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From the Not-So-Secret, Not-So-Closely Guarded BOY’S Manual.


Burt Reynolds cover of Playgirl magazineThere’s an old joke that goes:

Why are fewer copies of Playgirl sold than of Playboy?”

Why?”

Because all a girl* has to do to see a MAN naked is ASK.”

SO true.

Sometimes, a girl has to finagle NOT to see the poor shmoe naked, as in:

  • Shaking hands at the door of a date that HE thought went a LOT better than it did…
  • The more merciful: Offering a cheek for the kiss, instead of the handshake…
  • The less merciful:I’m sorry, I’m busy Thursday. Yes, Friday, too. All weekend. Why don’t I let you know?
  • The downright cruel:I don’t THINK so. Thanks, though.” Slam. And, if the door is thin enough, the aforementioned shmoe might even hear the snickering.

The difference between men and women? (Well, ONE of the many?)

While he may mourn for a few days when she doesn’t call, he will NOT, as women will, agonize over WHY she did not call, because he ALREADY KNOWS.

He’s done it himself, in all likelihood.

Most boys have.

“I’ll call you.”

The three nicest – or the three most suspicious – and, too often, the three most horrendously echoing words ever heard pinballing in a waiting person’s mind, ever to fall from a careless mouth.

(This is not counting “I love you,” which is a whole other essay of “he said/she said” unto itself.)

cell phone number padHe says: “I’ll call you.

She hears: “I’ll call you.

He means one of three possibilities.

Possibility Number One:

He means:

Whoa Nelly, You Are The One, in which case. I don’t want to fuck it up by calling you too soon.”

She waits. Thinking mistakenly they are speaking the same language, which you will see they are not.

Possibility Number Two:

He means:

It was OK. Maybe I WILL give her a call sometime. Unless, maybe, tonight’s night works out pretty cool. I dunno. Hey – is that a roast beef hero?

She waits.

Possibility Number Three:

Hey, DUDE, what ELSE was I supposed to say? I WASN’T going to call?”

She waits.

And waits.

What women don’t understand is this:

WHEN MEN DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY,

OR,

WHEN MEN HAVE SOMETHING THEY’RE AFRAID MIGHT MAKE THEM OR SOMEONE FEMALE UNCOMFORTABLE OR (YIKES) UNHAPPY —

OR,

THE TERRIBLE POSSIBILITY EXISTS THAT TEARS MAY SPROUT FROM LUSHLY MASCARA’D EYES…

Something paralyzes their vocal chords more effectively than any cobra strike or sneaky pygmy blow dart.

Men shut down completely.

They practice avoidance. They become as unreachable as an Arctic research base. They return calls and/or texts as frequently as a sports agent.

Girls: take the not-so-subtle hint.

Cut your losses.

Move on.

Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men"This is, in Boy-Talk, their (yes, cowardly) way of saying: “I can’t HANDLE the truth.”

Even if it was going GREAT?

For some reason, it’s not going great anymore, and unless you’re prepared to start breaking several of the stalker laws in these United States, snag yourself a possible restraining order and even, perhaps, an arrest?

Fuck it.

He’s not worth it. No one is.

Move on to someone in whom you trigger the feelings outlined in Possibility Number One.

Even if you don’t feel the same? It’s good for your ego, at least temporarily.

Just don’t forget the MOVING ON part. Remember it’s HIS cowardice, and society’s hundreds of years of hammering into male heads that they MUST NEVER DEAL with feelings against you, NOT your own self-worth, that silenced your cell.

THAT last bit of cheering-up is in The Secret, Closely-Guarded Girl Manual, remember: It’s not YOU, it’s HIM. So you KNOW it’s true.

* Men and women are referred to here as “boys” and “girls” deliberately – because when it comes to relationships, we ALL turn into teenagers.

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The REAL serpent in the garden


 

C'mon, you know you want to.

C'mon, you know you want to.

