Category Archives: Lady Stuff

Consider This A Verbal Selfie

Five Things I’m Thinking About Today:

1. Ever since we got back from the beach last week, I’ve put Sublime in heavy rotation. That one album – Sublime, the one that came out right after Brad Nowell died – so perfectly captures the laid back feeling of summer days. Love.

2. Even though I binge-watched the entire series two weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about Orange is the New Black! I keep Googling stuff about the show, checking the cast’s Facebook pages and stalking them on Instagram. My favorite of the OITNB Instagrammers is Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee on the show. SHE IS SO ADORABLE I NEED HER TO STOP! (click the pic for a darling video)

3. I am an occasional smoker. There, I said it. Especially when I have a lot on my mind. (Or have had more than a couple cocktails.) I like the feeling of pausing and just watching the smoke for a few minutes while I take a minute to think. I have also heard – and I think maybe it’s true – that smoking is not considered a healthful activity! So I recently decided to switch to e-cigarettes for at least the majority of my smoking occasions.

My review: not as great as actual cigarettes but considerably less likely to kill me, so, ya know, sticking with it ’til I decide it’s just too weird and that smoking actually sucks and I stop all together.

It’s weird how there’s no set end time with an e-cig. With a real coffin nail, there’s a period of time when you’re smoking and then you’re done because you’ve burned it down. Not so with the e-variety.  An I never thought it mattered to me, but the awkward size of the e-cig is, well, awkward. Instead of feeling like this:

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E-cigs feel more like this:

allisonstopalready(Fans of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will recognize this as the awesomely horrible Allison Dubois at Camille’s Dinner Party from Hell. I could watch that episode over and over and over.)

4. I <3 cover songs. I have devoted ridiculous amounts of time to creating playlists made of nothing but covers of great songs – the more unlikely the cover artist/song combo, the better. (Katy Perry’s cover of MGMT’s “Electric Feel”? Perfection.) So I really enjoyed this list of 21 Cover Songs That Make You Realize How Amazing the Originals Were. 

5. Being tan feels so good, you guys. Like smoking, it’s not great for longevity or the long term appearance of one’s skin. But I love having a real true SUN tan so much! I’ve tried spray tanning and it’s a decent substitute for the sun that first April day you decide to rock a skirt without tights. But honestly: nothing beats the freckly golden glow you get from spending a few hours relaxing in the sunshine.

Preferably with an icy Michelada and Sublime bumpin’ on your system.

 

Our D-I-V-O-R-C-E Became Final Today

And that’s that.

Received my Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce in the mail today. In the eyes of the Superior Court of Fulton County in the State of Georgia, it is considered “that the marriage contract heretofore entered into between the parties in this case, from and after this date, be, and is set aside and dissolved as fully and effectually as if no such contract had ever been made or entered into.”

So. As of June 10, 2013 our union is legally dissolved as if it never happened. For us, it’s been dissolved for quite awhile. We’ve been living apart for almost exactly two years. In our minds and our kids’ minds, we’ve been divorced since sometime in April of 2012 when we decided to call it quits after a year of separation. Legal stuff has never mattered much to us anyway. We consider our anniversary to be April 4, 1992 since that’s the day we stood before family and friends and entered into a marriage. We found out later that a ship’s captain is only allowed to legally marry people when they are out at sea – whoops! – so we had to go to the courthouse sometime in September (I truly don’t know the date) to make it “official.”

Ours has been a drawn out divorce, but not an acrimonious one. It took so long mainly because it was such a big decision to really and truly pull the plug. Also because we are both exceedingly lazy and with no beach houses or Ferraris to fight over, we took our time. Our lawyers told us that ours was one of the most civil and respectful settlements either of them had ever seen. We didn’t know how to take that. I’m sure they meant it as a compliment, but we’re not trying to get good at divorcing each other so, uh, thanks?

