Social Media

If you think Gender did NOT play a role in this election…

ulwjshsjagkgqdp-800x450-nopad

Today a white left-leaning political comedian posted the following on social media.

Voting for Hillary Clinton was not an act of feminism. Now it’s time to prove your true feminism.

I wasn’t the only woman on his thread to react negatively to his statement.  I posted two comments. One was along the lines of

Wow that’s tone deaf

Then I waited a moment, thought about it again, and completely unloaded a rant about feminism, putting up with misogyny, and how liberals are far from immune from white male privilege.  I kind of lost my shit and blocked him.  I didn’t know this man well but there was something about the paternal quality to his request that set me over the edge. He might believe he has empathy for feminists, but he honestly has no idea what it would be like to put up with sexism EVERY SINGLE DAY OF HIS LIFE.  He also doesn’t understand the complexities that gender played in this election.

Voting for Hillary was not a feminist act, but watching this election cycle unfold has been intensely difficult for many women.  To act as if Hillary’s gender did not play a role in how she was perceived by the media and the public at large is a complete farce.

To give an example, let’s take both Trump and Hillary at face value. Now imagine them switching genders.  We would then have a wealthy, bombastic, outspoken political novice with five children by three different husbands.  Her current spouse would be a former model, over two decades younger than her, and a stay-at-home dad.

She’s a self-purported billionaire, born into wealth with a self-aggrandizing ego the size of the moon.  She announces her candidacy with an overbearing, profanity laden, extended rant in which she tears apart entire ethnic groups, and repeatedly declares the United States is deeply broken. Over the course of her primary battles, she encourages violence against protesters and stokes the flames of racial tension. She also flings personal insults at her opponents, mocks a disabled person, and gets in late night twitter battles with private and public citizens.  She even insults the mother of a dead soldier and a Gold Star family.  Any time she is criticized, she reacts in an emotional and dramatic way often resorting to harsh language and personal insults.

The same candidate doesn’t bother to prepare for all three presidential debates, and only keeps her cool for the first 25-30 minutes each time.  Instead of discussing her policy specifics she hurls insults at her opponent and moderators.  She is caught in lie after lie during interviews, and gets basic facts about US foreign policy completely wrong.  This woman even goes so far as to speak admirably about dictators and despots while managing to insult our allies.  She never releases her tax returns, despite promises of the contrary, and openly admits that she hasn’t paid federal income tax for the past two decades.  She’s caught on video bragging about sexually assaulting much younger men; and audio footage is released in which she admits to walking in on teenaged boys just to get a peek of their naked bodies. Nude photos of her unemployed, formal-model husband are released to the press.  In speeches and interviews she declares that she does not seek help or advice from others, and that she is the only person who can solve all of the country’s problems.  Then to top it all off, she’s endorsed by the KKK and the Alt-right movement.

If anyone believes for a moment that the female version of Trump would have lasted more than a week in this primary battle they are living in a bastion of male privilege or they’ve wrapped themselves in a blanket of patriarchal delusion.  In reality if Trump was a woman, he would not even be considered a viable candidate based on his two divorces, and five children by three different men.  That fact alone would have caused the public to turn against him.  Even ONE emotional outburst or twitter war would have doomed her candidacy.  Women are simply held to a different standard than men.

Watching the fall of Hillary on Tuesday night felt personal.  What I saw was a professional and immensely qualified woman get trounced by a boorish, thin-skinned, sexist man-child who had no intellectual curiosity or desire to learn anything new.

Every woman, Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal has been made to feel lesser at some point in her life based solely on her gender.  We have worked twice as hard, only to have someone reduce us to our looks or break us down into body parts.   We’ve sat silently in the room when a man in a position of power makes degrading remarks about our gender. We’ve had to overlook and ignore sexually inappropriate behavior because we didn’t want to lose our jobs or get a bad grade in school.  When we have spoken up for ourselves we are labeled as bitchy, shrill, difficult, mannish or worse.  We’ve had to walk down the street as strange men hurled insults at us, blocked our paths or even grabbed us simply because we didn’t stop to chat, smile, or make eye contact with them. We’ve consented to sexual acts we didn’t want to do because we realized giving in would be easier than fighting back. We’ve had every boundary pushed and ignored by men who decided we were more object than human being.  Many of us have been sexually assaulted, beaten or stalked by men we knew and trusted.  We have learned to fear all men in certain situations – to not walk home late at night, to be constantly aware of our surroundings, to not get too drunk, to worry about our drinks getting drugged, to avoid wearing short skirts or low-cut tops, to understand that we could be sexually attacked by a random stranger.

White men in this country have the gift of being neutral.  They are judged on their words and actions.  Everyone else, in every demographic, is filtered through a lens of gender or ethnicity.  Throughout the entire ordeal of the process the public and press measured Hillary by a totally different standard than they did Trump.  With all of his talk about the media bias against him, the overbearing white male could say and do anything, while the woman had to carefully watch and monitor her every move.  Even then she was criticized for being too inauthentic, robotic, and finely polished.  Voters would declare they just didn’t like her, they didn’t know why, but something about a strong and an accomplished woman shook them to their core.

So yes, voting for Hillary was not a feminist act, but watching her lose to an undisciplined, abusive, ignorant, sexist, racist and xenophobic bully hurt me deeply as a woman.  I couldn’t help but think of all the times in my own life I’ve been underestimated, torn down, humiliated, picked-apart and ashamed just because I was born female.  I could list all of the incidents but this article would become far too long, and every woman I know could also fill several pages with stories of her own.

The smug white progressives can save their advice for how I, or any woman should process this loss.  For me Hillary represented all of us, with all of her flaws and shortcomings she was the woman working twice as hard getting half the credit.  She won’t be the last woman to run for president, but in many ways she was the sacrificial lamb for the next woman to follow.  Maybe by then, our first female president will be judged more on her words and actions, rather than the narrow constraints of what it means to be a woman.

