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Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free...indeed.

This man can only want one thing: FREE MILK!

What is it with Meredith Vieira?

I never found her objectionable before. I kept an open mind about the shoes she had to fill on the Today show. I reminded myself that this is 2% News instead of Whole News. That's fine. I'm living lowfat these days anyway. Plus, it's sort of op ed broadcasting, and I anticipated angles and setups and so forth.

But Meredith. Meredith. Meredith. Meredith. I can't seem to like you on the Today Show. In fact, right now, I'm thinking I don't much like you at all, period.

First you did the whole drinking moms and aren't moms just babysitters without pay thing. Now, in that case, it was a little hoopla. The backlash of comments were actually more interesting than anything you said or implied. However, I gotta say, it's not so much what you said as how you said it.

And that is exactly what happened today.

Today you interviewed two women about sex and I swear to mackerel your lips were puckered up like you tasted something foul the entire time.

The promo for the interview reads:

Laura Sessions Stepp, author of "Unhooked," and Amber Madison, author of "Hooking Up," talk with TODAY host Meredith Vieira about the new culture of casual sex among teens, and its effect on young women.

At Bunko on Friday night, we discussed this very issue, by strange coincidence. Many of the women in my group (you know, basically my age bracket) have teens. One lady is a principal. They were discussing how kids have to smoke outside now when sneaking cigarettes because the bathroom stalls are always so full of kids getting and giving blowjobs.

I gave a very credible impression of a cod just yanked out of a crystal clear lake.

At least I looked surprised and not like I just ate bad prunes.

At least I didn't say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free," and pucker up a little more, lowering my face, looking up through my lashes, all while leaning back and folding my arms across my belly..

Like Meredith did this morning.

I'm not sure who looked more startled: me, or the two authors. Young Amber Madison recovered first.

"Umm, that's kind of offensive to men and women," she said, going on to explain that we need to acknowledge the emotion in men as much as we need to acknowledge the sexuality in women.

Meredith just raised her brows.

Honest to abe I cannot tell if Meredith's cow comment was a setup, or a really prudish judgment. If it was a setup, her body language and choice of wording to setup the discussion was...well, horrible. It was offensive and obnoxious.

Hooking up isn't new. It's not even a new term. Back in my salad days they also called it "fuck buddies." It was going on twenty plus years ago. I was there.

So is today really different?

I listen to all this talk about out of control teens and sex and I'm torn between whether this is some relapse to the early 60s with all the square cats pretending nothing ever happened at the drive-in or if it is some Emo-type overhype.

It seems pretty much like it ever was.

But I guess I'm not scouting high school bathroom stalls, either. I'm assured repeatedly it's not like it used to be. It's worse. A lot worse.

Okay. Maybe it is.

Or maybe it's just OUR KIDS and not US and OUR FRIENDS, and it seems worse because of that.

Or maybe we are older, instead of teens with fresh hormones and not much in life to distract from the sultry drive those entail.

Or maybe there really is a problem with teens not having a healthy attitude about sex, which begs the question, "Why?"

Teens have always been sex-crazed. It's a biological imperative. They play with boundaries and rules, including sex boundaries and rules. It wasn't so long ago that I don't remember the hot thrump of my heart pounding in my ears and stomach. I remember my fingertips going tingly with excitement when a boy I liked asked me out. I remember feeling light-headed when we both got into the car---alone, together---from the sheer overwhelming nearness of him. Blood rushed through my body in a different way then. Everything was closer to the surface, and I blushed more easily. I'm pretty sure both boys and girls breathed a little faster in proximity to a crush. Kids made good decisions, and bad ones, back when I was a teen.

So, if things are different, in a worse kind of way, then what happened, and is it really as widespread as reported?

I don't have any answers to that.


I can't say Meredith Vieira's offensive and tired phrase, "Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?" displays any kind of healthy attitude about sex, love and relationships either.

I don't know every man in the world, and I haven't done any kind of scientific investigation, plus I live in a family-oriented suburb, so this is purely anecdotal with a probably heavy bias...but, there seem to be an awful lot of men I know who, while not perfect for every woman they ever dated (and who among us has never, ever been called a jerk by a disappointed ex?), have just as much emotion and appreciation for relationships as women do.

I managed to date an awful lot of these men. I managed to marry one, too.

I don't know. Maybe it's living up to expectation.

All I know is: I'm no cow, never met a man who thought I was one, and I never met a man who only ever cared about One Thing.

The other thing I know is that cow comment needs to be retired. Permanently. That's just as unhealthy an attitude as anything these "unhooked" and "casual sex" talking heads are expressing concern about.

Meredith, work on the body language, work on the comments. They aren't supercool ba-dum-dum one liners that make you look witty. It's not funny, or hip, and you aren't on The View any longer where you can stop and explain yourself. You sound and look obnoxious when you talk that way. Lean forward, ask challenging questions but use real words, not offensive cliches.


Please remember to send me a link to your blog post about HPV or to any good blog posts or resources you found useful and helpful...deadline is this Friday, March 9. For more information, read my blog post about this. I've gotten some great links so far and I look forward to more!

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

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kim said…
This week-end I just re-read a Newsweek article about "Girls Gone Wild". The article said that the most reliable (and acknowledged the unreliability of sex surveys)survey shows that the average age of first sexual intercourse is 17 and hasn't changed in over twenty years.

I admit I have a certain conservatism about casual sex. I hope to somehow teach my children that while sex is beautiful and natural it is best, like most connections, when it is a personal and deliberate choice. However, there will be no mention of cows.
NotSoSage said…
Who says that buying the cow is anticipated end result? Frankly, I remember breastfeeding. It hurt like hell when I didn't get any, uh...relief. :)
Bea said…
Okay, so let me get this straight - the problem with teen sex is that when those poor girls grow up, nobody will want to marry them?