So the holidays are (sort of) over, and my 12-year-old and I are the only ones up and around, clunking about, kicking around holiday debris, enjoying some quality(?) time together, here, on this Saturday morning, around 10-ish, after Christmas.

 

I’m losing a little bit of patience, however, because I kind of thought we were past the baby-talk stage. Never did I talk to my kids in baby talk. I wanted them to learn to actually say “bottle,” not “bah-bah,” so that’s what I would say to them.

Therefore, they learned to speak, not babble, except for my youngest, who persisted in calling her older sister “Bluh-luh” for the longest time – a sound which doesn’t remotely resemble her true name, which begins with a vowel. Still, it helped – and I felt far less like a fool as I chatted endlessly and hopefully at strollers with belted-in droolers. Yeah, I’m really not a baby person. I just had them, and as I tell them both, I like them better and better the older they get.

I take my duty seriously, though, to teach them. Them, at least – not the whole world. The rest of the world, I simply catalog as stupid, smart or somewhere in between, and I tolerate both with equanimity and relative good humor. The stupid make good fodder for this blog. The smart entertain and teach me – though as I often remind my kids, anyone, however stupid, can teach you something.

Today, however, I felt obligated to teach my 12-year-old.

“Mom, where does ‘I’m not my brother’s keeper’ come from?”

Aghast at my own failing to instill any kind of background in the study of religion, however comparative, I was momentarily speechless. Doesn’t EVERYONE know that? Doesn’t everyone somehow assimilate the story of Cain and Abel?

Apparently not.

Having yanked the poor child out of religious education after she attempted to throw herself from a moving car, rather than endure the misery of Roman Catholic Confession, I realized my child was suffering from large gaps in her education.

“Honey, I’ll tell you what one of my favorite professors in college told me. No educated person has NOT read the entire Bible.”

“WHAT?” she gasped. “The whole THING?”

“Not at a single sitting, goof,” I laughed. “But fear not. It’s just a clump of small books, strung together. You don’t even have to read it in order.”

“Moooom…”

I turned stern. “It’s shorter than ‘Twilight.’ ”  Then I softened. “Come on. I’ll read some to you.”

We read the story of Cain and Abel, and then, for background, we started on the Creation story, which led to some trouble before I even cracked the first “Let there be light.”

I began to mutter something about “Creationists” equaling “lunatics,” forgetting completely that I was talking to someone I’d indoctrinated to have tolerance for all beliefs.

My lack of kindness for folks who ignore the colossal body of fossil records and massive scientific evidence in favor of a version of an earth being created that has trees springing up “bing-bing-bing” in a day really pissed her off.

That is, until I started reading it.

“Wait, Mom – a dome? God created the sky as a dome? So, what is that saying about the earth?”

“That it’s FLAT, honey.”

“So, how big is it supposed to be? And what’s beyond the dome?”

I pointed to the first paragraph. “The abyss, honey.”

We went on.

“A basin? Wait, Mom – the sea is a basin? Like a big bowl?”

I nodded.

“Wait, Mom – sea monsters?”

I nodded.

“Wait, Mom – Adam named all the animals? What, in English?”

“Well, no, wait, I don’t know. Maybe Aramaic.”

“What’s Aramaic?”

“An ancient language.”

She did get excited when the geography part started – when the river in Eden is described, and the Tigris and Euphrates are named. (She’s good at geography.)

The temptation of Eve, however, was unsettling. You see, a lot of misconceptions abound regarding that little tale – but if you read the book, as we did this morning, you learn a lot about who the snake really is.

Sure, it’s Eve who does the talking with the serpent – but it says right there in the book, Adam is with her the whole time. Does he speak up? Say anything like: “Eve – babe – is this really the best idea? Didn’t God say cheese it on that tree?” Does Adam step in front of her and say, “No thanks, leave my wife alone?”

No. The wuss does nothing except grab the apple and munch when it’s his turn.

It gets worse. When God, like an angry dad, comes strolling through the garden, where Adam and Eve are hiding behind a plant (literally), and says: “Hey! You kids, get out here. Who told you that you were naked?”

