Spring Fever

May 24, 2016 — 44 Comments

spring fever

You know that thing where you’re walking down the street and men can tell you’ve just had sex? They must have some kind of fornication radar.

If I leave a friend’s apartment in the city, after we’ve had some #sexytimes, and walk a little ways before catching a cab, men will follow me down the street. Not in a scary way. In a “Hey baby, I don’t know you but would you like to come back to my apartment even though your head might end up in my freezer?” kind of way.

Okay, that’s pretty scary.

Guys are very forward in New York. It’s an urban thing, I think. You don’t get ogled as openly in the suburbs as you do when you stroll through Lincoln Center after two hours of hardcore car sex.

Not that I have done that.

Car sex is the suburbs dirty little secret. All those minivan-driving soccer moms and dads don’t tell you the real reason they bought that Honda Odyssey is, back row comes out, middle row folds down flat, voila! it’s a bed.

The parking lot at the gym is like a scene from Caligula.

Spring fever. It’s totally a Thing, and I have it. It makes me want to do crazy things, like jump in my car and drive 13 hours straight to Nashville, to hang out with my college bestie who now lives there. Even after the debacle we had there last year.

This past weekend, one of her fave bands came in from Columbus, Ohio to perform and they crashed at her house. Six guys. They were perfect gentlemen, by the way, those Midwestern boys. They drank two cases of beer and put every CAN IN THE RECYCLING BIN and no, that is NOT a euphemism for sex.

 

So, getting back to spring fever. It’s Monday evening and all I can think about is how much I love tequila. I would love to knock back a couple of shots of Patron this very minute, but that would fuck up the whole homework vibe.

Today, I had my annual gynecological exam. We ladies have to get our vajetable gardens rotated once a year. I used to see the female doctor in the practice until she impersonated female SS guard Irma Grese and tried to electrocute me from inside my smush mitten during a routine “procedure,” so now I see the doctor who delivered my kid.

The thing is, the doctor is really good-looking. He was cute back then, but 12 years has made him much sexier. Which is something that ONLY HAPPENS TO MEN. He’s now ‘handsome in a late 40’s man’ way, instead of ‘cute in a boy’ way, and he has a great personality, and I have spring fever and did I mention how handsome he is?

He was all up in my bajingo and asking personal questions about my sex life, and the next thing I know I was saying flirty things and batting my eyelashes at him.

I have no idea how that happened. Yes, it was sort of surreal. Plus there was a woman in the room, she’s always there and she’s about 100 years old. I think she might be his mother?

No, that would be completely weird. But she’s old and motherly and she’s always there when he gives pelvic exams but she really didn’t interfere with our flirty flow and I’m suddenly very, very glad I’m anonymous.

 

After that, I went to the supermarket and within 12 seconds, some dude was hitting on me at the deli counter. And I never get hit on at the supermarket. The gas station is usually my jam. Yeah, I’m like Miss America in the Field of Dreams at the ol’ gas station, and those attendants are typically delighted with me. Or maybe it’s my red hair, which in their country means that I’m a prostitute.

The point is, Supermarket Guy knew someone had just been all up in my business, even in a routine medical way.

 

Is online dating for the dregs of humanity, or is that just my experience? So far, I’ve had a guy ask me about wearing diapers, and another one inquire as to how much I enjoyed doing laundry. One man in his mid 40’s told me he was a freelance “painter/filmmaker/writer” which is code for “waiting for my parents to die.”

The most recent man online sent me pictures of the trophies he earned as champion of that card game “Magic: The Gathering.” He’s hoping I will accompany him to an upcoming comic convention, and as enticing as that sounds, I’m busy that weekend shaving the lint off my socks.

Those were the good ones. One man messaged me “I WILL PAY YOU $2 FOR YOUR SOCKS I WILL LITERALLY PAY YOU TO PEE ON A SOCK WHY DOES GOD HATE ME SO MUCH I AM SO FUCKING LONELY.”

 

Online dating is terrifying, because when you meet these people they want to have actual conversations with you about the healing properties of bone broth popsicles which is why I prefer to meet where the music is VERY LOUD.

