Diet Coke thinks I’m extraordinary? Well isn’t that refreshing!

I saw this advertisement last Friday whilst out on my lunch break:

My immediate reaction?

I think I can in a can? Or I think I’m fat in a can?

I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING THERE COKE.

Now, full disclosure: I drink diet Coke. I drink diet Pepsi, or Pepsi Max or Coke Zero, or whatever other aspartame-infused sodas you care to name. And as any of you who have been reading this blog for a while now, I have no qualms at all about admitting this fact.

My drinking patterns are sporadic – I’ll go for a couple of months without a sip, and then start drinking two to three cans a day without so much as blinking an eyelash. These habits are something I’m cognizant of, but not something of which I lend much weight.

Apologies to any Colorado Avalanche fans out there, but in the words of Todd Bertuzzi*: it is what it is.

(*Now I’m no fan of Mr. T. Bert by any stretch of the imagination – or as I like to call him: Hobo with a Slapshot – he’s just the first thing that pops into my mind whenever I think of that turn of phrase.)

However, to get back to diet Coke and my relationship with this product- the fact remains the same: this penchant I have for these drinks is one of the last remaining holdovers from the years I spent as an anorexic and bulimic.

And because of this, I have a hard time disassociating these drinks from a very painful, very unhealthy part in my life.

Now I know there are tons of men and women who live all across the globe, who lead perfectly healthy lives (or within the parameters of “healthy” – as goodness knows the definition of this term seems to be malleable as heck) who may drink a diet Coke every now and then.

Who knows, maybe there are individuals out there who shot-gun the stuff all the live long day that have zero food/body hang-ups (not to mention faulty brain wiring – like those cats who eat chalk and pillow stuffing), but I would be hard pressed to believe it.

However, of this I’m sure: people ingest things for a whole myriad of reasons, and it would be naive, and rather asinine on my part to assume that because I a.) had an eating disorder and b.) drank these drinks during this time in my life that c.) all people who drink diet pop have eating disorders.

That would be a gross misinterpretation of the Pythagorean Theorum. And a logical fallacy. And just plain silly.

However, it would also be silly of me to ignore the fact that I live in a society that is majorly messed up when it comes to diet, body perception, and self-esteem – indeed, every time I seem to open an newspaper (HAH! Like that ever happens – excuse me, I meant to say: every time I surf on over to the NYT or Globe and Mail or Jezebel.com) I am told again and again about how obsese/anorexic/sendentary/over exercised/stressed out/insecure we are as North Americans, and how we need to fix it using ABC without having to give up XYZ.

It’s madness.

Just the other day I read about a new study released by Emery University in Atlanta Georgia that found that the number of U.S. children who drink sugar-free beverages has doubled in the past decade and that one-quarter of the adult Americans surveyed said they’d had a diet drink in the past day.

And reading this, I cannot help but question what role diet Coke (and by proxy its marketing stratagems and campaigns) plays within our omnipresent constant shame/constant gratification Franken-culture.

Sure, diet Coke isn’t exactly Airstrip One’s Victory Gin, but it’s not small potatoes either. And as such, when I see this ad, I don’t see personal empowerment in a can, I see this:

Have your Coke friend! But statistics tell me that you’re probably fat – or in some way aesthetically unappealing (or at the very least you THINK you’re not good enough!) so don’t have a real Coke (those are only for Olympic athletes and Mark Ronson) – have a diet Coke instead! But it’s totally your decision to drink it – and totally not ours, and certainly not a reaction to cultural norms! YOU’RE taking charge, YOU know what you want! Just one sip and you can take on the world, calorie-free!

(But first, go to the gym, because you totes need to work out first.)

Okay, so this may be a bit over-dramatic and a bit too sardonic – my m.o. might be to approach this dialogue with a heavy hand (heavy tongue?) but I can’t help it.

My experience colours my perception, and this is my honest interpretation.

And for that I will not apologize.

What about you folks? What kind of reaction does this sort of advertisement evoke on your end of things? Do you drink diet pop? Why or why not?

In the mean time I’m going back to my I KNOW I can in a bag:

NOM.

Please shine down on me

Hi friends!

