Thursday, December 13, 2007

Unlearning

Note: edited very early Friday morning. I can never sleep when I'm hosting a party...

Right now I'm very busy. I have had people ask me to recondition antique furniture in time to show off for their guests, which gives me spending money for Florida but keeps me with permanently red and ugly hands. I am in charge of the company holiday party again, and we have end-of-year paperwork. So if I'm not a very good blogger or blogfriend, that's why. Sorry.

I am thinking a little bit, though.

When most of us were going to school, we learned that pandas are "solitary" creatures. The National Zoo's Mei Xiang (mama bear) and Tian Tian (papa bear) didn't attend those classes, so perhaps they can be forgiven for their ignorance. Snow apparently works just like panda-nip. Like everything else for the past year, they enjoy it all the more when they can enjoy it together.


(Picture taken by RoxandaBear last week.)

We have to unlearn so much of what we've learned. Unlearning is as important as learning, I think, and it's so much harder. Science is unraveling and reteaching so much right now. We thought pandas were solitary, but now we see they're quite social when the food supply is stable enough to allow it. We thought there were nine planets in our solar system, and Pluto was one of them. We thought prehistory was all about big, toothy dinosaurs, when actually there were many smaller creatures, including what were apparently big penguins. We thought carbon was the basis for all life. We learn, we unlearn, we learn again, and it's a bit disorienting, but so exciting!

I pointed out all last year that Juan Pablo Montoya, the Colombian who came to NASCAR from Formula One racing, not only had to learn NASCAR this first year, but had to unlearn attitudes and tricks from Formula One, and all in a second language! Goddamn right he deserved Rookie of the Year!

I know at work, unlearning is so much of the process. I've had to unlearn Wendy's techniques to work at McDonald's, 7-Eleven techniques to work at Eckerd's, my last job's methods for this job (which is only similar on paper), and, it seems, a computer program and copier every year. That's part of the tsimmis we're dealing with at my office right now.

You have to walk right up to the devil you don't know and shake hands sometimes. The alternative is taking piles of shit from the devil you do know, over and over again. L'Ailee is despairing over her countrypeople doing this in Russia. Putin's kept a tight hold on to his power, term limits be damned. She's so conflicted--she's glad to be here and wishes she could be there to help, all at once. She's been e-mailing her family in Russia, as well as a couple people she e-met while playing chess online, a lot. (Yes, she is an ardent admirer of Garry Kasparov.) I really don't know how to help, except just to listen and hug and abstain from teasing her. It is the most surreal thing--I was going to give her a vampire bat "adoption" complete with plush animal from the World Wildlife Fund as one of her Solstice gifts, because she loves bats. I gave her the little guy now, as a desperate attempt to cheer her up. She likes it, at least. I'm not conflicted at all. I'm glad she's here and not there!

As a bisexual woman (me) and a lesbian (her), we have dealt so much with lesbians who think that all bisexual women are just going to up and leave women for men. They nag me to "choose sides," as if my looking at Tony Stewart that way takes anything away from L'Ailee or from them. They tell L'Ailee to prepare to have her heart broken. I'm not going to go into another closet, after all the effort it took to extricate myself from the Assemblies of God church, and L'Ailee doesn't feel threatened by men. Really, I think the idea is insulting to lesbians, like any male co-worker or pizza boy or wino on the street is so much more irresistable to bi women than any lesbian. Shit, can't that nonsense be left to the homophobes!?!?

Well, after we enjoyed a brief break from that line of bullshit, Jasmyne Cannick came up with more, and commenters just kept piling on. I particularly "enjoyed" a top ten list of reasons not to date bisexuals, which only really revealed the commenter's insecurity. (To be completely fair, Cannick gave a bisexual woman, N. D. Smith, a chance to rebut earlier this week.) Kathy Belge of About.com Lesbian Life approvingly linked to the original post, saying this is a "necessary" conversation.

Maybe for her it is. Maybe for Cannick and her commenters, it is. From where I sit, I think that "conversation" can't be over soon enough. One thing L'Ailee and I often say to it is that we're grateful we met as kids. We'd have had to unlearn so, so much if we had met later in life.

Link time:

Maybe Tila Tequila doesn't help my cause. Or maybe she actually *does*! :-)

If you're celebrating later this month, you still have time to adopt a critter from WWF and get that stuffed animal! A plethora of choices ranging from the obvious and beautiful panda to bonobos for the militant bisexual to meerkats for the friend who cried when Flower died to hellbender salamanders for anyone who would love that name!

Maybe next year, you can adopt a jerboa!

The more the Clinton campaign keeps talking, the prouder I'll be to vote for Obama.

Mitt Romney's true attitudes about religion

Generation X--the un-sexiest generation ever? I don't know; I seem to recall having some fun!

13 comments:

Jasmyne said...

Please get it straight, no pun intended. My initial conversation was about perpetrating lesbians, not bisexual women. If you don't remember, go back and read it again. Now where my readers take it is not my fault. I don't mind being written about, but at least keep it real.

alan said...

