Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mad Men

Obvious to anyone with eyes is that I haven't done much blogging lately.

I wish I could say I was having too much fun to blog, but really, I'm just too busy with the complications of life.

I've also paid little attention to television lately, so it was utterly accidental that I came across Mad Men this week. For this I must pop my head back into blog world momentarily.


Watch this show.

AMC has a fairly heavy rerun schedule for it (click on "episode 1 encore schedule" just below the giant picture), including "The Making of Mad Men," which I have yet to see.

It's about the early 1960s...but it's not. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

Two scenes particularly struck me: the moment that Joan whisked the dust cover off the IBM Selectric and told Peggy not to be intimidated by the technology, and Peggy's visit to the gynecologist.

Even though I didn't learn to type until 10th grade -- later in the 60s -- that jump from manual to electric was as jarring as driving a VW Beetle and then hopping out and driving a sports car. And let's just say that I was patronized almost as much at my first gynecologist visit in 1971, although I wasn't subjected to cigarette smoke, too.

I turned 7 in 1960, and I remember it well: the fashions, the cigarette smoke, the sharply delineated lines for men and women and no one with darker skin in sight.

This show is genius.

Now back to temporary blackout.

Monday, July 09, 2007

More about getting shot down

Apparently it's not just those nutty women who are full of excuses for dumping people. Now corporate America's in on the act:

Sprint Nextel is hanging up on 1,000 of its cell-phone subscribers because, the company said, they complained too much.

Sprint Nextel ... which ranked at the top of MSN Money's Customer Service Hall of Shame in April, apparently didn't appreciate when people called their customer-service lines to voice complaints, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. So the company told those unhappy customers to hit the road.

"The number of inquiries you have made to us . . . has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs," Sprint said in its [Dear John/Jane] letter.

However, the jilted customers get a consolation prize: their balances have been zeroed out and their early termination fee has been waived.

Thanks for not charging your customers for getting dumped, Sprint Nextel!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

If She Doesn't Want to Date You, She's Probably Nuts

I've logged on a dozen times today and I even though I have no time for this, I can no longer remain quiet about the first "story" that AT&T offers me on the homepage today. Here's the teaser:

Guys Reveal: 'The worst turn-down I ever got was...'
Rejection is never fun, is it? Comfort yourself with the knowledge that some of the women who dole out these turn-downs could be, well, a little bit nuts.

Shall we scan these nutty shoot-downs quite apart from the comments made by the puff piece's author or its "expert," Dr. Lillian Glass?
"I was told that I'm too neat. Neat?!" —Gary, 56, Toronto, ON

"She told me it wasn't a good idea because she was anemic and was having her period." —Joe, 54, Justin, TX

"She didn't think her father and I would get along." —Curtis, 43, Jacksonville, FL

"One woman told me I was too intelligent for her. Sure." —Ray, 37, Raleigh, NC

"A woman told me she was probably going to be too tired the night I asked her out... but she told me this two days ahead of time." —Kevin, 41, Dallas, TX

"A girl I liked said she wouldn't date people born the same month she was." —Greg, 22, Wilmington, DE

"A girl said that her car broke down and gave me a big, long story about what was wrong. Only problem? I have a car and could have driven her. Plus, I'm a mechanic." —Wally, 20, Chicago, IL

"She told me she had to go buy the donuts for her Singles with STDs group. Point taken." —Greg, 32, San Diego, CA

Ok, I'm old, so it's entirely possible I have no idea what I'm talking about, but it seems to me that even though many a woman will go after a man who interests her, males still do much of the pursuing, especially cold-call pursuing (no prior acquaintance or even across-the-room flirting).

Again, call me on this if I'm wrong....

But as old me remembers it, a lot of men just won't take no for an answer. And the more attractive the woman, the more likely she'll be pursued by an overabundance of Randy Romeos.

If no doesn't work or if the sheer volume of unwanted advances gets a gal down, what then?

Well, mentioning menstruation will make him move.

Saying "STD" sends him slinking away.

Most of the rest qualify as clever putdowns. Telling a man he's too intelligent? (rejecting him with flattery) Telling a mechanic she can't see him because she has car trouble? (signalling she has utterly no use for him) Planning to be tired in two days? (an update of the "I have to wash my hair" meme)

Dealing with unwanted advances in a less-than-forthright way might be breezily classified as passive-agressive (and Glass uses that term), but fending off an advance with sarcasm or even a tall tale is simply not the same thing as "nuts."

It's dismaying that a female psychologist and a female writer would characterize women who reject men's advances in clever form as "nuts," an "embarrassment," "insecure," "hostile," "a liar," and "evil." Yet those are Ascolese's and Glass's words. That two women, one a purported communications expert, have pronounced these women (who just want to be left alone) as evil, insecure, hostile, embarrassing, lying fruitcakes suggests how deeply the idea runs that men have the right to expect that their advances will be welcomed. Anything else from women is a display of mental illness.

No wonder the women don't just come out and say hell, no.

Author Caitlin Ascolese breathlessly leads into the putdowns with "for once, guys, it might really be them and not you!"

No, Ms. Ascolese. It's still the guys.

And you're not helping any.

Separation Anxiety

My Netflix membership has changed my life. I've given up a bad habit or two (never you mind what) to make time for the films and I reward myself with a movie at the end of the day if I've been productive. (Or need to console myself because I haven't.)

I stand staring at the movie selection in stores in wonder because I needn't buy a single one of them. I "own" them all. I just pay Netflix a few bucks a month to store and ship them to me.

But sometimes it's hard to let the movies go back. I want to tuck them on my shelf, or buy myself a copy to keep. So far I've resisted the urge.

But it was so, so hard to return Capote and The Remains of the Day. So hard.

Now you know something about me.