I am writing to you from balmy and beautiful Palm Desert. Here the sun dances across the sky, all day everyday, the lemons taste like candy, and the cacti will jump up and bite you (if you don’t take care to treat them nicely.)

Palm trees at night, Ethel's delight!

It’s been a pretty excellent experience so far, and since we’ve only been here for a day, I am apt to believe that the trip is just going to keep getting better and better.

This morning we hiked the three-mile “Randall Hendersen Trail”, marvelling at all the different vegetation that was on display (so very different from that of our temperate West Coast rainforests) and giggling at all the little critters that would scurry about, looking for a rest stop, or perhaps shelter, from the strong, relentless sun.

The sky here is so blue, it is difficult to describe. It has an almost thickness to it – a blue that shouldn’t actually exist, save for in crayon packages, or on Caribbean beach fronts.

After our hike, M and I walked to the pool, where we swan the early afternoon away, alternating between the tepid waters of the pool and the searing warmth of the hot tub. Then we stretched out on the deck chairs and read our books until our skin began to blush pink and our eyelids grew heavy.

Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

Walking back to the house I picked some oranges off of one of the many fruit trees that populate the golf course. It was a pretty surreal experience. I don’t think that I have ever imagined a day when I would just reach up and grab an orange right off a branch, simply at my own pleasure.

I will need to see, but I think I can wager a guess that there might not be anything quite like looking out your window, only to see grapefruits hanging low off of a tree so close, you could probably reach and out touch it if you really tried.

I will have let you know.

One strange thing that I have to say about Palm Desert is that I don’t think that anyone here walks, you know, to a destination, therefore making it an extremely rare, and perhaps perplexing sight, to actually see two individuals who are going somewhere on foot.

M and I decided to stroll (who am I kidding – we don’t stroll anywhere – in fact we motor places. Seriously, we have Barney and Fred feet here.) over to the Westfield’s to try to find him some shoes and maybe a treat or two.

We received a few confused stares along the way.

Luckily, we managed to make it there in one piece and found both treats, shoes, and SO MUCH more.

M scooped up a sweet pair of Steve Madden’s for a great deal, drank some Jamba Juice and I got to eat my fill of Tutti Frutti.

(All I have to say about that is we NEED serve-yourself frozen yogurt in Canada and we NEED IT NOW. SERIOUSLY HARPER, GET ON THAT SHIT.)

After shoes and treats we stumbled upon one of the craziest things I have ever seen. Seriously folks, let me introduce you to the magic that is: Lipo Illusion!

ERM...

Holy frick.

WHO WOULD WEAR THIS!? This is why humanity is in a decline. NO ONE needs this. PERIOD.

Well, if you thought that the 19th century girdle would never make its long-awaited triumphant return, heck, you thought wrong!
I can imagine the advertisement now, voice over and all:

Have you never wanted to be your natural shape and are desperate to try to mold yourself into a new person? Spanx not working? Actual Lipo too expensive? We thought as much! Come to Lipo Illusion where we will outfit you with industrial strength spandex, that will not only make sure all your fat pools in your shoes, but ensure a streamlined, thinner you! Because remember folks, while everyone likes you – they’ll like a thinner you EVEN MORE.

Yeesh.

There is good news however, because after seeing that grim fandango of a display, we encountered a Forever XXI and I learned that

To keep the homesickness at bay...

they use the same models as the one at Metrotown.

Excellent show you crazy bastards!

Man, I need to find out where they purchase these mannequins and get a couple for our house. I can only imagine what the neighbors will think once I start to outfit them with my wackiest clothing and display them in rotation from our guest bedroom window.

Instead of a PhD, THIS will be my next project.

Oh, and one more thing.

Do you have a football fanatic in your life? Do they also love blankets, warmth and the word “COMFY”? Are they willing to try anything once? If you have answered yes to all three of these questions (or just have someone you kind of want to screw over in a secret santa), then friends, have I found the buy for you.

Introducing – THE NFL SNUGGIE.

YES.

Seriously dudes, DISCUSS.

What women want

Hello friends.

Have any of you had a chance to see that meme that’s been floating around facebook for the past few days?  It’s made up of two photos – one of Nigella Lawson and one of Gillian McKeith (a UK based nutritionist and tv presenter).

