Department Of Just Wondering
Moiself recently heard an ad for a health supplement product which, according to the enthusiastic supplement hawker, contains “…both prebiotics and probiotics.” This made me wonder (but not enough that I Googled it, found out the answer, and destroyed the mystery) what that means; as in, I don’t exactly understand the terms. Are prebiotics biotics before they turn pro?
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Department Of I Can’t Unsee This,
And Now, Neither Can You
Dateline: Wednesday am. As usual at the breakfast table, the second section of the NY Times  I read is the Food section. Imagine moiself’s surprise when my eyes are seared greeted, not by the customary page 1 depiction of a delectable dish, but by a photograph of hirsute, floppy torsos gathered around a kitchen island. The sickening spectacle picture accompanies an article titled, The Joy of Cooking Naked.
“Despite the occasional splatter burn, nudists say their relationship to eating, at home or in restaurants, is better and healthier without all the clothing.”
Well, of course they do.
I don’t know about y’all, but nothing takes moiself further from the concept of a “better” and “healthier” relationship to food that seeing man-boob hairs dangling precariously above the salad bowl.
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Department Of You May Notice An Ongoing Theme
Yet another rumination of mine related to my previous blog posts sparked by the story of Chanel Miller, the writer  who was raped by the Stanford student/athlete. Miller’s profound query/accusation about social mores and attitudes about men and woman and rape and “consent” keeps coming back to mind…because the world we (as in, we women) live in keeps reminding me:
“When a woman is assaulted, one of the first questions people ask is, ‘Did you say no?’ This question assumes the answer was always yes, and that it is her job to revoke the agreement. To defuse the bomb she was given.
But why are they allowed to touch us until we physically fight them off?
Why is the door open until we have to slam it shut?”
Yet another such reminder surfaced when I was in Tacoma, helping daughter Belle move to a new apartment. Belle and I discussed the “reminder” (ah, the intimacies that can be traded while riding in a U-Haul cargo van) as well as how she, moiself, and other womenfolk we know have pledged, not to hector, but to remind menfolk at every opportunity how time- and resource-consuming it is to navigate as a female in this world. We’d like y’all to know that such reminders, when we share with you our stories of the latest “incident,” are not occasional occurrences. Rather, they happen All. The. Time.
The reminder of which I speak:
Dateline: two weeks ago Friday, in the early afternoon. My car is parked around the corner from the entrance to the apartment building Belle is moving into. We are each attired in clothing that could best be described as “moving friendly” (casual/exercise clothes). Belle is on one side of the open rear door to my car; I am at the other side; both of us are about to pick up boxes packed with books, kitchen items, linens, etc.
A man in his late 20s-early 30s swaggers by us on the sidewalk, reeking of attitude. He is dressed inappropriately for the weather – no jacket, sweatshirt, or upper layers despite the temperature being in the low 40s, only a thin, tight tank top covers his muscled torso. When he is about fifteen feet past my car he turns around and calls out to Belle:
“I don’t mean to bother you, but you are ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS.”
Belle flashes a WTF look at me and mutters, “Uh…yeah…right.” I doubt he heard her.
I-don’t-mean-to-bother-you Man keeps walking, backward, as if (despite his claim that he didn’t want to bother her) waiting for Belle’s reaction. And – I found this interesting – he makes direct eye contact with *moiself* while doing so, in a way that reminds me of a schoolyard bully issuing a challenge. After three to four slow beats, he turns back around and struts down the street, on his original course to…wherever.
Belle and I heft boxes from my car to the apartment building’s entryway. We return for more boxes; Belle gets there first. As I approach the car I see Man #2 walk by, behind Belle, who has her back to him as she reaches for another box. This man remains silent, but cranes his neck, his eyes brazenly fixed in the proverbial glued-to-her-ass mode, as he slowly saunters past her.
As soon as Lech #2 passes out of earshot I tell Belle what I’ve seen. In (only partially) mock outrage, I declare, “What is it with Tacoma men?!”
But before the comment fully escapes my mouth, I’ve already answered it, silently, to myself, with the exact rebuttal Belle says aloud:
“It’s not *Tacoma* men; it’s just…men.”
We talked “about it” later that afternoon, in the afore-mentioned U-Haul.  “About it” includes how a part of me wanted to say to I-don’t-want-to-bother-you Man, when he made the comment to Belle and then looked at me, “Hey, I’m her MOTHER.” “About it” also includes how another part of me wanted to ask him, “Why do you do that? (something about his manner assured me that was not the first time he’d commented upon the looks of an unknown – to him – female, in public). “Dude, does that *work* for you? Is she supposed to say, ‘Oh gee, thanks so much, come back in 30 minutes for your blow job?’ ”
We talked about how often these things happen to Belle and her female friends. Moiself recalled how it was the *exception* to the rule when I was her age and, say, out for a run, to *not* receive any commentary from a man or men (passing by, in cars or on foot), about my appearance.  We talked about reactions Belle has received from people when she shares such stories – how a few folks, mostly men but sometimes also women, get…not angry, but slightly irritated or confused, and say something ala, “Well, what’s wrong with it? Maybe he (I-don’t-want-to-bother-you Man) was just one of those people who’s made a vow to say something nice to someone every day.”
