Tag Archive: Women


I want to write about my college education at Penn State and some of the great relationships and experiences I had during my four years there. If you plan to hear some sordid tale about an unprofessional professor or touchy-feely athletic coach…you will not find that here. In light of all the terrible scandals and law breaking that has been occurring at the university level, I think a dose of positive journalism (might be giving myself too much credit there, but oh well) is well in line.

I spent four years at the Penn State Behrend campus in Erie, PA with a multitude of wonderful people. I would like to highlight some of the events that took place during those four years and how they have impacted my life in such a tremendous way. Because I intend to tell true stories about such great people…I am using their real identities and I hope that if any of them read this they will be proud to have been named accordingly.

If you’ve read my blog before, you may have caught onto my natural ability to freak out and be stressed.  I already told you that I went to a very small high school and knew everyone in all of my classes; however, this never seemed to help the nerves from getting the best of me on the first day of school. It’s arguably accurate to say that I was more worked up over the first day of school than I was Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa coming. My first day of college was no different.

As I recall, I had an 8 a.m. class in the Kochel building with Dr. Christine Mangone- it was a theater class. I got up on time, found my room and sat smack dab in the front—ready to take college by the tail (the Nittany lion tail to be exact)! I tried to harness in my nervousness as Dr. Mangone reviewed the syllabus and discussed the upcoming semester. The class was only a 55 minute or so class and I was hanging in there pretty well despite the fact my stomach was doing jumping jacks and I was shaking like I was hypothermic (fyi…all of those symptoms have just come back to me right now as I relive this…).

 At about 8:50 I felt IT coming…

Like an idiot I raised my hand to ask to be excused to the restroom only to discover you don’t raise your hand in college, you just leave…which only made me feel even more like an idiot. After Dr. Mangone so delicately explained the restroom policy to me (taking pity on my embarrassing freshman-ness), I dashed out the door looking for the women’s restroom…I had no idea where it was seeing as it was my first day, first class and basically first time in the Kochel building. I turned to a girl sitting on a bench in the hallway and asked her where the restroom was (trying to appear calm and collected but feeling IT surge inside me) and she had no idea because she was a freshman too…go figure. So I ran up and down the hall finally locating the restroom. I burst in the door and ran for a bathroom stall and just as the stall door swung open, IT happened. I puked on the floor right in front of the toilet.

Seriously… I missed by a foot.

Horrified, I looked around for something to clean it up with… I saw the paper towels and grabbed handful. I started wiping up the vomit from the floor and throwing the paper towels into the toilet, fully hoping to get rid of any evidence that I just yakked from nervousness on my first day in college. I got it cleaned up as best I could and then I realized I wasn’t going to be able to flush that toilet, otherwise it would flood. That’s when the world stopped and there I was, standing there in all my ridiculousness, taking in the whole scene: the vomit streaked floor, the paper towel stuffed toilet, the hum of the fluorescent light illuminating the scene, my raging anxiety, and the realization that no matter how much I tried I would have to live with my loser of a self for the rest of my life.  It was a devastating self-revelation for me.

At that point, I realized my only option was to get away from the scene of the crime and look natural… As I exited the bathroom, the 8 a.m. classes were letting out so I walked back into my classroom and grabbed my things to leave. As I was walking out of Kochel, I stopped the one adult person I saw who looked like a professor. Looking very concerned and distressed I said “Some girl just got really sick in the downstairs bathroom, you might want to let someone know.”

This story is not explicitly about blowing chunks…it was on that first day of college I met Dr. Mangone and came to greatly respect her creative and fun-loving approach to both education and life. I later performed in the Penn State Behrend production of Little Shop of Horrors, which Christine directed. You might not think this exceptional but she pulled off a great show in one of the tiniest spaces I’ve ever performed in. If you’ve visited Behernd and had the luxury of touring the Studio Theatre, you know it’s like performing in a closet.   Directing a performance in that space requires innovation and making the most out of what you’ve got; and Dr. Mangone did. Being a part of her cast and having her show such great confidence in me was a wonderful time in my college career and I will always look back on it with tremendous gratitude.

