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The Gap Likes Cuddly Men

December 17, 2008

I think I actually cribbed the idea of “Mr. Cuddly” from The Gap. I can’t say I buy their clothes, but I do like to curl up by the fire with their advertising.

Here is this year’s ad, currently all over New York. Note the wedding band. Note Jason Bateman’s daughter Francesca’s tiny, adorable foot covered in a tiny, adorable cuddly sock. And notice the carefully cultivated man-scruff! Is that man looking manly in purple cashmere? Awesome.

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Here is last year’s ad, featuring John Krasinski. Not only does he look cuddly, he looks as though he has just cuddled. Men needs more scarves. And belt buckles that draw subtle attention to their manly parts.

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Can The Gap just start selling actual men? Because I don’t wear khakis.

I (heart) New York

June 6, 2008

I was just walking down the street in Midtown eating a sandwich, when an old man walking in the opposite direction called me a “pig.” After previous street-harassment experiences in Midtown (summary: Midtown harassment is less about wanting to have sex with you and more about wanting to be mean to strangers), I didn’t want to let it stand, even if this was, presumably, just a guy who hates people who eat on the street, rather than a raging misogynist. So I turned around, caught up to him, and confronted him about it, at which point he denied ever having said it.

Then I got home and a cockroach crawled on my cellphone.

Previous posts on street harassment here, here, and here.

“How Not to Date” at Pete’s Candy Store

February 19, 2008

Here is me doing a little reading from How Not to Date.

Ever since we started videotaping these Pete’s shows, I have had to buy a new $12 breast-enhancing shirt at Strawberry every Monday.

Street Harassment Post, Part Trois

July 6, 2007

I was very amused by Mandy Stadtmiller’s article on street harassment in the Post. (From a four-foot-tall dude: “Yo, check it out. I don’t need to be the champ, I just want a shot at da title!”)

While visiting my family in Virginia, I was harassed on the street exactly once:

I was traversing the crosswalk, wearing shorts, and I heard “Hey, gorgeous!”

I turned around and saw a guy in the passenger seat of a pickup truck — he then smiled and waved as the truck drove away. How adorable is that? It was positively … refreshing.

Here are some things that my quaintly old-fashioned street harasser did not do:

  1. Suggest any specific sexual acts involving one or both of us
  2. Say something untoward about any specific body part of mine (or his)
  3. Suggest we might see each other in the future
  4. Slow down the car and drive alongside the sidewalk at approximately 2.8 miles per hour, so we can have a “conversation”
  5. Make creepy kissing noises
  6. Suggest that I smile more often
  7. Hiss

Previous street harassment posts here and here.

Street Harassment of the Day: Burned-Out Car Edition

May 24, 2007

I’ve blogged before about unwanted male attention on the street, which is particularly bad in Bushwick.

In the first week after I moved here, I was walking to the subway in a business suit; it was hot, so I stopped to take off my suit jacket, exposing the long-sleeved shirt I was wearing underneath. A car slowed down and someone stuck his head out and made that obnoxious come-on hissing sound. This, for an outfit provocative only in certain Germanic counties in Pennsylvania.

Today I was annoyed in a new way.

I was walking to the subway and there was a burned out car — a windowless carcass of a car, with only a stump where the steering wheel had been — sitting on the sidewalk. I mean, it looked like this thing had been set on fire for an hour. And why was it on the sidewalk? How did it get there?

When you see something crazy, you know how you want to look up and make eye contact with someone and make the “Isn’t that crazy?” expression, and then move on and go about your day? If you saw something crazy, you want to make sure someone else saw it too, by damn it.

So I looked up from the crazy car corpse, and sure enough, there was a guy approaching the car from the other direction, and I made the “Oh my god, isn’t that insane?” expression. The guy, who clearly had also seen the burned-out car, immediately contorted his face into a sleazy, squinty-eyed expression, and replied, “Oh, yeah, baby … you like?”

Sometimes street harassment is just gross and/or intimidating, but it reaches a new level when it prevents us from engaging one another as human beings with universal predilections, like occasionally making communicative eye contact with fellow humans in acknowledgment of events taking place in our common environment.

As author Janice Erlbaum quipped, “My feminist demands aren’t that extreme; I just want the simple things — like to be able to eat a banana in public without feeling self-conscious.”