Julie Pippert said…
Kim, see, that newsweek article and survey sort of jibe with what I suspect.

As for another point, sex has become political, so it must be polarizing and big business.

Personally I have always been conservative about sex; that's just me. This of course will color how and what I present to my kids.

But yes, no mention at all of cows.

Notsosage, absolutely. You got it. ;)

And yes, that is one of the many levels that cow comment offends me on.

B&P, what? You don't think every single teen girl out there carefully designs each action in her life to achieve, as quickly as possible, Wifehood and Motherhood?

Obviously I think Wife and Mother are awesome positions, but I admit as a teen girl they did not really play a part in my ambition.

Nevertheless, I dated quite a bit anyway.

Go figure.

And yes, you hit another one of the many levels on which that cow comment offended me.

Someone did a technorati Meredith Vieira search and hit my blog. I can only hope it was a Today Show person. In case it wasn't maybe I'll go comment over on their web site.

Maybe Meredith and Ann Coulter can be roomies at the Learn to Shut My Big Offensive Mouth rehab center, although Meredith can probably be out in a couple of weeks whereas Ann will need heavier detox.
Girlplustwo said…
who says the cow is sitting around waiting to be bought?

cows like freedom. in fact, might be a new slogan.
Sparky Duck said…
Teen sex is new or news? Or is it News that the fact the girls are admitting to it now?
Gwen said…
When I was in 7th grade, yea those many long years ago, kids were definitely engaging in oral sex, not that I knew much about it, really, being pure as driven snow myself. It "feels" like teenagers now are more sexually active and more sexually aware, but I usually just think that's a product of me getting older. I don't even really understand the analogy between the cow and sex (I mean, I do, but really? I'm the dog .... errr .... cow in this scenario?). I was raised, as you know, in a very very VERY conservative Christian world where your virtue was the most important thing you could possibly have. Really. It was like this sacred ummmm COW, ha!, which had to be guarded at all costs. I do not wish that on my daughters, that idea that they are nothing more to a man than their virginity.

When my husband I talk about what we expect from our daughters, I realize that I am far less conservative than he is. I think it's a reaction to my own upbringing.

I can't believe Meredith really said that. Is she just unprepared for her interviews? It seems like she says such bone headed things. I think she needs to study at the Terry Gross school some more. Now there's a woman who impresses me with her ability to interview people.

So, Julie, to sum: less Meredith. More Fresh Air.
Peg said…
I wouldn't bother commenting on their blog, Julie--if you don't have something to say that supports casual & premarital sex=bad then you probably won't get your comment published. At least, at last check, mine wasn't.

The only difference between now and twenty years ago, as sparky mentioned, is that perhaps girls are more willing to discuss sex publicly, and not feel ashamed of engaging in it. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not one to encourage kids to get it on, as it were, but I'm also not so sheltered to believe they don't, or they won't. Guys have always gotten the proverbial punch in the arm for getting some action...girls still get the "tsk, tsk".

Thanks for coming & visiting my blog!!
thailandchani said…
Well, I admit to being a social conservative but, on the other hand, I would never objectify any human being by referring to her as a "cow" who, by virtue of a certain type of behavior or lack of it, would be "bought".


I don't like Meredith or the Today show anyway ~ so, thankfully, I missed the show.


Oh Meredith. Is it any wonder that the Today Show is declining in the ratings?
Julie Pippert said…
Jen, exactly. Cows like freedom. I see a new blog banner on the horizon...LOL.

Sparky duck LOL...I tell you, I think the latest marketing ploy is Parental Paranoia. They catch you when you are a new parent by telling you they know better than you how to parent so BUY THIS BOOK and ratchet up to YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR TEEN LIKE WE KNOW YOUR TEEN and play to your biggest fears. There's some spark behind the smoke, but honestly, the new culture of distrust your kid is really wearing thin for me.

Gwen, you have clearly mistaken me for someone who lives in a city with Public Radio. God I miss Terry Gross. I miss Boston, which had actual NPR broadcast all day every day. They do the financial and business bits for about four hours here and then classical music. I have no objection to classical music. However, I do miss NPR.

Peg, at last check my comment (which I did go ahead and make) was not posted. I think I might have suggested she begin using an intelligent line of quetioning and drop the posturing. Perhaps that was not perceived as supportive? ;)

Chani, VERY WELL STATED! I am going to have to begin missing the Today Show. Gag. I am fairly conservative on this topic myself, however, my gosh, I don't expect everyone feels the same way I do and would NEVER refer to someone as a cow, for sale. Geesh.

Mrs. Chicky, oh is it really? I must confess to a little spurt of satisfaction upon hearing the ratings are dropping. I snicker to myself that their little reality "Today Anchor Contest" is really a "America choose who you'd rather, other than Meredith." I was never a regular View watcher, but I saw bits and pieces here and there. Has Meredith always been THIS obnoxious? I kinda had high hopes. She seemed so savvy.
Mad said…
And this, my friend, is why I don't watch much television anymore. Too many heavy objects were being thrown.
Unknown said…
Oh heavens above! I just wrote the longest comment using the laptop in our bedroom and the wireless connection decided to be fickle with me and now, now, Arghh!!, my brilliance was lost and I'm sure it couldn't possibly be as brilliant the second time around. Curses! Foiled again by my archnemesis, Blogger!!!!!!!

P.S. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.
Mom O Matic said…
What I hate about the "milk for free" perspective is the assumption that sex is entirely one sided. The girl is giving the man his pleasure for free. Pshaw! I hope I have the guts to teach my daughter that her pleasure is an amazing and precious gift. To share or not share is her choice, but under no circumstances is she obligated to "take care" of anyone just because she doesn't want to have sex.

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