Feminism: Why the Best Women I Know Don’t Need You

I come from a family of strong women.

I married one, too.

This isn’t to say that the men in my family are any less fortitudinous. No, exactly the opposite as a matter of fact. But I’m not here to boast on them.

I’m not here to offend, either. So if it’s in your wheelhouse to color your armpit hair or teach your young daughters swear words in the advancement of “women’s rights”, then by all means, go nuts.

I’m here to relate my observances of the women in my life. The ones who I want my unborn daughter(s) to emulate and trust. The ones in which I see not only the best that women have to offer, but the ones that offer the best of humanity.

I suppose my outlook on feminism stems from a college course I once took which sought to explain and give dividends to this movement. At first, I must say I was intrigued. And yet, once fully submerged in the grand entirety of this fascinating movement, I found myself wholly disgusted.

Yes, I’m a man, but not of the Archie Bunker variety (Insert misogynist comment here.)

This hint of nausea came to me after I ingested a bit of Third Wave Feminism. If you’re unaware, as I was, this movement had its beginnings when one woman became fed up with the abuse and mistreatment of women (like many others).

Great.

I was onboard with that.

It wasn’t until I read further that I felt the underlying tones of this movement rise to the surface. It was not a movement bred out of love and betterment. Rather, it was one based on lime lighting and entitlement—a movement advanced with profanity and distrust.

And no, I’m not a woman-hater.

I’m fully for the equal treatment and pay of women around the world. The UN speech Emma Watson gave, brilliant. I love the idea of women leaders and have served under a select number that inspired and pushed me to aim higher and perform better. From none of these women, though, have I felt any hint of resentment or dissuasion for being a woman in a man’s world.

My sister is the mother of two beautiful kids. She cooks, cleans, and drives to baseball practice like a 1950’s housewife. She cares for her husband, and gets her hands dirty tending chickens that lend their eggs to her (and other) kitchen tables. In her “off time”, she fronts her own photography business, while working on her writing. She’s published stories and written books. She drives four-wheelers and I’ve seen her pull her shoulder back into place.

My wife, raised by an old-school generation of grandparents, is an ICU nurse with more certifications under her belt than I can forget to remember. She keeps people alive and comforts those passing into death. She works even when she isn’t working. Not because of my bidding. No friend, quite the contrary. She loves deeply, never quits, and is tougher than me, even after my morning coffee and a Rocky movie marathon. In this house, she’s the brick and mortar; I am the curtains.

Never once have I heard these women say “It isn’t fair.” Never once have I heard them take into account their shorter urethras and curvier dispositions as reasons for their successes or failures. Never once have they grandstanded and flaunted their ovaries as a catalyst to their triumphs.

They simply do what needs to be done, and you had best not stand in their way.

They’ve never needed a slogan, handout, or crutch. They’ve never needed feminism.

Because, frankly, they’re better than that.

. . .

The world owes women (and men) absolutely nothing.

The best women I know don’t care.

They’re too busy excelling.

A Shining Retreat-Estes Park, CO: 7 Tips to Keep your Vacation from Becoming Horrific

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I tow our luggage to the counter, just in time to catch my fiancée tentatively listening to a balding rent-a-car clerk.

“If you’re heading into the mountains,” the clerk eyes us in turn, “I would go with something a little more heavy duty.”

A credit-card swipe later and I’m barreling down the freeway in a Ford Expedition, which feels something like driving a battle-ready tank. My fiancée slumps in the passenger seat, calling out directions from her phone. The Rockies stab at the sky on the horizon, just below milky clouds, basking in the moonlight.

Estes Park, here we come.

An orange road sign looms in the distance, blurry and distorted. I stop my tank in front of a gate swung across the road.

Route 36 Closed. Use Detour.

Our shoddy phone service finally calculates. An additional hour and a half has just been tacked on to our little road trip.

The dash clock, a lonely beacon of light, reads 11:16. Luckily, my ever-prepared fiancée had phoned ahead to let our host know we’d be arriving late.

We weave up the mountain on our alternate route, cornering cliffs and gawking over guard rails with hundred-foot drops just beyond. My palms sweat. I don’t fancy the lingering thoughts of tumbling down the mountain to my death.

Every shadowy tree around every bend looks the perfect spot to hide a hockey-masked murderer revving a chainsaw. Which is ironic, I suppose, as Stephen King, the master of creepy himself, once lodged in a hotel here. A place that would later become his inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in his hellish novel The Shining.

I reassure my imagination that more than likely, surely, this trip wouldn’t end up like a horror novel.

I awoke the next morning, sun in my window, clouds parting all around me, the smell of my rustic room ruminating wood smells. The spookiness from the night before melted away with the morning light.

The next week flew by, dotted with memorable experiences. I enjoyed every minute of my time.

Here are 7 tips to help you do the same.

