What’s in a name? Everything

Enough of the Washington Redskins debate, already. It’s time for a change.

AP Poll Redskins NameThe first time I was called a cunt was in college.

My sophomore year I reluctantly took a grunt-work job at a collection agency, and my only task was to call strangers from a list of debtors and ask them to pay their bills. I hated every minute of it. My boss was an arrogant white man with bad teeth and a greasy comb over who routinely ordered me in his office to “see how things are going,” always closing the door and making awkward small talk.

On more than one occasion he crouched down next to me under the guise of correcting my phone etiquette – so close I could feel his stale cigarette breath on my ear and his eyes on my breasts. One day he cornered me in the break room and asked if I had a boyfriend. Continue reading

Hey, Stupid! I’m Talking to You

Why did Janay Palmer marry ex-Raven Ray Rice, even after the elevator incident? Dude, let’s talk.

 

Ray Rice with Janay Palmer

Ray Rice with Janay Palmer

Excuse me? I don’t think I heard you correctly.

Because it sounded like you just said, “Well, I don’t get why she married him! How stupid …”

While you’re nodding your head, let’s just sit down for a quick spell while I explain something to you, and yes, you’re going to listen.

While all the sports announcers and analysts are debating about who knew what and when they knew it – as if that really makes a difference – I’m going to let you in on some secrets. And I say secrets, because it seems like so many of you don’t have a clue when it comes to abuse. Continue reading

The truth about Brazilians

Cocktail parties are usually disasters waiting to happen. Not only can they be cesspools for juicy gossip and drunken mishaps, but there’s always that one person or group who just can’t seem to understand the simple concept of shutting one’s mouth.

So it wasn’t much of a surprise when I recently got sucked into a most uncomfortable conversation while attending a colleague’s soiree. A group of eerily tanned women were boasting about their upcoming ladies-only trip – an all-inclusive beach vacation somewhere tropical. Their dazzling jewelry jingled in unison as they slurred their descriptions of a pre-excursion check-list, which included very expensive spa treatments.

BrazilWhether we wanted to be or not, helpless guests were subjected to the final details: “Tomorrow we’re getting mud baths, fresh mani-pedi’s, and ooh, ooh, guess what!? We’re getting Brazilians!”

A charming older gentleman named Roger (who I had only just met) discreetly leaned over and whispered in my ear, “What is a Brazilian?” I promptly coughed and mumbled something about an empty wine glass and headed for the bar. Continue reading

Get a Life! Top Ten Tips for College Graduates

When I graduated from college about a million years ago, my main priority was to score enough champagne bottles for me and 20 of my closest friends. I didn’t have a job lined up, I had no idea where I was going to live, and “career ambition” wasn’t a part of my vocabulary. Quite frankly, I sometimes wonder how I ever managed to get a life. But depending on your definition, I did.

college-graduationIf only someone would have sat me down at the time and parcelled out meaningful advice. Except, let’s be honest, I might not have listened.

But now I’m full of it (advice, of course), and I’m ready to share it with anyone who might benefit. So here’s how to Get a Life! Top Ten Tips for College Graduates: Continue reading

A Serious Wish for Mother’s Day

ribbon“What do you want for Mother’s Day?”

Every year it’s the same question, and I never know how to respond.

A gift in a box, no matter the value, somehow seems counterintuitive. After all, Mother’s Day is dedicated to those of us who focus on almost everyone and everything else except ourselves. Our attention is drawn outward, for the most part, leaving little time for personal reflection, let alone wish-list development.

We are experts at managing the needs, schedules, lunch boxes and doctor appointments of those in closest proximity. We plan birthday parties and play dates, carpools and sleepovers. We mop up vomit and wipe feverish brows. At any given notice, we are able to calculate the ratio between dirty laundry piles and free hours of the day with staggering accuracy. Continue reading

Skirting Around the Issue

The question was innocent enough, I suppose, but I still spit out my coffee. It all began with a simple conversation.

womenboots“Mom, I can’t remember that saying, you know, about working hard when times get tough,” my 13-year-old daughter said. She was tapping on her laptop, crafting an essay for school.

“Oh, you mean the one about bootstraps?” I asked, trying to remember if it involved pulling up straps … or strapping on boots. Or maybe it had something to do with sleeves?

“No, that’s not it,” she replied. “Isn’t it something about hiking up your skirt?” Continue reading

Searching for Swank

I went shopping for a light fixture and came home with a doctor bill. I hear this happens all the time.

Paint-ChipsIt all started with a seductive color sample called Swanky Gray. I wanted it. No, I needed it – in my dining room. But I couldn’t paint a single ritzy square inch until I maneuvered my clunky 1990s china cabinet away from the wall. There was only one solution: I’d have to sell it.

Once I navigated the treacherous sea of humanity known as Craigslist, I found a buyer for the cabinet (along with its matching table and chairs) without getting murdered. The victory was short-lived when I realized that if I painted the now empty space, I’d have to also paint the living room sharing the same wall. Continue reading

Ban bossy? No thank you.

650queenI watched with curiosity as the new Ban Bossy campaign rolled out this week. (In case you gave up all media for lent, I’m talking about this massive initiative led by LeanIn.org, the brainchild of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.) The movement is also heavily supported by the likes of Girl Scouts USA and even (grab a tissue because the queen is here) … Beyonce. This campaign has some firepower, to say the least!

So let me go on record first by saying that I completely understand and wholeheartedly support any and all efforts to help girls find their voices and gain confidence in their ability to lead, to contribute, to make a difference. And I know research shows that as some girls grow up, they become hesitant to step forward … and for a number of reasons. Young girls often feel misunderstood, or torn between being liked and being labeled. Continue reading

War of the Poses

I’m growing tired of the pose. Oh, you know what I’m talking about … the way our young women position themselves in photos these days – one hand on hip, elbow out, weight on one foot and a certain tilt that resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

prom_dressI don’t know where this trend originated, nor do I understand how it managed to spread, but this strange Photo Posing Phenomenon (PPP) has found its way into Instagram accounts everywhere, leaving permanent marks on memories and group experiences.

Young men have their own version of PPPs too, only their version involves contorted faces – usually with an open mouth and a wayward tongue, accompanied by gangsta-wanna-be hand signals. But I don’t see them trying quite as hard as the girls. Continue reading

Five stages of a polar vortex

The first time I heard the term “polar vortex,” I honestly thought it was a new line of ski wear. But then I heard the words jet stream, North Pole and weather event. I knew this wasn’t going to be fun.

The good news is that all of us in the path of this phenomenon had plenty of time to get ready. The bad news is that all of us in the path of this phenomenon secretly thought, “It just won’t be that bad.”

polarvortexI wish the meteorologists would have also provided some air time to mental health professionals so we would have been prepared. I guess that’s not their job. But now that I’ve almost lived through one (I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to get out of my house tomorrow), I’m here to help. Continue reading