Monthly Archives: April 2013

How To Say “Thank You”

I was weirdly offended by this Buzzfeed post this morning.  For those of you too lazy to follow the link, it’s basically about how men have no right to ever call you pretty and you should shoot them in the face if they dare to approach you.

Okay, it’s a little more in depth than that (although one comic does show a woman shooting a guy’s head off, which, if the roles were reversed, would cause a screaming uproar.  But the gist of it is that no one, not even the president, is allowed to compliment you on your looks.  

This is the kind of thing I’d expect from, in between them praising Cat Marnell as a beacon of feminism and gossiping about Kim Kardashian as a giant slut.

Here’s the thing.  Strangers can’t see your brain.  They can’t read your thesis or see that math problem you’re working in,  You obviously put work into your awesome outfit, and it’s pleasing people, which is nice, because that means you’re a work of art.  People compliment things they enjoy.  They say, “Hey, that was a good movie,” or “hey, I really liked that song,” or “Hey, that meal was delicious.”

So if someone says, “You look pretty,” how about saying, “Hey, thanks,” and moving on with your daily life? 

I had a guy once tell me I looked like I stepped out of a movie because I did.  I’d put a lot of effort into my outfit, this rad vintage dress and little red socks and a headband.  I was glad someone noticed.  I thought it was sweet and told him so.  Then I went to my bus seat and put in my headphones.  That was the end of it.  I didn’t owe him a conversation, so I didn’t give him one and he didn’t pursue it further.  But I also didn’t make a federal case out of it because it wasn’t worth the aggravation.  I like being told I’m pretty, because I know the people who know I’m smart will tell me so.  (Also, I don’t need anyone else’s validation.)

I’m not saying you should respond sweetly to every scumbag who tells you he’d fuck you (because seriously, that’s rude), but how much damage does it do if some guy passing says, “Hey, you look nice today.”  Would it kill you, would you actually wither up and die if you said, “Thank you” and kept walking?  My guess is no.

(The “smile, beautiful” thing does warrant a punch in the face, though, because that’s invasive. That’s a command, not a compliment.)

You don’t owe anybody a date.  You don’t owe anybody a conversation.  But here’s a hint, girls.  Not everyone in the world wants to bone you.  Sometimes, a compliment is just a compliment, meant to bring a little sunshine into a day packed with work and obligations.  And if you don’t want to take a compliment, don’t, but then don’t sit there and complain that everyone is a jerk and no one is polite anymore.  Maybe, just maybe, a more polite world starts with you.  You don’t have to blow every guy who compliments you.  You don’t owe harassers a smile.  But try saying “thanks,” once in awhile.  You might find your world is a little friendlier and maybe you’ll realize that the whole world isn’t out to sexually harass you.

And hey, would it kill you to compliment someone else?  Tell a stranger you like their shoes or their bag or their kicky fedora.  Just kidding, no one likes fedoras.

Looks Like HGB Was On To Something . . . .

Science says Helen Gurley Brown (and me!) were RIGHT!

I’ve been going braless for about two weeks now, and I’m pretty much determined never to wear one again, except maybe under tee-shirts because I don’t like the space between (or the bouncy). But it’s just more of an excuse to wear HALTER TOPS!!!!


Oh, Baby

That was some trip, your mother oiling you and patting you all over with scented oil.  The comforting sensation is still with you, isn’t it?  Get acquainted with it again; buy yourself a big bottle of baby oil and keep it on your bathroom shelf.” Stan Place, Stan Place’s Guide to Makeup (1981)

I (and my mother) swore by baby oil when I was growing up.  She bought the lavender-scented gel kind, and all my sisters used it.  In the last few years, I’ve sworn by vitamin E oil, which I buy at Family Dollar and mix with perfume oil for a nice scent.

But I found a bottle when I was cleaning out my father-in-law’s bathroom, and decided to give it a try.  The sensation of rubbing it on is nice, yes, but at the end of the day, while your skin isn’t itchy, it has a strange, papery feeling to it.  Smooth, but not silky or moisturized.

So unless you have some weird diaper fetish, you can do better that J&J.

The Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore

Never top a man’s joke” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  My friend Eeon is the funniest person I know.  We’ve been discussing Justified over email for the past few days, and while I’m writing thoughtful thesis-length essays on Raylan’s contributions to the continuing patriarchy, he’s writing that a better scenario would be if Raylan had a robot sidekick named Wyatt Earp (voiced by Val Kilmer)

Yeah, I can’t top that.  All I could do was laugh until I almost choked, which is my general reaction when I hang out with Eeon (or Pete–the two of them combined are just about deadly.  All the laughing is a good ab workout, though)

Not topping anyone’s joke is a good practice to get into.  There comes a time when someone has just told the funniest story you’re going to hear in that moment, and telling an inferior one will only bring the room down.  We’re so obsessed with having the last word, being the smartest, the funniest, the most awesome, that we stomp all over other people just to be that.

Next time someone tells a joke, just laugh at it.  Tell them they’re funny.  You’ll have time to tell yours a little later, and hopefully, they’ll give you the same generous stage.

“Drinking is not a social asset, like learning to dance well.  it is only a matter of personal preference.  Helen Valentine & Alice Thompson Better than Beauty.

I just read that Cat Marnell is getting paid five hundred large for her memoir about being rich and a drug addict because she’s TOTES INTERESTING, YOU GUYS.  I’ve read some of her stuff, and, like hanging out with your drunk/high friends, it’s utterly boring.  Because, newsflash, drugs make you insufferably dull.

But I’m not here to criticize Marnell’s boring, uninteresting, faux-edgy scraps of notebook garbage. No, rather, I’m here to write about yet another problem we women have to face, and that’s the pressure to be a “hot mess.”

I’m pretty straight-edge.  I drink tea and coffee, sure, and I have a glass of wine once in awhile (like, maybe once a month) I’ve never smoked or touched drugs, and I even hesitate to take prescriptions.  In the literary sense, that means I am boring.  I don’t know if it’s some sort of misguided attempt at feminism (GIRLS CAN DO DRUGS JUST AS WELL AS BOYS!!!) or what, but the rich-girl-on-party-drugs memoir seems to remain a trend long after the publication of Prozac Nation and Smashed (both of which were boring and made me want to hit the narrator).

At the risk of sounding old, doing drugs does not make you interesting.  Being rich and doing drugs makes you even less interesting.  The fact that you were strung out at Fashion Week, Ms. Marnell, does not a good story make.  Instead of making you seem fashionable, it merely makes you exactly what you are–a spoiled, selfish, rich whiny tramp.

But driving to go see Jurassic Park the other night, a bunch of drunk girls staggered out in front of our car, screaming in the face-melting banshee way only drunk girls can scream.  One of them, the fat friend of the group (in Oneonta, the ratio is 3 party girls to 1 fat friend), was wearing cutoff shorts crammed so far up her chubby cheeks they could be considered a g-string and a shapeless crop top with considerable flab hanging out over the acid-washed waistband of the aforementioned shorts.  And all I could wonder was did she look in the mirror and think damn, I look good!  And at the end of this night, when she’s puking her guts out in the garbage can of the dorm room of whatever guy drew the short straw to take her home, will she still be thinking damn, this is the best night of my life!

I don’t know.  I’m not one of those types of girls.  Maybe it’s because I never had the money or the glamour to get away with it.  Maybe D.A.R.E worked, I don’t know.  But one time I asked Matthew if he though I was boring because I’d never done drugs (or even been drunk, for that matter) and although he said “of course not,” I wish I could go back to that Me and tell her “Even if he (or anyone else) says yes, darling, he can go cook a radish, because you are more interesting than any angel-dusted trollop could ever be.”  

The Braless Wonder

“Forget” some of your lingerie.  Anything you’re not wearing out thread by thread is money in your piggy bank. . .  if you’re small but firm-busted, you don’t need a bra.”  Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl.

First things first.  HGB is one cheap little tart.  Pennies?  Seriously?  My favorite purple bra, which I don’t even like that much, cost me $14 at TJ Maxx and I’ve had it for over a year.

That being said, I love going braless and the thought of going back to one (even my not-as-terrible purple one!) makes me want to cry.

I could probably still fit into my first bra (which was also purple!) because my boobs have not gotten any bigger since about 7th grade, when they just sort of showed up.  I am a 36A, the flattest in my family.  I’ve never liked wearing bras; I can never find the right strap-to-cup ratio.  

