Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Does My Mortgage Look Like a Slag in This?

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  • Danielle,

    I need to toughen up as this is the US.

    I feel for you, as Prince (and later Chaka Khan) sang. I generally just try to avoid those topics of conversation to keep the peace (but that's because I'm usually related by birth or marriage to the wackaloon and need to maintain familial relations!). Sometimes, of course, you can't avoid it because the person is determined to Tell You Things, and then you're stuck doing that weird 'trying to keep stuff lighthearted and changing the subject but still vehemently disagreeing' dance. It's very tiring and can be hugely upsetting, particularly if the person says something really *grim* (like advocating bombing Iraq and killing everyone in the entire country because they were 'behind 9/11', which happened to me once). Then you're stuck thinking 'but you were so *nice*! We were eating cheese together! What happened?'

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Horth,

    Thanks Danielle - that was exactly how I felt!

    I tried ever so hard to keep it light and 'oh well I disagree, but we can agree education is important' (our views on what kind of education of course were completely different) but she wasn't going to leave it alone. Apparently so many young women have abortions over and over and it's not a hard decision to make at all. We all have to teach abstinence because if you are responsible enough to have sex, you have be responsible enough to have a baby...etc etc. Just after we had finished the brownies, everything had been pretty good til then!

    It felt like all the unsaid stuff has been fermenting inside me. So hard to be polite at a dinner party when someone is trying to poison you - gah! I will not be able to bite my tongue again.

    Giovanni - very funny!!! Thank you.

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Horth,

    Anyway off to Nordstrom Rack to buy shoes :)

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And isn't it time we gave up the pro-life label altogether, it really is senseless. Just because I walk around carrying a seven foot-long scythe, it shouldn't authorise anybody to imply I'm somehow anti-life.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    A wee ways upthread it looked like flirting and harassment were being discussed as different points on the same continuum of sexual behaviour...

    Wow, Isabel, I'm really sorry if my contribution to that discussion gave you that impression. I was try to think about it like this.

    I've got a very dear friend who, when we get together, send each other up rotten. Most other people of my acquaintance, if I got that camp and bitchy with them all I'd be doing is acting like a bastard. It's about knowing the other party well enough to get, and respect their limits.

    Ditto for flirting -- I know women I can be rather familiar with, and who give back as good as they get. We know where it stops being good natured teasing and turns into sleazy prickery. Others -- not so much.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And isn't it time we gave up the pro-life label altogether, it really is senseless.

    Meh... I get sick of both 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice' because they both strike me as fundamentally dishonest euphemisms designed to get a positive response. After all, who the hell is against "choice" and "life" -- serial killers? He Who Must Not Be Named from the Harry Potter books?

    Why not just say pro- or anti-abortion and be rhetorically honest about it?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    It's OK Craig - I was kind of forming ideas and reading ahead at the same time so when I got to typing I wasn't really replying to one particular post so much as a train of thought. There is definitely a huge lot of variation in what we can acceptably do or say depending on context and what we do to build a relationship with one person can destroy another and not knowing when to stop can rapidly turn flirtation into harassment.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Why not just say pro- or anti-abortion and be rhetorically honest about it?

    Mostly because you can be in favour of women being treated as autonomous moral agents and thus pro-choice, but at the same time know that for yourself, you would not choose abortion. But I agree - both labels are tendentious.

    But a bit of a derail, neh? Maybe a topic for another day?

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I think that is a great thought experiment to give men the smallest inkling of what it is like to try to enjoy your own sexual energy/power (because you can and you should and there is no reason to hide your light under a bushel) without men becoming grabby and downright scary when told that you are not interested.

    It's so true, the behaviour of men (not all men, not all the time) limits the freedom that women have to express themselves in ways they feel comfortable with. This is obviously bad for women, but it's bad for men too, because they're so often dealing with women who are quite rightly guarded.

    If this was a less threatening space, we'd all be better off, and be having better fun. I can't say for sure more or less romantic and sexual activity, because I simply don't know that, but I strongly suspect the former.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    Is this sort of behaviour worse in New Zealand?

