A note to men on righting the culture ship that forces unrealistic notions of female beauty

Note: Although it didn’t start out that way this post is sort of my supplement  to today’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest II. Please take a moment to hop over and look at some amazing writing by a diverse and passionate group of women.

I was in a relationship a while back with a woman who had an eating disorder. Because her identity was bound up in cultural notions of what a woman is supposed to be, a big part of its formation came from being thin or physically fit/healthy. Although I did my best to be supportive I found the experience maddening, which gave me a small window into the paradoxes women regularly face.

Well intentioned men (and I’ve been guilty of this in the past) often use phrases like “real beauty is more than skin deep” (I’ve never used that cliche, thankfully) or “stick thin models in magazines aren’t attractive, real women are” or “I’m attracted to healthy women, not women who are just thin.”

Continue reading A note to men on righting the culture ship that forces unrealistic notions of female beauty

IBnA Thursday: Arakacha – “Murmodansay is for lovers”

***This is the second in a series of band & album reviews. Thursday is one of the worst days of the week, right after Mon/Tue/Wed/Sun/Sat, but hopefully expanding your mind with fresh, musically related blog posts will help. If not, there’s always Facebook.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Arakacha, it was in the small city of Cirtu in Southern Argentina in the basement of a sarcastic dairy farmer. I could tell he was sarcastic because he kept declaring his love for soy products, which as anyone knows is the dairy farmer’s biggest competition. But I diverge.

Anyway, Arakacha was on the last leg of their South America tour and appeared to have gotten into a carton of blueberries before the show, unless there’s some other way to stain your face blue that I don’t know about. I’d heard they were wild but wow, they really knocked the socks off of every single person in the place. It was kind of a small space, and all 11 members of Arakacha were in one tiny corner, including their two trombonists who were so close that they occasionally pulled the slide on the others trombone by accident. It was very erotic.

Continue reading IBnA Thursday: Arakacha – “Murmodansay is for lovers”

IBnA Thursday: Sugar B and the Churros

***This is the first in a series of band & album reviews. Thursday is one of the worst days of the week, right after Mon/Tue/Wed/Sun/Sat, but hopefully expanding your mind with fresh, musically related blog posts will help. If not, there’s always Facebook.

“Sugar B” a.k.a. Samuel Barnimon only released a handful of songs during his May – July 1995 tenure as a musician, but during this short time period the world was given access to some of the smoov-est tunes known to man, woman, or child.

Born and raised in the town of Opelousas, Louisiana (pop. 16,000) Mr. Barnimon was the 4th of 3 kids, and regarded from a young age as a strange child, with even his mother admitting in 1993 that “Sugar is a weirdo of the highest order.” Not much else is known about his childhood, though lore has it that he gained his nickname after an incident in which he hid in a 50 pound bag of sugar during a game of hide and seek, which is also believed to be responsible for his early onset juvenile diabetes at the age of 9 and two halves.

Although the Zydeoco style was largely dominant on the local music scene, Sugar B sought a new direction when he began playing in early May 1995. His unusual approach to instrumentation, including the electric ukelele and trading spoons for 2 month old churros when playing washboard, set him apart from other local and regional musicians. He also stated on several occasions that “good music needs lubrication” which gave rise to his cultivating a practice known as “pre-larding” instruments. By melting lard and slathering it over his various musical items, he created a smooth and controversially sexy experience for both the musicians and audience alike.

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Two Bands You’ve Never Heard of Because They’re Full of Degenerates That Don’t Exist

The other day somebody commented that I seem serious all the time and asked if I ever engage in humor.

Heck yah! And I take that seriously too.

As proof I present to you two (fake) band reviews for one of my friend’s upcoming ‘zines, Bands! Vol. 4

Cripple Carl & the Gurgles“Portuguese Penguins in Nambe”

Well friends, fall has fallen and winter’s laying a heavy trip on your fingertips and you know what that means: time to be relegated to the back rooms of your favorite pastoral social parlour drinking orb of night beverages in a desperate attempt to retain your body’s standard issue lukewarm temps. But fear not, there’s help on the way in the form of renowned four finger surf guitarist Cripple Carl and his difficult to decipher backing band, the Gurgles.

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On being held captive by trauma, and our need to be made whole

A friend of mine was in a car accident 7 months ago and hasn’t been the same since.

He was broadsided by someone illegally crossing three lanes of traffic and thrown hip first into a curb, then ended up in a pile of gravel on the street corner.

On Friday he was struck again, just a block from his home, but fortunately this time it caused damage only to his car and not his body.

We ate dinner together today and he talked about passing both places on his way to meet me. At the place of the first accident he both wanted to avoid looking and was also drawn to its’ features….the disturbed gravel (thinking, it could not be the same as it was months ago could it?), the rubber tracks on cement, and the feeling “this is where life shifted.”

Narratives of trauma are bound up in notions of both self and culture. The body and mind struggle to equip the traumatized person with explanations and/or support that will ease suffering, perceived and real. In fact, in many cases of trauma that distinction often ceases to exist at all. Our signposts stop being literal/scientific pieces of information (is my knee healed, can I breathe properly) and shift to another realm. We become dependent on and starved for symbolism, and meaning.

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Give my friends money or I’ll tell your mom about the time you borrowed her braces

Several months ago I met a couple of amazing people on Twitter.

Erin (@ErinMargolin) is an accomplished blogger and awesome and smart person with a ton of great attributes.

Amie (@snuskiga) is a rad chick from the Bay Area who is brash, funny, smart, and super loyal and well on her way to becoming an accomplished blogger as well.

Together they make up the Gay Dad Project, which is all about sharing stories and support for people with a gay father.

There are a lot of causes I’m interested in, but Amie and Erin stood out immediately to me as people who are truly embodying an important one: acceptance and acknowledgement of who they truly are as individuals, and who their fathers are. I’m not sure if they’ve thought of it in these terms, but to me their pursuit not only supports people with a gay parent…it also models for everyone how we should live, with open hearts and the desire to be better and more compassionate even when that requires intense vulnerability.

Continue reading Give my friends money or I’ll tell your mom about the time you borrowed her braces