Pre-holiday Fluff Cavalcade Four: Happy Festivus

As I mentioned in my humorless feminist post, I really can’t stand “Seinfeld.” Or, for that matter, Larry David’s show. I know this isn’t a popular position, but I seriously have to change the channel the instant the “Simpsons” credits end. I thought it was because I didn’t enjoy watching people be self-absorbed, hurtful assholes, but I absolutely LOVE “Arrested Development,” so it’s not that. I did used to watch “Seinfeld,” so I think that I probably just hit saturation point. Partly that, and partly the fact that I know (and am related to) people who think that the type of self-absorbed, hurtful asshole portrayed on “Seinfeld” is actually something to live up to.

That said, taken out of the context of Jerry Seinfeld’s annoying voice and plots that hinge on making you cringe in your seat, I certainly recognize that many of the conceits addressed in “Seinfeld” episodes are classic pieces of comedy brilliance. For instance, Festivus, which thankfully has taken on a life of its own. I love everything about it, from the Festivus Pole to the Feats of Strength. And so I propose that, in preparation for the holidays, we participate in the time-honored Festivus tradition of the Airing of Grievances.

As with the Thanksgiving post, this can serve as the place for you to share your dread about the upcoming holidays. But you don’t have to limit yourself to family. If you’re aggrieved about dieting coworkers, or the difficulty of finding pants, or Tad Safran, go ahead and get it off your chest. It needn’t be fat-related, of course, though we certainly welcome fat-related bitching. Let’s all be politically correct liberal fascists and refrain from posting obvious bigotry or personal grievances about identifiable people or other Shapelings, but otherwise, go nuts. Many of us are in for a long weekend of biting our tongues, so let’s let loose while we can!

110 thoughts on “Pre-holiday Fluff Cavalcade Four: Happy Festivus

  1. Okay, I haven’t even read the whole post, b/c I just have to say, I COULD HAVE WRITTEN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH. (Yay for more confusion about who wrote what!) Hate Seinfeld, had same train of thought about self-absorption and hurtfulness, but also fucking loved Arrested Development, and also can’t stand the people I know IRL who see the Seinfeld cast as role models… so, yeah. You’re not alone.

  2. I’m also on the “hate Seinfeld” bandwagon. A show about nothing… more like a show about being self-centered, privleged, whiny and having little awareness for others. So in that vein, my grievance is people who think Zack Braff is brilliant.

  3. I like to cringe, though. I think Curb is funnier than Seinfeld ever was. I liked Arrested for a while, but then I got over it.

    My grievance is chick flicks. They’re just so sappy and stupid. My friends and I don’t act like these people act. I want some good movies in 2008 and beyond!

  4. My grievance is my emotionally unavailable, looks obsessed at 75, constantly dieting mother whose first look at me when I land will be a head to toe assessment of how much weight I’ve lost since the last time we saw eachother. Answer: none. The seconds-long assessment will terminate in a lukewarm hug and no comments whatsoever on any outfit I’m wearing no matter how becoming. Throughout our stay she will look askance at anyone who enjoys eating (except my husband who, for reasons mysterious, is exempted from her pronoucements on who should eat what), and will promptly repudiate anything she has enjoyed eating. So, I’m taking a big breath and forming inner circles in my mind to which I shall return often during the next week.

  5. Me four. There are enough unlikeable self-centered jackasses in my life that I didn’t need to watch a bunch of people sitting around whining as “entertainment.” I can’t even bring myself to watch Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’ new show because I can’t hear her voice without thinking of Elaine.

    My grievance: people who think there’s something not right with you if you refer to yourself as your pet’s (or pets’) mom or dad.

  6. I’m sure I’ll come up with more, but this is what I’m aggrieved about this week:

    – Men who leave their weights on the bench press while they wander around, use other machines, etc. Because they have a routine, and they’re going to come BACK and use the machine AGAIN, and fuck you if you need it in the meantime.

    – People who quote “This Year” by the Mountain Goats to refer to surviving petty personal problems.

  7. My well-meaning mother who worries about everything I do. I love her, but I’m 30. Her need to tell anyone we meet personal things about me (my medical issues, marital status, or job status) drives me BONKERS, as I’m a private person and don’t think anyone needs to know that I can’t digest milk proteins unless they’re asking to cook for me. I HATE HATE HATE that. I hid medical problems from her as a child because of it. She called everyone in the family when I got my period. ARGH. I do love her, and we usually have a good time together, but this kills me.

    And my brother is an idiot, but he’s decided not to join us this year.

  8. See, this is why I love this blog–I am just this moment working on Miss Conduct’s Grievances list to go on my blog on the 23rd! I got four good etiquette-related ones. Ah, it’s nice after a big meal to loosen your belt and give your spleen a little room to relax …

  9. I love Seinfeld, my husband hates it! I see it as the ulitimate postmodern sitcom, Jeff thinks they’re all self-absorbed jerks who he can’t stand to spend a minute with.

    My grievence is with progressive people who are anti-fat, presumably for health reasons, but really ’cause they’re frustrated by all the other predjudices they can’t induldge in and can’t stand to see the last truly safe one slip away from them.

    Happy Festivus to all and to all a good night!

  10. *delurks*

    Well, been lurking this blog for roughly a month or two now, ever since I found it linked by a friend in her own journal; absolutely love it, and usually check it a couple times a day as I wait for my 10-hour shift at work to be over. I’ve even linked it to my boyfriend a few times (one of the most amazing men ever…! He’s one of those who says, “I love you no matter WHAT your size…” and means it.) and he also enjoyed the read.

    Anyway, enough random tangential rambling. My delurking today comes for a few reasons.

    A) Totally agree about the Seinfeld thing and

    B) I generally hate the holidays, and you did invite us to ‘whine’ a bit. So here goes. Every Christmas, my grandmother sends a card and a small gift. Last year’s consisted of an article on Gastric Bipass in the card, and an Atkins diet book as the gift. The previous year was a magazine article on the “Obesity Epidemic” and bottle of Release Diet Pills.

    Not only are these annoying as I constantly battle my ex-dieting habits, but… it’s hurtful too. And yet when I try to talk to her about it, it never seems to get through to her, and tends to result in me feeling like shit through the rest of the holidays.

    Also around the holidays, I tend to get phone calls from that same grandmother, reminding me to “Not be a little piggy now, dear. You’re already hefty enough, and well, we wouldn’t want you to get any BIGGER, now would we?”

    I love my grandmother, and I do know she means well, but… ah well. Anyway, thanks for giving me the chance to whine about that a little. Heh.

    And despite the fact that I dread getting that package in the mail from my grandma.. this is also the first holiday season that I had a “significant other,” as well. So, dread that package as I may, I also know I can count on him to be the first one to tell me to chuck whatever diet fad appears this year into the trash.

    Ain’t he sweet? Heh!

    /end ramble and… *relurks*

  11. Every Christmas, my grandmother sends a card and a small gift. Last year’s consisted of an article on Gastric Bipass in the card, and an Atkins diet book as the gift. The previous year was a magazine article on the “Obesity Epidemic” and bottle of Release Diet Pills.

    JAW.

    ON.

    FLOOR.

  12. Oh man. I’m glad I don’t have too many crazy people to deal with. On the other hand, I’m sick and so is practically everyone I know. I’m hoping I get better in time to be able to taste Christmas goodies.

  13. My grievence is irresponsible parents. Namely my step-sibs, which for the first year since my mom met my step-dad (RIP) I won’t have to spend Christmas Eve with. As much as I am thankful I don’t have to deal with them, in a sick and twisted way I wish I did, but only because that would mean Bill is still with us.

  14. my grievance is people who think Zack Braff is brilliant.

    Bite your tongue! Well, okay, I guess I don’t think he’s brilliant, per se. Garden State was a meh +, but that might have been because I’m too old. However, Al had never seen an episode of Scrubs before we met (I KNOW), so I got him hooked on reruns, and my god, I fucking love that show.