My website www.julietjeske.com

Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/JulietJeske

Add me on Facebook Juliet Jeske Facebook Fan Page

 

Dating Online – If it Looks too Good to be True…

chiseled-abs_zps4e3ec797-1

I’ve heard stories of women getting scammed from online dating sites, and I never thought I would be a target.  Most of the stories involved men starting up long-distance, virtual romances with women.  Eventually, the romeos would ask for money, either to come meet their true love in person or to help with a personal tragedy – a dying mother, a sick child, or a cancer diagnosis.

I always thought I was immune to this sort of scam because most of the stories I’ve heard involved older women and I refuse to engage in correspondence with anyone who doesn’t live in my immediate area.  I trust no one.  Then one day I got a message from a profile that looked like a Jaguar in a parking lot full of Hondas.   For the purposes of this article, I’ll call him Mr. Beautiful. He simply wrote,

“Hey.”

It was the classic non-committal male introduction. I probably get 20 messages like that a week, from “Hey” to “Hello” to “What’s up?” Most of them go unanswered but this one peaked my interest because the sender was a full-on pretty boy, light brown hair, striking bone structure and a chiseled hairless torso. Now anyone who knows me well, knows I have a “type.” If you lined up all of my ex-boyfriends and trysts, most of them look like they need a sandwich, or two. I like a lanky man.  A massive chest and chiseled abs have never been my thing.

I’m also overly cautious around men who are drop dead gorgeous. As I’ve said before on this blog,

He who gets the pussy easily, does not treat the pussy well.

Of course there are exceptions to that rule, but most of us know exceptionally good-looking men who go through women like a rottweiler goes through chew toys.  Mr. Beautiful was so attractive, I wouldn’t put him in the top 10% or even 1% of the men I’ve seen.  I would put him in the top one tenth of one percent of absolutely, crazy, perfect men I’ve ever encountered.  It just didn’t make sense to me that he would be on a free dating site.  He had his occupation listed as “model” which made sense, but models come in contact with plenty of attractive women all day long.  A typical beautiful person for hire will meet other models, makeup artists, photographers, art directors, interns, agents, managers, stylists, and even celebrities.

Suspecting fraud, I started analyzing his profile further.  All of his photos were candid. He didn’t post professional modeling shots.  Whomever created his profile tried to make it look casual and believable.  They used well lit snapshots that appeared right out of his daily life.  I still thought though that someone could have downloaded the images from a social media account and the entire thing was a ruse.

As an experiment, I decided to send him a brief email back. He responded by asking a few questions about what I did for a living.  I thought this was odd, as most men ask where I live, they don’t ask what I do.   Questions about my occupation still wasn’t enough to figure out if this man was the real deal or not.  I told him a few superficial things about myself, but didn’t give him my name.

I then read his profile more closely and discovered he was using his actual name on his account, which is extremely unusual for anyone on a dating site.   A quick google search later and I found out the name and images he was the former face of Calvin Klein fragrance.   The information on his profile and Wikipedia page were almost completely identical. It wasn’t an exact cut and paste, but there was absolutely no additional information about him on either source.  It seemed a bit too perfect, but I still wanted a greater smoking gun.  I didn’t want to go out with this man, I just couldn’t help but try to find the evidence I needed to crack the facade.

I kept digging and found two Instagram accounts. One had 32,000 followers, and the other had only 300. The smaller account was made up of a bunch of the same photos at the dating profile. The smaller Instagram account also had some of the exact same information as the dating profile such as his dog’s name, and more bits of personal information.  Both Instragram accounts were public.  It didn’t appear that one was personal and the other used for publicity.  If that were the case, then why not make the smaller profile private?  It seemed like someone created a phony Instagram account to further legitimize the fake dating profile.

I got a second email from Mr. Beautiful.

“You know I hate this site. Why don’t we just chat on this other app.”

My suspicions were completely verified when I realized he wanted me to follow him to some sort of third-party site.  OKCupid has a chat feature so there was no reason we had to go outside of it to talk in real time.  I googled the app and found that it was rife with porn offers and other adult solicitations.

I responded,

“I don’t think your profile is legitimate. I think this is some type of scam. I’m out.”

I tagged his profile as phony but waited before I blocked any future messages.  I wanted to see if he responded.  I located the real model on Facebook and left him a simple message on his fan page that someone was impersonating him on OKCupid.

I got absolutely no response from the Mr. Beautiful profile or the model he was impersonating.  I doubt the real model even noticed my comment.  He probably had someone manage his Facebook page for him.  It was surprising though that whomever created the phony Mr. Beautiful account didn’t even try to plead innocence.  I honestly expected an email like,

“Hey, I’m real. What are you talking about?”

My bet is when I called the scammer out on their deception they just deleted me and moved on. I’m sure they probably emailed dozens of women hoping some of them would take the bait.

When I started talking about this on my Facebook account, most of the comments I got were from men along the lines of

“So this happens to women too?”

My guy friends all had stories to tell of women from other countries seeking green cards, ladies asking for money and prostitutes posing as every day gals just looking for a date.

Of course an International male model could be on a dating site, even a free one, but the two Instagram accounts, the perfect match to his Wikipedia page and the insistence on using an outside application to communicate just screamed FRAUD.

I couldn’t help but think of the classic line regarding New York real estate

If it looks to good to be true, it probably is.

Meeting the face of Calvin Klein fragrance on a free dating website is about as likely as finding a one-bedroom in the Upper East Side with a balcony, an eat in kitchen, and jacuzzi tub for $500 a month. I’m sure it could happen in some alternate universe but it’s highly unlikely.

Part of me wonders if Mr. Beautiful really did have a legitimate profile.  Maybe I was just being too suspicious and we would have rode off into the sunset to have our painfully awkward first and only date.  I think instead I dodged a bullet of requests for nude photos, an avalanche of dick picks, pornographic spam, unauthorized charges on my credit card, computer viruses, malware, identity theft or requests for money.  I guess I’ll never know.  HA!  Whomever created the fake account wasn’t an idiot, but one of the many gifts I got from my difficult divorce was – NEVER TRUST ANYONE.  Sure it causes me problems from time to time, but I’m much less likely to fall for a scam artist in an International model’s clothing.  I still prefer a thinner guy with messy hair rather than a pretty boy with rock hard abs anyway.  If someone wanted to dupe me, they would need to use a much more average looking guy who desperately needed to fill out his clothing.  If he had a pair of specs on his face….it could be my undoing.

