Monday, April 20, 2015


Miguel, "Do You..."

A song that functions as both a question and a promise, posted today for no particular reason.


How Divorce Works According to The 1998 Remake Of The Parent Trap

maybe they just loved each other tooooooo much
1. There will only be one photo of you. Upon your divorce, you will ceremoniously rip it in half, and gift the half depicting you to your ex. This is entirely normal.

2. Should you have children, a custody official will see it perfectly fit to separate them, so long as you have already called dibs on your favorite. Definitely make sure to get the one with the English accent.


I Can't Wear Heels

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 4.15.28 PM
and it tears me up inside!!!!!!!!!!!

On Friday I took a real lunch break to celebrate the incredible weather, doing that wide-eyed blinkey thing people who live on the garbage side of this planet’s hemisphere do when all the snow goes away and you’re really, really sure it will never come back, just like “ah sunshine,” faces tilted up like dumb little tulips. So I was out partially because of the weather and partially because I had ordered these shoes off The Internet™ from a mass-market mall brand that waives the shipping fees if you pick up the item in store which seemed like a responsible decision. The shoes are pretty cute, but honestly, the only reason I ordered them was because they were the only reasonably-heighted heels that came in my size. Do you know how rare it is to find heels in my size?!? For the record, I wear a size 5, yes I know that is cartoonishly small, yes I know it’s a miracle I can even stand upright, moving right along. Anyway, as soon as I saw the size 5 number I was like SOLD put these on my body immediately.

I have a Cool Wedding™ to attend in early June and the prospect of going in flats was weighing heavily on my tiny feet for a lot of reasons. First, I love heels the way I love all the most impractical kinds of fashion: recklessly, stupidly. Heels, when worn correctly, fake a kind of self-assurance and strength in their wearer. The sound they make!! The shape of your legs, elongated by a crisp point!! They connote power and they force a very unnatural kind of grace because every step matters so much. No one can forget they’re wearing heels while they’re wearing them. Heels encourage mindfulness. And, I mean, they just look fucking sexy. They’re gorgeous and terrifying, two qualities I’d most like to embody in my daily life.

But I go back and forth between two competing instincts: first, trying to make peace with the fact that I cannot walk properly in heels, and more than that, three hours in a pair of ill-fitting heels and the pain will turn me into such a monster no one will ever mistake me for a gorgeous boss bitch and just a red-faced menace, and that the beauty of heels comes from the confidence the wearer feels in said heels, and since I do not have that I just have to embrace cool flats or slight platforms with whatever of my dignity remains, and second, the completely irrational “but I’ll look so cooooooooooool” that echoes through my head when I hold a pair of really good heels in my equally tiny hands.

I have a really beautiful dress for this wedding, but it’s simple; My Look™ is going to be all about the accessories. So, getting back to the point, I ordered those dumb small shoes and walked to the store, headphones in, sunshine on my head, just daydreaming about how my entire life was going to change once I put these shoes on. Surely my previous issues with heels came from the size, not my own confidence issues; trying to fake my way into a size 6, typically the smallest size manufactured in North American shoe markets, had been my downfall (literally) (because I fall when I wear shoes that are too big for me) (you get it). I walked with the kind of stride I imagined I would feel when these perfect shoes would be on my feet and did that thing where I impulsively stopped into a store wearing one pair of sunglasses and walked out wearing a completely different pair (plus a new purse, lol) because I was just having a GREAT DAY.

Let’s back up for a second so I can talk to you about why these shoes were so important.