    Come to think of it, Zack Braff might be my least favorite part of the show — only because I love the other characters that much more. But I do think he’s tremendously likable, if not brilliant.

    On to my non-holiday-related grievance (though it is worse when snow minimizes the amount of available sidewalk): CITY PEOPLE WHO WON’T PUT THEIR FUCKING DOGS ON LEASHES. My dogs are old and scared of other dogs. When some giant fucking dog comes bounding up to them, they lose their shit. I do my best to avoid other dogs when we’re out, and I even avoid the park altogether, because I figure that’s an appropriate place for off-leash dogs — though it’s still technically illegal. But why, oh WHY can’t people walk their dogs TO the park on a fucking leash? You are on a SIDEWALK. With OTHER PEOPLE and OTHER DOGS. And naturally, these are always big dogs, ’cause the owners just feel soooo guilty about putting such a big, energetic dog on a leash. FOR FIVE MINUTES UNTIL THEY GET TO THE PARK.

    Don’t get me wrong — I loooooove, big, floppy, bouncy dogs when they come up to me alone. But man, my dogs don’t love that. And judging from the number of people I’ve seen on the sidewalk who are visibly frightened by my on-leash, geriatric, absurdly people-friendly little squirts, there are plenty of humans around here who wouldn’t love it either.

    And that’s without getting into the safety issue. There’s a dog owner in our neighborhood who’s the bane of everyone’s existence, because he not only walks his huge dog off-leash, he walks like half a block behind it, so he has no verbal or physical control over the dog. This dog was just hit by a car for the second fucking time (fortunately, he’s okay), and dude still will not put him on a leash. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, DUDE? Woofer needs his freedom even if it gets him fucking killed? AAAAAAAAAAA!

    Okay, whew. That felt good.

  15. I think I may have to join Heartless Bitches International because I absolutely hate the fact the holidays mean more bitching and pouting from my female relatives.

    Sorrow-filled while eating rum cake and cookies they’ll be talking about their New Years resolutions to lose weight and fitting into a dress for cousin Tiffany’s wedding in July. WTF?

    What about a resolution to keep living your life as it pleases you? Why don’t you buy a dress that fits you now?

    Then they get upset with me because Im not bitching about what im putting into my mouth. Meanwhile, I don’t like Seinfield too much either…

  16. I used to watch Seinfeld all the time, but now I think it’s just been overexposed. Not just the show itself, but people quoting from it non-freaking-stop. And yeah, it did seem to give people who were small-minded assholes unnecessary validation, especially since it was never made exactly clear if we were supposed to be laughing at these people or laughing with them. Oh, and that poisoned envelope thing? NOT FUNNY. I kept thinking how they could have handled that SO much better if it was on AbFab.

  17. Last year’s consisted of an article on Gastric Bipass in the card, and an Atkins diet book as the gift. The previous year was a magazine article on the “Obesity Epidemic” and bottle of Release Diet Pills.

    Oh that sounds horrible! Have you thought about sending her back a box of depends, a pair of support hose and a pamphlet for a hearing and/or memory aid? After all, if she wants to play the stereotype game, there’s a few equally ridiculous ones regarding seniors. Include a nice cheerful note thanking her for being so thoughtful, and mention how you’re concerned that if she doesn’t make more of an effort to stop aging, you’re worried about her senility. After all, she just needs a little more self-control to stop packing on the years, right? :-)

    Or maybe you’re nicer than me. I’m not invited to extended family reunions anymore. The “incident ” (which I won’t go into details on) was entirely worth it.

  18. Or maybe you’re nicer than me. I’m not invited to extended family reunions anymore. The “incident ” (which I won’t go into details on) was entirely worth it.

    No fair! I’m dying to know!

    And I second the recommendation to Paiger to chuck the gift unopened. And then do the most grandma-offending thing imaginable: DON’T SEND A THANK YOU NOTE!

  19. In response to the original post, I too hate Seinfeld but like Arrested Development. Maybe because in A.D. it’s clear that they’re presenting these people as caricatures to be laughed at, while Seinfeld has just a hint of approval/acceptance for the self-absorbed ass-hats.

    I don’t have many complaints about my immediate family, I’m really lucky there. My dread is that my much-older half-brother will show up. He’s a complete waste of carbon matter. All I can hope is that the threat of not serving any booze while he’s there might keep him away. He’s the one who told me in all seriousness when I was a teenager, that I’d never find a man if I didn’t lose weight, because “guys will f*ck a fat chick but they won’t take them home.”

    Needless to say…if he does show up, I didn’t get him anything.

  20. I hate Seinfeld too. I remember how my co-workers used to talk about how the Seinfeld gang were their best friends, and I would think – no, they are not your friends, they are characters on a tv show, and besides that they are all jerks.

    I hate it when people don’t clear their sidewalks of snow, and I especially hate it when businesses plow their parking lots in such a way that the snow piles up on the sidewalk in a huge mound that you can’t walk over.

  21. Oh yay bitchfest! I so heart you fillyjonk!

    Seinfeld – Ya check. Can’t watch it. My husband watches it and I leave the room and play backgammon online at the kitchen table.

    Scrubs – I so don’t get it. Like I didn’t get Sports Night. Maybe I would think it was funny if I had more testosterone. oh different thread, never mind.

    People who just have to point out – “It’s whom not who.” Ugh. I happen to be one of those people and every time I say it I kick myself.

    People who don’t scoop the poop. Come on people! You don’t throw the baby’s diaper out the window and if you’re gonna have a dog – you’re gonna have to scoop the poop.

    People who take up two parking spaces.

    People who do their personal grooming in public.

    And Paiger: Every Christmas, my grandmother sends a card and a small gift. Last year’s consisted of an article on Gastric Bipass in the card, and an Atkins diet book as the gift. The previous year was a magazine article on the “Obesity Epidemic” and bottle of Release Diet Pills.”

    “… I love my grandmother, and I do know she means well, but…

    I think maybe Grandma does not mean well. I think Grandma might be a bitch. I’m not saying you shouldn’t love her and I suppose she might have some wonderful qualities — but maybe you could send her an article on plastic surgery and some wrinkle cream. Just a thought.

  22. No fair! I’m dying to know!

    Well my extended family is every bad stereotype of redneck (my mother’s the outsider because she actually *gasp* got a master’s degree). There’s a long history of Klansmen and at least two grand dragons, so you can guess at what the “conversation” is like. My parents were sympathetic, but still wanted me to go (they’re big on family). So one year I conspired with one of my friends and he volunteered to be my “date”. I showed up to a family function, escorted by a gay black man who had converted to Judaism. We jumped right into a biblical debate with my aunts and uncles. I was never invited back. No regrets :-)

  23. To be clear, I don’t HATE Zack Braff. He’s entertaining enough. I just don’t understand when people go about his brilliance or suggest he’s the voice of his (and my) generation. “Scubs” is a decent show, but I do think that he’s the least likable character.

    I’d like the voice of a generation to have something to SAY. Zack Braff is just funny and too absorbed in his (narrow) life experience to be bothered about bigger issues.

    Anyways. A non-grievance: this happy fun blog!

  24. Ooh, an airing of grievances! I don’t mind Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm so I have no complaints there, and I love Scrubs, so moving on to non-TV related complaints.

    I have to spend the next 11 days with my parents! Only seeing my little sister (who’s still trapped there) will get me through this. I know that bitching about your parents is a very common (and emo) thing to do, but it’s so valid in my case…

    I’m not artistic! I want to be cool and creative and have a way of expressing myself, but I’m unclear on exactly what I want to express, and I don’t have a forum to do it anyway. I *can* write, but I have no story ideas and poetry is very hit-or-miss. I have negative drawing ability, sing only in the car, can’t read notes, and am inept with physical crafts such as knitting. I’m not even good at fashion or makeup…it took me years to learn how to put makeup on without looking like a 5-year-old or a whore. I like dancing but I don’t feel like shelling out 10 bucks a week to go to lessons when I’m living off student loans, and I have a bad ankle so some types/moves just aren’t practical for me.