Related Articles

My website www.julietjeske.com

Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/JulietJeske

Add me on Facebook Juliet Jeske Facebook Fan Page

 

Top 10 Rules for Dating in New York City

IMG_8759

It’s been five years since my marriage completely disintegrated.  I found myself suddenly thrust back into the dating pool at age 36.  My single friends tried to warn me, but I honestly had no choice.  My marriage was dead and there was no saving it.  I made every dating mistakes a few times.  I’ve evolved from overly emotional, clingy and starry-eyed to cynical, jaded and emotionally bereft.  I keep hoping things will get better, but they never improve.  I’ve tried online dating to no avail.  Most of the guys online never follow through with dates, so I find myself carving out precious time only to resort to sitting in a coffee shop by myself or watching House of Cards on Netflix when my date cancels.  You know it’s bad when you think to yourself that doing business is easier than dating in this town.  I’ve honestly been treated better in most professional relationships, than I ever have been in romantic ones.

So I’ve devised this list.  It pretty much encapsulates what’s become of dating in the city that never sleeps.  From what I’ve heard this across the board for men and women of all sexual orientations and gender identifications.

How to Date in NYC


1. Lower your expectations – I’ve gone from thinking “Maybe I’ll get remarried someday” to “Just answer a simple text message, I only sent you one in the past three days.”


2. Become numb – Get rid of all of your highs and lows as they will not serve you.


3. Show no weaknesses – Don’t let on your hopes and fears too soon.  Show no signs of insecurity.  These things can come later, but since this person probably won’t stick around for any length of time, they don’t need to know any of this.  Put your game face on and keep it on.


4. Expect rude behavior – If you send a simple “What’s up?” text, do not expect a response.  This is after you’ve been out with the person and seen them check their phone every ten minutes. Expect last minute cancellations, constant excuses for why they aren’t available and angry rants about ex-partners.  These are all par for the course.


5. Completely give up on the notion of age appropriate – I’m hit on by men as young as 18 up to around 27 or 28, then the next largest demographic is mid-fifties.  I can’t explain this, but I’ve given up trying.  I just go with what’s offered.


6. Google everyone – Knowledge is power.  Don’t stop at google.  Youtube, Facebook, Twittter even Instagram hold few secrets.


7. Trust no one – Because we live in a city of strangers, a person has to earn your trust before you just believe anything they tell you.  “I had to work” could easily mean – “I was hooking up with one of my other regulars” You might eventually trust your partner, but until then, take what they say with a grain of salt.  Note inconsistencies, never assume they are legit.


8. Get used to the phrase – “I’m just so busy” – You’ll say this yourself.  But you will also hear it as an excuse for everything.


9. Get used to the phrase – “Oh but you live so far away.” New York City is a big town.  We sometimes meet in the middle of this Metropolis in Manhattan.  Only later do we realize that a Bronx to Queens commute is just impractical.  Although some expect to put in absolutely no effort whatsoever.  Basically they will only consider dating you on a regular basis if you live two or three stops away on the same subway line they take every day.


10. Have fun with showing off your dick pic collection, and you’ll get one…trust me you’ll get one. – I don’t know if there is a lesbian or straight woman equivalent, or if this phenomena is as common with every sexual orientation.  I only know that straight women and gay men easily collect dick pics and full frontal nudes. I’ve scrolled through dozens in my gay friend’s phones. I’ve gotten several and I never once requested – “Please send me a photo of your cock. Preferably a self-portrait taken with your phone.  A bathroom shot would really be something special!”  I’ve also gotten requests for photographs of body parts or my mouth wrapped around dildos and various objects.  I’ve never complied. Who said romance was dead?


11. Accept your fate as a crazy cat lady/eccentric bachelor. – I know this brings us to eleven.  For men I guess the crazy cat lady equivalent is the weirdo eccentric bachelor.  We all know a few.  The guys who never got married and have that apartment just full of strange things from their youth.  It’s small and rent stabilized and they’ve lived there for years.  They’ll probably die there but they won’t be eaten by their pet cats, instead someone might stumble upon their mummified corpse after neighbors complain of the smell or they are a final no-show for their eviction in housing court.  I hope that’s not my fate, but things aren’t looking so good lately.

Related Articles

My website www.julietjeske.com

Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/JulietJeske

Add me on Facebook Juliet Jeske Facebook Fan Page

 

 

Life After Divorce: Why I Hate Over the Top Marriage Proposal Videos

engagement-3

I’ve sometimes wondered if social media has made us more self-centered, or is it simply revealing our true narcissistic tendencies?  We live in a time of people taking self-portraits ad nauseam. Social media feeds fill up with images with the same basic message:  Look at me, Look at me, Look at me I’m doing absolutely nothing interesting, but for reasons unknown to anyone I really want everyone to see it.  Some feel compelled to declare absolutely every action or thought.  Our world is on overflow of useless, mundane and tedious self-aggrandizing affirmations.

In the days of proclaiming completely irrelevant information, some go to extremes when it comes to major life events.  Pregnancies are publicly documented from nearly the point of conception, wedding announcements go on for pages and pages and a few have even shared their marriage proposals with a global audience.  People spend small fortunes, recruit dozens of volunteers, hire professional musicians, and then toil away for hours editing, all in the hopes that their declaration of love will go viral.  I don’t mind over sharing on pregnancies, and weddings have always been a big deal, but I cringe when I see the proposal videos.

