Slut

This morning I read that several fraternities at Swarthmore College are closing down due to “rape rooms.” College has long been a traditional place for rape culture, slut shaming, sexism, and general bad behavior. Some colleges are worse than others.

My daughter, whom I’m proud to say was just accepted into three of the University of California campuses, is accepting at at a campus which is known for not having a large Greek presence. That particular school is also known for not having a huge “party culture” which is fine for me. My son Garrett DID go to a school with a large party culture and survived and thrived. Like I always say, you have to talk to your children about these things long before they start college or high school – start before puberty.

So in light of all of this, I’m posting a story you might have read before about double standards, college, and general bad behavior. People might behave badly but it does not mean you, or your kids, have to put up with it.

Slut

My children are in college now which is sometimes even more scary than elementary or high school. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change. 

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole and tell him that Beth and Bart say hello.

~ end

 

Remember to always talk to your kids about these things. Also tell them to support, respect, and have compassion for others as well. In other words tell them not to be entitled judgmental assholes.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Just DON’T: To those who discourage, stereotype and otherwise pigeon hole young people.

Pigeon Hole: Definition of put (someone) in a pigeonhole. : to unfairly think of or describe (someone or something) as belonging to a particular group, having only a particular skill, etc.

If you continue to Pigeon Hole young people I will consider you an Ass Hole.

I was out the other night with friends, who do not have children, and the subject came up of how my children are doing.

My daughter is waiting to hear from the four colleges she has applied for as a transfer student from the local community college. I’m doing the happy dance because she was accepted into U.C. Santa Barbara. Woot Woot.

So, for the 357th time my dear friend tells me, “you know that is where my niece got into drugs.”

My standard answer is usually, “kids get into drugs at every school, even schools like BYU.”

This time I said, “My children were not brought up in a hyper controlling, over protective, helicopter parenting home. Their father and I talked to them frankly about drugs, alcohol and what happened to friends of ours who were abusers.”

We (my husband and I) have always talked not just to or at our kids, but WITH our kids. We’ve had two sided discussions about all issues that will come up with our now adult children. Sex, drugs, and Rock N Roll (they know the difference between Led Zeppelin and lead paint.)

If someone tells you their child is going to a school, be it UCLA or Monterey Bay State (big or small) congratulate your friend. They have a child going to college. The same goes for the child who goes into the Navy, goes to a trade school, gets into a apprentice program, or does anything that will help them on that journey of life.

Don’t say how shitty their choice is.

The subject also came up about job choices and training. Family members LOVE to push younger family members into career paths they will HATE. Heaven forbid someone go into something strange like graphic design and illustration (my profession of many many many many years), or anything remotely involved in the arts or creativity. Heaven forbid someone go into a trade like being a mechanic. Hey if you love cars work with them. Any job you love is a good job. If you love cleaning toilets then do it. One day you’ll run your own multimillion dollar janitorial company.

My friends asked what another young person in my life wanted to do. I said he wanted to go into film or TV. Then I was asked what his real job was going to be aka back-up job.

I live in California. There are a lot of jobs in film and TV is you have passion, talent, and a drive. I’m not going to stomp on the dreams of any young people.

If you want to go into art – DO IT. If you want to work in a museum – DO IT. If you want to sing or act – DO IT. Yes a back up plan is ok, but think of all of the middle-aged people you know who have said “I wish I had…”

Don’t hate on the dreams of youth. A lot of young people have a plan for those dreams. Now they have access to the internet and other resources we (parents) could never dream of when we were young.

I’m not saying don’t have a back-up plan. Having a large set of skills is a good thing but…

I know we don’t want to see young people hurt, but killing dreams will do more damage in the long run.

Encourage our youth. Celebrate our hard-working youth. Say “GOOD JOB” to the kids who are studying, planning, researching, discussing, and doing.

My final words are for those of you who are not so young. You have dreams. You can also follow your passions. Nobody is there to stop you. Maybe you can’t do it on a grand scale, but do it small.