(At which point my daughter inserted: “Our EYES.”)

Adam, the rat, the snitch, the stoolie, the coward, puts his weak-ass little hand on his wife’s back and shoves her right under the bus. “SHE did it. She ate the apple, and SHE gave it to ME.”

So the Old Testament God, who is, if you notice, a rather moody thing, short-tempered and VERY big on vengeance, doles out THIS punishment:

You: woman – childbirth is going to SUCK.

You: man – no more plucking from the trees. Now you have to sweat and farm.

You: serpent – crawl on your belly, and everyone is going to hate you.

And He locks up the garden of Eden – because there’s one tree left He wants to make sure NOBODY gets a hold of: the Tree of Life. Eat that, and you’ll live forever.

God puts a revolving fiery sword and a band of cherubim at the gate. Nice. Keep in mind, when you hear cherubim, don’t think sweet little cherubs. Every single time an angel appears in sacred texts, the first thing they say isn’t what you see on the Lifetime Channel: “Hey, let me solve your problems.”

It’s: “Be not afraid.”

You think Twilight vampires are scary, exciting reading? Try the Bible. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s a real page turner, that’s for sure.

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Speaking of naked…


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Very fat woman in undiesSpeaking of naked, aren’t you glad she isn’t?

Actually, aren’t you glad neither of these women are?

I keep explaining to my daughters that extremes – either way – are, well, downright icky.

Who wants to cuddle up to a pile of bones, held together somewhat loosely by thinly-stretched skin? Who wants to kiss an ashen, skeletal face that’s about ten minutes away from cadaverhood?

Not me. Even if I liked the ladies.

On the other hand, the thought of being smothered doesn’t appeal to me greatly, either.
Neither does the thought of finding those panties – or Very thin woman in red dressthat bra – in my laundry, either.

I can, however, imagine repurposing that bra as an awning on an outdoor gazebo in the backyard. Couple of wind chimes – you’re in business.

That, however, triggers a rather nasty image in my fetid imagination of those bulbous girls swinging freely, with their usual support instead shading several square yards of my property.

Think it hurts when they do? Flop around, I mean. Yikes.

Ordinarily, the excruciatingly perfect etiquette my Scarsdale, NY grandmother drilled into my head forbids me from commenting on anyone’s personal appearance, outside of “You look wonderful, darling.” That’s it, by the way. That’s all that’s allowed.

Even should someone show up to your wedding with an overturned flowerpot on their head, peat moss streaming down their face, one bare foot, a potato sack dress and accessorizing the ensemble with a tightly clenched pitchfork, all you are allowed to say – if you’re looking to be strictly polite is: “You look wonderful.”

Of course, one can say vastly more than that with tone of voice, one raised eyebrow, and a very slow inspection from head to toe as one tells the pitchfork bearer how wonderful they look. If you’re my Scarsdale grandmother. That’s the whole trick.

Etiquette, Grandma always reminded me, is to keep YOU from being embarrassed. It can work wonders, she advised, when wielded properly as a weapon.

But, like Ninja warriors, it takes years of training and practice to learn how to humiliate others with grace and aplomb. It helps a lot if you have a natural mean streak, or a talent for quick hurtfulness under pressure.

Take the famous Dorothy Parker, known for many things, but probably best of all for her ability to humiliate on cue. A young starlet tried to embarrass Parker at a Hollywood premiere when they nearly collided at the entrance. “Oh, Miss Parker,” chirped the starlet, heading, as young starlets do, boldly into territory she had no business being, “please do go in – after all, as they say: ‘age before beauty.’”

“Thank you, I will,” said Parker, tossing back over her shoulder, “after all, as they say: ‘pearls before swine.’”

Gotcha. Grandma was a dedicated sensei, but I never quite had the mean streak necessary to pull off snobbery. I ended up WAY too egalitarian, in the end.
Being a starving artist, too, makes it tough. When you’re paying for coffee in rolled-up pennies, insulting people is usually the last thing on your mind.