For the last few years, I have played an incredibly fun and thought-provoking game with some of my friends: it’s called “What’s Your Look?” As the name implies, the question requires a single answer that encapsulates the references, inspirations, aspirations, and effect you hope your seasonal look will communicate to everyone who looks your way. We play this game right as the seasons change: What’s Your Summer Look, What’s Your Fall Look, etc. I like to turn it into a story with a character, location, and conflict, but that’s not entirely necessary. As an example, my Winter Look was “recently divorced mom [see: Alicia Florrick] goes on ski weekend with the friends she lost touch with while her marriage imploded.” So, like, light blue jeans, big hiking boots with red laces, big knit sweaters in neutral colours, huge soft scarf, slightly messy hair, tasteful and minimal gold jewelry. When I explained this look to Jazmine she was like “why does the mom have to be recently divorced” and I said it was because that would make her prime for a sexual reawakening and I’m pretty sure that’s when she was like "I quit." BUT I DIGRESS. READ MORE

Chatting About Women On 20s: The Final Four

Ester: Hello!

Nicole: Hi! So today I learned that I don’t really know what a mutual fund is. Turns out it is so much more than what I was imagining.

Ester: Hahahaha I thought we were going to talk about Women on 20s, not our own ignorance of finance! (Viz, this piece in the April issue of Marie Claire, in which I am quoted confessing my lack-of-knowledge.)

Nicole: Yes, let’s absolutely talk about Women on $20s. We are down to four candidates, yes?

Ester: Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Cherokee chief Wilma Mankiller. Replacing Jackson with Mankiller seems like a no-brainer to me. What could be more American than that?

Nicole: I am definitely rooting for Chief Wilma Mankiller, and you know everyone is going to make the “Mankiller” joke, so it feels embarrassing to re-make it, but she lived an amazing life. Also, she is not particularly well-known, at least not in the “Eleanor Roosevelt is a household name” sense, which makes the designation feel even more meaningful. It’s your contribution, not just because you’re famous.

Not to denigrate any of the other women’s contributions! This is hard. Why can’t we have four $20 bills? READ MORE


32 Feelings & Then Some: An Inquiry into the Non-Legacy of Ani DiFranco

Lola: Hello and greetings. Today, we approach a deceptively simple query: Why doesn’t anyone listen to Ani DiFranco anymore?

Meredith: I just want to make clear to you, most righteous of babes, that Ani DiFranco raised me. I know all the words to every single song, every single giggly live track interlude. When I was 14, the sun rose and set with Ms. DiFranco, but for the kids today, she seems to have all but disappeared off the cultural map. So what gives?

Lola: As professional lesbians and amateur cultural detectives in a committed lesbian cultural detective relationship, we (Meredith Heil and Lola Pellegrino) felt none were more qualified to solve this mystery. Let us begin.

Going Down Hypothesis.
In early 2015, we waged three (3) separate attempts to make out to three (3) separate Ani DiFranco albums. All three failed to yield anything save a foundational postulation from Lola: “Nobody listens to Ani DiFranco anymore because you really, really can’t make out to this music unless you’re a teenager.” Meredith countered, “But I diiiiiiiid!” But that’s what Lola’s saying.

Sick of Me Hypothesis.
Much like how the most fatal viruses kill their hosts too quickly to ever lead to widespread epidemics, Ani “infected” her victims so hard and so terminally that they failed to infect others, so the outbreak flamed out.

Outta Me, Onto You Hypothesis.
Today’s media landscape boasts so many out, queer-identified famous people that we’re no longer resigned to projecting our queer dreams and aspirations upon a cis woman who has two babies with a cis man. To whom she is legally married. A husband-man. Her SECOND husband-man.

School Night Hypothesis.
Because all of our Ani stuff is somewhere at our parents’ house? We don’t know, it’s like, a photo scrapbook, this notebook with poems inspired by her haircuts and some ticket stubs. We can show you when we go back there for Easter; we think it’s in the basement. READ MORE


Horror Stories From Sex-Ed Classes

The lesson Jerry wanted to impart? This: “You’ll find a good girl. If you find one who says ‘no,’ that’s the one you want.”

He actually said that. If a girl says no, “that’s the one you want.”

Silly me! I have been teaching my son that if a girl says no, you exit politely and get the hell out of her space.

Hol-eeee crap. You know, back in my day, we practiced putting condoms on cucumbers and got a booklet of abortion laws in different states from Planned Parenthood. People just don't have the same values nowadays. Breaks my heart.


