Friday, October 5, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Strippers in the Making: Or, Why Kid Nation is Making Me Fear for our Future

Ugh... I hate people.

And I really dislike children. Say what you will about being bitter or insensitive, or quote Whitney Houston all you want, children really drive me up the wall. I am sure that when it comes to my own- actually, if it comes to my own- I will have some sort of maternal instinct which will make them tolerable; however, as of right now they simply annoy me.

Hence the reason I'm not going into social work.

Have any of you managed to suffer through this new CBS drama, Kid Nation? If this is a direct link to the future of our nation, I might as well off myself now and be done with it. For those of you not in the know, let me give you a brief synopsis.

CBS has brilliantly decided that it would be better, rather than exploiting consenting adults on reality television for monetary gain, to allow consenting parents to exploit their children on television for monetary gain. Recently, an article on The Smoking Gun provided a liability waiver requiring signature by the parents which relieves CBS from any lawsuits if the children suffer any injuries, death, or sexually transmitted diseases while taping the series. I shit you not. This is a town composed of forty children, ranging in ages from eight to fifteen, and you have to sign an STD waiver? My faith in humanity is exponentially increased, let me tell you.

So, along the way the children must create a working town by assigning jobs, actually completing these jobs (no thanks to that cunt Taylor- I'll get to her later), establishing some form of law and order, and competing for "class status," ranging from laborers, making ten cents for doing janitorial work, and the upper class, who receive a dollar for doing absolutely nothing.

Wow. This is really teaching our children great values. Really. Not helping the situation is the token Jewish kid, Jared, who, upon his groups entry into the upper class, goes on a slight tirade during an interview about how much he loves money. Thanks, Jared's parents, for perpetuating a stereotype in your children that I must continually face. The Jewish community applauds you.

In the first episode, one child, upon being placed in the lower class and realizing she doesn't have enough money to afford a bicycle, resorts to dancing in the street for money. Ten to one she's on the pole in six years.

And then, there's Taylor.

Taylor, Taylor... you little cunt.

Is it wrong to call a small child a cunt? I don't really care at this point. I have the overwhelming urge to bitch slap this child across the face, as she represents everything I dislike about humanity.

First of, she's a pageant queen. This alone gives her an unabashed sense of entitlement and egomaniacle attitude, probably attributed to her fat mother's issues with her own appearance and her need to live vicariously through her children. Pageant kids are just weird, and I seriously believe it's a form of child abuse. Have you seen some of these pageants? Little tiny children are dressing up in less clothes than strippers, dancing provocatively around for adult male judges, whoring themselves out with enough makeup and hairspray to make Tammy Faye jealous- it's sick. It freaks me out. Not only that, but it's perpetuating a stereotype that external beauty is the only attribute that matters, which is probably why Taylor is such a disrespectful little bitch.

Her favorite phrase? "Deal with it."

For example: Taylor is supposed to be working in the kitchen. Where is she? Hanging out in the bunks with her little posse of less attractive girls who think hanging out with her will make them cool by association. When someone stops by to ask her to please do her job, she says "deal with it."

When the other kids complain that her group (as she is the "council leader" for her team) isn't pulling her own weight, what does she say? "Deal with it." Also, she's been known to say that "pageant girls don't clean dirty dishes." And channeling Marie Antoinette, she's said "well, ya'll are just going to starve." Really nice girl, here. Miss Congeniality, anyone?

I hope her parents watch the show. I hope they realize what a monster they're creating. I hope it embarrasses them to know their daughter acts like a pompous spoiled egotistical brat around other people. I hope they are ashamed. Otherwise, one Taylor grows up and realizes the world doesn't function like pageants, her parents are going to be in a world of shit. Daddy's little pageant queen, suffering from an overwhelming sense of insecurity and a fragile ego will start searching out validation wherever she can find it. My prediction: she'll end up pregnant by fifteen, dropping out of high school, and either ending up on the pole or getting fat and coaching cheerleading.

Either way she'll still be a bitch.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

To Serve and Protect?

I watched this video a few minutes ago, and I was appalled.

Then I was even more disgusted when I discovered that it happened in Hot Springs, Arkansas; not thirty minutes from my home. The full article can be found here.

First of all, let me start by saying that I do not dislike police as a rule. I think that there are some dedicated officers out there who joined the force with the intention of providing a valuable community service. I also realize that there are some power hungry dick-holes who enjoy the sense of absolute power which comes from wearing a badge.

