Jennifer Has Opinions

Jennifer has opinions…and the occasional story…and so do her friends…and they're self-involved enough to share it all on the internet

Opinion #7: Werewolves

So, it’s Saturday morning, and it’s 59 degrees in my house (can we all inundate my cheap husband with requests to turn on the heat, please?), so really what’s a girl to do other than make coffee, put on sweats and a ginormous orange high school soccer hoodie (thank you refugee teenagers, who apparently perceive me to weigh approximately the same amount as an average sumo wrestler), and catch up on the DVR (Allison and Elizabeth, please note my use of the extraneous Oxford comma.  I did that for you).

Anyway, I’ll admit to dvring one show (only one!) on the CW.  Okay, so apparently, there’s a show called Vampire Diaries that also airs on the CW (hey, at least I’m not watching that).  Because I could not get to the fast forward button on my remote in time, I was forced (so cruelly) to watch a preview for said show.  Now, clearly, this show is about vampires.  It’s right there in the title, and it makes sense, what with the teen vampire craze started by the wildly popular (and completely gag worthy) Twilight novels.  That’s not the point.  My point is, the commercial I watched was introducing a new werewolf character arc.

Really?  Werewolves?  I thought about it a little, and then I recognized a pattern- werewolves show up in Twilight (Team Jacob!).  Werewolves show up in True Blood (Team Alcide! For real).  Werewolves show up wherever there are vampires, but when was the last time you saw a werewolf carry the story?

Am I right?  And how long ago was that?

But, it appears teenagers (and middle-aged women) today prefer this:

To this:

I don’t pretend to understand it, but since it is true, my opinion is as follows: Werewolves need to stop riding the coattails of vampires.  It’s just embarrassing.

Oh, and Happy Halloween.

Friends With Opinions Friday: Running Skirts by Jaime

*The opinions expressed in FWOF are not necessarily shared by Jennifer (although, running skirts? bwahahaha)*
I was forming an opinion as I ran a roadrace.
I was surprised at all the running skirts. Yeah, I said it running SKIRTS. I understand that running makes your adrenaline increase and there is nothing else like it. But, there is not a single person that looks good running. Wearing a skirt doesn’t make it better. You’re not playing tennis.
Come on, people
1.) Everyone sweats. I mean everyone. Some more than others.
2.) Weird unexplained facial expressions happen. (There are always pictures.)
3.) No matter how trim and in shape you are, there is bound to be some jiggling.
Even with the above list, no matter how cute or fun the skirts are they look stupid.
Stick to shorts. You can thank me later.

Jennifer Needs Opinions: Hedgehog Names

Ask Jennifer: Gym Etiquette

Sometimes there are questions people don’t ask me…but they should.  So, no, no one’s ever asked me about proper gym etiquette, but I’m thinking it’s because they didn’t realize they needed to ask.  Let’s call this a preemptive strike.

First of all, the answer to the question “Should I shower, completely naked, in a locker room shower stall with the stall door wide open?” is “No.”  That’s why they put the door there, for the sole purpose of allowing you to close it.  I see how this might be confusing (No, I don’t).

Along similar lines, when at a Community Center instead of a YMCA, the showers might have curtains instead of doors.  In that case, the answer to the question “Should I open a closed curtain when someone’s towel and robe are hanging right outside the curtain, when the curtain of the next shower over is clearly open and indicating its availability, and when there is a voice from behind said closed curtain yelling out to a friend about the merits of swimmers’ shampoo?” is also “No.”  Hope you enjoyed your eyeful.

Here’s one that comes up frequently: “When I step out of a locker room shower, should I change immediately (or at least put on a towel), or should I parade around naked for 20 minutes or so, blow-drying my hair and talking on my cell phone?”  When in doubt, I err on the side of getting clothed as quickly as possible.  Hmmm…a lot of these have to do with nakedness.  I’ll move on, before you think of me as a prude.