Why am I sharing this? I try hard to keep this blog superficial and fun. I guess I’m sharing it because, well, it’s big. Even after two years, it kinda lays me out that it’s really all over. But no matter what the court says, it DID happen: a contract was entered into and it was entered into in good faith by all parties. I hope the two people who share us as parents always feel assured that they were created from real true love and from the sincerest desire that the marriage would last forever. I know it’s a little melodramatic (so am I) but I guess I want people to bear witness.

I’ve said before that I often follow Hemingway’s directive to “write drunk, edit sober.” Tonight I’m not drunk, but I’m not gonna wait to publish because I might just change my mind. I’m sad, happy, wistful, excited, somber, stunned and hopeful – all at the same time. Tomorrow, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming. For tonight, let’s pour out a little Henny for something that happened and is over now. As Mike Skinner (The Streets) says in Empty Cans, “Something that was not meant to be is done / And this is the start of what was.”

How About We…Rant About Dating (With GIFs!)

Since my divorce, my friends have been hassling me to get out there and go on dates. In general, I’m like:tumblr_inline_mnff9qdsKt1qz4rgpI know everyone means well, but the reality is that I’m pretty happy on my own. This is the first time in my adult life I’ve been single and I kind of love it! I really feel good about where I am right now!

tumblr_m6y5xifLJH1qjzveqo1_500I’ve already spent enough time on Match.com to know it’s not for me, at least not for now. But I read about a site called HowAboutWe.com and I was kind of intrigued. The idea is that you post a date that sounds fun to you – mine was the Paella 101 class at Barcelona – and then people can respond if they think they might want to go on that or some other date with you. The idea that I might meet someone fun based more on what we both want to do rather than on strict criteria like “Agnostic over 6 feet tall and under 50 with kids” sounded somewhat appealing to me. Or at least less awful.

So I decided to try it. And here are some of the actual date suggestions. Please to enjoy.

“How about we… go to dinner, movie, a walk in park and take a carrots ride.”

nene wineOhhh, here we go! How about you learn to proofread?

“How about we… Throw burritos at sidewalk joggers while driving.”tumblr_m5f366PIBa1qk8dyk

Ha. Ha. You are very clever, aren’t you?

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You Guys, I’m Pretty Sure Angelina Jolie Didn’t Cut Off Her Boobs for Money or Publicity

I’m loosely affiliated with a group of mid-life bloggers called Generation Fabulous. By “loosely affiliated” I mean that I was invited to join the group after a friend of a friend who is one of the group’s founders read my post about Match.com. I was and am thrilled to be a part of the group. I don’t post with them very often, primarily because I still think I’m in my late 30s (which I definitely am not) rather than in mid-life. This is my own issue, not proud of it, blah blah blah. Also, I mostly write about superficial stuff and my posts about being annoyed by Beyonce and Gwyneth’s friendship don’t look too good next to pieces about caring for our aging parents.

Even though I don’t post much, I love what the Gen Fabbers are doing and I think it’s cool that marketers are starting to pay attention to this very influential demographic. Until recently it seemed like they were only interested in mommy bloggers. I like to keep up with what’s happening and there is some really great writing happening in the group.

One of the ways I keep up is via a group Facebook page. This morning, someone posted a link to a site which claims to have “proof” that Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy was “part of a clever corporate scheme to protect billions in BRCA gene patents and influence Supreme Court decision.”

Say what?

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Do You Need Something to Be Furious About Today? Here Ya Go!

Yesterday a friend of mine who probably wouldn’t call himself a feminist (don’t worry, I’ll get him there in time) sent me a link to a video. This was the note that accompanied the link:

“This video is called ‘The Perfect Technique for Kissing a Girl in 30 Seconds’ but should be titled ‘Guide to Raping Women in the Street.’
You see how he grabs on to them? At least one definitely pushed him away. And the kisses looked more like him trying to bite them!”

