A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism.’

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Imagine this:

The year is 2014. You are a white Western woman. You wake up in the morning in a comfortably sized house or flat. You have a full or part-time job that enables you to pay your rent or mortgage. You have been to school and maybe even college or university as well. You can read and write and count. You own a car or have a driver’s licence. You have enough money in your own bank account to feed and clothe yourself. You have access to the Internet. You can vote. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend of your choosing, who you can also marry if you want to, and raise a family with. You walk down the street wearing whatever you feel like wearing. You can go to bars and clubs and sleep with whomever you want.

Your world is full of freedom and possibility.

Then you…

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90 Minutes of 90% Naked Dudes.

 

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So I decided since work on my CELTA is finally lightening up, to treat mahself and go see a show or two this weekend. Sometimes you have to accept that living the dream is going and doing stuff even when you’re alone, which can be daunting to a single white female in a huge, notorious city like Bangkok.

I don’t remember where I heard about Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives (MTL:TLL?), but I decided to shell out for the premium seat (about $40) and go with no expectations and see how it went.

It went gloriously. I first had to find a Bond villian’s underground ticket office off the Hwai Kwang subway stop on Friday to pick up my paper ticket since the email said I couldn’t pick it up at the central office on the day of the event (STOOPID). Then yesterday the boat shuttle from the condos didn’t run at 5pm like it’s supposed to (ALSO STOOPID) and I had to catch a cab to the BTS to a free boat shuttle to the Asiatique, this huge mall area with the stage.

When I got there I wandered around buying everything under the sun for about 2 hours; surprisingly fun and usually cheap stuff. Then I found my way to the stage, which I had thought was outdoors according to promo pics, but was actually indoors, thank Jesus for air conditioning.

My seat got a free upgrade and I sat next to 2 guys from Singapore who giggled with me the whole time. See, this thing is like 13 super ripped dudes and 1 girl (who plays like 3 damsel-in-distress characters) running around in booty shorts actually hitting and kicking and ass-whooping and actually whooping and COMING OUT OF THE FLOORS, GUYS. There were holes in the stage, the stage split apart at one point to like, loose the souls of hell, there was crowd involvement…I have never been to Medieval Times, but I imagine it must be similar.

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7:47-8:17 A tiny, badass old lady in chunky heel red boots talks in Thai about starting MT franchises. This is super, butt-asleep-in-church boring, but there are 14 cameras that I can see, so I keep a polite, strained, constipated foreigner smile on my face. She ends her speech with the image at the bottom of this post and all English speakers let loose a half-hidden snort.

8:18-8:22 Some gifts are give to the old woman by some middle-aged guy in a suit. No idea why, but if they’re giving out free gifts I could attempt to smile bigger or pull down my v-neck shirt. Y’know. Whatever.

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8:23-8:25 Our “host for the evening” is introduced over the loudspeaker as she comes out in traditional wear, whining in baby voice about how if she was pretty we would clap louder. I live in Korea and already have 2 ovaries, thanks very much, so I am not moved by whining and am inclined to not clap and I let fairies die everywhere.

8:26 The booming god voice announces “MUAY THAI LIVE: THE LEGEND LIVES!!!!!!” and the lights go down. There is an impressive amount of coordination of the the many screens on par with megachurch levels to announce that we are in 16xx year (I don’t remember, there were too many glistening chests to remember) in a kingdom called Ayutthaya and then you hear loud boy whoops not unlike when the cafeteria opens or youths on bicycles in the Buttercream Gang want to scare a girl, and about 12 scantily clad boy/men run out calling to each other, play-fighting, running down the stairs of the audience to the big square stage (see map at the bottom).

I immediately start quietly laughing because every.single.one of these guys is ripped as heck and is doing their best to authentically play-fight and laugh and involve the crowd and I hurt for them doing this like every night. What must it be like to do this and then come back down from it and like, buy antacids at the 7-11?

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Anyways, ACT 1: involves these boy/men discovering the beginnings of Muay Thai and they all play fight each other until some dude walks in to the screen splitting in two like a damn stargate and fights them all and wins and then they all realize HOT DAMN THIS DUDE IS THE TIGER KING and he came to fight the mere mortals IN DISGUISE. Someone call J.Lo because I think Maid in Manhattan is like, getting copyright infringed on.

