On Coming-Out Technology, Exiting the Girlfriend Zone, and the Lesbro Conundrum

I agree. Some people want all the attention and use their sexuality to get it, even if they don't actually want to start an affair with the person in question, just the attention, and even if it's destructive to people around them. Heterosexual women, in particular, I think, can be vulnerable to being treated as "just a girlfriend" by other men or women who have a connection with their boyfriend -- different gradations of not in the know, an appendage, etc etc.

When we were dating my husband had a female friend like that -- she liked to whisper things about her sexual escapades in his ear in front of me but just to him, and hug him in a really full-body way, and avoid eye-contact with me. She liked to play with the boundary of what was okay without (she thought) crossing it - she had this idea of being a parisian "bohemian." And he and I are pretty laid-back, we both enjoy having our friends of all genders and are both pretty independent about it, but eventually she crossed the line for us when she invited him to a party but theatrically "forgot" to invite me, and later on criticized me to him in my absence in a way that he felt was not right (he spared me the details). That's the point at which he stopped speaking to her. Jealousy does exist, but so do people like this, and at least a tinge of that seems to be happening in LW3's case.

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 11:35 am 4

On Who We Tell When We Watch Our Parents Die

man, I do not want to die with the Oscars on television as my last evening! Hopefully that was part of their shared family culture that was meaningful for her dad as well as her (and presumably so).

One of the hardest parts about the deathbed vigil for me was at a certain point the dying person isn't strong enough to talk or express wishes, but of course you still want to care for them and make them as comfortable as possible and communicate. It's not always clear how much they can hear. That period lasted more than a day for us. I did lots of pillow-arranging, too, and foot massaging with moisturizer, but also classical music on a constant low volume to keep us company and it really helped. It has a wordless timeless dimension.

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 10:53 am 0

On Rethinking "Men As A General Concept"

That is funny! I name no names, but I know one person there who was hired when he had to leave his previous place of editorial employ because he sexually harassed a subordinate and was fired for it.

Not that the above is a reason to blackball someone forever, but when you have plenty of other good candidates, why not choose another one?

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 5:38 pm 0

On On Lupita Nyong'o: "Blackness, in a context of white American oppression, is a role. It is not intrinsic to her identity"

I think it's a great thing that Lupita will shake things up a little. I moved to the US as an adult and was really shocked by how little conversation goes on between black and white Americans -- and how tense encounters are compared to encounters between strangers of any other race. Having lived for a number of years as a white person in West Africa, I had never experienced that level of tension and lack of talking and exchange before - never, never. It's not natural. But I think people in the US feel like it is natural, even though it isn't. We are all just people. Although I completely understand why it's like that for historical reasons, and for reasons of fear on both sides, it is just horrible and so damaging for both white and black people. Anything that can shake up these patterns of distrust and encourage more talking and time spent together seems like such a positive thing to me.

Even after living years in the US, if I reflect on it, the vast majority of my friends who are black are immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean, not African-Americans -- it's just so hard to cross those mental boundaries for people formed by US polarized conditions -- and it makes me sad.

Posted on March 5, 2014 at 9:32 am 0

On On Lupita Nyong'o: "Blackness, in a context of white American oppression, is a role. It is not intrinsic to her identity"

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

It's all so ironic since, given the forced sex that so frequently took place during the slavery period, most white and black Americans who are not recent immigrants are cousins and unacknowledged kin. We are interrelated.

Posted on March 5, 2014 at 9:25 am 0

On The Wall: Lessons From a Family Lawyer


I thought she meant the proceedings were a blur in her memory, not at the time -- you know, adrenalin, elapsed time, inevitable decay of memory.

But yes -- that comment about did Darlene know she had ruined her lawyer's weekend! oy vey.

Posted on February 25, 2014 at 7:11 pm 0

On Ask a Clean Person About Her New Book: A Conversation With Jolie Kerr

I love the tone you take in your writing! Looking forward to the book, and here's hoping that you come up with a new and different idea one of these days for readers back on the Hairpin, not just Deadspin/Jez!

Posted on February 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm 0

On Thoughts I Had at Naked Yoga

i am very fond of the illustration. samasthiti!

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 10:23 am 0

On A Bold Notion for Baby Showers


that's a great idea! it's worked well for other people i know, to just not tell others the gender (and you can even pretend you didn't find out, if you don't want to be confrontational with people who demand to know).

The gender police are so tiresome! I've especially never understood the diaper bag business -- all my boyfriends before, up to, and including my husband, have all been so much better at packing shit they need to take around with them than I have, and they have always tended to take care of me rather than the reverse -- you know, making sandwiches or snacks, remembering to pack a blanket for when we sit on the grass, that sort of thing. Being attuned to that sort of thing definitely does not go automatically along with gender! I never expected but always valued that in them. It would be a nightmare to suddenly be expected to be "that part" of the couple all of a sudden. Keeping your baby alive and happy is enough of a challenge without worrying about who's carrying the diaper bag (and if there is time to worry about all that, then maybe babies are easier than people make them out to be).

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 9:33 am 1

On A Bold Notion for Baby Showers

Well, no. It's not necessarily "patriarchal" to hold onto your birth name. Changing your name has a lot of profound practical implications, ranging from relatively benign like changing your Social Security Card to very difficult, like trying to establish a new professional reputation under a totally new name (especially if you do something like publish under your name). Why change your name in the middle of your life? That's the point.

Most children have their father's last name given to them at birth, but it's certainly not universal; some have their mother's surname. I know a number of people with their mothers' surnames. Keeping your own name is the point, not changing it midstream -- and since 50% of marriages end in divorce, imagine how great it is for friends and for your career when you change it more than once.

Finally, my father got his surname from his father; it's not "his" anymore than it is the property of other members of our family, including me -- as @cuminafterall said up above. The idea that it's not legitimately mine but still "belongs" to him -- is really sad. I mean, if you don't like your surname of your father, change it at any point, including well before you get married, but connecting it to marriage is just unnecessary and links you back to a very bad old tradition where women were "covered" by their husbands and not considered independent legal persons post marriage (and had fewer rights than widows or even spinsters).

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 9:26 am 1