As a side note: it's a general rule for dancers to refuse bachelor parties or other engagements held by police officers. Doesn't that say something when these girls feel less safe with the people sworn to protect them?

I realize that these kids were skateboarding where they weren't supposed to. According to the article, this was not the first time problems were had with skateboarders in this area. If you've ever been to Bathhouse row in Hot Springs, it is a small tourist town with narrow sidewalks and small shops and boutiques.

As I said before, kids will test boundaries. I'm not, however, blaming the parents in this instance. What this officer did was completely unwarranted and totally beyond the level of proper procedure.

First of all, we didn't get to see him slam the first child on the ground, but the photo in the beginning looks slightly violent to me. Then, when the group of children are standing around (saying to me that he obviously wasn't going to place them under arrest) one of them makes the comment that he has a photo of the officer assaulting the restrained minor. The officer then chases this young man down the street.

This young man was not under arrest. He was not being detained. It is clear to me that the officer wanted to confiscate the photograph the young man had. This, in itself, is an admission that not everything he did to the detained boy was kosher.

Next we see the officer hauling the handcuffed teenager down the street. He puts him in a table chair and yells at the other kids to sit down. They say no.

I would too.

Just because you're a cop does not give you absolute authority over my person. If you have not detained me, explained why you are arresting me, and read me my rights, then fuck off. Police can not just order you to sit and behave. They're not your fucking daddy. According to the ACLU, if you are not under arrest, you are free to leave. Granted, they advise strongly not to run from the police; however, seeing the way this officer manhandled the other children, I would have probably freaked out and ran as well. Everyone can talk about "keeping their cool" and acting in a certain manner, but when your neurotransmitters start pumping and your fight or flight response kicks in; well, that's another story all together.

When the girl responds "no," the enraged officer attacks her. At one point, you can see him standing in the middle with both arms crooked around two teenagers necks. Then he slams their heads into each others.

This is not appropriate police behavior!

Then he snatches the camera from the other child and tells him to stop videotaping. Again, I have to pose a question: since when is it illegal to video tape in public? I've been to Bathhouse row in Hot Springs many a times, and I've never seen any posted signs warning me not to posses or use video tapes, recorders, or other electronic devices. This child was perfectly within his rights to video tape this encounter. After which he tells the boy to get on the ground and handcuffs him. When the boy asks "why am I being arrested," the officer responds with "resisting arrest."

How the fuck can you be arrested for resisting arrest???

Not only that, but I don't remember the boy in the red shirt (the filmaker) resisting arrest. In fact, he was very polite and respectful, setting the camera down and getting on the floor. Does that seem like resisting arrest to you? After a brief pause, the officer then mentions disorderly conduct and violating a city ordinance. I suppose he realized how asinine he sounded. In Arkansas, violating a city ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor which results in a ticket/citation.

So, let us recap. You detain one child, try to chase down another for taking a photo, body check the other two, then arrest them for resisting arrest. All because they were skateboarding.

I'm sure those kids had attitude. They were teenagers. All the perfect parenting in the world can't get rid of teenage angst, it's just a stage of life. From the ages of thirteen to seventeen, you're just dying for a chance to rebel against authority, whether it be your parents, teachers, or the local bike cops. It's referred to as ego identity and role diffusion, coined by the very brilliant Erik Erikson. It happens during the period when a child is attempting to discover who they are and what they stand for, not an easy task for anyone, let alone a teenager during the awkward stage with acne and raging hormones.

On another side note, how fucked up was your life if your name was Erik Erikson? That's like being named Tommy Thompson or Jeffery Jefferson. Man, his parents were just mean to him. No wonder he ended up studying juvenile angst and disorders...

However, this officer was completely out of line. There is no excuse for his behavior. As of right now he is on "administrative leave," with full pay, I might add, while they investigate. I hope the parents of these children file a claim. I hope he gets fired. I hope they sue his ass, and the city's ass.

Fuck this bullshit.

It may seem I'm rather passionate about this issue, but I have good reason to be. About five years ago, I worked at a nightclub in the hood of Little Rock. It was pretty damn ghetto. We had riots almost nightly, gunshots, someone was killed in the parking lot next to my fucking car. It was insane. It was so bad, that we payed police officers to hang out there to keep a watch.

