These are not bad qualities–when they’re genuine. Forcing these qualities, just for the sake of being “nice,” is what I have a problem with. I want people to be kind because they want to be kind, not because they feel obligated to do so. I have known enough “nice” people in my life to know that most of them are big, fat fakers who don’t care about anyone but themselves and will abandon others in a heartbeat once shit gets tough. I don’t have time for that.

For the record: I don’t get how everyone seems to associate my hatred of “niceness” with an endorsement of just being a huge jerk all the time. No. I just think that people should be free to be neutral. We shouldn’t feel obligated to smile and make small talk and hold doors. We should do it because we want to. And when I do it–it’s because I want to. And that’s often. And it’s genuine. I hate seeing people go through the motions just to avoid judgment, and I hate feeling like I can’t get a read on someone’s real motives. That’s why I am the way I am: You may hate me and think I’m a bitch, but you will never wonder how I feel about you. I will let you know. I would prefer everyone extend me the same courtesy.

Which brings me to the topic at hand: I think this is why “women prefer assholes.” It’s not that we like being treated like shit, or that we like “bad boys.” I think we’re just sick of being lied to by people who act nice but are assholes deep down. At least the douchebag frat-bro isn’t trying to pull one over on us–we know what we’re getting into. We’re forever on-guard against other women who put up a sweet front but are really just catty, insecure backstabbers* and against dudes pretending to be decent just to get into our pants. It’s actually pretty refreshing to have someone just be up-front with who they are. Like, yes, I’m an asshole and you’re free to love me or leave me. I don’t care. I’m doing me.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I think women “prefer assholes.” We’re tired of liars and fakers. My new mantra is: Better an honest asshole than a nice liar.

* Sorry, I’m coming off of best-friendship deterioration number five, so I’m a little jaded these days when it comes to having (straight) female friends.

Um, wow. So, my bad for forgetting about this blog. God knows I’ve been pissed about plenty these days. Anyhoo, while I hash out some new posts, here’s one I apparently forgot to publish from a few months ago!

I’m married. I’ve been married for three (almost four!) years and with my husband for eight (almost nine!). I know a thing or two about a long-term relationship. Not everything, but I’ve learned some things. That being said…

Marriage/relationship advice is ridiculous these days. I mean, have you read any of this stuff? Here are a few of the gems I’ve seen lately that have particularly pissed me off.

*Don’t yell at your spouse.* This is advice? This is TERRIBLE advice. You need to yell. Yell and get it all out. I promise you that yelling won’t ruin your relationship. Don’t be scared of your feelings. If you’re angry–be angry. And express your anger. If you don’t express it, you repress it and it screws you up even more. Let. It. Out.

*Don’t poop in front of each other.* What the fuck is this? Don’t tell me what I can do in front of my spouse based on your own weird hangups. I hate this piece of advice more than any other advice. ANY OF IT. Why can’t I poo in front of my spouse? Is it because women don’t poop? Is that it? Am I supposed to uphold some sort of feminine mystique here? Look, I get it. You’re uncomfortable with bodily functions and you want to project that onto other people. I get that. But don’t tell me that my entire relationship–all eight+ years of it–is going to fall to ruin because one of us sees the other making a number two. I don’t buy it.

*Don’t emotionally distance yourself after a fight.* Yeah. Um, or do. Some people need time to cool off after a fight. Don’t tell people how to fight.

The common theme here seems to be this: Don’t be ugly in front of your spouse. But that’s awful advice. To quote every twit on Pinterest: “If you can’t love me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” Trite as it is, it’s true. If you can’t be ugly in front of the one person on the planet who supposedly loves you the most–who can you be ugly in front of? I disagree so strongly with the idea that we should hide ourselves or put on a mask in order to be acceptable to other people. Especially our loved ones–spouses and family and close friends. This kind of shit is the equivalent of that old school advice that women never let themselves appear untidy to their husbands. Guess what: Real love is untidy. It’s messy and ugly even though it’s wonderful and beautiful. Embrace ALL of it, not just the shiny parts.

So what do I say when the wedding reception camera eventually pans to me and asks for advice? “Ignore everyone else’s advice. Figure out what works for you and do that.”

