Tag Archives: #nellssoapbox

I don’t wear women’s sportswear

No, not true- I DO wear bikinis when swimming. Other than that? Let me relay my shopping experience during my lunch break just now.

So I had some free time and went over to one of the major sports goods and apparel stores in central Hamburg. Some of my tennis shirts are getting threadbare (as in nipplegate threadbare), and my sweatpants are all stitched together so many times they look worse than a Raggedy Ann doll. New sportswear had to be found.

Being the goal-orientated little shopper that I am, I quickly located women’s wear on the second floor and went up there. Looking around, I was searching for the sports clothes.

Some notes about me:  I refuse to run around in public showing my underwear to all and sundry. I didn’t like leggings when they were ruling recess at school, and I don’t like them now, especially not if they’re half a foot too short to cover all of my legs. I need some give in the shoulders of my tees so I can serve with all the power of my body, or move around enough to kick heads in TKD.I need pockets to store tennis balls, pocket knives and extra stuff like bandages in. I don’t like pink, aqua or other bright pastel colors when exercising as they tend to NOT look so bright anymore after sweating through them and washing them a couple dozen times.

Women’s sportswear is skintight, has no pockets, is too short, too uncomfortable and way too revealing to ever be shown anywhere but on one of those stupid fashion shows where people expect to see this kind of thing on human clotheshangers. It is not designed to be moving around vigorously in (no matter HOW thin, leggings creep up and down when you really run. Don’t tell me they don’t!). It is not practical. It has zero appeal to anyone who really wants to actually DO sports instead of appearing like they’re doing so. EVERYTHING has some pink in it. Plus, those so-called tennis “dresses”? Like I said, I don’t want to flash the world every time I move.

I went over to the men’s section. Practical, loose sweatpants WITH POCKETS. Nice, breathy and roomy tees.  OK, so there were the full-body spandex condom suits for cyclists but they’re forgivable given the rest of the selection. Women’s running shorts are the lower-body version of these full-body condoms. Men’s running shorts are loose around the legs. Huh? Men’s sweatpants legs are long enough to cover my ankles while a women’s XL which I have to cinch to tight around my waist I look like the parody of a clown barely reaches the top of them. Huh? SOME brights in the golfing section but a merciful absence of pink everywhere else. YAY!

In the end? I bought men’s clothes, ignoring the strange looks the cashier girl gave me. It fits better into my model of being an active person. It’s a lot more comfortable. You can move around better in it. AND it’s NOT PINK.

Now when will they make sportswear for women that you can actually comfortably do sports in?


The possibilities of Firsts

There is something about my generation that has me feeling excited for being born at the time I was- we, the women of my times, have a chance to be a First Generation.

The first generation in however many who has a chance to be born of not only one but two freethinkers who have themselves been raised in the spirit of equality and free thinking. The first generation to not have to fight for their right to education because their mothers have been granted the same.

Compared to my grandmother, I’ve had it so very easy. My grandmother became a scientist when all that was expected of her was to look perfect and cook microwave dinners. All she got was work as an assistant because she wasn’t a man, in spite of her grades and credentials.

My mother became a scientist, too, even through the resistance of my grandfather who wanted for her to choose a “more appropriate” path. She was the one who broke free of generations-old restraints and blazed her path through the crusty world of academia while people a few years her senior were celebrating free love and release from the bonds of tradition.

Both these women gave me the freedom to choose- and showed me that there’s nothing you can’t achieve if you want it enough. But they gave me another gift, too, a gift that I believe has been repeated in a lot of people all over the world: The knowledge that we aren’t inferior, that we have the same potential and abilities as anybody else and that it’s just up to ourselves to make the best of it. I am part of a generation who has been taught that it is alright to speak your mind, that your thoughts and opinions are worthy of being heard- and I have been taught by a generation who has been raised knowing that there’s nothing unusual about this.

That freedom, that assurance that both parents need to work together to give, is what separates us from generations before us. We are the first in which these factors combine on a wider scale. We are the first generation.

Let’s make something of it!

