Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mon-Cutesy, Non-Cutedo

Well, only half a month since my last post. Not bad by my attempt at "weekly". I might make up for it, though; I'll know when I've finished typing this.

Somewhere in the depths of my old Facebook status selections, there's a bit where I talk about "cute". I wish to expand on this about now. I've mentioned in the past where I feel as though my dislike of coffee, alcohol, and the like sort of robs me of some of the most common opportunities to be social, on the grounds (coffee grounds?) that people seem to most often gather around those particular refreshments. It's rather hitting home of late that my very dull, almost lacking, sense of cuteness may be another obstacle in that department.

I don't necessarily find the things and creatures repulsive that others revere as adorable. I simply by and large fail to see what's so special about them. I will often respond to quiet beauty and grace, hence my deification of cats, but "cute" seldom does much for me. Most dogs and human babies are just....there. Making a mess and requiring care. And many is the anthropomorphized pet meme in social media that I just scroll past, unamused.

"Cute" doesn't start out as much with me, and it can easily be made irritating and aggravating with repetition. Calling small children "big" is just stupid anymore. Unless through some biological fluke they really are the size of a Volkswagen, they are not big at four weeks old, much less four days old. I've seen enough of "Grumpy Cat" that I wouldn't miss her if she vanished from the face, neck and spleen of the universe. (Mission accomplished?) And I feel a particular overwhelming ennui when I hear my mother kvell over the dogs in that high voice and partially gibberish language as she's done most every day since late 1993. With the exception of Dinah, the dogs are really not that remarkable to me. In fact, they're kind of noisy, stinky idiots, scared of loud noises or walking on the smooth floor, and eating things they're not supposed to.

Actually, much of "Dog culture" turns me right off. I've never been a dog person, and I just don't see in these creatures what most of the world sees:

• Posing them in human settings doesn't help. I'm sure a sweater is good for keeping them warm in cold weather, but I see no reason to obsess over it. Costumes are demeaning and awful. Dogs that look like their so-called owners: big whoop. "Puppy Bowls" running parallel to the Super Bowl on the television featuring puppies on a miniature football field are just meaningless, empty entertainment in which I have no interest whatsoever.

• Randomly inserting dogs and their likenesses wherever possible. Why does licorice need to be shaped like Scottish terriers? If "A Friend in Need" featured cats, goats, or lizards playing poker instead of dogs, would anyone care or even have heard of it?

• And, of course, Dog language. Apparently, you can modify anything in English to include a dog-related word and thereby create "cute" perfection. Including, I might add, names of dog breeds. Not only are Scottish and Yorkshire terriers "Scotties" and "Yorkies"
(Side note: cuteness in general can be elicited by simply sticking an "ie" on the end of anything, e.g. eggies, cakie, doggies, et cetera. "Rabies" sounds like it should be something cute, doesn't it? Why does "rabies" sound cute and "orgasm" sound like someone spittin' up? Ah well, I digress...), but cross-breeds are referred to by wholly ungodly names like "schnoodle" (schnauzer-poodle), "chorkie" (yorkie-chihuahua, I think), and who knows what else. Is the offspring of a bulldog and a shih-tzu a bullshit? And the rest of the dictionary: dogs' breath mints go by "Yip-Yaps" and "Puppamints". I suspect some dog owners put "bark & roll" on their stereo (which has a subWOOFer) all day for the dogs while they're at work. Maybe they drive home in their Pontiyap and get stuck at the tail-road crossing on the way. It's ridiculous. I suppose we'll all be happy and not raise a fuss over "statuterrier rape" and "pawlice brutality". This stuff gives me a mastiff headache and is absolutely re-pug-nant.

Anyway, I don't sense "cute" very well (you can tell from the bit about rape and police brutality right there), and it necessarily limits the meaningful interactions I can have with people, including family and friends. Last weekend, I went to Chicago for my cousin's party where she introduced her recently-born child to all our Illinois family and friends (that made it to the party). By and large, it was a fabulous party and weekend. I got to see and talk with many a friend and family member that I don't see very often (one came in from DC, and another I hadn't seen since the wedding), food and cake were plentiful, and things were good. But when it comes to the actual reason for the party — my baby "grandcousin" — I just sort of sit quietly, taking in the aura of joy. I have nothing to contribute to the conversation. The baby isn't bad by any means. I'm just not into babies or children. If they're functioning properly, good. Let 'em develop to the point where I can get to know them as equals. Here at the party, we had four other youngsters, most notably my cousin's best friend's two boys: one twenty days younger than my grandcousin, and one young toddler who is walking and talks in blurred gibberish but seems to understand certain things. In fairness, the toddler shares his mother's nice, wide smile. I do like a good smile. The weekend was a good, happy time, but through a couple days with the "April babies" who took two evenings together, I could feel my brain slipping away, seeking a plane of existence to which it could meaningfully contribute.