    In the UK where I (mainly) lived until my 30s, it was just as bad, if not worse. I remember being amazed that here in NZ if you walked past a building-site you wouldn't be automatically accosted by workmen yelling obscenities and wolf-whistling at you. This was absolutely par for the course in the UK and was pretty much guaranteed to happen. Did that used to happen in NZ as well?

    I remember as a teenager in the UK walking down the street on a Saturday morning, minding my own business. Two guys (one perhaps in his 20s, the other older) were walking towards me, and one said (in a reasonably loud voice so that I could hear it clearly) "boing boing boing" - presumably a reference to my boobs jiggling up and down as I walked.

    I was wearing jeans, boots and a big red sweatshirt. Not an inch of cleavage (or any other flesh apart from hands and face) in sight. I was absolutely mortified - and the fact that I can remember the incident in such detail years later shows how much of an effect it had on me. It may not sound like anything very bad, but to me it was horrible - insulting, upsetting and completely unexpected and uncalled-for.

    USA - I first travelled there for about 6 months in my 20s. I don't remember any harassment, but I do recall on two occasions being mistaken for a boy. This was in the days of Big Hair in the US, and I had very very short hair at the time. Being quite vertically-challenged as well, I think I was actually mistaken for a pre-voice-broken boy on one occasion (because they had already heard me speaking), and on the other I was directed to the men's loos when I asked where the restroom was in a posh hotel. Weird.

    SE Asia in the early 80s - especially Indonesia - we were hassled all the time by people wanting to talk to us and then laughing at us when we replied - but it was aimed at both me and my boyfriend equally, and I think was more to do with the difference in our overall appearance and skin tone, rather than gender. Travellers were pretty rare in Indonesia back then.

    One cultural group in NZ where sexual harassment on a night out was absolutely non-existent was the dance-scene - especially the outdoor party/hippyish scene of Entrain, The Gathering, Eudaemony, ClearLight, Trancemission and other similar events in the 90s/00s - including ones where we decamped to the city for a night and made a venue our own.

    Within that little community it was unheard-of to be hassled by a guy when you were on the dance-floor - unless it was by some pissed-up munter who'd accidentally wandered into our world and didn't understand how things worked with us. They stuck out like a sore thumb, and generally didn't stay around very long.

    The difference of course (apart from the fact that we were all there to dance rather than cop off with each other) was alcohol - or rather, the lack of it. That particular subset of the dance scene was very much anti-alcohol, so the vast majority of people there were completely sober, drinking water and not much else. Alternative methods of transporting oneself to another dimension that people may or may not have been taking, served to enhance the enjoyment of the music rather than sparking up the old APB.

    As a woman who loves to dance, loves to dance alone-but-with-other-people, and does not love getting hit-on by drunken idiots, it was paradise.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Why not just say pro- or anti-abortion and be rhetorically honest about it?

    Yep, also why can't we just say "hey that's none of my business because I aint pregnant and until she asks me, I have no intention of trying to influence her decision. Leave her alone already, she's busy making other decisions and I am sure the guy who got her pregnant, may be of some help if she is undecided but until, I am not in an expert position to try to advise"?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'll second you on the UK thing, weaver. All the years I spent there in my early twenties, I was pretty appalled at how sexist men were, and how very forward and sexually explicit they were in their comments to/about women. As a barmaid, I got my fair share of this sort of attention. Did I say fair share? I meant to say, the harrassment was constant. One very busy lunchtime, I was going around the tiny pub I worked in, collecting pint glasses. Both hands were full. I had on a skirt, and this guy put his hand right up there. Now, I didn't used to wear knickers much in those days, and I really didn't want my vagina ambushed like that. So I cracked my load of glasses over his head. Result. I often found that it took drastic action like that to get rid of the filthy bastards. And afterwards, I was always called a dyke. Of course.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I guess I'll have to explain to him that Merediths is no longer. [first]

    And Cuisine only gave them 4 and 1/2 stars! Mr Meredith's food is still amazing even if Cuisine doesn't think it's the best.

