Republicans Think Unemployed Women Need Ladylike Manners and Charm School Lessons

New York State Senator Marty Golden wants unemployed women to take “Posture, Deportment and the Feminine Presence” classes. Yes, he is a Republican. This is what he is promoting, rather than “equal pay for equal work” or job-creating legislation. I am guessing that this is because he is a big misogynistic idiot, but maybe I am just not in touch enough with my Feminine Presence to understand his manly wisdom and brilliance.


 So. Is this the new Republican “thing”? Thinking that ladies need to know how to walk around with books on their heads more than they need equal pay for equal work, the right as adults to make their own healthcare and reproductive choices, or not to be deemed a “pre-existing medical condition” because they have vaginas?

As a PROTIP, Republicans, I WAS brought up with “deportment classes” because I was supposed to be a debutante. I never mastered the “book on head” thing, but I know how to properly comport myself at a formal dinner and which arcane bit of silverware to use when, how to introduce two dignitaries to each other properly, how to cross my ankles and get into and out of cars in a lady-like fashion, ballroom dancing, all those old fashioned rules about what not to wear when, how to curtsey, when to remove your white gloves and when not to, and all those so-called “lady skills”. I own several etiquette books and I read them all. Guess what? THIS STUFF DOES NOT GET YOU A JOB, and, in fact, will often make your bosses and co-workers uncomfortable if you behave like an old-fashioned, mannerly, etiquette-knowledgeable lady these days.

Look, guys, “Lady Skills”–much like insisting upon speaking correctly and using proper spelling and grammar–often make your bosses and co-workers feel uncomfortable. It is sad but true. Consider these skills to be nice “cherry on top” life skills, but don’t pretend that people are going to understand or appreciate your new “Proper Lady Graces”, because they are going to think you are fucking weird. Trust me on this. I have gotten more shit from my peers for behaving properly and with respect towards others and following etiquette and deportment rules than I have doing anything else in life. THEY DO NOT GET IT. THEY THINK YOU ARE A NUTBAR. THEY DO NOT APPRECIATE IT. Sometimes it even makes them feel bad about themselves. How does this help you get a job, really? Do you think balancing a textbook on your head is a life skill someone is willing to pay for? It isn’t.

About the debutante thing: I told the Cotillion / “debutante mill” people to go fuck themselves and refused to make my debut because they did not allow non-white or non-Christian debutantes. If my friends weren’t allowed the same privileges and Society didn’t deem them presentable or want to meet them, then I had no time to waste on being presented to that Society. It was and is not a Society I want to be a part of. Fuck them.

Look. It is an accident of birth that I qualify to belong to Colonial Dames or Daughters of the American Revolution, and I don’t meant to disparage those groups at all. Truly, I am not. I’m just saying that it doesn’t make me “better” than anyone that my ancestors got here earlier than someone else’s, or that they did so as wealthy landowners or businesspeople and not as someone’s “property.” It is an accident of birth that my ancestors made a mark on history (for instance, my nieces are going to grow up knowing they are related to Meriwether Lewis and John and Abigail Adams and people that several counties in Arkansas and Georgia were named after, just as a small sampling, and maybe it will inspire them to be excited by history, as a bonus), and I am proud of them too, but I can’t take credit for their accomplishments, if you know what I mean.

I do not consider it my greatest accomplishment in life to have the accidental fortune to be born white and upper-middle class. I can take no credit for those things.

Anyway, fuck these people and their Feminine Presence classes bullshit. I’m living proof that it is just a distraction and something that will NOT help you get employed, especially if there are NO JOBS. It won’t help women get fair pay. It won’t do anything but annoy and insult a bunch of unemployed women and teach them skills of dubious value in this day and age who would be better served using that time applying to more jobs instead.

Thus endeth my rant.


On Honor and Kindness

Republican Marty Golden wants unemployed women to take etiquette and deportment classes. Just another example of the complete disregard some of these conservative men have for women and the poor.

