‘Distasteful’ Help Wanted

There’s a lot more to say about this week’s lead story. First, the story, from the 11 August 2019 issue:

Help Wanted

The sign is “distasteful,” says Omaha, Neb., City Councilman Pete Festersen, but notes the business has “free speech.” The help wanted sign at Kandi’s “gentleman’s” club invites “STAY AT HOME MOM’S” [sic] to “EARN EXTRA CASH!” as strippers at the joint. “APPLY WITHIN”. (RC/KMTV Omaha) …Huh: I thought for sure they’d want them to apply without.

Yep, I went for the laugh in the tagline, in part because I couldn’t put some details into the story — though I included a photo of the sign:

Click to see larger.

If I quoted the “FULLY NUDE GIRLS!” part, everyone with a spam filter wouldn’t have received this week’s issue.

Going Beyond the Laugh

Here are some more details from the source story at KMTV in Omaha, Neb. First, here’s a direct copy/paste of how they described the sign: “It reads ‘Fully nude girls! Stay at home moms earn extra cash! Apply inside!’” KMTV says.

No. No it doesn’t. While it’s acceptable to drop the ALL UPPER CASE to the more readable mixed case, it’s definitely not acceptable for a news organization to actually change the words! While the propriety of omitting the shudder-inducing incorrect apostrophe is debatable, “Apply inside!” isn’t what the sign says, as everyone can see. It’s “Apply Within”.

Yes, it matters. Not because someone might be misled by the bad reporting, but because everyone can see what it actually says, and it brings disrepute to all of KMTV’s reporting. “What else do they get wrong? Can’t they read?!” It’s just sloppy reporting, and gives fodder to “the media is always biased and wrong” crowd. Details matter.

A More Meaty Issue

The station reported that “people that live and work in the area” found the sign “inappropriate,” and chose a woman named Jetta Eveland to represent them. Here’s that passage, verbatim:

“My son has seen this sign and he has asked, ‘mom why would moms go be naked? why do they want naked moms?’” Jetta Eveland explained. “The fact that it has fully nude girls, stay at home moms, my son can read that, he knows what nude means and it’s just kind of terrible.”

Leaving aside the reporter’s inability to capitalize correctly, the next point has nothing to do with the TV station, but rather the mentality of the parent who says something like this — and I see it all the time with vaguely sexual things that “might be seen” by kids, such as a nude statue at a museum: the “What do I say to my child who sees this?!!?!” panic. Very often it’s a theoretical panic: the parent saw it, and are so scared of their children asking them about it they demand that something that disturbs them be covered up …as if their children won’t “see” something else somewhere else (or, just as likely, they already have).

What these parents make clear is, they have no clue whatever about how to raise their children and instill values as they mature.

In the case of a statue at a museum, what they might “say” to such a question is, “For centuries, artists have considered the human body to be the greatest possible work of art” (adding “God’s creation” somewhere in there is optional). Or, “Your body is the only one you get, so it’s important to keep it healthy and strong.” Which takes them inward to think about what’s important.

See how easy that is?

In the Kandi’s case, what a great way to instill moral values: it’s an educational opportunity since if any kid old enough to wonder about this stuff it means (by definition) that they wonder about this stuff! The parent then could:

  • Talk to their child about why they think some people would want “nude moms” (or whatever), and what they think about that sort of person.
  • Talk to their child about how such commercial activity “objectifies women” — or, if they prefer, “allows adults to make their own decisions because no one owns their bodies but them.”
  • Ask them what they think about it. They might just say “I think the statue is pretty. Can I go play now?”

You get the idea.

What you don’t want them to do is shy away from asking you questions just because you’re not mature enough to have the discussion — they are!

You absolutely do want them to come to you with questions that have to do with morals, values, and sexuality, because if you shy away from it and teach them not to ask, then one of two things will happen: One, they often go somewhere else to get the answers, and you may not like the point of view of other kids, porn, or wherever they go to get those answers. Or two, they’ll be much easier to manipulate by others — probably older — to do things that you would really rather not happen: child sexual exploitation, for instance, or whatever other horror you might be working hard to not imagine.