    Blarg! Now I feel better. Happy Festivus!

  25. My grievance is people who ask me (and this happens several times a day) if I am ready for Christmas, in a way that implies that it is some big chore that must be completed.

    I also hate that Christmas is a big chore that must be completed. I hate buying presents. I especially hate buying presents for my Mom, who like Paiger’s grandmother has absolutely no manners and to virtually every present she opens says something like, “Now what am I going to do with this? Here you keep it.” (Paiger, maybe you could give your grandmother a new etiquette book every Christmas.) I hate wrapping presents. I hate receiving presents. I hate cooking holiday stuff. Like every other holiday, Christmas just seems like a time when women are supposed to exhaust themselves doing nice things for people because that is what women do. My Christmas spirit mode is mainly repressed bitterness and resentment. But I can’t not do all the crap (even in my very marginal way) because other women do nice things for me and if I don’t participate, I feel bad. It is a vicious circle.

    Summary grievance: Christmas. (I do like the lights and music.)

  26. I hate that my boyfriend’s method of gift buying is “I have $X to spend on you, what do you want?”

    I understand that he’s not a good gift giver and doesn’t want to give a blah gift so he asks what I want. But doing it this way makes me feel less like I’m getting a present and more like I’m spending his money, which doesn’t feel good.

    I told him this year that I really would rather not get a gift than do the gift giving in this manner and he got all pouty and mad *sigh* whatev. Presents aren’t important to me and presents that I tell you to buy are totes meaningless.

  27. This might be a personal grievance, but I just gotta get it off my chest. I have always dreaded rubbing elbows with one particular family member at Christmas. She sees Christmas solely as a chance to fill her goody bag every year.

    She never fails to hold every single gift she receives up into the bright light for a snooty careful exam of worth and authenticity….while her kids pass out $5 videos to the rest of the family…videos she picked up at a gas station on her way in from out of state.

    She asks where things were purchased & wants receipts in case she wants to return something. This is in my husband’s family. They are all too chicken to confront her. I’ve always just stayed out of it, coughed up the goods & had my receipt ready. Cowardly, I know.

    This year I’ve decided to make a bold statement. She’s getting a nice little set of three Philosophy lip balms. Value…$30. Period. No receipts. Going to let the husband deal with any fallout. I’m not going to be there. Ha!

    I already had plans when she suddenly decided two days ago we all needed to drop everything & have Christmas with her family tomorrow instead of on Christmas day. Probably needing some extra cash to finish her Christmas shopping.

    Done. Feel better. Thanks.

  28. Never liked “Seinfeld” much, either. Loved “Arrested Development”. I am guilty of quoting the hell out of “Anchorman”, but that’s mostly with a friend who is a boy–one of our stranger bonding rituals was shooting quotes back and forth at each other via IM.

    Grievances:

    The amount of money being spent on my nephews for Christmas. They asked for a Playstation 3 and I absolutely blanched–but my two older sisters were out and buying it 30 seconds later. It just bothers the hell out of me, since my sisters are such easy touches and will buy them anything, anytime, and my brother and sister-in-law know it and exploit it, frankly. Last year, I gave the boys $100…that I had donated in their name to Habitat for Humanity’s Musician’s Village in New Orleans.

    I generally don’t care for this time of year, overall. It causes me to dwell too much on what (rather, whom) I don’t have, which irks me. Compared to others, I have a great family, but I burn out on being around the entire clan really quickly. Next year…by hook or by crook, hell or high water…I’m spending it in Vegas, ALONE. And gambling and buffeting my ass off.

  29. My mother always comments on my appearance, always concerned about my “health”. Last year she bought me a skirt that was too small, knew it was too small. When I said it was too small and wanted to return it, she said, “You just need to do a some more situps.”

    She also buys my tomboy daughter, who is obsessed with dinosaurs, princess ballerina barbies and the like. She can drive me crazy in about 30seconds.

  30. My Christmas grievance is that, while we were supposed to be having a small gathering this year, just my parents and my sister, we have now included a stray relative in our plans. Generally, I feel uncomfortable around this woman. She talks a little too much about my future plans, as if she knows what they should be and I am only waiting for her to share her wisdom with me. Conversations with her tend to be something like a job interview, and there are clearly wrong answers.

    Regular grievances…I’m tired of women who center their lives around men. A good friend and I just had a falling out because, for about the 100th time, she has decide to make her emotionally unstable ex a part of her life. When I called her on her behavior, as she said she wasn’t going to do this again, she went on a tirade and basically said that I am a terrible, arrogant, bitch, and I should mind my own business. She has been cycling in and out of relationships with him for years, and he’s done terrible things, hurt her so that she could barely get out of bed, couldn’t trust another man in any other relationship, cheated on her with her friends, etc. But yet he’s forgiven because he is The One. The Love of Her Life. The Romeo to her Juliet. And I’m playing the role of the wicked stepmother.

    She has her own version of TFoBT (though she has that too *lol*)…it’s called, The Fantasy of The Next Time We Are Together.

  31. Yan! I totally have the same problem. My mother tells my life story to EVERYone. To compound matters, she works at the Target I used to work at, which is only 1/2 mile away from my house. I also live with her, so she knows just about everything that I do not actively hide from her.
    I tolerate regarding me, but have called her on it a few times regarding my sons.

  32. Whoops! It’s Paige. Stinking R key likes to jump in front of my finger now and again, uninvited or not!

    Re Corinna, JoGeek, Sarah et All: Yeah, my hunny recommended chucking it unopened, and I think I might do that.

    And you’re right…! The biggest faux pas you can make is not sending a thank you note…Maybe I’ll give that a try!

    Last but not least, funny as it might be to send some anti-wrinkle cream and a hearing aid brochure to her, I’m afraid I can’t do something like that. I don’t have the balls for it. Haha!

  33. Next year…by hook or by crook, hell or high water…I’m spending it in Vegas, ALONE.

    Jane, let me know if you do! I mean, unless you want to be alone every minute, we can totally hit a buffet together next year.

    Which reminds me, Phledge, are you out there? If so, please e-mail me. I know I’ve got your e-mail somewhere, but I’m lazy.

    I hate that my boyfriend’s method of gift buying is “I have $X to spend on you, what do you want?”

    Lexy, Al’s not that bad — in fact, when it comes down to it, he’s an excellent gift-giver — but I know presents stress him out, which stresses me out. So I solved that problem with an Amazon wish list. I put 8 million things on it, so I’m still surprised at whatever he gets, and he can figure it all out (including colors and sizes) without consulting me. Tacky, but useful.

  34. OK- general grievance- people who do not respect other people’s time and money. My son had an appointment today at 4:30 at an agency that is 25 miles away through rush hour traffic. Yesterday, a complete stranger calls me to remind me of my 11 am appointment. We have a long talk (she will be a new provider) and we set up some future appointments. I call my ex who made the original appointment and he starts investigating what happens. So, today I pick up my son from school at 10 am to fight the traffic for an hour to get to this appointment. We get there in the knick of time and then sit there for 20 minutes. (WTF?) At that point the receptionist comes out and tells me they had changed it, and it was back to 4:30 pm with the original person.

    No phone calls, no consideration of time and gas expense, no consideration of school missed- nothing. I felt so disrespected.

    Then, after deciding that we really couldn’t afford/ rearrange our schedules AGAIN to accommodate the appointment, I go up to cancel, and the receptionist can’t cancel. I tried not to unload on her- I really did.

    OK- thank you. Grievance aired. Totally not fat related, although I was hungry and needed coffee and I had money for neither and had to wait to get home.