  1. Notch Top Bakery and Café Eat here, at least once. My eggs were lovely, my experience even more so. Sip some coffee and breathe the mountain air (there is a patio). The menu is chalk full of artistic imaginings of breakfast items and more. Better yet, the hometown feel and friendly service will make you feel like one of the locals.
  2. Take a Hike The Rocky Mountain National Park is literally at your doorstep. Don’t miss out on this commune with nature. With hundreds of miles of trails and roads, flora and fauna, there is something for everyone. Bring your hiking shoes if you plan on getting adventurous. The view from the top-peak is breathtaking. Snap some pictures for your social-media profile and show your friends what an adventurous soul you really are.
  3. Go Fishing There are a number of guide services you can hire to spend some time in nature. One of such is a fly-fishing tour. Take off on a trip, waders included, and experience some time waist-deep in a crystal-clear stream. No previous fishing experience required. Get a little wet. Don’t forget your sunscreen.
  4. Try an Elk-Burger Yes, you read that right. They make burgers out of Elk. Some of which are a beef mixture, if you want a little less gaminess. Either way though, Elk is a wild flavor that goes well with fries and a cold one. So, broaden your palate, get your fingers a little greasy, and dive into some mountain comfort food.
  5. Take a Drive If you find yourself up in the Rockies without access to a vehicle of some sort, you may have a bad time. Make sure you have some transportation, and then, take a drive. You know, a good ole leisurely motorized stroll. Take the backroads, sit- back and admire the scenery. Get lost in nature, but not too lost. This is best enjoyed at sunset or sunrise to get those slanting rays of beautiful mountain light.
  6. Visit the Infamous Hotel If you’re a literary buff like myself, you may want to check out the Stanley Hotel. This was where Stephen King breathed life into his novel The Shining. With its great views of the Rockies and its colonial architecture and spacious rooms, this hotel has much to explore. It is also notorious for some “paranormal happenings.” If hauntings are your thing, check it out.
  7. Make Your Vacation Your Own Don’t let the mountains intimidate you. Try new things and get out there. Estes Park has something for everyone. This quaint town is a throng of activity with a small town feel. The very first night I could have turned around and never looked back, but I’m glad I didn’t. I think you will be too.

Airport Experience: Flying to Puerto Rico

I checked my plane ticket. It showed the same flight time as when I last looked––an eternal two minutes ago.

I drudged through the carpeted halls of Nashville International Airport. A pointy-shoed man halted in front of me. He gawked at a store the size of a closet as I swerved around him. His pendulous arm lurched mere inches from my crotch. Murderous thoughts crossed my mind.

Past the swinging arm of doom, I plunged into a ropey security maze. Gassy flyers surrounded me, their roller luggage in tow. Lumpy TSA agent #2 ushered us through line. I disrobed of shoes and belt, spreading my legs for the full body scan.

How much of my innards can the gum-chewing technician see? I wondered, sliding through a scanner plastered with warning stickers.

“Nice reproductive system, Mr. Trotter!” I imagined the tech saying.

“Why thank you, Security Lady. And no, I do not have grenades in my colon, but thanks for checking. I fictitiously replied.

Pumped full of radiation, I scavenged my personals from plastic bins and made my way to airline purgatory. Two escalators and a tram later, I arrived at my gate.

“There will be no empty seats on this flight.” A voice announced.

I sighed evaporated hopes.

On the plane, I plopped down into my lung-squeezing chair. My fiancée took her seat two rows behind me, despite having booked this flight three months prior.

Thanks a bunch, Delta.

The oily smell of McDonald’s fries fumigated the cabin, the source of which I couldn’t identify. Ambiguous feelings of nausea and hunger fought for dominance in my bubbled stomach.

“Takeoff is delayed,” the pilot announced through the speakers, followed by a Please hold tight, folks.

Stale airplane minutes crawled by. I rubbed elbows with a broad-shouldered linebacker of a lady, waiting for signs of movement. She booped and beeped about on her IPad as if the fate of the world rested upon her to execute a perfect Candy Crush combo.

To the right, a meaty-thighed man had eclipsed my view of the aisle, the seams of his jeans on the verge of bursting.

Both of my armrests had been snatched away by my bulbous co-flyers.

I twitched, body threatening claustrophobic spasms.

Sweat rolled down my ribcage––a single bead of tickling perspiration.

Hipbone to hipbone with complete strangers, I tried in vain to locate my seatbelt. I feared where it could have been lodged.

Where did I wrong?

I held my breath and told myself it would all be worth it.

I wasn’t sure I was right.

Here we come, Puerto Rico.

Band Lookout: The Menzingers

Do you like to feel nostalgic? Ever just want to sit back and listen to a song that takes you away? Do you like to poke at that pensive place where all your feelings are? The one that hurts to prod, but for some reason you prod it anyway?

Sure you do.

Don’t be ashamed. I do it too.

Got a pop-punk itch that you just can’t scratch?

What a coincidence.

Don’t fret, you hipster-junkie, you.

Because I’ve got your fix.

The Menzingers.

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This band, hailing from Scranton, Pennsylvania, has been in the underground music scene for over six years and are on the verge of breaking through. I discovered them a little over two years ago and have been in love ever since. They are my go-to mood music, from couch potatoing (not a word, for you Scrabble enthusiasts) to road tripping across good ole ‘Merica.