ACT 2: 17xx (again, glistening chests are distracting) in Ayatthaya has some poor dude who’s like a master fighter all chained up in some pseudo-colosseum and they free him to fight like 8 different opponents who start COMING OUT OF THE FLOOR OF THE STAGE LIKE NINJAS (but not ninjas because this is Thailand and we are not racist about “all Asians”) and there’s like twins with murder axes and HE DEFEATS THEM and then a drunk guy who fights with/for his jug o’ booze and then a tiger guy like comes out of the audience stairs (not *down* the stairs, like the platform opened out the halfway up the stairs and he slithered [yes, slithered] out and cat screamed like 3 feet from me) and he beats him too and then finally he gets the thumbs up from Joaquin Phoenix and is allowed to leave.

ACT 3: Also 17xx but later-ish, some warrior and his clan of 4 vs some other clan of 4 and their legendary fighter and OH MAH GAWD WARRIOR A’S CLAN HAS A DISGUISED WOMAN AND IT’S *HIS WOMAN* and she tried to help and SPOILER ALERT: dies to spur him on to kill everyone else. He falls on her prostrate body and sobs a bit like this is Outlander or something (PS: this actor cannot be only Thai, the whole time I actually thought he was a white dude with a bad dye job and a spray tan, but at the end he had a Thai name so I’m thinking he’s mixed) and carries her limp, toes-perfectly-pointed body out.

ACT 3B: all the dudes come out and perform the kata? Is this the right word? Anyway, they show the 12 moves/form of Muay Thai off and badly lipsync the overhead voice that calls out the names; it’s like Who’s Line with the subtitle game.

ACT 4: modern day, we see a scrawny kid in painted-on black jeggings and black converse with a black t-shirt and black blazer bound up the stairs. He looks at the kata chart and pretends to do some moves. She of the whiny voice saunters on stage and teases her boyfriend (of 5 years, according to the English translation on screen) of liking Muy Thai better than her (GOOD CHOICE, BRO). Bro assures her that’s not true and get’s down on one knee to prove it with a tiny red box. We fade over to just her subconcious that jumps up and down and squeals “YESSSSS” and go back to her complaining “I don’t believe you love me if you’re proposing in the alley like a dog” or something (RUUUUUDE, GIRL THAT BOY IS HOT AND HAS PUT UP WITH YOUR WHINY VOICE FOR 5.LONG.YEARS). He then reminds her (and us) that his dad is chief of police and they probably shouldn’t be in the alley since “they’ll be coming for us soon.”

This is called foreshadowing, kids, and it took all of 14 seconds for him to walk 2 steps away and run his hands through his luscious locks and the bad guys kidnapped April and the Turtles came…jk jk but really she got taken because the bad guys CAME IN ON ROPES FROM THE CEILING and took her back up and Bro (what was his name? crap. Something basic. But Thai. This dude only knows one color, anyways. Let’s call him Mike.) Mike is like “whaaaaaaa? where is the whiny love of my life” which then starts his sequence of fighting everyone on his way up to the big boss (seriously just like a video game, including some ladders work not unlike Super Mario Bros.), who he defeats. He discovers Whiny trapped in the floor like a 18th-century ship stowaway and asks again if she’ll marry him. She says yes, he puts his blazer on and someone offstage throws her a sarong and they ride some gondola thing up into the ceiling saying “thanks for coming to our wedding” and she throws her plastic flowers to some old dude in the audience and shouts “YOU’RE NEXT.”

And SCENE: credits roll and the 15-ish actors come out in their costumes on stage and then say thank you and bow and then rinse and repeat that 3x to all the different areas of the stage and we clap for about 3.56 minutes and then get up.

God’s voice comes back to remind us that the actors will be available in the lobby for photoshoots in about 5 minutes. I try to decide if I want to debase myself in taking a photo with more muscle mass than a Gold’s Gym, and decide to head out. But then as I’m walking towards the stairs, I hear repeated shouts of “HA” again and again and the crowd is slowing down and I realize that the actors are shouting before every.single.picture to like truly hold their poses and muscles. I’m impressed and decide “no one I know is here to be embarrassed of me,” “I’ll never see these people again” and “JUST DO IT ALREADY, YOU BIG BABY” and use my LC basketball elbows to slowly work my way to the front. I’ve already decided that the big bad video game boss was the hottest, and he’s standing on the side of the cast with his enviable body in just jeans and half-zipped leather jacket. When the photographer finally decides it’s my turn, I grab him by in the arm and pull him to the middle (where I’m supposed to stand) and all his co-workers are whistling and giving him hell and I’m laughing and then HE TOOK OFF THE LEATHER JACKET AND…