Please Welcome Alexandra Molotkow

Oh hi! Good morning! I have some extremely exciting news for you, but first, let's take a breath and gather some background. Hi. Where are we?

This is The Hairpin dot com, an independent website that is run by women. We publish writing and other kinds of work to the world by women (and some men), and is read by women (and some men). We like to say that we're a home for "petty enthusiasms," which is why you'll find lots of articles on Drake, or placenta face masks, or extensive definitions of important concepts—because we like those things and we want to share them with you!

Here's something else you should know about The Hairpin. On May 4th, Alexandra Molotkow will become our new contributing editor.

Alexandra is an incredible writer and editor who has written many wonderful things for many wonderful places (more on that below). She also has impeccable taste in music and vintage Ferragamo flats, and somehow, when she pours tequila and soda and a splash of lemon into a glass, it tastes better than when anyone else pours tequila and soda and a splash of lemon into a glass. Alex and I spoke about all the IMPORTANT ISSUES—who we are and all that junk—so that you can get to know her before she starts. You're welcome.

Haley: Are u hiding in invisible?

Alexandra: Oh shoot I thought I was visible. Hello!

Haley: No let's stay invisible. It's ~sexier~

Alexandra: OK. Lol.

Haley: Ok SO. I wrote down a few questions.

Alexandra: Wicked. You know I love questions.

Haley: And I love answers. Ok, time to focus.

Alexandra: Let's get this burger fried.

Haley: Well, now i want a burger. OK HERE WE GO. Super easy existential question to start: WHO ARE YOU?

Alexandra: Well, the straight answer is I'm a writer and editor from Toronto. I write an arts column for the Globe and Mail and I was a founding editor at Hazlitt and before that I was an editor at The Walrus and I have written for The Believer and The New York Times Magazine and THE HAIRPIN.

The authentic answer is oh my gosh Haley who the heck knows who they are what is the self.

Haley: Oh sure. Second question, equally difficult: where are you right now?

Alexandra: I am on my old bed in my tiny apartment, typing on a folded duvet!

Haley: Lol I'm on my couch slouched down with my laptop like right under my chin. Such glamor.

Alexandra: SO glamorous like you wouldn't even believe.

Haley: Like just round the clock glamor.

Alexandra: I'm wearing a very beautiful dress that I only wear around the house because it means I never have to feel bad about never getting dressed.

Haley: OH that's such a good idea!!

Alexandra: I know!! It revolutionized my life.

Haley: So as we love to say over and over again, The Hairpin is a home for petty enthusiasms. What are YOUR petty enthusiasms, besides gorgeous house-dresses? Or including gorgeous house-dresses, whatever. READ MORE


Weekend Roundup / Open Thread

Yesterday I spent a half hour trying to fax paperwork to the Brooklyn Courthouse to prove that I'm self employed so I don't have to do jury duty next week, AND IT WORKED. And of course they refused to let me scan and email all the documents to them, but emailed me that I no longer have to serve. I see you, Brooklyn Federal Courthouse, and your insistence on fax machines even though an easier alternative is clearly available. You don't scare me. I actually wrote about the last time I had jury duty here, and yes I am all for doing my civic duty but right now my duty is to the Hairpin! Also unless the trial is an exact recreation of My Cousin Vinny I'm not interested.

OK what happened this week? Haley fixed our eyeliner and it was Selena's birthday. We talked about losing hair, and self-care, and made some nachos. We are all Team Grover, we are all Beach Witches, and we are all definitely spending this weekend learning to breed fancy pigeons. Also let's listen to "American Oxygen" one to fifty more times.

If you have not read "Empathy, In Excess" yet, please do so now, and then come back because THIS LINE, YOU GUYS: "His fragility was his weapon. His helplessness was his weapon. His attempts to mirror whatever I said about him back onto me were his weapons, and all of it worked." Just, that's it! That's these relationships, distilled! Also great is Beejoli on being told cultural appropriation isn't a big deal, Chris Offutt on the coded class judgments of "trash food," and I wrote a piece on the TLC show Four Weddings and my husband did Moneyball to the statistics and I have no idea why he indulges me so.

