The Scamp is an In Debt, Sexually Active, Tattooed, College Educated Rebel

This rant brought to you by Lori Alexander’s post: Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins without Tattoos Really Offensive Article. The title alone is the exact opposite of me, so I should have just kept scrolling.

But I didn’t.

Actually, the first thing I saw was a response that a fellow blogger wrote in response to the post by Mrs Alexander. The 25-year-old woman responded to the absurdity of thinking that propagates the blog post (Well Written Response). I agree with a lot of what Alyssa says. In 2018, it should be ‘my body, my choice’ and not ‘my body simply created to push out babies and meekly serve a man’.

I am a  Jewish woman (and not the best one at that) and have no battle with the Christian religion or those who follow any religion for that matter. My complaint is not about religion (although, I have a feeling that God wouldn’t have given women free will, a mouth and a brain if He didn’t want them to use it).

But Mrs Alexander, fuck your standards. You clearly do not understand women (Christan or otherwise). It is also extremely doubtful that you understand men. As you write:

There are many more reasons why Christian young women should carefully consider whether or not they go to college, especially if they want to be wives and mothers someday. Secular universities teach against the God of the Bible and His ways. It’s far from what God calls women to be and do: it teaches them to be independent, loud, and immodest instead of having meek and quiet spirits.

So, go to college and you can kiss motherhood goodbye? Really? Have you been out in society at all in the last oh 100 years? Women were not simply created to please men and the fact that you still think this way, and try and indoctrinate young impressionable women into this line of thinking is criminal. I’ve been to four universities, and not one of them taught me to be loud of immodest. They taught me to value education, to value learning experiences and gave me the chance to meet, interact with, and learn from all kinds of people. I am a better person because of the learning and growing that I did whilst attending university.

In 2018, I also fear the notion of having a ‘meek and quiet spirit’. The world isn’t perfect. Women (and men) should be able to disagree with what they see and hear and should be encouraged to have a conversation. They should not be silenced until they conform, and should be encouraged to be individuals. The only way that change can happen, and that some of the chaos of our current society can be calmed is if women (and men) are willing to speak up and work towards change.  I think Alyssa says it best when she writes:

Many of the brightest, most level-headed, youth in this country are girls. These young ladies are going to shape our world and help to make it a nurturing and supportive place to live. They’re going to find the cures to deadly diseases, make progressive changes in political offices, AND be the most badass mothers yet. And you want to deny them (and the world) the chance to do that? For what? So they can find a partner who sees them as “less-than” and good for nothing but giving birth? I don’t think so.

Don’t even get me started on the idea that women only get a job to pay off their debt and to make use of their degree. Not only do I know women who went to university and then decided to become stay at home moms until their kids are in school, but I know many women who busted their asses to become lawyers, doctors, teachers, and engineers and went to work in jobs they love not out of a sense of obligation, and not to pay off their debt, but because they love their work. Two of those women have kids, and one is currently pregnant. Shocking. Even more shocking, they met their husbands during college, or completed their degrees and pursued careers with the full support of their spouse. I even know a stay-at-home dad who loves his time at home with his kids (he also happens to be a Christan, but I promised to keep religion out of this). That being said, not everyone wants to go to college, and if a woman decides that it is not for her, as long as it is her choice, and she is happy with it, I have no problem with it.

Debt. No one (man or woman) wants to enter a marriage in debt. It is ridiculous to think otherwise. That being said, I can’t imagine many women who are excited to marry a man who has a lot of debt. That seems to be missing from Mrs Alexander’s backward and misguided blog post. I also have a problem with college debt being seen as bad debt. I would be more upset if the debt was from frivolous spending or poor money management skills rather than from furthering my education. Having recently paid off a student loan, I hated having the debt but loved the reason (and the university degree) that came with it.

Now let’s talk about sex. A woman who chooses to be sexually active is not a bad person. A sex worker is not a bad person. Women with free will and brains make choices for themselves. Now, I don’t want to slag off a woman who chooses to wait until she is married to have sex. I have some friends who are choosing to wait because it is important to them, and not because a man has told her she needs to. I happen to like sex (sorry mom), but I waited until I was in love (and in my 20s) before I lost my virginity. I don’t regret my choice at all, and any of the choices (minus one creep named Dan) that I have made since then. No one has ever asked me how many people I’ve slept with (and it is no one’s business).

