Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Not truly notable news - sex, sexism and sports in reverse order

There were two articles released in the news today that are the kinds of articles that make you pause and ponder - what in the world is going on?!?

The first article covered an employer's guide to Euro Cup 2012. This is  basically an HR guide covering:

  • how to handle an expected increase in absenteeism 
  • what to do when you're given false medical certificates (something I have experiences with now)
  • how to handle it when your employees come back from that extra, extra long lunch break drunk
  • how to how to accomodate your employees' viewing hours by creating flexi-hours
  • potential charges of sexism, nationalism or other discriminatory issues that may be raised by those uninterested in football (this I found a little sexist - I like football and watch more than some men I know... does this mean the flexi hours are only meant for male Euro Cup viewers?)
  • what to do when your suit and tie guys engage in football hooliganism.
  • how to handle the betting pool
The second was an article about a primary school principal who was just fired after his S&M porn star past came to light. What a doofus.

But that leads me to some statistics that may be more horrifying than interesting - ok, statistic singular. I don't think I'm jumping leaps and bounds if I say, generally speaking, that European women have a different attitude towards nudity, sex and sexuality than Americans (I'm going to lump UK in with America on this one). And this region of the world sex and sexuality are even less... taboo isn't the right word, more of a non-issue? I don't know what I'm looking for exactly but the approach is more relaxed. Anyway, here's that statistic - approximately (that's a strong start for a statistic, but...) approximately 20% of Czech women have appeared in pornographic material - or at least material that by more American standards would be viewed as pornographic. A number of ads that are printed here would violate American standards for commercial publication. But that's the percentage. I heard it from someone involved with research in the industry who is not prone to over-inflate his figures. That's pretty high.

And leads directly to the billboard we saw on the way to the airport this AM - picture this... dawn rising, a peaceful taxi drive on a highway surrounded by the lush green of a country-side landscape and a billboard appears.... it's a close-up on a business woman - no, not the woman, on her bust. She's wearing a suit - and... ok, wait, it's a suit jacket and a bra, a push-up bra. That's it. It's a giant billboard of some woman's boobs. And the tagline? Boost your business

Here's a link to an article I'd thought I'd linked to earlier but apparently hadn't. It doesn't showcase the billboard we saw today but it definitely will give you a taste for the more outlandish and overtly sexualized advertisements that are displayed here. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Technically correct - not always the best choice

It's been a few months and I'm still dealing with the knee issue. Had my second appointment with the orthopedist today. Last week's was a treasure. He did a less than cursory (it is possible) interview and told me to take off my pants, walk around and then and lie down. I did. He started feeling around my knee and leg and then said he was going to give me a shot. I don't like needles and would prefer to avoid them unless absolutely necessary. So I asked what type of shot - I was already on medication and wanted to 1) make sure it wasn't duplicated, and 2) see if a pill could be substituted instead. He turned to me and said I didn't have to have it if I didn't want it, never mind. He was a bit snippy. I was uncomfortable and I still didn't know what he wanted to give me. I forgot that doctors here aren't used to as many questions. Then he told me not to walk, lose the brace, elevate my leg and keep ice on it. He sent me out to schedule another appointment.

Today was my follow up. He seemed in a slightly better mood. I got to keep my pants on. We were off to a good start. He felt around a bit and it hurt. He felt around some more and it hurt more. Then he told me that there's too much fluid  and he wants to test it. Here's the technically correct part that totally freaked me out - the way he said it. "I am going to puncture your knee."

Puncture in the same sentence as any body part will never sound good. You don't say 'I'm going to puncture my ears tomorrow', you say 'I'm going to pierce them.' You get blood drawn or you get a blood test you don't puncture your arteries. Dog bites leave puncture wounds, drug addicts have puncture marks, to test for meningitis our MS you get a lumbar puncture (yes, technically it refers to a region of the body but it's not such a body-part sounding word, lumbar, that is)... none of those are lovely sounding things. And it's not fun when you puncture your tire either.

Anyway, the use of the word puncture in relation to my knee freaked me out. But, it's going to happen - it just didn't happen today.

One more note - and actually, I really like this hospital, even though the staff often sends me to the wrong places and, unlike their advertisements, the nurses and intake people don't all speak English - I've gotten lost there a few times. With directions like "Follow the white line" it's totally understandable.

Friday, June 1, 2012

things to look forward to - or to skip

Pretty soon I will write a bit about...

DATING as a foreigner. FYI it can suck.

And that's not just my opinion. Details to follow when I'm in a less cynical mood :)

And, yes input is accepted. As are flowers and other romantic gestures.

(That input isn't to be your advice or views addressing my situation but rather it should be a sharing based upon your experiences dating as a foreigner.)

a little midnight anxiety

It's not keeping me up, I'm awake already, but my knee and potential surgery are kind of freaking me out right now. I'm starting to realize that I'll be here alone. And the hospitals here are clean but not friendly - 8 - 10 people per room, no dividing curtains, no sensitive caring nurses (nurses galore, just not sweet ones), I won't have any family around, I'm terrified of needles - and I have a very real and rather firmly entrenched fear of pain. Not just a dislike of pain, as is most common, but an actual fear of experiencing pain. After many years of a pain condition it's become ingrained in me - not knowing when it will stop increasing in intensity - being fearful that it won't; when, if ever, it will end; how to make it stop without screwing up my brain or the rest of my body... stuff like that. I'm realizing that this will be a very lonely and isolating experience. Right now I don't even know if I'll be having surgery in my "home" town or a few hours away - honestly, though, it won't matter when it comes to company. When I had major surgery in the US I was about an hour away from my house and the only person I saw was my husband. I was there for a week. I'll be in hospital for about a week here, too, but I'm no longer married so I can't count on that. And the hospital is in the outskirts of the city, in a rather isolated and difficult to reach location.  I honestly don't expect anyone will make it out there. The kid will already be back in the US so that's a no-go. Even if she weren't I wouldn't necessarily want her to come see me and stress out about stitches and tubes and stuff like that. Kids don't want to see their parents out of it. On the plus side, I will have competent care. I will be able to walk freely in a few months and I will be able to pay for it without having to worry about going in to debt. Maybe I'll get some new pajamas for the thing. You don't get much here, not even a real gown. When my friend broke his head and spent a week in the hospital he was in his underwear until I brought him some clothes - and the half dozen men in his room were either naked under the blankets or naked under the hospital gown - and let me tell you.... it's not just in the US that the gowns aren't made to fit. I believe that design flaw is global.