What’s more important, to me, than having an expert grasp of the ins and outs of etiquette rules, is being honorable and kind and having self-respect for yourself.

Want to know some things that will get you labeled as “weird” by your peers? Having an old-fashioned sense of honor and fair play and graciousness. Consider trying to always do the right thing, even though it will be misunderstood, and even when it does not benefit you at all (and, in fact, will inconvenience you) to do the right thing, or admit you were at fault, or to be scrupulously honest, or to always tell the truth when you can. People will look at what you do, compare it to what they would do (and, sadly, a lot of people don’t really understand what “honor” means), and judge you on that basis rather than figuring out that you simply don’t act or think like they do or that you are OK with that and that you don’t think you are “right” and they are “wrong” (or vice versa)–they fail to realize that you are just DIFFERENT. We all come from different backgrounds and do things in our own ways. But you’ll be misunderstood if your way is too foreign; you have to just roll with it. Be friendly to all, be kind to all, be close friends with only a few, avoid the “poison pill personalities” that make you feel shitty more than once or those people who persist in filtering your behaviors through some kind of warped dysfunctional lens in their heads and interpreting it in the worst and most offensive way possible…just carry on doing your best to do your best.

What is “behaving honorably” anyway? Well, you know it when you see it or live it, I guess, and I regret to inform you that you WILL be misunderstood or have your actions interpreted less than generously by some people. Sad but true. But be honorable and kind anyway.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you drive a male acquaintance home after a night out (if you are both straight and if you are female). Your peers might only do it if they had some ulterior motive, like wanting to get laid or something. You do it because you can, and it is the right thing to do if you don’t want to risk having your acquaintance get into an accident or get a ticket or hurt innocent people by crashing into them because your acquaintance was driving impaired. You’re going to be surprised when your acquaintance’s friends give him a hard time about it (but probably not very surprised that none of them offered to drive him home). Consider it a life lesson about what kind of folks they must be, and marvel that they consider his business and your business to be their business.

Solution: Be responsible and concerned about others anyway. If anyone has a problem with it or misunderstands? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you remain friends with your ex-boyfriends. They didn’t suddenly turn into bad people because the relationship failed to work out, right? You still like the same things about them you did before, it’s just that you guys just don’t want to date anymore. It doesn’t matter who made the decision, really. Eventually that detail is no big deal. While you are still heartbroken, behave with dignity and basic, platonic friendliness until you get over it. It is hard, but not THAT hard. You are an adult. Act like one. (Holy cow, you mean you also like their new girlfriends and wives? What is wrong with you? You must be carrying a torch for them. There is no other explanation. It can’t be that you just LIKE them as human beings! What’s wrong with you, you are supposed to have hate and resentment towards your exes and be jealous of their new partners. Get with the program!)

Solution: Continue to treat them as platonic friends…if they can handle it. (If not; well, you tried. Move on.) Continue to like and appreciate their new partners, because those women happen to be awesome (and clearly they have good taste in men, amirite?) and carry on. If anyone has a problem with it or misunderstands? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being considered stupid or unobservant because you don’t talk about or reveal everything you know about what your peers are up to, and because you don’t share what has been told to you in confidence, so they think you don’t know when, in truth, you just don’t judge them or care. (It is knowing enough about the skeletons in the closet of every single person you hang out with to utterly destroy them with a single sentence, but never, ever doing so, no matter how awfully they behave towards you, because it would be wrong to swat a fly with an H-bomb.)

Solution: Be trustworthy and discreet anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being treated like a token aunt or parent by people only 3-4 years younger than yourself because you already made the mistakes they are making or learned from watching other people fuck up, and being nagged for advice you don’t feel like it is your place to give, and then being avoided or mocked if you do fall for it and offer advice or because someone bared their soul to you and they think you’re going to act like everyone else and betray them, so they better make you look foolish instead.