If it makes you feel better…

This week hasn’t been the best for me. I understand that there are several differences between the German and the American mind. I get that I should not be offended if you tell me something to my face that I wouldn’t even say to my best friend even though I barely know you as my coworker.

I get how I must sound like a hypocrite for supporting HAES and FA when I’m for all appearances a normal-weight person. I get how I must sound like a hypocrite for advocating self-made people when it seems like I don’t have to struggle for most achievements (I do, though. You people don’t see the amount of all-nighters I pull!).

Why do you have to hurt me to make you feel better, though? What is it in this country that has people sniping you down from every small high you manage to create for yourself?

Three situations over the past few days have made me want to cry… Continue reading

I’m a lady!

Had a guest instructor come in for TKD yesterday. Hope he’s not going to be supervising and leading my class today since he seems to think that shouting is a valid method of instruction.

I’m not going to be shouted at- I’m a girl, no, I’m a lady. Instructors shouting at me has a reverse effect in that I flat-out refuse to do whatever they want me to (even if it’s a good thing) until they ask me politely. I don’t shout, so please extend me the same courtesy.

This guy thought we were some kind of military training facility I believe since he shouted into my ear to be doing push-ups.

I left class early.

Like I said, I don’t do being shouted at. I also don’t stand for rude people who take the ART out of a martial art and turn it into a combat tool. I trained some more at home, and went for a run that night.

But seriously, do people think that shouting makes other people obey their commands easier or do what they want faster? A whispered word can be more efficient than a shout; maybe it’s time for that lesson to sink in.


I hate gyms.

No, seriously. I hate the smell, the noise of these stupid machines, the grunts of exertion resounding around the room. I hate weight training. I hate treadmills, steppers, stairmasters.

I love running outside. I love swimming. I love my martial arts (I’m doing more of a mixed martial arts style by now because I’m mixing TKD with ancient Korean martial arts, do Tai Chi in the classic Yang style, do iaido and just got started on fighting fans). I even like doing my forms with weights on my wrists, ankles, biceps and around my waist just because it’s not classic weight training (and let me tell you, some of them are harder than weight training can be. Ever tried doing a slow kick on waist height with a five-pound weight on your ankle? Ouch!).

I guess I’m a gym-o-phobe. My sports club here in Germany has a multitude of courses to chose from, not one of which is a classic gym workout. They keep me occupied during these cold winter months.

They also put up the tennis court cover halls this week, so I’m going to start on that next week or in two weeks depending on my partners. Can’t wait to go chasing that yellow ball again! My fencing trainer’s license should be coming through some time this month as well so I’m going to be coaching once more.

Hell, I still need to work. Dammit!

The funny thing is that though most of my sports put me in direct competition with everyone else in the class, none of them involve the kind of body-judging grunt-adjusting thing that goes on in the gym. You’re not competing about your bodies, you’re competing with your bodies.

I’ll never have a model’s figure (full thighs, butt, muscled arms, wide ribcage and shoulders), but dammit can I do a drop-kick on a model’s 6′-high head. Coming back from a workout, I always feel energized. I don’t feel down, or bad about myself because I didn’t compare. Even if I couldn’t do something (and yes, I’m looking at that fucking triple jump-kick combo thing I should be doing that has me landing on my butt all the time), I’m more fired up than anything else. Even if I lose a bout, I don’t feel like being a sore loser. I feel like I’ve learned something.

I guess that’s what irks me a lot about traditional gym workouts- the lack of learning progress. There’s only so many exercises you can do on those machines or with those weights after all, and your body offers limitless opportunities to play with it.

That said, I should be sleeping right now. Have to go to the office in five hours. Oh shit!

I’m… *hic*… OK

Alcohol. The main staple food of a herd of lawyers gathered together in a small space (or not-so-small).

Tonight, we had a celebration for a job well done- it was finicky and difficult, so I came fully prepared to savor the fruits of my labor.

If only there had been fruits. The fruit platter (a single, sad affair on a forgotten table by the door) was empty twenty seconds after the ravenous hordes arrived. From then on out, it was alcohol only.

There is nothing nastier than a bunch of overworked, underfed, dead-drunk people in close proximity. I don’t like being touched by most people. I don’t like off-key singing. I have sensitive hearing. I have a sensitive sense of smell and am easily offended if the person I’m talking to smells of beer and vomit.