What are you up to this weekend? You got friends coming over? Am I invited?


What is the Very Last Thing a Woman Wants to See in Bed?


A disembodied horse head

A Juggalo

The following Pokémon: Psyduck, Jigglypuff, Wigglypuff, Snorlax, Charmander (Charizard ok)

A book called "The Best Practical Jokes to Play While She's Asleep"

Three kids in a trench coat

Pizza the Hutt (the Jabba the Hutt parody from Spaceballs)

A cursed amulet

Anything cursed, really

An improv troupe

A portal to another world that seems idyllic at first but is actually quite sinister

What the article was actually about: READ MORE

Patrolling the Queer Craigslist


Queer Exchange, a Facebook group that has been active since 2011, is an online market for NYC’s queer community. As the group has grown to more than seventeen thousand members, moderators Edgar Díaz and Ariel Speed Wagon have done their best to preserve the right balance between commerce and discourse—“Queer Exchange still wants you to trade coats and pots and pans and barbers…and isn’t really interested in talking it over”—and to stamp out the occasional thread that erupts in flames.

Though it was created to facilitate trades, not discussions, the group is queer and this is the internet, so arguments over racism, classism, ableism, and transphobia; how to pay library fees; what to charge for theater tickets; and whether it’s OK to re-home a cat are inevitable. The other day, we chatted about the demands of moderation, the limits of running a messaging board on Facebook, and how internet drama erupts in even in a group that rejects gender binaries, hierarchies, and heteronormativity.

How did you get involved with Queer Exchange?

Ariel: Robyn Overstreet started Queer Exchange. It was her baby. She’s this genius who wanted to make a space for her friends and her friends’ friends to exchange stuff and find queer-friendly housing and jobs. Little by little they needed more moderators. I had spent time on strapon.org, which was this legendary hard-ass, third-wave feminist message board that came out of the Chainsaw Records message boards. I wasn't a moderator there, but I spent a lot of time watching and fighting out incredibly heart-wrenching political things on the Internet. I was also a part of various BBSes and—this is embarrassing—on LiveJournal communities. So, at one point Robyn was like, you should just moderate Queer Exchange.

Edgar: Like Ariel, I'd moderated in contentious spaces online before too, mainly at r/Gaybros and r/Gaymers on reddit. I had a reputation for calling oppressive things out there. I'm pretty sure I joined Queer Exchange when it already had several thousand people in it and I would report posts to the mods. I wasn’t looking out for things that were oppressive, just posts that didn’t belong there. Because of my diligence flagging things, I was invited to moderate.



How To Breed Fancy Pigeons

White FrillbackSMALLYou don’t know it yet, but there is a Pigeon Fancier inside of you just cooing to get out. Sure, you think that your passion for books, roller derby, crafts, or S&M is what truly sets your heart ablaze, but that is only because you haven’t tried breeding your own Fancy Pigeons.

My passion for pigeons first ignited in New York City: while my college friends took in the breathtaking skyscrapers, bluegrass accordion acts, and breakdance battles in the cultural epicenter of the universe, I watched the city's pigeons do their funny pigeon dance and giggled like a woman in love. I was tickled by their little iridescent heads bobbing about on their chubby pigeon bodies as they casually weaved around frantic New Yorkers rushing to do all the important things important New Yorkers do. It brought me peace to know that while I was fretting about school, work and finding love, the pigeons were crapping at will, copulating on the Statue of Liberty, and eating leftover pizza.

When I finally found love with Sam, my now-husband, I kept room in my heart for my feathered friends. After a raucous night at Medieval Times, Sam and I had our first kiss at a bus stop on the side of the New Jersey highway as pigeons encircled us under the stars. When Sam and I moved in together, we awoke each morning to pigeons chortling their festive pigeon songs on the windowsill of our sixth floor walk-up. Sam was less than thrilled with this noisy start to the day, but I greeted the pigeons like a modern day Sleeping Beauty, trilling “Good morning Mildred! Good morning Edith!” as I made breakfast and dressed for work.