Colleen Kelley. This woman RUINED my life for several semesters at Behrend. She taught, and still teaches, several courses that are required for Communications majors, so there was NO avoiding her. I could very easily sit here and write some elaborate imagery that would depict how awful she was, and I intend to use some personal background, but let’s start with quotes from other students provided by ratemyprofessor.com comments, her overall rating is a 1.7 out of 5:

“Horrible. Learned next to nothing, her classes are torture to sit through”

“Seems to make everything up as she goes along, thinks she is something special”

“Very unfair grading. Very boring. The worst Behrend has to offer.”

“Colleen Kelley is evil. She should not be a professor at Behrend. She is not understanding or helpful. She judges people in a bad way! Her tests are horrible! Mean, nasty lady!”

“Tests were near impossible. Even if you did study, chances are you would only barely pass…unless she liked you. She doesn’t like men, she’s a psycho-feminist and the last day of class I found out she doesn’t care much for Catholics either.”

“Horrible class, but mandatory for comm majors, Wanted to kill myself while in class and after receiving my test grades.. DO NOT take unless you have to. Extremely hard on grading stuff. BAD BAD BAD”

Hahaha, I suppose these comments are more of an inside joke than anything because unless you’ve sat through a Colleen Kelley course, you can’t imagine how accurate these depictions are. I will also add, in Dr. Kelley’s defense, that I had to make several spelling corrections in these college students’ comments…which might add to their troubles in getting good grades………

To recap: Dr. Kelley is the professor that knows you have to take her course in order to graduate (especially if you’re a Communications major) and she refuses to let you leave college behind without getting the shit kicked out of you a little bit.

While under Dr. Kelley’s tutelage I was also taking one of my various news writing classes with Professor Kim Young (I will get to her later…). Kim let her students make up “breaking” news stories on the fly in order to help instruct the pyramid style of news writing and information prioritization. During one particular class she asked me to tell the class about a news story that I imagined was happening on Behrend’s campus…I chose to have Colleen Kelley hung from the upstairs railing in the Reed Student Union Building. Shock! Gasp! Eek! It was a joke of course because the woman tortured us!! Everyone in class shared the sentiment! As I recall, Kim frowned on my choice of story and gallantly defended her colleague and friend but let me write the story anyway. My point is, I detested this woman so much, I openly and freely expressed my hatred not only to all of my classmates, but another professor…and let’s face it… there is a good chance that if that happened today on a college campus, I would probably get hauled into the police for questioning for threatening someone’s life.

All that being said, since having left Behrend Dr. Kelley’s lectures and messages about rhetoric and communication have impacted me tremendously! Rhetoric is a POWERFUL tool. It has allowed me to enter the world of adulthood with a questioning and penetrating perspective on everything. Being able to identify the underlying messages of news broadcasts, advertising campaigns, your co-workers and etc. is a pretty handy discipline to have. It can also be disappointing because you discover quickly how full of shit everyone is, but helpful nonetheless. Let me be clear here… the term rhetoric can be perceived as two things: 1. The art of writing and speaking effectively and 2. The bull crap that politicians (or anyone who tends to think of themselves as extremely important) say at you; I find it useful in both cases. SO, what I’m really trying to say is that despite Colleen Kelley’s persistent torture, I actually learned something and have become ever more grateful of her contributions to my education. Dr. Kelley, if you’re reading this… thank you for kicking the shit out of me.

And for my coup de grace, Professor Kim Young.

Kim was another of my communications professors that had to deal with me in several classes; she mostly taught the news writing and journalism classes I took. She’s a pretty big deal, in case you didn’t know. She was a news anchor for Erie, PA’s WSEE TV, a news director of WQLN and currently hosts WQLN’s Weekend All Things Erie broadcasts. Additionally, to stress the importance of the Colleen Kelley story, Kim is working on her Ph.D. in, you guessed it, RHETORIC!

Kim was one of my FAVORITE professors. If you search her on ratemyprofessor.com her overall rating is a 4.5 out of 5, quite a bit better than Dr. Kelley’s. Because Kim has been a reporter and actively writes news, she’s a great person to teach, develop and mentor you in journalism.