The nub and gist of its message is: one woman (Nigella) is kind of old but majorly hot, and the other, Gillian, IS SO OLD, OMG DEFINITELY LIKE CRYPT KEEPER STATUS AND SO UGLY I WISH I COULD UNSEE THAT MESS.

The comparison between the two is supposed to bring on the major LOLZ.

The reasons supporting this conclusion, and, undoutebly, your uncontrollable laughter?

That Hottie McHot Nigella eats butter, meat and carbs (aka doesn’t give a hoot about what she puts in her body and because of this attitude, holds the much coveted status of Hottie McHot), while in contrast, that Old Ugly Boot of a Bagmeister Gillian emphasizes clean, healthy eating (which in turn, only further emphasizes her Old, Ugly Boot of a Bagmeisterness.)

A relatively new boot, for comparison purposes.

Now, this is really grating my gears for a number of reasons:

1.)    It’s hasn’t been all that long (oh, I’d wager 30.7 seconds) since I was last told that my net worth as a woman is first and foremost determined by my looks that I really don’t need two hundred bastards on facebook reminding me of this.

2.)    Body-snarking?  Really.  Not.  Cool.  Or.  Groundbreaking.  Get back to me when you have something else – not at the expense of someone else’s looks – which you want to talk to me about.

3.)    Trying to frame this meme as an argument for the whole – eat what you want and feel great about yourselves!!! – movement is a total fallacy.  Anyway you look at it the people posting this image are still shitting on someone for not only what they eat but more importantly how they look.

Eat what you want and feel good about it – period.  Leave other people out of the equation.

If this meme was comprised of two photos, say, one of Chanel Iman and the other of Melissa McCarthy and the caption mocked Ms. McCarthy on not only her looks, but implied that she looks the way she does because of her eating habits, something tells me that people probably wouldn’t be posting it on social media, nor would it enjoy the same popularity of the current image (if any at all.)

4.)    Lastly, that photo of Ms. McKeith was taken when she was appearing in the (totally awful, tabloid schlocky) TV show “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” (meaning: she was living in the blasted JUNGLE and not the Clinique makeup counter at Harrods.  To be honest though, what in the world was she thinking not bringing at LEAST an under-eye concealer or eyelash curler?  Sheesh!)*

Nigella meanwhile (who I will freely admit is a gorgeous, glamorous woman) is pictured on the red carpet at some kind of soiree/movie premier deal.  Sitting at home in her snuggie, post-Saturday-night-do, she is not.

I cannot help but feel (and this relates back to #3) that if someone was to call shenanigans on the discrepancies between the two pictures – for instance yelling out: “NIGELLA IS TOTES OBVS ROCKING THE SPANX AND MAKEUP GUN HERE GUYS!!!” that this person would be lambasted as a body-snarking, fat-shamer.

Meanwhile, I would be there sitting in the corner whispering: you all are completely tone deaf to the rampant bullying that is presented in the original message. RED RUM.

Okay, so now that I’ve gotten that off my chest (and in its place I am putting some metaphorical vapo-rub – otherwise known as The Muppets Christmas Carol) I will move onto item #2 on today’s agenda.

Why for the love of Pete, WHY, do bookstores insist on marketing certain books under the banners: FOR HIM/FOR HER?

Seriously – I almost had a bloody coronary today walking into Coles.

HEY MS. REISMAN!  Could we emphasize destructive, totally outdated gender norms ANY MORE IF WE POSSIBLY TRIED!?! Oh sweet mother of pearl give me strength.

Let’s look at some of topics covered in the books put aside for him shall we?

  • Fiction, Sports, Politics, Humour, History and Biography.

And for those silly, simple womenz?

  • Fashion, Diet cookbooks, Regular cookbooks (thanks for not forgetting teh fatties guys!), and Autobiographies by some ladies from the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”.

What. The. Heck.

For serious, Tina Fey’s book was included in the men’s section and not the women’s!  My heart is actually racing just thinking about it.

The crazy thing is, I know that there is definitely an excellent meme in here somewhere.  So stay tuned!

I just need to make my way out of the jungle first.

*Please see: OED – sarcasm