Friday, May 26, 2006

The Psychology of Confrontation

Have you ever noticed how frightened people are of confrontation--even if it just means the slightest bit of displeasure from another person? Normally, these non-confronters think of themselves as "very good and moral people" and believe the reason they do not confront is to save another's feelings. But in truth, they are so afraid of causing themselves a moment's displeasure, that they will do anything to get out of being direct with another person.

Case in point: one day our office secretary had to be fired. She had been given numerous warnings and told how to improve her performance, but to no avail. She continued to ignore requests to be in the office to answer the phones, call us when patients had important messages and well, you get the idea. Everyone in the office agreed that she needed to be let go, but would not fire her. Finally, I was asked to do the dirty work. As much as I did not like it, I knew that the secretary was bad for business and had to go. Yes, it was a scene. I was direct, told her why we were letting her go and told her I hoped she found other more suitable work. She burst into tears. Naturally, the others in the office had fled.

There have been a number of times in my life that friends, family or others have asked me to assist them in telling somebody no, or give someone information that was very difficult. In some cases, I have done it because no one else would. When my father was sick with cancer, none of my family wanted to tell him that we had hired a nurse to help us as he did not want a stranger in his home. I totally understood but there came a point where we needed medical assistance. No one had the nerve to tell my father and asked me to do it. I did, but not without a great deal of pain and difficulty. But the alternative of having no help was worse.

I sometimes wonder about the difference between people who will confront others in a direct manner and those who will not. I am frequently told that the former group is vicious or insensitive but I think it is just the opposite. It takes a great deal of bravery and self discipline or sometimes kindness to be direct with other people. I am not talking about the kind of confrontation that is just to get one's jollies, like telling someone off, but rather the type of confrontation that makes one unpopular, but is necessary to produce positive, constructive change in the long run. Those who wish to take the moral high ground and lie to themselves about their "superiority" and compassion by avoiding confrontation and having others do their dirty work know deep down what they are. Or they sublimate their feelings by posting anonymously on other people's blogs to say impolite things to people that they would be terrified to confront in the real world.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Is Marriage in Britain on the Rocks?

Here is an article from the Times on the rewritten rules of marriage and divorce in Britain. I found the responses to the debate on the issue of whether or not divorcees should live off their ex-partner's fortunes interesting. I wonder if all of these intrusive rules are why marriage in Britain is "on the rocks?" (Hat Tip: dhdiary blog)

What I find amazing in these divorce cases is that the British legal system sees fit to think that women are entitled to enormous compensation from their rich ex-husbands because they go into the marriage expecting to be wealthy and then, when the marriage ends, they have a "need" to keep up this wealthy standard of living.

Wouldn't the equivalent for men be that a guy expected super hot sex when entering the marriage and once divorced, should be able to expect this from the ex-wife on a regular basis as long as a "need" is present? Maybe men in Britain should bring up this idea to the Parliament and see how it plays out.

The Tea Room

I took my daughter who just graduated from 5th grade to a new Tea Room in Knoxville that features a great selection of teas, finger sandwiches and tiny salads. I had received a gift certificate to this little gem of a shop but frankly, did not think it would be my cup of tea as I imagined a quiet, reserved place full of delicate socialites discussing their latest art, projects, and charities. I, on the other hand, am a loud talker, rather clumsy, and tiny sandwiches are not my thing. However, I admit that I was wrong about the place.

The shop was charming, the staff sported British accents, great tea suggestions and the food was superb. We had vanilla tea with finger sandwiches filled with artichoke and pesto, pimento cheese and salami (which I do not touch but looked pretty yummy). The tiny salad was amazingly good and the atmosphere was luxurious without being obnoxious. The patrons were cheerful and mainly consisted of moms with their newly graduated daughters--mainly from kindergarten. The staff showed my daughter and me their various tea gadgets, showed us how to make decaf teas and gave us some free samples to try. I would definitely go back. Anyone else have a fun rendezvous with their child or children for graduation?

An Interesting Essay

Many of you out there may have already read this essay, The Pussification of the Western Male, by The Other Side of Kim--but I think it is worth re-reading or reading for the first time as it speaks volumes about what is happening to many men in our culture. I do not particularly agree with all of this essay, of course, as a woman, but it does ring true in many areas. Especially where he talks about men not taking a stand against misandry--apparently, it is just easier not to.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Browbeaten into Submission

Now here is a blogger who believes that the proper role for a man in marriage is submission. Actually, the blog of this "Mad Suburban Dad" sounds like it is written by a woman. Apparently, if you don't acknowlege that men should kowtow to women in marriage, act frightened of their spouse's wrath, hide out in a tent like a wuss (see entry 4-4-2006 and 4-11-2006) and say you are "on strike" instead of confronting her, or otherwise kiss up to women at every opportunity--you are pegged as a woman-hater. What do you think--is this "guy's" blog satire or not?

