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Alethea & Athena
Stake International Dance Night 
21st-May-2017 05:03 pm
Okay, I came over here to post about the stake activity we went to last night, but I just saw a thing on Facebook and I'm having a hard time getting over it. So let me talk about that for a while. We thought about commenting on it, so we would be more mature about it and everything, but then we were like, "Eh, I don't know what we'd say that isn't totally sarcastic and stuff," so we decided to just walk away and we signed out of Facebook, but then we thought of something that we felt would be nice and not combative (maybe?), so I was going to brave it anyway, so I signed back into Facebook and then realized we'd probably have to scroll for a loooooooooong time before we saw it again, since we'd already been scrolling for a long time when we saw it the first time. So we decided to walk away again, but I couldn't get over it.

It was this comic where someone was suggesting that, maybe in addition to the feminine products that are sold with all the flowery packaging, they sell ones with nerdy dinosaurs and/or superhero packaging. In all honesty, I have a hard time with the idea of bleeding on Batman every month, but I think what bothered us even more is the condescending tone toward flowers on packaging for two reasons. One: I like girly things, and as a woman, I'm insulted that I should somehow be less-than because of it (and frankly, I think men shouldn't be less-than for liking flowers, either; it is our personal belief that flowers were invented to be liked by people of all genders). And two: in all our many years of buying feminine products, we don't really remember buying any with flowers on them. I think our favorite brand would go through phases where it would change things up by putting patterns on the packaging, but inevitably, it would go back to a regular old solid color wrapper. So the nice(?) comment we were going to make was, "I don't remember ever buying feminine products with flowered packaging..."

(For the curious, our meaner comments were along the lines of, "Yes, because a woman should be encouraged to be manly in every single aspect of her life, including the time of the month where she is literally doing the most feminine thing in her biology." I realize this comment is mean and therefore probably offensive, so if you disagree and want to let me know, I promise I will be civil in my response. I can't promise that I'll be able to contain any debate-like response, but I will make sure that it is civil. Anyway, it's our personal belief that the plain packaging is perfectly sufficient, because grown women should not be treated like newly potty-trained toddlers with their pull-ups.)

Okay, so now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the activity we went to last night! It was super cool! It was for our local church stake, and a stake is a group of wards. I'm not sure that makes sense. The smallest geographical units of our church are called wards (unless they're really small, and then they're called branches). Then a bunch of wards are all tied together in what we call a stake. (You know, like the scriptures in Isaiah that talk about enlarging the (tent?) stakes of Zion.) And last night we had a stake activity, where each ward helped put on a show! (We think there was corned beef, but that's the closest we got to there being any steak there.)

So the idea was...it was kind of like World Thinking Day, for all of you who were/are in Girl Scouts. Each ward picked a country, and they had a little table with finger foods (or entire hot dogs in the case of one ward that did USA, because we do things big here in Murica), and the people who weren't too cool for school did a dance from that country. For example, the first ward picked Austria, and they had Austrian pancakes (which were like the exact middle between crepes and American pancakes) and garlic soup, and they had three couples go onstage and perform a waltz. This is where only watching social dance in the movies and on Dancing With the Stars gets to be a problem, because of expectations vs. reality, but it was a nice effort. ...Okay, I'm way too much of a critic to not think that they could have done better, but I don't know their circumstances, so I'm going to say it was probably a nice effort.

Our ward chose Switzerland, so a bunch of people from the ward council got up and did the chicken dance. We've gotten conflicting reports for two of the people involved about the actual origins of the dance, but whether or not it started in Switzerland, it was popular there. Actually, one of the missionaries in our ward practically begged the Relief Society sisters to show up half an hour early and help with the performance, and we totally would have been there except that we were dependent on other people for a ride, and even with the extra half hour, we barely got ready in time (we were working yesterday DX), so we didn't get to go up on stage. But! part of the whole point is to bring people up from the audience, so we went up as soon as they started asking people, and it was a lot of fun.

Later, people from our ward expressed their shock that we participated so enthusiastically, and we were like, "Why? Do we come across as the type of people to not participate in silly dances (read: who do not know how to enjoy life)?" Later, I thought the proper response was, "You should see us at the Royal Theatre!" It's kind of funny to us, though, because even before the Royal Theatre was a thing, we had a Disneyland associate who was surprised to see how we behave at Disneyland, and even said we were like totally different people. We asked Celeste about it later, like, "Do you think we act differently at Disneyland?" and she was like, "No, why?" On the other hand, when we went to DisneySea, and we were watching the little band at the Arabian Coast, the saxophone player could tell that I was just waiting to be asked for some audience participation, so when they called people up to do a dance, she came straight for me. It makes me wonder what kind of different markers people are looking for, generally. (On the other hand, in defense of the people in our ward, there have been activities where we sat determinedly at our table because we were tired from whatever it was we were doing before the activity.)

Anyway, what other dances were there? There was a line dance (USA), a beach party thing where we were throwing beach balls around (also USA), an Irish step dance (which we missed most of because of some bad timing), a fan dance from Tonga (presented by the Tongan ward; some wards are not strictly based on where the members live), and a dance from Samoa presented by the Samoan ward at the last minute, so I think it was more of a, "Here's how Samoans party!" thing than a choreographed deal. It was probably somewhat traditional, though, because the guys who performed it seemed to all know the same moves. Since the Samoan ward went last, they said that for the finale for every Samoan party, they do this one specific dance, and everybody gets up and dances to it, so they invited everybody up to join them. We were unreasonably exhausted from doing the chicken dance (and a bit of child wrangling), but we had just been invited to join this dance, so of course we had to join in! We mostly just copied the woman who introduced it, because we figured she knew how it was supposed to go (although she told everyone that you don't have to know the dance; just wave your arms to the rhythm). She moved her arms in a way that resembled hula dancing, while the men were generally more energetic, making faces at each other and stuff. I think the main point of it was to just move around and have fun. It was really neat.

