Category Archives: Lady Stuff

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.

twinpossible.com

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?

nydailynews.com

Fat Bottomed “Girls”

Do you watch the HBO series Girls? I’m obsessed; have been since the first episode. I don’t write about it here, mostly because writing about it violates my stated mission to go deep into the shallow. You guys, I’m saying it’s DEEP. I think Lena Dunham is not just a buzzy wunderkind, but someone who will continue to successfully shake up conventionally accepted ideas about comedy and the Great American Gender Debate. The kid’s a gamechanger, I tell ya! A gamechanger! (I don’t know why my inner voice just changed into a 1930s gangster.)

So, I’m writing about this week’s episode mostly because there were some real-life Twitter antics that I thought would be fun to share.

If you didn’t see it, Lena Dunham’s character Hannah had an intensely charged – sexually and otherwise – encounter with an older, successful, incredibly handsome divorced doctor in his dreamy apartment. It started when Hannah came to his home to confess to throwing away trash in his cans. Before turning to leave, she impulsively kissed him. The surprising kiss led to raw, intense sex; a topless ping pong game; sleeping together on high thread count sheets; then more sex before Hannah completely freaked the F out. The whole thing ended as quickly as it began.

To put it mildly, there is a great disparity in looks between Lena Dunham and Patrick Wilson, the actor who played the doctor. And although every one of us has watched sex scenes with no trouble suspending disbelief when the man was considerably less attractive than the woman, it’s a bigger dare for an actress to make us accept that a homely girl could do hot sex to someone that much more attractive than she is.

But Lena Dunham is nothing if not a provocateur. Her Hannah can be a real asshole. Larry David is the only other person I can think of on television who is as willing to be such a complete, unrepentant jerk yet still remain interesting and oddly sympathetic to viewers. I give Dunham a couple extra points, though. We accept men as jerks, no questions asked. (Sorry: truth bomb.) And conventionally hot women can be “bitches” without losing viewers. But it’s a pretty bold act to be a complicated, smart, funny, jerk AND look more like a normal woman than a beautiful actress. And to be a rude, demanding jerk who gets it on with a total stud? That’s bold.

Monday morning, the Internet almost broke from all the chatter about how unbelievable it was that someone like HIM would have not just sex, but amazing sex, with HER. This kind of commentary was from not just random gross Internet commenters (the lowest form of life) but actual respected critics as well.

On TV, yes, it actually is kind of a challenge to accept this very plain girl winning the attention and the naughty bits of such a hot dude. But in real life? It happens. Kind of a lot. As someone much closer to the Lena Dunham end of the spectrum than the Megan Fox side, I don’t find it the least bit hard to believe. As Maureen Ryan put it, referring to people who can’t conceive of this reality, “I can’t escape the feeling that these people never went to any truly awesome parties in their twenties.” And this is why I love Lena Dunham. She’s obviously been to awesome parties.

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THIS. OUTFIT.

The real shocker here is not that Hot Guy did sex sex stuff with Plain Girl. The shocker is that she made it happen WEARING THAT SHORTS SET! For the love of God, scrub it from my eyes! The only possible way it could have been less flattering is if she wore it with Crocs.

I swear I almost started a “Hannah’s Shorts Set” Twitter account Monday. I was just gonna tweet “I’M SORRY” over and over and over, all day long.

Enough thinking! Here’s the fun part.

As Twitter was exploding Monday with vitriol about how fug Lena Dunham is and how “in real life, he would never do  a fat chick like her,” Patrick Wilson’s wife tweeted this:

OH, SNAP! Internet, you just got OWNED.

Dagmara, it turns out, is not only an actress, but also an author, a mother and a gorgeous woman who wears a size 10. Is her language too subtle? What she’s saying is:

“Suck it, haters! I’ll be bangin’ the hell out of my hot husband while you sit in front of your computer frothing about fat chicks.”

Here’s what Dagmara looks like. Dagmara+Dominczyk+Young+Adult+World+Premiere+YvrMlUerqOjl

Smart, funny AND gorgeous? I think I’m in love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

Oh, and this will be me later this evening, halfway through a bottle of wine, blasting “Dancin’ On My Own.”tumblr_inline_mhgu6btpxz1qz4rgp

UPDATE: This happened.Screen Shot 2013-02-14 at 8.58.30 PM

I Survived a Flywheel Class and Didn’t Barf

Yes. It happened. And it is so amazing to me that I’m forgetting all about star-type people today and telling you about this.

Flywheel is a sort of tricked-out spin class. It’s kind of a cool concept: you’re on a stationary bike, in sort of a amphitheater formation around the instructor, totally in the dark. The music is very loud and tends toward club sounds that you sort of gear the bike to keep up with. Sort of, kind of, sort of.