Update: Normally, I do not care what other people write about my blog or me in their own personal blogs--it is usually of little interest. However, in this case of Mad Suburban Dad, I think his blog and commenters speak volumes about the way our society treats men and those of us who are female who do not toe the party line of the virtues of women and the sins of men. Just call them sexist, woman haters, racist or whatever to make them look bad. Sorry MadDad, this type of behavior no longer works--everyone sees through this cheap psychological maneuver.

Mad Dad calls my commenters (and me, by association) "women-haters and the women who love them," yet here are the statements from his commenters regarding myself, Cathy Young, and a woman named Heather:

Well, I have been a reader here for a while now and I have always thought your entries were well written and humorous. I can only hope my marrage is as happy as your is, we should all hope to be as lucky. I went ahead and read those two womens blogs and I have to tell you I am ashamed to be a woman right now. Those two humorless twits are ruining the reputations of women everywhere turning us into nagging humorless bitches who will leave you at the drop of a hat. Accckkkk... they make me sick. I appologize for the rest of us who are not bland, cranky, miserable, lackluster and emotionally repressive.

frankly they sound a couple of jealous ol' BFHs (Bimbo from a Terribly Hot Place ;-)w absolutely no sense of humor to me! I loved the story of the 'well-managed' man and think that tho Mrs Mad-Dad was apparently born a 'Yankee', that she's really a Southern Lady at heart (w all the smarts that being a Lady entails), and you sir are obviously a Gentleman (w all the courtesy that being a Gentleman requires).

Well MadDad, first of all, Heather is an A-hole. You know it, I know it, and the rest of blogland should know it..... I wonder what Dr. Helen & Cathy Young's relationships are like? Tee Hee.

Wow, it sounds like Mad Dad and his commenters are the woman-haters to me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling

The 21st Carnival of Homeschooling is up. I found this post entitled, "That's Mrs. Crazy Freaky Nut Job, Young Man!" to be an amusing response from this mom when others act rather shocked at her decision to homeshool:

No, he won't have a blast at school and I'll be his teacher because I'm a crazy freaky nutjob who plans to teach her kids horribly at home, all the while turning them into recluses who will grow up to live in shacks in Montana and mail letter bombs to people. Make me proud kids! At least, that's what it seems like I say because everytime I mention that I'm going to homeschool I get these very odd looks, like I just told my audience that I have airborne VD or something.

Uhh, I thought recluses who mailed letter bombs to people graduated from Harvard.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Podcast with Mary Cheney

Today, we are talking with Mary Cheney about her new book, Now It's My Turn : A Daughter's Chronicle of Political Life. Ms. Cheney worked as her father's campaign manager in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential election and tells us about the trials and tribulations of the job, starting with the fact that she was targeted by Democrats for being the "lesbian daughter of a Republican Vice President." She discusses being part of a political family, her favorite blogs and their importance in politics and the hostility of the media. She tells us what she wants readers to know about her father--that he is not the monster, killer, robot etc. that the media has touted him as. In fact, he is actually a pretty nice guy and a good father who supported her no matter what.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here or you can subscribe on iTunes. You can hear our previous podcasts at the archive here, and there's a dialup version here.

Please leave comments or suggestions below.

Hey Women, Quit Being So Selfish!

If men were writing the advice columns, is this the kind of advice they would give? Are the advice columns written by women really any less selfish?
John Ford, MD, discusses his concerns with the Shangri-la Diet at TCS Daily.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Portion Control

Remember the old drugstores that doubled as diners in your youth? We still have one in Knoxville---Long's Drug Store has just celebrated it's 50th anniversary and has not changed much at all over the years. What's interesting is, neither have the portion sizes of the food. They still serve portions sizes of the past--it's no wonder people were not as fat in the 50's, 60's and 70's. But Long's is unusual--if another restaurant around here tried to cut back on its portion sizes, I have a feeling that it would not last long. We had a place like that downtown--The Elephant Room, an Indian Restaurant, that served the most petite portions I had ever seen. It was also quite expensive. Needless to say, it folded pretty quickly. Luckily for Long's, the portion sizes are small but so is the price. Lunch for two--$7.16 and a tip.

Carnival of the Insanities

Dr. Sanity's Carnival of the Insanities is up.