Before the commitment and before the ring goes on, I mean to say. I was reading a very good book, something about Why Men Marry Bitches, by Sherry Argov. I can’t say I agree with absolutely everything Argov had to say, but there were definitely some pearls in that read.
The one chapter that really stands out for me however isn’t just one that offers women a male’s eye view of how women supposedly pressure persuade a man to make a commitment, she does so with a humour I can’t forget. I don’t remember which chapter it was, but this one killed me (it’s not word for word since I can’t find the chapter now):
Ladies, imagine if you started dating a man you barely knew and you discovered he had a hope chest with pretty ribbons all over it (what), filled with all kinds of treasures a new groom could want to start his new life with his new bride. Then picture yourself walking along with this man you’ve known for about 6 weeks and every time he sees an infant he sighs loudly and grips your arm. Now one day, picture yourself coming home and he’s in his silk boxer shorts and cowboy boots, swinging around a pole and doing a strip tease. Would that make you want to commit to him?
The image of a guy wearing shiny boxers, swinging around a pole like an idiot with a serious look on his face, no inkling that this might be a bizarre scene for anyone walking through the door made me guffaw. Of all the scenarios she painted there, that one stood out for me the most.
Well, that’s it.
Have you noticed lately what a plethora of sexual opportunity exists on the internet? Cell phones, email and social media have made it easier than ever for people to hook up for a hot sexual tryst then never meet again. It’s not that this is a recent phenomenon in human behavior of course. Sexual promiscuity has been a part of civilization since, well, the dawn of civilization. What is it about that innate need (or want?) that drives so many people to hook up, role play, make empty promises they never intend to keep, then go their separate ways? Especially in an era of HIV and many other sexually transmittable diseases, that seems like crazy behaviour, even to people who indulge in it, I’m sure.
Clearly, physical pleasure has a great deal to do with human desire but there is a difference in promiscuity and perhaps, oh I don’t know, remaining faithful to one’s spouse whilst engaging in pornography in one’s spare time, or fantasizing about the neighbor whilst having sex. There’s also the old stand-by masturbation. However, for a fairly significant percentage of the population this just doesn’t cut it anymore. If it ever did. What has increased the amount of illicit sexual contact among people quite arguably is social media and the internet. The fetishes and ravenous sexual desires haven’t increased, just the availability of partners.
Consider the biography of the Marquis de Sade then ask yourself what this sex fiend would have done had he lived today and used social media to lure his victims into his sadistic lair.
Marquis de Sade – (2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814) – born Donatien Alphonse François, the poster boy for S & M, lived only a couple of hundred years ago. Knowing what I know about the Marquis, that’s a little too close for me. de Sade wasn’t a masochist – he was a sadist. Technically, if you’re going to have a true sadomasochistic relationship or encounter with a partner, then at least one of you has to really be into receiving pain and one of you has to really want to give it. You can switch it up of course, so long as this is a mutual relationship. de Sade however wasn’t about mutuality. He victimized people and tortured them cruelly. Creepy dude.
His sexual pathologies may not entirely have been his fault. When he was 4, de Sade was a very spoiled child with a nasty temper. He once beat the French prince so severely that he was sent to the south of France to stay with his uncle. Think about that. When a 4-year-old child beats another kid nearly to death, doesn’t that suggest to you that something is very wrong? Whether genetic, or learned, or what the hell happened, this was one messed up little boy. Fortunately, when he was 6 years old, his uncle taught him all about debauchery (amorality). That was helpful. When he was ten years old he was terribly whipped while attending school for misbehavior. Not surprisingly, this punishment affected him for the rest of his life. Perhaps that’s where the whole S&M thing began.
de Sade was known to be a libertine – the polite word for slut and an undesirable slut at that. de Sade was not only a sadist; in his spare time he wrote books that included fiction and philosophy, and plays and all kinds of literature. Justine and 120 Days of Sodom (about horrific sex orgies) are among his most infamous. Surprisingly, he is known for his erotic work, pornography, sexual fantasies emphasizing criminal violence and lots of blasphemy against (here it comes) the Catholic Church. He loathed morality and all things spiritual. If it had rules attached to it, de Sade had no use for it. Oh did I mention that the uncle he lived with as a child was an abbot in the Catholic church?
A man of disguise, as a young adult de Sade was known to behave like a true aristocrat; he liked theatre, the arts, he was a good reader, and like all aristocratic men of the time, he kept a mistress. I doubt she stuck around when the fun really got going however. He probably went through a few of them.
However it’s all fun and games de Sade style until his sexual perversions got him his last 13 years in an insane asylus. Yep, asylum. And while he was in there, he had some type of relationship with a guard’s 13-year-old daughter. That crafty de Sade. He even completed a manuscript about an inmate who is “persecuted and assassinated under the direction of the Marquis de Sade.”