Solution: Be helpful anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you treat what other people say with interest, and they interpret your interest in what they say as interest in them “romantically” or a desire to “be their best friend” or a desire to be a “part of their gang.” No, you do it because you generally find what other people have to say interesting because you can learn from different points of view, and because it is polite to hear people out, and you could give a rat’s about being part of any groups, “in” or not.

Solution: Be interested anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you buy someone’s lunch for them because you can, and they are struggling. Again, you don’t want anything from them, you are just treating them with the same kindness you would like to be treated with.

Solution: Be generous anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you decline to join in when someone is being teased and it starts to feel a little mean-spirited. It’s not that you have no sense of humor, you just think the best jokes are inclusive and positive, and not designed to make the target feel like shit and then have to sit and take it or be accused of being a poor sport.

Solution: Be thoughtful (and choose not to tease others in a mean way) anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being given a hard time when you pick up your trash when you are ready to leave at the movie theatre and being told to “leave it, that’s what the employees are paid for” or being given a hard time when you clean up your mess at a restaurant and being told “leave it, that’s what the servers are paid for”…but doing it anyway.

Solution: Think of other people’s feelings anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means talking to the homeless guy who likes to sell homemade incense outside the dance club you like to go to regularly, becoming a friendly acquaintance with him because he is funny and smart and a decent dude who fell on hard times, and regularly getting the stink eye for it. (Anyone want some incense? I still have pounds of it.)

Solution: Care about people anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being responsible enough not to ever drink so much you get impaired, and then having to always be the designated driver because everyone else knows you’re going to be the responsible party. It is then being considered a bit of a drag who should “let her hair down” because you choose not to get stinking drunk and act out and force your friends and acquaintances to babysit your ass.

Solution: Be responsible anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means talking about what interests you and sharing information, and risking being called a big ol’ nerd for it.

Solution: Stupidity is not cute. Ignorance is not cool. Books are awesome. People don’t understand that? Fornicate them right in the earhole.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means keeping your mouth shut more often than not, and not just being a chatterbox to fill the air with the sound of your own voice unless you think you have something productive to say. People are probably going to think you are aloof or superior or unfriendly or stupid.

Solution: Don’t give a shit about other people’s opinions about you, because what they think about you actually isn’t any of your business. Who gives a shit? Not you! Also, fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means giving an acquaintance something nice that you don’t need anymore as a gift without strings, and having to deal with other people who wonder why you didn’t just sell it to make a buck, and who decide you must have had an ulterior motive.

Solution: Give gifts if you want to and give them to whomever you want, it’s your stuff. People don’t understand that? Just say fuck ’em, because giving feels good.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means liking almost everyone despite or because of their human flaws, and enjoying their company, and then having to deal with other people in your social circles getting butthurt because you are not shunning the same people they have some boring and irrelevant-to-you interpersonal conflicts with.

Solution: Choose your own acquaintances and friends without concern for other people’s opinions. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

In other words, your kindness is going to be filtered through the “what would I be doing or thinking in the same situation” lens by people who find basic kindness or honor a bit confusing, and you’re likely to wind up being deemed “weird.” Again. So, some people don’t understand your behavior?

Fffffffffuck ’em.

This sort of crap is, of course, your cue to hang out with kinder and more mature people if you find the people you are hanging around with always seem to have difficulty understanding decency and thoughtfulness.

Not giving a shit about other people’s opinions about me and just carrying on means I’m pretty content with life most of the time. If you like me, great; if you don’t, great. I can’t be bothered to have angst over it. I have plenty of friends. I don’t need “friends” who don’t understand me or respect me. Be kind or begone.

Being honorable or kind is not something that can be taught in “Lady Skills” classes. It is probably also not something that a Republican man like Marty Golden–who is prehistoric enough to suggest “Lady Classes” for the unemployed–is going to understand.

To be fair, “being honorable and kind” doesn’t get you employed, either, but you feel a hell of a lot better about yourself on a day to day basis, which makes it worth it.