I’m not just here to rain on their parade, I’m the tropical storm that shows up when the beauty pageant winners are riding in the backseat of a convertible.  I can’t help myself.  I’ve been to the dark side of a marriage gone wrong, and I’ll never view marriage in the same way again.  As a divorced person in midlife, I just don’t see the world through such a dewy-eyed prism.  Not only did my own “perfect” marriage disintegrate, I’ve witnessed countless friends get dragged through brutal divorce hellscapes.  When I watch an elaborate public engagements I don’t see a deep never-ending love.  Instead I see person with narcissistic tendencies and a completely delusional view of marriage.  The main focus in almost all of the videos is the guy proposing, not his bride.  So it makes me wonder, is this about his never-ending love for his love, or is it about his ego?

Of course there are exceptions.  If the circumstances of a couple were truly outstanding then I might understand why they might want broadcast such a personal highly emotionally charged moment.  If a partner had narrowly escaped death, returned from war, or a same-sex couple that has been together for decades and can now finally get married.  I understand why they might want to go all out.  In some instances I get it.

Marriage is not about the theatrics.  It’s about weathering the harshest storms life throws at you.  Marriage is sticking with someone when they get sick, go broke, or make huge sometimes extremely hurtful mistakes.  Marriages aren’t a Disney movie come to life.  They’re the every day grind.  Sticking it out for the long haul is about just trying to get along during those boring, tedious and stressful days.  It’s putting up with bad habits, compromising and trying to see the bigger picture.

A person has every right to have a blow out or elaborate engagement or wedding.  We all have different styles and tastes, but it certainly isn’t an indicator of the depth of someone’s love or commitment.  Because again, love in the long-term, multi-year extended version doesn’t survive at that intensity.  It changes, and the adaptations it goes through aren’t necessarily bad.  When I see these public extravaganzas I can help but think, when they are fighting about where to live, what to buy, or how to raise their kids, it won’t matter how many flash mob dancers appeared in their youtube video.

Marriage is also extremely fragile.  Our divorce rate is so high in part, because people grow and change as we get older.  Sometimes two people who made the perfect pair in their twenties, are completely incompatible in their forties.  Some spouses flip out midlife decide to start over, and there is very little the other spouse can do about it.  People get married for all the wrong reasons.  They get caught up in the excitement of wedding planning, picking the perfect dress, creating the most elaborate engagement and lose sight of why they’re doing this in the first place.

The latest viral engagement video stars a man who created it over a four-year period.  Apparently he knew after their first date, that his girlfriend was his partner for life.  The pair just graduated from college, which would make them about 18 years old when they met.  So this is probably the first major relationship for either of them.  Are they soul mates who just got lucky and found each other early?  Or are they two kids who have no idea what lies ahead of them?  Statistically people who marry for the first time under the age of 25 have a higher rate of divorce, but they could beat the odds.

Will we ever view marriage in a realistic light, or will we continue to promote an unattainable fairy tale?  Will some women start to resent a simple proposal over dinner?  Are obnoxious public declarations the new normal?   If videos like these warm your heart that’s great, and some are actually sweet. I just can’t help but see what will probably happen in at about half of these marriages.   Maybe the next trend will be dramatic divorce videos complete with flying dishes, lawyer co-stars and tear filled monologues.  I hope no one thinks that’s a good idea.

Related Articles

My website www.julietjeske.com

Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/JulietJeske

Add me on Facebook Juliet Jeske Facebook Fan Page

 

10 Tips for Managing Depression

 I’ve written about this topic before, but I decided to revisit it, since it’s one of the most popular things people search for on my blog.

Anyone who has suffered through a major depressive episode or clinical depression knows the feeling – a few things go badly, some misfortune piles up and you start to feel the dread.  Dark thoughts creep in and anxiety seems to hang around like an unwanted party guest.  You think to yourself, “Is this just a brief spell of mood swings, or will this snowball into a full-blown episode?”  I’ve struggled with mood problems my entire life, but after a difficult divorce I spiraled into a massive depression.  I never really understood how overwhelming the disease could be until I faced it myself.

Treating depression requires medical treatment in the form of therapy, medication or a combination of both.  A quick top 10 list is not going to cure a mental illness. But if you need something to help keep your demons at bay, these tips might help.  I know they’ve helped me prevent a few bad days from snowballing out of control.  They might seem like common sense, but it’s good to have a reminder.

1.  Reach out to Friends, Family or Loved ones – For some of us, our families might be the most toxic people in our lives.  If that’s true for you, then by all means just try to connect with someone who is loving and supportive.  Face time is a million times better than social media. Liking posts on Facebook and tweeting a buddy is not going to cut it.  Get up and leave your house, have lunch with a friend, or hang out with a buddy after work. If nothing else call a friend.  As much as we think we are alone, everyone has people who love and cherish them.  If it helps, make a list of those people and put it in a place where you can find it easily, complete with phone numbers, emails, and other contact information.  Avoid Isolation – When we’re alone we can control our environment, avoid negative people and focus on work.  The downside is we are social creatures who function best around other human beings.  Even if you can’t find a friend or loved one to hang out with, just sitting in a library or coffee shop with other people can help.

2.  Volunteer or Help Others – Helping others always helps get you out of your head and you’ll probably get to interact with more people, which is another way of avoiding isolation.  Again don’t just click a link on a website or sign a petition.  Get out of your house or apartment and physically get involved. Studies have shown that volunteering can actually reduce depression symptoms.

3.  Exercise – Physical exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise can help increase endorphins and other powerful chemicals in your brain.  It won’t even cost a cent if you just decide to go for a walk, or do some yoga by yourself at home.  Deep breathing can also help.

4.  Eat – I completely lose my appetite, others might eat to try to fill the void.  Know your tendencies and do what you can to try to stay on a healthy regime.  I literally will write “Eat Lunch” on my ‘To Do List’ because otherwise I might actually forget to have a meal.

5.  Hang out with a friendly animal – If you don’t have a pet, then find a friend who does.  If you are allergic to the furry variety, even watching fish swimming around in a tank at pet store can help calm your mind.   If you don’t like animals then go to a park, getting out and around nature can do wonders for your mood.