This man adapted well to his circumstances. de Sade wasn’t truly nuts by the legal definition. There is no such thing as insanity – that is a legal term. Psychiatrists politely term a person with a “break from reality” as psychotic. I haven’t studied de Sade so I can’t attest to whether or not he fit the definition of a psychotic but I doubt it. Sadistic, yes, but he seemed to know what he was doing when he did it; he didn’t experience audial or visual hallucinations, he wasn’t paranoid; he had no delusions of grandeur. He was dangerous, not crazy. What happens when a person’s beliefs and behaviors offend the majority of the populace? They are deemed sick or psychotic and imprisoned.
Now fast forward to the 21st century and social media. Imagine de Sade with a cell phone, a computer, and an internet connection. Yikes. I don’t know how many people he victimized in the 18th century, but I’d bet that number would be a lot higher in the 21st century. Do you think he would have set up a site where he would sell sexual services online? What would he name it I wonder? Perhaps he would offer a webcam for those who like to watch. Or actual in-person meetings for those who wish to take it a step further. The problem is, these people would never be seen alive again. A serial rapist trolled successfully for victims on Match.com named Jeffrey Marsalis (rather similar to Marquis). The Craigslist Killer made international headlines. These were terrible men. Nonetheless, these two social media monsters would have had nothing on de Sade in terms of social media crime, had he been alive today.
You know that cool L’Oreal Preference hair colour commercial where the spokes model (usually one beautiful celebrity or another) encourages women to spend the money on quality hair colour (that’s a matter of opinion), and star makes that cool statement, “Because you’re worth it.” I love that statement. Are we worth it? Damned right.
The idea I am leading up to is this: you’re also familiar with the program Vanity Insanity, an examination of the plastic surgery craze that has swept the nation in the past 10 or so years. Of course you’ve probably googled the internet and seen utterly terrifying pics of before and after procedures that have gone wrong. Worse, there are women and men who believe their bizarre appearance is an improvement on their natural looks. That’s what I call insanity.
I know this isn’t funny but, having a warped sense of humour, I can’t help myself. Combine that sentence with some disastrous cosmetic surgery photographs, and consider what a unique advertisement to go plastic that would be. If you were a plastic surgeon who was actually proud of her/his work and didn’t see anything wrong with an utterly horrifying job, that could be rather humorous. To that end, here is my suggested commercial campaign to all of you surgeons and vanity insanity wannabes out there who just don’t have a sane perspective on so-called surgical improvements to one’s appearance:
Because, You’re Worth It…..
This isn’t the time of year for this stuff, but I read some interesting information about dry drowning recently. It was creepy yet informative. There are all kinds of ways to die of dry drowning. Most victims are children.
Dry drowning , or secondary drowning or near drowning, happens when a person inhales water into the lungs. He doesn’t have to be submerged into water for long. In fact, she can jump in and out of a pool and end up dying of dry drowning. Occasionally dry drowning can happen in the bathtub. But sometime within the next 24 hours their lungs start a massive inflammatory reaction to the water they inhaled into their lungs. In these rare situations, the larynx (voice box) spasms and stays shut, causing involuntary suffocation. Sometimes this spasm is triggered by water droplets hitting the larynx, or a sudden high-speed submersion under water such as off a high-dive or a high-speed water slide.
This is what happens:
Let’s say a child coughs and hacks up water in a pool. The child has a bit of a coughing fit and seems to be fine. However what has often happened is some water gets into the child’s lungs. Occasionally dry drowning can happen in the bathtub. The kid seems fine, walking around, eating, etc. Then suddenly the child literally drops dead or her parents put her bed at night and she never wakes up.
Case in point: Johnny Jackson, a 10-year-old American boy from South Carolina, recently died at home on Sunday from “dry drowning” more than an hour after going swimming. He had a coughing fit in a pool then walked home with his mother and sister. Within the hour, Jackson was dead. Jackson’s mother made the sad comment that, “I’ve never known a child could walk around, talk, speak and their lungs be filled with water.”
Jackson got water in his lungs while he was swimming in a local pool. He didn’t show any signs of respiratory distress, but he had an accident in the pool and “soiled himself.” Sometimes a child may experience vomiting instead of defecating. Both may be symptoms of dry drowning.
Dry drowning can also be a type of suffocation. Water, or a different chemical such as a toxic gas, makes contact with the larynx. The larynx swells up as a reaction to the water that has reached the lungs. Where toxins are concerned, they replace oxygen in the lungs, resulting in internal suffocation. This is why Hitler’s Nazis gassed Jews, and how it worked. More gas than oxygen inside the “showers” (an ironic name) suffocated these people. By the millions.
