Advertising our worries

Now that the thesis has been written, submitted and defended, the Fat Lady is in the wings, warming up. It’s almost all over. Yay! It was enormously gratifying to “do” grad school — and it also allowed me to forget about some things for awhile…like, how to keep romance alive and still get the dishes done.

This has been my primary lifelong concern:  how to retain my lovely honeymoon hands?

But let’s face it, Ladies. Even if you’re lucky enough to bait and catch a man with your lovely, soft hands, you’re sure to ruin his life with your irrational nerves.

Control your erratic outbursts with Ivory Soap. Or Vicodin and vodka. Whatever works, you crazy b*tch.

How did all this fear-mongering get started?  I want to get on an Eve Got Framed rant here, and trace back to the 1st century misogyny in the church that cast the biblical first woman as a cunning seductress, but that would involve conducting a close-reading of Paradise Lost, evaluating centuries of art and literature and music and film….basically, cataloging the thousands of ways women have been cast as devils whose whole aim is to attract and destroy men. I don’t have time for that, what with all the Ivory Soap baths I’m taking.

Dream, little one, dream…


Some of the old ads are so ridiculous, there had to be a point when the chemical companies held meetings specifically to come up with new things for women to worry about.  Imagine a bunch of fat cats puffing cigars around a glossy conference room table while a nervous secretary sat in the corners taking notes (after fetching coffee, of course).

“Well, now, Jenkins, what have you got for us? Come up with a way to sell more product, have you?”

*stammering slightly* “Uh, yes Sir, I have. You see, Sir, we’ve already got women worried about properly disinfecting their countertops, dishes, appliances and bathrooms. Now I thought we could get them worried about properly disinfecting *coughs* their, umm, well, their lady parts, Sir.”

“Lady parts, you say? Genius, Jenkins! Genius!”

Roger surely would have stayed, had his wife not smelled like a three-week old corpse.

Meanwhile, across town, the cosmetics company meetings were underway.

“We’ve already got grown women thinking they’ve got to paint their faces every day in order to be fit for human interaction, Bob.  How in the hell can we move more product?”

“I’ve got an idea, Jack. It may seem a little crazy, but here goes… Let’s shift our message. Instead of encouraging women to smell clean, we’ll make them think they should smell young!”

“Young? How young, Bob?”

“Well, I was thinking…eight? nine? Smelling like a second grader will be the new sexy!”

Right up there with the movie Blue Lagoon as the creepiest thing EVER.

Once you’d managed your hands and nerves, and were smelling like a prepubescent femme fatale, you could worry about

Being too fat…

A rubber union suit is the answer to your dreams, Chubs! But it’s gonna make you sweat, so don’t forget the Lysol.

Or too skinny….

Being skinny left me friendless and alone. Once I began packing on the pounds, though, I had to find new things to worry about…like being too fat.

Having smelly hair….

Darling, I want to love you, but your coiffure reeks of bacon and despair. Have you tried washing it with Lysol?

Or a flat chest…

In case of a shipwreck, hold tight to Dorothy, and inflate her boobs.


Wait just a damn second…I thought being gay was biological? You’re telling me it was MIDOL all this time??!

And, once you’ve managed to get your weight, skin, hands, hormones, hair and lady bits under control, you need to worry about falling into every woman’s specialty: emotional manipulation.

What if I set the house on fire? Can I have both the can opener AND the skillet then, dear?

Of course, now it’s men who are depicted as incompetent idiots in advertising, which is equally wrong. Men are mainly supposed to be afraid of hair loss, E.D., graying, low testosterone, and aging. And, most importantly, incompetence at the grill.

My daughter looks up to me now…but if I mess up this steak, we both know it’s all over.

I’m tired of worrying about my hands, hair, hormones, or gender-determined inclination towards destructive emotional outbursts, and I bet you are, too. Thus, I’ve compiled a short list of things we actually need to be afraid of (You’re welcome!):
1. Being carjacked by the large cats that roam loose in many American cities.

Meow, motherf*cker. I’m gonna need you to step out of the Honda.


2. Alpacas with road rage.


3. Dogs who are too high to function.

Dude…Did you know if you listen to Dark Side of the Moon backwards, it says “John Lennon is a good boy?”

4. Rabbits the size of Smart Cars.

Seriously, Jessica. You think a carrot is going to satisfy me? Tell Kevin to get the grill fired up.

5. Cats with guns.

You think Whiskers is napping in the sunshine, but he’s really plotting to pop a cap in your ass.

If you can avoid encountering any of these things during the day, you’ve done well.  So stop worrying!

Unless you are approached by a mountain lion at a red light. Then you can worry….


4 thoughts on “Advertising our worries

  1. This is my favorite!!! Thank you for such laughs this morning! I only wish I had read this before I painted my face, fixed that dead squirrel smell in my hair, and perked up my life rafts!


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