This friend is not prone to exaggeration so I was curious to see what he was talking about. As much as I hate to give the “filmmaker” more views, you’re gonna have to watch the video to understand the rage it set off in me.

Am I crazy or is he basically committing sexual assault OVER AND OVER AND OVER?! What in the actual hell is happening here? The first woman he approaches must be a plant; her shitty acting is porn quality. But every other woman in the video appears genuinely startled and upset.

That a large portion of the internet is a stagnant, garbage-filled parking lot lake of filthy water is not news. So this asshole makes offensive videos for pathetic brodudes to watch and air high-five each other about? Whatever. Who cares?

Well, what makes this so, so much worse is where my friend came across the video.

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Oh, wait. You don’t read French? Here’s the headline in English. (Thanks, Google Translate.)

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Yup. This video – the one you just watched above, in which an aggressive d-bag grabs women on the street and mauls their faces – is just “the perfect technique for kissing a girl in 30 seconds.” Relax, ladies! Why so uptight?

The editorial board at Yahoo Quebec wrote that headline and the post that accompanies the video. To them, theirs is an accurate representation of the content of the video.tumblr_mf2vqa7VV81rccyxzo1_500

Ok. Are these people stoned all day everyday? Is Yahoo Quebec just an awesome place to work because you can hang with your bros drinking Labatt’s and comparing assault techniques all day?

In some ways, this brings to mind the iconic V-J Day photograph by Alfred Eisenstadt. The image is recognized all over the world as a romantic symbol of the elation of freedom.images-1

But the facts behind the picture tell a totally different story, one that is considerably less charming. And less consensual.

I’m so exhausted by all this. Aren’t you? I mean, the uproar over that Dove video is one thing. Sure, it’s worth discussing. But I firmly believe that we as women are at least as guilty as men are of heaping appearance-based hate on each other. I don’t ever defend the Kardashians but look at the fat-shaming that Kim has suffered while she’s f***ing PREGNANT. Jesus.

At least that Dove commercial was trying to emotionally manipulate us to sell soap. This douche-y auteur Vitaly is just going around grabbing women – my friend described the guy’s hand as a “rape clamp” –  and filming it. And getting nearly 5 million pageviews for it. (I don’t even need to tell you that avoiding the comments section below the video is best for your mental hygiene, do I?) In the same week that three women who’d been missing for more than a decade were found alive in a gruesome neighborhood prison, I just don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Without being too dramatic, I can honestly say that not once in my life have I ever been alone in a public space without my guard at least somewhat up. There is never a time when I am alone anywhere that I am not at least peripherally aware of the possibility of some man getting too close to me, or saying something offensive to me, or – worst case – physically violating me. Honestly, it’s much easier now that I’m older and more mom-ish, but I still get unwanted attention nearly every time I pump gas or go grocery shopping. Even if it’s something as comparatively benign as being commanded to “Smile, pretty lady!” when I’m mean muggin’. Hey, Asshole. I’m scowling so a man JUST LIKE YOU won’t consider me even remotely open to your proprietary advances.

The idea that there are preteen boys doing Internet searches on “how to get girls” and landing on a seemingly legitimate website like Yahoo to find advice like this just makes me want to go to a corner and rock back and forth for the rest of my life. And as long as women’s bodies are regarded as public property, this kind of thing will continue to happen.

It’s a good thing that women over 40 are anathema to shitheads like Vitaly. Because if he pulled that shit with one of us, he’d be picking up teeth.

Linked In Can Suck It and Here’s Why

God, I hate Linked In.

A couple years ago when everyone started jumping aboard the Linked In ship, I was waving from the dock with a cocktail, wishing everyone bon voyage. My initial dislike of it was simple: I thought their design was ugly and boring and also I was an unpaid stay-at-home mom not looking to “network” with other stay-at-home moms.

