Ulta and Sephora Haul: Husband Edition

As the husband of a beauty blogger I spend the majority of my time blissfully doing what ever I want. Indeed I spent almost no time what so ever thinking about beauty products. And, then we go to the mall and everything grinds to a suffering halt at one of two places; the bathroom at Macy's or the bathroom in Chipotle.

Soon after we continue to either Sephora or Ulta. And, I know full well that I'm about to walk into an alternate universe where my opinions on anything are completely irrelevant but are paradoxically immediately necessary.

I think this says it.

I think this says it.

I gladly continue because that's what any good partner does. And, the "manly" reasons not to go in are the awkward hetero-male feelings that don't border on internalized homophobia and misogyny / they blatantly cross the threshold and sit outside / too scared to walk into a feminized environment for fear of being seen as submissiveness, feminine, or homosexual.

That said, I never buy anything from these stores. My haul is entirely experiential. And, here it is.

1. I AM A GIANT AMONG WOMEN

I'm like Hodor the whole time I'm in there. Instead of Sephora handing out baskets they should have a special strap to hang products on your husband like it's Bran Stark so he doesn't even need to use his hands to hold fifteen things that if he set down, anyone could switch out not just one or two of the items but all of them and he would have no idea. You just hang a basket from him like he's Mr. Snuffleupagus' low IQ brother Mr. "That shade looks great".

Also, there is not single thing in either Sephora or Ulta that requires me to reach up. Can you even imagine how that feels for a man to be so useless, he can't even be asked to reach something on a high shelf. The only time I'd ever reach up in an Ulta or Sephora is if I was being held up at gun point. 

2. IF I SIT OUTSIDE I'M NOT A MISOGYNIST, MY LEGS ARE TIRED, AND I'M COMPLETELY USELESS

The only reason I went in there to begin with was to make a point. Jesus! Let me take a seat and play Muffin Knight.

3. WHY AREN'T THERE ANY MUTHAFLIPPIN CHAIRS IN THE MALL

I'm tired of leopard print ottomans and random stools. Who has ever sat in a stool and felt any relief. A stool is basically just a tool to stand with a little less effort. I want a seat with a back that isn't made out of granite with a perfectly placed ledge to stab me in the back. I know the mall doesn't want people loitering, but come on. I shouldn't have to go to a restaurant to find a place to sit that's comfortable.

4. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT "GLOSSY BOX", I LAUGH

I know that's not even in Sephora or Ulta, unless, I'm completely wrong. But, I just thought you should know that is a hilarious name and I'm laughing along with every other outside observer who might laugh at "GLOSSY BOX". That's the type of name that if I were at a party with the person who came up with that I'd be like, "Gimme FIVE! HAHA!"

5. THANK GOD WHEN YOU'RE DONE. LET'S GO.

It's not even a choice to feel that every time. I've legitimately tried to be make sure I'm not rushing my wife out of these stores but there is something in me that is eternally happy as soon as those trips are over. I'm like a dog when their owner comes home. "YAY. The wait is over!" And, life is just great.

Trophies: The Root Cause of Narcissism?

Most men and women I've heard talk about a child getting a "consolation" trophy for sucking at a sport as the root cause of narcissism, but I completely disagree. Nobody ever mentions how a douche bag kid with ten thousand trophies and a thirty thousand dollar car bought by his parents feels about himself. That kid is infinitely more likely to be a narcissist than a kid who gets a trophy for trying. Nobody that's ever gotten a consolation trophy for losing felt like a winner. How stupid would the kid have to be to feel special for getting a trophy that literally everyone else got?

I got one for sucking at baseball when I was in sixth grade. I got the thing and immediately noticed that the coach had added a nickname to the trophy that he clearly made up. It read, "Jordan 'Stats' Weimer." I immediately saw that this was a BS nickname. Nobody had ever called me that and even as a sixth grader I called him out.

I was like, "uhhh... This is my nickname?"

Coach was like, "Yeah. People call you that, right?"

"No. No no one calls me that."

"Oh. Well, you like to quote stats a lot."

It was at that point I had the realization that he was patronizing me. Of course he was right. I easily spent fifty percent of my time on the bench quoting stats I made up. But, I'd spent like zero time in the field so I was annoying the crap out of my coach all year and this was his subtle revenge. "Jordan 'Stats' Weimer".

Apparently, I'd been testing his will power all year. The only reason I ever made it into games was so he could avoid a barrage of made up statistics and horrible jokes. "What's shaped like a football and you kick it?" I'd ask. He'd stare over toward the center field flag pole imagining hanging himself from the American flag as I finished with, "It's a football."

