Horrors of Hallmark: Part 1 (in what I fear will be an infinite series)
I work part-time in a Hallmark store to pick up a few dollars while building my business, which hopefully will be a full-time job that pays all the bills by the end of the year. It’s a full-time job now, but the paying the bills part, not so much…pretty common for a business start-up. So I decided it would be a good idea to keep this little part-time job going for several months even after the business got started. It’s not a hard job or one that inspires a deep-seated hostility towards the employer or even the public, since the folks who come in to a Hallmark store kind of pre-select as the sweet and sentimental type. The hours are typical retail so I never have to be there before 9 am and I’m always home before 9 pm. The people I work with are nice, the manager is nice… there’s really not much to complain about. What’s a malcontent to do?
Focus on the merchandise, of course.
I spend hours every week in this place – a place where aesthetics are shamelessly and publically violated and slaughtered on every shelf, a place where emotions transcending words are transformed into trite dross. On a psychic level, it’s very damaging. I can feel the scars knitting into keloid masses in my psyche every time my eye alights on some new and egregious offense to taste, reason, and decency.
Ok, not really.
But it does provide endless amusement and helps the time go by, just to ponder what it suggests about the people who buy the stuff, the people who think up and make the stuff, and the fact that we live in a society where entire business empires and fortunes are built on the stuff. So I’m going to do a public service here and scar your psyches for you, since most of you probably don’t have the time to invest in scarring them yourselves by working in a Hallmark store.
Our first subject:
There’s a very creepy Stepford vibe here – if not for the bare arms and semi-feminine lines of the gowns these girls could be the perfect little Pentecostals.
That’s when it hit me – these are Peniskeeper dolls!
Let me digress – “Peniskeeper” is a sarcastic twist on “Promise Keeper.” You may recall this fundamentalist Christian men’s movement that started in the early 90’s and featured participants making public pledges to remain faithful to their spouses and devoted to their families at pointless rallies, including a large one in Washington, D.C.
Like, whatever, dudes.
I mean, it’s nice and all that you want to be good to your wives by not screwing around on them and be decent dads for your kids, but there’s no need to be such drama queens about it. Just keep it in your pants and don’t hit or constantly berate the children. I don’t know why you think I need to know about your noble aspirations for your personal lives, because you don’t get a gold star for doing those things; those are the minimum acceptable, and I’m not the one handing out the gold stars anyway. Sorry you wasted the time driving to D.C.
Anyway, in the fullness of time, there were some rather…disturbing outgrowths of the whole Peniskeeper movement, none of them creepier than “purity balls.”
On this occasion, I’m linking the site where I found the video as well, because the comments there – pure comedy gold!
Again, this whole thing of encouraging young girls not to become sexually active isn’t in and of itself a bad thing…but there’s something here that’s just ick. Maybe it’s the concept that the vajayjay belongs to good ol’ dad, until there is a suitable candidate to whom he can entrust its future care. Or maybe it’s just the whole idea of these men putting so much focus on the condition of their daughters’ ladybits. All I know is, my dad (and mom) were able to get pretty much the same message across to me – “don’t be a ho” – as these men are expending such effort to get across to their daughters, with the added bonus that they never grossed me out while doing it.
Anyway, you watch the video and see if it doesn’t look just like a roomful of these dolls, swaying around a dance floor while being groped by middle-aged men.
Ergo, Peniskeeper dolls.