I haven’t that vow, but as my children and husband can vouch, I do something similar: I make “nice” comments to strangers (both men and women), at every opportunity. But, I know the difference between what I do – offer innocuous, always positive remarks – and what I-don’t-want-to-bother-you Man did; I know why I-don’t-want-to-bother-you Man’s remark bothers most women, even if we cannot always fully articulate *why* it bothers us (hint: because we know we’ll get slammed for doing so).
I-don’t-want-to-bother-you Man made a very personal remark to a person
with whom he had no personal relationship.
For a variety of reasons (mostly having to do with an, oh-this-is-serious/life-is-short realization I had many years back), I tell people, acquaintances and strangers alike, something complimentary about them when it comes to my mind. I’m no fucking Pollyanna, it’s just when I see something that makes me smile, I want to share it.
“Excuse me, that’s a cool coat you’re wearing.”
“Dude, that is one serious backpack – what a color!” 
“Those shoes are fantastic, and they look really comfortable.”
“Oh, that looks like the happiest puppy in the world.”
“That handbag is great – I love all the pockets….”
All of these commendations have something to do with what the person *did* (they chose the backpack or shoes), with choices they made. They actively chose to buy that coat or adopt that dog or use that purse today; they didn’t choose their gender, bone structure, or physique. Those type of observations (“Chartreuse is a happy color for a grocery bag, isn’t it?!”) aren’t personal, not in the intrusive and suggestive way comments about your body or appearance – especially from a stranger – are.
Department Of Getting To The Point
A simple yet intense reality: the risks faced or taken by I-don’t-want-to-bother-you Man, vis-à-vis those of any woman whom I-don’t-want-to-bother-you Man is supposedly not bothering, are quite different, particularly when it comes to possible outcomes of their encounter. He gambles with rejection; she chances assault and murder.
What does he risk, at most, in making “compliments” to a (female) stranger? She might ignore him; she might do the embarrassed smile thing; she might take offense and tell him to shut up or FUCK OFF,”…. He risks having his feelings hurt.
She, however: if she responds or acknowledges him *in any way,* risks encouraging a man she does not know into thinking he can approach her. Have you ever talked to a police officer or counselor or other professionals who specialize in dealing with sexual assault cases? They’ll tell you that an MO for some sexual predators is to “test” women and girls, by making comments to them and seeing if they can get a response. Ask almost any woman who’s been in this situation and has had some man, seemingly just passing by, say something to her, and then turn around and approach (or even follow her) when they get a response (even a negative one).
It’s lose-lose for women when they encounter I-don’t-want-to-bother-you Men. If you turn a cold shoulder/give no response at all, or or respond negatively to the stranger(s) who make comments to you, you are a cold/unfriendly/unkind/humorless bitch who’s making the world a mean and suspicious place. If you do respond positively in any way, and then the man (or some man after that) approaches, pursues, and harasses (or assaults, or….) you, “Well, what were you expecting?” “Why were you talking to or accepting compliments from a stranger?” “Why did you “lead him on?”….
My daughter’s new apartment is similar to her previous one, in terms of the relative sketchiness of its downtown Tacoma neighborhood. Although Belle will be mostly walking to and from work, she opted to pay an extra fee each month for access to a parking space in a secured garage in her apartment’s basement. I’m glad she did, even as I rue that extra expense for her, as well as the other costs that she and her female peers weigh and take on, in matters of security and safety that don’t occur to their male friends. We live in the kind of world where it is more expensive to just navigate your way as a female – you pay extra in a variety of ways, from financial to psychological, to have one more degree of safety. One more thing that a guy her age walking to and from work, or to and from his car parked on the street, might not even consider.
Men are afraid that women will laugh at them.
Women are afraid that men will kill them.
(Margaret Atwood, Canadian novelist)
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Department of Epicurean Excursion 
Featuring this week’s cookbook, author and recipe:
Vegan For Everybody, by America’s Test Kitchen
Recipe: Potato Vindaloo
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Recipe Rating Refresher 
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May you keep your torso (etcetera) covered in *my* kitchen;
May you enjoy satisfying revenge dreams about causing strangers
who leer at your daughter
to have their genitals acquire Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections;
May you refrain from commenting on the bodies of strangers; 
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Which I’d rented for the heavy-duty, big ass items such, as bed, dresser, futon, etc., which would not fit into my Subaru Outback nor Belle’s Honda Fit.
 The intelligible comments were always related to that; sometimes where were just whistles, grunts, groans, and words that might be closely translated to, ”Hey baby….”
 Actually, I rarely address guys as “dude” in real life. That’s what blogs are for.
 A recurring feature of this blog, since week 2 of April 2019, wherein moiself decided that moiself would go through my cookbooks alphabetically and, one day a week, cook (at least) once recipe from one book.
* Two Thumbs up: Liked it
* Two Hamster Thumbs Up : Loved it
* Thumbs Down – Not even Kevin, a character from The Office who’d eat anything, would like this.
* Twiddling Thumbs: I was, in due course, bored by this recipe.
* Thumbscrew: It was torture to make this recipe.
* All Thumbs: Good recipe, but I somehow mucked it up.
* Thumby McThumb Face: This recipe was fun to make.
* Thumbing my nose: Yeah, I made this recipe, but I did not respect it.
 Or acquaintances, for that matter. Unless either seems at risk of shedding man-boob hairs in your Caesar salad.