You can do it too. You’re never too old for most things. Don’t ever forget it. And don’t let the assholes pigeon hole you. Don’t.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

phole

College Dazed…

“Hey Mom?”

“Hey Garrett?”

“Do you mind if I bring my easel to school?”

“No, not at all. If you don’t have room in your dorm you can drop it off at your Uncle Rod’s.”

I felt a sting in my nose and eyes, trying not to get squishy. Crap. I knew this would happen.

“Mom are you getting squishy?” He came over and put his arms around me.

“I’m sorry. It just seems like it all happened so soon.”

“I love you mom.”

I always believe my parents were more than happy to ship my brother Val and me off to college. No tears, just a lot of stern advice that we had no intention of following. One thing I can can give my parents credit for was allowing me to go to college and not worry about it making me unfit for marriage or motherhood. After all, we were a little different, and I’d like to say more advanced and enlightened than most of the general population. It was the last half of the century, the Nineteenth Century, and times were changing. Anyway, we were all but kicked out of the house and my parents packed up and moved to San Francisco leaving us on our own. But that is another story for another time.

Garrett was packing up when I stopped him and told him to sit with me a bit.

“Honey, Garrett, you’re going to be on your own. I know you think you can handle it but your dad and I won’t be able to get you out of situations, so you need to be smart. Don’t feed off of binge drinkers because you don’t want to be responsible for a medical emergency. The blood loss might make them too sick. Stay away from club drugs because you might get sick and end up throwing up all night. Stay about from anyone on prescription pain killers because they make you loopy. You know how you’re so sensitive to everything. Avoid Vampires who aren’t part of our circle. You don’t need any creepers trying to recruit you. They’re like freaking Scientology weirdos or rabid PETA people or Young Spartans or whatever the Hell all of those mind control folks that go after Regular Humans. They’ll go after you too because they don’t know what you are so you’ll get it in all directions. Believe me, they’ve come after me at one time or another. They do it to everyone. Just smile and walk away. If you have to scare them do it, but don’t let them know you’re a Vampire. You can’t be a Vegan or you’ll die so don’t get on that bandwagon. You’re first and foremost a predator. That isn’t a bad thing. Stay clear of the Vampire weirdos. They might seem interesting or exciting but they’re nothing but trouble and they’ll drag you down. They have their own cults. They will suck you in before you even know it. We went over this before but stay away from them. They’re scum. Stay away from older Vampire women. They look young and beautiful but they’ll suck you dry and try to control you. They just want to use you, especially considering who your family is. I will do serious serious deadly damage to any of them if they try to so much as run a hand through your hair. And watch for Zoe and your other female friends, keep the old Vampire bastards away from them. They come in and charm with their good looks and … just keep them away from the girls. This is your time to be young Vampires, you don’t need a bunch of old shits trying to take advantage of you.

Don’t fall in love with the first girl you meet, even if she is a Vampire. Don’t let your friends fall in love with the first person they meet either. Watch out for each other. Stay away from sugar. I know you’ll be on the coast but even on foggy days wear your sun screen and a hat. Never let anyone know you’re a Vampire. Don’t even hint at it, even if it comes up in conversation. Never show your fangs even when you’ve been drinking. And don’t drink too much. You can drink everyone under the table, sure, but eventually it will even get to you. Get enough sleep. OK. And call me or text me and let me know how you are. You can call me anytime, night or day, about anything, anytime.”

Garrett took put his arms around me and said, “Mom, I’ll be OK. Remember, you’re my mom. You raised me right. I know this stuff. I got it. OK?”

“I know, but…” I started to say.

“I love you mom.”

Even Vampires get choked up when it comes to their kids.

We packed up his car, his friend Randy’s car, their friend Zoe’s car, and two cars for the parents to drive back home in… and off we went for the weekend. We moved them in and then drove home. A few extra days, a visit with Uncle Rod, and a few stops at wineries along the way helped. I’m find, we’re all fine, or kids will be fine. We raised them right. I’m so proud and excited but it went by way too fast.

When you’re a mom you’ll always be a mom. Always. That is what I like about the job – the ultimate job. Sigh.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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