Thursday, June 15, 2017

This post is about gender and shoes.

"You don't seem yourself today" Bas si ne valja. But it's raining so everyone is a little off. Whatever it is, you have your health, and that's the most important thing. I lost a friend the other day. She was 48 years old." This is what my postolar told me when I went to pick up my shoes yesterday morning. He was right, I wasn't right yesterday. He is right, I was sad. It's a sadness about relationships and who knows if it will ever end but the point is that he could see into my soul and somehow that made me feel less alone on an island of female singledom.

Which isn't actually alone on an island, there are many women on that island with me. So much gender discrimination at work has left us jaded. The basic entitlement of men has left them stupid, selfish, and barely functioning socially. And in our interactions with them, we can be blind to the behaviors that are the outcome of that entitlement, and we can call them out. Either way, we have to deal with those behaviors, and ask for some accountability. That's emotional work, and it's exhausting.

It is so much easier to run from all of that and I want to. Then what? We carry around a shell that protects us. It is full of cynicism, history, and fear. We step out of it when some one coaches us out of it. The parts that happen after getting out of the shell are usually a disaster, because we are so raw and there is so much fear that comes with it. Is there any coach who can help us stay out of the shell? What kind of fears is that coach carrying with him?

A related problem is that the relationship is off the island of female singledom, it's outside the squad, the team. So you (ok, I) am on foreign turf. Not playing on my home court, where I have all the advantages. That's stressful. What am I supposed to do here? What are the rules? Wait, are there any? Why aren't you behaving like my girlfriends do?
What was the accident that brought us together and fragmented my shell for a moment? Can I please put that all back together again? I now feel like I've gone two steps backwards when I thought trying meant that I was moving one step forward. I really don't want to talk to you about this.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

New Sins, Old Sins

The Vatican has announced a list of new sins:
New Mortal Sins:
Polluting, genetic engineering, obscene wealth, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.
Old Mortal Sins: 
lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, anger, envy and pride.

I know what your old sins are. Your old sins are: being cruel to me, rejecting me, playing me like you want me around then rejecting me. My old sins are: giving you a chance because that's what we are supposed to do with family, having hope. Wanting to get along so I sacrifice myself. We both need some new sins.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Dear Casper letter: a mindful reply to ghosting

My friend and I invented a new way to deal with being ghosted. It's called the Dear Casper letter: a mindful reply to ghosting

In this genre, the abandoned partner (usually a woman) is given the opportunity to write, and therefore purge, her feelings toward the now invisible partner. She expects to feel some peace and control, to cure her frustration and hurt, to redirect a situation that feels out of her control. Like writing a letter to someone and never mailing it, in this case, the writer posts it. That simple click allows the abandoned partner to reclaim, acknowledge, respect, and tend to the once growing feelings that were abandoned, now replaced by seemingly endless questions and rejection and a lack of faith in good manners. These are all feelings that are real and not irrelevant because they grew over text.

Characteristics of this genre include: tones that are generous but strong, loving and protective at the same time, great last words, and an implicit belief that letting go is better than losing control. One can see the vulnerability, the influence of Brené Brown in this genre. The vulnerability also makes it difficult to send. And a reply is neither anticipated nor the point of a Dear Casper letter.

Like ghosting and the technology that allows it, this post is representative of its socio-historical time and its views on subjectivity, the self, and gender norms. Online means that he can swipe on and move on and I can blame technology for my disappointment, for letting my guard down, for being human. The Dear Casper letter reverses all of that and holds someone accountable for rudeness. Maybe Casper doesn't reply, but for the minutes he read it, he was torched or touched. Just because technology, 4g, and processors can process our desires faster than instantly, does not mean that we can. The Dear Casper letter is also a covert expression of contempt, a means of holding Casper accountable for a callous escape, born and bread on a smartphone.

This post is only a little bit about revenge, since the Casper remains anonymous. It is a lot about my friend and our process of getting to the point that we developed and used this genre, this methodology of dealing with our feelings. It is a lot about female adult friendship. It is about the ethernet of emotional band-aids. This is about getting rid of the residue of dating in this age of the text. Like a yellow card in soccer, a Dear Casper letter will hold a player accountable for a foul. Let's use Dear Casper letters, share them, and possibly even make Caspers known on a Dear Casper filter on dating apps so as to penalize bad behavior and get our faith back. Also, posting your Dear Casper letter, naming the Casper or not, allows you to not let ghosting haunt future entanglements.

Here is an example of a Dear Casper letter, in the form of an email in that genre... It was written by moi... Come sit next to me and read it.

Dear Casper,

It seems our connection has run its course; maybe I need someone who will plan visits; maybe you need someone who doesn't care about that. The point is that, sure, the connection ended, that's certainly sad, but that sad feeling is kind of good since it's a sign that I cared about someone and that experience is a great one to have. So, I can deal with that and those feelings. And it's not my first rodeo so I get it.