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and they’re all cheering and I’m cheesing and we took a photo and I bowed and he bowed and then we unfortunately did not ride into the sunset together because it was 10 o’clock and the sun had set and if there’s one thing I’ve learned watching drag shows, it’s that you’re unfortunately not allowed to touch the talent unless you’re handing them money…and I’d kind of already given him money by buying a ticket. I ran down the red stairs and into his dreams.

gahhhhhhh want to touch...

gahhhhhhh want to touch…

Then I decided that I probably wasn’t gonna get another chance, so I decided to ride the huge Bangkok Eye ferris wheel and when I got to the front the guy said, “just one” and I said “just one” with the biggest, shit-eating grin on my face. And then I saw the world from up there and it was magnificent.

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In review, MTL:TLL was a great experience; I would definitely recommend it to someone who wants to see Muay Thai…but doesn’t want actual blood to happen. I was thoroughly impressed at these guys and their level of fitness and professional technique. According the website they are all stuntmen and/or former MMA/kick-boxing/MT champs. I know it’s scripted, but those hits were most definitely connecting. Clearly they aren’t at 100% full strength, but the muscle memory required to fight 8 different people for 20+ minutes at a go and choreography fighting is happening with 10 other people with weapons on the stage is pretty impressive. As is the commitment to fully ham it up and act in front of a couple hundred people, screaming and hyping it up genuinely. I’m pretty glad I went; and not just for the photo. Although I’m pretty loyal to my boxing family, Muay Thai looks pretty dang cool. Now, if only I could just STAY CLAM, I could Muay Thai onwards!

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The Long Overdue Wrap Up Of A Whirlwind Week In The West

Let’s get in our Tardis and jaunt on back to the week of June 20-28, when…too nerdy.

A month ago, I spent a week back in the states…too boring.

#MURICA. JUNE 20-28. (THAT’LL DO PIG, THAT’LL DO)

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So I got to go to my various homes and here is that story.

**For best experience, play song**

I hopped in a plane at TAE with a dream and no cardigans, off to Seoul for 9 hours. How did I fill those 9 hours? GREAT QUESTION, YOU DIDN’T ASK! There is a jjimjilbang (Korean spa) in the bottom floor of the airport and I went down there to explore and paid less than $10 to sleep for 5 hours and soak in the hot/cool baths. If you remember my previous naked jjimjilbang horror story from last summer, don’t worry: this was nothing like that. I mean, there was nakedness, but no emotional/physical scarring. Just blissful sleep on a hardwood floor and solo soaking. I didn’t see another soul near me the whole time. Incheon Airport earns my vote for best.airport.ever.

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I then slept fitfully through about 11 hours of flight until I landed in God’s glorious green Promised Land: Western Washington via Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I squealed as I hugged my mom and two sisters and we (almost) all went on a mutual pee break before starting the drive back to Chez Bai(ley).

Upon arrival at the Nest, I discovered my dad, our dogs, and my Nana’s homemade Raspberry Pie. And although my body didn’t know what time or day it was, my stomach started hyperventilating at the thought of real, Washington raspberries (I left last year before raspberry season and it almost killed me [y’all know my blood was almost exclusively Diet Coke, raspberries and David’s Original Salted Sunflower Seeds before Korealand]).

I spent 4 sleepy, blissful days with my family at home: going on a lunch with my Dad at Boundary Bay Brewery and exploring a farmer’s market after which my dad proceeded to disobey me and keep snitching the artisanal whole wheat sourdough bread we got for dinner. Belated Mother’s Day (and early Brianna birthday) pedicures lady-times, steaks and lasagna and just lazy, jet-lagged, 4am happy-for-a-Keurig moments with the people I love and who put up with me living far, far away.

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**view from the end of our driveway**

THEN THERE WAS YOU, ARKANSAS.

From SEA>PHX with Brianna then PHX>LIT solo, then I was back in the land of Sonics, sweet tea and hogs fans. I was wearing shorts (I know. I flew in shorts. I wear shorts now, thank you boxing) and a tshirt and just felt like everything in life was clicking back into place as I hugged Michael, was gifted a nice, cool can of Diet Coke and we headed to the place where I cried, sweated and loved: The Apple Store.