With that being said, she was a pain in my ass.

Kim’s approach to teaching was a practical one. News doesn’t happen in a classroom, it happens in the world, so that’s where you need to be! She sent us on all kinds of stupid assignments throughout Erie; we wrote about homeless people, holidays and my personal favorite—public transportation.

(Backstory: please see Hometown Heritage. Also know that I did not have real public transportation in my hometown…sorry to the “GoBus”)

Kim’s assignment required us to ride the Erie bus, meet someone, interview them and then write a story about them. I had never utilized public transportation before and immediately found this assignment to be annoying and inconvenient; regardless, I set out to write the story. The Erie bus makes a stop on Behrend’s campus, right in front of the Reed Union Building; that’s where I caught it. I took my biology text book with me in case I got bored on the ride (I had no idea where I was going, but I figured the bus would loop back to Behrend). I board the bus and within a few minutes I met a very nice woman who was riding the bus with her baby. We chatted and I interviewed her about using public transportation and then she got off 15 minutes later. I was rather pleased with myself that I got the assignment over with quickly and could spend the rest of my ride studying for bio.

Here is where it becomes relevant that I did not understand public transportation. Many buses run on particular loops and because Erie is far from a metropolis of a city, apparently their buses run on very LARGE loops. PSU Behrend is located on the eastern part of the city, remember that, ok?

Now, as we’re leaving the Harborcreek area on the bus, I’m diving into studying when all the sudden we start picking up quite a few public transport riders. A woman sat down next to me and saw that I was reading a biology text book. Unprompted, she engages me in conversation about her family medical history and all of the weird and strange diseases they have. Not kidding. A stranger, sitting next to me, is telling me about her medical problems. My first thought is “I wonder if any of these diseases are contagious and/or fatal, because if that’s the case I’m doomed!” Followed by “Why on Earth is this woman telling me this? Who does this?” Concluded with, “I’m going to kill Kim for making me do this.”

Thankfully, Ms. Medical History got off the bus somewhere on State Street, which means the bus was now travelling in downtown Erie.

Several stops go by, and quite honestly I don’t know if the next character was already on the bus or boarded in downtown Erie, but this elderly gentleman enters stage right…

This man begins cursing at ALL of the passengers on the bus. At first only a few of us seem to hear it and wonder what his issue is. We all look up at the man, then look around to see who else notices and then proceed to pretend neither of those things just happened. His colorful language continued to grow in both imagery and frequency, accompanied by him turning around and directing the comments to someone behind him. The escalating nature of Mr. Grumpy’s behavior forced the bus driver to threaten him with removal from the bus. The bus driver threatened over and over again actually and even said he was going to call the police.

At this point, my annoyance with Kim for making me do this has hit a new high. There I was trapped on this bus, now somewhere on the WEST side of Erie with an old man who is cursing at something that no one can figure out, all the while freaking out because if this is what public transportation is like I will NEVER do it again.

As the show continued, I started to realize the old man thought someone was popping their gum and he was angry about it. I perused the passengers trying to determine who the culprit was…I was unsuccessful. Nonetheless, the bus driver had had enough. He radioed the police and pulled the bus over in the middle of nowhere and forced this elderly man off the bus and onto the road and left him there. Not at a bus stop, not near a gas station… just somewhere. Apparently, you are not to piss off a bus driver! My only other experience was with my elementary school bus driver who was a sweet man who always had gum and candy for us (not as creepy as it sounds)… not one who calls the cops and drops you off in the middle of nowhere!

To tally the piling emotional issues I was experiencing: annoyance, panic and now add fear to the list. I wanted off that damn bus!

While trying to figure out what the best option was for me now, the bus pulls into the Erie Airport, which is on the opposite side of the city from campus. Lord Almighty, the ride was that long and only half way over!

It’s at the airport that another stranger-man speaks to me. The bus was at a complete stop and the driver had gotten off to stretch his legs or something. Anyway, the man asks to borrow my phone. I was hesitant because I watch Law and Order and I know that he could steal it, beat me to death with it, set off a bomb with it or much worse! So I asked “Are you dialing locally?” He was, so I let him use the phone.

