The Miss and the Mock Bow

People have come up with brilliant ways to belittle others. It seems the more we try to protect ourselves, the more insidious our attackers become. There are two in particular that have traveled with me in life—The Miss and the Mock Bow. They used to keep me up at night, questioning and condemning my behavior. What are these subtle yet effective attacks? And are they really attacks or am I being too sensitive? I didn’t see much on the subject in my tireless Google search, so I’m going to break them down here and now.

Sometimes a co-worker will ask me to do something they have no business asking me to do. I don’t mean empty a trash can or cover the front desk for five minutes. Those are team player tasks and I have no problem with those. I’m talking about the document I shouldn’t sign because it’s waaay out of my pay grade. Or the person who’s ready to reprimand me when I have to tell them they were given incorrect facts. A day or two goes by, and next time I see them they give me The Miss—I’m referred to as ‘Miss Joye’ in a sarcastically efficient tone of voice.

Didn’t you read the ‘no self-respect’ policy?

It’s something I notice women do, while men favor the Mock Bow. I’m walking down the hallway when a male co-worker whose request I tactfully and logically turned down gives me a bow, accompanied by an ‘oh no after you’ gesture. These may seem like harmless teasing, but they’re not and here’s why:  Continue reading

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Where’s Your Smile?

imageAll right, ladies, shall we heave the sigh on three? One…two…

Why do those words irk us so? We’re walking down the street or sitting at our desk when someone sweetly demands that we smile. There are lots of articles on the subject, with people settling into two camps: pro-smile and anti-smile.

But are women really anti-smile? I’ve been told on several occasions to smile more, that I look ‘too serious’. But if no one is with me, should I just smile into the air? Doesn’t that make me look unbalanced? Since women are often judged on their rationale AND their emotional state, the order to put on a happy face can create a dilemma. The Mood Police is out on patrol, employing stop-and-frisk when we least expect it. Given their reputation for hostile engagement, I have little choice when they demand I cheer up. Smile or be called a string of curse words tailored to women! Smile or be judged unlovable and infertile! With such weapons pointed at my vital organs, I give in and smile.

When men see this, they often say ‘That’s better’ as if the Medusa of my unsmiling face had to be neutralized. But to demand a change in my mood implies mistrust of my judgment. It insinuates that whatever I’m thinking about is unworthy of consideration.

Believe it or not, all of this runs through a woman’s mind when you demand she smile. My particular beef is with men, because they claim to want to be my hero. But do they really? Let’s say my arm is broken. The heroic thing would be to make me as comfortable as possible while driving me to the hospital. Instead, I’m told to put on a jacket because the sight of my mangled arm makes THEM uncomfortable. There’s no desire to help me—only to put the unpleasantness out of sight. I would love for a man to be my hero, but why do they demand results when they’ve put in no effort? Who walks up to an apple tree and demands a pie?

On the other hand, I admit to a degree of success by smiling. More people do approach me. They tell me what a great smile I have, and I thank them for the compliment. But encounters that lead to friendships or good conversation rarely come from me pasting on a smile. No man who demanded I smile has ever gotten my phone number, let alone my respect. Thankfully I know people with enough self-confidence to not project animosity onto the corners of my mouth. In turn, I’ve learned to do the same when approaching others. I am not so thin-skinned that a person not smiling is somehow a diss to me. Nor does it mean they are in a bad mood. And even if they are, they have every right to be. When you respect a person’s right to be in whatever mood they’re in, they will appreciate it. And when someone appreciates you, they can’t help but smile.

Is this better?

Here… is this better?

An open letter to married couples – Part 1

Dear Wives,

Let’s just get to it.

I don’t want your husband. I’ve met a number of wives, and we get along great until I meet your husband. Maybe he shook my hand too long, paid me too many compliments, or declared he would’ve have gone for me if he met me first. Let me assure you he wouldn’t, because he DID meet me first.

Okay, it wasn’t me Joye. But he knew a focused, independent-minded woman who didn’t flirt but still had something about her. He liked her looks and her humor. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, said he should go for it. Continue reading

Why Don’t You Pick a Man Your Own Age?

Up until 2 years ago, I was repulsed by the idea of dating a younger man. The one-two punch of social convention and emotional need ruled out anyone more than a year or two below me. My dream guy was older, smarter, and wealthier than me. I was not picky about looks or height (despite being 5’9″). I am the proud owner of a celebrity crush on Paul Giamatti. Give me brains over brawn any day. I certainly had nothing to prove, no biological clock demanding I reproduce. Continue reading

Your Heart Will Go On

Reality–ain’t it grand? You live for years in what you think is the real world, and then one day it isn’t. Many people dread reality, and I don’t blame them.

I’ve had a rude awakening that involved a close relative. I got to see firsthand the truth of this quote:
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For years this relative has struggled, has eked by and kept their head above water. We made an arrangement to assist each other financially, and they made a great show of supporting my creative endeavors. I qualified for a grant that eased some of our financial burdens, one that increased their cash flow and enabled me to put more energy toward my start-up. Yet when I asked for a portion of the funds to cover my basic necessities, there was an uproar. There was resentment, name-calling of the ‘entitled princess’ caliber. For the first six months of the program, I heard not a peep from this person, not a word of complaint while Continue reading

Removing Reviews Is So Not Cool

Please hold my calls–I may have to engage in an epic battle. Like many self-published authors, I have had a review pulled for one of my books. I could sing the praises of Cress in Waterbee, ask my brother to sing the praises of Cress in Waterbee, or ask a next-door neighbor to post a review. Oh wait. I can’t do any of that, because the alleged algorithms of a certain website will strike them down.

It sounds noble at first. The guidelines state that Continue reading

Cue Hero Music

‘Scuse me while I nerd out, but Superman is my favorite hero. With it raining comic book movies, I find myself ruminating on why Superman has held my and the world’s attention.image
I feel privileged to remember Christopher Reeve’s take on the Uber Mensch. From George Reeves to Tom Welling, no one ever nailed Superman’s dual identity like Reeve. His Clark Kent was lovable and goofy; his Superman every bit the hero. Reeve succeeded in proving that behavior is the true disguise – act like a milquetoast and no one will notice that you’re 6’4”. Continue reading

On Damsels and Distress

Way back in our collective consciousness is the damsel in distress. The girl in peril at the hands of a villain. She is tied to the railroad tracks. As the piano thunders, a train barrels down on the helpless girl. But in the nick of time comes our hero! He pulls her to safety, they ride off into the sunset, and Bob’s your uncle.

So imagine how hard I belly-laughed when I discovered the play Under the Gaslight. Written in 1873, it featured the first known rescue of someone tied to railroad tracks. The play is Continue reading

Why We Stare

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I’VE DONE IT – been out somewhere and saw an interracial couple. What goes through the minds of us who stare? ‘They should be with their own kind’. ‘You want a white girl THAT BAD?’ ‘Somebody’s rebelling’. I’m happy to say I’ve never thought the first one. If you’re dating a human, then you’re with your own kind. I’ll worry when you start checking out pelicans. Continue reading