A Series of Physical Assaults

I'm working as a temp at Colorsado State University in Fort Collins, right now, and because of that, I get emailed these security notices about what happens in the community.

In the past month, there have been reports of a man physically assaulting women in the community. The reports provided by the police department have been vague on what's actually happening, but they have emphasized that the women in question were alone, outside, after dark.

The first couple of press releases remind citizens that they can increase their safety by "never travelling alone and by being aware of their surroundings". After two more women were attacked last weekend, the police department lengthened the list of safety precautions, saying:

"Fort Collins Police are encouraging citizens to exercise additional caution especially for female residents who are out in the community after dark. Please consider traveling in groups, carrying a cell phone, remaining in well-traveled areas, and carrying a flashlight."

Assuming these mostly uninformative press releases keep coming as the suspect keeps "physically assaulting" - I add quotes because I would like to know what that means, exactly - women, I was wondering how the Fort Collins Police Department's suggestions would evolve. 

So I traveled to the future to find out...

Then I traveled further into the future...

And further...

But the situation was never resolved. 


On Wedding Receptions and Taylor Swift

I was at a wedding reception, last night, It was for a couple in their early twenties, and after an hour or so of dancing, the party was starting to die. At least until the DJ put on the new single from Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off".

Women freaked out and rushed to the dance floor while the men filed off, at least initially. Generally, the attitude surrounding media made by, about, or (primarily) for women is that men need to get the fuck out of there.

But "Shake It Off" is one hell of a good pop song. The guys got back on the dance floor; the guests proceeded to foist the bride and groom into the air on chairs - despite the bride's initial protestations.

In a world where women are subject to a great deal of scrutiny, Taylor Swift is perhaps an example of how to get through life with one's identity still in tact. And, in my mind, she's only getting better.

Compare the end of the "Shake It Off" video, where Taylor goofily slides to floor and gives an approving nod, to her 2012 song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together".

The 2012 video is full of goofy dancing bears and other animals, an example of her exuberance. But just before the three-minute mark, Taylor shrugs at the camera and mouths "I don't know." She apologizes. She, in effect, takes it all back. I'm glad she doesn't feel like she needs to do that anymore.

She's giving us an excuse to dance aggressively and joyfully whether it's generally approved of or not.


Growing Up

I've been thinking about growing up, considering it. Mitch and I visited some friends of ours, last weekend, who have a baby, their first. It's kind of thrilling to me seeing people go through different phases of life. Their context changes so much that you get to see them under new lights.

I am not considering having children, but - when times are good - I think this growing-up and -old thing won't be so bad. Maybe I'll develop some of those big middle-aged woman breasts or finally get into bangles. Growing old won't be so bad if I can establish some weekly activity with friends, like trivia night. We can get together and talk about leaky roofs and aching bones and marriages that aren't looking as good as we had hoped. Then we'll drink cocktails and try to remember which president imposed the embargo on Cuba (Kennedy).

I think the best way to get old would be as a british man growing fat on ale and chips. If you're a middle aged british man, you're allowed to be as ugly and honest as you want. All you have to care about is going to the pub for a pint after work and following Arsenal.

The gout would be a drawback.

When I'm not terrified of the future, about failures and breaking-down bodies, I'm optimistic. If we live, we'll get to see so much.

Here's a vine my friend's baby helped me make. We're adorable.