I become even more non-filtered when I’m feeling socially anxious. While in Portland with my college bestie, I was doing my best wingman for her while some dude chatted her up at a coffee bar/drug dispensary.

I’m not sure how the conversation turned to her being a cancer survivor, but he refused to believe it. He started out flattering, telling her she was so full of life and energy and zeitgeist and joie de vivre and KonMari. Then he became super annoying and finally I interjected with, “What are you saying? CAT Scans or it didn’t happen?”
I guess you had to be there.

*This blog post brought to you by one long, continuous unedited stream of consciousness at the behest of my girl GKelly who suggested I write about flirting during a pelvic exam, after I posted it on Facebook.

Do you have spring fever? Have you had some weird online dating experiences?
What about weird gynecological experiences?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.

dreamstime_xs_15584161

 

It’s a simple formula. Write something offensive and inflammatory, sit back, and watch the flames blaze out of control.

Publishing intentionally sensationalist pieces designed to generate enraged clicks is going to garner more attention than meaningful writing. So when Josi Denise (link intentionally not provided) decided her Mommy Blogging days were over, she fantasized that she would take down all Mommy blogs with her as she stormed off the Internet.

To accomplish this, she launched a vitriolic attack on Mommy bloggers, and drew massive undeserved attention. She claimed that her blog is disingenuous, artificially cheery, and just “sucks.”  As part of a moral and creative epiphany, she wanted to write more substantial material. Frustrated with being taken advantage of by big brands and PR firms, she declared war against writing sponsored content.

Packaging your disgruntlement as a rancorous tirade towards everyone else, whose work and motivations you have no clue of, is more than just misdirected hatred. It’s socially and culturally irresponsible.

It’s women to women misogyny. And in the online world, where people act without consequence, it is especially brutal.

 

Some view “Mommy Blogger” as a pejorative term. Blogging in and of itself is a target in the professional writing world. Blogs are a self-regulated publishing platform, and as such, can be filled with questionable content and rife with cringe-inducing spelling and grammatical errors.

Mom-centric bloggers, who typically write about their homes and family, are often stereotyped as stay-at-home moms, with little or no writing skills, hoping to “make some extra money” blogging. This is a damaging cliché.

“Mommy Bloggers” write bestselling books. They have elite bylines, including The Washington Post and the New York Times. They publish gorgeously crafted essays designed to reach across the cyber channels to support other women in the often desperately lonely journey of raising a family.

Thankfully, the lines are being blurred here, in both directions. I may not write about diapers or breast-feeding, but my son is my highest priority. He is the subject of the majority of my blog posts, despite the reputation I have for salacious content. Am I Mommy Blogger?

And if I am, what of it?

Even if the stereotypical Mommy Blogger does exist, why do we need to judge her? How does telling all Mommy Bloggers that they “suck” help one woman on her journey to a different creative outlet? It doesn’t.

I have no experience in the world of writing sponsored content. Perhaps it is deplorable and inauthentic. Perhaps bloggers are being exploited by big brands and PR companies. It was especially important, then, that this blogger actually communicate her message, without alienating the very audience she was hoping to enlighten.

If there is a seamy underbelly to the Mommy Blogging world, Josi Denise could have called out the exploiters without being destructive and regressive in her writing. But she knew that it would drive anger-based traffic, and that was more important to her than contributing to the quality and diversity of women’s voices online.

She chose to feed the misogynist media climate and advance herself on the backs of women writers everywhere. 

The compulsion for women to tear one another down is deeply imbedded in the female consciousness. Intentionally and unintentionally, we collude with sexism – sometimes for personal gain, often, in response to feeling oppressed by a sexist society. However, the impulse to attack other women in response to feeling oppressed is a symptom of that same oppression.

We lash out at each other, instead of at the real issue.

Josi Denise is protected by her First Amendment rights. Like everyone else, she is allowed to publish what she pleases. That does not mean that these tirades are innocuous. We have a responsibility to acknowledge what hundreds of studies have shown – that media content directly impacts people; how they feel about themselves, and in turn, how they treat each other. Even if the writer does not have bad intentions, misogynist tropes in media are profoundly damaging to all women.