Avoiding the questions make the worst-case scenarios much more likely to actually happen.

Kids think about this stuff much more than parents know — and far earlier. Hell, I know I was fascinated by nude pictures long before my age was up to two digits, and that was in the pre-Internet days. Now, kids can easily see pretty much anything they decide to search for. And no, not letting them have a phone or Internet access doesn’t stop them, they will just go somewhere else when you’re not looking.

As usual, it comes down to thinking about this stuff. And as usual, avoiding it puts them at far higher risk than swallowing your own discomfort and being open about how you feel about whatever issue they wonder about.

It Gets Worse

By the way: what kids really wonder about these days isn’t so much about sex, but rather how they can avoid getting shot to death at school. Really.

So if you’re really worried your kids “might see something,” what they’re already actually seeing is much more ugly than a sign (without any illustration!) advertising for “NUDE MOM’S” or a nude statue.

If you have difficulty reading the image (click to see larger), it says:

My daughter came home from school one day crying that she needed new shoes. I thought that perhaps someone had made fun of her over her shoes, but no.

She informed me that she realized during an active shooter drill, that if she’s hiding from the shooter, the lights on her Sketchers will give away her location.

My baby is 8 years old and worrying about being shot because of her light up shoes.

It’s verbatim from a Facebook post, though I couldn’t track down the original to get a date. It appears to be around a year old.

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16 Comments on “‘Distasteful’ Help Wanted

  1. The question I would wish for: “Mom? Why does that sign have a bad apostrophe? Didn’t they go to school?”

    Hear hear! -rc

  2. Govern by panic. Create a problem or blow it all out of proportion and then use the resulting fear to advance an agenda.

    I wish I could remember the name, but there was a politician not long ago who said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” And the kids are now paying for it.

    A lot of politicians have said it lately, but they’re not the originators. Fred Shapiro, the editor of The Yale Book of Quotations, reports “Charles Doyle of the University of Georgia… has found that this expression is now commonly applied to economic or diplomatic crises that can be exploited to advance political agendas, but he traced it back at least as far as 1976, when M.F. Weiner wrote an article in the journal Medical Economics entitled ‘Don’t Waste a Crisis — Your Patient’s or Your Own.’ Weiner meant by this that a medical crisis can be used to improve aspects of personality, mental health, or lifestyle.” -rc

    • Regarding ‘govern by panic’, I just started hearing about mercury emissions from old vinyl gym floors. While yes, mercury is a concern, I have yet to see measured flooring emissions levels vs. generally accepted levels vs. OSHA regulations, etc. I’m seeing this new ‘health crisis’ a ‘made for lawsuit’ get rich quick scheme, and the ones who will be getting rich are the lawyers behind the class-action suits, at the expense of the general tax-paying citizens and school budgets.

      (I understand the Hg was used as a catalyst in the forming process and expect the actual content when new was even then extremely low. As Hg is a highest concern for the young and pregnant, and it’s doubtful a child could get high exposure just from a one-hour class, I see the net effect is to ban women gym teachers since constant exposure could put them at a higher risk (mathematically, even if the exposure is extremely small, multiply by long exposure, the number goes up, and thus ‘higher risk’ until compared to actual measured levels vs. generally accepted as safe. Numbers matter!)

  3. I like that, with a little imagination, the trees underneath the sign appear to be sinuously dancing whilst waving their naked branches.

    Pervert! 😉 -rc

  4. I guess kids nowadays DO have it as bad as we did, learning to duck under a flammable wooden desk to hide from an atomic bomb!

    Yep, I remember that too. -rc

  5. It seems that I read copy with grammar, spelling or usage errors almost daily, and these are from professional journalists, advertisers, etc. While most of us are taught the rules of grammar in school, I believe we really learn language skills mostly through what we read and here. Professional writers have an obligation, in my opinion, to model proper language. I thank you for your professionalism in this regard.

    Thanks for noticing — and I left your typo to show how easy it is to mess up, and why editors really are needed in the loop! -rc

      • I see one missing comma and a misused homophone.

        I found them on the first pass.

        However, I do proof reading and editing for online authors.