Random, stream-of-consciousness rant here:

Does anyone else have thought police in their life? I do. And it makes me super stabby. I don’t appreciate being told who I can be, what I can say, and how I can behave. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately and I don’t need someone fucking CENSORING how I express my frustration. “Don’t say this on Facebook.” “Don’t tweet that.” “Take that down.” “Don’t say that.” “Are you wearing that?” “You swear too much.”

Are you fucking kidding me? Get out of my ass!

I know I’ve been absent on here but the truth is I’ve been so stressed out that I pretty much only work, watch TV, eat, drink, and sleep. My house is in shambles. I haven’t shaved my legs in months. I’m a MESS.

With respect to the blog… I need more topics to discuss. Writing is so therapeutic for me but sometimes inspiration is hard to come by. I have no ideas, probably because I’m so out of sorts, and I think that’s why I’m going on this random tangent. I just want to say SOMETHING.

So there you have it. I have stress-induced writer’s block. Oh, and Taylor Swift tried to rock leather pants on New Year’s Eve and she looked horrid. I still hate her, so maybe that’s my constant. (Any Lost fans? Constant? Anyone?)

“Don’t need makeup to cover up. Being the way that you are is enough.”

Ugh. There seems to be this mindset that makeup is a bad thing. Ladymags are always telling us men want us to be au naturale and there’s the lovely sentiment expressed up there in a One Direction song. I understand wanting your woman to not be painted like a French whore, but to rally against makeup entirely is idiotic and self-righteous.

Here are a few of the completely bananas things I’ve heard people (both genders, mind you) say about makeup:

“It’s not fooling anyone.” Uh, it’s not meant to fool anyone. Those of us who wear makeup aren’t trying to trick people. And what would we gain if we *did* trick people? “Ha ha, you thought I was a little prettier than I really am! Joke’s on you!”

“What are you hiding?” My uneven skintone and tiny eyes. Happy now? That’s what I’m hiding.

“Makeup is for vain/shallow people.” Makeup is for anyone who likes it. I like makeup quite a bit. I like to buy it. I like to put it on. I like to wear it around town and feel a little prettier. If me doing something that elevates my disturbingly low self-esteem just a smidge bothers you: I think you may be the one with the bigger issue.

“I prefer natural women.” What you prefer is probably a natural *look.* That doesn’t mean a lady isn’t wearing makeup; it just means she’s wearing natural shades in appropriate amounts. So you don’t like a bold lip or dark eyeliner. That’s your preference. But don’t rail on all things makeup. It’s okay to like what you like, but don’t pull the “natural” card unless you’re positive the ladies you’re referencing are actually sans fards.

I guess it’s kind of like people who are anti-plastic surgery. It’s as though we’re all supposed to be born beautiful or just live with what we have. Oh, sorry, you weren’t born Cindy Crawford so uh, just deal. We’re not allowed to do anything to ourselves without being judged as shallow or vain. If it makes you feel better about yourself to get breast implants: Do it. If you feel prettier with bright red lips: Rock ‘em. Being anti-makeup is just one more way to make women feel inferior and vain and guilty and I kind of hate it.

I’m a moderately attractive woman who likes to wear makeup. Do I *need* it? Probably not. But who does? Is there a level of ugly that society deems appropriate for wearing makeup without judgment? If so, who sets those benchmarks?

I will continue to purchase and wear makeup regardless of how “fake” or “vain” people think I am. Because I like it and it makes me feel good. To hell with anyone who disagrees.

In my Facebook feed I’ve seen a few people giving away their pets because “it’s too much” to have a new baby and a pet (or pets). Un-fucking-believable.

First off, these people should have had some forethought when they first got their pet(s). “Do we want kids later? How will our kids interact with our pet(s)? Can we have both? Is it fair to everyone?” This is serious shit. A pet is not a plant. It’s a living, sentient being. You can’t just discard it because you have found something “better” in your baby. I mean, Jesus. People are abandoning their pets because it’s “too hard.” Fuck you. If you can’t do both, you should have made that decision a long time ago.

I have to admit that my real rage here is against people who get rid of their dogs. I know that cats are more temperamental and have a way harder time with a new baby around. I get that. I don’t think you should bail on your cat because it’s having a hard time adjusting, but I can *sort of* understand it. My mom’s cat started peeing all over the place when she brought me home from the hospital. I get it. That sucks and it’s hard. It’s not a valid reason to bail on your cat, but I can appreciate the difficulty of the situation.