 

We are battling a world in which women are bombarded with false notions of physical perfection and hypersexuality. We are ravaged by sexual assault and domestic abuse. Even in 2016, women experience gender pay gap. Women writers are struggling to be heard in a male-dominated industry.

If we are going to move the needle on how we are treated, if we are going to create change of any kind, we have to join together. Can you imagine how much women could accomplish if weren’t preoccupied with publicly and privately maligning one another? If we stopped attempting to annihilate other women online, and in real life? If we focused our energies on building one another up and joining forces.?

Part of me is worried that by writing this, I am feeding the machine. I purposely refrained from saying disparaging things about this woman and her blog. That rhetoric would be dangerous and counterproductive. I would be contributing to the very agency I am battling. Because she, too, is a victim of our culture, which preaches and practices hatred against women.

She’s already received coverage on bigger sites. It’s only a matter of time before she’s mass marketing “Kill the Mommy Blogger” tee shirts. She finally got the widespread acclaim she sought, which eluded her in all her years of mommy blogging. But her big break came at a price – a price all women are paying.

 

Going forward, how can we –  men, women, writers or readers –  change this conversation from the inside without harming this, or future, generations of women?

Talk to me.
I’m really, REALLY, REALLY listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

dreamstime_xs_48359582

 

Sometimes, it feels like the ceaseless watchdog of political correctness has cut the balls off the English language. We have to monitor every word we offer for public consumption.

I’ve never been particularly invested in coloring inside the lines. But I’ve reframed my awareness of what may hurt others as empowering, not limiting.

You can live in denial of progress all you want. Nevertheless, it exists.

Progress can infuriate the public. When 17th century astronomer Galileo advocated that the earth orbited the sun, rather than the other way around, he was tried by the Roman Inquisition and found guilty of heresy. He spent nearly a decade under house arrest until he died.

People don’t like having their belief systems challenged. It took the Catholic Church 350 years to apologize to Galileo, who was unequivocally right.

Progress. With enlightenment, comes awareness. With awareness, comes responsibility.

 

 

It’s not that everyone is so damn sensitive. It’s that we’ve made progress as a culture. We’ve learned that language has the power to create injustice. To shape attitudes and influence actions and ultimately determine how people are treated.

I’m certain some people find it offensive when I use profanity. I have an incredible family of readers who show up despite my potty mouth. I’ve also lost an entire population of the reading public because of my language.

When does humor cross over the line from bold and edgy to insensitive and damaging?
Herein lies the problem.

 

I’m not suggesting that I be the arbiter of humor, but I’ll offer this as a parameter: avoid joking about OTHER people’s anguish.

This does not mean horrific tragedy is off limits. Many people who have suffered through cancer, for example, successfully inject levity into that experience and find it remarkably healing.

But I’M not going to be the one making cancer jokes.

 

Here’s my short list of what isn’t funny:

1. Rape jokes. This includes rape culture jokes. If Senator Claire McCaskill tweets that she is DONE with Game of Thrones due to graphic rape scenes and you ridicule her on your blog, cracking jokes about her jumping on the “anti-rape bandwagon,” you are participating in rape culture.

The “anti -rape bandwagon” is the finest fucking bandwagon in the universe to jump on. I encourage everyone to jump on it until their brains rattle in their skull.

Let me break it down. Anti-rape = good. Anti-anti-rape = bad.

Anyone who is callous enough to resort to this kind of humor has obviously never been close to someone who’s been raped. Once you look into the eyes of a woman whose psyche has a pile of ashes where her hopes and dreams should be, you lose all desire to exploit trauma for a laugh.

If you are accused of contributing to rape culture, and you sneer, “whatever THAT is,” you are officially part of the problem.

2. Heroin jokes. Lives are ruined, careers destroyed and people die from drug addiction. You have been blessed thus far not to have tangled with this demon, but don’t press your luck. One minute you’re tweeting heroin jokes, the next, you’re dropping your kid off at a rehab.

3. Jokes using the word “retarded” or “gay.” Many of us grew up using the word “retarded” to mean stupid, but we were adolescents with no accountability. Words matter. Before you use the word “gay” pejoratively, please check in with someone who has been fired, ostracized, bullied or beaten up for being gay.