I still love you, friends of the family and everyone. I do. But I'm not done talking about "cute". I have developed a point of view wherein the use of "cute" implies assumed superiority of the speaker. We apply the term to pets and children, whom we believe are intellectually beneath us. By extension, we apply it to novices of a trade who don't quite get it right the first time. And then we snarkily so label people we see as terminal failures trying to make like they're not terminal failures. "Cute" has rather become an inherently demeaning descriptor. This is why it pissed me off so greatly a week or two ago when my mother heard me playing back one of my recordings and said "Oh, you recorded yourself! That's so cute!" News flash: Drive On is not my first recording. I have a whole set of songs dating back roughly to 2009. I wrote most of them, lyrics and guitar work both. Your musical output, mother, consists of endlessly and atonally repeating VOOOLAAARE and GOTTA GET DOWN TO THE CUMBERLAND................MIIIIIINE. But I will give you the benefit of a doubt as to whether you actually wrote "I love my schnauzers, one-two-three".

All this talk was perhaps somewhat prompted by something I saw my mother's cousin, and then my closest Portland friend, post on the 'Book. It's a map of the United States as interpreted by a New Yorker.

Is there a certain vibe you get from that? There's one I get from it, and it ain't too great. The Chicago comment clinches it. So I made a similar US map, one as interpreted by me, a prisoner of the flatlands with very limited experience beyond. There was a DC road trip in 2000 and a Minneapolis road trip circa 2002. We would pick a weekend of record heat to visit Minnesota. Oh, and 2006 saw one brief St. Louis weekend. (That year also saw the northern UK, not pictured.)

View in separate tab/window

That's your reputation, New York. (No offense to my friends who are there.) Self-important alpha cock, strutting around, thrusting yourself in everyone's face. Chicago is perfectly sized, thank you much. We don't go around whoring ourselves out for attention. We keep our corruption quiet, the way it's supposed to be done. Now kindly take your fuckin' Macy's out of our city and give us our Field's back, please. ♪♫♪ Our Marshall Field's Forever! ♪♫♪


Speaking of cities, I need a new one. I thought I had gotten one, but perhaps not. Starting to feel like my existence will be entirely contained in Square One. Time to talk with people.


Rebecca said...

I find most baby animals cute, once they have fur anyway, it's scientifically something to do with proportions of head to body and eyes to head. Plus they look soft. Human babies can be cute if they aren't screaming and messing themselves, miniature fingers and ears and nostrils and all that, but then I've always had some weird fascinations for miniatures; I was banned from the dollhouse play area in Kindergarten because it was all I wanted to play with.

Toronto sees the rest of Canada about how New Yawk sees the rest of the U.S. (except I see no Alaska and Hawaii, maybe they'd just be places to cruise to).

Cheshire Adams said...

Hi Becca! Since I posted the link to this on the 'Book, my cousin kindly pointed me in the direction of her one-year-old calico. I have to admit: I cannot resist this.

Banned from a particular play area in kindergarten? Is that a thing?

I don't really remember kindergarten. Vague shadows of the classroom in my mind. Blue "cubbies" and low, wooden-colored tables, within walls of that particular sort of low faded yellow that's nearly exclusive to classrooms. There was probably a thing along the wall with the letters of the alphabet and things that start with those letters.

I can say this: all through childhood, much the same as now, I much preferred to "hang" with the teachers than with my own age group. I guess I instinctively knew that, as adults, they were more developed and proven to be steadily kind, and I could connect with them more.

Ha ha, "New Yawk". Maybe NYCers are just *that* oblivious to the non-contiguous two that they don't exist to them. Though I am reminded of Rod Serling's pre-Twilight Zone script for Desilu's Playhouse, The Time Element. "Since WHEN is there an Imperial Hawaiian Hotel in New York City?!?" "It isn't IN New York, sir! It's in Honolulu!"

I guess that New York accent is kinda cute.... Σ:+D