However, I digress.

The reason I feel at liberty to make any sort of comment on these women’s appearance at all is that they not only deliberately POSED for these pictures, but allowed them to be posted on the Internet, where I found them – to my everlasting shame, I don’t remember where, and so cannot give appropriate credit – and can thus bring them to your attention.

I myself am about a size 4, maybe a 6 on my fat days. I am lucky enough to be a sort of tiny person – annoyingly, so little that complete strangers find it okay to actually lift me in the air, as I may have mentioned earlier.

Still, in my own life, I have struggled with both weight gain – after a bout of postpartum depression with my first daughter, I must have, in my haze, thought that PopTarts were the answer – and also with anorexia. Real, honest-to-goodness, let’s see if we can survive on Altoids and cigarettes anorexia. So I have, in my past, resembled the skeleton in the red dress.

Looking back at a couple of pictures, I see now why so many people that I thought were annoying at the time were actually alarmed when they tried to casually suggest I perhaps indulge in a sandwich or three.

I didn’t used to think there was such a thing as too thin.

We all know there’s such a thing as too fat – and yeah, we’re all pretty mean-spirited about it. It’s the one thing nobody minds being right up-front about, either: if someone’s fat, we’re grossed-out.

Even fat guys don’t want fat girlfriends. (The nerve, really, because who really wants a fat boyfriend, even if he is rich? Okay, well how rich? Nice car rich, nice house rich, or nice portfolio rich?)

But the other day, driving along Main Street (yes, it really was Main Street, if you can believe the perfection of coincidence) I saw this enormously (excuse the pun) happy couple waddling (sorry, HAD to use that verb) along, holding hands. They were both extremely huge, but they were obviously extremely into each other, and I was missing Peter, who won’t be home until June, and I thought to myself: how terribly sweet that these two people found each other – and while many people wouldn’t find them all that attractive, perhaps, they probably see each other as the most beautiful people in the world.

And maybe they’ll have a lifetime of happiness – until their enlarged hearts give out and they drop dead at around forty.

In each other’s big arms.

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Wanna Be On TV?


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Home and Garden TV LogoThis is actually a cross-blog post today, folks, but I wanted to give everyone a fair chance at this. (See how very, very nice I actually am, for a satirist?)

I run another blog – which, if you’ve actually clicked on any of the ever-growing “about Elizabeth Williams Bushey” pages that keep sprouting above, you’ll know – called “The Cool Tool Girl” – and Home and Garden TV just alerted me to a casting call for the popular “Carter Can” series.

They’re looking for a new handyman to join the show. Interested?

Check out the Cool Tool Girl Blog for more details. See ya!

-elizabeth

p.s. – I’m putting a “naked” tag in here just to make sure people read this. See: “Elizabeth Bushey is making fun of you.”

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Naked! Naked! Naked! (Made ya look.)


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the many faces of me I have no problem being naked.

Not that I’m EAGER to be naked, don’t get me wrong; it’s not as if I’m winking, one hand pulling down the shoulder of my shirt, frantically elbowing passers-by, whispering: “Dare me? Dare me?”

I’m no modern-day Lady Godiva.

(Why DID she take off all her clothes and ride a horse through town? Wasn’t she protesting something her jackass husband did? My – if that worked…)

It’s just that at I’m finally comfy in this skin. And with all the little fat cells that may be – or may not be – floating around underneath it. For instance, after two C-sections, no matter how much weight I might ever lose, or how many sit-ups I might do…

(…Hang on, I can’t type, I’m laughing so hard at the idea of ME doing even one sit-up….)

..I’ll always have a little kangaroo pouch, thanks to my Little Joeys having popped out like toast, instead of, well… the other way. (Yikes.)

I never DID do the bikini thing. I preferred my grandmother’s advice: Let ’em wonder. It’s what you DON’T show that drives ’em crazier. She was right.