4. “JEW” as an adjective. They’re Hanukkah doughnuts, not “Jew” doughnuts. Your lack of education is not an excuse. You have access to enlightenment via Wifi, so take time away from the Buzzfeed quizzes to watch Schindler’s List.

Persecuting Jews is not just a thing of the past. My son lost friends in kindergarten because the parents found out  he was Jewish. Yes, Virginia, anti-Semitism is alive and well in the 21st century.

In summary:

A person can be a Jew. It’s a noun.*
“Jew” is derogatory when used as an adjective.**

If you need this reviewed, ask your Jew boss about it.

*Nouns are person, places or things.
**Adjectives are descriptive words.

5. Boob Obsession. Everyone loves boobs, including me! I also happen to be quite fond of large penises, which I occasionally allude to. Yet, if all I did on Facebook and Twitter was post about big cocks, people would find me repulsive.

Should I have an entire Pinterest board called “Dick-Topia,” crammed with pictures of huge peni bulging through Speedos? If I tagged every post I wrote “Big Huge Cocks” would I retain credibility as a writer? Doubtful.

Have fun with occasional boob references but don’t devote your ENTIRE SOCIAL MEDIA presence to boobs. Aside from being creepy and desperate, you’re helping embed in our culture that it’s acceptable to reduce women to their frontal charms. You’re sending a message that women’s breasts belong to everyone. Don’t be surprised when your tween boy violates a girl by snapping her bra in class.

This includes tasteless jokes about Breast Cancer Awareness Day, which actually ISN’T about leering at women’s breasts flopping around, unencumbered.

6. Crazy jokes. One of the main reasons I never write about my PTSD, anxiety or depression is that I am terribly ashamed. I’m frightened that the people I love will stop loving me if I admit freely to having mental illness. People who glibly tweet jokes about craziness and psychos demonstrate insensitivity and intolerance.

Who among us is in a position to characterize what is crazy? Who isn’t crazy?
I don’t know any sane people. I just know some who are better at hiding their insanity.

 

 

A particular stigma has unfortunately manifested around being overly cautious with words, with some asserting that this is tantamount to censorship. I don’t experience refraining from making certain jokes as censorship. I feel empowered and compassionate.

And there’s so MUCH to laugh about in this world. I can probably write an entire post about how I get outwitted by laundry, weekly.

Like any art form, humor needs to be transgressive; it needs to push boundaries. However, exploiting pain for a cheap laugh simply demonstrates a lack of talent.

You’re fortunate to have led a white picket fence life, devoid of addiction, sexual assault or mental illness. On behalf of the rest of us, please choose your joke fodder without fostering a culture of disrespect around different identities and experiences.

 

What kind of humor do you find offensive? Are we getting overly sensitive, or just the right amount of sensitive?
Do you have a funny joke? Tell it to me. I’m listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.

donut and scale

There’s a reason why the expression is gym “rat.”  It’s not gym “puppy;” puppies are adorable and cuddly. Rats are annoying.

For most of my adult life, I was a gym rat. I exercised every day; some days, for hours. I craved the endorphin high and the all-day energy boost. I loved being fit and strong.

My life revolved around the gym. I didn’t intentionally set out to make gym friends but only other people who make exercise such a priority can stand gym rats. Everyone else finds us irritating.

It’s no wonder. While the rest of the world was “aaahhh”-ing over their first sip of coffee, I was at grueling outdoor bootcamp classes. The crack of dawn found me running around Central Park in tights, holding a tire over my head. If an alien from another planet observed me from a far-off galaxy, they probably imagined I was some kind of AAA superhero.

“Flat tire on 86th street? Car Repair Woman saves the day!”

The truth is, I replaced one addiction with another. Certainly addiction to exercise is better than one to heroin, or to cake. Heroin can kill you and excessive cake consumption makes me look like I’m pregnant with a 7-month gluten baby.

During my exercise mania days, I ate “clean” most of the time, which means, I stripped every bit of fun out of the experience of eating. Every day I ate grilled whatchamadingle with a side of steamed doojawockey. I removed sugar, alcohol and complex carbs out of my diet, along with the will to live.

I lifted weights. I trained with kettle bells. I climbed a zillion steps to nowhere on the stairmaster. I yoga’d and spun and kick boxed.

