Monday, December 15, 2014

Getting Cold Feet About Your Wedding ... Dress

bride on the verge of a breakdown wrote to Prudie this week, saying that she now hates the wedding dress she felt talked into buying. She can't return or exchange it and yet doesn't have the budget for a replacement. What should she do?

When I narrowed down the choice to the final two, my guests all agreed that one option was better than the other and I decided to go with their vote. Now, I regret not getting the other dress. When I look at the pictures they took of me wearing the dress I bought, I feel almost physically ill. But the dress is not refundable or returnable and it would be a huge blow to our budget to buy a second dress (at a rush no less) and what would I do with the first one? I’ve been having sleepless nights thinking about how unhappy I am going to be when I look at myself in the mirror on my wedding day and look at the pictures later. I can’t stop thinking that all my guests are going to be whispering behind my back about how dated and frumpy I’ll look.

Hi, honey. Can we talk? Prudie's response is ... okay, but as an overly personal finance blogger, armchair psychologist, and lover of wedding dress shopping stories, this is really more in my wheelhouse.

You seem to be suffering from a severe case of What-Will-Others-Think-itis, as well as a complicating touch of the Over-Thinks. READ MORE


Bloodfeast: Breakfast Pizza Hack

Welcome, welcome, my menstruating wizardesses. A few things first. I’ve heard some news that Pantone’s most recent choice for “Color of the Year,” marsala, resembles period blood. If that’s the case, I’m hoping this trend continues in the future and we get “Maxi Pad White” and “Tampax Box Blue.” Aside from that, I’ve been jotting down all of my fantasy tangibles on my Chrismukkah wishlist. I’d like one of those all-over print pizza onesies, but one made out of the finest cashmere. Do those exist? I just want pizza to keep me warm.

Speaking of beloved pizza, today I’ve got something truly special for us to chomp on. It’s the kind of Bloodfeast dish for when you wake up on a lazy Sunday and want something delicious and quick because your bleeding vagina is like “B, can you PLEASE get over here and watch this Broad City marathon with me already?”


Just Some Things I'm Really Excited About Right Now?!

1. Saturday was the one year anniversary of when Beyoncé Beyoncé-d all over us and dropped her secret album on iTunes in the dead of night. This is a serious question: do you think the album has changed you? I think it has, for me; we can all agree, I think, that Beyonce's feminism is fraught, but it's there, and this was the first mainstream album I can remember listening to and being able to relate it back to the same fears and anxieties I had because of my gender. It inspired, actually, my first ever article for the Hairpin; up until then, I never considered myself a Grown Woman, but after the Beyonce album, I suspected I might be. Thank you, Bey.

2. Sunday was the finale of The Newsroom, the best worst show on television, which I have watched doggedly and religiously since I got my first HBOGO password, because at the core of it, all they want is to tell the news. Here are some things that happened on series finale of The Newsroom that I wrote for you because I love you: READ MORE


Weekend Roundup / A Haley Mlotek Appreciation Post

Pics-Drake-Married-Nicki-Minaj-Wedding-Dress-in-Moment-for-LifeDid things feel a little different around here today?! They should've, because, for the first time, I was running the site by myself (aka Haley set everything up in advance and triple checked every post and probably refreshed the site constantly on her cellular phone) because Haley is getting MARRIED TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love Haley and I loooooove weddings, so this is the happiest weekend roundup of my life, though I am sure Haley (and Daniel, her fiancé, pictured) is pretty happy too.

Since I can't make it, Anna Fitzpatrick, spy, has provided me with a list of objections that she plans to utter at that particular time in the ceremony:

I'm secretly in love with Haley
Haley's secretly in love with Drake.
Daniel's secretly in love with Drake.
Drake's secretly in love with me.
Drake's secretly in love with Rihanna, except it's not really a secret.
I don't know if Haley's noticed this, but Daniel's kind of a nerd?
Haley is cheating on Daniel... WITH HER JOB
*No words, just throw a bunch of glitter straight up in the air*
I don't actually have an objection to make, but while we're all here, would anybody like to hear my theories about Serial?
*pulls off mask* I've actually been Haley this whole time.

Anna is doing the Lord's work, and I thank her, on behalf of all Americans. Anyway, next time you see Haley, please give her a big ol' hug, Canadian-style, and celebrate her for finally becoming who she truly is: still Haley Mlotek, just married now.

Anyway! This week, we: sung with dead people, ate a second breakfast, got rid of a demanding work ethic, asked a queer chick, interviewed Daisy Hernandez, filled out some first date Mad Libs, perused some estate jewelry, read some Canadian literature, found some skin tips for the wintertime, and celebrated Susan Sontag.

