Is it Always a Choice? Scrumptious vs. Bland.

One recent evening Mr. S. and I made a post-dinner stop for a cocktail at one of our favorite local restaurants where we’ve had numerous delicious meals. The food is fantastic to the point where I want to bathe in a giant tub of the freshly made bacon jam the chef pairs with fried chicken livers on mini waffles. (o.m.g.)

On this particular evening we inquired what dessert offerings were on the menu and, after listening to the waiter expound enthusiastically about a dish comprised of homemade vanilla ice cream with fried peaches we placed an order.

When it arrived we found that the ice cream had no flavor, the peaches were non-existent, and nothing, save perhaps the waiter’s brain, was fried.

Disappointing – to say the least.

Not being the sort to raise a fuss or send it back, we nibbled a bite or two. And then, when the waiter came back around, Mr. S. mentioned that the dish was most definitely not as described. Poor little guy was apologetic. He admitted he had never tried it but was merely describing, as instructed by the chef, the 3 dessert choices for the evening.

By rote and memorization. Just as he does, I’m sure, when describing the fish of the day or the latest incarnation of the Colette de Beouf, pork cheeks appetizer, or chargrilled oysters. He was a very pleasant fellow doing his job in a perfectly acceptable manner. I’m also sure that some diners would have been content with the dessert as it was served. Perhaps it was me; based on previous experiences with this chef I was anticipating a flavor explosion.

That’s the way life goes though, isn’t it?

We purchase a new gadget, take a trip, or attend an event. We go to a concert, try out a new recipe, or download songs from a new artist based on a friend’s recommendation.

We join a new company or take a new job.

We think it’s going to be scrumptious and flavorful based on what has been described. Sometimes though it ends up being flat, tasteless and unpalatable.

Not even a dish that’s best served cold; just a dish we should have avoided.

But who’s at fault? The chef? The waiter?

Or the patron?

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Why I Can Be a Feminist and Still Support #MissUSA

MissUSA-CrownLast night we had the kickoff meeting for the #KreweDeCrown; a team of 8 members of the Baton Rouge Social Media Association (note: the #krewe thing is total Louisiana). We’ll be serving as social media ambassadors for Visit Baton Rouge by covering events before, during, and after the 2015 Miss USA competition. We’ll be hanging out at the preliminary competition, chilling on the red carpet, tweeting from the live telecast, and taking assorted trips with the contestants to various picturesque venues.

I’m covering a beauty pageant. Once again.

Last summer the pageant was held here in Baton Rouge and it was such a success that, needless to say, the mayor and business leaders clamored to entice the Donald to bring it back for 2015. That’s right; Donald Trump runs this show and he will, once again, be bringing his comb over and misplaced presidential ambitions to the Bayou State.

It was a fascinating experience last year; I wrote about it here and here and here. We also had a blog site up for the local newspaper which is (hold on!) soon to be resurrected.

Now I certainly have my problems with the entire pageant trope; the perpetuation of unrealistic standards of beauty, the objectification of women, the virtual pimping and unabashed money-making off young women (and their families) who are powerless to resist the sirens’ call of the pageant world. Spare me, I beg of you, the numerous aspects that just make me cringe. In a country with fringe religious groups perpetuating the patriarchy I have often found the hair on my neck standing up at the mere thought of a spectacle that celebrates the unmarried (and subliminally virginal) woman and categorizes her via European standards of beauty while minimizing any personal attributes beyond her ability to smile and speak coherently into a camera.

Yet, at the same time, I detest stereotypes and will never – with every ounce of my being – relegate people to expected behavioral norms. Therefore I find myself supporting the choice of those women (and men) who freely and actively participate in pageants. “Freely,” of course, is the codifier; I get absolutely ill at the prepubescent glamorization of girls, toddlers and babies in the children’s pageant world. I’m not quite sure where the age of consent sets in but I’m fairly certain that the average 3-year-old pageant contestant hasn’t made the decision to get hair extensions. Mama Rose is lurking there; exploiting and manipulating while skipping hand-in-hand down the garden path.

But, for young women, does it have to be a choice between burning one’s bra or parading around in a swimsuit? Must it be an either/or? Does one or the other validate the worth of the women who decide to compete in these pageants? Nope Jim-Bob; it doesn’t.

So in 2015, just as in 2014, I’ll have my moments of angst. During last year’s pageant I left the theatre during the swimsuit competition because I just couldn’t stand to watch women in bikinis and high heels marching around the stage like animals at the county fair. I mean really – who were Ian Ziering and Rumer Willis to judge? Ugh.

But feminism means ensuring that every individual, regardless of gender, is free to make the choices he or she wants to make. Stay out of my womb. Don’t patronize me in the board room. Respect my choice to either stay at home and raise my children or to work outside the home. Don’t pay me less than my colleagues merely because I have a vagina.

Let me wear the crown.

If that’s what I want.

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I Got Nothing

resized_philosoraptor-meme-generator-yeah-i-got-nothing-e78869Seriously.

I’m filling up space and making sure I generate ‘content’ so Google keeps liking me.

Today I offer no words of solace. No observations about the workplace or the general state of the human resources profession.

There is – truly – nothing.

Except this really old meme.

OK. That’s something.

Happy Friday y’all!

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The Plight of The Elderly in Love and Work

800px-Cane,_Walker_Cane_Hybrid,_WalkerBecause I turned a certain age recently I now receive “AARP The Magazine” delivered to my home each month. (as an aside: I still can’t figure out how they know the age of the entire populace of the United States. Satellites? US Census Reports? NSA?)

The cover of the February/March issue which recently landed in my mailbox features a sullen (what else) Bob Dylan and teases us with various tantalizing story headlines: “Heart Health Makeover” and “8 Easy Ways to Live Longer” among them.

Also on the cover, under the headline “Jobs & Money,” are several bullet points promising what lies within the pages. Among these, beginning on page 46, is a story entitled “Outsmart a Younger Boss.”

Because, apparently, when you reach a certain age you have to rely on tricks and wiles as opposed to your knowledge, experience and business savvy.

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Yesterday, while performing a bit of business intelligence (also known as trolling the internet), I happened upon a company website which, on the “benefits” section of the career page, proudly states “An annual physical exam for employees 58 and older is provided, at no cost to the employee”

58 is, seemingly, a magic age for something. What that something is neither I nor multiple people on my Facebook timeline were able to determine.

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And then, as if it wasn’t bad enough to realize I have to outsmart my boss and am considered to have one foot in the grave when I hit the age of 58, I learned that I’m also destined to be forever behind the 8 Ball in matters of hook-ups love and romance. Well, if I were single and cared about that.

Tinder announced that users of Tinder Plus in the US who are under the age of 30 will pay $9.99 per month for the service. However, if you want to use Tinder Plus but you’re past the age of 30, then you best be prepared to fork over $19.99 per month. Oh…and if you’re in the UK? You start paying more at age 28.

As Evie Nagy wrote in Fast Company “It’s hard, of course, not to see the move as a statement of desirability—set the entry bar higher for older users, you’ll get fewer older users in the pool of available daters. But the truth is probably as Tinder claims. Older people looking for love are willing to pay more for the premium app’s flexibility. We’ll see if that holds once the uneven pricing is now public.”

Play mind games with your boss. Get thee to the doctor. Realize that once you’re over the age of 30 you are undateable.

Got it.

 

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image: wikimedia commons

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