Another example of dry drowning via gas is the inhalation of carbon monoxide. You know, that colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that fills a room in a house, or a car that is idling in a garage. If enters the bloodstream and decreases oxygen levels, essentially starving the organs of its unsuspecting victims. Corpses of people who die of carbon monoxide poisoning have an orange or red tinge to them; a dead (pun) giveaway that the culprit was carbon monoxide gas.
The good news is, it’s easy to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. A couple received a carbon monoxide detector as a gift and the detector went off. They called 911. The fire department arrived, found readings of 28 parts per million and determined dirty pilots on the kitchen stove were the cause of the problem. To prevent further problems, the couple purchased a new gas kitchen stove with electronic ignition and sealed burners. This story had a happy ending. No lives ended.
Okay, in my defense I have never cougar-ed before. And this situation didn’t begin as a tawdry, one-night stand after having met at a bar or some such thing. It all began innocently enough, I swear. Let me explain before you roll your eyes in self-righteous morality and indignation. My very heterosexual and very sexy, lover-to-be heterosexual hairdresser’s name is Ryan (not true at all – I’m obviously not going to print his real name). He has a beautiful common-law wife with big boobs with whom he has purchased a home. They have a pet. They are engaged to be married next year. Already I can feel my female readers sharpening their claws. Listen, I am not at all interested in breaking up their relationship. And Ryan isn’t stupid enough to walk out on his pretty wife for a woman 16 years older than him. Hear me out, would ya?
Ryan is sexy, 33, tall and thin, dark-haired with the sexiest male voice I have ever heard in my life. He is in the business of making beautiful women even more beautiful and he loves every minutes of his work. It all started when I visited the salon for the second time, I believe it was. He was working on a younger woman’s hair. It was long and black. He had styled it with these large, loose curls. He ran his fingers through it from root to tip to arrange it and the whole time he was telling her things like, “you look like Kim Kardashian,” and “your boyfriend won’t be able to stay away from you,” in that sultry voice. I think Ryan was having a hard time staying away from her and keeping his hands in her hair. I have a feeling he walks around with a semi half the day. Sweet Jesus.
While his adorable junior hairstylist, Dennis (of course that’s not his real name), was working on my hair I began flirting with Ryan. I couldn’t take my eyes off of watching him run his hands through that woman’s hair. And that voice. Ryan could make someone as homely as Courtney Love think she’s beautiful. In fact, he could make the fat lady at the circus think she was hot. I believe you get the idea.
My third visit was unexpected. I asked Ryan to do my hair (stop that, you – the drapes are unique – there is no carpet). I liked his technique better than Dennis’, who is still learning how to style hair (although to his credit, he did an awesome purple shade for me and I’ve lost count of how many strangers have told me they love it). But I digress. Ryan gave me this orgasmic, oops, organic massage while he was washing and conditioning my hair. He took his time about it too. So I took his hand and placed it on my breast. Dennis saw that. He was cutting a client’s hair at the time. He grinned and shook his head then said, “I didn’t see anything.” In other words, discretion rules in this salon. Perfect for a woman like me.
That was all I needed, and apparently all Ryan needed too. Since then we have decided to become lovers. Or at least sex buddies. Whichever. I haven’t done him yet. It’s a matter of time. I won’t crowd him because that’s psychotic. And I can’t pay for a hairstyle every day because that’s expensive. The waiting makes the temptation even sweeter – and more agonizing. There’s something to be said for self-discipline. Who knew? I don’t feel at all bad that I am doing a married man and a man who is 16 years my junior. Men have been having sex with younger women since the dawn of time. Why can’t we?
And that, everyone, is the story about how I became a shameless and active cougar. Stay tuned. There will be a follow-up. I can assure you of that. p.s. obviously the bombshells in this blog aren’t me. I merely add them for visual effect. After all, this whole steamy escapade began with a mirror and a magazine.
1. Buy low, sell high. Oh really? Are you a stock market aficionado? Can you play the stocks along with the best? Even the pros cannot manage the market with perfect timing. The odds of doing this consistently are incredibly low. That means you have to be buying straight stocks rather than mutual funds or a GIC or even Savings Bonds and keeping an eye on how they’re doing. I wish you luck with that. Usually mutual funds or ETFs are the way to go for the middle-class investor. Affluent to wealthy people may have more leeway but even the affluent need a good financial advisor when investing their hard-earned cash.
2. Follow the 1/3 rule. The 1/3 rule in a nutshell: to invest your money in a supposedly wise manner, invest 1/3 of your income in a high risk venture, 1/3 in a moderate risk and 1/3 in a low risk. Seriously? Let’s consider a high risk. Someone wants you to give them a few start-up bucks to open up a restaurant, promising you a significant return, maybe even a long-term venture together. Everyone knows the restaurant business is notoriously unstable. If you are a millionaire, go ahead with the 1/3 rule. Otherwise, what are you thinking? Invest 90% of your funds in low-risk and maybe the rest in moderate – high risk. You can’t afford the risks.