And while we're celebrating, here's Durga Chew-Bose writing about her name on Buzzfeed, Anna Fitzpatrick, spy, writing about self-harm in Rookie, Arabelle Sicardi on the power of makeup on the Cut, Mallory Ortberg on the NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER LIST, Meredith Haggerty on Tinder bros, and LaToya Peterson on riding in a car with Erica Garner. Goddamn, goddamn. Whether you're getting married or not, spend the weekend getting drunk and eating cake. You deserve it.


Unofficial Official Hairpin 3.0 Book Club: The Pillow Book

The-Pillow-Book-Shonagon-Sei-9780140448061*Looks up from book* Oh, hello!
*Puts book down*
*Rolls up sleeves on artfully slouchy cardigan*
*Folds up tortoiseshell glasses that accentuate intellect while simultaneously enhancing natural beauty somehow*
I didn’t see you come in! I was just sitting here, indulging in some highbrow literature,
*Conspicuously pushes smuttier reading material out of frame with foot*
I am here today to announce the launch of the Unofficial Official Hairpin 3.0 Book Club.

What was the book club? To fully understand, let’s break it down into its parts. “Book,” as we all know, refers to that thing we read when the Internet is down. And Webster’s Dictionary defines “club” as “a heavy usually tapering staff especially of wood wielded as a weapon.” I like to think of a “book” as a “club” of knowledge with which to attack the world. Everybody is doing it. My mom is in a book club. The Hairpin kinda had some versions of a book club in its past.

I have a job that requires me to be up-to-date on new books, particularly children’s and young adult stuff (I know, it’s rad). For this, I’m compelled to go in the opposite direction and pick something old and adult. Since we’ve already covered all the best books about fucking bears, let’s go with The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon.


Love Your Neighbor: An Interview with Goldie Goldbloom

I first met Goldie Goldbloom when I was in fourth grade. She was sitting behind me in synagogue and touched the sleeve of my sweater, saying, “What a beautiful cardigan!” It baffled me at the time; I didn’t know what the word “cardigan” meant.

I started this interview by asking Goldie if she remembered the first time she met me, and she had a different memory. It was during Sukkot and both my family and her family were eating a festival meal at a neighbor’s sukkah. I was just a baby, but Goldie said she remembered looking into my eyes and making some gesture about the food being terrible and the world being corrupt, and she says I looked at her from my mother’s shoulder in a way that suggested, “Well, at least there’s a shoulder to lean on.”

Though she was a fixture in the Chassidic community I grew up in, I didn’t have another conversation with Goldie until I was well into my teens. I was beginning to stray from the Chassidic traditions, and Goldie had just come out as queer, something our community could not tolerate. I found Goldie’s home to be a sanctuary where I was always welcomed into a loving family of writers, big hearts, and outcasts.

Over the past few years, Goldie has worked hard to create safe spaces where queer Jews can connect, share their stories, and exist outside of a community that wants to ignore them.

In addition to being an incredible inspiration and making the best Shabbos meal you’ve ever had, Goldie is the author of several wonderful books, including The Paperback Shoe, which won the AWP Novel Award, and the short story collection You Lose These. This year she received both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Brown Foundation Dora Maar Fellowship. Though I had lots of questions about the many, many writing projects Goldie is involved in, we spent a good portion of our interview talking about the community we came from and why her work is so essential. Most importantly, we talked about her blog and soon to be book, Frum Gay Girl, where she collects anonymous interviews with Jews who are secretly queer in their ultra-Orthodox and Chassidic communities. READ MORE


Our Cups Runneth Over

The women the champagne coupe origin stories are ascribed to are themselves tied together with certain common threads. They all were lovers of powerful men, and primarily defined by those associations. Portraits show their breasts as uniformly small, round, and lily-white; their intricate corsetry and aristocratic toilette likely kept their décolletage supple and firm, looking ornamental and smelling sweet. As with most rumors, the speculation about these women's roles as drinking-vessel models (which was rampant—an English-language account of Madame du Barry's journals published in her lifetime mentions that the rumor "profoundly scandalized the palace's residents and regular visitors") wasn't merely innocuous chatter from spiteful ladies-in-waiting and scornful subjects. Rather, it was—and still is—a way to assert that these women of stature never become anything more than their bodies. Whether in a dishy rumor or a revered myth, the story of the breast-based coupe still serves as a way to keep women under glass.

