Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: tradition

An Ode/Eulogy to Valentine’s Day

Ed. Note: I wrote this on Valentine’s Day, even though it won’t be posted until the day after. Just so there’s no confusion.

I have a complicated relationship with Valentine’s Day. I have always professed to hate it, and I do, mostly, but it’s for more complex reasons than I normally admit. I would tell people when asked (and sometimes unprompted) that I deplored the commercial aspects and being told that I have to buy lavish gifts to demonstrate my love. I firmly believed that you could show your love in many different ways at any time of the year, and I didn’t need Hallmark to dictate when I should display my love, damn it. That was all true and sincerely felt, but there was a deeper, darker reason I hated it so much–it’s because it consistently let me down. Yes, even I, as jaded and bitter as I was, I had bought into the promises and dreams Valentine’s day had fed to me, lies, really, during my teenage years and into my twenties. I wanted the romance, to be wined and dined, and to be made to feel like a queen. I wanted happily-ever-after that was the bailiwick of fairy tales and Harlequin Romance novels. When I was in a relationship during those years, even though I would pooh-pooh Valentine’s Day, I would secretly hope that my partner would surprise me with a magical night. It never happened, and each time it didn’t, I became increasingly bitter. Even though I tried to pretend I was fine with having a low-key Valentine’s Day, I wasn’t. In other words, I was a lover scorned being spiteful towards my ex-lover.

During my thirties, I tried to make my peace with Valentine’s Day, even though I dreaded its arrival every year. I was not in a relationship more often than I was, and each Valentine’s Day was a stark reminder that I was single. Our society is very couple-centric, and it’s not like I need another day to shove my alone-ness in my face. I get enough of that wherever I go–you really can’t escape it anywhere. Back in my thirties, I desperately wanted to be in a relationship, although I would have vigorously denied it. I was an independent, strong woman, damn it, and I didn’t need no man or woman to make me complete. Yet, there was something inside me that longed to be one half of a couple. I couldn’t squash the feeling, no matter how hard I tried. So, much of my bluster about Valentine’s Day was because it made me feel my lack of a romantic relationship keenly, and I hated feeling that way.

Continue Reading

This President Has No Home Training

eternal facepalm.
Uncle Sam is ashamed of us!

There is a GIF circulating the internet of Prime Minister Abe (of Japan) rolling his eyes and leaning away after this president shook his hand. Which the president did for a long time. I joined in the merriment, but then I thought more about it, and it’s such a classic bully thing to do. This president does that macho bullshit of crushing people’s hands when he shakes them, and he really did not want to let go of Prime Minister Abe’s hand. It’s a dominance thing in which the so-called alpha male shows he literally has the upper hand, and Prime Minister Abe’s discomfort was clearly evident. Then, the news that PM Abe’s wife was not accompanied by Melania Trump on her tour of DC broke, and I was stunned by the lack of etiquette. No, it’s not Mrs. Abe’s first trip to DC, and, no, she wasn’t completely alone, but still. She’s the wife of a very prominent foreign dignitary. You make it your priority to accompany her on her tour of your fucking city.*

This isn’t even Politics 101; it’s just common courtesy. You do not let an honor and esteemed guest wander about your city without being there. You. Just. Don’t. I’m not the biggest fan of mindless traditional behavior, but I do think there’s a base level of decency that we must extend to each other, especially if you’re the President of the Fucking United States. It’s embarrassing to watch this president interact with the heads of foreign countries, especially Asian ones. Asians are very big on face and showing utmost respect to others in public. There is an elaborate ritualistic dance you must perform, and anyone who doesn’t is viewed with askance. I’m not saying it’s a great thing in general, but I do think having a rudimentary knowledge of other cultures is important as president. Prime Minister Abe and his wife may never mention these indignities, but they will not forget them–I can guarantee you that.
Continue Reading