A Map of Erie, PA

Thankfully, the return trip had no stops on it—we returned to Behrend, two and a half hours later. At that point I was frozen in anxiety, anger, fear, and had missed a class, so I returned to my dorm room and wrote my stupid bus story about the woman and her baby.

And to add the final nail to the coffin, so to speak, when I turned in my “mother and baby” story to Kim but told her the whole sordid tale about my bus ride, she insisted that I rewrite the story and talk about all the other “interesting” things that happened. I thought “you’ve got to be kidding me, lady.”

While this was only one experience in the many class hours I spent with Kim, it is by far the most memorable. The ironic thing is that I ride public transportation (metro and bus!!) every day and deal with much stranger people now than I did on that particular bus ride.

The lesson learned was to be open. When writing news, there will be stories that just fall in your lap, but the key to unlocking great journalism is to observe. By being in the world and observing, you can create and tell wonderful stories; the world has lots to share, you just have to look and listen. Ya, it’s true, I got all that from that stupid bus story.

Thank you Kim for being a great educator and mentor and for continually supporting me…and if you ever need someone to support you when you assign something like “go find a chipmunk and ask him what his favorite nut is,” know I’ve got your back….and if I were a chipmunk, YOU would be my favorite NUT!

Sincerely,
 
Jammer 
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This one is for you Mom…

I should preface this blog post by telling my readers that I’m fully aware of the heartbreaking and terrible circumstances that surround breast cancer, or any kind of cancer for that matter; however, please don’t expect this blog to be one that will scare or sadden you. As per usual, my perspective is a light-hearted one and I mean to make people smile with my words. That being said…

Cancer.

Just looking at the word makes people cringe. What is it? How can there be so many kinds? One little word can hold so many pretenses and meanings ……

We are bombarded with statistics everyday about cancer; how many people die each day, hour, minute from this invasive and destructive disease that can take over someone’s body so quickly.  But what is it really? To someone it could be the disease that took a family member away, to another it could be a disease they are trying to cure, to another it is a cause worth fighting, to another it’s something they’ve battled and beat….but to a few it still remains a distant disease that hasn’t popped their bubble yet.

Not many get to live in those precious, lucky bubbles that cancer floats just beyond… Up until this year, I had one of those bubbles. I’ve had relatives that have fought various types of cancer and suffered heartbreaking consequences due to the disease…much of this was when I was a child, it was beyond my understanding and something the “grown-ups” didn’t discuss with me. But a phone call in July burst my bubble in a very real way- my Mom has breast cancer.

I can’t speak for the emotions that my Mom had to deal with after receiving that phone call. I have no idea how hard it was for her to call each of the people she loves and tell them that she has cancer, but I can imagine it was one of the most difficult things she’s ever done. I say that because my Mom has always put EVERYONE before herself. Her entire life has been dedicated to being the best wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend that she possibly can. So, to not only be dealing with the shocking news of a breast cancer diagnosis, she was upset because she was “burdening” her loved ones with the news. Of course, none of us felt burdened…  I felt sad, scared, upset, angry, and a multitude of other things, but never burdened.

The shock of a breast cancer or any cancer diagnosis is life altering. But once the dust settles and you’ve processed the information, it becomes a part of life- something you just do, something you are. That’s not to say that a person just becomes the disease, but I believe it becomes a part of them, another identifier to write under their name.

I know my mom was concerned that she’d be reduced to nothing but a cancer patient, that the only topic of conversation she’d be approached with is “how are you feeling” and questions of the like. I assured her that she was so much more than that and no one was going to treat her like a social reject all of the sudden.

She was also concerned about her external features changing because of the cancer. Would she lose her hair? Would she have to have a mastectomy? How would that alter her confidence or her relationship with my Dad. Obviously, my Father will love my Mom through anything, but the notion of suddenly losing those things that make a woman feel like a woman was scary.

