Sunday, November 7, 2010

Being Considerate vs. Being a Gentleman

Growing up with an older sister, I was constantly (and sometimes forcefully) reminded of two things as soon as I was tall enough to pee standing up:

1. Always, put the seat up when you pee, and put it back down when you're done. Do it every time.

2. Do not, under any circumstances, leave drops on the seat.  The toilet paper is your friend, so grab a few squares and wipe them all away.

It wasn't my first lesson in basic consideration, but it definitely was a prelude to being a gentleman for my future lady as well as how to properly share a commode.  Nevertheless, it was a powerful and effective lesson, but I will reserve any thank you to my sister until after I finish writing this.

Now, I have spent more time than I would like to admit going out to bars with my friends. Don't get me wrong, these outings have truly brought plenty of enjoyment into my life.  Ultimately, I am fulfilled by every experience--good or bad--because I have a great time with my friends.  I try new beer.  I network.  I share great laughs and stories.  I talk politics.  I meet interesting people (and sometimes exchange a few numbers).  I definitely flirt.  And more often than not, I watch a decent game of football or baseball.  Go Giants!

In the last few years, however, I have been constantly confronted by an interesting conundrum when I am out with my friends, and it sneaks up on me unexpectedly and all too frequently.

The right things need to be in place for this conundrum to be present: the people, the bar, the night of week, et cetera, but I have discovered the underlying cause for why I find myself dealing with it.

It all goes back to those two early lessons in basic consideration from my sister, and lately, I have found myself paying the price of being considerate in full as I am haunted by my sister's two simple rules.  It always happens when the following are in place:

--The bar will have only one or two restrooms.  These restrooms will also be unisex.

--It has to be a later in the night when people in the bar have had more than one or two beers.  You know, they've broken the seal, and coincidentally, a line has formed in front of the unisex bathroom(s).

--I will be in this line, and a girl (or two) will be in line directly behind me.  Maybe one of them is doing a pee pee dance--just for the sake of this story.

--As I reach the front of the line, the conundrum begins to take flight...

--When I enter the restroom, more often than not, the toilet seat is down.  As you can imagine, the guys before me have broken rule number two.  What I am then faced with is the conundrum because of the following options:  do I, (a) keep the seat down, do my business, and then exit the restroom--knowing full well the girl behind me in line will use the restroom in the condition I left it; (b) put the seat up, do my business, and then leave it up to show that I was not the perp who broke rule number two--leaving a flood of drops on the seat; or (c) do my business, wipe off all the drops with an incredible amount of toilet paper, and leave it worthy for a woman?

I find myself constantly doing the third option (c), but I can't figure out whether I do it out of consideration for the girl behind me or to be a gentleman.  Regardless, I'd like to think I am doing a big gesture for guys in general.  You see, when the girl goes into the bathroom after me, I personally do not want her thinking I was the culprit who left the drops, and when I stick to option (c), I help to create the illusion that guys are considerate creatures.

When I shared this conundrum for the first time a few weeks ago, I was in NYC and it had just presented itself in a bakery my cousin and I were at.  After I explained it, my cousin's friend told me that I cared too much and shouldn't think so much about that kind of thing.

I disagree.

Thanks to my sister (thank you Erin), I care about it way too much.  Honestly, I care to know that I am not the guy that women think about when they can't sit on a seat they have to share.  I'd like to think that one small, considerate gesture (with a thick layer of toilet paper) allows women to hold us to a higher standard as gentleman.

So guys, even if you put the seat up when you piss in the unisex bathrooms, you may not be doing enough.  Then again, you may not care about this at all--let alone even think of it--but trust me: it makes a world of difference to women if you do.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Now that the dust has settled from the elephant stampede . . .

Washington – Republicans have taken control of the House, gaining 60 seats but were four seats shy of gaining a majority in the Senate and having total control of Congress.

Republicans did not have quite the electoral strength to completely flip Congress into their control this election year, but the 112th session will assuredly head in a different, more conservative direction.

The more interesting results for the Senate races were the tea party favorites Rand Paul and Marco Rubio who won in Kentucky and Florida.  These came as big wins for the tea party movement.  

As well, the results were proof of an American electorate deeply dissatisfied with the direction of the country.

In Delaware, however, Democrat Chris Coons was instantly declared the winner over the embattled GOP nominee and tea party supporter Christine O’Donnell in a race that may come to haunt Senate Republicans.

Former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, still one of the GOP’s leading strategist, declared that O’Donnell’s defeat was “a lesson.”

O’Donnell is a candidate who was right on the issues, but who has mishandled a series of questions brought up by the press” Rove said.

With one of the last elections to report, largely due to the conditions of Alaskan ballots this year, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski fought for another term as a write-in candidate after losing the GOP primary to tea-party-backed conservative Joe Miller.

But the write-in candidate from Alaska is just a side-note in the bigger picture from this election.

Similar to 2006, Democrats, who after twelve years under Republican control, gained control of Congress due to the growing frustration with the Bush agenda.  

Now, the complete opposite holds true.  

Republicans, after working four years in Congress under the control of Democrats and for the past two years under the Obama agenda, have finally regained a significant position of power and leadership in Congress.

But what do the results of the election really mean?

First of all, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) only has the remaining weeks of the 111th Congress to be House speaker before the majority takes over, bringing with them a new speaker.  

It’s not official who will be the Republican party's new House speaker until Congress reconvenes in a few weeks, but all signs point to Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) to be the one slamming the gavel.  Plus, owning a majority in the House allows Republicans to set the agenda and control what bills are brought to the House floor--especially bills relating to the budget and federal funding.

Additionally, the numerous states who had traditionally been conservative-voting states, turned blue in 2006 and remained blue for Obama in 2008.  Now, in 2010, they have almost entirely returned their support to Republicans--putting conservative candidates into available offices.  

By far, the most important gain from last night’s elections was made in state Legislatures, giving the Republican party greater influence in redrawing congressional districts next year.

The party will control 25 Legislatures, including Ohio, North Carolina, and Minnesota boosting their power in statehouses by the most since 1928, according to the National Conference of States Legislatures.  

Republicans won the House and Senate in Alabama for the first time since the end of the Civil War. Republicans won governors’ seats from Democrats in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and at least eight other states.

Regardless of the gains Republicans make in the House of Representatives . . . the fight for House continues next year,” said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association in a news release early Wednesday morning.

By controlling a majority or more of reapportionment states we can make sure that the Democrats don’t take from us tomorrow, what we fought so hard for today.”

Congressional seats will be reapportioned following the 2010 national census. States with shrinking populations will lose congressional seats and those with growing ones will gain seats.  The party that draws the election map in each state will shape the political landscape for the next 10 years.

On election night, Sen. John McCain said that tea party supporters are "the messengers,” and the message they've sent from the ballot boxes was not an "affirmation" of Republicans but rather a rejection of the president.

"That is their message, and [Republicans] had better understand it," McCain said

"And it isn't just the tea partiers. They're the catalysts. They're the messengers. But this repudiation of the Obamacare and the spending etc. is not just from tea partiers. It's from a majority of Americans."