How did I end up there this morning, you ask? Well, although I am an exercise-averse woman, two of my very best friends are actually fitness professionals. Weird, right? It’s like atheists bonding with fundamentalists, vegans with carnivores: doesn’t make sense. Except that it does. Anyway, these two tricks are always trying to find something physical that I’ll really like. My friend Leigh – who used to be my trainer – cajoled me into trying Flywheel, mostly with the promise that the first class is free . . . and that the studio is totally dark. I was pretty much sold when I realized it was lights out in the studio. I am oddly vain about certain things, and people seeing me sweaty and red is one of them. I’m also a proponent of ear-splitting music to dull the pain of hard work.

I got a little scared when I drove up and saw that Flywheel’s tagline is “NEVER COAST.” Wait, what?

why-flywheel

This isn’t me.

Oh snap! Coasting is what I do best! I’ve made it a lifestyle! Even though I felt Flywheel and I had philosophical disagreements, I couldn’t let Leigh down. And plus I was afraid she’d already seen me so I couldn’t sneak back to the car.

That’s when I experienced my next jolt: everyone in the waiting area was between 25 and 35 and waaaifish. One chick whacked me with her giant Prada bag by accident (I’m giving the side-eye to “by accident”) and another practically whipped me in the face with her ponytail as she sprinted past. I didn’t feel great about these carb-starved gazelles but I felt loyalty to my friend so again, I didn’t leave.

The people there were really nice about helping me clip my shoes in and get the seat at the right height and then we began. Lights went WAY down, music started pumping, and the instructor enthusiastically instructed the hell out of us!

performance-metrics

Also not me.

It wasn’t bad, you guys! There were two low points: after one standing uphill interval that felt like it lasted 3 minutes but was probably 10 seconds, I really thought I might vom. Right there on the bike. Once my mind started generating pictures of other people fleeing and “eww”ing, and the instructor having to stop the class and turn the lights on, I actually felt sicker. But I rebounded and I’m proud to say I never coasted! I pedaled through the whole thing!

The second low point was when the instructor, trying to urge us to really pour it on, yelled “YOU WANT THIS!” and I spoke out loud, sort of to myself, sort of to others. What did I say?

“No. I don’t. I really don’t.”

The class seemed like it went by quickly and as hard as it was, I will probably do it again. I felt like the music was a little heavy on the Skrillex/dubstep but maybe I could sneak up to the front and suggest to the instructor that we just go all out Dirty South: Outkast, Three 6 Mafia, Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz, you get the idea.

Yeah, that would totally work.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s box wine o’clock. Since this song has been in my head all day – and since every day is a good day for Santigold – I’ll leave you with one of my faves: Lights Out.

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The One Night Stand That Lasted 25 Years

It’s time for another GenFab blog hop. The theme this time is “How I Met My Significant Other.” I don’t have one at the moment, but I DID, so here goes…

Twenty six years and [insert large number] fewer pounds ago, I decided I needed to have a one night stand. Back then, people didn’t make things like bucket lists (I still don’t) but if I had made one, “one night stand” would have been on it. Because I was getting older, you know, being 18 and all. It just seemed like it would be fun to be more like a dude and just once find someone to love then leave. Like a rockstar. “See ya next time I’m in town, babe. Or not.”

I failed miserably.

The college I went to is known for a certain let’s say, “eccentricity” among its students. Freak flags fly proudly from every freaky flagpole, if you will. When I graduated, the population of the school was 400, give or take a freak. A few times a year, the students would organize a huge school-wide party called a PCP, an acronym for Palm Court Party. PCPs were exactly what you picture when you imagine an outdoor party loosely organized by very young adults: drug and alcohol-fueled Bacchanals that typically lasted until the sun came up. At the spring 1986 PCP, I sat down on a wall with my friend – let’s call him “Chris” – and announced my plan to pick out a guy at the party and have a one-night stand. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: I’m gonna have a one-night stand. I mean, if I call myself a feminist and mean it, I just need to, ya know?

Chris: What are you even talking about right now?

Me: Seriously! Enough with all this romantic “oh, he’s so dreamy” bullshit! I’m gonna pick a guy out TONIGHT and it’s going DOWN. That’s it!

Chris: I’m gonna go get another beer. Will you be done talking about this when I come back?

As Chris walked through the beer-soaked grass to get more beer, I scanned the party with the discerning eye of a very sophisticated, very independent young woman. A young woman who scoffed at things like “feelings” and “love”. (I was not that young woman at all, but I really tried, you guys.)

