To borrow a cliche…

So I was thinking…(prolonged exposure to cleaning chemicals will do that to me. Yes, Spouse, I actually do use them thankyouverymuch…)

A lot of us SAHMs jokingly refer to our neighborhoods as “Stepford”. Now obviously we aren’t being turned into mindless robots…ummm…wait. Ok, our HUSBANDS aren’t turning us into mindless robots. We’ll leave the mainstream media and the government out of this for now…

As I was saying, many of us jokingly refer to our communities as Stepford, or have blog titles like Stepford Mom. What makes you think that your community is like that?

I can tell you why I think that way. First is the general appearance of the neighborhood. The common areas are always perfect. Every day there is some sort of grounds maintenance going on. Mowing, mulching, planting, trimming. I mean the public areas of this place are perfect. At all times. A little creepy. This extends to the homes themselves. Our HOA is really vigilant, to the point of absurdity, of enforcing deed restrictions. And there are just enough neighbors with nothing better to do who are more than willing to report even the most minor of violations. Like my neighbor, but that’s another post. Most people employ a lawn service (like we did until recently; now we have a 10 year old!), so the lawns are perfect. At all times. Again, a little creepy. The environment is just too perfect, like we’re hiding something.

Second is the houses themselves. With the exception of the very few red brick houses and big custom jobs, most houses are either beige brick or limestone. Woe betide you if you consider changing the color of your exterior. There is a lengthy process you must go through in submitting your color change to the Architectural Committee. If your actual color turns out differently from your sample for some reason, like what just happened to a friend of mine, you are in for some haranguing. And a possible $500 fine.

Third is the cars. If it’s not a minivan, it’s an SUV. In white or silver. I remember a day a few years back when I was getting my mail at the mail station (and when did that become the norm BTW?) and I saw no fewer than six white large SUV’s. They all looked so similar that I thought there was some sort of special op going down in the park. My Mazda? Bright Blue.

Fourth is the women. There is the standard uniform of the jogging suit, baseball cap, and tennis shoes for casual days. With perfect make-up of course. Or a tennis outfit, if you prefer. Maybe a pair of jean capris with a cute top. And pedicures? De rigueur. Even those of us who have more individuality fall into this. We all look the same. Depressing. And it’s all about having the cleanest, best decorated house or the being in the best shape or having the smartest kids. All of these things are outward, things others can see and appreciate/envy. I don’t see a lot of people doing something for the sake of just doing it. I mean yeah, it’s good to be in shape and clean your house, but to hear some of these people talk about it, it’s a competition.

Last (or rather the last I’m going to discuss as I’m closing in on the end of my allotted blogging time) are the churches. There are those of us who go to Mainline Protestant churches or Catholic churches, and we seem pretty average. But the majority of the inhabitants here attend one of the Very Large Churches in the area. These churches would be described as Evangelical or Non-denominational. I’m not saying that all of the people who attend these churches are like this, but a great many of them follow The Party Line. Completely. Without question. And it’s really unnerving. Especially when they say that dissent in any form is unpatriotic or that Lutherans and Episcopalians aren’t really Christians.

So, that’s why I think I live in Stepford. Why do I stay? Well, there are enough people who are like me that I can survive. The schools are good, even if they don’t have an orchestra program. And the property values have gone through the roof, especially with all of the Californians coming in (again, another topic for later). The good outweighs the bad, but just barely.

Do you think you live in Stepford? Why? Discuss. Yeah, I know, a blatant attempt to get comments. But I’d really like to discuss it!

********************

On another note…I’m approaching my 100th post. Any ideas on what to do for that? Want to plan ahead for such a momentous occasion….

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6 responses to “To borrow a cliche…

  1. I live in the anti-Stepford. Old neighborhood that was once in decline (when we moved in all our neighbors were either Newly Wed or Nearly Dead) small house, mixed bag, no covenants, which is not always a good thing! Our dress code? Don’t come to the front door nekked and neither will I.

    The Lutherans are not Christians line absolutely cracked me up. Here in rural northern Alabama if you aren’t Baptist, Church of Christ or a member of the generically named “Faith” megachurch, you might as well be a virgin-sacrificing pagan. Or worse, Catholic. People have ACTUALLY asked me if Catholics are Christian. You’re shitting me, right? When I ask them which denomination they believe was the first really organized group – they go blank. So I say, “I’ll give you a hint – it was before the Protestant Reformation.” And they stare at me. Some of them say, “Oh, it was the Church of Christ, because the bible says, ‘Upon this rock I build a church, a church of Christ.’ Jesus founded it.” They have never heard of the Restoration Movement. It bloggles the mind.