Let’s try this one: “Those clearly marked signs that show you which direction you’re supposed to run on the track, those are just suggestions, right?  I mean, this is America- I should be able to run in any direction I damn well please.”  No.  “But what if I’m really old?”  Still no.

Or how about this: “Are the other women in the gym interested in the benefits and challenges of my favorite feminine hygiene products?” Nope.

Or, finally, this: “Hey, this kickboard is sitting right at the end of someone else’s pool lane- so that means I can take it, right?  It can’t possibly mean that the person at whose lane it is positioned is simply not using it for that particular lap?” NO.  Are you effin’ kidding me, buddy?  This is a freakin’ tax payer funded Community Center.  There is no fitness fairy magically leaving equipment out for you according to your preference.  GET YOUR OWN KICKBOARD.

Yeah, so that about sums it up, but if you have other questions, I implore you to ask before acting.  Because if I’ve learned anything from going to the gym, it’s that human instinct is not to be trusted.

Opinion #6: Pets (Well, Maybe Our Relationship To Them)

I get it.  People love their pets.  In case I ever doubted it, all I’d have to do is consider the eight (off the top of my head) places within four miles of my home where I can buy gourmet doggie or kitty treats…or the massive animal hospital being built in my neighborhood…or the woman I saw the other day wheeling her mid-sized dog around in a pram…or the vegetarian I know who makes sure her cat only eats organic fish & chicken…or the people I know who kidnap (rescue?) dogs that live primarily outdoors…or the fact that my grocery store (known for its lack of fresh produce) stocks “fresh” pet food in a special refrigerator case…or that I know people who have health insurance policies for their pets…or those “I *heart* my Granddog” bumper stickers I see everywhere…or the family members who won’t take vacations to see other family members, because “The animals go crazy when we leave them.”

I get it.  I had pets growing up.  I loved them.  When they died (because they will die before you, unless something goes terribly wrong), we mourned them.  My not-exactly-a-softie stepfather would even host little funerals.  Cruelty to animals is abhorrent, and a pretty good indicator that you’ll be cruel to any living creature.

But still.  Your dog has health insurance, but my neighbor doesn’t?  Michael Vick does time and it’s controversial to for him to be allowed to play football after, but no one seems to bat an eye at the number of accused rapists, wife abusers and even murders currently populating the ranks of professional sports?  Your cat gets homemade organic treats, and mothers in the Horn of Africa are currently having to choose which of their children to feed for the day because of famine?  Is it possible that maybe we have it too good?  That maybe we could use a little perspective?  Perhaps a moment of reflection on how we allot our resources?

Because right now, I know some human beings who would have been better off had they been born American pets.

Friends With Opinions Friday: Men & Shirts By Cathy

*The opinions expressed in Friends With Opinions Friday are not necessarily shared by Jennifer*

Now that the humid Southern weather seems to have broken, this topic may seem to many untimely- and therefore unworthy (Bonus Opinion from Jennifer: This particular opinion is always relevant).  However, it is a topic that has burdened me all summer long.  Now, like the trees preparing to shed their leaves, I too, wish to unburden myself.

Those who know me can attest that I am a liberal gal, not conventional in most regards. However, on this topic I must draw a line. Men should wear shirts in public. I don’t want to see men walking the city streets, enjoying a public patio, or entering the grocery store sans shirt.   I concede that the summer weather has been hellesque. Even the tiniest among us have suffered unwanted blemishes, chaffing, and perspiration.  What makes you, Shirtless Man, more entitled to relief than me?  The fact that you are a man?  Oh no.  I don’t think so! Yes, my opposition is grounded primarily in jealousy. So what. Put a shirt on it.  I would be arrested for similar behavior.  Society’s acceptance of the shirtless man scenario is a blatant case of sexism. Not to mention that most offenders should really think twice about how much public exposure really serves them.  Are you, Shirtless Man, rockin’ a Patrick Swayze/Dirty Dancin’ chest?  Let’s just say you are.  Sorry, but even you annoy me.  Unless you are engaged in some serious man labor, or sweeping me or one my gal pals across a dance studio, the attention you attract is 95% from gay men.  As a woman that relies heavily on gay male attention as a means of affirmation, you are taking away from attention that I need.  Get your own audience. When it’s hot, suck it up like the rest of us.  Under a damn shirt.