6.  Find a Creative Outlook – Draw, write, paint, craft, bake, cook, sew, knit, play an instrument, whatever you love to do or make – do it.  Musical instruments seem to help me more than anything, as does this blog.  Surfing the internet, watching television and playing video games are passive activities.  It’s really best to try to make something out of nothing.  Creativity is one of the best ways to boost your brain.  Some studies have shown links between creative people and higher rates of depression, but don’t let that discourage you.  Creating something will give you a sense of accomplishment.  Just be careful about how you spend that creative energy.  If you’re feeling especially low, you might want to avoid work on that memoir about your divorce.  Baking cupcakes might cheer you up instead.  🙂

7.  Avoid Crazy-makers – Sometimes negative and destructive people are impossible to remove from your life.  If your boss pushes you to the limit every day, there is little you can do about it.  But if you are struggling with an ex-partner or spouse, then by all means try to give yourself distance.

8.  Practice whatever therapy has worked for you in the past –  For me its Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT.   I write it all out, my fears, the deep voices of dread and doubt that live inside of me and then I have to cognitively and logically destroy those voices.  It’s not always easy, and it doesn’t work for everyone.  Others might use meditation, acupuncture, aromatheraphy, biofeedback, massage therapy, yoga or any number of other alternative methods to help manage their depression.  If something doesn’t work, then try something else.  Don’t give up.

9. Avoid self-destructive behavior – Your well-meaning friends might encourage drug or alcohol use when you’re down.  Substances are just a crutch that will exacerbate a depressed person’s symptoms.  Getting loaded might make you feel better momentarily, but if you’re suffering from depression, the high won’t last.   Other self-destructive behaviors could be gambling, binge eating, reckless behavior or a string of sexual encounters with virtual strangers.  None of these are inherently bad, but anything done to excess can ultimately slow recovery.

10.  Ask for Help – Probably the hardest one on the list, because if you have recovered from depression, the last thing you want to admit is that it’s back.  But if you are having thoughts of self-harm, losing hope, or finding it difficult to simply feel joy, don’t be afraid to seek medical help. Depression is not a weakness of character, it’s a disease.  Triggers for depression vary from person to person and some struggle with it for most of their lives, while others will have one brief episode and then never go through it again.  You are NOT ALONE, and you are not a bad person because you are suffering.  The reasons behind your depression are complex but it’s not your fault.  If your first doctor or therapist doesn’t work out, keep searching.  If CBT doesn’t work for you, then try any number of alternative therapies.  If an anti-depressant doesn’t work out for you, then ask for a different prescription.  If you think you are being over medicated, then tell your doctor.  For many patients treating this disease involves a lot of trial and error.  NEVER GIVE UP!

As a person who has suffered through this myself, you have my empathy.  You’ll have times when you might lose hope, but so many of us have been there.  It will get better. No one is fortunate all of the time, and no one lives in misery all of the time.  We’ve all had our ups and downs and millions of us have also suffered from this horrible disease and recovered.  It’s going to be OK.  Hang in there.  🙂  I’ve included some other articles of mine on the subject and other links to use as resources.  There is a lot of help out there, don’t be afraid to ask for it. 🙂

Related Articles

My website www.julietjeske.com

Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/JulietJeske

Add me on Facebook Juliet Jeske Facebook Fan Page

I don’t have a tip jar on this blog because I think they’re tacky.  If you want to support julietjeskeblog.com please watch the following short video.  A portion of the ad revenue goes to help me with the costs associated with running the blog.  I have no control over the content of the advertising.  Thanks so much for reading.

Dating in NYC: Top 10 Tips for Dating Multiple People

imgres

Before I even tackle this subject I will openly admit I’m a solidly monogamous person.  As I’ve written before the whole idea of multiple lovers, hookups and sexual relationships with near strangers baffles me.  I can’t keep several plates spinning while I’m trying to write this blog, work on my memoir, get stage time in New York City and pay my rent.   I’m writing this though because this issue comes up all the time, and I’m annoyed that most of the articles I’ve found about this topic are written only for men.  I’ve based these tips on experiences I’ve had and what a lot of my friends have gone through.  I not advocating for any style of dating, nor would I say this would work for every person.

There are many variations on dating multiple people, too many to list here really.  The key to having multiple partners should NOT be about lying, sneaking around and deception.  Lies are evil.  As I have said before:

I would rather have an honest sinner than a phony saint.

The following are just guidelines.  It’s really about what any two people are comfortable with in any partnership.  If you only have sex with a person once, they really don’t need to know much.  But if you are seeing more than one person on a regular basis, communication is key to keeping everyone happy.

1. Let a new partner know early on that you are not looking for a sexually exclusive relationship: Of course this can change as the relationship develops.  Neither partner should assume though that a casual open relationship will turn into a committed monogamous one. When in doubt – communicate.

2. Avoid getting involved with people who aren’t also honest with their primary partners – A friend who has been polyamorous for years put it to me this way.  “I avoid being the ‘other’ woman.  If a man tells me he is in an open marriage, I tell him I will have to speak to your wife about this, just to make sure”  It might sound crazy, but if the couple is in an open marriage, this sort of request probably happens to them all the time.  It’s better to make sure everything is above-board, before you find some woman calling you a home-wrecker or threatening to kill you for sleeping with her husband.

3. Don’t assume one lover wants to hear details about any others – Some partners honestly may not mind this, but not everyone is different.  One woman might not want to know that another regular partner is younger, thinner, lives closer to you or has a cat.  If these relationships truly are separate, then there is no reason to share this sort of information.  Simply establishing that you are not exclusive is usually enough.  If you want a change in your relationship, then let your partner know.  NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING! 

4. Always use protection – If you are having sex with multiple people – DON’T BE AN IDIOT.  Use condoms and practice safe sex.  Other than the usual STDs we all fear, there is a strain of antibiotic resistant Gonorrhea going around New York City that is all sorts of awful. Spreading STD’s is irresponsible and reckless.  If you want to have condom free sex, then maybe you might want to find one primary partner and at least use condoms outside of the main relationship.