I set impractical and ludicrous fitness goals, like being able to do 20 unassisted pull ups. As my parting gift for this achievement, I received permanently jacked up shoulder joints. I have bone spurs in both rotator cuffs. It feels like tiny angry gladiators are spearing me right where my wings would attach to my body. If I had wings.

I’m supposed to get the spurs surgically removed, but I have to recuperate in a shoulder sling for months. It’s not really practical at this time in my life, or any other time for that matter, since I won’t be able to drive, eat, sleep or wipe my vag after peeing.

Over the years, I’ve injured every part of my body exercising. I’ve pulled muscles, pinched nerves and torn cartilage.

I sprained my asshole doing walking lunges.

 

There were other downsides to being an exercise devotee. Going to the gym was time-consuming. Aside from exercising, there’s also getting changed, traveling to and from the gym, showering afterwards – it took up hours of my day.

I put more energy into my relationship with exercise than I did with a living human being.

 

A little over a year ago, I started to dread exercising. Every time I went to work out, I wanted to run away from the flood of activity on the gym floor. I could no longer bear the sight, sounds or smells of the gym.

So I stopped. I know exercise burn out when I feel it.

Playing exercise hooky freed up so much of my time that day, I was delighted. Was this what it felt like when you’re not a slave to the gym?

 

I didn’t want to stop exercising completely, so I took up walking. But when it was snowy or rainy, I skipped those days.

Once again, I marveled over all the extra time. Gradually, I just stopped exercising.

And then the dam…BURST.

I started eating junk food, stuff I hadn’t eaten in decades. Doughnuts, and candy bars, and cake. Carb-o-rama.

I gained 30 pounds. Of course, it bothered me immensely. But some extra weight settled in my breasts, which were finally bigger than a B cup. The last time that happened, Cujo the newborn was gnawing on them constantly. Now, I was enjoying them.

No one complained that I went from “waif” to “sturdy.” And the extra fat in my face was like taking a Black and Decker steam iron to some of my eye crinkles.

I focused on the upside.

 

For several months I tried to burn fat just hating exercise, but it didn’t work. When I realized I was getting winded eating pancakes, I knew I had to start working out again.

I joined a gym near my house. The fitness director encouraged me to do some of the really extreme classes, but I declined. I used to measure the success of my workout by how nauseated I became. Nowadays, I have no interest in exercising to the point where I’m yakking in the ladies locker room.

I used to be hard-wired to enjoy the pain of exercise. In just a year, I managed to completely turn that around.

This has been such a paradoxical journey. On the one hand, I feel liberated. Those extra hours a day gave me more time to waste on the Internet write. Weekend mornings, instead of bolting out of the door to the gym, I hang out with my kid.

On the other hand – I worry about my health. My father died of a heart attack suddenly at age 46 – the age I am now. I think the the best way to avoid death is to become a moving target.

I’ve had to reframe my whole idea of myself. My identity was wrapped around being very skinny, and I’ve had to give that up. It hasn’t been easy, but to ease the pain of the transition, there’s cake. Mmmm, cake. 

I’ve started back slowly, going every couple of days. I do it because I must. Exercise has lost its allure for me. The whole time I’m on the treadmill, feeling like a hamster on a spinning wheel, I’m counting the minutes until I can get home and back in front of my keyboard.

The only thing I seem to enjoy exercising these days is my mind.

 

Do you exercise? How do you stay motivated?
Is anything as good as cake? Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.

avoid planning

 

I got married at city hall. I wore a white leather mini dress and white leather boots. I was going for an ‘Amy Winehouse retro’ look but ended up more ‘boozy Nancy Sinatra’.

Afterwards, we had a barbecue in our backyard. My lawn caught fire which I expertly handled by drinking copious amounts of tequila. I’m told I ran around the backyard in various states of undress, but I have no memory of that. It was pre-camera phones. Thank God.

 

I love to throw big parties, although admittedly, it’s been a while. I provide excessive amounts of food and alcohol, make an 8-hour mixed tape that whips the crowd into an orgiastic frenzy of dance, and pray that no one pees in my living room.