And then I saw him. The one. He was attractive in a conventional kind of way, not in that quirky way that most of the men at my school were. Deciding there was no point in wasting time, I confidently strode across Palm Court, eyes fixed on my prey. I introduced myself and chatted briefly about mutual friends and professors and other blah stuff. Even though I thought I wanted to make the deal go down that very night, I was charmed by his suggestion that we meet for dinner the following evening. Whaaa? A real date? Should have been my first warning sign. I should have aborted the mission the minute “meeting for dinner” was suggested! Continue reading

To Lib, On Your 20th Birthday

Oh, girl.

From where I sit, 25 years older than you are now, I’ve learned a few things I’d like to share with you. Not much of it is advice, mostly because I know you think you’ve got it all figured out and don’t have anything to learn from a 45-year-old lady. But listen anyway.

Here’s what makes this so difficult: as badly as I want to assure you that everything is gonna be great from here on out – you’re living on your own, in a relationship, getting a degree – I just can’t. Two years from now, your dad is gonna die. I know. I’m so sorry. You only got to really know him a few years ago and it’s gonna hurt like a BITCH knowing that’s all the time you’ll ever have. The one thing you will take from it – and this will serve you well the rest of your life – is learning the hard way that you should always – always! – say something to people who are grieving. The loneliness can be the hardest part for the people left behind when a loved one dies. After the casseroles are eaten and the flowers have died, people still want to talk about the one they lost. And they want someone to listen. You’ll know that and you’ll be able to give some small comforts because of it.

Your boyfriend is a pretty great guy. He’s handsome, smart, funny, and very much in love with you. People say you two were made for each other. And for a long, long time, it will seem as if they’re right. Your wedding will be a memorably beautiful and fun day, reflecting the sweetness you two share. You will enjoy that love for many years; you and he growing up together, sharing everything. And while your dad’s death will hit you like a strong wave, the end of your marriage will happen slowly. Day after long day, waves will quietly lap at the shore, until one day you no longer recognize the coast line. I wish I could tell you how to see it coming, but I can’t.

But the bright side of this is that you will still consider him family, probably for the rest of your life. How could you not? You share two children, the greatest accomplishments of either of your lives. You already know right now you want to be a mother, but you don’t know yet what that really means. You don’t even have any idea your capacity for love or heartbreak, and you won’t until you meet your baby Hannah. Oh, that girl is gonna test you. You will feel close to breaking, and I still don’t know the outcome of all that yet. You will be amazed when Lucy shows up, so different in every way. Same parents, such different girls. I think one day you and I will both feel pretty good about being their mom.

If I could give you one tiny bit of advice, it is this: that gnawing, ever present desire you have to make other people happy, and base your own happiness on your ability to create theirs? Yeah, that sucks. You’re gonna have to learn that the hard way. I wish I could tell you how it’s a losing game, but it’s gonna be awhile before you learn that one.

Oh, and you think you’re fat? Jesus. Honey. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Here you are at Laguna SECA Speedway at a Grateful Dead show. Dang, you’re a child!

Yep, life is gonna deal some tough blows, that’s for sure. But through it all, you’ll find two things remain constant. One: music will always get you through. Always. In the good times and the bad, you’re gonna be able to listen to music that will get you where you need to be. You can thank your mom and your dad for that. And two: you will always know how to have a good time.

It really will all be ok. I promise.

Want the Answer to “How Do I Look?” Ask Your Kids

The setting: a lazy summer afternoon on the beach with my then-boyfriend. Kicking back together and watching people in the truly carefree way that only college students can. We were playing one of those ill-advised “who do you think is hot” games. When Boyfriend pointed out a certain beach stroller as his pick, I quickly said, “Really? Did you see how fat her knees were?”

Her knees. Yes. I said that. I wish I could say I quickly caught myself but I didn’t. In fact, it wasn’t until years later that I had the epiphany – the one we all eventually have – that women are primarily concerned with how they look to other women.

Your dude, when you ask how you look.

Men are so oblivious to the details we obsess over! We see ungroomed eyebrows, chipped nail polish, dated colors, and dark roots. They see boobs. We see dorky hat, way-too-cutesy print, and cankles. They see booty. Or a nice smile. Or a sweet disposition. You get the idea. (More after the jump)

Continue reading

Best of the Blog: Lady Mag Headlines We’ll Never See

It used to be that everyone who read my blog knew me in real life. I’m glad to say that’s not true anymore (hello, new readers!). So that we can get to know each other better, I’ve decided to feature a few of the most discussed posts from my old blog. Only the best for you! This was originally posted on 5.8.12.