I can’t remember who sent me the first “Invitation to Connect” but at some point I thought, “Damn, I better swim on out and see if there’s still any room on that boat!” I accepted that Linked In wasn’t the passing fad I thought it was. So I created an account and have maintained the laziest and most blah of profiles, while trying to Beadazzle™ my Facebook and Twitter (and sometimes Pinterest*) on the daily.

Since I’m looking for work in social media now, I’ve done tons of reading about the usefulness of Linked In. And I’ve been advised by people I like and respect to beef up my profile. Damn it. I have to do this now. But first I’m gonna rant for a minute about why I hate it and don’t have to like it and you can’t make me. sam_spratt_300_linkedin_gizmodo_copy

1. I hate self-promotion.

Right now I’m supposed to be writing my own reference letter for an associate (fancy) who is going to sign it when I’m done. I’m having the hardest time! I can write a recommendation for someone else in a quick second but writing about how awesome I am is not coming naturally. And saying that you’re good at things means you create the expectation that you’re actually good at those things! I know, I know: weak. But getting on LinkedIn and coming across like a serious person who knows what she’s doing is haaard, you guys.

2. The endorsements thing is a total scam.

Because of this blog, I get a lot of endorsements that I really, truly appreciate. When I see that someone has endorsed my writing, or web content, or social networking, I feel like it’s a really nice hat tip. But I usually can’t reciprocate. I don’t KNOW if I should endorse your proposal writing skills. ARE you really good at segmentation or integrated marketing? I don’t know because I don’t work with you and I don’t really know what you do! You’re a great pal and I love our chats, but we haven’t talked about your skills in Adobe Creative Suite so I can’t say if you’re good at it!

3. PEOPLE CAN TELL YOU’VE STALKED THEM.w6cRgyY

This is why LinkedIn is just the worst.

Remember a few years ago, everyone was seeing these scammy ads telling you you could see who’s checked out your profile and then it all turned out to be fake because thank God the one thing Facebook hasn’t taken away from us (yet) is the ability to hide our stalking? Well, Linked In totally lets you see who’s checked out your profile. Grrreat.

The problem with this is that let’s say there are only a few people in the world that you would definitely say that you hate. Like, you loathe them. Your interactions with them from more than a decade ago still have the power to get you heated. You may have even crafted a revenge fantasy or two. Then let’s say one boozy evening you decided to google this fool and see what she’s been up to. And LinkedIn comes up first so of course you click on it. Now you’ve visited her profile. She thinks you’re interested in her for good reasons, not bad, shameful, you-should-have-moved-on-by-now reasons. And then BAM! The next day, there it is: your “invitation to connect”! And attached is a stupid note saying something vague about how long it’s been and how glad she is to reconnect. D’OH! You don’t WANT to reconnect with that heifer! But just the fact that she knows you looked gives her the upper hand. And then you cry violently at your life.

In the next few weeks, I am planning to try to do some real networking and self-promoting on Linked In because I know that I need to grow up and accept that it’s important to try to appear professional in order to get people to pay you. But I will be rolling my eyes the whole time.

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*Let’s talk about Instagram another day.

Instagram WISHES It Was This Cool, And Other Things I Learned From A Box of Pictures

I don’t think I’ve shared this on the blog, but I am not currently employed full-time. Or part-time. Or even at all. I hope it won’t stay this way for long but that’s the way it is right now.

So while my kids are at school, I find myself in a strange place where there usually isn’t anything pressing that needs to be done. When you have younger children, there is always – ALWAYS – something that absolutely has to be done, but once the kids are older, the day-to-day urgency of chores lessens a bit. This is all a very long way of getting to my point which is that sometimes I have enjoyable stretches of time to do what I want.

I try to use these found hours to do things I’ve long put off. One project I’ve meant to take on forever is going through my boxes of letters and mementos and seeing what’s actually there.