What I can’t do – or rather, what I loathe doing – is plan events like weddings. I got married at city hall precisely because I’d rather set my teeth on fire than worry about center pieces and invitations.

This is where “you do you” comes in. I’m sure there are scads of people who wouldn’t devote an entire Saturday to hunting down a Partridge Family lunchbox, like I did.

 

According to everyone in the free world, I should already have started planning my kid’s bar mitzvah. It’s in November. Most mothers where I live would have already booked a summer face lift.

There will be a Saturday morning service at the temple, at which time my kid has to read his haftarah– a portion of the Torah.

It’s endless pages of hieroglyphics, and everytime he practices it, I marvel at his ability to learn a language that’s written right to left, in a completely different alphabet. Considering most people I know mangle this one.

There’s a small brunch-y reception right after the service,the kiddush, and then a big party that night. I have to decide what we’re serving at both those events and it has to be kosher, and what foods are kosher?! and did I forget to mention that my Ex used to call me “the Shiksah” because I don’t know jack shit about my own religion?

I should have already picked a venue. Places are booked a year in advance. But they won’t re-open CBGB’s to host a bar mitzvah, and beyond that, I don’t care.

 

A month ago, I was asked what my kid’s “theme” will be.

Theme? I was having a fun little fantasy wherein I begin every conversation at the party with “So, these adult diapers I’m wearing” and then this…theme thing happened.

I went into protective mode. I became a hedgehog whose life is threatened. I shot up my prickly spine and hissed and hoped it would all go away.

The decor and centerpieces are supposed to reflect said “theme” and I’m wondering if the theme can be “themeless.” Just like this blog.

My kid is looking forward to a party – after all, he’s been studying for 5 years – but he’s not invested in how elaborate it is. He did, however, also ask about the “theme.” HISSSSSS.

I have to pick out invitations and pre-invitation invitations, ‘Save the Date! notices. This locks people in so they can’t get a better offer at the last-minute and ditch us.

I have to decide who we’re inviting, and who we’re leaving out because we’re not inviting everyone we’ve ever known and I’m capping this bitch at 50 people.

We’ll need a DJ. But not JUST a DJ.

You need pyrotechnics and flashmob choreography. People hire entertainment companies, complete with girls dressed like rap video hoes, to get everyone shaking it on the dance floor. And to get air humped by pubescent boys.

 

Traditionally, the bar mitzvah boy has personalized yarmulkes (beaniescreated in his favorite color, with his name and date printed inside. Little Dude cannot make up his mind what color to have, and recently suggested rainbow-colored. Which would be convenient, if we were going straight from the bar mitzvah to the Gay Pride parade.

I need to wear grownup clothes to this. Not just one outfit – I’ll need TWO. One suitable for a morning service at the temple, and one for the party that night. I have to buy these because I DON’T OWN CLOTHES LIKE THAT.

I’ll probably break tradition and wear a rock tee-shirt and jeans to the party that night because (this is becoming my mantra for the event) WHO CARES? My kid is fine with that, but has already put me on notice that I have to wear something “mom-ish” to the morning service.

I’ve decided to purchase an expensive, tasteful dress at a local department store. I’ll wear it with the tags still on it, Febreze the shit out of the armpits and return it the day after.

 

 

My mother passed away last fall, and while going through her belongings, I found ancient family photos. One yellowed packet contained photos of my eldest brother’s bar mitzvah. It was right before my father died, leaving my mother a widow with six kids.

It’s the only bar mitzvah my family had, although I have no memory of it beyond these photos.

I am 3 years old in the pictures. I don’t remember my father, or the mother of those pictures. She is laughing and whirling. She is beautiful; her body svelte and her flaming red hair matching her red lips. She is holding a cigarette in slender fingers just like mine, elegantly photographed at some catering hall in the Bronx, I suppose.

I do remember my brother, although he too, is gone now. There’s one picture of him holding me, laughing. Behind us are our parents, who are smiling for the camera, but mostly for the day and the joy it held.

Everyone but me in that picture is gone.

All that remains is a faded analog reminder of a different era; a time when we were all still alive and together and happy.

 

My son deserves his day.

Tomorrow, I start planning.

 

Are you good at planning these events? Do you want to plan this one?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.