Beyond Babedom

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Don’t Rain on My Parade

We’ve probably all gone through life with people telling us what not to do: don’t cross in the middle of the block (Romper Room), don’t throw matches into the woods (Smokey the Bear), don’t drink and drive (your parents – hopefully). Much of this advice is good; some is not. My question is, when do you ignore advice, even if it comes from well-meaning people? And what happens when you do?

I’m pretty strong willed. Stubborn, you might say. And I often simply ignored that kind of advice pretty and, I must say, I’m glad I did. Most of the time. Here’s a (self-serving) accounting of the results of my hardheadedness and my analysis of the results:

Don’t Slouch Who hasn’t been told this? Just last week, my mother reminded me not to slouch. My answer? I’ve done it all my life and I’ve never had a back problem. Everybody I know who didn’t slouch has constant or intermittent back pain. My analysis? Slouching was good for me.

Don’t Talk Politics Everyone knows I’m a political junkie but I usually I adhere to this advice in business settings anyway. But sometimes I just can’t ignore fiction-based arguments that waft past my ears or eyes (on the web). So, I started blogging (, as a counterpoint to a right wing. . . adversary (I’ll keep it nice). Like most things I do, I spent an inordinate amount of time with it, researching every argument, clarifying and proving every statement. But you know what? The guy (or guys, as it turned out, since none of them stuck it out more than a couple of months) on the other side simply used talking points and rarely supported their arguments with facts. My analysis: I’m still glad I did (and do) it, even if I don’t change “their” minds. It’s stuff that needs to be said, if only to help those middle-of-the-roaders decide. . . that I’m right, of course.

Don’t do the Atkins Diet So many people told me scare stories about liver failure (that had absolutely no basis in fact) and warned that a low-carb diet would ruin my health. It hasn’t, and I’m only about 15 pounds heavier than I was at 20. So, my analysis is that this was absolutely right (for me).

Don’t tell your boss what you really think Of course I have. Did you even wonder? And I’ve had mixed results. On one hand, telling my boss in my first real, adult job at MHT that one of the management trainees was abusing his power over me resulted in him interceding – a lot – and never holding it against me. On the other hand. . . well, where do I start? I now try to bite my tongue, but most recently, when I contradicted my boss’ advice in front of hundreds of industry people (even though only he knew I was pointing out his ignorance), I was gone the next week. Analysis: I’d still do it – who wants to work for a jerk like that?

Don’t Ski – It’s Dangerous: Don’t Get 3 Dogs; Don’t Buy a House When you’re Single Did it all; it worked; I was right

Don’t Date Interracially I was advised that if I ever dated a Black man, no White guy would ever want to go out with me. My best friend tried everything to dissuade me at every turn. My answer? Don’t rain on my parade. (I think I even sang it).  Stupid advice, and dead wrong (But it was a great opportunity to belt out a Barbra song). Besides, who’d want to date a bigoted guy anyway?

Don’t Try out For Cheerleading A little background: this was at Livingston College,  the part of Rutgers where 20% of the students were Black. And virtually all of the White students were hippies or, at the very least, suffered from White guilt (for context, this was back in the 70’s). Most things “traditional” were shunned by most of the Caucasian student body, while a large percentage of Black students enjoyed participating in everything from sports, to the radio station, to the student paper. And that included cheering. No White cheerleaders. So, I was advised against trying out, by both my friends (“Oh, they’d never let a White girl on the squad!”) to beligerant Black students (“You betta not try out!”). I did, anyway (as if), and became the first White cheerleader. No big deal. Analysis: some people are just jerks. And, finally:

Don’t Drink an Entire Bottle of Bali Hai Well, maybe that wasn’t the specific advice I got. . . Nevertheless, that was the general gist. And I ignored it my senior year in high school, sitting in a car in the parking lot of the Point Tavern. OMG. Do you really need my analysis on this one?

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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 6th, 2009 at 11:54 AM and is filed under Socializing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Patrice says:

    Ignore any unsolicited advice. That’s my motto

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