commented on Parlez-vous Français?
Background: Took elementary French from age 10 onwards, and took extra classes in high school ("extended" French in Ontario). I have a smattering still, but I have enough co-workers who put me to shame with their amazing French.
I'm going to Paris too, and so far the simplest yet seemingly invaluable rule I've seen over and over (or maybe it's striking me because it's so simple) is to address everyone as monsieur or madame (or mademoiselle, but this seems a headache), as in "bonjour, madame/monsieur." Like @18 says, but extended to anyone you encounter .. shopkeepers, taxi drivers, servers, everyone.
This seems overly formal to an anglophone -- a few years ago, I thought I had heard that the French were trying to drop "vous" in favour of the more casual and intimate "tu" -- but apparently this is critical to appearing civilized.
Also, top tip: You don't need to say "ne." "Je sais pas" means the same thing. Hooray, efficiency.
@20: I always wonder what to say about Toronto. Should I point out it's in Canada and sound like I'm talking down? Or leave it out and sound pompous for presuming everyone knows where it is? Sigh.
commented on Savage Love
I'd be interested in hearing whether the LW decides to suggest to hubby that he speak to someone who can diagnose depression and whether he accepts that, considering he's already rejected the marriage counselling. Maybe he'd be more open to realizing he has a personal problem ... or not.
Either way, I like the "get your name off the lease" idea.
commented on Advice Cop: A Clear Case of DTMFA
@30: Uh, no, not here. We consider our sex life private. My boyfriend does too (I absolutely believe him, because he's lovely and honest, but I'm sure other people will think he's lying, which, whatever, whatever you want to think). And even if I wanted to tell, I would of course ask my boyfriend first. It's his sex life too.
commented on Because Guns Make Us Safer
The weird thing is, even if I had a gun, and even if the police told me they weren't coming for me right away while somebody is breaking in ... if it was just me in the house ... I'd try to GET THE FUCK out of there. If I couldn't, I'd lock myself in (surely somebody who has the forethought to arm herself also has a lock on the bedroom or bathroom door...?). If he came for me and it came down to a confrontation, I'd still have a gun, no?
Never in a million years would it occur to me to go FIND this intruder and try to put myself in a situation to shoot someone. What if he came up behind me? What if he had an accomplice I didn't know about? What if he had a gun?
Yes, this person is breaking into MY house. But I'd rather lose some stuff than have to live with shooting someone, even a burglar. Jesus.
Does 911 normally advise you to stay put? Of course, we don't all trust 911, obviously....
commented on Henry Rollins On The Steubenville Rape Verdict
I'm not really going to disagree that an improved curriculum in high school is needed, but ... I don't respect women because they've "been kicking ass in high threat conditions for ages." I respect women because they're people. (Also, self-interest, being one.)
If you need a high school class on top of the fact your mom is a woman (assuming she wasn't one of those terrible parents), many of your relatives are women, that several of your teachers are probably women, and that half the population is women, you may have some empathy problems.
I want to believe that the mere desire to be respected oneself should result in respecting others. But that's just something I want.
If that kind of formal, institutional education needed, I'm for it. Can't hurt.
commented on To Avoid Rape, "Try not to show fear."
"Shoes that are comfortable and allow you to run if necessary. Choose clothing that allows you to move, and does not block your vision."
How does "allow you to move" mean "loose" (and I guess, shaming?)? A business pencil skirt with no stretch doesn't really let me run, which is unfortunate, but a knit one is good enough. A full skirt is super easy to run in. Total freedom. I have super snug skinny jeans that are also stretchy enough for me to run in.
And how does "shoes that are comfortable" mean running shoes? If you really need to, you can run in oxfords, ankle boots, flat boots, ballet flats, and if you're a woman of determination, yep, heels.
If anything, this advice all comes off to me as standard advice for anyone in an area alerted for heightened violent crime, like mugging or assault.
I don't care at all for the stuff about looking fearless (I don't think it helps at all), but most of the rest is not out of line and a great improvement on old shit like "don't dress like a slut."
And yes, I ABSOLUTELY agree that FAR too much of rape prevention education focuses just on potential victims and not on potential/actual perpetrators.
But I think the most important thing is that I think a lot of this advice goes beyond prevention and beyond "how to STOP rape with your behaviour" -- there are tips on what to do if you ARE attacked (how to report to 911, how to get away, how to be able to identify your attacker later) and if you can do anything, or if you can manage to get away. Because, how does knowing an intersection STOP a rapist?
There's a definite tone here of acknowledging that sexual assault will occur, regardless of what you do.