I was never too bothered by my lack of boobage.  My ex bought me a big gel-padded push-up bra, which I wore because the gel part was kind of like a pillow.  But otherwise, all my bras have all sucked.  I can’t think of one where I thought to myself “Yeah, I’m glad I’m wearing this extra layer of fabric when it’s 108 degrees out!”

I like that I can wear cute halter tops without a bunch of straps hanging out.  I like that I can wear low-cut shirts without being told to cover up–what would I cover up anyways? My boney clavacle?

Plus, I’ve rediscovered the great joys of the camisole.  All silky and whisper-thin.  Lovely.  Now I just need to get a few better slips for under my dresses.

So you win this time, HGB.  Burn ALL the bras!


Follow Up (That Was Fast)

The writer in question HAS SINCE APOLOGIZED.  You are now welcome to buy any of his books.

And maybe I lashed out too soon.  But I have a real thing about being told to keep quiet.  Yes, I know, Arlene tells me to never top or correct a man, but my first boyfriend was constantly up in my kitchen about how I embarrassed him or how I was too loud or maybe I should change my outfit because it drew to much attention.  Hell, my own XSD, who is a strong contender for the Worst Person Ever*, once called me an “embarrassment to my family” because he didn’t like the boots I was wearing.

So yeah, I get a little oversensitive when people tell me to quiet down, cover up, settle down or shut my mouth.  But I stand by the point I made, even if it wasn’t the point this writer was making.

Apology accepted.  Public spanking over.


*Beat out only by his skank-ass girlfriend

Proof that Lent is Really, Really Over

Today some shitty crime writer made a comment on Twitter about wanting Boyd Crowder’s wardrobe, to which I responded that I, too, would like jeans that fit as well as his do. “Those jeans do wonders for his round, bouncy ass,” I wrote, feeling fun.

It’s scientific proof that Walton Goggins has a beautiful backside.  The costume designers from The Shield and Justified wouldn’t keep cramming him into those skinny jeans if he didn’t.  Red Dirt, which is admittedly a terrible movie, devoted several minutes to making sure we saw him showering.  The first comment on his January 31, 2012 AV Club Interview is about his butt.

Oh yeah.  It’s good.

But like some ape out of one of my project books who thinks he’s Don fucking Draper, replied “Okay, settle down there.”

Fuck. You.

I will not “settle down,” and I sure as fuck  won’t be talked to like a child who’s had a few too many Cadbury Eggs and is jumping up and down in front of your boss.  If any of his other asshole friends had made some comment about Ava’s (admittedly nice) buttcheeks, they’d all be having twitter high-fives.

It comes down to this: women aren’t ALLOWED to have feelings of wanton lust, and they sure as fuck aren’t allowed to express them publicly.  That would be OUT OF LINE.  That might make a guy FEEL BAD ABOUT HIMSELF.  Because women have to be pure and only save themselves for one Big Strong Man.  Women never watch a TV show (or see a movie) they hate just to stare at an actor’s round bouncy backside.  Because that would be SLUTTY.  That would be IMPURE, and we WOULDN’T WANT THAT.  If women are allowed to talk about sex, then they might not want to know how to please their boyfriends.  And we all know that’s the only reason God put woman on this earth.

Fuck. You.  I may be pretty, and I may be sweet for the sake of this project, but sorry Arlene, I’m not going to let some ebook writing douchewad tell me to shut my mouth because he doesn’t like what came out.

PS: This guy wrote (and published!) a story where he got to have sex with me.  Real classy asshole.

The End of Lent . . . and the Beginning of Something Better

Happy Easter!  Lent is over, with $40, a buck per curse word, in the One Great Hour of Sharing envelope.  One curse word per day–that’s a considerable change from my usual vulgarity.  AWP tried my fortitude considerably, but otherwise, I held pretty strong.  Even during G.I. Joe: Retaliation. (I cannot get over how completely idiotic this movie is.  It’s become a bit of an obsession.)

But I’m not looking forward to getting back to celebrity gossip and cursing.  I won’t have to put a dollar in the kitty each time I do it, but it wasn’t like I was counting down the days until I could drop a casual f-bomb or see what Lindsey Lohan was up to (spoiler alert: no good).  I feel a little cleaner, a little less weighed down.  It’s a feeling you can only get on Easter Sunday, when the sun is shining and the Peeps are peeping and it finally, finally seems like spring might actually arrive.