Wouldn't you know that our bouncers got arrested more than the customers? There would be some gang fight inside, we'd break it up and throw them out, and we would end up getting arrested for some trumped up bullshit like "disorderly conduct."

How the hell are you going to arrest a bouncer for breaking up a fight? Come on!

Regardless, I still have a lot of respect for the majority of police officers. Except when shit like this happens:

Are you fucking joking! You heard that child mention she was waiting for her mother. As a minor, it is the same as asking for a lawyer. No where did you hear the police officer say he was placing her under arrest, he just kept repeating "you're coming with me," like some trumped up version of a bad detective movie set in the twenties.

Yes, I'm talking to you, Black Dahlia.

She even went so far as to ask the officer to search her, to prove she didn't have his twenty fucking dollars. The kicker for me was at the end, when they mention that the officer was cleared of all wrong-doing.

Seriously?!?! Did they watch the tape that I just watched? Am I missing something here?

How do you, using your badge as your only source of authority, mace a child and be cleared of all wrong-doing? Especially when there's a tape available where you can review the footage and see that she did not take your twenty dollars? How is that not wrong-doing?

I only wish that the child's family could have retained better legal counsel. They could have gotten a hell of a lot more than sixty thousand dollars.

Maybe now she can get her brother out of prison.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Teach Your Children Well

Recently I stumbled across this article. For those of you who do not click links, I will summarize it for you:

An Ohio seventh grader, thirteen year old Andrew Riley faces 128 felony charges, including theft, vandalism, and intimidation. It seems that when a school-mate ratted him out to the police, he beat him up. When the police searched his house, they found hordes of stolen video games and DVD's.

The kicker for me is when they interviewed the parents for the article. The family said "we suspected a few... but we are baffled by all the charges."

Are you fucking kidding me? 128 felony charges? And he's thirteen years old?

In situations such as this, it's common for people to search out the "why." Why would a thirteen year old commit over one hundred offenses? Why was he able to carry out this little crime spree for over a year? Why is he such a troubled child?

There are several theories on this topic, each which provide different solutions to the why. Travis Hirschi's Control Theory proposes that it is normal and natural to "rebel" against the system, the question is not why people commit crimes, but why they don't. Hirshi theorizes that it boils down to a matter of attachment: how attached you are to your family, community, etcetera. The more attached you are, the less likely you are to commit a crime. In a sense, you have invested time, effort, and energy into these dynamics, and so you're more hesitant to fuck them all up.

Then comes my personal favorite, labeling theory. For those of you still reading at this point, Howard Becker came up with the idea of labeling, and Edwin Lemert introduced the concept of primary deviance and secondary deviance. It works something like this:

Your primary deviance is the first deviant act you commit. After you commit this act, you are labeled as a "deviant," "criminal," or "bad seed." (You get the picture.) From then on, you are treated differently by your parents, teachers, peers, and others in your primary and extended social group. As such, eventually you will internalize your label of deviance, and start to believe that you are really nothing more than a bad kid. It is almost expected that you will fuck up, so naturally you do. This second act of deviance, created in response to your label, is your secondary deviance. Lemert proposes that if we remove all labels (hah) then there will be less crime.

In this particular situation, however, I think it's the parents fault. I think the proper question should not be why, but where. As in: where the hell were the parents when this was happening?

We know why the kid did it. He did it because he was allowed to do it. Simple as that. No one bothered to check up on this kid. No one bothered to find out how he was getting all these video games. No one bothered to find out where this kid was at night, or who he was hanging out with.

No one, in this case, is Mom and Dad.

Children are much smarter than we give them credit for. They will push those boundaries until they find the line, and then they'll push a little more just to make sure you're serious.

Case in point:

I was at the salon the other day, waiting for my appointment when a little girl sitting with her mother smiled and said "hi." I, of course, said hi back, and the mother and I exchanged smiles and started having a typical waiting room bullshit conversation. In the center of the waiting room was a coffee table, featuring several issues of hairstyle magazines, and a wooden bowl with those heavy decorative balls.

The little girl climbed off the couch and headed for the table. She picked up one of the balls and rolled it on the ground. The mother picked up the ball and put it back into the bowl. The little girl picked the ball back up and rolled it back on the ground, a little harder this time. The mother, again, picked the ball up and put it back in the bowl. This continued on and on, each time the little girl would throw the ball harder on the ground, until finally she slammed it hard enough for another hairstylist to stick his head out of his room to see what was going on. At this point, the mother finally said "no" to her precocious little bundle of joy.

