Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A great seat for defying traditional gender roles

'Little' Miss Muffet -- the nickname is supposed to be ironic in the same way you call a really tall guy "Tiny" or an idiot "Einstein" --  sat on her tuffet enjoying her zero-carb curds and whey protein shake after blasting her pecs and abs.  

To clarify, a tuffet is a clothed and cushioned stool, kind of like a small ottoman, usually considered feminine furniture.  Muffet's choice to sit and enjoy her post-workout mix of Muscle Milk and cottage cheese on a tuffet demonstrates her calculating mind, progressive attitudes and mastery of symbols.  You see, Muffet defies stereotypes. She is a modern woman who successfully juggles single-motherhood, a career as a premier personal trainer and a demanding competitive weight-lifting schedule while maintaining her womanliness.

Just because she can bench-press more than most NFL linebackers doesn't mean she can't also hem and pleat the skirt of her lovely tuffet or, for that matter, get a little freaked out when she sees a spider.  Spiders are gross no matter how big your muscles are.

Pros: After choosing the perfect pattern from JoAnn's Fabrics, measuring the cloth so it falls just above the floor and applying the necessary stitches, finally enjoy your handiwork and reflect on your most recent workout.  A true Renaissance Woman.

Force people to rethink their conceptions of femininity. 

With heels on floor four-feet in front of you, grip sides of tuffet and dip body so that backside approaches floor for an excellent triceps workout.

Cons: Tuffets provide no back support, which sucks after you just pushed your lats to the limit.

Fabric layers attract insects and, by extension, spiders.

Really ties a room together.

When the documentarians came to spend a day in the life of Miss Muffet, she could have sat anywhere -- a weight bench, a leather office chair, a locker room countertop -- to recharge after a hard workout.  Instead of a more "manly" location, she consciously chose her tuffet, a symbol of traditional femininity, to promote modern womanhood. Today, women can seek a life beyond rigidly defined roles.  The fun-loving sorority girl can also be an exemplary student and the home-economics teacher can talk baseball like Peter Gammons. The jacked gym-rat isn't just "butch." She can also be an elegant homemaker and doting mom.  Miss Muffet, her protein shake and handcrafted tuffet remind us of that.

Stability - 3/5 -- Tuffet is physically stable, but like Muffet, you can use it to shake up the status quo.
Cool Factor - 5/5 You can be anything you want to be.
Difficulty - 2/5 -- Hard to create, easy to sit.
Perilousness - 1/5 -- Only dangerous if neighboring spider is a Black Widow.
Added bonus -  4/5 -- Pick and choose your own interests, not those prescribed by a conservative society.

Overall rating - A progressive 15/25. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eggs are fragile but rewarding

See those thin, brittle ovals resting on a branch stories above the ground? Your CHILDREN are in them. Now go plop your entire body weight on top of them. For weeks. 

Talk about pressure. 

I've heard the rumors that birds are such bad parents that they can't even remember how many eggs they have, but I don't buy it. They love those things. Seriously. They love their kids so much they'll turn bulimic in difficult economic times just so their babies won't go hungry. That's why birds survived the Great Depression and, despite rising unemployment and scarce loans, seem to be thriving right now. 

People are lucky. We have uteruses, papooses, and car seats to carry our kids in. Birds have a cramped circle of sticks, a dank hole in a dead tree or their own spit on which they must sit. And sit. And sit -- the whole time knowing even a load-shifting sneeze could mean a miscarriage while a trip too far from the nest will provide a raccoon with a nice continental breakfast. 

Pros: Whenever your kids whine about not wanting to go to the statewide crafts fair or outdoor sculpture garden that you saw in the paper, just remind them how you dutifully sat for months to ensure their normal brain development. 

Catch up on The Secret Life of Bees and the rest of Oprah's Book Club or sell your busy friends' stuff on eBay (for a percentage).

You can host Pampered Chef parties from your nest . . .

Cons: . . . but be prepared for the old crows you call 'friends' to talk about your unkempt branch, widening ass and generally haggard appearance as soon as they leave.

You have no choice but to go on maternity leave and risk losing your job to some goody-goody kiss-ass fresh out of State who think she's going to change the world! 

Good luck meeting new people. 

If your children die, it is officially your fault and even a lifetime of therapy cannot change that.

Sitting on eggs takes patience, willpower and the perfect distribution of body weight.  It's hard to find a comfortable position when sitting on a bunch of spheres all putting unequal pressure on points across your butt.  To keep from going stir-crazy, the mother bird must only concentrate on the outcome of her diligent incubation -- a healthy kid with a chance to score a college scholarship and later support his or her parents in a moderately priced, but attentive, assisted-living facility.

Stability - 1/5 There is a reason the phrase "walking on eggshells" exists.
Cool Factor - 2/5 Moms wear mom jeans.
Difficulty - 2/5 The fate of your forebears depends on your vigilance and body heat. But again, you are just sitting at home. Possibly in front of the TV.
Perilousness - 5/5 One false move and your baby dies.
Added bonus -  2/5 Step forward every time your mammal and fish friends complain how tough their pregnancies were.

Overall rating - A monotonous, but maternal 12/25. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Live, Suffer, Die, Rise, Chill, Leave, Sit.

Yes, Sit On Things congregation, He will come again to judge the living and the dead, but until then He is seated at the right hand of the Father -- a not too shabby spot in the grand (some say the grandest) scheme of things.

Dads are cool. They occasionally give you money, remind you you are special and provide a well of life lessons. For most people, however, remaining glued to a dad's side for a couple millennia would get tiresome.

Pros: Learn a firm handshake from your grizzled pop. You are an arm's reach from his right hand after all.

Gripe about the Giants together while watching them lose on the cosmic TV in front of you. 

Chill on clouds with an Earth ottoman.

Cons: Sitting at the right hand of your father may be ever-stimulating if He is also your God, but in my experience, wet tissue paper can sometimes separate awesome bonding and annoying banter. For instance, dads use a lot of puns. Others ask if you've found a job yet. Some do both.

Dads aren't tech-savvy so good luck setting his cell phone alarm and helping him buy tickets on eBay.

In some cases, you sit in that spot because you just suffocated to death knowing the whole time you couldn't save yourself because your wrists and ankles were nailed to boards and your forehead had thorns jammed into it. Oh, and some douch stabbed you in the stomach. 

Although it's hard to overstate the importance of good dads, the dad worth sitting next to forever is rare. Find him and email Sit On Things. I want to meet that dad. (Start at :29)  Until he is revealed, the spot at the right hand of the father seems less and less appealing with each passing minute and G-rated play on words.

Stability - 5/5 -- A dad will never let you down. If only so his progeny may go forth and multiply, thereby continuing his name and memory.
Cool Factor - 1/5 -- 'Drop me off a few blocks from school, please. I can walk the rest of the way.'
Difficulty - 2/5 -- Some, like the man pictured above, take more difficult paths to their seat than others.
Perilousness - 1/5 -- Again, dads are in it for the long hall.
Added bonus -  2/5 - Dads can tell you about girls. Then you realize the girl they have the most experience with is your mom.

Overall rating - A paternal 11/25.