  35. Completely agree on “Seinfeld” – always hated it. I loved “Arrested Development”, but Michael and George Michael were sympathetic characters who weren’t entirely self-obsessed. I’m going one further and stating I didn’t like “Friends” because of all their gay and fat jokes. I really wanted to like it, and did laugh at some of the situations, but c’mon. Every episode had at least one “But Chandler’s secretly gay!” joke, and how many times did we see a fat suit? Gah.

    My grievance? Stupid IT people who make large system changes the day before a vacation, then leave, wreaking havoc with other systems and causing an avalanche of work for people other than them because there is no one else to fix the problem. Never fails – happens to me every single year.

  36. Whoops! It’s Paige. Stinking R key likes to jump in front of my finger now and again, uninvited or not!

    Oh, that’s funny. I had a friend name Paige as a kid whom we could annoy tremendously by calling her “Paiger” (a trend started, I believe, by my mom, who was constitutionally incapable of calling people by their given names, and also called me “Kater”). So it didn’t even faze me. I just assumed you were a Paige who wasn’t annoyed by it.

  37. Tabbers, Your comment made me want to weigh in again, so to speak. Yes, people, for God’s sake, don’t buy me clothes in the size you wished I was. In fact, don’t buy me clothes. I’m 52. I’m old enough to buy my own.

    Whew! Thanks, that felt good. :)

  38. Oh, that’s funny. I had a friend name Paige as a kid whom we could annoy tremendously by calling her “Paiger” (a trend started, I believe, by my mom, who was constitutionally incapable of calling people by their given names, and also called me “Kater”). So it didn’t even faze me. I just assumed you were a Paige who wasn’t annoyed by it.

    Nope, not annoyed, though it was an accident. :) My brother calls me that actually.

  39. And you’re right…! The biggest faux pas you can make is not sending a thank you note…Maybe I’ll give that a try!

    Paige, I can’t even imagine the thank-you card you would write for a gift like that, even if you were going to write one. “Thank you for acting like a judgmental old hag”?

  40. Oh, wait, a grievance just occured to me…how everyone wishes total strangers “Merry Christmas” or asks about their “Christmas” plans with absolutely no thought to the fact that a hefty percentage of people aren’t Christian and/or don’t celebrate Christmas. The Jehovah’s Witnesses at my office are getting tetchier by the day, and I’ve had to explain to one of secretaries several times that if they have to say anything other than “drive safe” to clients that leave, they should opt for “Happy Holidays”. It just doesn’t even occur to some people. I’m such a stickler on calling people out on this that my co-workers are convinced I’m Jewish. I happen to be a non-Christian that celebrates Christmas as a secular holiday, but it makes my butt twitch when people just blithely assume that the world shares their beliefs and practices. Luckily I’m in charge of setting up the lobby christmas tree, so I get to include all kinds of home-made ornaments and decorations: A Menorah, Kwanzaa flags, Ramadan pictures, solstice symbols, and a snowflake for those who believe more in the snow they have to shovel than any religious holiday. Last year I put it all up and my co-workers looked at me like I’d grown a second head. But it’s my lobby. They can make me put up a holiday display, but I’m doing it MY way, damnit.

  41. Jane, let me know if you do! I mean, unless you want to be alone every minute, we can totally hit a buffet together next year.

    Bank on it, woman!

  42. I was always kinda meh about Seinfeld myself, but an airing of grievances is always nice. :)

    Christmas-related: my dad has always liked American Eagle’s rugby shirts, and asked for one specifically for Christmas. I went to look for one last night, and found that all of their guys’ shirts are now the stupid ratty-looking, randomly-appliqued kind that A&F made popular. He’s going to be sad.

    Fat related, though I feel like I shouldn’t be complaining because it’s karma biting me in the ass: the last time I tried WW (this May), I asked my best girlfriend if she wanted to go with me, since she had been complaining about wanting to lose weight. I quit after about 2 weeks, as usual, but she’s still doing it. That’s not the actual complaint, though…she now constantly tells me about all the yummy things that she DIDN’T eat, like she wants praise for it.

    Random: last weekend was my FIL’s surprise birthday party, and no one told me that my MIL’s side of the family, whom I try desperately to avoid, was coming into town for it. Rude surprise when I walked into the living room!

  43. After reading Meowser’s latest, I would like to echo Rose’s grievance about progressives, especially feminists, who are anti-fat bigots. Newsflash: If you call yourself a feminist and you think the size, composition, or care and feeding of someone else’s body are your business, YOU ARE A SHITTY FEMINIST.

  44. People who chew loudly, and make unnecessary smacking noises. Especially when I’m talking to them on the phone or sitting next to them in class. It’s worse than nails on a chalkboard.

    People who walk dogs in cities and assume that pooper-scooper laws do not apply to them.

    Self-righteous vegans. It’s great if you are, but I don’t need the play-by-play on how delicious…no really, you’ll love it…. everything is. This goes for any other My Diet of Moral Superiority adherents as well.

  45. That’s not the actual complaint, though…she now constantly tells me about all the yummy things that she DIDN’T eat, like she wants praise for it.

    I hate that too! Someone I know used to gleefully recount all the things she didn’t eat during the day and then pause so I could tell her how wonderful it was.

  46. Paige, I can’t even imagine the thank-you card you would write for a gift like that, even if you were going to write one. “Thank you for acting like a judgmental old hag”?

    Grandma~

    Thank you for taking the time to send both a card and gift for Christmas. The sentiment is appreciated. I hope your holidays treated well.

    Love,
    Paige

    Standard generic card that I’ve sent roughly the last 10 years or so. :D

    Oh, and to the gal expecting 4-6 inches… you a Coloradoan too? Heh, that’s the forcast I just got. I am looking forward to it, though! Mooooore snoooooow!

  47. My family is actually pretty cool. I mean, yeah all the ladies want to lose weight, but it’s not typically a common subject.

    The part I dread is my husband’s family. They’re known for addressing his sister about her weight quite often. Luckily, they would NEVER address mine. His father is also quite classist and racist. How he raised his son is beyond me. I usually just sneek outside, chain smoke and drink too many glasses of wine.

  48. exxxcellent post… my grievance is LITTLE CHILDREN SINGING. I cannae stand it! It makes my skin crawl. Heartwarming childrens choirs, and the like.

    And people who take things out of the microwave before the timer is done then don’t cancel the timer thingy.

  49. Tink – I think I know you. Are you in Colorado?? I know a Bill who passed away in early 2007. He was a step uncle of mine….

    He worked autobody, restored cars and basically restored the house my Aunt lives in.

  50. my grievance is LITTLE CHILDREN SINGING. I cannae stand it! It makes my skin crawl. Heartwarming childrens choirs, and the like.

    Shauna, I just fell a little in love with you.

  51. Kate, you rock, I completely forgot about Eddie Bauer!

    I hate that too! Someone I know used to gleefully recount all the things she didn’t eat during the day and then pause so I could tell her how wonderful it was.

    As soon as the bestfriend pauses, I change the subject completely. I think it kinda annoys her. I’m so evil. :)

  52. My grievance: The many people who think that I don’t work because I am in grad school. I don’t know how the hell they think I pay my rent. I work an average of 60 hours a week….when I took a half day off this week and mentioned it to one of my bf’s friends, he was like, “I didn’t know you had a job”. When I assured him I do, and work plenty of hours, he said, “but that includes homework.” Homework? HOMEWORK? I don’t even have classes, you shit. It is a PhD, not pre-school.

    And my family members smile and think it’s so effing CUTE that I am “still in school” when I am 29.

  53. Seinfeld: sorry, I don’t find it funny or entertaining.

    JoGeek: I laughed so hard at your story…you have guts and I admire you for that! (And thank you for the laugh!)