  • 10 Ways to Get Your Kids Out of Your Face for 15 Flippin’ Minutes!
  • Maybe You Should Just Give Up on Weight Loss?
  • Best New PRO-Aging Treatments!
  • Piles: Today’s Hottest Organization System!
  • Angelina’s Baby Weight Loss Secret: COKE! Mountains of It!
  • Who Cares About Laundry?
  • Just “Befores” (Who Needs Afters?)
  • Stars: They’re Nothing Like Us! In Any Way!
  • Recipes That Will Make You Fat But Are Very, Very Delicious!
  • Nagging: Eh, Why Not?
  • Cocktails to Ease Morning Stress!
  • Meet the Star Who Gives Exactly Zero F***s About Her ‘Bikini Body’!

pic via funnyawesome.com

 

Pic: funnyawesome.com

Best of the Blog: Moms I’d Like to Punch

It used to be that everyone who read my blog knew me in real life. I’m glad to say that’s not true anymore (hello, new readers!). So that we can get to know each other better, I’ve decided to feature a few of the most discussed posts from my old blog. Only the best for you. This was originally posted on 9.8.10.

 

So, apparently Demi Moore tweeted this photo of herself in a bikini.Here’s the thing: we get it, Demi. We get it. You’re sexy. Yes, Cougar Mama, you still got it. Now, can you leave us alone and let us to go back to ignoring you? For me there’s something sort of pathetic and cringe-y about a 47 year old actress basically self-publishing her own pin up. I just don’t get why being sexy is still THE most important thing, your most valuable commodity, when you’ve grown older and presumably developed other aspects of who you are. I am all for the ladies keepin’ it fresh, but the ones who interest me, the ones I see as genuinely sexy are women like Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Juliann Moore etc. These women are intriguing because their “sexiness” is more of an afterthought, just a complement to their talent. Sadly, I imagine Demi thinks that being sexy is going to make Hollywood care about her again. She doesn’t seem to realize that having nothing but flat abs and big boobs really only matters when you’re young. Hollywood is not interested in older women who can’t act. That’s a young woman’s game.

And speaking of young women, how do Demi’s daughters feel about this twitpic? (I love that word.) My teenage daughter wants to crawl under a rock when I do anything she perceives as “trying to act young.” I don’t believe that mothers have to conduct themselves at all times as if their daughters are watching. But in public? Yeah, they’re watching. And probably wondering a) when do we get our chance to be the hawt chick in the family and b) mom, why don’t you go do something else for awhile.

Oh, and before y’all start hatin’ (“U r jus a jellos fat cow!!1”) of course I would love to have DM’s body. I’m a few years younger than she is and have only 2 kids (she has 3) and have never looked that good in my life.

Now, onto the reason for the plural in the headline. The best part of this whole story is that Lisa Rinna, even more of a no-talent than Demi, tweeted an “homage” to her “idol.” Yes, an homage to  Demi Moore. Sure, Lisa, that’s what it is: an homage. Not buyin’ what yer sellin’, girlfriend, because I see you throwing out your hand, snapping in a z-formation and saying, “Oh yeah? I look just as good as she does. I’ll show her!”

Ladies, grow up.

 

Loretta Lynn Is 77 Years Old and Cooler Than I’ll Ever Be.

Chastain Park

When I heard three months ago that Loretta Lynn was playing Chastain Park Amphitheater, there was no way I was gonna miss it. Those of you who live in Atlanta are familiar with Chastain. But for people out of town, Chastain Park is an absolutely beautiful city park in Buckhead. There are horse stables, and leafy, winding roads and it’s gorgeous. The amphitheater is a wonderful place to see a show since it’s relatively small, and  you can nearly always bring in coolers and little tray tables. You can rent a table down in front and you can either bring dinner or have it catered. Long story slightly shortened: it’s a lovely place to spend an evening.

So my bestie Carla and I met up to spend an evening with the most famous daughter of a coal miner in the world. We heard from Carla’s hairdresser – reliable gay source – that there was a cool new bar in the basement of the Georgian Terrace Hotel. I lived in the Georgian Terrace for a week last year while a TV series filmed in my house, so it brings back great memories; memories of having the car brought around so I could take the girls to school, and memories of ordering up slices of cheesecake and milk before bed. I could get used to that life quick, fast and in a hurry.

Anyhoo, the place – Proof & Provision – looked really intriguing so we took seat to check out the menu. And then we sat. And sat. And sat some more. Finally a very irritated-looking kitchen guy brought over water and silverware. And then we sat, watching the two waitresses stand over by the bar, picking at their nails and playing with their hair. Nope. Don’t think so, girls! One of the great things about being older is knowing exactly what you don’t need to put up with. We peaced out and went upstairs to the very lovely Livingston Bar, where we enjoyed a couple rounds of Ponce Pom Fizzes and a cheese plate. Delish.