Today I pulled out a couple of boxes of “special things” and ended up on an all expenses paid tour of Memoryland (Memory Lane is just one small street) that sort of blew my mind. You guys. Here’s what I realized: kids today – yes, I just wrote that – will probably never know the joys of finding a box that contains stacks of pictures and letters and cards. It just won’t happen. Coming across time-stamped and organized emails from your first boyfriend will never be the same as opening a yellowed envelope, holding a letter in your hands, remembering the handwriting. Swiping your fingers across your phone, gazing at the faces of lost loves will never be the same as finding a snapshot tucked into a book. Kids still give each other cards and things (wait, do they?) but there was something truly magic about opening up a box to find a disorganized jumble of memories. Here are a few I found today.

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Proof that I’ve always been an excellent speller, as if I needed that. And wouldn’t you know? They misspelled my name. 

 

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First concert. Awww, yeeeeah.

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My granny was my hero when I was a kid. She was hilarious, salty, and fun – everything I aspire to be! In this picture, Granny is posing next to picket signs made by her neighbors after she hosted a party and didn’t invite them. What a bunch of fun drunks.

An incredibly detailed scrapbook made (out of construction paper!) by my childhood friend, Roxanne. We are still close and we always remember the intensity of friendships between girls before they discover boys. A lovely example.

An incredibly detailed scrapbook made (out of construction paper!) by my childhood friend, Roxanne. We are still close and we always remember the intensity of friendships between girls in those years before they discover boys. This is a lovely example.

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My dad and me at my high school graduation. He was actually very handsome, even though he’s making a weird face here. I don’t have many pictures of us together so this is a treasure. Sidenote: It makes me want to cry that I thought I was fat then.

Double exposures! A roll of film in which a baseball game showed through in pictures of my wedding. Instagram WISHES it could do this.

Double exposure! A roll of film on which pictures of a baseball game, a backyard pool party AND my wedding were shot. Instagram WISHES it was this cool.

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The Week in Celebrity Vaginas

I probably should have used quotation marks around celebrity because the people I’m talking about are celebrities in the same way people like Ingo Rademacher and Sean Lowe (who?) pass as “stars” on Dancing with the Stars.

So, how about this? Some people that a lot of people are aware of said some stuff about their vaginas and I have some things to say about what they said.

Let’s start with Amerika’s favorite sisters, the Kardashians. I generally try to limit my exposure to Kardashianalia. There are a number of reasons for this but the primary reason is that I CANNOT LISTEN TO THEIR VOICES. Because I love trashy pop culture so much I want to marry it, I know that not watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians leaves a gap in my knowledge base. So I have tried, Lord knows I’ve tried, to watch the show. But I have never made it through a full episode because of those voices. The combination of that flat, nasal whine and using “like” every fourth word makes me feel insane.

Also, Kim’s face freaks me out.

But I am aware of them because DUH. So when I read earlier this week that on their television show, two of the sisters asked a third sister to compare and judge the smell of their vaginas, I thought, “Well, of course. Of course they did!” The way in which the winner was determined is that sisters Kim and Kourtney individually wiped their vaginas with a cloth napkin and then each in turn presented their napkin to sister Khloe for a sniff test.

That’s right: these adult women smeared (sorry!) their essences (again!) on a piece of cloth, which they presented to another adult woman to judge.

Big surpise, Kim was the winner! Know why Kim was the winner? Because Kim getting peed on by a third-tier R&B singer ten years ago is the reason these people are on TV. How is Kim gonna lose?

Here’s my favorite line from the whole thing: “Do I want to be the judge of the pineapple p***y?” Khloe rhetorically asks. “Not really, but we’re sisters … if I can’t smell their p***ies, what else am I supposed to do?” Exactly, Khloe! You just summed up sisterhood beautifully! I mean, come on! WHAT ELSE ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO?!

Some would argue that Amanda Bynes is even less of a celebrity than the K sisters. We’re splitting (pubic) hairs here, but at least Amanda Bynes had a career as an actress with her own TV show and a movie or two before turning full-time professional car wrecker. Everyone pretty much forgot about her until she started acting all weird and druggy a few months ago. And then she went on Twitter with this lil gem:

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. . .