As for the tattoos…..well, all 25 of them tell a story about who I am and where I’ve been so I regret nothing. I happen to think they make me more attractive. This one doesn’t bother me as much either because I know plenty of people, both male and female that aren’t into tattoos, but a majority of the people I have had the pleasure to meet do not have a problem with tattoos in the slightest. Even the good Jewish boy I almost married was okay with the tattoos that I had when we met (although, I probably would not have gotten any more out of respect for his religious preferences in regards to tattoos).

So, in a nutshell, I am Lori Alexander’s worst nightmare. I’m a 31-year-old single woman who does not currently want kids, has $21k of student loan debt to pay off, enjoys sex and collects tattoos the way most people collect art or stamps (or a number of other things that people like to collect). I’m also independent, living on my own and do not need a husband or my father to explain anything to me. I have no doubt that if I changed my mind about marriage one day I will find a really great guy who loves me, quirks and all.

So who are these men? Where are can I find (and avoid) them? Do I have to start wearing a scarlet letter so they can identify me or are my tattoos enough?

 

I cannot wait to read the comments that this post generates from my friends and family.

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The Scamp in Bosnia

…and now for the final post of my epic adventure. This also happens to be one of the highlights of the trip for me. The surprise favourite. A friend of mine told me that Sarajevo was perhaps the most beautiful capital city that he had ever been to, and he’s been to a lot of capital cities, so I was both curious and excited to see what surprises the city had in store for me.

Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I had no idea what to expect when I got to Sarajevo, but the beautiful fusion of East and West in the ‘plains around the palace’ offered me a regular feast for my eyes. We  got into Bosnia a bit late in the evening, so after checking into a lovely hotel, we went to perhaps one of the best houses in the city for dinner.

The Spite House has a very interesting story. According to Atlas Obscura:

An elderly Bosnian fellow named Benderija refused to agree to the destruction of his house, even after being offered more money than the property was worth. Without the land under his house, there would be no way for the city hall to be built at the desired location, right next to the River Miljacka. Lengthy negotiations ensued between the old man and the city (with even the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Finances getting involved) until finally, in 1895, he agreed to sell his property for the extravagant price of a sackful of gold ducats, but only under one condition: the authorities would have to move his Ottoman-era house, brick by brick, and rebuild it on the other side of the river.

Benderija got his way; in the popular account of the story, the old man spent every day of the move sitting in the middle of a nearby bridge, smoking cigarettes and carefully watching the workers transport each brick across the river. When the house was finally rebuilt, it was aptly named Inat Kuća, or the House of Spite. 

Today, this proud symbol of Bosnian stubbornness serves a more practical purpose: it was converted into a Bosnian restaurant in 1997.

The government got the last laugh though because while the man’s favorite spot used to face the river, it now faced a mountain.

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We were treated to a tour of the city by a local guide of about my age. He was full of the typical stories, and showed us the site where the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand happened. It was an odd bit of history to walk over, and the unfortunately for Sarajevo, it was not the last of the struggles that happened there.

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It was interesting to see the influences of the West on side of the city, and the East on the other. There are markets that look much like I imagine the markets of Istanbul to look, and they sell Turkish coffee, Turkish delights (which are not a delight), and beautiful weavings, jewelery and tourist fluff. There are traditional bars and fancy brand name shops there as well.

We were able to take a trip outside the city to see the Sarajevo War Tunnel. Before this trip, I was pretty ignorant to the history of Bosnia, but I was aware of the war that plagued them in the early 90s. I remember seeing news reports of fighting, and hearing that bad things were happening, but I was little and did not really understand what it meant, or who was actually in the wrong. The Tunnel of Hope is just one of the examples of resistance.

According to Wikipedia (I know, I hate that site too, but it is the best place for quick summaries to help paint a clear picture to a complicated story):

The Sarajevo Tunnel (BosnianCroatian and Serbian: Sarajevski tunel / Сарајевски тунел), also known as Tunel spasa (Тунел спаса, English: Tunnel of rescue) and Tunnel of Hope, was an underground tunnel constructed between March and June 1993 during the Siege of Sarajevo in the midst of the Bosnian War. It was built by the Bosnian Army in order to link the city of Sarajevo, which was entirely cut off by Serbian forces, with Bosnian-held territory on the other side of the Sarajevo Airport, an area controlled by the United Nations. The tunnel linked the Sarajevo neighbourhoods of Dobrinja and Butmir, allowing food, war supplies, and humanitarian aid to come into the city, and allowing people to get out. The tunnel became a major way of bypassing the international arms embargo and providing the city defenders with weaponry. 