So it was a really cool night. The woman acting as MC had some activities ready to pass the time while each ward got ready to go up onstage, and we were in full participation mode, so we went up for the first game, which was really the best choice, because at the beginning of the night, you got a prize just for participating. And so! we each got a lovely sunbonnet. We were like, "Whoa, these are pretty sweet prizes," even though they also clearly all came from the 99 cents store. We have some quality items at the 99 cents stores in our area, I guess.

When we got home, we were tired, so we decided to decompress by watching some anime. And boy did we pick the wrong thing. We pulled up Hulu and checked to see what anime it recommended, and we saw Death Parade and remembered that Cecille really liked that one, and it said it recommended it because we watched Noragami, so we were like, "Great!" And then we watched the opening sequence and it seemed pretty awesome because it was a bunch of serious-looking characters acting very silly, so we were like, "This is gonna be good!" ...And then it was really scary and stressful. And I have a lot of questions about how everything played out and what's what. I think some of those questions will be answered as the series goes on, but there's one that I think will remain a mystery because it involves characters that are probably only for that episode. Anyway, the verdict is, "I'm still confused enough that I want to try again."

Today I'm thankful for having a really cool stake activity, getting some pretty sweet sunbonnets, feminine products (with or without flowers), having a lot of fun doing the chicken dance, and Primary going reasonably well today.
21st-May-2017 10:42 pm (UTC)
"...because grown women should not be treated like newly potty-trained toddlers with their pull-ups."
I think this line has just the right amount of funniness to offset the sarcasm—it made me laugh! I haven't seen the comic, but the point it's making sounds silly. I have seen flowery or swirly patterns on some of the feminine products I buy (in a variety of colours, girly or not) and occasionally I think "aww, that's pretty!" but what am I gonna do, save it and make cute crafts from the wrappers? That would be weird. (I bet some artist type out there has done it though.) I don't usually go out of my way to buy one brand or another of a thing I'm going to throw in the trash as soon as I've used it up based on the prettiness or plainness or nerdiness of the packaging, and if someone is going to be swayed by that... well, the companies selling stuff probably loooove them. (I guess table napkins and kleenex boxes have already adopted this practice, but they're meant to sit around one's house in open view to all, so people might want to coordinate them with their decor. I suppose if ladies want to show off their bathroom products... but I don't.) I also think shoppers are already being overwhelmed with too many options, so I'm not really into encouraging more of that.

The culture and dance event sounds so fun! (except hot dogs for the US, why...) I love that you're the sorts to get up and participate in fun things like that!! I can see how it might be surprising if people think of you as quiet or reserved types who don't typically make yourselves centers of attention (though if it's a group participation activity, you wouldn't be the center anyway). Maybe similarly, I used to wonder if my bright, artsy(?) outfits were inconsistent with my introversion, but I think my motivations were similar to yours (enjoying life, not seeking attention but not necessarily minding it either) and I think both sides are part of me. They do say introvert and extrovert tendencies aren't always clear-cut, and I also think maybe there's an element of just being or becoming comfortable with who you are.
22nd-May-2017 12:23 am (UTC)
I'm glad it made you laugh! I can definitely see it making someone who really dug the idea of superhero tampons being a little hurt by it. But for goodness sakes, they didn't even suggest any female superheroes! I love your comment about, "What am I gonna do?" I mean, right? Who even cares? We did come up with the idea that a young girl who is still new to the whole menstruation thing might be a little more comfortable with friendlier designs than a sterile solid color, but other than that, come on. Feminine products should be purchased based on whether or not they actually work, not whether or not they feature my favorite character. (If we were going to go that route, I might be interested in My Little Pony, but again with the bleeding on my favorite characters. I mean, theoretically they'd only be on the wrapper, but still.) (And definitely agreed with the "disposable products that are inevitably part of the decor anyway" vs. "something I'm probably going to keep safely stowed in a cabinet out of view." Although there is a lot of talk about ending the stigma (apparently there's a stigma) of menstruation.) Also agreed about all the options, and we'd like to add that we are sooooooooooooooooooooo sick of branding. (Less so when it comes to My Little Pony, because we don't see it all over the internet all the time.)

Oh man, it was such a great idea! We were a little worried that the "talent portion" would drag a little (we love talent shows, but they still tend to bore us, except for the ones at BYU, because then you have all kinds of nerds from everywhere, and they have talents like limbo and first aid (wrapping an ankle in record time!) and magic tricks and chemistry magic tricks), but it was planned so well with the intermissions every time. (The USA stand with the hot dogs also had popcorn and snow cones, if that helps. The other ward that did USA had watermelon and s'mores made with more of a chocolate/marshmallow fondue. We didn't try it because we're snobs and don't like marshmallows. We were disappointed that our ward's Switzerland table had cheese fondue but no chocolate. Doesn't everybody know Switzerland is famous for chocolate!?)

Yes, you described it just right! Enjoying life, not seeking attention, but not necessarily minding it, either. And the fact that we certainly would not be the center of attention helped.

Your comment made me think of an article about ambiversion (before it was popularly called that, so it called it "normal human being"; apparently it was sick of the my -vert is better than your -vert articles that were going around), so I tried and failed to find it again, but instead I found another article about how we need to stop it with the binary labels. And here's the link. We think it applies to pretty much all labels, and not just introvert/extrovert.
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