Sunday, August 13, 2017

SCRUFFIES...

Having lived my first five decades on the male side of Gender Street, I am naturally familiar with the ever-ongoing masculine imperative to be obsessed with all manner of “guy” things: Cars, sports equipment, firearms, motorcycles, snakes, knives, cherry bombs, dirt, profanity, fake rubber vomit, enormous dogs, itching powder and so forth. It’s all perfectly natural, and to be expected; as the old rhyme goes: “Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails.”

But perhaps the most guy-ish, testosterone-y thing of all is... wait for it... drum roll... FACIAL HAIR. Beards, mustaches, sideburns, muttonchops, handlebars, the nubs; by whatever name, they are all variations on a hirsute theme that’s as old (maybe even older) than homo sapiens itself. Have you ever seen a depiction of a clean-shaven Neanderthal? I haven’t.

Now, back in my guy days, I too harbored a powerful longing to obscure my distressingly smooth features with coarse black hair... although, in my case, the coarse black hair never really materialized, or even got much past the silky fuzz stage. Possibly my body was trying to inform me that I was really a girl and that I should abandon such a futile endeavor, but in any event, my efforts were... well, somewhere between pathetic and dismal. Being a bullheaded sort of fool, however, I did  finally manage to grow a meager mustache –it took me three years– that would have made Fu Manchu die of embarrassment, which I mistakenly believed made me look more manly. (To this day, I cannot look at old pictures of Mustachioed Me without wanting to hide in a cave somewhere.) In the end, I shaved it off the same day I quit wearing a filthy disgusting baseball cap and initiated my gender transition. The ‘stache has been gone for going on two decades now (hallelujah) and will never come back, thanks to five years of incredibly painful, incredibly expensive, and incredibly worth-it electrolysis... yay!

Where am I going with this? Well, I’ll tell you. One of my current pet peeves/rants/diatribes has to do with the fact that nowadays so many men of all ages run around sporting the wildly-popular, damn-near ubiquitous Unshaven Look... what I refer to as The Scruffies. As you may have guessed, I am NOT a fan of this trend; to me, it makes guys look unkempt, shabby, lazy, smelly (even if they aren’t), unsavory, and generally primitive. Plus, looking at these horrible facial umbras always makes me itch. What on earth possesses guys to do this?? I simply can’t see the attraction; although, full disclosure, my beloved Significant Other assures me that LOTS of women not only don’t mind, but actually LIKE fields of bristles on their men’s cheeks. Well, possibly so... but if you ask me, they need to have their heads examined.

When did this Scruffy phenomenon start? Where did it originate? Well, here’s my theory: Those of us getting on in years surely remember the 1980’s television series Miami Vice, with its pastel colors, cigarette boats, non-stop gunfire, and criminal druggies being dispatched by Detectives Tubbs and Crockett... the latter played by perpetually unshaven Don Johnson, who, I firmly believe, established for all time the archetype of the Scruffy Sexy Hero. Thanks a lot, Don... I loved your show, but why-oh-why couldn’t you find a damn razor??

Of course, many –in fact, probably most of today’s young Scruffies never even heard of Don Johnson or Miami Vice... and yet, here they are by the millions, polluting the landscape with unshorn facial follicles by the trillions, and it just drives me nuts.

As it happens, I am greatly blessed to have two magnificent young gentlemen in my life. One is a nephew, brilliant beyond words, thoughtful, kind, with a heart bigger than the planet Jupiter. The other is my soon-to-be stepson, a genial six-foot-five ripped Adonis who is so blindingly gorgeous that he blots out the sun... I kid you not. Do I even have to bother telling you that BOTH of these incredible male specimens are card-carrying Scruffies? With heavy facial growth?? Whenever either of them comes for a visit, I cringe inwardly, hoping against hope that they will have picked up a Bic or a Norelco or a machete and MOWED THE LAWN... For the love of God, Montressor!

Needless to say, my wishes go unfulfilled, and I end up being heartily kissed by what feels like a wire barbecue brush. Naturally, with typical male good humor, both my beautiful boys find Lannie’s "Scruffy" issues quite hilarious. They chortle, tell me how much they love me, kiss me again (ouch!) and promise to shave the next time.

And, you know, bless their hearts, once in a blue moon they actually do... but not nearly often enough. And it grows back overnight! Hopeless...

Envisioning a clean-shaven world,
Until next time,
Lannie Woulff

Sunday, July 16, 2017

SCAM DOGS...

Another fine Sunday morn here in blistering hot Palm Springs... perfect time for another unhinged rant, so let’s have at it, shall we?

I am not a dog person. From earliest onset of awareness, I have been a cat fanatic. (Actually, thanks to gender transition, I can now proudly claim to be a Crazy Old Cat Lady, which pleases me to no end.) Now, I don’t mean to re-ignite the eternal Cat vs. Dog debate (the conclusion is obvious, anyway) and I hasten to point out that I am, and always have been, an all-around animal lover. In my view, ALL the beasties are fabulous creatures and more-or-less preferable to homo sapiens: Aardvarks, kinkajous, macaques, lemurs, iguanas, flying squirrels, cats, tigers, lions, leopards, panthers, black widow spiders (whose habit of devouring their male counterparts after mating is extremely cool), and yes, dogs too; especially wolves, who are indescribably magnificent.