3. Always get a private financial investor or stock broker. Don’t be stupid. That’s like saying always trust a used car salesman.You might be lucky to find a good one and they are out there, but most brokers are in it to win it for themselves. Generally speaking major banks are the way to go. They also have an agenda of course, but there are so many people investing through banks that your likelihood of a good return is significantly higher than investing through someone whose eye is more on her own commission than on your financial well-being. Besides they might be pushing a specific product and that is ridiculously misleading.
4. Open a credit card account but don’t use your card so you can build up a good credit rating. Of course you will use that card. And often. You will tell yourself it’s only for emergencies but your definition of emergency will be pretty lax once you realize how easy it is to pull out that card and ch-ch-charge it!
5. Nix a written financial plan. Okay so you won’t reach every goal you have on the plan, it’s more of a forecast than 10 financial commands written in stone. A good financial plan however offers room for flexibility and allows for set-backs. It is updated regularly to suit your goals and financial situation. You need it and you need a good, certified financial planner to help you make one.
6. Ignore undervalued stocks. This may be smart but an undervalued stock that has good potential to rise is a different story. Your financial advisor at your bank or your certified financial planner (whom you have checked out and are satisfied with his or her credentials) should be able to advise you on this one.
7. Hire an investor without recognizing significant personal and professional characteristics. A good advisor is patient, understands human needs, has no hidden agenda, has strong, verifiable credentials and is without bias.
8. Ignore your retirement needs, it will all take care of itself. This one is huge. you have to do the math in order to predict what you will need to live on comfortably when you retire. You need to allow for the cost of living, inflation, recession, ill-health, the duration of your mortgage payments, and the age you want to be when you retire. These aren’t fun facts but they’re important. You need to invest in an RRSP or ETF portfolio you are willing to buy and hold, or some such thing and contribute to it with every pay check.. It is never too early (or too late if you haven’t begun) to start planning for your retirement. Seriously. That even applies to people who are fresh out of university or college and are still in their 20’s. The sooner the better.
9. An RESP for your kids shouldn’t be a priority. Well, if you cannot invest in your child’s education and your child has to apply for a bank loan or a government loan, the world won’t stop turning. Most of us had to pay for our own schooling. It was tough, but we did it. However one of the best gifts you can give your child is an education and if you can do it, then why not? The sooner you invest in an RESP, the better. It doesn’t have to be a large investment. I started investing for my 6-year-old daughter with only $25 a month since, as a single mother on a $40,000.00 a year income and no child support, that was all I could afford. I increased it to $50 a month only after she reached about the age of 13. It was the best I could do. However, in Ontario the government matches RESP investments dollar for dollar up to $4,000.00 annually. By the time she was ready for college at the age of 18, I had close to $6,000.00 for her, more than enough to pay for a 2-year college program. Who knew?
10. TFSA’s aren’t as financially sound as RRSPs. Not so. The proper use of a TFSA (tax-free savings account) is to hold your money in it for as long as possible. Investing then withdrawing on a regular basis will lead to taxation and that renders it useless. However, sometimes you may need to cash in your TFSA for an emergency fund. It’s a small tax shelter when used properly. It’s great as an emergency savings plan or for a relatively short-term goal, such as a purchase you wish to make within 5 years of opening the account. It’s wise to take advantage of this investment on a short-term basis. If you’re looking for a retirement fund however, RRSPs or ETFs that are comprised mostly of mutual funds are the best way to go. RRSPs tend to be good starter investments for the new investor but they are also very reliable for the middle-class investor who has little risk room.
11. You always need lots of diversity in your mutual funds. Not necessarily. The “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” mentality is a smart one but a more experienced investor doesn’t invest in hundreds of stocks via mutual funds. Those that are tried and true can be highly beneficial and relatively risk-free.
12. Renting your home is throwing money away. Nonsense. It is true that a house is a long-term investment and that home ownership gives a person a feeling of accomplishment. But renting isn’t throwing money away. Going to a casino and gambling away your pay check is throwing money away. if you aren’t in a position to buy, and that may always be the case, there are other ways to invest your money so you won’t be house-poor or cash-poor. When you can’t rent for significantly less than you can own, that can be a more sensible move than buying a home. At least you don’t have to panic when a recession hits, and recession will hit. It is inevitable, especially with financial trading and national economy going more global than ever. Besides, you are locked in to your mortgage and your location when you buy a house. And you are responsible for your own yard work and the repair and maintenance of your own home. Meh. Flip a coin. To each her own.
I’m sure you know of other tips to avoid bad investing (or missing out on good investing). I’d love to hear from you to add them to my list.