I tried to be supportive of my Mom’s worries and fears in the only way I know how… I told her if she loses her hair, she should get a sweet tattoo on top. I imagined an eight ball, holes like on a bowling ball or simply a message that said “this side up.” I for one thought this was a brilliant idea! If I had to shave my head, with the prospect of growing my hair back, I would get a tattoo on top just to say I have it! You know, I’ve seen those emails go around with the artist who draws perspective sidewalk drawings, the ones that look like you’re standing at the bottom of a swimming pool or standing on the ledge of a building about to fall off… I should get that guy to do something on my scalp that looks like you’re seeing into my head… that would be an easy work of art- not much to draw. (I would like to add here that I searched for relevant images of head tattoos and thought many of them might scare readers…so I apologize for the lack of illustration to that point…Instead please enjoy these amazing sidewalk drawings!)

              

I also suggested that if she had to have a mastectomy, she should really look into implants. I mean, I don’t think my Mom could handle any Pam Anderson sized jubblies but I told her being in her 40s and having perkier, nicer boobs than her daughters sounds like a good deal! My mom has also had trouble keeping weight on due to a thyroid problem…so since she’s already a gorgeous woman, being a skinny, 5’7’’, big breasted lady would make her the envy of lots of people! I figured this sounded like an amazing plan too, until I started to worry for me and my sister about having to fight off our already perverted friends who think our Mom is hot. I mean, I’m on my way to being married and therefore being able to punish and torture my soon to be husband for even glancing in the wrong direction, but my sister? She is single and ready to mingle and I’m sure she does not want to compete for a man’s attention with my Mom, no matter how much she loves her.

So, since the prospect of a kick ass tattoo or new frontal flotation devices were quickly nixed, I told my Mom she was clearly going to make this a challenge for me in terms of discovering ways to exploit this disease in a positive light. Normally, I would suggest adopting a wardrobe that contained childish T-shirts with funny sayings on them in regards to breast cancer, which believe it or not, there exists  a whole wide world of options… but I’m sure my rational and shy mother would never wear them. I can’t picture her sporting a t-shirt with the saying “Yes they’re fake, the real ones tried to kill me,” or “Check your Boo-Bees” with a little cartoon bee buzzing across it.  Those are some pretty great ones, along with the slightly more intense: “New and Improved- Now with more Radiation!” and “I’m having a no hair day.”

                

Nope, no fun sayings…instead my mom will take the traditional route and sport the breast cancer pink on every piece of her clothing. I have to admit, I’m struggling with this wardrobe adaptation. Pink is not my favorite color, in fact, pink is a color you will never see me wear. I really have no rational explanation for my radical hatred of this “feminine” shade except just that…it’s feminine. I’ve spent my whole life trying to convince the world I’m a hard ass and more than just a girl (That’s right Gwen Stefani…I’m MORE than just a girl) and for some reason I never got the opinion that wearing pink helped. BUT, I guess things change. Now when I look at pink…specifically anything pink that references breast cancer, I don’t feel the need to scoff at how ridiculous pink is and instead I feel a sense of pride… pride in my mom and the rest of the women who have not only stood up to breast cancer but have helped it become a common place cause; something the public talks about. There are so many women who have and are doing great things to help educate and raise awareness about breast cancer. Discussing breast cancer in public was taboo until about the 1970s… I think many people of my generation take for granted the simple fact that we CAN publically discuss this disease. It’s a truly amazing and inspiring thing to know there is a Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that women all over the world now share a voice that’s being heard.

The most common name associated with breast cancer efforts is Susan G. Komen. This woman was an inspiration to so many and today her sister, Nancy (pictured), is leading the fight against breast cancer and unifying a population of women that should humble us all. My message to all of you ladies out there who have fought, survived and stood by while breast cancer raised havoc in your life: You are a testament to the human spirit. The positivity, hope and oneness that radiates from you is infectious and more powerful than you could ever know. Your ability to demonstrate strength, compassion and joy in some of the most trying times surpasses any expectation. You are each my hero…thank you for being exactly who you are and plowing the way for the rest of us. Mom, I love you and today you are one of those people who can stand proud and say you’ve fought in this battle and won. Here’s to you.

Lots of Love,

Jammer

Weddings Damage Mental Health

Why is it that when you get engaged, you’re all the sudden supposed to know how the heck to plan a wedding?

