Commercials

I watched a lot of tennis on TV today and so I watched a lot of commercials.  I bet I’ve seen a few of them twenty times.  What do you figure is the impact on kids of seeing this one over and over again?

Imagine a ticket counter at the airport.  Person after person asks the female employee “Is there any chance of an upgrade?”  One handsome man asks her “Have you thought about being a model?” The thing is, that according to Hollywood standards, this woman isn’t particularly attractive.  I can see an young onlooking mind ask himself or herself “How could she ever be a model?”  How easily sexual stereotypes and the relative valuing of people can be passed down to the new generation.

Here’s the next one:

A chef is working with his two assistants to create a delicious meal, while a technician is installing cable TV in the room.  The boss puts his spoon into the pot and samples the contents.  Then his wrath is turned onto his female sous chef: “You need to taste it first and then season it!  Yuh!  I wouldn’t serve that to my dogs.”  It’s hugely demeaning.  Again, the woman is not what the culture says is beautiful … and seconds later she is gone.  Okay, kids, what did you get from this one?  That it’s okay to insult your employees?  That public shaming is just fine?  So very sad.

And finally:

A young woman’s car breaks down on the freeway at night and she pulls onto the shoulder.  She’s scared.  And she’s alone, except that her dad is on the phone.  “It’s okay, Amy.  Did you put your flashers on?  >  Yeah  >  Don’t get out of the car.  Hey, don’t worry … help is on the way  >  Thanks, dad.”  Due to the phone company, emergency road service will be there soon.  Dad gives his daughter love, calm and safety.  Are you listening, kids?  This is what human beings need.

I suppose you might say that at least there was one humane commercial.  Well, that’s not good enough.  No more nasty chefs and syrupy passengers, please.  Just give me kind human beings.

 

 

 

 

Eighty Women and Me

A few nights ago, I went to the Quarter Auction at the Belmont Arena.  I learned about this event weeks ago and asked around about how to get a ticket.  A couple of women I approached smiled slyly and said that the auction was pretty much a women’s event.  You bring a ton of quarters and bid on items that would enhance your kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

“You’d be the only man!”

Well, there’s a challenge for you, Bruce.  I don’t mind at all putting myself into unusual situations.  In general, I love going to Belmont events because I want to meet people and move deeper into the community.  So I kept searching for a ticket.  And a lovely Belmontonian found one for me.

Up the steps to the meeting room in the arena, throwing a comment or two towards the women who were walking near me:

“I love being the token male.”

“Do you think they’ll be any sports equipment on offer?”

“All these women and me.  What an opportunity!”

Some of the ladies smiled little smiles.  Some seemed to turn away from me.  One girl just laughed.  I was on my way.

I gave the hostess my ticket and strolled into the room.  Faces followed me.  (I love this!)  How did this painfully shy teenager turn into a 60-something who loves being the centre of attention?  Ha!  Ha!  I don’t know and I don’t care.

I saw my friend “Melody”.  She had invited me to sit with her and her daughters and so I did.  They all seemed happy to meet me and were chuckling a bit about my presence in a sea of femininity.  They taught me how to do the auction thing, raising my number 46 paddle high when I was bidding on a treasure.  There was an orange plastic bowl in the middle of the table, ready for the descent of our quarters.  Each item would have a value – anywhere from one to four coins.

There were probably twenty vendors and we did four rounds – about 80 items, of which I had interest in maybe two.  That didn’t matter.  I told myself I’d give away anything I won.  The evening was about fun, not the addition of one more material possession to my home.

As I was chatting with my table friends, I’d sometimes look up, usually to see a woman from afar checking me out and then quickly averting her eyes.  Gosh, I was such an oddity.  Sometimes I’d walk over to the bar to get a pop and some potato chips.  Mostly that was to flaunt my maleness in front of the assembled masses.  Some people smiled.  Some just stared.  Both reactions were okay with me.  As the evening proceeded, my scientific analysis suggested that the smiles were climbing and the frowns diminishing.

I decided to have some fun with my tablemates.  My pile of quarters lay before me.  After a vendor had described some apparently essential item, I’d pick up ten or so quarters and plunk them into the bowl.  “But the cost is only two quarters,” someone intoned.  I grinned silently.  Mouths twitched in wonderment.

Another cool thing to do is drop quarters into the containers of my neighbours when they were looking over their shoulder at a vendor’s presentation.  Ho, ho, ho!  Mostly, my sneaky contributions weren’t discovered but other folks at the table guffawed to see my deception bear fruit.  I never knew I had such a talent for being devious.

The evening’s MC often referred to the “ladies” in attendance and usually added “and gentleman”.  The first time she mentioned me I jumped up and threw my arms to the sky, in preparation for the multiple marriage proposals that would undoubtedly come my way.

I kept hoping that the number 46 would be picked for some prize.  I would again jump up, this time yelling “Yes!”  But it never happened.  (Sigh)

None of the results stuff matters.  I had a blast.  My table friends seemed to enjoy my contribution to the evening.  And eighty women were left to contemplate further the question:

What is a man?

 

Size Matters … Or Does It?

My head is swimming within the illness of the day.  So perhaps you can forgive me for the comment I’m about to make.  Or not.

Part of my sexual apparatus is larger than just about every male on the planet.

If you’re a woman, how does that make you feel?  I imagine most of you would be thinking “What a loser.”  And that very few of you would be panting in anticipation.

At the risk of diving into the world of TMI, I can say that sometime on the weekend, as I got weaker, more disoriented at times, and was wracked by coughing spells, my testicles started swelling.  At this moment, they’re at least twice their normal size.  My very unerect penis is merely a bump amid this mass of flesh.

I went to see my doctor Julie today and received antibiotics for whatever virus I’m living with.  She looked at my testicles and declared “They’re much worse”, compared to her last examination in September.  “It’s not cancer, Bruce.”  (Whew)  She referred me to a urologist who may suggest surgery to remove the five centimetre cyst atop one testicle and a smaller one on the other.  “To deal with the discomfort.”

Sounds good to me.

So here I sit in my man chair, squirming a bit.  It is uncomfortable, especially when I turn over in bed.  More importantly, thoughts of diminished manhood fall over me.  Images of the V-shaped body, the Hollywood smile, the sweaty runner breaking the tape at the finish line, come calling.  None of those are me.  What’s true is that there’s no lessening of maleness, and certainly no sense of being deficient as a human being.  My body is a really cool vehicle that continues to serve me well.  It’s just that right now it’s sick, and bloated in one strategic spot.  Oh well.

Here’s a reminder of everpresent wholeness, whether experienced through a Christian context, or another:

Just as I am, tho’ tossed about,
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!