This band belts out a clean sound spliced with earnest vocals that have a way of awakening your inner wistfulness–– its American angst put straight into the airways. Their sound ranges from slow and somber to fast and vengeful. Each song has a way of evoking a memory that leaves you in a trance, forever condemning you to repetitious slapping of the repeat button.

Want something quaint and endearing with a touch of good times and love? Listen to their song Casey.

Want to remember the smell of your local Lion’s Club and the bad decisions that accompanied your adolescence? Go check out Gates.

My personal favorite would be their song titled Deep Sleep.

This melodic slice of angry hopelessness tells a story. Warning: It’s a bit screamy. So, if you’re not into that sort of thing, you may just want to pull on your open-minded galoshes before you wade out into the Rusty-Vocal Swamp.

I would, however, advise you to check out the lyrics. They are superb. If you are into that sort of thing.

You know, being expressive and human… and stuff.

But it gets better!

The Menzingers just released a new album within the past year! Yay!

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Their fourth studio album, Rented World, explores its own introspective waywardness with a more refined and mature sound than previous releases.

My personal favorite track from this new album would be the melancholy Nothing Feels Good Anymore. If you were wondering, it is in fact a catchy song.

So there it is. That’s it. Some candy for your earholes.

Now go. Scamper along, friend. Go treat your audio receptive neuro-pathways to something delicious.

Or… whatever the appropriate equivalent to auditory deliciousness is.

Go.

Right now.

Look them up.

Please.

Go.

Fashion for your Insides: Be a Better you in 2015

Fashion is becoming a big deal.

For example, take a gander at some of these new clothing by mail companies. You sign up on the internet, and pow, clothes on your doorstep. Sift through some of those abhorrent Facebook advertisements and you’ll find names like Fashion Stork, Five Four, and Trunk Club. People are taking an interest in instant fashion. Everyone is dressing better. So they say.

But…

What about your insides? You know, that ambiguously creepy place where your personality resides? Your Insides. Yeah, let’s take a look at that instead.

Not that looking good isn’t important, but you can’t get by on your dapper threads and looks alone, Carl.

Mind if I call you Carl?

Grand.

Follow me, Carl. We’re about to wade into the feel-good arena where I’m going to beat you down with a big stick I call “Great Ideas.”

 

Learn All the Knowledge

Yes, someone out there will want to hear about your level 85 paladin videogame character, but that person is only pretending. So, let’s try on just a tad bit of time management and learn new things. Strap on those steel shin guards, grab your long sword, and scamper off into the untamed wilderness on a Wikipedia adventure.

You see that guy describing the dualistic symbolism of William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence” and knows exactly where the Honey Badger got its name? That guy could be you. Sophistication, Carl. Just don’t overplay that trump card.

Women will want you…men will want to be you. Or vice versa.

Your mileage may vary.

 

Read a Book…or Two

Because studies have shown that people who read more use and maintain a more expansive vocabulary. Sure, “Dude” and “Bro” work great when you’re elbows deep in wing sauce, but every well-dressed gentleman (or lady) should be able to hold his or her own in a good ole’ verbiage throw-down.

Besides, nothing says that you’re a macho Mr. Sensitive Man more than when you’re flipping through a copy of “Grapes of Wrath” while slamming out a set of curls at the gym.

 

Be Confidently Polite

Try using Sir or Ma’am in a sentence. Try it.

Then buy your friends (or strangers) a round of drinks.

Why?

Because they’ll think you’re a cool guy. Not only that, but it is a great ice breaker. Your confidence will soar and people will naturally want to thank you. So talk to them like you mean it, Carl. You may just make a fascinating new friend.

 

Speaking of Drinks…Don’t Be Afraid to Laugh at Yourself

Remember that time at Applebee’s when you had one too many, and you told that seven minute story that ended in cricket chirps?

No…? Of course you don’t. But remember this–moderation.

Yet, if you happen to find yourself in that situation again, stop it. Repeat this phrase…

“Sweet story, Carl. Tell it again!”

Then laugh at yourself (we’ve all been there) and buy your colleagues a round of drinks for making them feel awkward for you.

 

Eat Your Broccoli…Go For a Run

Broccoli has enough vitamin K and C to run a small vitamin K and C powered vehicle. That last sentence may not be entirely legitimate.

However, those vitamins, along with the folate and fiber in broccoli give your body a healthy dose of healthiness. This keeps your cholesterol in check and even aids in regulating your metabolism. Not daring enough for you? Do some cardio first thing in the morning.

A pre-breakfast run has been shown to be a fantastic way to tone that ab area that the ladies are always talking about.

Because… Science, Carl.

Science.

 

 Make Your Insides Feel Good

It’s not like that.

But… that kid you pummeled in the second grade? Yeah, it’s time to cut a heart shaped card out of pink construction paper, scribble I’m Sorry on it, and mail it to his last known address. Don’t worry, it will get there. Serendipity.

Look it up.

 

Seriously though, 2015 is the year to make amends and start anew.

Go out there and be the person you always wanted to be. Better yet, be a better you than you thought you could be. Help a person out. Savor every experience and try new things.

So, if you want to look great, invest your money into some new threads via this internet clothing craze, but don’t forget about what really matters.

Find the fashion that fits your insides. Do your thing. Be a better you.