5. Beware of Social Media – If you tweet naughty messages to one woman know that anyone can see it. You don’t know who knows each other or which partner might be a regular cyber sleuth.  Facebook profiles are even more transparent – comments, likes, even old conversations with partners are there for life unless you remove them.  A simple comment like, “You are so beautiful” could get you in trouble if you post it where another, more neglected lover, could see it. Basically you have to treat all comments on social media as if you are standing on top of a mountain declaring them for the universe.  The internet holds no secrets.

6. Don’t treat you casual lovers like girlfriends/boyfriends – Again there are no hard rules to this, as some polyamorous relationships are anything but casual.   This is the number one complaint I get from both men and women about casual relationships.  You can’t expect someone who you see only for sex on occasion to get that emotionally invested in you.  They aren’t going to necessarily want to meet your friends, go to social functions with you, listen to your neurotic ramblings or bring you chicken soup when you get a nasty cold.  When these lines get blurred, people are more likely to get their feelings hurt.  Anyone can have a primary relationship and still have multiple lovers on the side, but not without some boundaries first.  You should never assume a regular hook-up is a girlfriend, or even wants that role.

7. Treat everyone with respect – This should go without saying in every dating situation.  I’ve seen a lot of alarming language on dating sites, where a man or woman will go on and on about their primary partner and then send an email that is just rude and inappropriate to a total stranger.

8. Don’t make anyone feel like they are last on your list – This might be OK with some partners, but overall you don’t want to make a person feel like you literally called up three or four people before you decided to settle on them.

9. Don’t complain about other lovers – This is just rude behavior.  If a woman complains to a partner about another man she is seeing, he is likely to assume she will turn around and do the same thing to him.

10. When in doubt communicate – Of course you can lie and sneak around, but there is a good likelihood that you’ll get caught.  When you get caught a betrayed lover might slash your tires, show up at your workplace and scream “Whore” as you walk down the street, stalk you or one of your other partners, text you incessantly for hours, post naked photos of you online, write Facebook statuses trashing your name, or even threaten you with physical violence.  Deception brings out the worst in people.  Some people are emotionally unstable, mentally ill, cruel, narcissistic or have deeply entrenched personality disorders.  No amount of open communication can prevent a person from reacting in a completely irrational or psychotic way.  However a string of lies is more likely to make a perfectly well-adjusted human being buy a ticket to a place called crazytown.

It’s really up to you and your partners – Other than practicing safe-sex and respect, it’s really up to each person.  When in doubt be open and COMMUNICATE. Some of the biggest problems in any relationship come from not understanding what both partners want.

Related Articles

I don’t have a tip jar on this blog because I think they’re tacky.  But if you want to help out the blog, please watch the short video.  These sponsors help me cover the small costs associated with running this blog.  I have no control over the content of the advertising.  Thanks for reading.  🙂

Rape Jokes: The Freedom of Expression goes both ways

English: A Sennheiser Microphone

English: A Sennheiser Microphone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are not a comedian, you may not have heard about a debate swirling like a tsunami of controversy all over the internet.  Is it ever OK to tell a rape joke?  Is it acceptable if the subject of the joke is the rape victim?

This whole thing started about a year ago at Laugh Factory during a set by Daniel Tosh.  A heckler responded to several rape jokes in a row by shouting at that stage, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny.”

Tosh snapped back with, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got gang raped by like, five guys right now? Like right now?  Wouldn’t it be funny if a bunch of guys just raped her?.”

One thing every comedian should remember: nowadays most of the audience have some type of recording device in their hands and can share any joke or interaction with the world.  Comedy sets intended only for a small live audience can now go viral. This is not going to change anytime soon.  I am not a fan of things being taken out of context, or sets being uploaded to youtube without a comedian’s permission, but that is the world we live in.  In this case, Tosh’s interaction spread to the internet.  He eventually apologized saying his words were taken out of context.  Lindy West at Jezebel.com wrote the following article regarding the incident, How to Make a Rape Joke

To directly quote West:

In case this isn’t perfectly clear yet: You can say whatever you want.  You can say whatever you want. You can say whatever you want. You can say whatever you want.  You can say whatever you want.

In fact several times in her article she writes to the effect of, “You (comedians) can say whatever you want.”

West also goes on to show 4 clips of comedians telling rape jokes she thinks actually work – in each case the victim is not the subject of the joke.

Then this May, West wrote the another article about the topic, An Open Letter to White Male Comedians,

Jokes” about rape and gendered violence are treated like an inevitability instead of a choice; like they’re beyond questioning; like they’re somehow equally sacred alongside women’s actual humanity and physical sanctity. When women complain,however civilly, they’re met with condescension, dismissal, and the tacit (or, often, explicit) message that this is not yours, you are not welcome here. It’s fucked up, you guys. And I’m saying that as a friend with the best intentions.”
 
“Please. You are not being silenced. There is no “thought police.” Your freedom of speech is firmly intact. You are a member of the single most powerful political bloc on earth. Your voices and your perspectives saturate nearly all media. You are fine. We are just having a conversation about your art, and your art is what you care about the most, right? Right?”

Recently West participated in a live debate with comedian Jim Norton about the subject of rape in comedy.  Here is the link: Totally Biased: Extended Talk with Jim Norton and Lindy West

West said a lot of things in the debate but never once called for censorship.  The reaction on the internet was the following.

  • She received threatening emails and tweets
  • Many attacked her personally including her weight and appearance
  • Many comments were sexually threatening

Here is a link to West actually reading some of the threats out loud.

If Comedy Has No Lady Problem, Why am I getting so many Rape Threats?