    However it was great to see O'Connell St Bistro get 5 stars and they even mentioned the dish my darling chose twice in a row because it was so nice the first time she'd tried it. But for me it was the steak tartare that rocked my boat mmmmmm

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    mmmmmm

    My meal ( Meridiths) was divine and his, he found a little confusing as he felt both the ostrich then the pork belly were exquisite flavours that became confused with their sauces etc. I recalled comments from a chef we know that confusion was the reputation of Meridiths work.I am going to try Delicious next. I read the food is good and reasonably priced, win, win in my book.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    And afterwards, I was always called a dyke. Of course.

    Oh god yeah - the classic dyke reposte.

    Because of course if you didn't respond in the "proper" manner for a girl* when they did something oh-so-gentlemanly like grab your tits or your ass or shove their hand up your skirt - or leer or make some obscene remark - you obviously must be a dyke - there could be no other explanation.

    * which was expected to be - what - exactly? Open your legs? Shove your tongue down their throat? Giggle and simper and go google-eyed at them? Who the fuck knows?

    ...and then there's the other end of that particular spectrum, which I experienced a couple of times when walking through town of an evening with my girlfriend Jane who had short hair and wore jeans and t-shirts and was a dyke - which was that - completely randomly and out of the blue - some guy walking past her would turn and hit her in the head with his closed fist - and then carry on walking past as if nothing had happened.

    Shocking, to say the least.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Merediths, not Meridiths , should preview.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    So I cracked my load of glasses over his head.

    Hopefully that fired some "not be an arsehole" synapses Jackie. Good on ya.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But a bit of a derail, neh? Maybe a topic for another day?

    Up to a point, Lord Copper. Just as my being a yappy little dog (tm - Emma Hart) about how those 'pro-family' folks don't seem to give a shit about the damage their enthusiasm for legislative fag-bashing does to my family is "a bit of a derail" here and definitely a topic for another time and place. Worse luck.

    Oh god yeah - the classic dyke reposte.

    Right up there with "you're a man hater", for which the only sane response is the pre eminently rational "I don't hate men, I hate dickheads -- why don't you?" :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Bart:

    The shoes: plain black flats, I'm afraid. We can't be fabulous all the time.

    The food: Divine. Smoked fish cakes, venison Osso Bucco, and Churros con chocolate, with a Palliser reisling and fabulous service and good company. Not as good as last time I went, but there was a lot more wine that time, and the bill was over $250 for two of us. (Totally worth it)

    Right up there with "you're a man hater", for which the only sane response is the pre eminently rational "I don't hate men, I hate dickheads -- why don't you?"

    I actually got this one on the weekend. But with the double whammy of "no wonder you are still single when you hate men so much".

    And Angus, if you are still around, I am still waiting on an answer to this question

    Is that harassment? Was I taking "offense at someones innocent endeavour to engage" me? And how exactly could I have protected myself against it?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    And afterwards, I was always called a dyke. ....

    "no wonder you are still single when you hate men so much"

    I wish one of these dumbfuck assholes would say something original once in while, srsly.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    I wish one of these dumbfuck assholes would say something original once in while, srsly.

    Which was basically my response.

    Something along the lines of "Oh, I love men. I just hate fuckwits who seem to think I don't have a brain of my own and are frightened when I use it. Like, oh, you."

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    My best ever witty response to a fuckwit man (English he was) -

    Him: Oy Kiwi, if you aren't a dyke, you must be a sheepshagger.

    Me: I've shagged sheep, and I've shagged english men, and I know which one I prefer


    I guess you had to be there.......

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Me: I've shagged sheep, and I've shagged english men, and I know which one I prefer

    I can only paraphrase Dorothy Parker's reaction to hearing that Calvin Coolidge had died: "How could you tell?"

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Horth,

    My best response to being hassled by men was when I was down at Otago many years ago - me and the girls would reply to what ever drunken sexist crap that would come our way by getting down to their level by saying: 'show us your dick' and invariably they would (almost every time!)...so we'd just point and laugh. Got rid of them pretty quickly :)

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Sarah! Did you buy shoes?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

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