A woman is ten times more sexy in a high-necked, backless gown, if you ask me. After all, I always wanted a guy that wanted not only to whisk me up the stairs like that famous scene in Gone With the Wind – but who also wanted to buy me the staircase. (I didn’t have to want the staircase, mind you. He just has to want to give it to me. <<insert evil laughter.>>)

And the surrounding mansion. Don’t forget the mansion and a yacht. (The stairs by themselves would be, well, stupid.)

I’m currently working on a project for pre-teen girls about body image. It’s in the embryonic stage right now, and it’s inspired by my own pre-teen girl, who IS NOT FAT, (can you hear me?), NOT FAT BY ANY STRETCH, but like every other woman in the universe, is tortured by her self-image.

The pictures you see on the left are of me. I took the top two; my daughters’ dad, award-winning photojournalist Tom Bushey, took the bottom one, shortly after our first daughter Emily was born.

Yikes, right?

[NOTE: I went, clad in a baggy sweatshirt, no makeup, to rent a car during this period. No big deal. They gave me a plain-Jane model. Radio, no CD player. Got me where I needed to go. I returned it. More on this later.]

Although outside of the postpartum depression period, I was never really overweight, I DID develop early, growing biggish breasts early on, and since I AM tiny – and all my height is in my legs, making me very short-waisted – at 11 and 12, I felt like a potato with toothpicks. A freak. A fat freak. Fatty McFat-Fat.

A self-image I projected onto the whole world.

It wasn’t until college, really, when — oh yay! I roomed with – dig this: three of the most beautiful women on campus. No kidding, in all seriousness, THE most gorgeous, including an International Vogue model. As nice as they were beautiful, too, and friends to this day. (Did I mention smart? The model is now a doctor at Sloan-Kettering.)

When you’re plunged into that kind of over-the-top fabulousness, there is no question of competition. It’s like being a Sumo wrestler hanging out with racehorse jockeys, or a mermaid hanging out with Iraqui burqa-wearing babes. Just doesn’t enter your mind.

What blew my mind was that none of these smart, incredibly nice, incredibly beautiful women ever did anything on a Friday or Saturday night except go out with each other, while I had date after date.

Turns out there IS such a thing as too, intimidatingly beautiful. (Also, I learned there really IS such a thing as too thin – boys like soft, not bony.)

How cool was that?

I also learned from a former actress and model, later on, when I appealed to her for makeover assistance for a high school reunion (“Is there anyway you can make me look like an International Vogue model? Um… no reason…”) that “beauty” could be achieved with a few tricks of the lip and eyeliner brush. Ah! How easy, especially for an artist like myself.

Or anyone with about an hour to kill at the Esteé Lauder makeup counter.

Confidence + a few hidden grooming tricks? I had this thing licked.

I went back to the car rental place where I had rented a clunker a couple of years back. Same circumstances: I needed to rent a simple car.

This time, I had learned “how to be beautiful.”

They handed me the keys to a fully-loaded sports car.

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Just in time for bathing suit season.


Keith Richards with a guitar and - yikes! - nearly no clothes on.Anytime you’re feeling just the tad bit sensitive about how YOU look naked, go back to your bookmarks and FIND THIS PAGE.

Think of the confidence THIS MAN HAS.

BE INSPIRED.

Yes. He has WAY more guitars than you do.

Yes. He has seen a lot more women naked than you ever will – even if you ARE a woman: a woman with perfect attendance in phys. ed. class. Even a woman who doesn’t even get uncomfortable in department room fitting rooms with no doors or curtains, even.

Even if you are a promiscuous, beautiful lesbian woman with perfect attendance in gym class who doesn’t get uncomfortable in fitting rooms with no doors or curtains, even.

But STILL:

(What was I talking about?…) Oh, YEAH!

CONFIDENCE. The man has it in SPADES. And couldn’t we all use some?

That’s what we all need to look at today. Keith Richards naked. Or nearly.

You can’t really look away, can you? I mean, go ahead. Try. You can’t. It’s like an accident on the highway.

G’head. I dare ya.

See…

(photo source: http://www.hecklerspray.com/)

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