Monday, April 27, 2009

Two of the stupidest ideas ever...

...showed up in, surprise, my hometown's own Chicago Tribune yesterday. (In case you couldn't detect it in my typing, the "surprise" was sarcastic.)

The Magazine featured a new sort of advice column called "One Burning Question." The question-asker was distraught with a facebook (ah, my favorite) issue: He only likes to use facebook for social acquaintances! Work people keep trying to friend him! Augh! What's one to do?

The Trib's solution: Accept said friend requests, as to "not seem rude," and then un-friend them later.

The second gem of wisdom came in yesterday's Parade magazine, that paragon of info for you Harvard Candidates out there. The sidebar was titled "How to Tell Your Date You Have an STD." I readied myself for something practical, such as having an open, honest discussion. Ah, but I gave too much credit to Parade. How should you tell someone you have an STD? Why, via e-card of course! *

Okay, in both instances, YOU'VE GOT TO EFFING BE KIDDING ME. Let's revisit, shall we, with EB's advice?

1) You're a grown up -- start acting like it -- and click "Ignore" on any friend requests you don't want. Chances are they won't notice, and if they're grown ups, they should accept the fact that not everyone wants to be your "friend" (virtual or otherwise). The Trib's advice paints a scenario whereby the letter writer will later have to fake some facebook knowledge - why, oh why? Who did they hire to write this column -- my 13 year old niece? Crimony.

2) This whole "I gave you an STD" E-card idea is bad, bad, bad all around. Put yourself in the recipient's shoes -- how would you like to receive one of these? The worst part is, the site that generates these, supposedly, doesn't collect personal information, and the cards can be sent anonymously. How many pissed-off, jilted lovers do you think have sent these to their exes, just for a laugh?

When you need to have a serious conversation, the only acceptable way to do it is face to face. Via the phone (no, you can not text) is acceptable only when distance is an issue.

Folks, be an adult. You don't have to accept every flipping facebook request that comes your way. If you have an STD, um, you should probably talk to your partners, rather than hiding behind the internet.

You're a grown up. Now act like it.

*note: EB didn't need said advice in the Parade sidebar, just fyi. How can you not read an article that has "STD" in the title???

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Butt out on other people's appearance

Today's "Dear Abby" column revisits a letter about a woman who, as a child, was called "fat" by a friend's father.

Here's the rule, people: Shut the eff up about other people's appearance -- fat, skinny, pregnant, or other.

It's none of your business. And your comments -- no matter how you frame them ("helpful" or "complimentary") -- are just rude, insensitive, and sometimes hurtful.

Never tell an overweight person he or she is overweight, or "could stand to lose a few." They already know this. If they aren't seeking help, it's their own responsibility.

The opposite is also true: don't ever remark on someone's thinness. Yes, I realize that society holds women up to an impossible, ridiculous standard (I personally think Angelina Jolie and Sarah Jessica Parker are 2 of the ugliest women to roam this earth). But your "compliments" such as, "I hate you, you're so thin!" and "Oh, you can eat anything you want--you're so thin!" are offensive. I'm 5'2", 106 lbs., and I've been told how much I "don't need to go to the gym -- you're skinny as it is!" Um, I go to the gym for my health. Ever try it? If every Prozac addict got him/herself on a treadmill three times a week, a lot less of that crap would be sold. I go to the gym to maintain my health -- not to be skinny.

And if you wonder -- for your own gossipy mouth or out of genuine curiosity -- if a woman is pregnant, SHUT THE EFF UP. If a woman is pregnant, she may be keeping it to herself for a host of reasons, none of which are your concern. If she's not, and you open your mouth, you're about to insult her. I've just shared my vitals with you. Now picture me in a tie-back tunic shirt. I love those -- they look good, they hide flaws, they flatter your boobs.

After a workshop last month, a student came up to me and said, "Congratulations! When are you due?"

I had to tell her, then watch with joy as she backpedalled, "I'm not pregnant."

So, you have a thought about someone's body shape, fat, thin, or otherwise? Shut it. Go spend your energy on facebook. Or better yet, at the gym.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tomorrow's Easter -- do not give any animals

A recent discussion on Carolyn Hax Live got me thinking about pets-as-gifts.

Bottom line: It's never (never, ever!) a good idea.

Taking on a pet is a responsibility that one (or one's parents) needs to choose for him/herself. Giving someone a bunny or chicks at Easter is, honestly, downright stupid and irresponsible. Yes, they're cute, cuddly and adorable -- for about 5 minutes. Every year, animal shelters are flooded with bunnies that the kids "just don't want anymore."

Not to mention, selecting a pet and foisting it on someone is, well, just inconsiderate. You've now dumped a full time responsibility into that person or family's lap. What if all the household heads work full time? What if the family is a single parent with 2 small children that already require full-time maintenance? What if one or more family members travel full time for work? What if there are allergies present? What if they just don't want it?

Giving someone a pet -- dog, bunny, etc. -- just isn't the right thing to do. Target has plenty of candy on sale--go get some of that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

facebook facebook facebook

I'm not terribly in love with facebook, that of-the-moment internet rage. Do I really need to list the reasons? The timesuck, the lack of value it adds to one's day or life (although I have a friend who swears she found her yoga studio via facebook....the same yoga studio her next-door neighbor [me!] attended weekly for four years), etc. etc.

And I'm appalled at the crap and private details people share on facebook. Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I don't need to see your sonogram photos, nor does the world. (nor is it terribly classe to publicly share such. You can put those in a private "Inbox" message. Oh yes you can.) Your private phone number and security access code you just wrote on Susie's Wall? Yes, I can see that, too.

Wall-to-Wall messages are not private. Comments and Notes are not private. If I'm a friend of your friend, I can see the personal details you write to them. So please stop.

While I'm carping, also know that it's not cool to announce details of your upcoming wedding, bachelor/ette party, etc. if not all of your FB friends are invited. Some might be hurt. Some might wonder -- publicly, on your wall -- why they weren't invited.

There's all sorts of private tools for your use on the internet: Evite, email, or -- shocker -- your private Inbox with Messaging capacity on -- you got it! -- facebook.

Now let's virtually zip those lips.

Texing in the present

Nothing chafes my hide as much as someone texting. I've been racking my brain, trying to think of an example of when text-messaging is polite, and, in truth, unless you're by yourself, with no one around (or possibly on public transportation), then it's okay to text.

Yes, I realize it's quick. Yes, I know it takes you "just a minute."

But when you're spending time with the words on the phone, you're ignoring those around you. This is called "not being present" or "not being in the moment," or just plain "rude."

Yes, I know you are physically there. But once you take your attention away from whatever is happening before you -- to take a cell phone call, to text, to check the sports scores -- you've just taken yourself away from the people and doings in front of you.

And an important life rule to remember is that the person in front of you is always more important than the person (or sports score) on the phone. Any successful sales person knows this -- now, let's all know this. And let's live it.