Opinion #5: The Foundation For A Better Life

Were any of you children in the 80’s?  Do you remember going to the movies, and how, right after the Will Rogers Institute commercial but before the real previews began, there would always be a little commercial that showed a dapper young man racing to hold the door open for an elderly lady, or a helpful neighbor rescuing a kitten for a child?  If you were like me, you would turn to your cousin and see who could say it the fastest- “Brought to you by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!”

But weren’t you always just the slightest bit creeped out?  I freely admit that it was unfair.  If you see an elderly person struggling with door, by all means, help them out.  I myself am not a fan of cats, but I know people who are, and if my friend Cagney needed help rescuing a beloved kitten, I’d do my part…probably…if there wasn’t something good on television.  So I don’t know what it was exactly about those commercials that I found so unsettling.  The soft focus?  The bad music?  The fact that I lived in Southern Baptistville and was therefore profoundly frightened by anything that sounded vaguely Catholic (Latter Day Saints)?  Whatever it was, I know I was glad when they were eventually replaced by an extra twenty minutes or so of previews.  I was happy those commercials were out of my life.

Or, I thought they were.  Embarrassingly enough, my husband and I have taken to watching Hell’s Kitchen on Fox OnDemand.  Whatever, real shows are on hiatus, and we’ve already watch The Wire, Freaks & Geeks, and The O.C. on dvd- we clearly had nowhere else to turn.  Anyway, Fox doesn’t let you fast-forward commercials when you’re watching OnDemand.  They’re evil that way. Imagine my horror when, during a break from Hell’s Kitchen, a poorly written, emotionally sung, vaguely Christian-sounding song began to play over images of a little girl riding her bike, an African child jumping on rocks and a woman drinking coffee on an icy beach.  I turned to my husband and said, “Brought to you by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!”

But, no.  These images were not brought to me by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and if I’d taken a few minutes to analyze, I would’ve seen that the only thing this commercial had in common with the Mormon commercials of my childhood was the crappy music.  There were no good deeds in this commercial, just a series of stock “feel good” images (the kind that people insist on inserting into PowerPoint presentations).  These images were brought to me by “The Foundation for a Better Life.”

The Foundation for a Better Life?  What does that mean?  Seriously, what does it mean?  Ambiguously religious organizations with ad campaigns rank right up there with abandoned amusement parks among things that give me nightmares.  I checked out their website.  It says the Foundation was started by an evangelical Christian, but that its hope is that the values it promotes transcend religion.

I still don’t know what values it promotes.  That little girls should ride bikes?  Coffee is good on a windy day?  I just don’t know, and I can’t help but suspect that it’s all some sort of front for Scientology…which is probably crazy…but still.

My husband disagrees.  He thinks they should have a whole channel devoted to only those commercials.  He says he would love something like that.  To each their own.

Friends With Opinions Friday: Dogs by Jaime

*The opinions expressed in FWOF are not necessarily shared by Jennifer*

Let me set the scene: One night, I was out with my husband, partaking in trivia and food. Out the window, I noticed this gorgeous Land Rover, out of which descends a couple making their way to the bar. In the car, left to hang out, is a dog. I thought, Interesting choice, bringing a dog along for the ride. Must just be picking up food. Nope. Not at all. The Land Rover couple were enjoying a night out.

Is it necessary to bring a dog to do errands, eat, or whatever it is you are doing when said dog will be forced to stay in the car? (Bonus opinion from Jennifer: It’s never necessary to take a dog anywhere…maybe to the vet…maybe.)