But having said which, I repeat: NOT a dog person. To me, dogs’ servile adoration of humans, aside from being wholly unwarranted, isn’t an appealing character trait. Neither is their happy willingness to chase sticks, bite at tires, bark incessantly, and leave steaming piles anywhere, any time. I just don’t see the attraction, y’know? I mean, if your kid did these things, how long would you stick around??

But there is one dog-related issue that chaps my butt more than any other: the whole “service dog” thing.

Now mind you, there is no question that so-called “Service Dogs” do exist; absolutely they do, and what’s more, they are extraordinarily brave and devoted animals, deserving the highest admiration. My parents owned a retired service dog once, a Golden Retriever named Newman, and by gosh that pooch was a hell of a lot smarter than 98% of the people currently serving in Congress, to say nothing of more honest. Newman passed away years ago, and I honor his memory to this day.

But what drives me hopping mad is the way so many undeservedly-entitled dog-owners assign the respected “Service Dog” designation to any old undistinguished cur, just so they can take it places where ordinary dogs aren’t customarily allowed. Seriously, where do they get off?? Just because it’s easy to buy some cutesy red dog vest online that says “Service”, that doesn’t mean you can bring your hideous Patagonian Poop-Yap into a restaurant where I’m eating! Bloody outrageous, I say. Especially repugnant are these teacup-sized little horrors who are lovingly referred to as “Therapy Dogs”... gimme an effin’ break. Their owners need therapy, all right, LOTS of it, but they ain’t gettin’ it from some misbegotten mutt.

The worst part of all this is that by co-opting a title that rightfully belongs to the highly-trained GENUINE service dogs , these canine frauds diminish the respect level that the others have rightfully earned... and I think that’s just plain wrong.

Nonetheless, it bears pointing out that, as is always the case, the fault here lies entirely with the humans, not the animals. Whatever else they may be, like them or not, dogs –and all other animals­– are permanently, unassailably innocent.

Uh-oh, I better shut up now. My Therapy Cat, Xena, is fixing me with a baleful glare that says, “Dammit, are you scribbling away in that idiotic blog again??)

Until next time, take care, have a good’un.

Lannie Woulff

Friday, July 7, 2017

OF INDOLENCE...

It’s been six years since I posted an entry in this blog. Six years... wow! That may strike some as an astonishing display of idleness, but the fact is, it’s quite consistent with my lifelong habit of being spectacularly lazy. You see, I am inordinately fond of Doing Nothing, and in fact have perfected it into something of an art form. Whilst the rest of humanity ceaselessly scampers hither-and yon with almost frantic haste, I am perfectly content to sit on the sidelines, my mind in neutral, in a bemused state that, at full strength, leaves me only dimly aware that I’m alive.

Now, lest you think otherwise, this is not the same as meditating. From what I gather, meditation actually takes some effort; which, of course, is utterly incompatible with sure-nuff sloth. I mean, if emptying the brain requires any concentration at all, it’s far too much work for the likes of me. Not that sitting cross-legged for hours droning OMMMMMMMMMMMMMM isn’t an admirable way to kill time, but it’s still activity (sort of), and consequently far “outside my wheelhouse”, as the saying goes.

As you might suspect, some folks find my penchant for being lazy annoying, if not downright disreputable. This is especially true of my loved ones, who are mostly high-IQ go-getters with endless accomplishments and accolades to their credit. My late mother, a brilliant lady, never got anything less than an ‘A’ all the way from kindergarten through college –a feat which I easily managed not to replicate– and my lethargy drove her nuts. (Sorry about that, Ma.) The thing is, from the outset I found school to be a stupefying bore; pretty much the only thing I liked about it was the opportunity to sit for hours and daydream while the teacher babbled incessantly about things no reasonable person would want to know. I mean, who in their right mind gives a flying fick about the Gadsden Purchase??

Still, every rule has an exception, and on a few occasions I have “gotten it together”, as they say, and actually done stuff. When I was a lazybones thirteen-year-old boy I absolutely rocked my bar-mitzvah, blew the entire congregation away with my high-C soprano reading of the weekly Torah portion (the longest of the year, natch). I graduated from Princeton (God knows how), then in my early thirties I emerged from my comfortable torpor long enough to not only open a marine sporting goods boutique on the shores of the Red Sea, (which was madness) but to go bankrupt doing it (which was inevitable). There have been other minor eruptions of industry along the way, none of which had any real lasting impact.

But amazingly, and of most significance, I have written not one but two novels (pretty good ones, too) and am well into a third. How I’ve managed to do this is an absolute mystery to me, since writing is some of the hardest work imaginable. Still, incomprehensible or not, I must admit that it isn’t altogether unpleasant to be able to say “Hey, look what I did!” 

I’ll don't suppose I will ever understand the Type A workaholic busy-as-a-bee mindset, but so it goes. As far as I'm concerned, live and let live, and long may everyone prosper.

Good heavens... this post has gone on for far too long, and I’m much too lazy to write anything else... for now, at least. With luck, I'll be back before another six years has elapsed.

Bye-bye and be well,

Lannie Woulff