Friday, October 2, 2009

she won't mince words

Raised a female in the middle class protestant Midwest, being polite takes precedence over being direct. When I'd be direct and not "mince words," I came off as a bitch. When people code their language so as not to offend, a lot of times their message is misunderstood.
As a teacher I'd make people cry--why? Not because the things I'd say were unkind. Because I was honest and direct. Once I sat in a department meeting with a new teacher who kept insisting she couldn't make our monthly meeting--she either "had to teach aerobics or had to coach dance team." Finally I said, "What were you hired for here? To coach the dance team or to teach English? I believe your priority is the teaching contract which obligates you first to department work and second to extra-curriculars and your part-time job at the YMCA." She cried. I shrugged. By cutting to the chase, the drama around her meeting attendance ended and by calling a spade, a spade, I spared the rest of my department further argument about her meeting attendance.
When I spoke to parents, I'd tell them why their child would fail my class. I wouldn't say, "Paul needs to make more of an effort." That's vague. I'd say, "Paul needs to come to class, turn in ALL of his assignments, and participate in class discussions." Boom-boom-boom. Laid out like that, it's pretty difficult not to get the message.
I don't mince words with my children. "Pick up these toys." Period. No discussion. No requests. Clear. Direct. Concise.

I'll cut to the chase on a few topics:

*Roman Polanski, you are not a "fugitive" which implies fleeing from slavery or an oppressive government. You, Roman Polanski, are a rapist. You abused a child.
*Cheri at Blog This Mom writes eloquently on this topic. Go read her post.
*David Letterman, you did not "have an affair." You cheated on your wife. Thanking friends and family for "supporting" you implies they condoned your behavior. I think it's probably more accurate to thank them for "forgiving" you, or "not castrating" you
*Barak, asking the IOC to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago is greedy. America has hosted the Olympics twice in my lifetime, let's give Rio de Janeiro a turn. It's time for South America to be the host continent of this international event. Politicking aside, that is the only fair option.
* You need to read Mary Alice's post from yesterday because it is brilliant.
*To my son's teacher: complaining to me that he's struggling without suggesting a plan of action is merely complaining. Brushing aside my suggestions because you don't agree with them is unacceptable unless you have a different proposal. You're unprofessional, unhelpful and whiny. Shut up.
*To the parent who anonomously objected to our PTA fundraiser because the AVON catalog sells women's underwear and this offends your family values? Women wearing underwear seems more family-friendly and moral than women who do not. It was 3 pages out of a 100-page catalog, surely the bras and slips were more modest than the offerings in the Sears and JC Penny Christmas catalogs. But I'm not engaging in a debate with you. Anonymous complaints do not garner my attention so the PTA agreed to ignore you until you sign your name.
*Mr. B, when we go to the movie store and you want to rent a movie we already own, that is stupid. When you want to rent a movie that we've seen and agree is a sloppy retread (i.e. The Sandlot II), that is lame.

Spill it, reader. What's on your chest? Don't mince words. You don't have to be nice, polite or ladylike over here! I won't call you mean. I'll high-five you and call you refreshingly honest and direct.


  1. Amen on Polanski, Letterman, and the Olympics!

    I'm feeling a bit irritated because a fellow parent asked me to do her a big favor this afternoon and I agreed, yet she has not followed up with the details I need, in spite of an email from me requesting those details.

    I'm also irritated with my scales, but that's a different matter altogether.

  2. I am irritated when I try to explain to my husband that I am having a hard time getting to all the things I need to get to while still being able to maintain a self or even semblance of myself let alone move forward and his advice to me is to relax. Relax! Hmmff.

    It reminds me of when I was in labor having Babou and the nurse kept telling me to relax as I went through my contractions. It seemed to me if I could get a hammer, and each time before repeatedly smashing her finger, I told her simply to "relax," she might know how I felt. And maybe Patrick would, too.

  3. Parents at Desert Cove Elementary school who are not patient enough to wait their turn to drop off their child at the curb, and instead fly up the left lane to take the spot that someone at the front of the line just left - it is just a matter of time before you cause an accident - whether it be with another car, or heaven forbid, hitting a child. I have reported this behavior to the Principal - and there will probably be a Marine Sargeant standing out front of the school during drop-off and pick-up making you get out of your car and do 20 pushups if they witness this behavior. Being late to work is better than sending a child to the hospital - so knock it off!

  4. Jo, a Labor and Delivery nurse once told me to relax. She may still regret it.

  5. My daughter insisted that today of all days to do her own hair. (it also happens to be school picture day) The end result - two pigtails shooting off the side of her head at ear level, one adorned with a HUGE hair bow. Hubby saved the day with the whispered words "picture retakes in one month".

  6. Oh, GG I so need this.

    To my In-laws, coming into our home an hour late when invited to your grand-daughter's birthday dinner is rude. Leaving immediately after you finish your steak (which we kept warm while we waited supper for you) is rude. Not even waiting until we sing happy birthday and open presents is hurtful to your youngest grand-daughter and, well rude. And taking back the present you gave her because you just decided you could sell it at a craft fair, even though you inscribed it for my daughter with her birthdate 2009 is unconscionable. I want nothing to do with such awful, selfish, short-sighted people who think nothing of hurting those around them.


    Now I just have to say it to *them*.

    - Julia

  7. Why are you so bugged about your daughter's hairstyle, 40isthenew30? Are you afraid that others who see a picture of your kid with a non-standard hairstyle will judge you for it? Is it really so excruciatingly important to you that your daughter conform to a particular standard of beauty? Isn't it more important that she is happy and excited to have her picture taken? Why the hairstyle shame?