    Grievances: The familial guilt trips because once again I REFUSE to travel over the holidays. Travel is never pleasant, but travel over the holidays is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention that being with my family isn’t an occasion for joy, it’s my yearly dose of aggravation which I’d rather get some other time of year. (And there is no way to tell my mother this – the sky is some other color on her planet.)

    People who go on on and on about my changed body shape. Ok, I’ll come out of the closet, over the last 4 years I’ve lost a significant amount of weight (due to my doctor finally figuring out what was going on, long story), and I am TIRED of hearing about it. My body shape is different, that’s ALL. I didn’t find the cure for the common cold or cause world peace or develop faster than light spaceships or something important – please stop acting like I did. I’ve gotten really good at changing the subject while smiling weakly.

    Jeans manufacturers who just up and change their entire fit midyear without any warning. Thanks, guys – finally found a brand that, while it wasn’t cheap, fit me like a glove. Now I have to start over again from scratch because your damned jeans don’t fit anymore, and the skin on my legs is hurting simply from pulling on so many different pairs of jeans.

    The fact that this year has had so many awful things happen that even though some of it really is starting to turn around I can’t take any joy in them – I’m still waiting for the other shoe to fall and the piano to crash on my head again. I hate feeling like this.

  54. Oh lord, an invitation to bitch about things – it’s a Festivus dream come true.

    This is an old one, but may I raise a brimming holiday cup of Fuck You to my former manager, who – slender to the point of provoking concern and a great fan of monthly, week-long fasts – took it upon herself one day to pick up my bagged lunch and start pulling items out onto the central meeting table in our totally open plan office, pronouncing on why the various foods in there were making me as fat as I was (and am).

    I was too shocked and humiliated to say anything at the time, which is probably why it still makes my blood boil.

    (Acksherly, I suspect I’d still be this pissed even if I had followed my immediate impulse to snap her in half over my meaty knee).

  55. My xmas grievance is obligatory gift-giving, which is why I’ve opted out of it. Now I only give gifts if I feel inspired to give gifts, and it’s cut down my holiday-related anxiety tremendously.

    I have an adorable grievance right now, in that one of my cats has made it his life mission to spill every glass of water he ever sees. Now we can’t have water on the bedside table, and I get thirsty at night! I will air this grievance by petting him a little TOO vigorously.

  56. My grievance is that this year I will be working on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
    Now that’s not so much the problem as the fact that my fiance’s family (who all work monday thru Friday jobs that have them off on EVERY holiday) are out-of-town and honestly more family to me than my own.
    I’ll be able to go see them the following weekend, which is fine. I come from a family who work emergency jobs (cop, nurse, etc), so work kinda whenever they’re needed, holiday or no. So I’m ok with working.

    The grievance? The next weekend when I DO get to go- I have to open all my gifts by myself- which makes me feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. I’m not much for having attention showered on me, I always feel like someone is going to resent me for it or something. For some reason, this is no exception.

    *shiver*

  57. The fact that this year has had so many awful things happen that even though some of it really is starting to turn around I can’t take any joy in them – I’m still waiting for the other shoe to fall and the piano to crash on my head again. I hate feeling like this.

    Oh, TropicalChrome, I had a year like that (2004, I believe) and I felt much the same way. I’m sorry that you’ve been having a shitty time, and I hope that you can find some joy, however small, soon. I don’t know if you read poetry, but this poem helped me get through that time.

  58. TropicalChrome: I’ll grieve the jeans companies with you. Earlier this year? Three pairs of jeans, same style, same company, different washes. Same number on the tag. Fit? THREE DIFFERENT sizes. It really makes you think you’re losing your mind.

    penguinlady: I hated Friends, too. HATED. They seemed even more self-absorbed than Seinfeld and friends, to me. And meaner to one another. Yeah. I want friends like that.

    Paige — no, not Colorado. North Dakota. Not nearly as cool (or topographical) as Colorado.

    In defense of my mother, despite her annoying tell-all ways, I will say that she has always been a proponent of good body image. She never dieted, at least not that I knew about. She would go on kicks where she’d try a bunch of new recipes — the stir-fry kick was particularly successful in getting us to eat vegetables — which I think was part of an “eating healthier” mentality, but now I watch myself do it. I get bored and start cooking a bunch of weird new things. And she’s a huge proponent of exercise (poor woman was born years before Title IX, and she needed it — and she ended up with the most uncoordinated daughter!). But she’s always told me that if you buy clothes that fit you, you will look good, and she’s right — at any size.

  59. My Grievance: my FIL (divorced from MIL) who decided to marry his neice, yes his sister’s daughter, after a 10 year affair. She’s in Central America he’s here. She’s pregnant with twins. They got married in like March of this year. Note that husband I got married in April of this year.

    He didn’t tell anyone about this and it all came to light about a week ago. And MIL is still having him over for dinner Christmas day.

  60. I have an adorable grievance right now, in that one of my cats has made it his life mission to spill every glass of water he ever sees.

    Can I get an “awwwwww?” :-) Mine did/does that, and I never did break the habit. He just looks so forlorn when he’s standing in a puddle because he knocked over another glass. I switched to a bottle of water that I wash and re-fill. I think if he had opposable thumbs he’d find a way to get the cap off, but then I also think he might find a way to garrote me in my sleep.

  61. Can I add another work-grievance? That my company always gives the last workday before a holiday as a 1/2 day… except that my department is the busiest and NEVER, ever get to leave early. In fact, most of the time, we all end up working late, while watching everyone else in the company (including those who give us the work) take off after lunch.

    I promise, I’m usually not so much of a Grinch, but as always, this work day has been just insane.

  62. Cara: HOLY FU*CK. I don’t want to believe someone could actually get all Food Police on you like that but I can’t doubt it either.

    My grievances are:
    ~My landlord for wanting 2 rent increases in under 12 months when my apt is already overpriced for the building;
    ~The lack of reason exhibited by my mother every single day. She actually said the other day that she thinks climate change is a lie and unless she saw the hole in the ozone layer herself then she wasn’t going to take anything about it seriously. Seriously.
    ~ Tracking down long-lost high school/college/work BFs on Facebook who make big weepy promises about catching up with you, and who then fob you off every time they are in town.
    ~ Pretty much all TV outside of rating periods. And the writer’s strike for extending that period… I do not want more reality show reruns or pilots for shows that never got made, TYVM!!
    ~ The local pizza place for selling out and not telling the new peeps how to make a decent Pesto Bella.

  63. Delurking here to say I’ve been reading this blog for a while now and am completely in love. Also:

    -Totally agree on the Seinfeld thing. I never watched it when it was popular so couldn’t understand the appeal. And then I finally caught some episodes and REALLY couldn’t understand.

    -As for my grievances, they include the women I intern with who are completely body/gym/food obsessed. Just last week I had to put up with one coworker telling one of our teenage, special needs students that it was a good sign her pants were falling down because that meant she was getting skinnyyyy!! And then there was my very thin boss, telling me and her (larger) coworkers how FAT and DISGUSTING she got while she was abroad, complete with visuals of puffed out cheeks and arms out to her sides like a toddler in a winter coat.

    I am thankful I will not need to be working with these women much longer. And I am also especially thankful to this blog, which before reading I might have just dismissed the above as typical things women talk about.

  64. My grievence of the moment:

    I can’t believe I have to pay $5.6k for one semsters worth of dissertation hours. I am getting no tutelage at all! My advisor is in MN, I’m in CA and guess what? I do all the research myself on my own personally purchased iMac at my job where someone wanted to pay me to find all the flying rocks in their data. I just love that I’m paying for the privilege of making the university and the dept look significantly better and justifying that multimillion donation we got by actually, you, know, using the international facility we bought into that no one else wants to touch.

  65. 1.) I hate almost all televised comedy shows, all comedy movies, and pretty much all media that wastes my time for no good reason. Except perhaps a small smattering of older Britcoms, which I used to be able to watch on PBS.