Did you know about the rumor that the champagne coupe is modeled after one of Marie Antoinette's breasts? Claire Carusillo on Eater has a riveting history about women's bodies and how they've apparently inspired our drinking vessels— breast milk has always had some sort of mystic power ascribed to it, so while the jump to drinking from breasts to drinking from a glass shaped like a breast is a little strange, it is pretty logical. Accordingly, the overwhelming and obvious historical objectification of women is, too, but Carusillo provides a really great, honest reckoning of the juxtaposition of "women's breast milk is all-powerful and vital and we need them" and "women are just around to make us breast milk and they are objects." Though I must admit: I am really curious to see what kind of glasses my breasts would make. Field trip?


If I Had A Dollar For Every Time I Was Asked To Cover A Teenage Boy In Fake Placenta...

...I would have exactly one dollar, because I've only been asked once. But that seems like more than enough, right? This was back during my makeup artist days and it was for some terrible independent short film, a kind of "safe sex" mockumentary informercial, and a character was supposed to hallucinate a pregnancy that ended in a teenage boy being born. "I want him to be, like, covered in placenta," the director told me in our initial meeting. "Like his hair should be dripping wet from placenta."

Listen, the best thing about working as a makeup artist is you learn to never tell your boss "no," you say, "I'll figure it out," and that's exactly what I set out to do, except that it turns out that no specialty stores for makeup artists even stock a ready-to-go placenta-like substance. Like, you can easily buy glycerin sweat or tears, or various different kinds of consistencies of blood (liquid, sticky, etc.), but the employees I spoke to were baffled by my request. "I cannot possibly be the first makeup artist in the history of time to need a placenta substance!" I said, exasperated, and they just shrugged.

New York vs. Los Angeles: Just the Dogs

As the two American population and media centers on opposing coasts, New York City and Los Angeles are prone to endless imperfect comparison. New York has delicious, abundant water, which may or may not make its bagels and pizza so far superior to L.A.’s; in Los Angeles, it is currently in the mid-60s, and will stay that way for the remainder of winter. Now, thanks to the datasets compiled by local radio stations WNYC and KCRW, it is possible to make measure of New York and Los Angeles using a common household pet, the canis lupus familiaris.

First, a note regarding data: The WNYC dog dataset includes 81,542 individuals, pulled from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s dog licensing program list from 2012. Approximately four out of five dogs in New York are unlicensed. The KCRW L.A. dog data offers a similarly incomplete but best-available picture. Pulled from 23 different county and city agencies, as well as the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority, it includes 416,338 individuals. Like New York, many dogs in L.A. are unlicensed, and therefore not included—pit bulls in particular are prone to under-licensing, miscategorization, or misidentification (often willful; people are scared of the very name). Some cities or agencies within L.A. did not respond to requests for data; others limited data due to privacy concerns.1 Both the WNYC and KCRW datasets are similar structured—the KCRW dog project was inspired by WNYC’s—with individuals grouped by name, breed, and zip-code. Other attributes, including sex and coloration, were included but largely ignored in each of the radio stations’ final reports.

How best to parse this data? Our statistical analysis (chi-square for breed and dog names; logistical regression for gender) can be found below. The radio stations arranged individual specimens of canis lupus familiaris by name, breed, and zip code, then displayed the results over maps of the city, so that one is quickly able to ascertain the most prevalent, hyper-regionalized dog specimens. For example, in Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach, Labrador retrievers2 named Lucy predominate. The same is true on the entire Upper West Side of Manhattan. In fact, the Labrador-heavy neighborhoods in both cities (for the most part particularly affluent—with median household income well-above $85,000/year—and majority caucasian) nearly all favor the name Lucy.3 The similarities do not end there. In both L.A. and NYC, Max4 is the most popular dog name, and Bella5 is the second most popular. But this is not an article about the similarity. No, it is about the difference in New York and Los Angeles canids, and what those differences might tell us about the cities, and their respective cultures and residents. Once the focus shifts, two archetypes emerge. READ MORE


Your Favorite Shonda Rhimes Moment

Earlier this week, Shonda Rhimes received The Hollywood Reporter Sherry Lansing Award, given to her for "in recognition of my breaking through the industry’s glass ceiling as a woman and an African-American." Here's part of her speech, published on Medium:

How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared? How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?

So that when it was my turn to run, it didn’t even look like a ceiling anymore. I mean, the wind was already whistling through — I could always feel it on my face. And there were all these holes giving me a perfect view to other side. I didn’t even notice the gravity, I think it had worn itself away. So I didn’t have to fight as hard, I had time to study the cracks. I had time to decide where the air felt the rarest, where the wind was the coolest, where the view was the most soaring. I picked my spot in the glass and called it my target. And I ran. And when I hit finally that ceiling, it just exploded into dust.