Lalit Gupta wants your rich lady love

April 21, 2007

This man has seen fit to ask me to IM him, attempting to lure me with a message I first parsed as “u r sexy,” but which I then realized I had transposed, perhaps due to its lack of a question mark. It was, instead: “r u sexy,” the lack of conviction about which makes all the less likely any future IM communiqués.

From his profile:

“I want made with a very rich and open type lady for long time external personal serious relalationship,i wait for reply.”

Is a “relalationship” perhaps, a personal affiliation with someone who has little grasp on reality? Re-LaLaLand-ationship?

I (heart) five-year-olds

April 16, 2007

Longtime blog readers may remember my ex-boyfriend The Cowboy*, most notably featured in the post in which I excoriated the asshole who broke The Cowboy’s collarbone with his (the asshole’s) cab door.

Yesterday, my good friend Megan, another recurring blog character, most notably featured in the post in which she bought me children’s underwear, sent me an email thanking me for various hand-me-down objects I had given her over the years (in brief, I am a minimalist, and she enjoys fun new possessions, so her visits to my house usually involve her leaving with my clothes, accessories, and kitchenware, not that she cannot provide those things for herself as part of her normal and productive professional life).

I was amused to discover that Megan’s new husband’s mother wore my large pink straw hat to St. John the Divine for Easter, but even more amused to discover that Megan had the “I (heart) my cowboy” t-shirt I once owned (originally ordered from Neighborhoodies and which I think Megan ended up with just to get it out of my house, for breakup-related-clothing-catharsis reasons), which turns out to be “a perfect size for (and hilarious on)” Megan’s new five-year-old stepson.

Dear god, I can only hope that somehow, The Cowboy might someday run into a five-year-old wearing that shirt.

* Many blog readers back in ‘05 did not realize The Cowboy and I had broken up, as I informed everyone with the sentence “The cowboy has ridden off into the sunset on a metaphorically short-butted horse unable to accommodate dual-rider saddlery”, inserted into the middle of a post about the hot guys who work at the Apple Store’s “Genius Bar.”

An open letter to men who yell things at women on the street

March 30, 2007

Dear men who yell things at women on the street,

Obviously, it is not okay to say “Nice tits!” or “Nice ass!” or “Come over here and get raped now!” Sometimes you say those things anyway, but you and I both know they are wrong.

However, I would like to discuss some of your comments that fall into the gray area.

“That is a very nice dress, ma’am.” Assuming you are saying this in any normal tone of voice and not, you know, inching closer with a knife, this is fine by me. For real. Sometimes it is in fact okay to say things to strangers.

“Hey, are you married?” This is an East Harlem special. The implication that, if I am not married, I would want to go out with you, is a prime example of The Fallacy of False Dichotomy.

“You’re pretty — why don’t you smile more often?” This is the one I really want to talk about. For real? I should’ve been smiling … just now? While walking down the street by myself? Carrying groceries? On my way home? WHO THE FUCK SMILES ALL THE TIME FOR NO FUCKING REASON? Bipolar people in their manic phases? Seriously, most women, much like you, maintain a fairly neutral facial expression while walking down the street and not talking to anyone. Were you just smiling at the air in the moments before you saw me and suggested that I should be smiling? No? Among people and animals, a smile is often a sign of submission. Why don’t you smile more often?

In closing, I would like to say that I am aware that you, men who yell things at women on the street, don’t read my blog. Yes, I know.

-Jen

We’re just trying to be friendly.

April 18, 2006

I have a lot of music on my iPod that was copied over from other people’s iPods, and I was exploring the other day on the subway and saw a song called “Cuddly Toy.” That’s just silly, I thought, and decided to listen. What followed was the meanest, most misogynistic listening experience of my iPod’s lifespan thus far. The lyrics:

You’re not only cuddly toy that was ever enjoyed by any boy

You’re not the only choo-choo train that was left out in the rain

The day after Santa came

You’re not the only cherry delight that was left out in the night

And gave up without a fight

You’re not the only cuddly toy that was ever enjoyed by any boy

You’re not the kind of girl to tell your mother

The kind of company you keep

I never told you not to love no other

You must of dreamed it in your sleep

Is that not, um … mean and weird and objectifying? “Gave up without a fight”? Um, creepy?

You know whose song that is? The Andrew Dice Clay Band, you guess?

No no, it’s…The Monkees!

You know they like to Monkee around.

Can you believe that? I specifically remember a “But we’re too busy singing/To put anybody down.”