1. It's snowing out. Snowing! Does anyone else feel like Mother Nature is going through the change of life, dumping effluvia all over the place at sporadic and completely inappropriate intervals? Yeah. And I bet all the locals are thrilled to have had this lousy weather situation compounded by having it framed as Mother Nature getting her period all over our heads.
...but seriously. Snow?
2. On the train ride home today I was shyly approached by this nearing-elderly gentleman who wanted me to know that I look like one of his favorite old actresses, Barbara Pepper. "She got kind of... big... in later life," he said awkwardly, "but you look like a young her!" Who looked like the above photo, I guess. Not a bad compliment, even if I don't see it at all myself. From the way he talked about her, including his assessment of the various bit parts she had played on I Love Lucy, it was clear he was kind of smitten with her, and while I couldn't say for sure that he was also smitten with me, he did seem lonely and friendship-seeking and kind of forlorn. I told him in the spirit of reciprocity that he looked like David Hyde Pierce (he did look a VERY little bit like him), and while he had no idea who that was he seemed pleased as punch at the remark. He wound up, when he had to get off the train, by telling me that he hoped he would see me on the train again. Since the odds of this are basically nil I was happy to tell him that I hoped so too. I'm not sure why this conversation was okay by me when conversations with strangers, even complimentary ones, usually terrify me (in a social-anxiety sense) beyond all reason, but whatever. Maybe it's because she has an IBDB entry. Maybe that made me feel at home. Even though I didn't know about it at the time.
3. Okay, and then there is this thing with Suri Cruise and the [whisper] P-E-N-I-S gummies. I mean, so first of all, I don't even know why I know that there is a thing with Suri Cruise and the [whisper] P-E-N-I-S gummies. But for those of you not in the know, little tiny innocent four-year-old designer-high-heels-wearing fashionista tabloid star Suri Cruise got hold of a box of penis-shaped gummy candies in some store recently. Like, literally, she found them and she picked them up. Then her mother saw her and made her put them down. Cue gasps! Cue shock! Cue horror! Cue ten million breathless headlines! This is clearly the most inappropriate thing that has ever happened to any child anywhere in the world. So then Katie Holmes is left having to explain herself (obviously she has to explain herself! Her child was exposed to HUMAN GENITALIA in the medium of gelatin-based candy! ON KATIE'S WATCH!), and she goes on the Ellen show to do so (well, and to promote some TV series about the Kennedys that she's doing, but really, guys, the important part is PENIS). And her story is that she doesn't know why those candies were in that store because it's a store for children but Suri just picked them up and when she saw she was so horrified. And she had to try to be very calm about getting Suri to put them away, because if she seemed upset Suri would demand to know what they were, and that "isn't a conversation [she] really wanted to have." And -- just so we really know how horrified she was and how inappropriate this all is! -- she is... incapable of saying the word. Like, she tries to call them "boypart" candies. And Ellen kind of does an eyebrow raise and goes "Boypart?" So then -- ugh, Ellen, the things you make us do! -- she has to spell it. "P-E-N-I-S candies," she whispers. "They were called P-E-N-I-S Gummies."* And then they have the whole conversation premised on how crazy shocking horrifying it was that Suri should ever have seen a thing like this! Because! I mean!
And so here is my thing. I am the last person in the world you would ever expect to champion any penis-related cause. I mean, penises are not just not my thing, they are the opposite of my thing. They are my anti-thing. I do not like them and I am happiest when they are not involved in my life in any way. But when you get right down to brass tacks, they are a part of the human body. I mean, for half the species. They're a normal thing. And I know, I know, penis gummies are not exactly created based on any revolutionary principles of openness about the human body or anything. We're not talking about the Cunt Coloring Book, okay. But a four-year-old doesn't know the bachelorette-party associations of it, or any of the other wacky dirty-titillating-bad! messages our society projects onto anything even tangentially related to sex, which is why, seriously, it is okay to explain to your child what a representation of a penis is. I mean, you probably don't want to make genitalia-shaped jelly candies a routine part of your child's sexual education, but if they come across them, why the hell not just say to them "Oh, those are shaped like penises. They're parts that a boy has, like you have a vagina." (I'm assuming a female kid here, because a boy could probably skip the asking-what-it-is part.) And if the kid says "But why did they make candies like that?", you can say "Because some people like them," or "Because some people think it's funny," or whatever. And if your kid says "That's funny!", you laugh and say "Yup!", or "Yeah, it's silly," or whatever the hell you actually think about it. There is just no cause for horror here. So they're shaped like penises! So what! What do you think your four-year-old is going to care? What do you think they're even going to learn from this? That penises... exist? Because, yes, I understand the connotations that bachelorette-party penis candy has, but I don't have any idea how a four-year-old would understand those things, based on seeing the box. (Which seems to have had pictures of the candies on the front, and nothing else.)
And, yes, I know. Life is different if you are Katie Holmes and you know that your every move is going to wind up headlining six hundred celebrity-gossip websites within a half an hour. But I still don't think you need to model objectively goofy behavior for the world, just because the world wants you to. I'm sorry, but Angelina Jolie would not have been on the Ellen show shamefacedly spelling out the word "penis", and I would have continued thinking that she was awesome for it.
But who the hell cares what I think?
Anyway, I think my point is that someday I will be famous and I will have children and I will give them vagina gummies, just to be a pain in the ass. Only... okay, probably not. BUT I'LL WANT TO.
*And to preempt the question, I doubt it was a network censorship issue. I have been irritated for years that saying "penis" on network television is A-OK, but saying "vagina" is oft-protested and saying "clitoris" requires a battle with the network censors and a disclaimer indicating adult language before the program begins. From the level of discomfort she was demonstrating I expected her to ask whether she was allowed to say "penis", but then she just kept on looking uncomfortable every time she had to spell it, and by the time she had gotten to explaining how she didn't want to have a conversation explaining what a penis (or, I suppose, a penis gummy) is to Suri, I was pretty sure it was her issue.