Meanwhile, I might add, the mother was talking to me about why she moved from Chicago to Arkansas. Apparently, there are too many thugs in Chicago. And too many "damn Mexicans," as she put it. Meanwhile, I'm thinking "if you don't teach your child some discipline now, lady, she's going to end up in the same boat."

After mother-of-the-year admonished her child, did she stop throwing the ball? No. Of course not. The cycle started all over, again with the little girl throwing the ball down harder and harder. After she finally tired of it, she decided to pull all the leaves off the fake tree and leave them scattered around the room.

I don't blame the child. The little girl thought that her mother and she were playing a game. Roll the ball to mommy, mommy puts the ball away. Fetch the ball and roll it back. I'm sure it was very amusing for her.

It wasn't amusing to me.

I place the blame where it rightfully belongs. Rather than say "damn, that child is one hell of a brat," I think to myself, "damn, that's a piss poor parent right there." The child doesn't know any better, and therefore cannot be expected to behave in any other way. The mother, however, should care enough to teach her child the proper way to behave. It's easy to let your child be a brat. It's easy to turn a blind eye and pretend you don't see your little darling running around the restaurant, knocking waiters over and tripping other patrons. It's easy to just "let them have what they want so I don't have to listen to them scream."

In the situation regarding Andrew Riley, I think the parents should have to foster some of the charges. I think they should provide that child with intensive behavioral therapy and charge the parents with all 128 offenses.

Think of it like this:

If you choose to own a guard dog, such as a pit-bull, rottweiler, or doberman; you choose to take on the responsibility that comes with it. You train your dog to know that you, not they, are the alpha in the relationship. You administer discipline and rewards, and you take great strides to make sure your dog does not injure or harm someone else. If you chose to forgo your responsibilities and your dog leaves your property and attacks someone else, you are responsible. You pay the medical bills, and you can and will be charged with the offense. The same should be had if you choose to bring a child into this world and do not properly train them.

Maybe we should start euthanizing bad parents?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Just A Small Town Girl

I've noticed something rather disturbing about myself lately. It would seem that the older I get, the less passionate I have become regarding my political affiliation. At this point, I don't even know if I am planning on voting, let alone regale you with a heated political debate on why my particular position is, indeed, the only just and correct position. I am hesitant to attribute this phenomenon to age or wisdom, because it seems that the older I become, the less I actually know. If I don't have children soon, merely to gain the benefit of going through the American school system again, I may become a blathering idiot by the time I'm thirty.

This apathetic attitude towards political institutions and the state of the American government is not a situation which can be solely attributed to myself. More and more these days, people are switching political discussions for popular culture topics. Water cooler discussions are more likely to center around the goings on of some drunk starlet, rather than the hard issues which can effect our state of livelihood as Americans.

Televisions are being changed from news programs to sitcoms. When the commander and chief controls the airways and interrupts our "must see" television viewing to relay a statement to the people he has sworn to serve and lead, we groan and reach for the remote. It has been said that more people are voting for American Idol than in the last presidential election.

It hasn't always been this way, however. When my father was a child and the President made a statement, the world payed attention. Homes which were fortunate enough to own a television sat silently and attentively to process and absorb what our Commander and Chief had to say. Those who didn't gathered around the radio in the same fashion. People cared back then. People were concerned, and it was considered an obligation as an American rather than an inconvenience as a consumer to educate yourself on the state of the union.

This was also before America became as industrialized as we are today.

C. Wright Mills, in 1956, predicted this detached attitude towards governmental affairs. He thought, and rightly so, that as America traded their blue collars for white, we would become less concerned with the goings-on of the political system. Once we stopped working with our hands to create something and began pushing paperwork in a bull-pen all day long, we would become more internally motivated, focusing more attention and energy on our weekend plans than we do on the state of our country. As a result, the powers that be would eventually gain a "free hand" in regards to decision making and political prowess. Eventually, America would be controlled by three parties: the head of the military, the head of the judicial system, and the CEO's of big business.

It seems only fitting, then, that politicians resort to any means necessary to pique the publics interest. Even if it means doing this:

Oh Hillary. Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.

I'm going to give you a small piece of advice: fire your campaign manager!