A dog, however, I cannot even think about justifying. Dogs are insanely loving and loyal creatures. Outside of a seriously abused dog, I can’t think of many dogs who would become a burden on their owners with the addition of a new family member. For Todd’s sake, Google “dogs with babies” and see what comes up! I think what’s happening is people are becoming tired of the old in the shadow of something new. And that breaks my heart in ways I can’t explain. You could have this:

Why wouldn’t you? SERIOUSLY! LOOK AT THAT PICTURE! Your dog wants nothing more than to be a part of your family.

I don’t really have the proper words to express my absolute heartbreak about this topic. I feel so bad for the dogs, and truthfully for the babies too. A dog adds so much to life. So much joy and love and comfort. Why someone would give that up for what—a few more minutes of sleep or a minute or two saved not scooping poop? It’s beyond me.

So to those of you considering getting a pet, please ask yourselves: “Where will we be in a few years? Will we have kids? Can we deal with those kids and our pet(s)? Will everyone be loved and happy?” It’s only fair. To everyone.

***Full disclosure: I am a PROUD Penn State alumna. If you have a problem with that: Go elsewhere. I will neither entertain nor post negative comments to this post. Normally I’d give constructive criticism a fair shake but for this? I’ve had enough criticism to last a lifetime. It would be unappreciated and unwelcome. For me a non-Penn Stater having an opinion on this matter is like a man having an opinion on abortion: he’s entitled to it but I don’t care what it is. He doesn’t know what that weight feels like and he never can. His opinion will always be biased. Is that extreme? Yes. I don’t care. This is my blog, hyperbolic as it may be.***

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of even doing this entry. I know it’s a hot-button issue and people have strong feelings about it, but why shouldn’t my strong feelings be aired out? A lot has gone on in these past however many months. I have a lot of anger on this subject. More than even Rampaige level. We’re talking Code Red, Stage Five Meltdown stuff. Take off my jewelry and pull my hair back rage.

To everyone lamenting about the victims: Nobody has forgotten about the victims. No, seriously. They’re the reason we’re all so upset. Do you know who’s NOT thinking about the victims? The people doling out the punishments and calling for heads on pikes. At least one victim has come forward through his lawyer and stated his displeasure at the way things have been handled. So “think” of the victims all you want, but you’re not asking them what they want.

Beyond that, the first and fucking obvious thing to say is this: Jerry Sandusky is a disgusting creature. Not even human. Honestly, pedophiles deserve the most awful, vile punishment we can legally give them. Solitary, latrine duty, maybe turning a blind eye in the shower or giving someone a sharpened toothbrush. All of it. I hate Jerry Sandusky and everything he did. Venomous hatred. To suggest that I (or any other PSU-affiliated person) am any less than repulsed by his actions is unfair and ignorant. If you think for a second that any one of us is even remotely okay with it—you can go fuck yourself. Seriously. Rusty pole self-fucking. You clearly lack basic logic and I have no time for you.

Second, to those of you calling for me to renounce everything Penn State: You also can go fuck yourselves. The actions of a few do not negate the positive things that literally hundreds of thousands of people have done. Period. There were multiple lapses in judgment and for that people suffered. I get that. But do you know what? For every Curley or Schultz there are thousands upon thousands of students, faculty, and alumni who had no god-damned clue what was going on. To hold all of us accountable for the actions of a half dozen people is ludicrous.

Third, many people want to see Penn State falter. We are “Success with Honor.” We graduate more student athletes than most schools. Everyone LOVES to see the mighty fall. And if they can contribute to that fall? Well, we were screwed from the beginning. People want to elevate themselves by putting us down. “See? They’re not so great. They’re all dirty perverts.” Really? All of us?

Fourth, and this is a controversial thing in and of itself: JoePa. I still love JoePa. I don’t care what other people think about him; I think we don’t know the whole story. And if I hear one more fucknut make a joke or comment about JoePa molesting children I’m going to lose my shit. SANDUSKY was the pedophile. Not JoePa. Read a god-damned news article, moron. Joe was old school. He didn’t put his business out there. He was an old man. He didn’t have the best memory. I don’t put 100% faith in his testimony because of his age. I’m sorry, I know that makes me ageist. People want to say that he had all this control and pull at the university but those people are forgetting that he had to beg for his job not too long ago. He was thisclose to being fired/forced into retirement when the football team wasn’t doing so well. Does that sound like someone who “owns” the university? Really? The man was a figurehead. Give me a break with the powertrip nonsense. What he did for the university is remarkable. He helped to raise MILLIONS of dollars for the school. Not for football, but for the school.

