Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dear Prudence's Bad Advice

A while back Slate's advice columnist, Dear Prudence, gave some advice to a woman who was concerned about her baby niece living next to a pit bull. Prudie agreed that the situation sounded pretty unsafe to her, but then had to throw in a little gratitious slut-shaming.

SHe's just written a year-end column about the letters that got the most response...not that she was owning up to changing her mind about anything just that "isn't it interesting" that some of her columns riled people up.

Naturally I wasn't the only one who got upset about her response to the pit bull letter. She actually quoted my email to her, at least part of it.

Everyone got mad at me for my answer to Uneasy. She was writing because her 20-year-old sister—a single mother with a toddler—just moved in with a roommate who had a nervous pit bull. I said both baby and dog must be intensely supervised when together and otherwise separated to avert a tragedy. Pit-bull lovers said my answer maligned their loyal, loving breed. Pit-bull haters said I exonerated these malevolent dogs and sent me articles from around the country on pit-bull maulings. Single mothers and others were outraged by what they felt was a gratuitous slap when I said that since the mother of the toddler had her while still a teenager, that indicated she lacked an ability to understand the consequences of her actions. "The fact that she is 20 and a new mother and single is why she's not able to clearly see the danger. But you lost me the minute you basically called her a slut," one reader bristled. "Two years ago, the woman had sex. God forbid! If you ever have pre-marital sex, you could end up with an unexpected pregnancy. So what?" asked another.

No, I did not call her a "slut," and, yes, I agree she is too young to be a mother. The "So what?" is that it's a tragedy that so many young women with no education, prospects, or partner are raising children alone.
Prudie then and in her response to me at the time kept talking about "the consequences of [young women's] behavior" but never really spells out which is the behavior that needs watching. Is it having sex out of wedlock that is the sticky wicket or just getting pregnant? Here's the full part of the email I sent to Prudie.
It sounds to me the fact that she *is* 20 and a new mother and single is why she's not able to clearly see the danger. Maybe she's happy in the living situation and doesn't want to face up to the fact that she'd have to move because of the dog. There's a lot of "maybe's" and it's easy to see why a young, new mother might justify the dog saying "I don't see it as a problem." Especially if up until this point, it hasn't been. (I'm with you however, on the issue that she needs to move her child away from the dog. Other dogs can bite but pit bulls' bites are known as especially dangerous.)

But you lost me the minute you basically called her a slut in not-so-many-veiled words. Tsk, tsk, you young woman for having sex.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Red Is the New Blue (Bike)

So six days after my bike was stolen I've bought a new Trek. This time a FX 7.3. As you might be able to guess from the picture, it's a men's bike. I went up a class, partially because there were some differences in the handlebar I didn't like in the 7.2. But the frame of the men's compared to the women's wasn't all that different. Here is the Trek 7.2 FX WSD I was considering.

As you can see, the frame isn't really all that much more angled, although I probably will have to wear bike shorts under my skirts on the days I forgo pants.

I could have gone with the women's FX 7.3 but ultimately, it came down to color. I just preferred the red. Lately everything I buy is red.

However I did figure out one other issue; how my bike was stolen. I was using a Kryptonite U-lock circa 2003. I didn't realize until today that in 2004, there were videos posted how to break the locks using a ballpoint pen and they've been considered pretty unreliable ever since. Until I was in the bike shop looking at locks I had completely forgotten that I bought mine five years ago, right before I moved to DC.

In a way, this comes as a relief. It means that there is an easy solution to my problem and that the issue isn't that I had a good lock that was broken, but a bad lock that was unreliable in the first place.

I probably rushed into the buying faster than I should have, maybe I should have tried out some more bikes. But even walking to the bike shop I realized how much I've relied on my bike to get me to and from the metro quickly. Walking just seems so interminably slow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Someone Stole My Bike

Goddamn it I want to cry! I loved my bike probably more than any other material possession I own. I bought it almost exactly 11 months ago. I locked it up at the Metro this morning like I've done almost every morning for a year and when I came out it was gone. I even used a u-lock. It was just gone. Even the u-lock.

And I'm wondering "did I not secure the lock?" "did I actually miss the loop somehow?" Or did someone who knows how to break a u-lock finally come along and snatch it.

And yeah, bikes can be replaced. But it was pretty! The new Trek 7.2 FX colors are ugly!