I can see where you're coming from, I really can. With the state of political aloofness as it is, it's easy to try and appeal to the American public in this manner. If you can't beat them, join them- I get it. You just did it wrong, Mrs. Clinton. Very, very wrong.

First of all, if you're anything like I am, you're still a little miffed about the way David Chase chose to end The Sopranos. As someone who spent seven years religiously watching The Sopranos, I felt that we deserved a more definite ending; not the piece of shit "cliffhanger" that it was. Cliffhangers are all well and good, as long as you plan on returning to the series in order to tell us what the fuck just happened! Otherwise, you're just being mean and disrespectful to the wishes of the people that made your show the enormous success that it was. If I wanted the ending to be left up to my interpretation, I would have written my own damn series. Reminding the public of the bitter taste left in our mouths isn't going to foster your popularity any, it's just going to piss us all off.

Secondly, Hillary (can I call you Hillary?), you're not presenting yourself in the most favorable light here. With many of the American public already considering you a man-hating "feminazi,"
emasculating your husband for your own political and popular gain seems rather redundant. You already pissed a lot of people off back in 1992, when you made that comment on CBS's 60 Minutes "I'm not sitting here as some little woman, standing by my man like Tammy Wynett."

Oh, Hillary. You're from Arkansas. Didn't you know not to diss country music in Arkansas? Do you think the American public has forgotten this?

I would have thought you learned your lesson back in '92; but no, obviously not. In this commercial, we get to see you reduce your husband to nothing more than a "little woman," clutching at his apron strings while he waits for you to tell him what he is and is not allowed to eat. And, to make matters worse, when you do pass your judgement down that he is only allowed to consume carrot sticks, we see Bill succumb to his fate and pout like a small child.

Did it somehow escape your memory that this man was the fucking President of the United States? Did you forget that for eight years he led this country into one of economic abundance and formulated a plan to balance the national deficit? Say what you will about his shaky morals and lude conduct, I felt safer with him in office, especially compared with the shit storm that has been the Bush administration. Hell, I tend to get slightly choked up when I see old newscasts from when he was in office. So why, Miz Clinton, did you choose to alienate Bill's loyal followers so early on your campaign trail? That tactic didn't exactly work out to well for Gore, now did it?

I want to like you, Mrs. Clinton. I really, really do. You're just making it very difficult on me.

What you should have done, in my humble opinion, would have been to regale the American public with images of you and Bill early on in his stay in office, slowly moving through time to show yourself in the New York Senate, all the while playing your campaign song in the background and ending it with your mission statement. That way, the warm fuzzy feeling generated by those happy times between 1992 and 2000 would carry over into your political career, and would embed themselves into your campaign song. This would result in triggering these feelings whenever we heard your song again. As an added bonus, you would also portray yourself as a loyal wife, strong woman, and a powerful adversary. Unfortunately, you chose to reinforce the idea that, deep down, you wish you had a penis.

Don't stop believing, Mrs. Clinton. Just please start campaigning...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

WARNING: This Article May Contain Language and Themes of a Graphic Nature, and May Not Be Suitable For Work. Viewer Discretion is Advised.


Yes, I said it. And yes, I'm going there. Today we are going to be discussing vagina's. And penises. And assholes. And I'm not talking about the men that come into the bar. I'm talking about the ole' brown eye...

I warned you in the title.

Maybe it's because I work in a strip club and have become hyper sensitive and over exposed to these certain areas, but it seems as if a lot of time, energy, and money are frittered away daily on vaginal upkeep and maintenance. A hell of a lot more than, let's say, penis upkeep and maintenance. At some point in time we became, as a society, vagina connoisseurs. No longer was it appropriate or even socially accepted to allow our vagina's to simply be vagina's; it has now become necessary- demanded even- that we truss our vagina's up in the latest fashion and trend.

I, for one, am tired of this.

It started out innocently enough: a trim here, a bikini wax there. Next thing you know we're all searching for "Brazilian wax" in our local yellow pages. It's not enough to merely garden the lotus flower, we now need to remove all traces there was ever a flower to begin with. There's always the option of the "landing strip," but you try shaving a straight line in the shower with one foot propped up on the water spout and the other one attempting to balance yourself while swiping aimlessly with a fucking razor blade and hoping that you'll achieve something resembling a strip. It's not like you can really see what you're doing down there.