It all seems like a circular argument.  If comedians want freedom of expression, they have to remember it’s not just a one way street.  Audience members can complain, heckle, boo, walk out, or blog about a joke they found offensive.  Everyone has a right to their opinion.  It is not if holding a microphone makes anyone immune to criticism.  Anyone who works as a stand-up comedian knows an audience will shout out whatever they want during anyone’s set.  The behavior is rude, but it has been around as long as stand-up has existed.  If anything our current navel-gazing lifestyle of Facebook, twitter and blogs has made things worse.

The men threatening West with rape and other sexual violence are actually giving her fuel for her side of the argument.  It is difficult to claim that rape jokes are not endorsing rape, and then turn around and use rape language to physically threaten and intimidate another person.  For all their cries of censorship they are basically trying to silence their critic through bullying tactics and degrading language.  Speech does have power – powerful rhetoric has swayed entire nations to do all sorts of wonderful and horrible things.  Many have paid the ultimate price for exercising their right to free speech and speaking out against those who might harm them.

Comedians are just like anyone else with an opinion.  Politicians face repercussions when they say something that offends people, as do actors, musicians, authors, pundits, and anyone else who voices their opinion publicly.  Instead of trying to ridicule and intimidate the random critic, a comedian should instead listen to their audience.  If night after night they are getting groans, hecklers and boos after a joke – instead of patting themselves on the back and telling themselves they are an edgy genius.  Perhaps they should reconsider the joke.  After all a white comedian can walk into a black comedy club and do nothing but a set of racially charged material but they run the risk of getting booed off the stage.  Women also have every right to respond in kind to a joke they think is not funny or inappropriate.

If we want true free speech we have to take it all forms.  A comedian can make rape jokes, and a blogger can write a critique of those jokes.  A disagreement should not result in intimidation or physical threats.  If a person has to resort to commenting on someone’s appearance, or threatening their physical safety – they don’t know how to make a point, and they don’t know how to debate.  West was never threatening any comedian with physical assault, or rape.  She wasn’t even calling for censorship.  Even West’s opponent in the debate, Jim Norton, has condemned the threats towards West as disgusting.  If white male comedians wanted to prove that they aren’t misogynistic and immature they just accomplished the opposite.  Since I work in comedy I know that these men are the exception, not the rule, but their treatment of West, is making the everyone in comedy look bad.

For instance in my article about Adam Carolla: Adam Carolla So Women Aren’t Funny?. I never once made a nasty comment about him personally, and I certainly didn’t wish for him any physical harm.  I simply disagreed with his point of view, and tried to make my best argument using specific examples.  I don’t know him, he is probably a lovely human being and I assume he is an excellent father.  The debate was about ideas, not about tearing him apart.

If a comedian is really confident in their material they shouldn’t care about a random blogger.  Comedians are always going to have critics.  The best way to deal with our critics is to prove them wrong by getting laughs on stage.  So grab those microphones and go for it.  If you have rape jokes in your set, then make those rape jokes!  Just don’t freak out if someone in your audience or a blogger dares to criticize you for it.  Freedom of speech goes both ways – get used to it!

Dating Online: The Coward

The Cowardly Lion as pictured in The Wonderful...

The Cowardly Lion as pictured in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This particular problem is not relegated to any gender, sexual orientation or age group.  Cowards  in the dating world are sadly universal.  I would bet that even prehistoric men and women scratched their heads over this dating archetype.   What is a coward?

A person who asks someone out on a date, only to then:

  • Cancel last-minute
  • Stand-up a date
  • Constantly reschedule
  • Make themselves consistently unavailable
  • Claim they never made the date in the first place – Act as if it was somehow a misunderstanding

I want to emphasize the distinction here, a coward is the person who sets up the date in the first place, and then blows it off. That is a huge difference, because plenty of people might bail on a date for any number of reasons.  Life is complicated, misunderstandings are common and people really might need to cancel.  They may also not be that interested and bailing on a date is a passive aggressive way of saying as much.  However if a man or woman asks someone out on a date, the need to do everything in their power to follow through.  A coward sends the mixed signal of

I want to go out with you, only I DON’T actually want to go out with you.

I hear these stories all the time from both men and women.  It has happened to me more times than I can count, and I will admit that one gentlemen strung me along like this for months.  I didn’t quite have my post-divorce self-confidence back yet so for reasons I still don’t quite understand, I put up with it.

Over half the men that ask me out on online dating sites do this.  The scenario goes something like this:

  1. They send the first email asking me to go out.
  2. I respond saying I would love to go out with them.
  3. Then they either cancel at the last second, blow me off completely, or never get around to actually planning anything.

I used to give these types the benefit of the doubt, but now I don’t.  If they can’t get it together for one date, they probably aren’t going to get it together for much more.   I used to think it was due to my blog, so I stopped using my name in any correspondence online.  Multiple friends of both genders have said this exact scenario plays out with them repeatedly.  Why do people do this?  I am not sure why but it might be

  • Fear of Failure – They are worried they will be ultimately rejected so they avoid the date, thereby avoiding rejection.
  • Fear of Success – If your date does actually go well, then they might have to deal with some type of dating situation this freaks them out, so they self-sabotage.
  • Intimacy Issues – They would rather have some type of fantasy of you than actually deal with another human being.
  • Seeing someone else – It is all a game to them, you are merely a pawn for their ego.
  • Ego Boost – They asked a person out just to see if they would say yes, never intending to go out with them.
  • Living in a Virtual Reality – A person becomes so accustomed to relationships online social networking etc, that a real one is just too much for them to handle.

Faking out dates is almost rampant behavior nowadays.   It seems completely irrational as asking a person out on a date is a bold move, and makes a person quite vulnerable.  It is such a problem with online dating, I could almost bet half the guys who end up in my inbox will never follow through with an actual date.

Actions really do speak louder than words.  If a person is not making you a priority in their life, then they are letting you know that you are not really that important to them.  Asking you out, only to then flake is rude, inconsiderate and downright baffling behavior.  If someone really wants to see you, they will move heaven and earth to make that happen.  Don’t waste your time on a coward.