Also, why do dogs get to sit on the owner’s lap when car is in motion? You don’t see parents driving with children in their laps. Well, except Britney Spears. But still.  (Bonus opinion/illustration from Jennifer: For reals.  Just the other day, my husband and I were watching an episode of Hoarders where a man had allowed his home to be destroyed by thousands of pet rats.  Apparently, he had all of these rats to fill the void left by his wife’s death.  My husband, always a planner, turned and asked me what animal he should use to fill the void when I die.  I told him goldfish, as they are notorious for both NOT destroying houses and for NOT carrying the bubonic plague.  So, my point is this, do you think it would be socially acceptable for my husband to drive around Nashville with his beloved, wife-replacing goldfish in his lap when I die? Of course not.)

Do you not trust the dog to stay at home with more room to run around?

I just don’t get it.

And that’s my opinion.

Helpful Fact: Paint Cans

As none of my friends came forward with opinions to share this Friday, I will instead provide you with some helpful information. Paint cans are nothing like the miraculous toothpaste tube.  You know how, when you’re running out of toothpaste, it seems you can always still manage to squeeze out enough to get the job done?  Well, as I learned during this week’s ill-conceived deck painting adventure, the same cannot be said for paint cans.  No, paint cans seem to have more in common with the evil Bath & Bodyworks soap pumps.  You know, the ones you bought during a 3 for $15 special, even though you know math and realize that is a ridiculous price, because somehow their marketing geniuses managed to convince you, just for a moment, that handsoap needs to smell like Sunkissed Watermelon?  Right, those.  The ones that will never let you access the last fourth of the soap you paid too much for, no matter how much you squeeze, or shake, or beg.  Paint cans are like that.  They don’t care that you just need a little more paint.  They don’t care that there is plenty of perfectly good paint still in the bottom and on the sides.  They don’t care that you’re practically in tears and all of your neighbors have started staring at your ever more creative/crazy attempts to get more paint onto your roller.  Nope.  Just give up now and go to Home Depot…and should you happen to pass a Bath & Bodyworks on the way, close your eyes and your nose until you’ve safely passed.

Opinion #4: Babies

My sister and her family are moving, so yesterday I was helping her out by watching her kids while she ran some errands.  At one point, my baby niece (she’s around 20 months) picked up a pillow from the sofa and moved it to the love seat, then she turned to me expectantly.  I was all, “What?”, so she started clapping for herself, clearly thinking that I would join in.

Seriously, Sadie?

You moved a pillow.  And it’s not like that pillow belonged on the love seat.  Oh no, it belonged on the sofa, which meant that I had to move it back.  You think you deserve a round of applause for this?  I mean, maybe if you’d done something useful like scrubbed the floors, or fetched Auntie Jen a Dr. Pepper, but basically you’re just messing sh*t up.

It only gets worse as they get older, too.  When my nephew was in first grade they had some little holiday performance thing that I was supposed to attend.  Well, I did, and little Peyton got up on stage with his class.  They were supposed to sing Jingle Bells or something, but they clearly didn’t know the words.  Peyton stood there stiffly with his hands at his side, not opening his mouth…and they got a standing ovation.

Excuse me, what?

Everyone was congratulating the kids afterwards, and people were telling Peyton how great he did.  Um, were you watching the same thing I was?  The best I could come up with was, “Good job, Buddy.  At least you didn’t puke.”

But I think the pinnacle of this little lesson in managing expectations came last year when my niece Josie “graduated” from 4th grade.  I’ll say that again, 4th grade.  Do you know what you can do with a 4th grade diploma?  Nothing, except go to 5th grade where you belong.  The kid doesn’t even have her times tables memorized.  That 4th grade graduation (which I couldn’t attend) lasted 2 hours.  I kid you not.  I just got a Master’s degree, and they mailed that sucker to me.  Was I supposed to get her a gift for the stunning feat of making out of elementary school in a timely manner?  Well, I didn’t.

Babies.  They expect way too much for way too little.