    2.) I’m happy I don’t have to go out into the world until January 1st because I can’t stand anything to do with Consumermas. People treat you like you’re such a complete Scrooge for not loving their holiday while they buy $2500 worth of luxury doo-dads and you’re behind them in line trying to figure out how to make $5 turn into a week’s worth of food. Obviously it’s me that has the attitude problem and not a case of them having a values problem. They drop a quarter into the Salvation Army bucket because they’re giving in the Christmas spirit, and that should certainly take care of all the poor folks in the world until next year.

    3.) Eff my husband’s manager for cutting his hours, because it’s just so effing easy for us to cover the deficit, we just have to give up the idea of buying things like soap or washing clothes. Eff them also for not paying him a living wage, the monthly near-homelessness as we struggle to meet the rent has been a real treat.

    4.) Eff the people who want us to drive to Upper Hooterville to fill out job applications because they’ve centralized their HR departments. It’s so friggin easy to drive 2 hours in a car that overheats after 20 minutes of travel. As an aside, eff my husband’s family for saddling him with a car that won’t make it to February, with no earthly way of getting another car.

    5.) Eff the real estate agent for screwing us repeatedly for a complete year!

  66. Yes, people, for God’s sake, don’t buy me clothes in the size you wished I was. In fact, don’t buy me clothes. I’m 52. I’m old enough to buy my own.

    Yow, Debra, that’s one of mine. I genuinely don’t like other people buying me clothes, unless I’ve specifically asked for them (and the only person I ask will be my husband, because he’s the only person in my gift-giving circle who thinks the stuff I’d ask for is appropriate for someone my age/size to be wearing!)From anyone else, they’ll either be the wrong size (I suspect for years my mother told everyone I was a 14 when I was actually a couple of sizes bigger) or – and this is frustrating, too – in the color family of gold/brown or aqua, which seems to be favored by a certain female contingent of my clan. OK for them, but I’m a deep jewel colors kinda girl. Not that anyone ever asks.

    Actually, I suspect there’s been a longtime conspiracy in my family to bombard me with makeup, haircare products, smellies and (appropriate) clothes so that I’d turn into a ‘proper girl’. And ignore my cries of BOOKS! Please, I love books, someone please buy me books! Does anyone? Nope. I think everyone thinks I have ‘too many books’. This is not a concept I understand.

    (The one person in my family apart from my husband who truly understood me giftwise was my late aunt, who regaled me every year in my teens with hardback journals and chocolate. For her sake I hope there’s some really good Scotch available in the afterlife.)

    Actually, to be fair, I’m really genuinely grievanced with Amazon right now for how they’re messing my husband around. They charged him for special delivery, as requested, and the books didn’t arrive next day…they won’t get here till Christmas Eve, which is pushing it a bit. They’re refunding his delivery fee, but that ain’t the point.

  67. My parents split up this year, so we’re seeing mom-and-brother at Christmas (they’re coming tomorrow, yay!) and father-and-sister at New Year’s. My father, whose cheating was the cause of the split, already has a new girlfriend and hasn’t had the guts to tell me (sister did). My grievance is going down to NC knowing I’m probably going to have to deal with meeting the girlfriend. The split has been harder on me than it probably should have been, considering I’m an adult and live a state away, so I’m not really ready for more drama yet.

    To balance that out, I’m really excited about hosting my first Christmas! We usually end up traveling for Christmas. The holiday has always been a really special time for my family.

  68. “Now we can’t have water on the bedside table, and I get thirsty at night! I will air this grievance by petting him a little TOO vigorously.”

    Bottled water. No matter how many gravity experiments they conduct, they can’t spill it.

  69. not really my grievance,but a grievance for my co workers( at a certain retail establishment that shall remain nameless)who have to work xmas night..g-d for bid ya give’em the whole day off.

  70. Caffeine:

    …the split has been harder on me than it probably should have been, considering I’m an adult and live a state away…

    Parental divorce is brutal no mater what age you are, particularly when it involves a breach of trust such as an affair, and people acting shady (e.g. springing ‘surprise’ girlfriends on you) .

    Best wishes with it – I hope you have some fun hosting.

  71. I have no grievances. (Well, ok, except that my car is shitting the bed and costing me a lot of money, but…) I just wanted to say that I HATE SEINFELD TOO. And I could totally hug you now for making me NOT feel like the only person in the world to say that. Yay!

  72. I also hate Seinfeld. It always made me cringe because I was so embarrassed for all the characters.

    Also– I’m looking at Casey’s post, and I think I can solve one thing:

    Don’t let your car sleep in your bed.

  73. Hangups. Mine or anyone else’s. I inherited a ruthless attraction to logic, even in the emotional realm, from my father, and DAMN but people’s inability to act logical (even if they don’t feel logical) bugs me after a while.

    Exhibit A: My very good friend has an ex. He dumped her suddenly, summarily, and in a generally shitty fashion. They still hang out, she’s not over him or it, and she allows herself to basically be his servant (drives him anywhere he wants at all hours) while being jealous and bitter. This situation has been SO IMPROVED by his ever so considerate decision to ask me out. Obviously he was deflected.

    Exhibit B: My own insecurity about my boyfriend. He loves me and misses me (we’re separated over winter break as he’s from CA and I’m from MA). I know this to be true. Doesn’t change the fact that if I don’t hear from him for a time I always assume he’s lost/losing interest in me. (I act like it’s all good, though, because I’m SO emotionally healthy and logical.)

    Exhibit C: My goddamn roommates. I understand that you can’t just turn off depression. I understand it’s a vicious cycle. I am and have been depressed myself. But their need to pull me into their depression, the way they punish me for the efforts I make to enjoy my life, and the way their sadness makes them completely disrespectful of my time, energy, feelings, and status as their friend, makes me want to scream and move out.

  74. I’ve had a cold since Tuesday and I’m losing patience! I brought it on myself (got it from the boyfriend because I thought I was immune (because I’m a superhero?) and thought that cuddling with a sick person was a GREAT idea) and it’s not the worst cold ever but I just want it to go away! SIGH.

    Had to vent. Otherwise, my family is looking like the Cleavers after reading all these comments.

  75. Grievances: my brother calling me a fat slug. My mother being shocked by a peek of my belly, then taking me aside this afternoon saying that she was tired of my excuses and that she was going to pay for me to enter WW or TOPS. And for saying that I had to lose over 50 lbs to get down to 112lbs or no one would ever hire me and my boyfriend wouldn’t bother to marry me. My sister who keeps explaining to me during her smoke breaks that I do eat more than I claim I do, because otherwise I wouldn’t be “this weight”.

    Seven more days. I will be strong.

  76. Oh, Katrina. I’m sorry. You can tell your mom I’m fatter than you and have had plenty of jobs and relationships. You can also tell her to shove it up her ass, but that’s your call.

  77. Oh Katrina! That’s just horrendous. Part of me hopes you have the strength to be the bigger person (really, really no pun intended)…and part of me hopes that you give as good as you get! Good luck!

    My grievance – Coming home to visit my family, having a nice shopping day with my mother, arriving back at the house to a delivery on the doorstep. (And here’s the grievance part) having my mom open it to find little treats and candies and “gift fruit” – and watching her hide the “bad” stuff, leaving out the fruit, and telling me to not let my dad know there was more than fruit because he shouldn’t eat “stuff like that.”

  78. I hate that my boyfriend’s method of gift buying is “I have $X to spend on you, what do you want?”

    I understand that he’s not a good gift giver and doesn’t want to give a blah gift so he asks what I want. But doing it this way makes me feel less like I’m getting a present and more like I’m spending his money, which doesn’t feel good.

    Two words. Gift Certificate.

    Preferably to a spa that does the exfoliation for you before your sauna.

    Or Pilates classes. Those damn private sessions are expensive.

    Or Best Buy where I can buy all the corny DVDs I want and watch them without ridicule.

