“Women, Weight and Etiquette” by Jill Shell (Guest Blogger)

Women, weight and etiquette by Jill Shell, Family Friendly Mommy Blog, Daddy Blog

When it comes to weight, I openly admit it; I am a little sensitive about the subject. Weight is such a personal thing and in our society, seeing a certain number on a scale or looking a certain way seemingly gives value to a person.

That’s not the way it should be, but it often appears that it is that way.

I’ve always been conscious about my own weight and have spent years being self-conscious about the way others perceive my weight, but never more does this subject come to light than when I am pregnant.

I feel it when I walk into a room and eyes immediately go to my stomach, or by the multiple comments from people evaluating how I look being pregnant. I absolutely hate it and let’s face it, if you are pregnant, it is inevitable that you are going to gain weight and watch your body morph into something different than it once was for the beauty of giving life.

So why then is it so hard for others to understand that concept as well? I’m always amazed by the things people tell me during pregnancy, and it all comes down to this . . .

The only thing you should ever say to a woman (pregnant, or not) is “You look great!”

You really have no business saying anything else about her overall appearance, specific body parts, the way she looks that day compared to any other day, or what have you. Because of the value our society places on the way a person looks, it’s really demeaning to say anything more than that.

Again, I am super sensitive about the issue and maybe it’s the hormones from pregnancy helping me to over-analyze comments, but with every comment that is not, “You look great,” comes the realization that someone was looking at me and making a judgment about my appearance.

Take for example someone told me recently that I looked great and followed it with “You look better than before.” In my heart, I know what that means (and that there is nothing negative behind it), but truly it makes me question what I looked like before. Was I really that hideous?

Also, if I pick apart and downgrade specific parts of my body, isn’t the “PC” thing to do to negate what I just said (even if you really think it is true)? I know this is my fault because I lay it out there and sabotage myself, but when I talk about how large my rear end is getting . . . the last thing I want you to do is agree with me.  I was dumbfounded when I had mentioned my growing extremities to a colleague in the hallway and about 10 minutes after I made the comment, she brought it up (out of nowhere) and agreed with me.

Really?! Did you think that was going to make me feel shiny and bright because I’ll tell you what, that had quite the opposite affect?

I admittedly am a sensitive woman when it comes to weight and appearance, but I don’t think I’m all that different from other women out there. As humans, we should want to do and say things that make others feel good about themselves and never put doubt where doubt is unnecessary.

The moral of the story is if you want to compliment a woman on how good you think she looks and shower her with a little adoration (especially at a time like pregnancy when there is a lot of doubt), simply say…

“You look great!”

And leave it at that.

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Dads are From Neptune, Moms are From Pluto

June 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm , by 

Seven months.

The DadabaseWhat do some parenting blog titles reveal about certain insecurities that we may have as parents?

Back in March when I was trying to figure out what I was going to rename this dad blog for Parents.com, obviously the first thing I did was to Google-skim (I made that word up but I assume you’re hip enough to get it) the Internet for inspiration and to check out my competition… I mean, my… fellow dad bloggers.  During my 43 minutes of research, I picked up on blog name patterns for both dad bloggers and mommy bloggers.

The dad bloggers who were more vulnerable and self-depreciating with their blog names often focused on the fact that they didn’t know what they were doing, with titles like “Rookie Dad,” “Thingmababy,” “Daddy Knows Less,” and “Daddy’s In Charge?”.

Meanwhile, their mom blogging counterparts often focused on their attempts to organize the chaos of motherhood with “Three Kid Circus,” “And Then She Snapped,” “I Want a Nap,” “The Tightrope Walk,” “The Life of a Juggling Mom,” and “Cinderella is Falling Down.”

If I were to extract the assumed meaning of this particular pattern I discovered, it would be this: Dads want to be helpful and productive, but don’t necessarily know what to do by instinct.  And moms more instinctively know what to do, but they just don’t always have enough energy, “sanity”, and/or time in the day to get it done.

So I assume if these characteristics are at least somewhat true for those of us who blog about our daily parenting experiences, they are typically just as true for the parents who don’t blog about it.  There’s a reason why these blog titles I’ve mentioned do indeed ring true with readers.

Evidently, dads have the energy, sanity and time to get the job done, but not the know-how.  Conversely, moms have the know-how, but again, not the energy, sanity, and/or time in the day to do it.  As dad-and-mom teams, we have everything we need to pull this thing off.  It’s a matter of working together to win this three legged race.  Actually, we don’t even need to win the race; all we have to do is run it.