Did you know that you consume at least 1 lb of insects and other animal parts every year? I’m not kidding. Never mind the mites that you inhale when you’re asleep, snoring away, or the tiny insects that work their way into your mouth and nasal passages whether you’re asleep or awake. I’m talking about your food.
It’s all about globalization and sustainability. You’ve seen those documentaries that show different countries around the world pan-frying and sauteing all kinds of creepy-crawlies in restaurants and outside at food markets. They serve everything from ants to maggots to god-knows-what. And people eat them! Not just locals either. Tourists like to bravely give it a go. Lots of people love them and eat them on a regular basis. Sounds gross, right?
Well, with the population explosion continuing unabated, we’re simply running out of food. Where will it come from? So many thriving insects that are edible and some people swear, quite delicious, they are a highly efficient and plausible diet staple. And except for the Arctic and Antarctic, they are available virtually anywhere on this earth. They claim 30% of our land surface. Yikes. Greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 18% if insects became a staple in our diets. Yum-yum. Right now, most of us turn up our noses at the thought of consuming insects. Within the next couple of decades however, eating insects will be as commonplace as eating hotdogs and bread.
You might consider yourself a vegetarian but you’re eating meat whether you like it or not. Carnivore that you are, inside your food, and that can be anything from the tiny leafy growths on apples and strawberries, all the way to hamburger meat, a minute amount of insects is legally permitted in your food by the FDA, otherwise, you’d never eat! Insects rule the soil where all our food is pretty much grown so it’s unavoidable to get away from them. And what do cows graze on all day long? Naturally you’d have to expect partly undigested insects in hamburger meat but they’re so tiny you don’t know they’re there.
There are 6 million species of insects. To put that into perspective there are only a few hundred species of animals. Like it or not, they’ve got us surrounded. Insects rule the world. A good thing too: insects eat feces, they pollinate our flowers and crops, and they feed many animal species, including birds and bats. We need insects. They were here long before we were and it’s likely they’ll be here long after we finish destroying our Earth.
It gets worse: fly eggs, rodent hair and feces are also permitted in your food. This may seem like a cruel joke or perhaps an attempt to wipe out the entire human population while being able to claim it was all due to natural causes, but the reason is simple: it is impossible to produce, package and distribute food without coming into contact with parts of insect and animal byproducts, or the entire insect itself. The FDA states that impurities such as these in reasonable amounts don’t pose health hazards. Mind you, the FDA only inspects 2% of our food. That certainly puts their “inspections” into a different light.
Here’s an example of food and insects that are okay with the FDA: canned mushrooms are packaged with a small amount of maggots. Ground oregano is permitted a small percentage of ground insects. And if more than 5% weight of sesame seeds is due to insects then and only then will the FDA take action.
There are those who swear that eating insects will save our earth. I guess it makes sense. Insects don’t require any processing. Cooking them is healthy and pollution-free when done in small amounts. There is such a thing as cricket flour. Eventually insects may even become snack food.
Now that you’re totally grossed out, here’s one consolation: insects aren’t bad for you. In fact many people swear they add nutritional value to the human diet. Well, they are high in protein, zinc, iron and certain vitamins. Myself, I’d prefer not to think about that when I’m eating. I simply won’t indulge in microscopic eyeglasses anytime soon.
Honestly I think that would have been less painful and humiliating than what this jerk did to his fiancée. An American 23-year-old man named Tucker Blandford called up his lovely fiancée, Alex Lanchester, who lived in London, England, and faked being his own father. He sadly informed Lanchester that his son had taken his own life because he had been depressed. He stated that Blandfield had stepped out in front of a car. Sad day, no? Well actually, no.
Lanchester contacted Blandford’s mother to offer her condolences and discovered Mrs. B had no idea what Lanchester was talking about. Blandford’s purpose? He didn’t want to get married after all. Lanchester had already invest about $1,200.00 American in the wedding-to-not-be, and Blandford was probably trying to get out of reimbursing her, although he has since paid his half of the expenses.
Lanchester met Blandford in August 2012 while studying in the US. She met Blandford at the campus cinema in the University of Connecticutt. It was love at first sight, or so it seemed. Lanchester told the press: ‘Tucker was such a gentleman and was always buying me dinner and beautiful vintage jewellery. I’d never been in love like that before. Every Sunday he would take me out for pancakes, it was so sweet. And to celebrate the day we got together, on the 10th of each month we would go out for a posh dinner. The worst thing was the idea that one day I would have to leave him and go back to England. The thought of that was breaking my heart.’
Lanchester organized her dream wedding and set a date on August 15, 2014. She bought a handmade dress from eBay She even agreed to pay for Blandford to fly to Britain to help with the wedding: ‘I went all out even though I had hardly any money. In the weeks running up to his visit I was mad with excitement.”