Once we thought we had mastered the art of grooming, along came Vaginal Reconstructive Surgery. Yes! Now you, too, could have the vagina of a virgin! How exciting for all of us! As if we didn't have enough to worry about, now we had to be concerned with the inside of our vagina's, and whether they were the right diameter for the average penis. Although this practice was first intended for women who had partaken in the terrifyingly painful obstacle of vaginal labor, it is now available for those who wish to have their labia's trimmed, vulva's re-sized, and anything else to make your vagina more attractive and symmetrical.

Personally, I don't find vagina's attractive. I mean, sure, they're nice and all, but I've never seen one and thought to myself "damn! That's an attractive vagina!" They all pretty much look like vagina's, and they all serve the same purposes: sex and babies. I have yet to show a man my vagina and have him respond with "say baby, have you thought about having your labia trimmed? I think it would be a good look for you." Usually men are happy enough just seeing a vagina, they're not apt to complain about any assemmetricism.

This brings me to another point: things on your body are naturally asymmetrical. Almost every woman with natural breasts has one larger than the other. It is not uncommon for one foot to be slightly larger than the other. One man's testicle will hang lower than the other, and they are usually asymmetrical as well. I have yet to see an advertisement for "testicle reconstructive surgery," barring those men who have lost a ball due to cancer. Men don't care about the shape of their balls. They are simply happy to have balls. Women, we should follow in suit.

You don't see advertisements for men to have the head of their penis trimmed to be more fitting with the girth of their shaft. You don't see advertisements for men to have the girth of their shaft trimmed to match the size of their head. You don't see advertisements for "penile reduction surgery," nor do you see advertisements for "testicle enlargement surgery." This perverse side of the cosmetic industry belongs solely to women. Ladies, do we not see anything wrong with that?

I, personally, spend entirely too much time on the maintenance and upkeep of my vagina. Shaving my vagina is the last thing I do in the shower, because you have to let the hot water open the pores up and soften the hair shafts; even though the hair is coarse enough. Then comes the lather and shave, which I have already described in all it's irritatingly torturous detail. Then, post shower, a mixture of deodorant and Neosporin is smeared all over the bikini area, to help stave away any trace of razor burn. Finally, a light dusting of baby powder, to help keep away moisture and give you that "fresh scent."

Ladies, it's a vagina. It's supposed to smell like a vagina.

Now, let me ask the men in the audience a question. Would you want to put your face in that?

I didn't think so.

In my home we have a "no post-shower cunnilingus rule." Boyfriend doesn't really like the taste of deodorant and Neosporin, he says the deodorant dries his tongue out. Go figure. The ironic (and sad) thing is that the only time I don't have any annoying vagina stubble is right after I get out of the shower. And if I don't follow this strict hoo-haa regime, my vagina will explode into tiny red bumps which is so not attractive.

This really leaves the vagina conscious of us all no other option. We must succumb to the Laser Hair Removal. Yes, for the low, low price of a few thousand dollars, you too can have six or seven mildly painful treatments spread out over the course of six to eight months. Then you can be stubble free! How lucky are we?!?!?

And finally, now that hair removal and vaginal surgery are the norm, we move on to Anal Bleaching. As if we needed yet another thing to worry about, we must now be concerned with whether or not our asshole is too brown.

It's an asshole. You know what comes out of it.

Never once have I thought to myself "gee, I wonder if my asshole might be a little too brown. Maybe I should bleach it." Why the hell would you want to put bleach on your asshole? Who cares if your asshole is brown! It's an asshole!!!

Okay, I take that back. One time I considered it. Last night, actually.

I picked up a shift, and one of my old friends was dancing that night. About a year ago she underwent laser hair removal to permanently remove the hair from her vagina, asshole, and underarms. For months she regaled us with tales of being spread eagle on a table while technician's ran lasers over her vagina and around her asshole, and how the "topical anesthetic" really doesn't work.

"How's the hootie hair," I mentioned while she was getting dressed.

She promptly took off her panties and proudly showed me her vagina. "See, she said, pointing to the labia, "I have to go back again, I still have some hair growing there."

"Oh yeah," I murmured. "What about your asshole? Do you have to go back for that as well?"

Rather than telling me about it, she leaned over the counter and spread her ass cheeks, exposing me to the wonder that was her poopie place.

"See," she said, looking over her shoulder while balancing herself on her elbows, "there's still some there."