Or hop it.  Or walk it… whatever it takes for the family to move forward, together.

How can you enhance your own parenting skills today? Communication: Ask your spouse for help and be vulnerable enough to tell him or her the ways you feel sub-par as a co-parent. By nature, it’s easy to want to help someone who is being humble enough to ask for your help than someone who is complaining for lack of it.

I guarantee that your spouse abounds in the things you lack as a parent.  And have thi sconversation with them: Acknowledge that one of you often feels like a third wheel who tries to contribute in caring for your child, but often gets discouraged by not having the instincts to know what to do when it comes to parenting.  And that the other person often feels overwhelmed by the never-ending list of stuff that needs to get done. Then work out a plan accordingly. Then act on it.

We can allow ourselves to remain frustrated by our deficiencies or we can celebrate and make good use of each other’s goods and services.  As for me, I’ll always choose working smart over working hard. And working smart, in this instance, means confessing my weaknesses so that my strengths can be best utilized in both marriage and parenting.

All pictures were taken courtesy of Dave Stanley at Little River Falls in Fort Payne, Alabama.

 

Why There Can Be No Male Equivalent to the Jordin Sparks Song “I Am Woman” or “Independent Women” By Destiny’s Child

I’m so vain, I probably think this song is about me…  

Thursday night on American Idol I watched Jordin Sparks perform her latest single, “I Am Woman.”  In the likeness of so many popular songs celebrating the empowerment of (single and independent) women, the lyrics of the chorus go like this:

I am (I am) woman (woman)
I am (I am) woman (woman)
I’m a woman
I’m a woman
Yes I am
Ain’t nobody else can do it like we can

But what if instead of Jordin Sparks singing the song, it was the dreamy Scotty McCreery, and he changed to lyrics to be masculine?  No one would hear, “I am man, yes I am, ain’t nobody else can do it like we can.”  Instead, the song lyrics would be perceived as “I am conceited, I am narcissistic.  I’m a jerk.  I’m a sleezebag.  Yes I am.  Ain’t nobody more of an a-hole than guys like me.”

Is this a double standard- that women can sing songs about being proud to be independent and successful, but if a guy did the same thing, he would either A) not be taken seriously or B) become despised by women?

No, it’s not a double standard.  Because only in recent decades has it truly become acceptable to desire for men and women to be socially equal.  Women have had to struggle to get where they are in society today, but men haven’t had to play the underdog gender throughout history.  So it’s ironic to the point of extreme arrogance for a man to boast about his successful independence.  I’ll illustrate this further my “masculinizing” the lyrics to “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child.  I’ll emphasize the very worst parts in bold print:

What you think about a guy like me?
Buy my own car and spend my own money
Only ring your celly when I’m feeling lonely
When it’s all over please get up and leave

Please don’t call me baby
Cause I’ll call you
Don’t mean to hurt you feelings, got a lot to do
Cause I am my number one priority
No falling in love, no commitment from me

All my independent men
Throw them hands up at me
And all my sexy men
Throw them hands up at me

All my money making men
Throw them hands up at me
All my baller men
Throw them hands up at me

How you feel about a guy like this?
Try to control me, girl you’ll get dismissed
Do what I want, live how I wanna live
Buy my own golf clubs, and pay my own bills

Where my males?
Where all my men?
How did you feel about this groove I wrote?
Hope you got the message men take control
Don’t depend on no woman to give you what you want
Keep that in mind next time you hear this song

If you’re independent
I congratulate you
If you ain’t in love
I congratulate you
Do them girls like they used to do you
If you pimp her
I congratulate you

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule that guys can’t/won’t/shouldn’t brag about their gender in a song, like Brad Paisley’s “I’m Still a Guy.”  But hopefully most people would realize that song was meant to be an innocent, humorous caricature of men.  Maybe another exception would be so many of Kanye West’s songs- but even then, he’s bragging about himself being awesome, not about men in general.

‘Obviously, it’s important that women are socially and economically equal to men. But do women also want to be A) physically equal and B) emotionally equal? And C) does it help a woman in the business world to “act more like a man” by “being less emotional?” And D) do I sound like a jerk or at least naive for asking any of these questions?’