For his part, Blandford told a reporter: ‘I’m a terrible, awful person. I know I shouldn’t have told her I was dead, but I didn’t know what else to do. Alex is an amazing girl but I got scared and wanted to get out of the relationship. It was moving extremely fast and with us being in different countries, it was really hard.”
The only really hard thing to understand is Blandford’s lousy move when he ended his engagement to Lanchester. Lucky for Lanchester she didn’t end up married to the jerk. I’ve heard of shitty break-ups before but this one tops the wedding cake.
I was watching a Youtube video about black people bleaching their skin with whitening products (btw it’s gauche to call it bleaching – people say “toning”). The largest percentage of women and men who whiten their skin are in Nigeria for some reason. There’s a huge market for bleaching products in that country, as there now is worldwide. I didn’t know there was such a thing as skin whitening products until Michael Jackson turned that ghastly chalk-white. I didn’t believe for a minute that he had that skin disease, whereby the skin’s melanin deteriorates and patches of dark skin lose colour. How stupid are we Michael? He swore on Oprah Winfrey that “it’s a disease!” He certainly did have a disease. It was in his head.
One thing a lot of people don’t know about skin bleach is that the main ingredient is mercury. Uh-oh. Mercury is that stuff that used to drive hatters mad about a century ago. Lewis Carroll aka The Reverend Charles Dodgson, invented the character the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. Johnny Depp did a great Mad Hatter (I always put a plug in for Johnny wherever I can) in the 2010 release of the movie. Depp stated that playing the role “was a dream come true.” Personally I think Depp is a dream come true. Okay enough of that. Men who made hats once upon a time used mercury in the process. Over time it drove them insane (mad). They suffered from brain damage due to the mercury poison, merely by inhaling the fumes. Eventually the stuff killed them. In modern bleaching products, there isn’t enough mercury to cause brain damage, thank heaven, but there is enough to cause skin cancer and God only knows what other health consequences.
A woman in one of the documentaries I watched told the interviewer, “I want to look more beautiful. I got tired of being ugly. I don’t look beautiful when I’m dark.” I’m not sure who put the idea into her head that whiter was prettier. I suppose we can all point fingers at the media and blame it. There is a strong element of truth to this belief. I was surprised at the before and after pictures of Iman, Rihanna, J-Lo, Beyonce, Dencia and Mariah Carey. These are several beautiful women who have worked hard at becoming white. Their before pictures looked gorgeous to me. In fact, Carey looks much less attractive as a “white” woman. When used over a long period of time, skin whitening products can cause nasty blotches all over the face and body. Skin doesn’t always react the way a product claims. And different people’s skin will have different results. Copying a celebrity is usually quite foolish. No doubt a famous person has a dermatologist assisting a celebrity’s skin whitening. Celebrities also use products you’ll never find on a shelf anywhere and you’d never be able to afford anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if laser surgery is the manner in which most celebrities whiten and brighten. Mind you, who knows how these people look when the makeup comes off? There could be horror stories underneath the light brown foundation.
Laser surgery on the surface of the skin is known to lighten brown spots and even out skin tone. Photo facials use a type of laser but the laser a dermatologist uses is much more intense and much more expensive. I suspect this is one of the only viable and safest ways to lighten skin if you are having the procedure done by a licensed, experienced medical doctor, but I don’t know that using it on the whole face is a good idea. For one thing, it burns. Sometimes a preparatory cooling gel will be used on the skin and some machines have a built-in coolant. I will admit i have a few brown spots, probably from sun exposure in my younger years, on the sides of my face that I would love to laser but this whole skin whitening thing sounds frightening to me. I would never bleach it. That is a terrifying thought. Greg Absten, executive director of The Laser Training Institute claimed, “It’s not that hard to learn. But whether the person is a doctor, a phD., or a tech, they have to take the time to learn, they have to care what they’re doing, and they have to have the ethics to know when not to treat something. Those are the safest people in the world because they stick to their limits.” I agree with Absten, with one possible exception. I would always go to a medical doctor for any type of surgery, including that involving light pulsation or a laser. In Ontario, all dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons have to be licensed with the Ontario College of Physicans and Surgeons in order to practice in Ontario. I have never read a single headline about botched IPL, which isn’t to say it hasn’t happened but my bet is that it’s relatively rare. One sensible piece of advice may be to “get a regular facial first before trusting them to give… an IPL treatment.”
