Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Jazz Cartier, "Wake Me Up When It's Over"

This is my favorite song from "Marauding in Paradise;" in my biased opinion, it seems like there are lots of good things coming from Toronto these days.


When You Put A Stripper Pole In Your House

it me
Pole dancing gets a lot of flack. Either you’re a stripper, and that’s seen as a bad thing even though all it means is you are probably really strong and know how to walk effortlessly in heels and get lots of money thrown at you, or you’re the type of person who falls for fad workouts. Pole fitness has been and on and off “trend” for years, with plenty of hand-wringing about it being feminist enough, or #actually acrobatics or whatever.


Anyway, I’m not here to sell you on pole dancing. It’s either your thing or it isn’t. But it is my thing, so much so that I installed a pole in my living room for personal practice.



Lydia Davis is Smarter Than Me

I have a one-sided love affair with languages, in that I believe that I can better understand the world metaphorically if I could only understand it more literally. I studied French and Spanish in school, and have over the years attempted to teach myself Hindi, Russian, Dutch, German and Danish, with varying degrees of success, usually using some combination of free resources including grammar books from the library, podcasts, polyglot forums, apps (Duolingo I love you so much Duolingo), the "foreign movies" section on Netflix, whatever. Yet every time I start to feel comfortable with a language and try to communicate in it or turn the subtitles, I am immediately reminded that, haha, no, I don't actually know anything about anything, also I can't barely even do English good, who am I fooling.

I've never read any of Lydia Davis's original work, but I have read her translation of Madame Bovary. Lydia Davis understands languages in the way that I only dream about. Lydia Davis can get to the heart a story written in her second or third language better than I can with a story written in my native tongue. Lydia Davis is currently teaching herself Norwegian using a single book, which has been described as "unreadable" by Norwegian critics, and which she is simultaneously translating into English, because Lydia Davis is better than any of us:

“It all started with a resolution. After my books started coming out in various countries, I made a decision: Any language or culture that translates my work, I want to repay by translating something from that language into English, no matter how small. It might end up being just one poem or one story, but I would always translate something in return.

Lydia Davis, how are you real? Lydia Davis, would you like to come over and watch Norwegian movies on Netflix? Lydia Davis, have you seen Turn Me On, Dammit!? I've already watched it, Lydia Davis, but I'd be willing to watch it again with you.

Acceptable Catcalls

4619835763_72e4b77c9b_bHoooo boy,

You look like someone who really knows how to PROCESS things. I can tell you’ve been hitting the shrink lately because you look like you’ve been making progress on your historically fraught relationship with food! I’d like to get you and your doctor alone in a room and support you while you tell her why you think it’s time to decrease your dose of SSRIs. READ MORE


The Best Time I Went to Christian Charm School

LfVBPS7UoYB5rx7csldkZgzuI4SNT_LUvcBuMxcAks0In 1981, supermodel Cheryl Tiegs wore a plaid shirt on the cover of the Sears catalog. Tootsie Roll lip balm was the latest innovation in skin care, and Leggs pantyhose took up more aisle space than you'd think in drugstores.

That was the year I attended Christian charm class. In the same decade where Madonna sang about feeling like a virgin, the Christian Charm Manual was required reading for girls at my school.

I attended a Baptist school befitting my family’s evangelical fundamentalist persuasions. Girls wore skirts that extended at least two inches below our knees, a detail subject to inspection by the principal’s wife, who wore her hair in a permanent beehive. But the dress code wasn’t enough in 1981. It was time for our official submissiveness training.

The pink-accented manual still in my possession is a meandering onslaught of Biblical warnings and hair care instructions. Early in the workbook, the prayer to become a born-again Christian is complemented, presumably for the first time in 2,000 years of church history, by another vow: “I want to be attractive and charming, so that I will please others. I realize that this will not come about through wishful dreaming...I must work toward that goal diligently and steadfastly.”

I was already a literalist—I believed I would live forever in a mansion in heaven, where I would wear a crown to show how admirably I’d conducted myself on earth. Adding religion to my beauty care wasn’t my biggest leap of faith. READ MORE


Shipwreck Champagne Tasted, Enjoyed

"It was impossible to smell," Prof Jeandet said, because of the tiny quantity. "But it was fabulous—just tasting 100 microlitres."

He remembers flavours of tobacco and leather, he said. "The taste remained for two or three hours."

Champagne from an 1840s shipwreck allegedly tastes like your grandpa.


"I'll play you." "For what?" "For your heart."

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of Love & Basketball, which I re-watched this weekend and am pleased to report still holds up, would highly recommend you do the same and then come back so we can talk about our feelings, I'll be here all day.


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?