        Isn’t proofreading one word? -rc

  6. Reminds me of my flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to Tel Aviv, Israel in 1977. The KLM in-flight magazine featured an article about a Dutch entrepreneur in Rotterdam, who ran an escort service that specialized in housewives and a “homelike” atmosphere. (Yes, in their homes.) As an ex-merchant marine, he felt there was a need.

    The husband of one wife said he didn’t mind, as it gave her something to do and her own spending money.

    And he was probably making use of other such services while away from home! -rc

    • One of the things that “stay at home” Americans (those who have never traveled to Europe, in this case) fail to realize is that the damning of sexuality and of sex is an American phenomenon. I lived in the Federal Republic of Germany (the old West Germany) for 8 years. Sex is something that is understood to be a part of life there. Dolls (for children) with sexual organs, an outdoor advertisement for bathing soap, with a nude woman using the soap (full exposure upper nudity) at a bus stop, a sex shop without “blacked-out windows, in the middle of downtown.

      Any of those things would have the “Harper Valley PTA” in fits, yet it is fairly common in the larger cities of Germany.

      It is far past time for John and Jane Q. American Public to get over their Puritanical past and up-bringing. Their children will be better off for it.

      As for the KLM flight magazine, I’ll go one better. While visiting Hamburg I wandered down a street in the “red light” district, and watched a couple giving each other a kiss as she departed from the car. She went into a house, and a few minutes later, was sitting in the large picture window wearing very little — advertising her “wares.” I spoke with her for a couple of minutes and during the conversation she mentioned that the gent in the car was her husband, and this means of business was her contribution to the family income. The family consisted of the couple and their three children.

      When the United States can get to the point of understanding that “sex” is not a dirty word (see George Carlin for a diatribe about “Dirty Words”) then I will believe that this country has caught up with much of the rest of the world.

  7. I remember hearing Reba McEntire’s song “What Do You Say” for the first time. The opening verse describes a man and his son stopped outside an “adult bookstore” and the son asks, “Daddy, what are all those X’s for?” The song (obviously) doesn’t explain, as the dad changes the subject, so I asked my mom what it meant. And she explained. She didn’t go into detail or anything — I think I was about ten — but she told me pretty simply what an X-rated book or movie was. I looked at her and said, “Well, why couldn’t the daddy in the song just SAY that?”

    My mom never shied away from answering any questions my brother or I had. She used age-appropriate language, but if we wanted to know where babies came from, or why we couldn’t go to a go-go for St. Patrick’s Day, or what that thing was called if it wasn’t another belly button, she’d answer. That meant that we weren’t afraid to ask questions, even if it was about something weird or scary or “icky”. It also meant that we didn’t get that information from either disreputable sources or our woefully misinformed classmates, so we were prepared for things as they came up.

    Now that’s an awesome mother — and I like your reply about the daddy! -rc

  8. It really is terribly, terribly sad how many people will run screaming in the other direction when confronted with any hint of sexuality. Especially those who either run away from their child or berate them for “thinking such filth” as sexuality!

    As a kid who grew up with a father whose language could make a sailor pass out, yet would lose his stuff if I dared to say/forgot and said the word “pregnant” in his presence, I well know! (My mom just mostly ignored me, so she was even less help, fwiw.)

  9. Thank you for compiling your exceptionally mature thoughts on these topics. I share your philosophy on both counts:

    1. Too many “adults” make much ado about nothing regarding simple nudity and related issues;

    2. School violence has become a national tragedy/embarrassment/crisis, which our political leaders are purposefully avoiding. This makes me sad every day.

  10. Tell your kids there is no shame in a legitimate paying job. People do what they have to do to get by. My oldest son spent years working in a little porn store. He’s a good hearted young man, and that didn’t change him.

    That’s one way to get over the titillation (no pun intended) of the “forbidden” nature of sex: when it’s all around you, “peek-a-boo” doesn’t get your attention anymore. -rc

  11. Maybe I’m showing my economic status, but what struck me about the ad was that most of the stay at home moms I know are there taking care of small children, so how do they get away to take a job?

    Probably have to wait until the kid is at school or daycare at least part time. -rc

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