Thank you for stopping by while you are caught up in the whirl of work and more work and holidays and life! I value your comments and your friendship so very much!

I, too, an amateur Russophile at times, watch what's going on and gnash my teeth. I am glad your darling is here instead of there because though Kasparov has a nigh enough profile that they have to be a bit careful, I'm not sure they are with lesser lights...too many opposition have met with "accidental" deaths! Reporters, retired agents, financiers. I'm not sure Leved's plane crash was an accident, either!

Keep her close and pass along a hug from me! Please? And take one for yourself as well!

As far as looking goes, if we don't look we're dead...while I appreciate a nice set of curves, I can appreciate other features as well! Something about Clive Owen...Pierce Brosnan...(I do seem to fall for Brits)!

Doesn't mean I'm giving up the 31 years that Dottie and I have together tomorrow!

Poor girl has put up with me for so long, she does deserve better!

Thinking of you...

alan

alan said...

P.S. Rubber gloves and Aveeno!Please?

CrackerLilo said...

This is what happens when I get up too early.

Jasmyne, you got after women who exhibit bisexual *behaviors* and have bisexual *histories*, which to me is close enough, despite your caveats. You made no effort to take it back to your original direction in comments, either. However, I'm going to make a quick edit in the interest of fairness.

Alan, I'm allergic to latex gloves! I do use latex-free ones, though. Thanks for the hugs.

CrackerLilo said...

Also, phrases like "not even bisexual" are quite revealing about your attitudes.

antiprincess said...

"perpetrating" lesbians?

what does that mean?

CrackerLilo said...

Welcome, antiprincess!!! :-)

"Perpetrating" means lying or faking it. See the Urban Dictionary. Usage: "My high school boyfriend liked to ask for a hundred-dollar bill and a bunch of ones when he cashed his paycheck, so he could perpetrate like he was rich on our dates. I wasn't impressed."*

In this case, it's about women who call themselves lesbians, but still look at men and may not have actual feelings for women. But I personally don't think a straighty-straight girl's first solution to loneliness while her man's incarcerated or serving in the military is, "I know, I'll try a woman!" I think there has to be *some* sort of feeling there. And if straight women *are* experimenting? Shows there's something to same-sex sex, despite all the bullshit the religious right and other homophobes do to prevent it.

*This really happened! And I knew he worked at Burger King, too!

Ange (formerly Writer Mom) said...

I always love reading your posts. So filled to the brim with thought provocation.
*I should always write a comment before reading your links, however.

What you wrote about unlearning.
Very true. Well put.
I've had a few years of unlearning and self educating. It was tough, but feels very liberating now.
If something doesn't feel right, we have the power to adapt and survive.
Thinking of my son and his misdiagnosis of Autism. He's doing great in first grade, those years now behind us, but my husband met another boy yesterday, Jack's age, on Ambilify for Autism, to keep him from running around too much. Really scared us to think someone at some point could have told us that Jack needed the same medication, based on 'observed behaviors' and checklists which get passed off as fact rather than estimated guesses.
The decisions we make now impact tomorrow, and unlearning and relearning really makes that clear.
More people should be forced to try it.


And now, I have stuffed animals to purchase. Thanks for the head's up! You saved me three hours of head scratching.

antiprincess said...

thanks for the definition, CrackerLilo!

Barbara said...

Hmm, I consider myself bisexual yet I am legally married to a woman. No, I don't have affairs with men (or women for that matter). I recently "came out" as bisexual to a group of lesbians I socialize with and that had all the impact of a fart in church. Though no one said anything, I think some were surprised.

In my experience I have yet to meet a bisexual whose primary partnership wasn't with the opposite sex - which therefore imbues them with the magical cloak of heterosexual privilege. I can't help but wonder if all the fuss within the lesbian community about bisexual women is that one rarely hears of a bisexual woman whose primary sexual and emotional relationship is with a woman.

BostonPobble said...

Lithus and I are facing a lot of the same issues you and L'Ailee are. It's equally hard on both partners, huh? He is having to do some of that unlearning you talk about and it is TOUGH.

As for the article on faux-lesbians, I didn't read the original article to be about women who are truly lesbian or bi. It seemed to me to be about women who really are pretending. Sad ~ and telling ~ that her commenters took it somewhere else. Perhaps the conversation she originally presented is indeed a necessary one. I would add that the forum in which the conversation is held needs to be a forum where the conversation can be facilitated in such a way that it stays on target.

BostonPobble said...

Time for my own edit...In case it wasn't clear, I do feel we as the "hosts" of our blogs have an obligation to ensure those who comment on our blogs maintain the topic, don't take our words somewhere we didn't mean them (especially when they contradict what we are saying) and debate respectfully. This is what I meant when I said the forum needs to be facilitated. Just in case it needed spelling out.

Deb said...

Popping in to wish you Happy Holidays and New Year.