Speaking of academics: http://ideas.time.com/2011/12/07/paternos-revenge-penn-state-football-is-no-1-in-academic-bowl/ For every asshole who has said that Penn State put athletics (specifically football) above academics: Have a look at that article. Clearly academics are important at Penn State. To assert otherwise is ridiculous and unfounded. Joe wouldn’t let anyone play who was in trouble off the field. Period. You can’t tell me that puts football above other things. Poor grades, trouble with the law, etc. were not tolerated by JoePa. I’m legitimately saddened by the assertion that football trumped all else. That’s not the Penn State I know.

The football “coverup”: This is probably the hardest subject to tackle. My own personal opinion is that it was more of a boys’ club mentality than a “let’s protect the football program” mentality. Having known someone who protected a child molester (I’m not getting into it here, but I know a man who knew that his friend was molesting a child and he did nothing about it, saying it was “none of [his] business.”) Is it right? Fuck no. Does it happen? Unfortunately. Just because there was a cover-up doesn’t necessarily mean it was to protect the football program. Let’s not forget that prior to this Sandusky was looked upon as an upstanding member of the community. Perhaps his colleagues wanted to leave his reputation intact. We don’t know their motivations and it is 100% unfair to jump to the conclusion that it was about football.

The NCAA sanctions: I agree with one of the sanctions and that is the fine. Yes. Put that money toward programs for victims of sexual abuse. I think that’s wonderful and appropriate. Only good can come from this.

The removal of scholarships only hurts potential students. Again, we have a ridiculously high graduation rate of our athletes and to deny so many of them the opportunity for a free education is disgusting to me. Someone said to me, “So? They’ll just go somewhere else.” No, they won’t. There are literally fewer scholarships available in the whole pool. They weren’t distributed among other Big Ten schools. They were just taken away. So those are students who won’t get to go to a Big Ten school because they can’t afford it otherwise. If you think that somehow punishes the guilty parties, you’re delusional.

The negation of wins does nothing. Joe Paterno is dead. You think it’s hurting him to take away his wins? Because it’s not. Do you think it’s appropriate to take those wins away from the young men who earned them? Because it’s not. Also, the fact that the negation goes back to 1998 is fucking ridiculous. The 1998 case was investigated and dismissed. DISMISSSED by law enforcement. If anything, this punishment should only go back to 2001. Period. To suggest otherwise is to admit your bias and ignorance.

The denial of bowl games for four years. This, again, just punishes current students. Everyone who was responsible for this travesty has been fired or imprisoned (minus the BoT members, but I don’t know if they *can* be fired). So what? You cripple recruiting to punish… whom?

Not to mention all the other cover-up cases the NCAA should be dealing with now based on the precedent they set… I can’t help but notice we’re not hearing about Syracuse or Montana. Funny. I wonder if that has anything to do with people wanting to knock Penn State down a few pegs.

So yeah, I’m pissed off. I think people have made snap judgments that are incredibly insensitive and unfair. I think people are falling into a mob mentality that the entire Penn State community deserves to be crucified and made into an example. The vast majority of the Penn State community is appalled and saddened by what has happened. The vast majority of the Penn State community also had absolutely nothing to do with this scandal. To expect us to renounce our alma mater or to abandon something we love and believe in is unfair.

My only solace in this horrific story is my Penn State family. We have banded together and are leaning on each other in the wake of this horrendous situation. We all hate Sandusky and what he did. We’re all disappointed and pissed and saddened. But we’re also being persecuted for things we didn’t do and our only respite seems to be each other. It seems as though the rest of the world is against us and wants us to raze our community. But we won’t break down what everyone before us worked so hard to build up. The majority may be against us, but we will fight and persevere and get through it. Together.