For some girls, it’s a dream come true, they’ve spent their entire lives imagining how their wedding will be: the perfect dress, the flowers, the cake and even the groom.

This is not the case with me. Let me be perfectly clear, I’m very much in love with my fiancé and I was thrilled to have gotten engaged to him; however, the looming wedding is a different story.

I think there are a couple of backstory elements that I must share before diving into my hypercritical examination of the wedding planning process…

First, I’m a bit of a control freak…I spent most of my life thinking I was fairly normal until I got to college and my roommate borrowed a pack of my markers. When she gave them back, the markers were out of order. Note: if you are like me, you know exactly what this means, if you’re not, this is where you start to think I’m a little nuts… So I dumped them out and began rearranging them. She asked me what I was doing and I said putting them back in order, doesn’t everyone put their markers away in the ROY G. BIV order??? Then she looked at me like I had orange spots all over my face, like I had just suggested the most unfathomable idea to her, AND that’s when I realized I’m a bit of an organizational/control freak. Mind you, it’s not just because it’s pleasing to the eye or because I’m loopy, I feel like this just makes sense…why WOULDN’T you put them in that order? Seriously! That’s how you buy them! ( I feel it’s relevant to reference Monica from Friends and say that I’m not as obsessive as her, but you could still consider my quirky control/organization quality charming!!)

Second, I grew up as a little girl playing dress up and having Barbie weddings just like I imagine other little girls to do, then I got somewhat jaded by a couple of not so good boyfriends and pretty much gave up on the “happily ever after” mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a man hating, feminist freak who spends most of her time condemning men for all the atrocities that they impose on women, well at least not today anyway…. But I truly imagined my future being a somewhat long, single venture until my late 20s when I would maybe find some mature guy that would treat me well, accept my quirks and be able to deal with how successful my future self would naturally be. (duh, in imagination land you can be freaking awesome!  To give you an idea of the picture in my head, I was jet setting around the world to very important meetings…not sure about what yet, currently I’m still somewhat hung up on the age old question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” but that’s a whole different story folks…)

Ok, so we’ve established that I’m an organizational-control-freak-loner who never thought she’d marry young.

Now, moving on to my obvious impending gripes about wedding planning… It stinks ok? I know I’ve just told you that I’m an organization freak, so I’m sure you’re thinking, piece of (wedding) cake right? You lose.  The example I gave you was of me organizing markers… Not of me planning an event that my dude (fiancé sounds pretentious, so I’m going to use dude from here on out) and I’s closest family and friends will be attending. Plus, there will be PROFESSIONAL photos taken, PROFESSIONAL video taken…this is the one party that I’m supposed to cherish for the rest of my life. So there is obviously no pressure, right? Ha.

There are entire books out there written on how to effectively plan your wedding. They are full of timelines, examples, checklists, questionnaires… tons of crap basically. I have one of these books and it has brought me very little solace. And the worst part is, ALL of the books, magazines, and even my very own mother has said, “this is supposed to be fun!” Are you kidding me? What is fun about it? All the money that I and my wonderful parents (love you guys!!) will be blowing on an event where most likely half the guests will be a little tipsy and might not remember anyway? Or would it be the fact that for an entire day I have to have all eyes on me (not my cup of tea), and play the perfect hostess to 250 people? (Dude and I have big families. I don’t consider us the type of people who actually think that many people care that we’re getting married, it’s just tradition to have all your family present right? I mean, the books say it’s YOUR wedding, invite whoever YOU want, but how am I going to explain to my dad’s second cousin twice removed that I didn’t think her presence should be part of my special day? SERIOUSLY, HOW?)  UGH, Anyway, these books are garbage and all my book has done to help me in the wedding planning process is convince me that every preconceived notion I had about planning a wedding is wrong. I’m basically a wedding planning reject.