And there you all were.

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The cool tones of the heavy tables, the immediate straightening of iPads that my fingers couldn’t stop caressing, the dulcet tones of indie-pop and cobalt tshirts. Oh, yes, and the people. My husband, the Bearded One, rustled out of his perch of power; the now ear-pierced Trace, my host and stylist; Abs, who although he had promised me his voice would startle me when I returned TOTALLY STILL STARTLED ME; and Lisa and Rampage and Everett (update: still smells like I imagine Jake Ryan smelled outside the church with Molly Ringwald) and Jonathan and Patrick and and and and all of you. God, everyone. Even if I didn’t like you, my heart was so happy to see you. Even if I met you that day, I was so, so happy. I forget how a place becomes a home. And while Arkansas is gracious and accepting, the people that work at that Apple Store are in a special class of magic. Thank you guys for molding me, loving me, and most of all, for missing me. I only teared up once. Or twice. Counting is irrelevant.

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Look at these gorgeous people. Such family. Much love. We Ross shopped, Birks shopped, strange-drag-white trash-awesome-shopped, we ate (Chipotle, Damgoode Pies, Shipley’s Donuts, Whole Hog)…and I just cannot say enough about these people. I am most myself around them. I want to be better and aim higher and laugh more and make them laugh. I don’t really feel worthy of them all missing me, but then again, that’s what I think a friend-family is. They have seen me cry and grow and fail and win and cry again and hopefully there is a time where we will all be in the same place again together and continue doing that.

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OK, no more sad sad, onto Tulsa!

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There’s truly no better way to start off a road trip than with Shipley’s Donuts. In fact, I just called Ruth Bader-Ginsberg and we stamped that into law. You’re welcome.

Michael and I began the drive to Tulsa and talked and laughed and I cried and we listened to music and it was strange, doing it again a year later, in the same car and same drive and just a better life place. For both of us.

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We wanted to swing by the revamped Woodland Hills store, so I alerted the local paps and got this reply, which is hands-down “Why I Love Jeff Smith 101.”

 

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After more hugs and intros and people I also love, I hugged Michael goodbye again in Tulsa and strutted into the Mayo Hotel as the very classy doorman (bellhop?) let me weep a little on the marble floor and 9-floor-long elevator ride behind my huge sunglasses.

Thus began 36-hours of wedding: rapid 20-minute change into dress, new birks, some semblance of make-up and jump into a huge truck to the rehearsal dinner.

Sister Act.

Sister Act.

Then the next day, I got to sleep in a little and go do mini-boxing workout (already out of shape from 1 week of non-jump roping…) with Dad as the other Bailey ladies had to go and sit for their hair/makeup preps. I spent the morning sweating, then drinking fantastically strong coffee, going on a long walk around downtown Tulsa with my Dad and talking about life. I’m really glad I had no data on my phone this trip; it really made me want to wring every drop out of being with my family for such a short time. And being able to just SIT and watch dogs in fountains and drink water and talk with my Dad was priceless.

We then hoofed it back to the hotel as I showered and started my relatively simple get-ready process, watching Alien on my laptop as I curled my hair, my Dad yelling out plot points from the other room. I snuggled on my dress and off all 5 of us went to the trolley. YES, TROLLEY! to the church.

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The beautiful thing about being family and yet not in the wedding party was a) not buying a dress, b) not doing that all-morning in a suite getting ready thing, and c) relaxing, having no job.

Oh, everyone has to take pictures? Haha, not us!

Oh, everyone has to take pictures? Haha, not us!

Then we laughed, we danced, we sang, we ate, we danced some more and Jordan and Luke were married. I shoved everything into my suitcases…which surprisingly had a lot of room left HAHA WAIT FOR THAT IN THAILAND HAHAHAHAHA…and slept for 3 hours before going to start the next leg of the journey: TUL>DFW>ICN (no spa this time)>BKK.

Thank you beyond measure to my families in Washington, Little Rock, and Tulsa. You lighten my soul and I will be back in two shakes of my two sizes smaller butt.

Until then…

anigif_enhanced-28447-1402951723-13…in Bangkok.

 

 

Bangkok Beginnings.

My jungle hair, a video and a view from the The Hangover Part 17a: Bangkok Boogie Bonanza. Or something like that.