***Full disclosure: I have half a dozen piercings. I started getting pierced when I was 18. That’s when I was legally allowed to do it on my own because my mom wouldn’t sign for me. Am I angry that I wasn’t given more body autonomy growing up? Not livid, but certainly annoyed. I probably wouldn’t have rushed to a piercer as soon as I got to college had I been granted more freedom a little earlier.***

Supposedly Willow Smith got her tongue pierced. (I saw the picture online and am not 100% convinced it’s real, but for the sake of argument let’s say it is real.) She’s eleven, and apparently it matters despite the fact that she and her parents are celebrities who clearly live on another plane than the rest of us. So… because everyone else is talking about it: Let’s get into it.

People have been railing on Will and Jada for just about everything with Willow. Letting her dress crazy. Letting her be a little pop-rock-hiphop princess. Letting her shave her head. Letting her paint her ear. Whatever. So many people have something to say about what they let Willow do. It seems to me that Willow has a strong personality and a deep knowledge of what she likes and what she wants. I actually think Will and Jada should be applauded for letting her safely and confidently express herself. Arbitrary restrictions on personal expression suffocate creativity, which in turn stifles personal growth.

There are so many fucked up parents in this world (celebrity and otherwise) that to see two people who actually want to raise an independent, self-assured child raises eyebrows. I think that’s part of what has people so up in arms. “WHAT?! They’re letting their pre-teen daughter make decisions for herself? Who DOES that?! That looks hard!” Many people nowadays are either lazy or they’re helicopter parents, with both methods producing barely functioning adults. These folks seem content with the lowest common denominator outcomes. Did your kid live to adulthood without going to prison? Congratulations; you succeeded at parenting. Will and Jada (and some marvelous people I know) aren’t content with that. They want to raise children to be thoughtful, witty, intelligent, creative, confident adults. A huge part of building confidence is actually allowing your child to make decisions for him/herself. Is it scary? Yes. Is it crucial to the development of a healthy self-image and a basic understanding of consequences? Absolutely. And it’s hard. You have to not only help your child learn how to gather all the information they need to make a good decision–you have to stand back and actually let them make the decision. Hold onto your butts!

I can think of a few reasons why folks are upset about this whole thing…

1) “She’s too young.” Many people say that a tongue piercing is sexual and that pisses me off to no end. A tongue piercing is not sexual. It’s just not. It’s no different than getting your bellybutton pierced and people don’t seem to have an issue with that, as I see it on myriad young girls. I got my tongue pierced because it won’t scar and it’s easy to hide. Period. Don’t make the presumption that you know the motivations of others. She’s not too young to know that she wants something and she’s not too young to be incapable of understanding the pros and cons of such a decision.

2) “It’s not safe.” Anyone who says this has never been inside a reputable tattoo/piercing studio. A good studio is clean and the staff knowledgeable. When you get a piercing the piercer explains to you what will happen and how to care for your piercing. Frequently they’ll even give you printed aftercare instructions and supplies for cleaning your piercing. I never felt unsafe or unclean in any of the studios where I’ve had work done. If she did actually get her tongue pierced, she would have required parental consent and that’s where mom and dad would have helped her select a reputable establishment. I have a very hard time believing Will and Jada would have taken their daughter to some sleazy amateur parlor to get pierced. Now if she had one of her friends do it or something equally stupid–that’s an entirely different story.

3) “It’s weird.” People are still pretty appalled by body modifications. Piercings and tattoos are still stigmatized in our society and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. So many people have them nowadays it seems like folks are wasting a lot of time and energy persecuting legions of everyday folks who choose to alter their appearances. I mean, we’re all entitled to our stigmas and -isms, but I don’t see why it’s illegal to discriminate someone based on weight or birthmarks but not on modifications. I choose to be the weight I am and have the moles I do every bit as much as I choose to be modded. Yet only one of these things is a legal reason to not hire me.