A photo facial or photo rejuvenation, uses light-based technology. Photo facial supposedly tone and lighten blotchier parts of skin that seem to arise with aging. It also treats broken capillaries (spider veins). This procedure is not a skin whitening process per se. One type of photo facial is called Intense Pulsating Light, or IPL and it uses short blasts of polychromatic, high-intensity light to damage the melanin that causes “age spots.” Keep the word damage in mind. It darkens the skin spots and broken capillaries first. Then skin repairs the damage within 5 – 10 days and the overall skin tone becomes enhanced. We hope. IPL is touted as a way to boost collagen and elastin. As with every type of “advanced” beauty treatment, there is always a risk. Some spa centres are more interested in commissions than the safety of their clients’ skin. They pressure their technicians to speed up the process so they can treat as many clients as possible in a week, resulting in clients who develop serious skin damage. This is called the turn em’ & burn em’ effect. A discount spa or a college where students perform the treatment should be avoided unless a supervisor performs the procedure while students merely observe.
People with Asian or darker skin should be extra careful as IPL can cause hyper-pigmentation (darkening the skin spots).You can get severely burned if the operator is not careful during the treatment. The burns can be severe and cause permanent scarring, scabs andwelts. One woman had to apply a medical cream every 2 hours for three weeks and stay out of the sun after a technician severely burned her skin. The spa refused to apologize or offer her a refund. The director told her she was “overreacting.” Seriously. I say get a lawyer and go after them. We’ll see how the director “overreacts.” The idea however is NOT to experience this type of damage to your skin. You’ve only got one skin. You need to make very careful decisions about it. Before you proceed with a laser treatment it might be helpful to look at your spots and spiders and compare them with the type of photographs embedded above. On the other hand, the photograph below is how skin looks with an experienced, ethical technician. The problem with skin whitening is it’s hit or miss. And when they “miss”, it’s devastating. “What they have done to me is criminal,” one permanently scarred woman in her 50s stated. “I feel like an idiot.”
A Personal Account
Nature usually knows what it’s doing when it gives a person a certain skin, eye or hair colour. It is our changing perception of what beauty is as we leave childhood and grow into youth and young adulthood that effects how we perceive ourselves. Another woman in the documentary I watched stated, “I started [skin bleaching] when I was in 10th grade. I went to a more predominantly white school and so being dark wasn’t really popular. The darker you were, the more mystery you got. So I just started bleaching my skin to get it lighter.” Certainly there is and always will be prejudice against black people of any nation and race. I got that. But popularity also depends a lot on one’s social skills. I remember a young black man in my high school circle of predominantly white friends and everyone loved him. He had great social skills. He was intelligent. No one commented on the fact that he was black and no one cared. My best friend (a gorgeous blonde, as it were) dated a young Filipino man. We didn’t care in our group. It didn’t even occur to me that he wasn’t white. So what? He was fun, pleasant, and reasonably intelligent. I’m sure you’ve known white girls in high school and college who were hated because of their nastiness. People like to blame the media only, and blame society’s prejudices against their lack of acceptance and popularity and there certainly is that. I’m inclined to agree with that in many, but not all, situations.
Dencia is a piece of work. She should be no one’s role model on earth or in hell. She has 44 EE breast implants (or so it looks). She wears 6 inch glittering, chunky, platform shoes. She wears stretch one-piece cat suits with psychedelic patterns. Dencia (a fitting name – the root word rather sounds like dense), looks like a pop star from Neptune. She is a caricature rather than a person. She promotes a skin bleaching cream called Whitenicious. She claims looking whiter doesn’t mean looking better. Right. She claims Whitenicious is a “dark spot” remover. Why she called it Whitenicious is a reference to “pure.” “White means pure,” she claimed. “A lot of people don’t feel clean with dark spots…everybody needs Whitenicious.” She argued endlessly with an interviewer that the product is strictly for dark spots. Onstage for this interview, Dencia wore brown face makeup. It looked ghastly, very fake. I’m certain that underneath that makeup is a much whiter face. Do you remember when Black Face was an insult? How times change. Guess Dencia has a lot of dark spots. I mean aside from the ones on her character. There’s no cream anywhere that can erase that kind of dark.
Since the 1960s there has been spectacular, golden advice on how to live a healthy, gorgeous life and not put on unnecessary pounds. It’s so Einstein it staggers the mind. Drumroll please…...eat less, exercise more. Ta-daaaaa. That’s it. That adage is still true today. You don’t need pills. You don’t need a personal trainer (unless that’s your thing and you just like having a trainer). You don’t need to buy manuals about “secrets” to a great body that you never knew before. You don’t need celebrity-endorsed b.s. about why they look so much better than you. It’s all crap. Seriously. Those privileged (jerks – haha) people:
- get liposuction
- get tummy tucks
- use fat-deteriorating injections (no kidding – Britney Spears will always do it one more time)
- have enemas to empty their colons (ick – Marilyn Monroe was a fan of that one),
- take laxatives
- hire chefs who cook the most nutritional yet sinfully good-tasting meals
- have a whole team who work on keeping them fit and beautiful. They are an industry unto themselves especially if they want to keep getting movie roles. We just cannot hold up to that. Period.