  2. I hope my neighbors don’t track me online…

    No, I don’t think I live in Stepford. Maybe a grown-up Animal House?

    KIDDING! (Mostly)

    My neighborhood is…unique. We are surrounded by a lot of Stepford to the north of us (I believe you know the area to which I refer) but my town?

    We’re possibly a lot of things, definitely NOT others, but I’m pretty sure Stepford falls into the Not category.

    Granola crunchy…there’s a lot of low-key, easy-going granola crunchy people here.

    It’s the coastal living, at a guess.

    Also, we dress a little more Jimmy Buffet than OC. Like okay a LOT more Jimmy Buffet.

    Except me. I’m a mad preppie.

    I know a lady who gets manicures. We all stare at her for being different.

    KIDDING! (Mostly.)

    My toenails are currently glittery Tink Pink courtesy of Patience. That’s my pedi.

  3. I don’t live in Stepford either, but do enjoy your thoughtful and amusing tales of Stepford.

    I’ve never been a SAHM. I have often been the main breadwinner, and I have to admit I love working.

    In an effort curb global warming, I have let my yard return to its natural beauty (we have no lawn–just trees in the backyard, and overgrown plantings in the front). Ok, it is laziness and lack of time, but I like the very gently tended natural look.

    The less I talk about the cluttered inside, the better.

    As for dress, it’s very casual, and there are plenty of grey-haired hippie-types still about, but there is plenty of variety in dress options. Generally, women don’t wear much make-up. It is possible to get a pedicure here, but I have never had one.

    I am loosely associated with the Unitarians (which is barely even a religion) because they are politically involved. I occasionally play cello in a tiny Lutheran church which has seating for about 50 people. There are no mega-churches.

    The high school has a small orchestra, and several huge bands. The music program was wonderful for my kids.

    Housing prices here are among the highest in the nation. Maybe that is why I do not get pedicures!

  4. OK! You guys have made another point I’ve been trying to get across to the denizens of Stepford…

    THIS IS AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE!

    The real world does not function this way. The real world has quirky people, and problems, and worries, that, while I know they exist, here, are not “allowed” to surface. The facade that people put on here is maddening! Everything is perfect, and if you have problems, then it’s your own damn fault.

  5. Wow. My place is so not like that. It’s a nice suburb, but so un-cookie cutter. If there’s a dress code, I don’t know what it is, ’cause I’m a WOHM mom. But the houses are all different, the cars are all different, and I don’t know who goes to what church since we don’t do that.

    Fascinating to read about your town.

  6. AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC

    Sorry. That delete was me. I signed in under the wrong account again.

    I can’t believe I missed this! I SOOOO live in Stepford. Our neighborhood is one of those “communities” built around not one but two golf courses and the country club. The car of choice is a Lincoln Navigator or an Escalade.

    The neighborhoods on the perimeter of our Stepford are not so expensive (where we live) the ones in the middle are hoity toity (million plus) expensive. We’ve been watching this one being built near the “beach club” that literally is four stories, seven car garage, with six chimneys. Hello? Does Texas even freeze more than maybe 10 times a year? Do you need that many fireplaces? NOOO.

    Churches. I totally agree. That cracks me up that mainline denominations aren’t Christian. Here it’s Baptist or Mega Church, too. The DAY we moved in (like six hours post moving van)some people came by from Mega Church with a welcome basket trying to get us to join them for church. Like cultishly freaky. When we said we were Roman Catholic, they freaked out and almost beelined home. We have also gotten LDS people asking where the former owners of our house were…which is creepy…like if you don’t come to church they hunt you down!

    I almost feel like I need to “dress” to go to the grocery store. We have one of those Central Market type groceries with the gourmet and organic and normal all in one things. The women from around here in their Juicy Coture jogging suits and Prada sunglasses perched on their heads with their 2.5 children and full make up seem always be there when I am. And, I feel made up these days if I have chapstick on, ya know!?

    Our HOA has a group that drives around and literally looks for violations. We once got a “citation” for our landscaping being unkept, but the landscaping is maintained by the HOA??? SO, HELLO?? You guys rat on us for not doing YOUR job?

    I seriously HATE Dallas.

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