‘Tis the Season for angry outbursts. If you’ve been to the mall lately, you know what I mean. Just like those harried shoppers, I too am ready to explode. You can’t wait, can you? Oh, I remember how much my discerning readers relished that previous rant in which I shouted into a megaphone about the ‘Gender Police.’ This time I have four things to rage-at-large about, and in fact can barely contain myself. Some people assume that partners should act as sounding boards, obligingly listening to our continual whinging and moaning. I disagree, and try not to burden my man with every little pettiness. After all, that is what this blog (and you lovelies) are for. Now where should I begin?
Let’s start with today, when I became a potentially violent pissy-pants at the gym. As I strutted into the ladies’ area wearing my shorty-shorts and look-at-my-cleavage tank top, I noticed that two teeny newbie women were watching me. ‘They must be impressed with my musculature, which is increasingly visible as I eat clean and lean out,’ I thought to myself. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I inadvertently made a kissing motion toward my reflection and whispered: ‘Oh yeah, you look good, you hotly arrogant bitch.’ You can therefore imagine my surprise when one of the 80 pound waifs turned to her friend and declared: ‘I am so afraid of getting big muscles, which I absolutely do not want.’ Clearly, however, she did want me to overhear this statement because she had pronounced it in a very loud voice. That is when I pictured my sweaty gloved hands throttling her delicate throat, while I snidely made the following remark: ‘Not to worry, you little pussy. It takes years of heavy weight training and protein ingestion to grow muscles like these. Rest assured that you can use those five-pound dumb bells and ride the elliptical machine every day for a year and still remain the skinny-fat conformist weakling that you are right now.’ I mean, did she seriously think that I had developed my bulging calves by accident, while doing Jane Fonda or something? Here is what stopped me from confronting these adorable ladies: I am now officially an employee of the gym, teaching revs [ie spin] classes every Friday at noon. I must watch what I say to such ‘clients,’ lest I get fired. I should note that I will no doubt be dismissed from this job, probably sooner rather than later, since I am notoriously incapable of following any and all rules. That is why I am a professor. My goal is simply to be a group ex instructor for at least a few months before getting my ass kicked out the door. Anyway. Guess what happened when the same two women showed up in my class later, pedalling slowly with light tension so as to avoid breaking into a manly sweat? I gave them the evil eye and shouted: ‘If you actually came here to work out, then you had better turn it up!’ In my mind, I added: ‘You fucking little princess cunts.’ Think I might be over-reacting? Well maybe, but just consider the week I’ve had….
Picture me grading student papers the night before revs while sitting at the Second Cup—my favourite café with the big tables had closed early—drinking bad lukewarm coffee while muttering to myself: ‘Fuck my life. Fuck me and everyone else in the ass.’ For you see, as I read through the essays, many of which butchered the English language without a trace of logical argument in sight, I was becoming suicidal. I first considered sticking a giant knife in my eye, and then pondered the physics of hanging by TRX. Trust me when I say that only fellow university professors can truly feel my pain. Earlier that day I had handed back to students the short visual analysis papers they had written for my large Renaissance art survey course. Graded by my inscrutable teaching assistant, I had encouraged him to ‘go easy’ on the students, awarding them high marks if they had followed the assignment outline in any way, shape, or form. Imagine my alarm, then, when about five of the 80 students who had received an ‘A’ demanded a meeting, wanting to know why I had ‘taken’ away two grades. Was it the poor spelling, or, god forbid, their failure to indent? I was flabbergasted, realizing that these pupils—shout out to the non-complainers!—assumed that they had begun with 100 points and then had lost some for various insignificant reasons. ‘Oh no,’ I explained calmly, a steely glint in my angry bird eyes, ‘you start with zero and then earn your grades, and then get more than you deserve, benefitting from longstanding and widespread grade inflation, which is supported by continual student bullying.’ When will someone take me to the fucking scaffold and have the fucking horses pull my limbs off one by one, like that lucky chap Damiens?
But wait, there’s more: I officially demand to know what kind of political mix-up caused thousands of multi-coloured holiday lights to be moved from their usual public park setting and vomited up on the relatively small hospital grounds near my condo! Oh, so you think I’m a humbug? Well, just imagine what I have to look at every night: glowing mounties conduct a musical ride around the parking garage, heading toward an action scene of the Edmonton Eskimos kicking a field goal toward Santa’s sleigh, which is being pulled by about 20 crowded reindeer, all presided over by a red behatted Loch Ness monster. Now that makes a lot of fucking sense for Xmas in almost northern Canada. [Aside: I remember my rosary toting mother disapproving of the short form ‘Xmas,’ saying that it was ‘like putting an X through Christ.’ Telling me that was a big mistake.] For me, the only good thing about Xmas is said Xing out, as well as the fancy baked goods that I meticulously create with high quality ingredients and then give away. That’s right. Get ready for some delicious delights, my local bitches! I otherwise refuse to participate in the whole consumer gift exchange thing. BTW, fuck you lifesavers candy book that gets smaller every year! At this point, I should admit that I like the Xmas carol that commands listeners to ‘Fall on your knees!’ but probably for the wrong reasons. Back to the matter at hand: If my tax dollars paid for those lights to be set up and then brightly lit every night, I will go ape shit. That money could obviously have been better spent on funding an artist-in-residence. On a related point: I hate conservative bull shit, especially those ignorant people who think that art and culture are ‘extras’ somehow produced by the economy rather than being fundamental parts of the economy. Many think this way, but this past week after a taxi driver learned that I was a professor, he immediately stated: ‘You are all liberal and left wing!’ I did not respond to this outburst since I am not acquainted with all professors, and feel unable to comment on their political views. Apparently, he was rather comfortable with it. ‘I am a capitalist,’ he stated proudly, ‘and I actually care about money.’ Well, not to be snotty, but I could not help but think that my own arts education had awarded me with an annual payout that was probably more than double his taxi salary. In what kind of narrow, sad world does he live?
