Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Hate Begets Hate

"I want freedom for the full expression of my personality." -- Mahatma Gandhi

There's a story on the Huffington Post about a lesbian couple living in Kingston Ontario who returned from their vacation to find hate-filled letters by an anonymous group in their mailbox. Move away, they were told, or there would be consequences. If they went to the police, there would be consequences. Children would be hunting them with BB guns, among other things.

The couple took a stand. They went to the police, to the media, and to their neighbours. There was a support rally held in a neighbourhood park. They didn't intend to be frightened into leaving, as others had been.

I commend this couple. Still, it's a real shame that the world has become such a harsh place. No, scratch that - it always was a harsh place for anyone who was 'different'. Any such people had no option but to be 'different' in private or face complete societal censure. Today it's a little better, but now haters have the luxury of spreading their vitriol and idiocy around the world via Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other forms of electronic expression.

Some Christian groups have twisted Mahatma Gandhi's quote "Hate the sin, love the sinner" to their own ends. The letter from the above-mentioned group does so as well, stating "we have nothing personal against you, only against your sexuality" and they use this as justification to "watch and wait, and then strike, at home and office, as need arises", all the while claiming to be "primarily non-violent".

Having been raised in a home with extremely conflicting values (my father was a bigot, my mother a liberal) I will admit that I find certain lifestyles a bit difficult to accept. Seeing interracial couples, lesbian couples, or gay men kissing in public makes me cringe inwardly. However I do have friends who are in LBGT or interracial relationships, and this has taught me tolerance. I do not begrudge their choices, I don't make an issue out of it, and what happens in the privacy of their home is not my business. Just as my personal life is nobody else's business.

Too many people have forgotten that other adage, attributed to Jesus himself: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you". If more of us truly lived by that, the world would be a much better place for everyone.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Drop the Shopping

If men liked shopping, they'd call it research. -- Cynthia Nelms

I went to the mall yesterday afternoon, by myself because my family finds such activities boring.  There was a big end-of-season sale going on, and I thought I could find myself new jeans, shorts, and swimsuit for decent prices.  Easy, right?


I must have looked through at least ten different stores, and believe it or not, I couldn't find a single pair of jeans that would suit me.  I don't want those low-rise, hip-hugging, butt-squeezing, ankle-cut, stone-washed, pre-holed things.  Those are not JEANS.  Jeans are meant to be comfortable and are worn for crawling around in the dirt, not for squeezing yourself into just to look "sexy".  Eventually I said to myself, screw this, next time I'm going to Mark's Warehouse.  (My current pair of jeans came from there and I love them.)

A friend of mine later told me that she recently bought herself a pair of men's jeans, because the overall selection of women's cuts is abysmal and she needed them to actually WORK in.
Next I tried shorts, only to encounter the same problem.  Underwear-revealing, leg-absent, butt-hugging flimsy things that seem to be in danger of falling off at any time.  To me, shorts are short pants.  They cover you from your waist down to mid-thigh.  At one point I was trying on men's shorts to see if they would fit me well enough, because women's so-called shorts did not.

As the afternoon wore on I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find something when a display caught my eye: women's shorts, ACTUAL shorts, two for $30.  I picked out what I believed to be my size and went to try them on.  Only to be flabbergasted when they didn't fit me.

What?  These shorts were marked Medium, but they were too small?!  I have been fortunate to be the same weight and body shape for my entire adult life, and I've worn Medium sizes without any problems.  And now Medium doesn't fit me any more?  What anorexia-supporting clothes designer decided this?  Grumbling, I returned the offending piece of clothing to the display and grabbed a Large.  This one fit.

At the counter I asked the salesperson: if the item came from a display marked two for $30, then one would only cost me $15.  Right?  She smiled at me a bit sheepishly and explained that one item cost $20 and in order to get the discount I had to bring any two items from displays marked two for $30.  Oh, all right.  I found the display where I had got the shorts and picked another pair that was a different colour.  So now at least I had shorts.

A swimsuit was another challenge.  Last year I bought my daughter a one-piece swimsuit that covers completely from shoulders and upper arms to mid-thigh.  Lately I've been seeing more kids in similar suits, both one-piece and two-piece, and it seems appropriate for the stronger sun and heat that we've been getting in recent years.  But trying to get something like that for an adult, particularly a woman, is extremely difficult.  The closest thing I could find was in the men's section: swim-shorts and swim-shirt that were primarily designed for men who indulged in high-performance water sports like water-skiing or surfing.  Salespeople at two different stores (Sports Experts and Bikini Village) told me that the shirts were meant to go over an existing swimsuit because they didn't have the elastic support that a woman's swimsuit has.

At most of the stores that I searched, the bulk of women's swimsuits were teeny bikinis, tankinis, or other spaghetti-strapped, boob-revealing monstrosities that I wanted no part of.  Perhaps I was being too picky, but still I don't want to show all my skin to the sun and risk getting burned in places that should not be.  I finally was forced to give up, because at this point it was almost closing time and my family was no doubt wondering where I was.

So three and a half hours of shopping only got me two pairs of shorts.  I've had better days.

Friday, 5 July 2013

You Never Know Who Might Be Watching

"Jeepers creepers, where'd ya get those peepers? Jeepers creepers, where'd ya get those eyes?" -- Johnny Mercer

I've been noticing a disturbing trend at the local wading pool.  Quite a few parents and daycare supervisors are allowing their preschoolers to remove wet swimsuits and put on dry clothes next to the pool, instead of taking the kids to the nearby chalet to change.

The pool area is surrounded by a six foot tall ivy-covered fence and ringed by trees and hedges, but less than thirty feet away is the back of a three-story apartment building.  Many of the facing apartments have a clear view of the pool and the kids who play (and change) there.  If a sexual predator happened to live in one of those apartments they would have a plethora of chances to take surreptitious photos of naked toddlers and bikini-clad ladies.

As far as I know, there have been no incidents in all the years that the pool has been there.  But there's always a first time for everything.  And those adults who don't hesitate to disrobe the kids in full view of those windows obviously don't realize that they might be putting the kids at risk.

As for my daughter, she wears a swimsuit that covers her completely from her shoulders to thighs, and she changes it at home.