C Bale WHAT?

Um. I don’t . . . I just . . . WHAT?!

I guess she means she wants to do sex with Drake? But Amanda, WHYYY do you use words as though you’re a non-native English speaker?

Even though we hear the word “vagina” in public more now than we used to, it still pricks up the ears when people talk about their own. It’s sort of a guaranteed attention-grabber.

So, to you, masochistic Amanda Bynes and you, sweet-smelling Kartrashians, I say well played. Well played.

The Longest “Girls” Recap You’ll Ever Read

Oh my God. What the hell happened last night? By the time the episode ended with another Q-tip jammed in Hannah’s ear, I had folded myself into a fetal position. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen three people so spectacularly self-destruct over the course of 30 minutes.

Lena Dunham took a ton of shit last season for the show. Part of that was simple “how dare you be a hilarious, smart, successful average-looking young woman and be this funny?” But it was also because the characters she created were so spoiled and seemingly devoid of self-awareness. That’s why I was only a sporadic, On Demand watcher last season. It’s also why I don’t typically hang out with people in their 20s. The lack of self awareness is draining. This season, I feel like LD is working to show people that she gets it; she gets that these people are over indulged, self-centered brats. And she really made her point last night.

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You and me both, girl.

Hannah ::

The episode started with Hannah meeting with her e-book publisher who matter-of-factly tells her he didn’t read the pages she sent him because he didn’t want to. Wow. Okay. Um. So he suggests that she fictionalize her sex life, before sending her on her way with the parting comment that he looks forward to not reading those pages either. (Hannah, blogging is ten times easier and probably as lucrative as the stupid e-book. Do it! )

Later, Hannah is on the floor, presumably working on her book. After she gets a splinter in her butt, she removes it. Of course. Because what would an episode of Girls look like without bare Hannah flesh? Looks like we’ll never have to find out!tumblr_inline_mgxo6xxYrr1rqli3pAnyway, she finds herself driven to clean her ears. (Don’t even act like you haven’t had that same compulsion. Usually it happens to me in other people’s bathrooms but let’s move on.) She proceeds to injure herself by putting something “smaller than an elbow in there” against her irritated mother’s screechy advice.

She ends up in the hospital, being scolded by an older Indian doctor. This is just the sort of man whose hard work and presumably much less privileged circumstances leave him with zero patience for whippersnappers who hurt themselves in stupid ways.

I like that Hannah didn’t talk much in this episode. She sure got her comeuppance and then some, huh? Dismissed by her publisher, annoying to  her parents, berated by a doctor and blown off during a chance meeting with Adam. She’s not doing well right now and maybe, possibly, life is taking the wind out of her usually inflated sails?

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What’s the Difference Between Embarrassment and Shame?

I mean, obviously I have access to the internet – and even bookshelves! – so I could look it up. But I’m more interested in what you think is the difference.

The hilarious Julie Klausner wrote a post last week about seven embarrassing moments she would never forget. It inspired me to write my own version, thinking it would probably be pretty funny.

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This is embarrassing.

 

But as I began trying to list unforgettably embarrassing moments, I think what I came up with instead were moments of shame. Yup, aside from “that time I fell off my bike at Colonial Plaza mall in front of a car full of teenage boys” all I could seem to conjure up were moments when I felt not embarrassment, but shame. Incident after incident in my head felt a lot more depressing than “boy, was my face red!” embarrassment.

Falling off my bike won’t make you think I’m a bad person. But sharing some of the things I’m ashamed of might. And that feels maybe too vulnerable?

After pondering it all week, I thought I’d throw it out to readers. What do YOU think is the difference? How are they related? Can shame and embarrassment walk side by side?

Or is Shame the mean-spirited, chain-smoking bad influence on innocent little Embarrassment? Does Shame make shit get too real?

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