And finally, we have reached my fourth bitch-fest paragraph. Are you as exhilarated as I am right now? Probably not. It concerns critiques of my FFG project, and I will try to keep it short. As you may already know, various online commenters, radio interviewers, and colleagues have noted that my competition preparation ‘could not have been healthy.’ Yes, it goes without saying that eating large amounts of protein, working out every day, and doing yoga regularly are far less healthy than hunching over a desk with shapeless shoulders and a pot belly full of fermenting cheese. Why on earth do people who know nothing about fitness think that they have the right to judge my research? After prolonged contemplation, I have concluded that it is because I have asked for it. By deliberately reshaping my body, I have in effect held up a sign saying ‘please let me know what you think.’ Since I obviously give a shit about my appearance, I must therefore give a shit what everyone else thinks about it. Wrong! And even though I am undoubtedly fitter and stronger than my critics by any number of quantitative and qualitative measures, these measures do not interest me. Instead, I am concerned with the historical and cultural construction of the category of health, as well as its enforcement and the various kinds of resistance to it. Maybe those who designate my project ‘unhealthy’ could take a step back to consider their own assumptions, engaging in some thinking, reading, and learning. All I can say to them is: God fuck you merry gentlemen.
Ah, I feel so much better. Thanks for listening! I would now like each and every one of you to go outside, or at least stick your head out the window, and at the top of your lungs shout: ‘Fuck fuck fuckity fucksticks!’ This is what the FFG doctor has ordered for guaranteed stress relief.
I must admit, however, that the past week was not all bad. I received an e-mail message that cheered me up and made me laugh at the same time. It was from a team of academics researching the life-writing of female professors. According to them, many women academics are now talking and writing about their lives, which ‘makes for pretty discouraging reading because examples of sexism and harassment abound, along with ensuing bitterness and brokenness. Except for Feminist Figure Girl that is! She is fascinating, original, empowering, and a joy to read about, especially when being irreverent.’ So are you shocked to hear that I am officially the happiest, the most holly, the most jolly, and the most well adjusted lady professor in all the land? Bet you can’t wait to meet the rest of them!
How else does FFG destress? Along with swearing in public, I lift heavy things with PDDs and Fitbabe—love them!—and also, well, I get off on a daily basis, sometimes by accident during heavy leg day—wink to the leg curl machine—but mostly on purpose either alone or with my partner. Think that I’m oversharing again? Just wait. During our last date night, my man and I were unusually tired and lacking in imagination, so I reached for the trusty Position of the Day: Sex Every Day in Every Way book that I had purchased at the Museum of Sex in New York [and no, that is not what was hidden amongst underpants in my luggage.] As you might imagine, my partner was especially afraid, remarking ‘I hope today’s position does not require carpentry skills again!’ After seeing the suggestion, I commented: ‘Well, no but I think we would have to make a trip out to Ikea, and then put some temporary furniture together with an allen key. Let’s see what is in our future, instead. Oh I think I can do this one by January 26 if I keep working on my side plank at the gym. But you had better get to work on your core strength if you want to succeed on April 10,’ I warned. Oh my god, our eyes widened as we saw what was in store for us in October. ‘I guess,’ I said to my partner, ‘that we will have to host a party, roofie some men, and then you will gang rape them on a modernist coffee table, while I watch.’ ‘Good thing I have ten months to prepare,’ he calmly responded. ‘Let’s put a yellow sticky note on that one.’
So yeah, my life is pretty great. Oh and you are all invited to a ‘surprise’ party on October 10, 2012. Save the date.
BEST BLOG OF THE ENTIRE YEAR! I LOVE HOW MANY TIMES YOU SAID “FUCK”…..LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!
Argh I hate when people tell me competing is unhealthy. It’s so much healthier than what 90% of people do, so shut the fuck up. Ahhh it does feel better to swear. I’m a complete grinch when it comes to Christmas. I hate it, so shoot me. My husband and I plan on spending Christmas day working out and eating chicken!
This is the funniest blog I have read in a while! I’m an academic and Olympic weightlifter and I completely relate. Keep it up!
I enjoyed the entry.
Awesome. I have friends who are professors and their despair at what their students write/say in class/think is worthy of attention is heart wrenching. Love your blog, wish I had your lats and merry fuckmas 😉
wow. lisa told me about your bodybuilding incarnation. it’s amazing. felicitations.
I feel your pain re students. I’m not yet a prof, so I’ve not had to suffer as much of it as you have, but I can’t find the words to express my fury and disgust at students’ privileged attitudes toward their own work and the marks they get for it. I swear if they spent a modicum of the effort they normally spend on getting out of work on actually doing they work, they’d free up hours of time normally spent arguing with, whining at, and harassing the university faculty and staff. In the end they’d probably be able to maintain their normal quota of binge-drinking and STD-trading.
Hi Boulderbird, It’s hard to complain about being a professor, except for the crazy hours and hideous burden of grading. Everything else is great and I definitely enjoy my freedom to research and learn about what I like. Love your comment about STD trading; makes it sound like baseball card collecting.
Yes you are, my delightful TA. Catching up on some reading?