We got to go through a small part of the tunnel, and the house that hides it (and well, a lot of buildings in the city) or still covered in bullet holes.

In fact, bullet holes, and bullet shell are quite the popular tourist attraction. Many of the trinkets that tourists can buy are made with spent casings. I found this to be really dark, and somewhat distasteful, but plenty of people seem to think it is a good idea. We had some time to wander after the tour, and while I would have liked to hike to the old bobsled track, I instead went in search of Jewish people. I dragged the Golden Girls to an old temple and got to see the Jewish people of the city lived, and how many of them were protected by the Muslims in WWII. It was rare on this trip to be able to see this little bit of culture, but I am glad that the girls indulged me and let me have a wander in the sacred space.

The Golden Girls and I completed our day climbing the fortress and looking out over the city. We were hot and sweaty, but it the views were lovely.

One of the hidden gems of the city was the bar that is  decorated like a granny’s house. It is called Zlanta Ribica. I’d go back there are put on a funny hat and some big sunglasses and drink cocktails until the day is done.

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We left Bosnia to head to Mostrar, one of the most important cities in Herzegovina. I do not remember most of what we were told about the city, but the famous old bridge. It was built in the 16th century and is said to be one of the best examples of Islamic architecture. It has become famous with the tourists because the men of Mostrar jump off the 25 meter bridge to transition to manhood. It looks crazy, and scary, and one of our very own did it while we were there. It has been completed almost 500 times, and I get to say that I know someone who has done it and survived.

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The end of the guided tour took us back to Split, and I spent the last day of holiday laying on the beach and wishing that I had 17 more days of warm weather. This trip was truly one of the most fun adventures that I have ever had, and although I did complain about some of the people, it would not have been the same  without the people I was with. I have a sincere hope that I will get to meet some of these people again, whether in my home or in theres.

 

The Scamp in Budapest: Day 5

Okay, so day five was a couple of days ago, but I was too busy moping about having to go home and face the real world to sit down and write. I’m also overcoming traveling without the use of steroids in my system, and that is a bit of an adjustment process. I’m feeling more pain then I have in the last 8 years, so that takes a little getting used to….or maybe it is because I am about to turn 30 and I’m just getting old.

Day 5 in Budapest was a really important one for me. I was staying in the Jewish Quarter, and had already wandered around the district, but on day 5 I got to visit the Great Synagogue. I was hoping that I would get the chance to go in since I tried to see it the day before Christmas and it was closed. It was a lot of fun to be there during Hanukkah and seeing Jews from all over the world come to sit in the pews and admire the place. the synagogue was built in the 1850s, and was modeled on Moorish architecture with influences from Islamic culture in North Africa. When I first arrived in the city and saw the building, I thought it was a mosque. Inside it is fairly simple and unpretentious, but there is a lot history in it. Within the gated walls of the synagogue is a cemetery. While that is not usually done, an exception was made for the people that died in the ghetto during WWII. The synagogue was behind the ghetto wall, and acted as a sancuatary for many of the Jews. The bodies of about 10,000 Jews were found in the area. Many of them were moved to a cemetery, but 2,000 were buried in the garden. There are tombstones for those who were able to be identified, but there are plenty buried there that were never identified.

While I could go on and on about the synagogue, what really struck me was some of the people visiting. While I was on my way out I heard a guy complaining because, “once you’ve seen one synagogue, you’ve seen them all.” He was American. Go figure.

This made me angry. I don’t say that when I am dragged through churches on guided tours, or have to listen to how amazing and great they are. I’m respectful and make sure my shoulders are covered, that I do not taken chicken out and that I do not do anything that would be offensive. I wish that people had that same respect for my culture and religion.

I bought a new Hamsa necklace and then spent the rest of the day walking through the Christmas markets one last time with the express intent to eat my way through them. I was able to cross another things off my list by eating an exotic meal. I sampled a Romanian Kürtőskalács, a circular cake that is warm, large and tastes like a churro. There are different coatings you can get, but I opted for Cinnamon and was not disappointed. I also had a Hungarian version of a gyro which was perfect. It was tasty, warm, and the size of my head.

I had to roll myself back to the hotel. It was worth it though.

But now I am in Scotland and having to face the reality of going back to work and being a student again. I don’t really want to. I have zero motivation. I’m just wishing I could fast forward through the next two years and be done with the thesis. Of course, then I would have to find a job, and who knows what or where that will be. I’m more than a little terrified of the future.

