Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Size matters

Now that I have your attention, let's discuss a common practice among many women. Oh, I have participated in the discussion a time or two myself but its been a long time and I am quite thankful to say so. On my morning flight to Philly yesterday for a period of approximately 20 minutes which actually felt like forever, I enjoyed very little the conversation of two women behind me discussing of all things, size of her recently received engagement ring. She was excited and giddy the way most women with newly minted fingers are, but it is the line of dialogue that makes me think, 'if he could hear you right now, he would likely change his mind.'

How did we as women devolve into creatures where a large portion of a man's value is directly correlated to the size of the diamond he bought you? Really, tell me how. How can we surpass confidence, intelligence, loyalty, kindness, family ties, ambition, care, skill set, religion even choice of music, books and dance moves and land all the chips on the box marked RING?

The conversation behind me went something like this:
Friend: Oh, did you know he was going to ask you on Valentines Day?
Girl: OMG no, and it was a total surprise. Except we talked about rings for 6 months.
Friend: LET ME SEE IT!
Girl: Didn't he do good?
Friend: WOW that is SUPER DUPER!
Girl: oh, I was VERY specific! (apparently also part of the 'total surprise component')
Friend: Well, you have a keeper.
Girl: Even my Mom was like, OH what a good boy.

Really girls?  Your soon to be spouse is a 'good boy' because he knows "how to buy stuff?"
So the simple act of shopping categorizes him as top shelf? Does he know your system by which he is measured? I hope not. PS: You sound mentally soft. PSS: The first time you get really irritated w/him, talk to your ring about it. PSSS: "mentally soft" is the nice way I say "dumb."

Is it fun to be excited? Yes. I like to say things like "Yippee" and toss in a few high kicks. Is it fun to be giddy? Bring it. Is it fun to get a sparkly new treat? Amen. But this on-going conversation isn't about happy/giddy/sparkly. It is about gauging worth based on size.  

Oh listen, I like baubles like the best of them. My husband is great at picking out gifts and I have some fabulous pieces of jewelry. When I see beautiful jewelry on others, I say, "how awesome" or "that is beautiful" or "what a gorgeous surprise."

I do not look at engagement rings and exclaim "you are so lucky to get that guy based on that ring."
And I was once privy to the most awkward conversation between ring-wearer and another girl  who clearly thought the ring was a 'starter' ring. The ring-wearer made an uncomfortable expression and politely exclaimed, "It was his grandmother's."
My thought: Why are you explaining yourself to Princess Tactless?
My second thought: Now you don't have to invite her to the wedding. 

One of the most beautiful couples I know have simple matching bands.  Frankly, I would also classify them as one of the most happily married couples I know which in this time of society of dwindling counts of happily married people, it is quite a statement.

In the current times where our culture certainly spends days sliding down a sewer pipe of trash television and poor behavior, can we set the bar a little higher? Let'd so and teach younger women to side step this type of conversation. Pretty please?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

And now, for something positive

It is a day of damp and wind in Atlanta. A perfect day to burrow under a blanket with a giant cup of tea and spend time reading my newest download, The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. It sounds like a delicious plan except for the other thing I have to do today: Work.

Many of you know I started a new job in late 2011 so 2012 was the first full year. I traveled 46 out of 52 weeks last year if that is any indication of how my time is being spent. I am happy to say many goals were met but one of the most important: I still managed a note in my Kindergartener's lunch box every day since he started school last August. It's the small things, people. He did inquire when I arrived home late last night how I managed a note in his lunchbox when I was clearly in Dallas for the past two days. I simply responded, "I'm good like that." To which he replied, "Maybe Daddy wrote it and signed your name."

But WOW, I have missed the blog. I have missed the blog, the writing, the reading and you. I have skipped weeks, recycled and given my writing very little time to shine. I vow to work on it. While 'working' on my other thing I have to do today and every other day: Work.

I flew in late last night from Texas and missed the balmy 68 degrees all other Atlantans enjoyed yesterday. So on this dismal morning, I poured through the news today and found it above average in sad stories and alarming reports. A 9 year old girl gave birth today in Mexico. A former police officer is on a shooting rampage. A man didn't like his order at Burger King and violently attacked the boy behind the counter. Beyonce's publicist is angry over actual yet unflattering photos of her being posted online. The news is what it is but sometimes, all the negative is too much to bear.

So I combed the news until I found something positive. I have done this many times in previous posts but today took three times longer than expected. However, there is light at the end of the dark media tunnel.

15 year old Malala Yousufzai has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  This girl penned a blog about the Taliban banning education for women in Pakistan. As a punishment, the Taliban boarded a bus she was on and shot her three times including once in the skull. In an environment that knows no constitutional amendments like 'Freedom of Speech" you have to applaud any girl who bravely takes a stance on the importance of education to help women of her country find a voice, find a path and find freedom otherwise denied to them. This is the courage and tenacity some of the world's greatest leaders have also demonstrated.

What were you doing at 15? I was reading big books and playing soccer but I was also stomping on ketchup packages outside of McDonald's, lip synching to Madonna at every given chance and pining after my brother's friend Tom.

In the entire world, there are only 231 formal nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.  The youngest person to ever win was 32 year old Mairead Corrigan in the 1970s so if Malala wins, she will take that crown as well. Congratulations on your strength and your recovery. It is a true miracle she lived and further proof, she has a reason to believe. And best of luck to you, young lady. You are shining brightly in the world.