Sooo… I refused any and all drinks. I don’t drink in public, period. One exception: a single cocktail when out for a night with the girls, at a bar we choose, with reason and thought. I was promptly labeled the party-pooper and avoided by the increasingly infantile congregation of drunkenness.

Here we are asking our teenagers to please not be stupid and drink, and as adults we can’t “have fun” unless we are drunk? Name one celebration among adults (who are not AA) that doesn’t include alcohol? I’m so sick of it all. Get a grip! If I didn’t know better, I’d say nearly all my colleagues are borderline alcoholics.

The hours are brutal in our job. It’s a rare day that I’m home before 10pm. You do need some form of escapism.

I chose my own kind of entertainment- ditching the drunk party and going for a nice midnight run along the canal. It’s started getting cold again, but I’m building up some nice speed right now so I don’t feel it all that much after the first 2k.

There’s been a change in runners, too- we now have a lot more students running where I do. Plus I’ve extended my route so I’m now up to a 10k three times a week, which is a lot more work than I thought it would be. I’m not a very good endurance runner… *sigh*

Anyway, back to the workplace tomorrow. Gonna be fun seeing all the bigshots nursing their hangovers 😛

TKD’s picking up once more, too. Going to be on the tournament circle this winter after all. At first I didn’t want to due to my weight, but I was convinced otherwise. Chubby person in the ring? That’s me!

Goodnight all!

TV Drama

Today’s Wednesday. In Germany, that means that Grey’s Anatomy is on 8:15pm, and most every woman my age is glued to the TV. I have a confession to make.

I used to like Grey’s.

I don’t anymore. The reason?

TV sex.

WTH, you’re thinking, this person who’s been educated about sex since she was five doesn’t like sex on TV?

No, I don’t. But not for the reasons you’re thinking.

I don’t mind seeing people having sex. I don’t mind seeing naked bodies, male or female, I don’t mind seeing boobs and butts and everything inbetween.

I mind seeing a story told on TV. I mind being able to follow that story. I mind that story not being interrupted by five minutes of pointless, gratuitous bedplay between two actors who’re probably not even in the mood for it. It detracts from the story, it doesn’t add to it. Tell, don’t show should be in TV’s vocabulary more often.

I guess that’s the reason why I feel so attracted to a lot of Japanese dramas. Kissing there is even more emotionally charged and transferring so much more about the screen characters’ relationships than the next sex scene in any Hollywood-made TV series does. It’s about the characters, not about the characters having sex (which I much prefer to having myself instead of watching it on TV 😉 ).

Over the course of the weekend, I watched a series called “Iryu Team Medical Dragon”. Ignore the weird, pseudo-English title and go look for a (subtitled) version of it! (I couldn’t even watch it without subtitles because of the med-talk. I’m usually able to, but not with specialized vocabulary being this essential to the story)

It’s about a genius cardiac surgeon who’s fallen into hard times, his way out of it and building an OP team that can not only keep up with him but support him to make complicated operations possible. It’s about a rigid medical system and how “real doctors” rage against their inability to provide the best medical care for every single patient within it. It’s about hope, it’s educating (I learned so much about the cardiovascular system, cardiac surgery and surgical procedure as well as the structure and organization of Japan’s medical system from this), the actors are superb as is the story, special effects, animation… you get it. Only drawback? It’s only 11 episodes for each of the two seasons (or you could say the drawback is that it’s in Japanese). There’s even a sort-of sex scene at the very beginning for those inclined to watch for those reasons.

I’ve taken to doing sports on Wednesday evenings to avoid the inevitable TV discussion. I don’t watch a lot of American-made TV anymore precisely because I prefer a story to be told, and I want that story to be finished. I like House, with its villain-of-the-day format. I like Huge, a new series, for being extraordinary in cast and setting. Other than that? I watch cheesy, not-so-cheesy and downright riveting TV series made in China, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

It’s the source of never-ending ridicule from roomie, but I just can’t stand the sex scene interruptions anymore. Story interruptus- without me, please!