I. Was. Flabbergasted. And believe me, it takes a lot to render me speechless. I had never seen an asshole this close before, and here I was being given the "full Monty," if you will. And let me tell you, it was brown.

I panicked, made some offhand remark about the weather, and got the hell out of the dressing room. It was no use, every time I closed my eyes I could see her asshole, and the area surrounding her asshole. It was a shock to my system.

I've never even seen my asshole. I've never been struck, before yesterday, to bend over the dryer while holding a compact and attempt to spread my butt cheeks enough to see my butt hole. You can bet your ass that's the first thing I did when I got home.

"Baby," I said, crawling into bed with him after the mirror inspection was over.

"Mmmph," he said, half asleep.

"Is my asshole too brown?"

"Jen," he said, sighing into his pillow, "it's four in the morning. Go to sleep."

"No, really," I protested, growing anxious. "Is my asshole too brown?"

"No baby," he replied, "you're asshole is not too brown. Now can we go to sleep?"

I was still not satisfied. "Are you just saying that because you want me to leave you alone?"

"Christ, Jenn," he responded, "it's a fucking asshole. Who gives a fuck?"

"Do you think I should get it bleached?" I was whining now. "Will you look at mine and tell me if it's too brown?" I received no reply, so I continued. "Here," I said, reaching for his boxers, "let me see your asshole. Then I can compare it to mine, and if yours is the same, then it'll be okay."

He wrestled my hands away and sat up. "I'm going to sleep on the couch," he replied, grabbing his pillow. "I'll see you in the morning, when you're sane again."

This is the problem. We, as women, are so damn sensitive to the "norms." If everyone is hairless, damn it, we have to be hairless. If an episode of Dr. 90210 mentions the need for anal bleaching, we all have to get our butt's whitened. The minute someone tells us we have! to! have! something in order to make our bodies more socially acceptable, we're the first people in line for it. Remember the original breast implants? Remember that they leaked and caused cancer? Women still flocked by the millions to have bags of "safe" silicone inserted into our chests. We are a beauty obsessed culture, where women go through extremely dangerous, painful procedures to satisfy not the men in our lives, but to "keep up with the Jones'."

Or, more specifically, to keep up with Mrs. Jones' vagina.

Payment for Goods and Services?

America, we have a problem.

Well, to be completely honest, we have more than one- but this is a really big problem that is affecting me in my life; so therefore it's the most important problem.

It's not the economy (although it could be better), it's not welfare (although it could use some reform as well). The problem which is paining me this evening is greed. Good ole' plain greed.

Now, I'm not talking about individual greed. No conspicuous consumption here, however if you're looking for an article that will completely disenchant you on the state of people, check that one out. What's even scarier is that it was written in 1902. I'm talking specifically about "big business" greed, and how it is affecting our nation.

Slowly over time we have allowed the nameless, faceless corporations, and even our own government, to anally rape us while we smile and pitifully ask for another like a bizarro Lifetime version of Oliver Twist. Gives a whole new meaning to the name Charles Dickens... heh.

But I digress...

It started rather simply, an energy rate hike here, an income tax increase there. Next thing you know everything is being dissipated by the powers that be.

Case in point: I went to Sam's Club last week to purchase insulin and other necessities for the home front. Insulin is tax exempt, so you will always pay a .99 on it. If you're buying from a smaller chain (Walgreens, USA Drug) you will pay around $34.99 for a bottle of Novelin R insulin. Sam's sells the same bottle for $19.99. At two bottles a month, these savings far outweighed any feelings of guilt from shopping at the mega-chain which is destroying our nation. Don't believe me? Check out "Wal-Mart: the high cost of low price." It will shock you.

Again, too much digressing....

Continuing on, I picked up the insulin, grabbed some toilet paper, and some cases of diet soda. I proceeded to the check out, showed my receipt to the door nazi, and headed out to the car. It wasn't until I got into the car and checked the receipt that I realized I had been had. Twice.

First of all, the purchases were rung up at the same time. Then a seven and some change percent sales tax was charged on the subtotal. Meaning the insulin was charged a sales tax. Big no-no. After that, another subtotal was rendered (adding in the seven percent sales tax) and then a smaller tax was charged again, on the second subtotal. A so-called "soda tax". This means, that I was taxed on a tax-free item, then taxed again on the tax I paid the first time.