Like that.
My sisters who went before me had already handled it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was working a red carpet event for a freelance job and one of the questions I had to ask was "What's your favorite Shonda Rhimes moment?" The answer, from now on, is this one.


How to Sing With Dead People: Barry Manilow's My Dream Duets

Something strange happened when I searched for Whitney Houston on Spotify last month. Instead of an image depicting a goddess who made origami swans of the word “actually” in her sleep, who would be my baby tonight and every night until the end of recorded time, a turtle-like figure hunched in the corner of the screen, its neck craned skyward below the words “latest release.” Accompanying this distinct Not-The-Face-Of-My-Black-Empress were six more words: “I Believe in You and Me.”

My heart sank. “What treachery is this?” tingled strategically distributed black outrage sensors, each in the shape of Phylicia Rashād. Dare I click? I stepped quietly away from my work desk and into the Potential Rage room on my office floor. I took a deep breath.

There it was: Barry Manilow’s “I Believe in You and Me.” Was this a cover? No. It was a “dream duet” from his new album My Dream Duets, or How to Sing With Dead People. These were formerly songs of, by today’s standards, questionable audio fidelity, whose vocal tracks Manilow’s engineers had isolated, then zoomed in and enhanced. This allowed Manilow to then rearrange and retouch beloved tunes otherwise foreign to multitrack recording.

Contrary to the assertions of some, one can’t sing a live duet with a decidedly dead performer. At best you can sing a simultaneously alive-and-dead duet, hereby known as the Schrödinger's Cat Collabo. READ MORE


Clarice Lispector: "It Changes Nothing"

Clarice Lispector gave exactly one television interview in her entire life and—unsurprisingly—it is 22 minutes and 49 seconds of perfect. Apparently, the director of TV Cultura in São Paulo had gathered all his courage and simply asked her to appear, and she said yes.

The Paris Review posted the complete video here yesterday, saying:

Lispector is restless, and charmingly curt, throughout the interview—it seems as if she really, really doesn’t want to be there. Even under duress, though, she gives stronger, more meaningful answers than many writers give at their most accessible. “I write without the hope that what I write can change anything at all. It changes nothing…Because at the end of the day we’re not trying to change things. We’re trying to open up somehow.”

My personal favorite answer comes early in the interview when she's asked what adolescent Clarice was like. Her response: "Chaotic. Intense. Entirely outside the reality of life." Same, tbh.


Cashew-Raspberry Second Breakfast Cake


There are many things I love about Tina Fey and her 30 Rock alter ego Liz Lemon, but one thing stands out: I love her love of food. I mean, I’m a long time fan of food. I come from a family that regularly talks about one meal while eating a totally different meal. Often I’ll read recipes (with their “line breaks like poetry”) that I never plan to make, or read reviews of restaurants that I never plan to go to, or just daydream about food. And like Tina Fey (it is my new goal in life to casually start as many sentences as possible with “like Tina Fey…”), I try my best to eat two breakfasts a day.



Ask Baba Yaga: How Do I Get Rid Of A Demanding Work Ethic?

work ethic baba
Transcript after the jump. READ MORE

The Economics of Dating, OKCupid Edition

beyoncesingleladiesWhen I started dating again this fall, I thought it might be a little like Downton Abbey, in that I'd be Lady Mary and I'd have multiple eligible bachelors competing for my attentions.

I mean, I knew it wouldn't really be like that; I've dipped my toe into online dating before, and I am well aware of that When Harry Met Sally scene where Carrie Fisher says "tell me I'll never have to be out there again," because my goodness out there is awful, but! I am charming and successful and dad-gum delightful, and I live in a city that has more eligible men than women, thanks to the tech industry.

In fact, the Pew Research Center lists Seattle as the fifth best city for women to find marriageable men. (The fact that they phrase it that way, as if all the single ladies were on a mission to find! marriageable! men! hints at the larger cultural issues in play here.)

So there is no reason why I shouldn't have multiple eligible bachelors eating out of my hand. I carry snacks in my purse, after all.

I tried Tinder first, 100% because of the "you can't message each other until both of you opt in" feature. Swiped through everyone in about two weeks, and every week or so I swipe through the handful of people who just joined. There's nothing quite like looking at the screen that reads "there is no one new around you" and interpreting it as "sorry, we tried everyone we had, guess you will never find love."

So then I signed up for OKCupid.