 

Facebook: Boys and Girls play differently

Danny & Alex on the See-Saw

Danny & Alex on the See-Saw (Photo credit: leekelleher)

In the title of this piece I use the terms boys and girls; but what I am really talking about is men and women.  Something about Facebook etiquette though makes me think of a school playground, so the title seems appropriate.  What is Facebook etiquette?  I don’t think any of us know yet, as social media is a relatively new forum.  It has been my experience that men and women behave completely differently on social media. As a performer I meet a lot of people and I used to friend just about anyone within reason.   I have learned the hard way that I can’t be so open.  Out of my 2700 friends, and I could have many more if I wasn’t so picky, the vast majority of negative activity has come from men.   I have had to deal with the following:

  • The Semi-Stalker – A male user who will comment on nearly everything, including completely mundane posts.  A true semi-stalker is someone who doesn’t know me well and who I may have met for an instant or is just someone I share multiple mutual friends.  Yet this virtual stranger will become fascinated by everything I post.  Most of the time, these men are in a relationship or married which makes their behavior even more unsettling.  I can’t help but picture them at their computer ready to pounce on my latest update.  Their behavior is unnerving and most Semi-Stalkers end up getting kicked off my page.
  • The Full on Cyber Stalker – A male user who goes beyond the realm of Facebook to harass me.  I have had several men exhibit stalking behavior engaging negatively on this blog, my twitter account and in my regular email.  The worst was someone who did all three and even set up two fake OKCupid profiles to torment me.  I had mutual friends with this person, he lived in New York City and was also a performer.  I thought he would be OK, but he got so crazy he resorted to threats of physical violence.  My crime:  I had kicked him off my page when he made a sexually explicit comment on my wall in a political discussion.  At the time it happened I foolishly told him why I was deleting him in angry email.   Now I simply delete/block without comment.  The less I engage the stalker the better.
  • The I want to tell you Missy –  I’ll post anything political and a man will respond with an extremely long diatribe.  Most posts from unfamiliar men are condescending and include disrespectful language.  They act as if I don’t know what I am talking about, haven’t bothered to do research or am acting purely from emotion.  These men obviously don’t know me well, and I don’t think they have ever been published anywhere.  Everything I have written for the Huffington Post goes through an editorial process.  If I use a stat or fact I have to include a hyperlink in my article to a non-biased a source.  I am not exactly a lightweight and this isn’t my first time at the political discourse rodeo.  I never started a fight with them, and I never posted on their wall.  I don’t see the point in getting into it with someone who is diametrically opposed to me politically.  The discussion is going to go nowhere, and will end up being a huge waste of time.  So to my more Libertarian, Republican or conspiracy theory friends I usually just leave well enough alone.  Everyone can post whatever they want.  I don’t have to engage in a Facebook war with them because I don’t agree with their point of view, instead I just ignore their rants.  Although I have kicked people off for posting racist articles or absolute nonsense.   I get plenty of detractors and would be critics on my Huffington post articles and on this blog.  I don’t need it on my personal facebook page.
  • The Negative Commenter – Again usually a man who I don’t know well, maybe I met them at a comedy show…I don’t know.  They will just post something negative for reasons unknown to me. Recently I was really frustrated with my memoir and I posted something along the lines of “man this is hard”.  Some guy I barely knew felt the need to write “First World Problems” as a comment.  I thought it was inappropriate especially since I didn’t know him well and he knows nothing about my life.  I quietly deleted the comment and he un-friended me.  I was happy he saved me the trouble.
  • The Pervert – I don’t feel like I need to describe this one, but I haven’t had a woman give me a problem like this yet.
  • The Bully – I once posted “Congratulations to SAG-AFTRA on our historic merger“.  This seemingly innocuous post ended in a comedian I knew calling me a cunt.  He then got on my wall with an alter-ego profile to try to keep fighting.  Again, I had no history with this man other than doing a paid show for him once.  We had mutual friends.  He had posted anti-union sentiments on my wall in the past and I had politely told him to stop saying something like “Look I come from two unionized parents and I am in two unions you aren’t going to change my mind please stop” he persisted.
  • The Scolder – No matter what I post, including things as controversial as “Being self-employed is difficult” the Scolder will point out to me that I’m being too negative. They are ALMOST ALWAYS men I barely know.  No one is always chipper and happy all of the time, and some people like to vent.  I would never dream of making some sort of judgment like that to a person I barely know.  It seems to me like just another way to put me in my place.

Are Facebook pages free speech zones?  I don’t think so.  Should people post long drawn out political rants on other people’s pages?  I would say no.  If they start the fight, they should expect to finish it.  But why start it in the first place.  In any given year I kick off dozens of men from my Facebook page, sometimes two or three in a day.  In contrast I have kicked off exactly one woman, and in her case she was doing all of her aggressive behavior via private message.  She was not posting anything on my wall. In my experience when women engage in political discussion they are ironically less likely to get emotional.  They don’t talk to me in a condescending manner and they certainly don’t call me a cunt.  To put it simply.

It’s not that all of my male friends on Facebook cause problems for me, but nearly all the problems I have on Facebook involve men.

I can’t twist my reality to conform to a politically correct narrative where men and women act the same.  I enjoy political discourse  and have plenty of close friends who don’t always agree with me.  I don’t mind getting in real debate, but that is rarely what happens.   I have male Facebook friends who constantly post inflammatory things and I don’t see them getting the same types of reactions.  But I will admit, I don’t know what a typical male goes through. Would men also post repeatedly on the wall of a man they barely knew?   I would love to hear men’s opinions on this.  Do men who barely know you pick political fights with you?  Is this a problem?  Do men engage in the same type of abusive behavior such as stalking, harassment and negative posts with other men?  Do women do it to men? I would never dream of engaging someone I didn’t know well in political discussion especially when I can tell they are already extremely passionate about their point of view.  I would never take the fight to someone else on a personal page like that.  Why do they feel the need to take it to mine?  As I have said to many  of my male ranters, ask yourself this question.

“When was the last time Juliet Jeske posted on my wall?”

The answer would be never….so please knock it off.