I’ve been engaged for a year, so about once for each of the past 12 months, I’ve spread out all of the wedding paraphernalia that I’ve gathered and tried to make sense of it all: this results in an anxiety attack. So, following my brief freak out about how I’m never going to be able to plan this wedding, you know, make all the decisions, pay attention to that much detail, coordinate a million people’s schedules… I pack it all back up and think, “I’ll worry about it later.” Now my friends, later has come and gone several times and I’m still not in a very weddingy mood. I’ve booked a ceremony location, a reception location, bought a dress and bought vases for centerpieces. I’ve had a year, do you understand? And no joke, that’s all I’ve accomplished in one year. And, to be quite frank, most of it has been in the past 5 months. AND, even getting that much done has been a pain in the ass.

Why don’t I hire a wedding planner you say? Someone to take the burden off my shoulders and sit in the driver’s seat while I sleep in the back, occasionally waking up to request a pee break? Because I’m a control freak; and thus the circle is complete. Do you see what I’m getting at? Basically, I don’t want to do it but I also don’t trust anyone else to do it. I know what you’re thinking, “well darling, you better learn to deal with one or the other because right now you sound like a bride with her cute little panties in a twist and it’s your own fault!”

Who knew a wedding was going to not only stress me out on a whole new level, but it was going to reveal pieces of the extreme psychosis I suffer from… Awesome, like that’s going to get me any more excited about this damn wedding.

(Oh God, if I’m like this as a bride, just imagine how awful I’ll be as a pregnant woman…. Don’t worry, I’ll issue a nationwide warning so you all can be on the lookout to avoid me at all costs…I probably won’t want to talk to you anyway… I’m a crazy pregnant woman remember… I’ll probably be consumed with the neurotic conversation I’m having with myself.)

Yikes! Moving on…

Honestly, I would be fine with an elopement of some sort; Dude and I could sneak away to some island and get married just the two of us; it would be lovely. BUT to disappoint 250 family and friends who are expecting a huge bash to celebrate our union, as well as the free meal and open bar… I can’t carry that kind of burden for the rest of my life. I’ll forever be the family reject for being a selfish bride and who deprived them of their chance to express their whole-hearted joy for my brand new marital bliss.

So for all you family members and friends of soon to be married people, show some appreciation for all the hard work that will go into their wedding; they are doing it for you, mostly. (except for those real princess-type girls who’ve dreamed of this all their life… they are pretty much doing it for themselves.)

Official count down to wedding/D-Day: 344 days to go, brought to you by TheKnot.com, one of those great wedding websites that freak me out. (Just an interesting tidbit, according to TheKnot, I have 188 checklist items to accomplish and I’m overdue on 10….do you see why I’m losing it?)

Sincerely Yours,

Jammer

There has long been a legendary mystique surrounding the goings on in the girls’ locker room; men have spent hours of effort to discover what they only assume to be a long lost treasure of girlie tidbits on display in an eye pleasing manner…. (Note to my men readers: If you don’t want the mystery and fantasy destroyed, please stop reading now.)

(From the movie Porky’s…)

The girls’ locker room is nothing of the kind imagined above. It’s relatively uncomfortable and weird if you ask me. Generally, the older the women are, the more liberal they tend to be with their tidbits and quite frankly, the manner in which they are displayed tend to be about five inches lower than where expected.

I’m a gym frequenter and also played many a sport in high school and college, so I know my way around a locker room. Many would consider me a tad on the shy side, so generally I’ve learned various tricks of the trade to maintain my privacy while stripping down in front of strangers. There is the notorious over then underdress…where you put your workout clothes on over your existing clothes and then maneuver the previous clothes off without chancing exposure to the masses. I mastered this in high school where every girl is staring at every other girl, not in the lusty come hither way that most men dream about, but more like the “am I just like everyone else or should I be embarrassed” paranoid, self-conscious teenager way.

The next technique that I developed was the quick change; this is generally reserved for my panty swaps. This came in college and later in life. Now, I know there are many women out there who feel as though a thong is the most comfortable underwear to sport when exercising; I really don’t understand this…. Just what I want, a permanent wedgie while I’m doing squats, weird. I tend to have what I like to call my work out underwear…these are the tried and true, wedgie proof undies that give me the coverage and comfort I yearn for when I’m doing dead lifts and don’t want my cheeks catching a breeze. Anyway, when trying to achieve the quick change, I change everything I can without showing my wares and then prepare for a super speedy swap. I angle myself into a corner of lockers do a quick panty drop and exchange. Warning: proceed with caution because there is a risk of getting tangled in your own panties and falling into the lockers, no doubt calling attention to yourself now bare assed and EM-bare-assed! (yes, I feel as though that was a clever play on words, if you don’t, well, you’re just not as clever as I am then…so boo.)