It wasn't so much the out of pocket expense that pissed me off. It was the principle of the matter. How many people check their receipts for the tax information? Most people I know don't even bother checking their receipts to make sure they were charged the right amount at the store. I am not one of those people.

They did a "seven on your side" feature a few months ago on Kroger International foods. The investigative reporter went shopping, and then compared her receipt purchases to the ones advertised in the store. There were differences. Many differences. Close to ten dollars worth of differences. Although, for one person, ten dollars here and there doesn't add up to much, but think about how many people shop for groceries and purchase one brand over another because of the posted "sale price?" I have vivid memories of my mother staring at the register machine, noting each price as it was rung up and stopping the checker if something was different than what was posted. This in itself is a ridiculous hassle for the consumer and the cashier. The cashier then has to stop, get on her little mega-phone, call for a "price check," verify the price, then call the manager over to void/refund/adjust the price rung into the computer. Meanwhile, this drives the other people in line crazy while they impatiently wait for their turn to leave.

The bigger question here is this: do you really think the manager went back and fixed the posted price after my mother left? Hell no. She's probably more aggravated that someone noticed the difference. After all, she's thinking not of the consumer, but of the bottom line. Many of these stores either pay their managers on a scale basis, or judge the amount of their end of year bonuses based on the overall profit margin for their district. Loosely translated: the more their store sells, the more money goes into her pocket at the end of the year. Customer service is now a thing of the past.

These kinds of scams affected me in a very large way about six months ago. I lived in an apartment complex before Boyfriend and I moved into the home he was already renting. Upon first leasing my apartment, the office manager sat down with me and covered, in detail, the terms and conditions of my lease, including my thirty day notice, should I decide not to renew my lease. This thirty day notice does not cover intentional breaking of the lease, this is just for when your lease expires and you decide to vacate your apartment.

One year later my lease expired and I was offered a renewal. I decided to renew my lease and continue living in my apartment for another year. Mind you, the renewing of my lease hiked my rent up over fifteen percent, but I didn't care at the time. Now, this is not the "scam" that affected me, but it is a rather shitty thing to do. It would have cost me less to give them notice and then sign an entirely new lease rather than to renew my lease for another year.

Just so you know, I called and spoke to the apartment manager, who informed me that my original rental price was a "move in special" and I would now be paying the actual price per month on my town-house. Whatever.

Regardless, I continued living there for another year. My lease expired in August, and just like clockwork my rental offer came at the end of June. I declined their offer (yet another price hike- by the way. This time up twenty-five percent from the already increased fifteen percent) and filled out my thirty day notice form, promptly turning it in on June 30, one month and a day before my lease expired (July 31).

Six months ago I received a letter and a bill from my ex-landlords. The bill was for a full months rent, and the letter enclosed stated that I had violated my lease agreement by not giving them a full sixty-day notice. Because I only gave them thirty days, I was required to pay them rent for the month of August. Even though I didn't live in the apartment in August.

I called and spoke to the apartment manager the next day. The conversation went something like this:

ME: I'm calling in regard to this bill for a full months rent?

HIM: Yes, you were required by your lease to give us a full sixty-day notice. Since you only gave us thirty days we are charging you another month's rent.

ME: I'm looking at my lease right now, and it doesn't say anything about a sixty day notice. It requires a thirty day notice.

HIM: You're looking at your original lease. Last year we changed it to sixty-days.

ME: Then why wasn't I given a copy of the new terms?

HIM: Because you renewed your lease, rather than sign another one.

ME: So then, wouldn't I still only be required to give a thirty day notice, as applicable under the terms of my original lease?

HIM: No, we changed the policy last year.

ME: Were you able to rent the apartment out?

HIM: Yes, the apartment was rented.

ME: So, you want double rent? You've got someone else paying rent on that apartment and you want me to pay rent as well? For a month that someone else lived there?

HIM: The policy was changed to sixty days. You only gave us thirty days, so you are required to pay another month's rent.

ME: But if the policy changed to sixty days, why wasn't I given my renewal notice sixty days before my lease was up? Why only thirty days?

HIM: That's not our policy.

At this point I hung up.

America, it's time we started paying attention to our receipts and reading the fine print. This has got to stop. Big business has enough money already, they don't have to cheat the little people out of what small amount they have left over at the end of the month.

I'm no radical, but sometimes I wonder if the revolutionaries aren't on to something...