Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Are they laughing at or with me..., baby, those are such great shoes." At Or With Me by Jack Johnson.

This is a blog about cats and dogs and Michelle Obama.

Randomly, I was made aware of Michelle Obama's new haircut. Ever since our current president entered the national scene, there have been parallels drawn between the current first lady and the legendary First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Indeed, in the feminine circles where I run, Jackie is held in fashion and charm esteem only surpassed by the likes of such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. There is a long list of beauty and fashion icons, but beauty paired with the manners and breeding of such as these three keep them on a pedestal. Jackie well earned her place on our list. Take the whole Marilyn Monroe issue--a horrible scandal, yet Jackie maintained a gracious charm. The current first lady does well to try to follow in her footsteps.

In the picture above, (from Obama's inauguration) Michelle wore a clearly vintage-inspired jacket and dress set, which we can only speculate was intended to remind us of Jackie. I have to admit, with all the hype for Michelle's "fabulous" fashion sense, I was disappointed. Not that it wasn't attractive--it was fine. It simply wasn't as good as she could do--yellow probably isn't her best color, nor is that boxy cut the most flattering for her body type. And while I like teal shoes as much as the next person, it was out of place with the occasion, the dress, the mood...I was disappointed.

But this is old news. For a current look at First Lady fashion, the New York magazine has conveniently compiled a 2010 Michelle Obama Stylebook so you can see her latest fashion statements, including her new haircut which, not surprisingly, is very similar to Jackie's classic cut. I have to admit, I really liked the pink Talbots dress and chunky necklace she wears on the campaign trail for this November--but even a chunky necklace can't blind me to the Obamas terrible politics and policies, and the frankly disgusting misuse of American taxpayer dollars with her lavish vacations (notice, "vacations" in the plural) earlier this year. A second parallel that could be drawn is between Michelle and another political-fashion-icon with a spending problem, Marie Antoinette (and I'm not the first to draw this parallel, btw).

But that is enough politics for the moment.

I was sent this op-ed by a friend recently, who knows that I love cats, and I was enchanted. It is so true! Even my husband has made comments about how it's a good thing I didn't get Irony until after I was married to him, or I'd be that crazy, single cat lady. I was insulted, and so was Irony, but both of us were too nicely-brought up to respond rudely. (Ok, maybe I smacked him, but we're all good). Why can people who adore dogs gush about it and go crazy without any fear of social disgrace, while those of us who love cats need to hide it like a nerdy, immature (or premature) obsession with Star Wars?

Think about it. Dogs are messy and loud and large, and unless you have a large yard (which, frankly, most of us don't!) they are high maintenance. And yet so many people, my dear husband included, see nothing hypocritical about saying, "Aw, der's a good boy, sucha good widdle boy!!!!!!" in a ridiculous voice at the sight of any old dog, while he mocks me mercilessly for saying, "Pretty girl, you love mummy don't you, yes darling?" in baby-talk to my cat (at least she's MY cat!).

I'm just sayin'.

And don't get me wrong, I like dogs.

I don't like them on me or in my face or licking me or making me or my things smell, but I like having them around, and I love all the attributes that made them "man's best friend." Once we have a yard, I definitely would support my husband in his desire for a dog. I just had some bad experiences.

There were the big dogs next door who were probably completely harmless, but at age seven, I was terrified as they romped and rolled all over me after knocking me down, and I didn't move till they got distracted (several minutes later) chasing my cat.

Then there was little Pumpkin, the dog I pet-sat, who was fat and constipated, and yipped incessantly, and was unable to wet outdoors, regardless of setting, length of walk, or any other kind of encouragement, but had absolutely no trouble wetting all over the one, single rug in the downstairs tiled area. (Pumpkin's owner, by the way, spent a great many of our conversations informing me of the folly of owning an indoor cat, and how it decreased the value of real estate, while an indoor dog did nothing of the sort. Ha.)

Hmm, maybe we'll see about getting a dog...

No, but I've had good dog experiences too--my in-law's family dog, Ginger, is a dear, and of course there was our old farm dog Bowser, from my childhood. (I called him "Bow" and my sister would always get upset and tell me that it was "Bow with a 'ZER' on the end!")

Ok fine, but I am not walking it. Or cleaning up after it. I'll feed it.

But back to my original point. Cats are self-cleaning (I've had four and cat-sat several more, and I maintain this statement--I have yet to meet these "slob" cats people claim exist), cats are naturally house-trained, and their personal waste is contained, easy to clean, and their bathroom habits need not control the owner's life. Cats are quiet, entertaining, and intelligent. In other words, cats are the perfect pet for a lady, or any other fastidious individual looking for animal companionship.

I am not alone in loving cats--lots of great people agree with me, and by "Great People" I mean people of note, of historical, artistic, literary, or political importance. Off the top of my head:

General Robert E. Lee
Mark Twain who said, "I simply can't resist a cat, especially a purring one."
Vanna White
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Cardinal Richelieu
Queen Victoria
Edger Allen Poe
Florence Nightingale
Charles Lindbergh
John Lennon
Several Popes, Benedict XVI, Leo XII among them
Marie Antoinette (while we're talking about her...)
George Burns
Lord Byron
Presidents Lincoln, TR, Wilson, Ford, Hayes, Kennedy, Coolidge, Carter, Clinton, and W. Bush
TS Elliot
HG Wells
and of course...Marlon Brando

In fact, I'm pretty sure it was these pictures that convinced my husband that having a cat isn't all that bad. :)

Isn't it ironic?

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