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp and the New Year

L’shanah tovah! Or, have a good new year for you goys.  Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, has finally arrived. It started sundown on the 1st of October, and ends at sundown tonight. As Kristie McCrum writes:

Mentioned in the Torah – in the book of Leviticus – as Yom Teruah, it’s translated as the Feast of Trumpets, or the Day of the Sounding of the Shofar.

It’s a traditional anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, and the Jewish Mishnah, from the Oral Torah, says it’s a “day of judgement”.

Jews believe God balances a person’s good deeds over the past year against their wrongdoings, so the day marks a time of reflection and penitence, and worshippers ask God for forgiveness.

It’s also the start of the agricultural cycle of sowing, growth, and harvest.

It is a time for families to come together and reflect on their year, as well as eat wonderfully sweet foods to envoke a sweet new year. The next five days lead to Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. This is the holiest day in the Jewish religion, and the time when Jews are closest to God, and to their own soul. It is the day of forgiveness, and a clean slate for the new year.

I’m celebrating the new year by laying on my couch feeling crappy. Traveling is really hard on people who have Lupus, and I am feeling it today. While I have been hold up on my couch, I have been reflecting on the past year, and all that came with it. I think my wrongdoings outweigh my good deeds, but I am hoping that with a little help from my friends, family, and therapy that this next year will be different.

So I wish you all a good and sweet new year, and hope that my time of reflection over the next few days provides some clarity for the year ahead.

A Scamp in the Chapel

I know, I know, the thought of me in a chapel is a funny site to see. Trust me, I would have felt out of place if the chapel wasn’t such a tourist attraction. Rosslyn Chapel is by no means a large place, but thanks to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code the chapel is now a hot spot for conspiracy theorists, religious scholars, and loves of popular culture. According to my favorite site Wikipedia, Rosslyn Chapel is described as:

Rosslyn Chapel, properly named the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Catholic collegiate church (with between four and six ordained canons and two boy choristers) in the mid-15th century. Rosslyn Chapel and the nearby Roslin Castle are located at the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland.

The chapel was founded by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness (also spelled “Sainteclaire/Saintclair/Sinclair/St. Clair”) of the Sinclair family, a noble family descended in part fromNorman knights from the commune of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in northern France, using the standard designs the medieval architects made available to him. Rosslyn Chapel is the third Sinclair place of worship at Roslin, the first being in Roslin Castle and the second (whose crumbling buttresses can still be seen today) in what is now Roslin Cemetery.[1]

The purpose of the college was to celebrate the Divine Office throughout the day and night and also to celebrate Holy Mass for all the faithful departed, including the deceased members of the Sinclair family. During this period the rich heritage of plainsong (a single melodic line) or polyphony (vocal harmony) would be used to enrich the singing of the liturgy. An endowment was made that would pay for the upkeep of the priests and choristers in perpetuity and they also had parochial responsibilities.

After the Scottish Reformation (1560) Roman Catholic worship in the chapel was brought to an end, although the Sinclair family continued to be Roman Catholics until the early 18th century. From that time the chapel was closed to public worship until 1861 when it was opened again as a place of worship according to the rites of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

In later years the chapel has featured in speculative theories regarding Freemasonry and the Knights Templar.

The tour guide of sorts at the chapel told us some funny stories about what people think is buried in the vaults under the chapel. People think Mary Magdalene is buried there, the embalmed head of John the Baptist, of Jesus, and one woman from Tennessee thinks that the body of Elvis is there. It has been said that there is a space ship and a hundred little green men there, untold riches, and quite possibly, the Holy Grail. While I don’t believe any of that, it was fun to hear the tour guide share the crazy ideas tourists bring on their visit. There is no photography allowed in the chapel, but I was able to take some really good pictures of the day. The chapel, castle ruins, and small glen in the area provided some much needed fresh air and a great day with my friends. It was a nice way to spend my last weekend in Scotland…even with the little bit of rain.

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel

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My own hidey hole in the castle ruins

My own hidey hole in the castle ruins

Crossing the bridge into the glen

Crossing the bridge into the glen

Tomorrow my journey through the best of Scotland will continue. The BFF is taking me home to the lovely metropolis known as Dundee to meet his mama. We have a whole day to ourselves for bonding and good banter. I’m looking forward to meeting his friends (they are excited to meet a “real” American), see where he grew up, and meet his grandma. I’m hear she makes a mean cup of tea…..