Am I saying everyone needs to let their kids do everything they want? Of course not. What I am saying is this: Here are two parents who know their child and who know what sort of adult they want their child to be. They are doing everything in their power to help her reach her potential. Maybe they want her to have as much body autonomy as she can safely have at her age. Maybe they want her to feel liberated by her self-expression. Maybe they just want her to be happy and didn’t see the point in denying her something for no good reason. And no, I don’t think that “because I said so” or “not in my house” are good reasons to deny such a simple request. If she researched it and saved her own money: Why not sign for her to do it? Who does it hurt if she gets her tongue pierced? Hell it won’t even leave a scar. She could have asked for far more than a piercing…

… which leads to the inevitable question I’m sure people would ask me: “Hey, Rampaige, so do you think kids should be allowed to get tattoos?” No. And it’s painfully simple why that’s my answer: Tattoos are permanent. Piercings are not. Sure, your piercing may leave a scar, but who doesn’t have scars? If a child knows they may have a scar later on–that’s something they’ll have to take into consideration. I mean, if I wanted to stop wearing earrings tomorrow I wouldn’t be mad at my six-year-old self for getting my ears pierced. (Yeah, wrap your brain around that: a kindergartner can decide to pierce her ears and nobody bats an eye… or worse: parents get their babies’s ears pierced without any consent at all.) A tattoo, however, is a much bigger and wholly permanent choice. A hole is small and inconspicuous, but a tattoo is larger and it’s a design dictated by your interests at the time you get it. Your interests change monumentally before and during puberty, which is why I wholeheartedly agree with the 18-year-old requirement for tats. Otherwise I’d be covered in Lisa Frank Orca tattoos.

Full disclosure: I hate Taylor Swift. If you like her and this is going to bother you: Stop reading. Seriously. It’s only going to upset you and I don’t want anybody getting defensive.

Every time Taylor Swift comes up in conversation I gnaw on my tongue until it bleeds. And then I have an outburst. Because I can’t contain my rage that someone like her is held up on a pedestal as a “good role model” for young girls. In what world is she a good role model? Let’s look at the facts for a second:

1) She’s in her twenties and she acts like she’s 14. This sort of immaturity is hardly something I’d want young girls emulating. Grow up and act your age. You don’t have to undergo a public sexual awakening á la Britney and Miley but for fuck’s sake: Act like the adult you are.

2) She’s overly modest/fake modest. Every time she wins an award it’s all “Ohmigosh! You want me to have this? Widdle old me? But I’m just a little girl who writes silly songs about boys. Tee hee. Golly, I’m so embarrassed! You want to give me this, the 357th award I’ve won in my life? Gee, that’s so super but I really can’t believe you even like me.” Jesus, get over it. You’re an artist (according to other people, anyway) and artists win awards. Some people (who are not me) like you and want to let you know that by praising you in the form of a small statue. Say thank you and get off the stage.

3) She’s naïve. I mean, no, I don’t know her personally so it’s probably unfair to say this. But from interviews and award ceremonies she just seems so doe-eyed and clueless about everything. I’m sure people like her because she’s so “pure” and “innocent” but I view that as straight naiveté. You need some realism in your life. You don’t have to be cynical or negative but please pull your head out of the clouds now and again to have a look at where your feet are… where they actually are and not the glittery rainbow you think they’re on. I don’t like that this sort of blind, clueless optimism is viewed as “goodness” by so many people.

4) She writes dreadful songs. This is probably less solid reasoning than anything I’ve presented thus far, but to be fair: This is a list of why *I* hate Tay-Tay. It doesn’t have to be objective. She’s typically boo-hooing over some boy who broke her heart, how she didn’t fit in in high school, kids who were mean to her in high school, or some hopeless romantic garbage that’s been spoon-fed to all of us since our Disney Princess-watching days.  The word “trite” comes to mind.

So there you have it. Whenever anyone starts to get all rubbery about her I lose my shit; I think she’s a terrible role model for young girls. I don’t think girls should be encouraged to be immature, naïve, and banal. I don’t think they should be pushed toward being “good” because I believe it will ultimately repress all the things that would make them fun and interesting. Look at Taylor. I mean really look at her. Would she be interesting to talk to? I think she’d giggle with her hands over her mouth and talk about boys the whole God damned time. Would she be fun to hang out with? I think she’d probably want to make popcorn and watch The Notebook and go to bed at 11 after drinking warm milk.

I guess most folks are content to wish boring safety on the little girls in their lives. That they do well in school, get married, have babies, and live happily ever after behind a white picket fence. But there’s so much more out there! For all the little girls in my life, present and future, I want them to know they can be themselves regardless of whether or not people think they’re “good.” I want girls to have role models who are feisty and independent and funny and smart and honest and true to themselves. Not just “nice” and “good.”

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