When Sam got a great job offer out in Los Angeles, we decided to take the plunge and make the move. Los Angeles was sunny, friendly, and full of kale, but I missed my friends, the seasons, the excitement, and of course, the pigeons. Seagulls are cool and all, but they’re not pigeons.

My pigeon nostalgia took on many whimsical and disturbing forms. I began painting pigeons and writing pigeon poetry. It was what I like to call my “Pigeon Renaissance.” This was a time of great creative flourishing where I painted pigeon masterpieces such as "Pigeon by Day" and "Starry Night Pigeon." The pigeons were all-consuming. I’d try to draw something else like a bowl of fruit or a self-portrait, but somehow it would still end up looking like a pigeon. Our apartment took on the aesthetic of John Nash’s office at the end of A Beautiful Mind—he too, was fascinated by pigeons. Sam was supportive of (and amused by) these creative endeavors, but also wanted to know what the fuck was going on and encouraged me to meet some new people, maybe join a club?

After some furious Googling, I discovered The Los Angeles Pigeon Club, a place for special pigeon lovers and their "fancy" pigeons. I met some of the kindest retired senior citizens in the world and learned about breeding fancy pigeons or what Leon Stephens, President of the Los Angeles Pigeon Club, likes to refer to as “bio-artistry”.

Unlike common city pigeons that mate for life, Fancy Pigeons are selectively bred by their owners to enhance desired traits such as enormous tails, unusual coloring, puffy chests, funny feet, or curly wings. For centuries, pigeon enthusiasts around the world have been breeding mutant pigeons to create exotic-looking birds for show. Thousands of pigeon breeders compete internationally to become the next Master Breeder.

I wanted to know more about Fancy Pigeons, so I reached out to LA Pigeon Club Master Breeders, Tally Mezzanatto and Frank Barrachina, for a tutorial. They took me under their wing and invited me to spend an afternoon in their backyard pigeon paradise learning the art of Fancy Pigeons. I have returned to share the wisdom of their experience. READ MORE


I am constantly thinking about how, were I to be tested now the way I was in school, there is no way I'd get into any college or honors classes because I have completely lost my capacity for being tested. My main accomplishment in life is that I will never have to take a test again. Praise hands emoji.

Arift in a sea of digital apps for every imaginable function, we often feel our needs are met better today than in any previous era. But consider the chatelaine, a device popularized in the 18th century that attached to the waist of a woman’s dress, bearing tiny useful accessories, from notebooks to knives.

| April 17, 2015


Rihanna, "American Oxygen"

"This is the new America/we are the new America."

Notes On Utterly Unsuitable Yet Nonetheless Appealing Financial Role Models

Well, let’s see.

There is Gertrude Stein, with her fabulous apartment and endless hosting. Lots of langoustines and literary discussions.

Dorothy Parker and her cocktails.

Dissolute gentlemen in Oscar Wilde plays. Men with good cravats. Dandies in general. Anyone named Beau. Anyone who walks around town all day and considers this an activity.

Counts who hold storytelling competitions in their castles. Counts who get gout. Anyone who gets gout.

The Fitzgeralds.

Heroines in Jane Austen novels. Everyone in Jane Austen novels. Patsy and Edina.

Pride and Prej

Bon vivants and gourmands who sit at cafes for hours while friends stop by to say hello. Anyone who reads and drinks all day and considers this an activity.

Gentlemen scholars. Lady detectives. Lady scholars with magnifying glasses and collections of cool things like bugs. Lady detectives with happy servant sidekicks.

Julia Child. Because she and Paul could afford more in France back then. Also: M.F.K. Fisher. Same reason. All that sole meuniere could make one jealous.

Anyone who owns a jewel-encrusted pet turtle. On a leash. Or a pet wombat, preferably a large one. READ MORE