  8. To 401ishisthenew30 - DON'T have your daughters pictures retaken. Think about how many laughs you will have in 3,5, 30 years about the day she did her own hair. Those are memories that need to be preserved.

  9. Here in the "bless your heart" South, I often come off as a bitch because I don't dance around it.

    I have plenty but I just read an article on yahoo about the guy who took the fall for John Edwards and the baby he facilitated the affair, how he was a creepy hanger on, how Elizabeth Edwards hated him and wrote anonymous blogs about him, etc. The whole thing makes me want to hurl, especially since my sister was IN LOVE with the man and knocked on doors endlessly for him before the Iowa caucuses both times he ran and gushed about meeting him.

    What a dope.

    And take it from me, you'll never feel the same way about the olympics again once you have them in your town. They become common. They are a recipe for corruption (like they need that in Chicago). I've said from the beginning...really Chicago, you don't want them.

  10. My oft repeated phrase is "I'm 47 years-old, guilt trips do not work for me".

    And when I say "Bless your pea pickin' heart" I mean go f*%k yourself. Just sayin'

  11. Glad to see, or more like hear, that you haven't changed dear friend. My dad started saying years ago that "he was 59 years old and he could say and do what he wanted and he didn't care what people thought." I so wish I could do that with my clients! They could be even more successful if they could push their egos aside and listen to me. I have learned it tends to get me in trouble though, so polite midwest girl needs to remain in control to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. But watch out world when I turn 59 years old...I'm flipping the switch!

  12. I'm not sure the comment section would allow enough text for me if I let loose. If I feel really worked up I just watch Real Housewives of Atlanta ... they remind me not to take things so seriously. Not surprising I watched a marathon of episodes today.
    Not that I was a Avon rep or anything some years back but I believe they do have fundraiser flyers or the rep could work with you to sell only some items like say bath bubbles, lotions and shower gel instead of the whole book.
    I do think you have to draw the line in the sand so people know every little thing they feel is their issue doesn't need to be the schools (or your) issue if you know what I mean.
    I wonder if we can start a Real Housewives of Wisconsin series?! I'm in!
    Oh ~ I seen a movie advert for a new Jane Austinish movie a couple of days ago. I can't remember the flippin name for the life of me (have another Merlot why don't I) but I know it reminded me of Pride & Prejudice or a Phillipa Gregory novel. Have you read any of her novels? I have the newest one to read here yet.
    Oh for Pete's sake look at me just rambling on and on and on ....

  13. I thought Letterman had these affairs before he married his long-time girlfriend. That's probably the reason they didn't marry for so long.

    I'm kind of direct myself. It sometimes comes off as rude, but I'm not the kind of person who will tell you what you want hear, instead of what you need to hear.

  14. I will be coming to you for talking to parents advice.

  15. Dear children, when it's freezing cold and windy outside, CLOSE THE WINDOWS AND DOORS OR STAY OUTSIDE!!!!

    I'm laughing over the 'labor' comments: I told a nurse, "I AM pushing NOW so DEAL WITH IT!!" ahhh, third children! No more suffering in silence!

  16. And! RIO! RIO! YAAAAY! Everybody I know in Trinidad is going!

  17. So, there's this guy at work who has a TRULY INFLATED view of his own worth. He wanted to discuss whether it was correct to us the term "versus" in a sentence yesterday. He was prepared to spend 10 minutes on this point.

    After we'd already been through a deck of 5 slides 9 times in the last three weeks.

    I'd really like to tell him to shove his pompousness up ... well, y'know.

  18. I agree 100% on the Olympics. I'm extremely disappointed in Letterman, as he has been one of my favorite people for a very long time.

    Now for my rant...
    *I cannot get you a job in public relations. My friends from my former job seem to think that because I escaped from our helatious chosen career that I have some magic bullet or inside knowledge to help them get out. Here's what it is... I freaking worked my tail off doing research on PR, gathered a bunch of resumes, networked with friends, friends' spouses, etc. until I wanted to puke, and finally after 2+ years of rejection, managed to launch a new career. It was hard work and luck. I make those things happen for you. Nor can I get the HR dept. at the Fortune 500 company I now work for to lift the "2 years of demonstrated experience in field" requirement to get you an interview. I am one person in a 10,000+ employee company. They use a computer to weed out resumes that do not meet this requirement. I have a job and a family... I cannot be the personal career counselor for 25 different people who want to get a job like mine. I'm sorry.

  19. Absolutely. You tell 'em, mama! I worked with a principal who made things clear just the same way. I cried when she retired. She was a "call a spade a spade and don't tell me it's a shovel" kind of leader.
    I'm sure she was called a B**** more than once. She probably laughed.

  20. Did someone SERIOUSLY object to the Avon fundraiser cuz they sell underwear?! ...that's like the people who want to ban 'Harrry Potter' or hate The David Statue being printed in art books. They need to pick up a cause worth world hunger...or anything else really.

    AND- It's a good thing ur direct!! I wish I could be direct and confront people! I always bow out, avoid, or dress what I have to say up(and I can do that REALLY well thanks to my southern baptist upbringing-there's seriously something in the water there that makes u able to talk people into loving what you say!).
    Will you come be the person who deals with direct reactions FOR me?! :)

  21. I don't mince words, either. I am straightforward and honest...and generally able to be that way without being rude or offensive. It's not hard, in fact I think it's easier than working so hard to soft-pedaling one's comments.

    I had a long conversation with Himself this morning (see my latest blog post) and he did NOT like it when I echoed his carefully-worded, very kind statements back to him in a much more direct way. I wasn't mean or disrespectful or unloving, just stating the bald facts of an untenable situation.

  22. You should get your rantypants on more often!

    I can't stop nodding my head and snorting like a heifer. LOL


Spill it, reader.