A few years ago, I was your typical office-worker: stressed out, uneven energy, overweight, and inconsistent complexion. Now I'm just your typical 28-year old urban hunter-gatherer on a quest to be healthy, and having a few adventures along the way. See my full bio.
CHARLOTTE — The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition is threatening to send a blogger to jail for recounting publicly his battle against diabetes and encouraging others to follow his lifestyle.
Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition” without a license. According to the law, “practicing” nutrition includes “assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups” and “providing nutrition counseling.”
Steve Cooksey has learned that the definition, at least in the eyes of the state board, is expansive.
When he was hospitalized with diabetes in February 2009, he decided to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who eventually died of the disease. He embraced the low-carb, high-protein Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet. The diet, he said, made him drug- and insulin-free within 30 days. By May of that year, he had lost 45 pounds and decided to start a blog about his success."
But this past January the state diatetics and nutrition board decided Cooksey’s blog — Diabetes-Warrior.net — violated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do.
Unless Cooksey completely rewrites his 3-year-old blog, he could be sued by the licensing board. If he loses the lawsuit and refuses to take down the blog, he could face up to 120 days in jail.
The board’s director says Cooksey has a First Amendment right to blog about his diet, but he can’t encourage others to adopt it unless the state has certified him as a dietitian or nutritionist.
A friend asked what the male equivalent of that essay would be. It's a good question, and it forced me to think about the purpose of the original essay.
The age of 30 was chosen for a reason. It is the age at which women become increasingly aware that they are moving past their sexual prime. In the sexual marketplace, women are heavily judged on the basis of looks, and the age of 30 is symbolic of that power slipping away. It is the age when women's biological clock starts to tick a little louder.
The purpose of the essay is to comfort single women who are coming to grips with their sexual power slipping away.
I'm not passing judgment, I'm just calling it like I see it.
Since men are judged on different qualities than women -- status being the principle difference -- the equivalent piece for men wouldn't necessarily map to the age of 30. In fact, it wouldn't necessarily map to any particular age at all. The equivalent essay for men would be written by a man who has moved from high status to low status -- perhaps a wealthy scion who invested/spent/squandered his family fortune, and then wrote a piece to justify his decisions. Maybe he spent it wisely, maybe he didn't.
If there's a piece of writing that captures what it's like for a man to move from high status to low status, it's "If" by Rudyard Kipling. The poem is all about how a man should deal with changes in fortune -- i.e., changes in status. (Note: there's nothing in there about looks.) "If" is a lesson on the nature of risk. Risk is a fickle thing -- fortunes come and go.
(Ladies, it is very hard for a man to move from high status to low status -- that's often when men commit suicide. Think stockbrokers who lose everything in a market crash or men who lose their jobs. Death seems like a better alternative than the shame of living. I am not trivializing how it feels to have your value decline on the sexual marketplace -- for men or women.)
Also, notice the difference between how men have to earn their sexual power and women inherit their sexual power. "If" talks about doing great things, building stuff, and taking risks. The "Women at 30" essay talks about deserving things (just because you're you!) and coming to grips with aspects of biology that women can't change ("length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents").
Kipling advises men to look their fortunes square in the eye, and to remain unperturbed by both decreases AND increases in status -- i.e., changes in their own value on the sexual marketplace as judged by women. By contrast, the Women Turning 30 essay can't quite look the issue in the eye. Apparently, she has to have an outfit ready in case the man of her dreams wants to see her in an hour (that or her boss).
The underlying insecurity is right there in the title: "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30". Or NOT there. It's not actually an essay for ALL women, it's an essay for SINGLE women. This is the accurate title: "30 Things Every SINGLE Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30." But perhaps that was too painful to acknowledge.
And that's what I think bothers me so much about this essay: it arrogantly positions itself as advice -- and advice for all women. If you are a woman who wants to learn "How to live alone, even if you don't like to", this is stellar advice. On the bright side, at least you'll own an "an umbrella that you're not ashamed to be seen carrying."
Here's a brilliant scene near the end of The Jerk. Steve Martin's character was born poor, got super rich by accident, became corrupted by it, and loses it all. (He didn't read any Kipling.) Anyhow, the debt collectors are on their way, and he's depressed and sulking -- but he's pretending that he's fine while grasping at silly things. It pretty much nails the mood of the essay.
A nice umbrella, and a purse. That's all I need.
A nice umbrella, a purse, and a decent piece of furniture. And that's all I need!
And my own email account.
A nice umbrella, a purse, a decent piece of furniture, and my own email account.