I asked the above questions word-for-word on Facebook for some input.  Based on the answers I received, here is how I would answer those questions:

A)  No, there is no desire to be physically as strong as a man.

B) No, there is no desire to hold in emotions the way men do, or at least they way they seem to do.

C) It can.  And this is a good example of an actual double standard between the sexes.

D)  No, because the motives are sincere in asking the questions.

The most sober and sobering thoughts I can learn through this social survey is that men and women are different for a reason.  They both have their own strengths in which they can compliment each other with.  Imagine how life would be in this world if men and women were truly equal in every way.  Scary, if you ask me. I would have to give birth, express my emotions, and never be able to truly “think about nothing.”  My mind would never stop and I would constantly be thinking about at least 10 different things at once, all the time.

That’s way too exhausting even for a strong, confident man such as myself.

dad from day one: Pickles and Ice Cream

Thirty-four weeks.

So the legend goes, pregnant women get crazy cravings for weird food combinations.  The token pairing of pickles and ice cream has become so familiar that it’s now a swanky maternity clothing store.  But is it a funny cliché or simply a reality?  For us, it’s the real deal.

Though my wife has not once dealt with morning sickness throughout the pregnancy, she has definitely battled leg cramps.  Of course, I’ve documented how she’s overcome them, by giving her body a surplus of the nutrients the baby is taking.  Yet since then, as our baby has been getting much bigger, the discovery of pickles (which provide electrolytes) and ice cream (which provides calcium) has helped ensure those leg cramps are kept at bay.

And hey, I’ve got no complaints.  Last Friday night we had to make an “ice cream run” after dinner at the house.  She chose a box of fat free Vanilla frozen yogurt, while I chose a low fat French Silk Chocolate.  As usual, she liked mine better.  Her secret to eating low fat ice cream is this- add two spoons of peanut butter and a little Hershey’s Syrup.  Some might think this defeats the purpose of low fat ice cream.  We’d rather live in ignorant bliss.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

Writing for Readers (and Reading the Writings) of the Opposite Sex

Are most of my readers men or women?  Let’s take a look at the demographics of Scenic Route Snapshots…

I like to keep up with the demographics of my readers, as best I can, by checking to see which posts are consistently the most popular and also by seeing which keywords are the most commonly searched phrases.  Because while I do write creatively and freely, I also want to be able to cater to “revisitors” to give them something worth coming back for- hopefully ending up in that coveted “Favorites” tab on their computer screen.

Another good indicator of who I am attracting as readers is by looking at my “tag cluster cloud” on the right side of the screen, entitled “What I Write About the Most”.  These are the topics I label myself to help readers in the WordPress community (the website franchise this site is published through) find posts about a particular subject they want to read about.  The more times I publish a post with that “tag word”, the larger it appears in the cluster cloud.  Here’s a breakdown of the tag words currently in my cluster cloud with an according “gender predictor” with each one:

Masculine: manspeak, men, wife

Feminine: Ali Fedotowsky, baby, Chris Harrison, dad from day one, Jake Pavelka, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette

Neutral: 1983, ABC (the network featuring LOST and The Bachelor, which I’ve written countless recaps for), America, American, Bible, blog, blogging, blogs, cancer, Christian, Christianity, coffee, comedy, déjà vu, English, facebook, family, Fort Payne, friends, funny, God, Google, Italian, Jacob (from LOST), Jesus, Jewish, Jews, life, LOST, Nashville, Nick Shell (while I am masculine, I appeal to both genders, as this particular post will explain), people, Starbucks, Thailand

While it appears to me that most of the topics I mention in my writings are gender neutral, the ones that are specifically feminine do outweigh those which are specifically masculine.  And even then, through the Manspeak series (categorized as “masculine”) is written to explain the way men think and speak, I’m inclined to assume that more women read the series than men, to understand their boyfriends, husbands, sons, and fathers.  (Click the title to get to the main Manspeak page: Manspeak, Volume 0: Introduction).

My estimate is that is that at least 85% of my readers are women and no more than 15% are men.  Not only do my Bachelor/Bachelorette recaps increase my female readership, but also so does my dad from day one series, which chronicles my thoughts as an expecting father. And that’s a peculiar thing to me- that I can write so frequently to the appeal of the feminine mindset, which works so differently from my own.