Now, changing into your gym clothes is half the battle. If you attend a swankier gym that has a sauna and/or a pool, there are other obstacles you must conquer. Generally, I strip down to my skivvies and sports bra for a turn in the sauna…I’ll take a towel in and find a corner and just sweat for a bit. The older ladies again feel no shame in displaying all that god gave them in the sauna…and in here, it’s twice as awkward because you can’t pretend not to have noticed; it’s a small wooden room with one door and nothing going on inside except the profuse sweating of people, more specifically in this case, women. So, as much as you pretend not to see her very white, bare sand bags hanging at her knees, it’s sort of a train wreck that you can’t miss…and then you’re left to contemplate how god awful your own, perky twins will look when you’re that woman’s age. Will you be as proud of them as she is? Will you not give a crap like she does? It’s rather depressing and really doesn’t aid in the relaxation of the whole sauna atmosphere.

Now, I should also warn men that in addition to the old people, who are less than pleasing to look at, it’s a gym where people are coming to GET in shape; well actually, most people have a shape already, it’s just not the one you males are fantasizing about. (I do feel the urge to reprimand all you piggish men for putting ridiculous expectations on us women, but for the time being, I’ll resist…) So, what do we have so far? Shameless old ladies and miscellaneous women of all shapes and sizes….

Next are the weirdos. I’m sorry ladies, but some of you just don’t make sense to me and I’m going to give supporting evidence as to why… First up was the woman just leaving the shower area. Let me paint the picture for you, I was at a locker, practicing my tried and true clothing change techniques when I looked up and saw this woman walking past my row of lockers, having come from the direction of the showers. The row of lockers I was at was just around the corner from the entrance into the locker room. This girl had her wet hair wrapped up in a towel, seemingly normal right? Wrong, while her hair was wrapped up in her towel, she opted to cover her goodies with her hands! One arm across her chest and the other grasping the location of her “woo hoo.” ????? Does anyone see what’s wrong with this picture? Hair covered, but lady parts catching a breeze? I saw this display and thought to myself, what a nut job, if you’re going to take the time to cover up your assets, then just wrap the towel around your body instead of your head, you freak. AND, she was walking right past the entrance! Can you imagine walking through the door and coming face to face with that? HELLO. What if you actually run into her and get a handful of something you’d rather not….her behavior  just doesn’t add up for me…

The other weirdo I encountered recently was one of our favorite senior citizen women. I happen to be in the restroom stall when this woman, I’m assuming, walked up to the mirror and began blow drying her hair, perfectly normal right? WRONG. I walked out my stall and headed for the sinks to wash my hands and all I caught sight of was this old, white woman standing there in a bra with a hairdryer to her head and no panties. So let’s get this straight, she took the time to harness her bazoombas but underwear was too much trouble? Drying her hair was an emergency? What? What is the reason??? I wanted to walk over to her and tell her that her bush wasn’t big enough for her to be hiding behind…and I wasn’t in the mood for a nature walk.

I don’t want you readers to think that I’m a prude, I’m just on the shy side and have no desire to  glance the tatas and hoo hoos of the women I work out next to…. Or any other women for that matter. Yes, brief nudity is a casualty of public locker rooms; I get it. But for the sake of my mental stability and gag reflex, can you please keep it to a BARE minimum? (hahaha, come on, that was funny!)

And someday, when I’m one of the old biddies in the locker room swinging my drooping breasts around for enjoyment, I’ll be looking for that younger version of myself; the girl huddled in the corner, eyes big at saucers at how gross and disgusting I am and I’ll give her a wink….she will think its creepy of course… but I’m assuming at this point, that’s all part of the fun right?

Sincerely Yours,

Jammer

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