Right around the time we estimated the opening act would be going on, we headed out for the venue. Finding an amazing parking spot (it’s always good when you don’t have to totter on your heels over bumpy trails) made us feel like the night was definitely going in the right direction. In Carla’s super cute cooler, we had the makings for Dark and Stormies so we filled our Solo cups and sat back just in time for Loretta’s daughter Patsy to come out and introduce her mom. She assured us that LL was very excited to perform and that we wouldn’t be disappointed with her…or her dress! Sure enough, the First Lady of Country Music came out in one of her amazing, full skirted, full glittered gowns. Powder blue, naturally. She proceeded to play ALL the hits with her band, the Coal Miners. She kept asking the audience what they wanted to hear and she played ’em all: The Pill, Fist City, You Ain’t Woman Enough, Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’, Blue Kentucky Girl, You’re Lookin’ At Country, One’s on the Way*, and on and on. In between songs, she bantered with the crowd, inviting everyone up to her ranch in Hurricane Mills – Tennessee’s 7th largest attraction! For Carla and me, hearing those songs was nostalgic and sweet. That’s the sound of growing up. The sound of Hee Haw and Merv Griffin and the Carol Burnett Show. The sound of AM radio.

via @zooeydeschanel (Loretta chose ZD to play her in the Broadway production of Coal Miner’s Daughter.)

And something I realized for the first time Friday night is what a PR problem feminism has. What I mean by that is that someone like Loretta Lynn is unlikely to identify as a feminist. Yet this powerful woman had hit songs in the 1970s about birth control pills, the terror of realizing you had another unplanned baby on the way, the thankless nature of being a wife and mother, etc. If that’s not a feminist, honey, I don’t know what is. I don’t know where we went wrong, but it’s sad to think how few of us want to identify ourselves as feminists these days. I would hope that someone like Loretta Lynn would feel proud of all she did to advance the choices women have today. And she probably does. Who knows? Obviously, after this shitty, shitty legitimate rape-y week, this stuff has been on my mind, as I’ve contemplated how to explain to my daughters that the things the women who came before them fought so hard for are in jeopardy.

I feel so grateful that I got to see her live. I wish she’d done more of the songs from her Jack White collabo, but I’m not complaining. Seeing her was seeing a true living legend and I loved every minute of it.

In case you need a reminder of her astounding talent, here you go:

*What the what? Did you know Shel Silverstein wrote this song?

Can We Please Come Up With Something Better than “Vajayjay”?

I know it wasn’t long ago that I made a request that we all agree to stop using the word “panties” and it’s a little demanding of me to be back so soon with another request. But please indulge me.

I’d like to never, ever hear another adult woman refer to her ladyflower as a “vajayjay.” Ever.

<a href="http://www.photo-555.com" target="_blank">Photo 555 : free photos.</a>

I don’t think I can accurately describe to you how quickly I would run away from a man who referred to his Easy Rider as his “pee pee.” It would be exactly like a cartoon: I would quickly vanish and all that would be left would be a pair of smoking shoes in the spot where I was standing.

There are so many choices of what to call our naughty bits, girls! I’m not saying they’re all GOOD choices, but I think we have a number of options that don’t make us sound like itty bitty, wittle cuddle bears. Literally, there are hundreds of other choices!

In a more serious mood, I could probably think of several good reasons why we are compelled to come up with infantilizing terms for our front bottom. I remember in 5th grade when the girls were separated from the boys so we could watch that horror movie about “Becoming A Woman.” I don’t think I grew up with any particular body shame, but seeing the diagrams of the female reproductive system made me feel scared and squicked ouuut! And hearing about the fluids and functions of that thing? The supplies required for maintenance? It really made me feel like I had been handed the short end of the genital stick. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) I felt like I’d been saddled with something that was always going to be confusing and hard to maintain.

Maybe it’s that sense of the overwhelming power of being the female of the species that makes us seek words that make the whole thing sound way less intimidating. Friendlier, if you will. Almost a “rebranding.”

I’m not – NOT! – advocating that everybody start saying “vagina”, or that we need to lose our sense of playfulness when it comes to discussing our velvet-lined coin purses. I’m just saying let’s be a little more creative; let’s have fun with this! “Vajayjay” is stale and silly. It might have been mildly amusing for a few minutes when it came into the lexicon but it’s just gone way, way too far.

What do you say, girls? Do you have a favorite moniker for your hot pocket? Share!