Today's my first full day home alone in my Austin apartment in a long time. Things are even quieter because Mittons (my youngest cat, who is basically a giant kitten) is in San Antonio at my boyfriend's house keeping him company this week. I've indulged in a few guilty pleasures today, such as ordering pizza and sticking to my pjs as much as possible. Perhaps the guiltiest pleasure -- even worse than a few dips of peanut butter straight from the jar -- came in the form of a TLC marathon.
I watched an episode of My Strange Addiction from my DVR list, featuring a woman with 24" fingernails and another woman who hoarded hairless rats in her studio apartment. When I deleted that and the TV went back to real time, TLC somehow got me hooked near the end of an episode of Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids' Edition. By "somehow," I mean I came in at a particularly juicy, bitchy, bridezilla-vs.-bridesmaidzilla moment of the show when there were only about seven minutes left and thought, "Well, I can see how this plays out, I guess."
I did make productive use of some time while two episodes of Cake Boss played in the background, then finally found myself indulging in the mother (no pun intended) of all guilty-pleasure pop culture psychology reality shows, Toddlers & Tiaras. Here are some of the highlights, although I felt my stomach sink to an all-time low when they transpired:
One of the 5-year-old contestants, seeing her stage mom approaching her with false eyelashes she deemed "necessary" for her daughter to be competitive in pageants, started crying, "No Mom -- Not the 'eyeballs.' It hurts! Not the eyeballs, please!" Her mom apologized to the camera for her daughter's "movie star diva" attitude, and proceeded to take her daughter behind closed doors to traumatize the poor child by causing her physical pain despite her pleas to the contrary (because heaven forbid she be seen and judged against the other children without first donning prosthetic eyelashes).
Another stage mother, seeming to not realize how horrible she is, flat-out said, "I always wanted a little girl who would be Miss America. When my third child was a boy, I was so disappointed." This mother then went on to ply her fifteen-month old daughter with Coca-Cola for the caffeine rush needed when the toddler became (shocking!) sleepy during a pageant. Then, she scolded her baby and told her she did a "terrible" job onstage. In the baby's defense, she didn't seem to realize she was in a pageant, or even what a "pageant" was....something one wouldn't expect most kids to grasp before they are potty trained and verbally communicative. Then again, most people wouldn't expect to see a fifteen-month old child in make-up and a spray tan, and most would never consider letting a child wear artificial fingernails before she has developed any fine motor skills with her hands and fingers (luckily, her pageant coach nixed Mom's plan on that one).
In my view, what I've seen on TV today equates to nationally televised child abuse. All I could think was -- These people get to have children, and my husband never got the chance?
He was a great man, and the world is so unfair. Not just to him, or me, but to those little girls in their false eyelashes and sparkly dresses too.