The ghosting feels more complicated. That's why I am writing you. I have no context from your side. It seems to be a thing that is part of this texting era, and part of having a relationship that goes on a lot via text. As it's newish, it's new to me, so it hasn't happened to me before. I think that what happens on text is real, I think that what we had was real. That was lucky. Ghosting is a foreign behavior to me. It is a contrast to what felt real and lucky. I don't like ghosting. It feels hurtful and cheap. And it is cowardly.

I'm hurt. I want to give you the finger - in Croatian, to tell you to go back to your mother's cunt. Sorry for that outburst. Yet what I really want is to ask for some context from you, please. If you feel like an apology is an appropriate reply, then please know it is welcome. And in case you read this and don't reply, please know that while I am sure my quirks and shortcomings may have gotten on your nerves sometimes, I hope I never made you sad.

Katherine© (aka Lady Casper)
All rights reserved.
April 29 2017, a month after being ghosted

Sprint 1985

Thursday, April 27, 2017


I went to Borovo to research on Wed/Trs. My contact there, CB (Contact at Borovo) led me around and I'm going to write you less about Borovo and more about my experiences in Vukovar / Borovo with CB than about my research ideas. Idemo dalje...

CB and I spoke a few times on the phone before I arrived. His boss is BB (big boss at Borovo). CB is my liaison to BB; I also spoke to BB on the phone a few times and that was cool. BB told me, when we met, that he wants CB to succeed and, to allow that to happen, he steps out of the way to assign to CB professional experiences that may expand his horizons. BB is a good person.

CB and I met at the main hotel in Vukovar for lunch at 5pm the day I arrived. We did no step right into talk about Borovo/research, but talked about shared experiences. CB has lived all over Croatia and the US, and that people in Slavonia are the nicest, most open, and most mellow. His mom is from Hercegovina and his father is from Sinj, and CB was born in Vukovar. The family left when CB was age 7, the state housing them first in Zagreb and then settling them in Porec, in Istria. CB is a skilled basketball player, playing in the youth professional league in Croatia, and then accepting a scholarship to play college NCAA ball in the US.

What I want to say is this: that CB is right, people in Slavonia are really nice, and they are really uncomplicated and down to earth. I like how they ride their bikes everywhere.

Zarucni Slavonci...after we encountered these friends of my host, they had just become engaged, which I suspected before they said so because her mascara was imperfect and she had lots of emotion on her face and I noticed the ring. Darko said to me, you know, he, my friend, is really lucky, I've lived all over Croatia, and in four states in the US, dated girls of all nationalities. Girls from Slavonia are the best in Croatia, probably in the world, because they are pretty and smart, and they know how to cook, and you can trust them :) My Dad is from Slavonia, does that make me a Slavonka? Hope so :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Consumption and Class During and After State Socialism," Sredl, Katherine (2007)

Here is a link to download my 2007 book chapter "Consumption and Class During and After State Socialism" Sredl, Katherine, in Consumer Culture Theory (2007), ed Russell W. Belk and John F. Sherry, Jr. Research in Consumer Behavior, 11, 187-205, Oxford: Elsevier.

I have received a few emails from colleagues who are interested in this chapter, but their libraries do not have the book. I hope that this post helps promote open access to this chapter.

keywords: consumption, consumer culture, Yugoslavia, Croatia, class, state socialism, Balkans, central and Eastern Europe, consumer behavior, advertising.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Mork Calling Orson: Breakups

I played tennis last night with a new person to play tennis with. I don't have an abbreviation for her yet. This person is a very good player! Also, we moved here from the same town, at about the same time. We share the same frustration with the local tennis establishment. The similarities are striking. OGF (office girlfriend) introduced us, but she didn't tell me about the back story.

I've been writing quite well - with upcoming deadlines. Feels good to be productive. I've been going into the office, which is nice for a while. The MBA course planning is coming along nicely. All things on the house front are fine, although it will have to take a break until after deadlines.

Relationships: can't live with, can't live without. I experienced a break-up recently. A risky experience here in this town. The risk is that I won't have companionship. Then I met ntg (new tennis girlfriend) - ah, there it is, the abbreviation, the acronym - and while that is not the same companionship as ex-boyfriend, relationships are starting.

Breakups. What can you do? There can be feelings of sadness, disappointment, and regret. Then there can be analysis: what went wrong? who's fault? was this inevitable? why were we together in the first place? is this the same as the last break-up? Why did the process of the break-up have to happen so fast? I don't understand the notion of not talking in relationships, especially on the part of men. A little expression of conflict does some good. It does me some good, at least.

We ran into each other at a concert Saturday night, walking to the theater. His friend was polite, I was polite to the friend; the ex sent me daggers in his gestures, and it hurt. How did things go so fast to this state? It isn't the worst break-up I've had, but yikes, I don't like the daggers.

I don't think tennis friendships will end up in daggers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Happiness is writing at home in my sweatpants. Housekeeper A (HA) is preparing my dinner and I am plugged into my mp3 player.