    21st Century Kitteh sez NO GUILTZ.

    Also, Contrl Freek Kitteh sez I CHOOZ PRESENTZ FOR MYSELFS. NO BF SULKZ.

    There now.

  79. My in-laws refuse to acknowledge that I did not change my name when we got married. Such a radical notion doesn’t exist on Planet Throwback. They’ve been told over and over, yet the Xmas cards arrive addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast. UGH. It’s maddening and insulting and I may choose to deal with it via passive aggressive note. Maybe if they get it spelled out in writing they’ll quit it. But probably not.

    I hate my mother-in-law. There. I said it and it’s cliched, and it’s childish and I’m only lowering myself to her level by allowing her to bug me so much, but I can’t help it.

    I hate the show Friends too! Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate. The jokes were not funny, all the plots were crap, the characters were stupid and shallow and stereotypical and – argh. I have no words.

    Liberal Dudes.

    I am not doing gifts next year unless I am truly inspired. I’m fed up with all of it.

    Oh, and people on the subway – if the car is so full that I can’t be sure exactly whose ass it is I’m leaning up against, take off your damn backpacks and hold them near the floor. And groups of teenagers on the train? SHUT UP. Shut up shut up shut up shut up! Do you think you invented being loud and obnoxious in public? You think all the adults around you are super shocked and impressed by your brave use of profanity? We’re not. We’re bored.

    I would also like to complain about my kitten, who is trying to tear her stitches out. She just got spayed today and her momma is going to go spare if she doesn’t stop trying to hurt herself.

    I’m not usually so negative, but hey, Festivus!

  80. I have but one grievance. I cannot find any silver jeans.

    Once, a long, long time ago, I purchased a pair of silver jeans at Lane Bryant. And they were good. Then, I gained weight and two pants sizes, and I could no longer squeeze into my beloved jeans. So, rather than have them around to taunt me, I gave them to the goodwill so that they could have the chance to adorn some other fashionable size 22 butt. My kingdom for a pair of size 24 or 26 silver jeans. I bought a Zero T-shirt when I saw the Smashing Pumpkins in concert this year, and how can I ever dress like Billy Corgan circa 1996 without silver jeans? Woe is me.

  81. sweetmachine, thanks for the link to the poem. (I read almost everything! And that’s another grievance, I haven’t had half the time to read this year that I’ve wanted to….) What keeps me dealing with everything is knowing that I’m not the only one who’s ever had a cruddy year (and I’m glad to know yours did end!), and the fact that things were not always like this, so it would be stupid to think they’re always going to be like this. Even if it feels like it sometimes.

    I’m with you all on the children’s choirs. Please, no.

    Dressing rooms that have no rack to leave the garments that don’t fit/look like hell on when you take them out of the dressing room, meaning that the rooms get full because people just leave them or there are piles everywhere.

  82. My grievance is that this-morning whilst practicing the fiddle my mum said:
    ‘You’d better not put on any more weight because playing the violin gives you a double chin’
    Here was I fantasising about being a great player someday, but I guess I should have been worrying about my fat chin instead! Thanks mum!

  83. Karrigan: I thought playing the violin gave you great digital dexterity and musicality in a difficult instrument. Who knew it could affect you so physically (apart from finger calluses)???

    And least it pass with only one response:
    Manda – I’ll see Lexy’s “Ew” and raise her a “Oh my god, those twins will be Cabbage Patch Kids for sure.” Sure love is love, but W-T-F?

  84. Katrina:

    Oh. My. God.

    I hope your brother goes bald, so you can tell him to ‘stop being such a lazy slug and start growing his hair back’ every time he talks about your weight that way. Ignorant git.

    As for your mom – that’s gotta hurt. And I second what Kate said, I’m very fat by most standards of comparison, and I’ve got a wonderful husband and had a very successful career before I went all mommy-track. It’s largely luck, and timing, and self-confidence, which you’ll have less of if she keeps bashing you..

    (Isn’t it perverse how the people who want you to succeed think they can do it by breaking you down and making you less happy with yourself as you are?)

  85. Isn’t it perverse how the people who want you to succeed think they can do it by breaking you down and making you less happy with yourself as you are?

    YES. Almost makes you wonder if they actually want you to succeed.

  86. Pippa:
    ‘I thought playing the violin gave you great digital dexterity and musicality in a difficult instrument. Who knew it could affect you so physically (apart from finger calluses)???’

    Well, it’s the way you rest it on your shoulder – your chin is meant to be pressing into the top of the violin (there’s a chin rest), which yes, does lead to a certain amount of neck-squish, and I hate that I feel self conscious about that now.

  87. Someone’s probably said this already, but why does EVERY store now start piping in the horrid, tinny carols so early? If it drives me bonkers as a shopper, anyone working there has to be ready to go on a tri-state kill spree when they hear “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” for the 6205870234th time…and it still isn’t Thanksgiving.

  88. Almost makes you wonder if they actually want you to succeed.

    My take on it? They’re at best ambivalent about it too.

    I think it’s the unhealthy emphasis placed on competition in our culture, myself. We’re taught to regard the successes of others as yardsticks to measure our own, and to think of success as a limited commodity — if one person succeeds, it must mean someone else has failed. And, naturally, we don’t want to be the failures.

    I also think this is a big reason christmas is often so painful, rather than the joyful feast it ought to be. Not the consumerism — that’s just a convenient scapegoat, one that allows us to piss and moan about how it all would be better if it were more, like, spiritual or something. Right. I’ve had family members get religious, and all that did was introduce competitive prayer into the mix. It just about doesn’t get uglier than that. One christmas I spent with my mother’s family years ago, five different graces were said over the meal. I had to threaten the lot of them with the meat fork to get them to shut up and let us eat.

  89. My biggest gripe at this time of year is all the shoppers who think they own the aisles and don’t have to move so others can get through to shop. It’s old home week and they haven’t seen so-and-so for years so let’s just stand here in the middle of the store and reminisce for hours and who cares if anyone else has any shopping to do, we’re the only ones who matter. Makes me wish that electric cart I use had 4WD so I could run over their inconsiderate asses since saying “Excuse me” 4 or 5 times doesn’t seem to work.
    I also hate being told that “We’ll keep you posted on how your husband’s surgery is going” and “Call this number if you need any information” and no one comes to tell me anything in 4 hours for a one-hour knee surgery (so I sat in the surgical waiting room from 9 am until 4:so pm without leaving to eat because I didn’t want to miss any news, talked to the surgeon at 3:45 pm, and finally they came to tell me I could take him home at 4:30 pm) and when I call the number, everyone has gone home, leave a message. Dealing with the VA, especially at this time of year, is not a pleasure at all.
    But at least Xmas eve will be good with DH’s family, for the most part. And his knee surgery was a success and he’s doing good, so I can deal with the crappy stuff.
    Festivus, y’all.

  90. Karrigan – I know the ergonomics of the sitch…I read it as though she was telling you that it was the cause of the double chin, not that she objected to your displaying it while playing. Errr – don’t all violinists have the same thing going on to some degree??

    Eucritta – You nailed my Christmas lunch right there.

  91. Karrigan–I know this might be small comfort, but dear, you are bringing beautiful music into the world when you play your violin, and that only makes you one thing: beautiful. You have followed your talent and your dream, and anyone who would watch you play and only notices a little neck squish (great term btw) isn’t worth one precious thought.

  92. Don’t let your car sleep in your bed.

    Now be fair — Val Kilmer probably put it there.

    My boyfriend’s mom is now commenting to me about him gaining weight (which I’m pretty sure he did not recently), which is… unusual. Better than the alternative, I guess, right?

  93. 1. To the work/life balance [sic. sic as a dog]“task force at my agency and its PTB puppetmasters: FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOOOOOOOOO, you’re not fooling anybody. It’s called “adding insult to injury.”