As soon as his will to live became too bleak, he'd throw me in the game. He'd say, "get it there kid and take these scissors with you. I can't be trusted with them."

He just put on my trophy the name he referred to me with his wife later that night. "That kid was driving me nuts," he'd say. His wife would ask, "who?" And, He'd snap his fingers and say, "I don't know. 'Stats'. You know that kid nobody likes." And, she'd know exactly who he was talking about.

This all ran through my head while several fields over some mindless achieving automaton was given a trophy for beating a bunch of sixth graders at baseball while he felt a massive amount of importance. But, if a kid next to him fell in the mud and he bent over to help them up, that would be a more meaningful accomplishment than all the trophies in the world.

Michael Brown, Abstraction, Social Hierarchy, and Playing the "Race Card"

The recent events in Ferguson have caused a nationwide discussion about how the role the police play in systematic racism. The facts of the case are vague with few exception. We know Michael Brown (18), an unarmed black man, was shot six times (four times in the arm and twice in the top of the head) in the street by police officer Darren Wilson (28). The vagueness of the facts has the country divided about whether or not racism played any substantive role in this situation. One camp of people whole heartedly believes it was an issue of racism, citing the long history of racism in our country and vastly disproportionate persecution of black and latino men that continues today, while the other believes that people are playing the "race card" when in fact it was an issue of a lack of personal responsibility. They say, if Michael Brown had obeyed the officer, he'd be alive today. Both sides are deeply entrenched in their view and, though this is a large scale discussion of morality, oddly these views are politically divisive with Republicans more likely to support the officer Darren Wilson and Democrats more likely to side with Michael Brown the unarmed man who died after resisting arrest and being shot. It appears that Michael Brown's death has become a Rorschach Test exposing people's world view of the causes of continuing social inequality. This is about whether black people are "personally responsible" for being disproportionately targeted by the police or if our society at large is responsible for using the police to do the dirty work of enforcing a racist social hierarchy.

Among the reasonable and informed there is no disagreement about whether personal responsibility is the cause of the massively disproportionate rates of incarceration, punishment, arrest, and search. Blacks, in Missouri in 2011, were pulled over more often, searched more often, arrested significantly more, and yet were less likely to have committed a crime than whites. The fact of the matter is that we enforce "personal responsibility" more strictly for black people than whites. We have a culture of legal permissiveness for whites and harsh legal enforcement for blacks. That is the systematic work around for racism in the era after Jim Crow.

When we talk about systematic racism in the US, which is a large scale social problem, it's important to focus on the fact that evidence of ugly side effects of it does exist. And, to do this we can simply look at the life expectancy of blacks vs whites, the leading cause of death for black men, and understand the effects of low status in a strictly enforced social hierarchy and the stress it causes. The work of Dr. Robert Sapolsky is incredibly important here. His research of baboon hierarchy and stress hormone levels showed that the baboons on the bottom of the social hierarchy were more likely to experience much higher levels of stress, elevated adrenaline levels, suffered from hypertension, and hardening of arteries. This meant that being low status had major health implications and lowered life expectancy dramatically. We encounter the same social effects from an enforced hierarchy. And, the effects of stress on our bodies are complex and cause a multitude of serious problems from a brain that literally shrinks to hypertension and a shortened life span. Given the fact that black men have the lowest life expectancy in our society, it fits the theory that our enforcement of social hierarchy has had lasting impacts on the lives of black men.

When talking about systematic racism it's also important to talk about the role police and laws have traditionally played in racism. It might seems obvious but people don't seem to realize that "obeying the law" and being personally responsible two hundred years ago meant staying a slave. Fifty years ago, "obeying the law" and taking responsibility for their actions meant never sitting at the front of the bus, drinking from a clean water fountain, or looking at a white woman in the south. Now, "obeying the law" and being personally responsible means letting a police officer search you without cause or in a situation where white people would not be and being held to a higher standard than whites. It's also important to think back to before the Holocaust began when Jews were placed forced from their homes or shot to death for resisting persecution. Do we think of the person that runs at the SS officer as being responsible for his own death? I don't think so even though we can all see that the logical safe choice is to comply but, in that situation, we know what happens at the end and that everyone should have joined with that guy and resisted the law. In those moments, we all understand that the enforcement of injustice is evil. But, we have a hard time seeing it when we are the one's who make the laws and believe our moral superiority.