It’s happened throughout the course of history; from the Bible being written by all men (though there are countless female protagonists like Ruth and Esther) to the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling (whose real name is Joanne Murray, but who was strongly encouraged by her publisher to use a more masculine pen name that would better accommodate her targeted audience of young boys), men and women have been successfully writing for not only their own gender, but for the opposite as well.

But even though men and women think so differently, more important is the fact that People Who Write share a common trait with People Who Read: an artistic drive that supersedes gender differences.  I am completely bankrupt when it comes to sports trivia or fixing a garbage disposal, but I can come up with something new and creative to write about everyday that connects to the appropriate readers.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen for supporting my masculine-and-feminine-friendly writings.


Readers’ Expectations 6: Smoking Muppets, Legal Personalities, and Scottish Seinfeld

Typically, I publish a new post from the Readers’ Expectations series about once a month, after I’ve collected a handful of absurd searches people typed into Google to find Scenic Route Snapshots.  But within the past week, I’ve already met my quota.  So after only a week since the fifth installment, here’s #6:

“smoking Muppets mccarthy”- The only way I could see this happening is in a public service announcement with the McCarthy dummy smoking a cigar next to Kermit the Frog who has a worried look on his face, caption reads: “If you smoke, I’ll croak!”

“why saunas are awkward”- You know, I can’t really see how a public sauna could be awkward, other than the fact that only a loosely wrapped towel around your waist is the only thing keeping complete strangers from seeing your Netherlands, and keeping you from seeing theirs.

“why it’s so hard to meet single women”- A few clues: Stars Wars t-shirt tucked into black sweatpants, neon slap bracelet, Aviator glasses, horrible mustache, Doritos-stained fingertips.

“legal personalities”- It’s so hard today to live in a society where so many personalities are currently outlawed.   Like “outgoing”, “positive”, “friendly”, and “optimistic”.  Things have never been the since ever since the Soviets took over.  I mean…what I meant to say was… Communism is the only way!

“my public dreams”- The only way to outdo a reality show these days is to publicly display a person’s dreams on national television.  Participants are hooked up to a special device that broadcasts their dreams for everyone to see on a giant monitor, including the The Naked in Public Dream.  From James Cameron, director of Avatar, coming this Fall on Fox: “Your Worst Nightmare”.

“Seinfeld Scottish”- Growing up in a hometown that officially had no Jewish households, I clearly understood that Jerry Seinfeld is Jewish, not Scottish.  I’m trying to imagine Jerry Seinfeld in a kilt, playing the bagpipes, saying, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that, brothah…”

Readers’ Expectations 4: False Witness Memories, Jon Lovitz in Drag, and That Urban Legend About Women on Adrenaline

It’s been over a month since the last time I took a few minutes to share the most absurd Google searches that people used to find my website (Readers’ Expectations 3 on May 7th).  Now that enough bizarre key words have washed up, it’s time to check them out.

“how to photograph the Hollywood sign”- Well, first you get a camera.  Then you go to Hollywood and stand in front of the sign.  Press the correct button on the camera.  Bam.  You’re done.

“false witness memories”- Is it easy or is it difficult to remember memories that don’t exist?

“Jon Lovitz in drag”- That’s the ticket!

“women defecating”- I don’t know which is worse: The fact that some sick guy out there wants to see a woman doing “#2” or that somehow what I’ve written about something that in some jumbled sense, comes out similar to what he was looking for.

“brian winkles fort payne”- Brian Winkles was one of my best friends growing up.  I’ve referenced him a few times in my writings.  Either he Googled his own name or… looks like somebody’s got a secret admirer… woo-ooo…

“nick shell sugar”- I feel proud of that fact my discovery that consuming one tablespoon of sugar is equal to smoking one cigarette is becoming a world renown, sought after article: healthnutshell: A Tablespoon of Sugar or a Cigarette?  Oh, and… That’s “Doctor” Nick Shell to you…

This is the best you're gonna find, Mister.

“a pickle driving car”- Yeah, that’s cool.  A lot of people out there are looking to learn about that these days.  Also popular, “a pickle directing traffic”.

 

“women on adrenaline urban legend”- Did you know that one time, there were these women, and they got all hyped on adrenaline, and oh boy,  you’ll never believe what happened…

“famous painting”- Oh… That famous painting…  Yeah! I love that famous painting!  It’s hanging up on my wall.  Interesting, sounds like we’ve got a lot in common- you and me.  And the famous painting.