    2. I was never one of those people who hated bathing suit shopping till the last couple of years, but at 37, my 34DDs need more support than is currently available in the bathing suit universe. This is not a rare frame type or size. There are many of us. There are furthermore many BIGGER chests than this on not-so-young women who like to go to the beach. The Holy Grail of our day, which I will never fucking find, ever, is a bathing suit with a cup-sized underwire that actually lifts and supports. One that’s not a fucking Miraclesuit, because Miraclesuits are godawful uncomfortable for something you’re supposed to wear to enjoy yourself on fucking vacation and get hot in the sun and make my thighs look freaky big by comparison with all the cinched bits. This is a major grievance right now because I’ve been mail-ordering bathing suits that sound theoretically good and come well recommended from various websites for two months now for a late February trip, YES it takes that long to find something. And so far they’ve all had to go back. The underwires hang out a half inch below where they’re needed and do nothing, or the suit is a Takes Ten Pounds Off! iron maiden and threatens to leave welts. WHAT THE FUCK. I AM NOT SOME KIND OF OUTLYING FREAK HERE, I AM A DIME-A-DOZEN SIZE 14 HOURGLASS, I SHOULD NOT NEED TO GET A GRANT AND COMMISSION AN ENTIRE ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT TO BUILD ME A FUCKING SWIMSUIT.

    (What’s really weird is: I CAN find a bikini that fits. Easily. There are lots of bra-like bikini tops, and having two pieces eliminates the issues of short torso and small-waist/huge-chest-and-hip disparity. So I’m good with suits to leave the country with in the company of my husband. I just can’t find a one-piece, and I want a one-piece, because my mom is going to be on this trip, and ixnay to the ack-fat-bay display. I’m not even typing up that one.)

  94. Grievances of the year:

    1) I would like to chime in with a whole bunch of agreeing bells about employers who want to end up on the “best places to work” list AND magically sustain absurd levels of year-over-year growth without hiring anyone new. It’s not working, but none of the middle-managers have the chutzpah to tell that to the big bosses.

    2) Fuck snow and fuck cold weather. It’s been 5 years since I moved back to my home state of MN (aka North America’s Siberia), after living in AZ and southern CA for 7 years, and I have still not gotten re-accustomed to it. Such a pain in the butt.

  95. Ooooh, now I have a grievance too.
    I’ve been reading all down these, thinking how lucky I am (happy family, baby on the way, everyone encouraging me to eat MORE delicious food etc etc).
    But now I see that some people out there are fortunate enough to have cats who merely tip over the water glass.
    Mine DRINKS from it. Either by lapping (gross) or by dipping his filthy paw in, sucking it and repeating.
    You don’t know misfortune until you’ve woken at 3am in a dark bedroom and gulped down a pint of cool water mixed with kitty saliva and filthy foot dirt. And then spent the rest of the night frantically gargling with mouthwash and googling toxoplasmosis.
    And my husband now says if I’ll drink the cat litter I can clean the box, whatever the baby book says.
    Feel my misfortune, people.

  96. My greivance is more of a pity-party.

    This Christmas will be the last one in The Family Homestead. My grandfather built it, my grandmother designed it, and she (grandmother) is selling it next year. My uncle Tony, aunt Carol, aunt Denise, aunt Bernadette, and Bernadette’s long-time boyfriend/fiancee (not really sure what to call him, although Asshole fits quite nicely) are all going to be there. But me? I can’t. Even if I had the money, I have no immigration status here in the UK, so if I left the country I couldn’t come back. But it doesn’t matter, because a flight back home would cost way more than what we get in an entire month. So I’m missing the last TRUE family Christmas there’s ever going to be. On top of that, the only person in The Hubster’s family that ever comes here on Christmas isn’t. I’m not sure why (she told him, not me, and he’s terrible about actually relaying the entire story), but regardless, it’s just going to be me, The Hubster, and The Four Little Monsters. For someone who grew up having at LEAST 30 (yes, THIRTY) people in the house at Christmas, this isn’t just hard to deal with, it’s depressing.

    Yes, I can call home on Christmas, and I WILL… but it’s not the same. Not the same at all.

    And I’m having to fight the urge to burst into tears on a daily basis right about now.

    /end pity party

  97. Grievances- oh, so many…

    My “friend” who makes a point of doing everything I do, but BETTER – (if I go to the gym for 40 minutes, she makes sure to tell me she went for 90. If I have a dinner party, her food is better, etc. etc.). Oh – and also the same friend who told me how sorry she felt for me because I “have no children and am unfulfilled”.

    Another “friend” who clearly hates his wife, but, rather than file for divorce, tells her she is “disgusting and slovenly”, that he “doesn’t believe in monogamy” and that its her fault if she is “too fragile to handle the truth”. Worse – I hate that fact that everyone lets him get away with this behavior, including myself.

    The fact that I’m middle aged and can still be blindsided by horrible memories from more than 20 years ago.

    Finally – the fact that I am invisible to my family. My brother gets a pass for all kinds of self-centered and horrible behavior because he has “problems”, but nobody notices that I am floundering and about to drown because , apparently, all I really need is to start lowering my standards so I can get a man. Being married cures clinical depression… who knew…

    God that felt good. Thanks!

  98. Karrigan, Itzhak Perlman has a big ol’ double chin and fat fingers to boot, but it doesn’t stop him from being one of the most talented violinists ever. Tell your mom to stuff it or you’ll poke her with your bow.

    I actually don’t have a lot of grievances. I’m slightly peeved that my sister’s been away on a trip, but I can accept that she wants to have fun with her friends – since I’m doing the same thing for New Year’s. And sure, I’m not happy that my mom had a migraine, but it’s not like she did that on purpose.

    Oh, wait. The motherfucking dentist who didn’t wait for the novocain to kick in, pinched my lip with the clamp, and was rough enough that I’m still sore two days later. How am I supposed to enjoy holiday goodies when it hurts? Boo.

  99. Kristin-I feel your pain! I just finished my PhD in November (hang in there-grad school does end eventually) and every year my inlaws would ask “So, when are you done your course dear?” As if I was taking macramé at the community centre! Now I’m done (thankfully!) but I still have another year of studying for the three exams I have to take to become a licensed psychologist, and none of my family can grasp that concept. If I hear “Aren’t you done yet?” one more time, I may kill someone with the festivus pole!

  100. So one year I conspired with one of my friends and he volunteered to be my “date”. I showed up to a family function, escorted by a gay black man who had converted to Judaism.

    Ok I swear I think I just snorted Pringles out of my nose. That is hysterical! God I love this place.

  101. Buffy, saddly no, my step-dad Bill is not the same Bill you knew. Kinda makes me a little more sad knowing (not like it’s not obvious) that other’s have lost loved ones and are suffering this holiday season.

    One more holiday grievance: Migraines! That’s right, here we are on Christmas Eve, I’m supposed to go to my mom’s to spend the evening, and I’m desperately trying every trick I know to get rid of a killer migraine. Of course, not sitting in front of the computer might be a good start. :-)

  102. I haven’t read all these comments! And I’m drunk and I don’t know if this is the best place to put this. But. I had a conversation with my mom tonight (Christmas Eve).

    Mom: I’m going on Weight Watcher’s in the new years [for the sixth or seventh time]
    Me: I’ve decided life is too short to count calories
    Her: I thought you might want to lose weight to look nice in your wedding dress
    Me: I don’t see the point in losing weight for my wedding just to gain it back afterward. Anyway I think I look fine the way I am.
    Her: Of course you do, I wasn’t insulting you. I guess Mike loves you anyway
    Me: Yeah he loves me just the way I am.
    (I think I won this round. But it’s a multi, multi part round).

    Lisa! Fantasie and Freya (which you can buy at biggerbras.com) sell one piece bathing suits in sizes 34DD/34E. I’ve never got a one piece from them but I got a tankini which is a-maz-ing as well as bras.

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