Kevin Bacon of the infamous Bacon body once told an interviewer that he has to keep his body in superlative shape (those weren’t his words, she was fawning over him…so shallow…I wouldn’t of course because I would have passed out cold already), because he has to be ready at any time to take on a role. His living depends upon it. That puts things into perspective I should think. That and a sense of humour. Bacon isn’t getting any younger either. He recently celebrated his 55th birthday. On Jimmy Kimmel Live he stated quite sincerely about the birthday celebration his family had for him, “my wife spent a lot of time in the kitchen looking for the caterer’s number.”
Having said that there are a few truisms that you have to accept about your life and your body if you are going to be happy:
- your body is not the same at 20 as it is at 50. That’s obvious. Your system changes. Your hormones do a double-loop when you hit menopause (if you’re a female, obviously). You may have sustained long-term injuries or developed an illness you didn’t have when you were young.
- the amount of food you ate at 20 is probably not going to cut it when you’re 50. It does for some people. I like to ignore those people. Either that or push them over a flight of stairs.
- the type of exercise you engage in may change radically over the years. Or not. It’s good to have change in my opinion. It keeps boredom at bay. It’s a learning experience. It’s fun. However, there’s nothing wrong with tried and true. Whatever has seen working for you for 20 years, God love ya. Keep at it.
- Swimming tends to be a great option for most people. It is injury-free. You cannot hurt yourself doing aquatic exercise. It’s a fact. Go ahead and try it. But it doesn’t count if you jump off a diving board into an empty pool. That’s cheating. And stupid.
- regular exercise and a regular, healthy diet are essential. You aren’t 20 anymore. There are no exceptions to this unless you’re in that 10% of people who can still eat whatever you want yet not gain weight or suffer from health defects. You’re in that percentage I want to push over a flight of stairs so watch your back. And your front.
- you are at a stage in your life where your lifestyle change and body changes can be a thing of peace and beauty. No kidding. Accept that you are in a new zone and embrace it.
- the media is idiotic. You have my blessing to ignore it. I do and it seems to be working for me.
- embracing a healthy lifestyle means you’re worth it. You are worth those hours during the week that you spend time walking, biking, running, working with that snotty personal trainer. You are worth the hours you spend preparing healthy meals and snacks. You are worth it.
- You’re worth it.
- You’re worth it. Is that one sinking in yet?
I hate the expression that a woman or a man looks good “for a person their age.” What the hell does that mean? When a person looks good, that person looks good. For any age. Don’t demean yourself or anyone else with that expression. It’s rude and is in no way a compliment. Unless it’s said in this manner “my God! Did you see that 40-year-old woman with the kick-ass body? I should be so lucky! Even now at 20!” I can live with that type of mentality. That is a perfectly complimentary perspective. I am sure you hear that sort of thing all the time because you likely respect your body and live a good lifestyle. I know this because you are reading this blog (don’t you have anything better to do?). Am I in the best shape of my life? Ah, I am not. Do I have the best body I’ve ever had? Not at the moment. My tummy sags too much. It needs work. Overall, I have been more toned, but I am thrilled when I see the results of my self-discipline with my food choices and not spending all my time lounging around like a lady of leisure. I’m not ever going to be perfect, but parts of me are pretty damned sweet. Besides, fitness isn’t reaching a goal. It is an ongoing process. And if it isn’t ongoing then that’s when you “fall off the wagon” as they say and put the weight back on.
This isn’t to say that a little plastic surgery is a no-no. That’s your call. Your business. I don’t judge that (and who would care if I did?). If that makes you happy and takes a little stress out of your life, so be it. Sometimes there are conditions that won’t ever be improved through diet and exercise and if they bother a person, then do something about it. Here’s an interesting example (beginning at 14:44). I’m not talking Heidi Montag. I feel sorry for that girl. She cannot make up her mind for one thing. One minute she has “10 plastic surgeries” in one day. The next day, she regrets it. She even admitted her implants “hurt so bad I wanted to rip them off.” That isn’t self-improvement. That’s a personality disorder. Personally I thought Montag was beautiful before the surgery. That’s how she looked on the right. Not too shabby.
I will add one tidbit (pun) to the adage eat less and exercise more. Eat well along with eating less. Don’t starve yourself yet eat junk and think this is what that expression means. Nuh-uh. In fact, don’t starve yourself at all. You are not an Eating Disorder waiting to happen. Nope, nope, nope. You have too much sense and too much self-respect. After all, you’re older now than you were at 20. You have experience. You have common sense. And you have a love and acceptance for your body and your lifestyle. No one can take that away from you. Excuse me. A woman with a God-given body just walked by. I am certain she is at least my age or older than me. I have to follow her and look for a flight of stairs….
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