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On Two Photo Sets: Detroit's Urban Gardeners and Meth-Laced Appalachia

@RK Fire It's confounding and irritating when you hail from a place with a particular reputation when that reputation doesn't comport much at all with your own experience.

I grew up in what is part of broader Appalachia and the reaction of otherwise sensitive, well-traveled people has been upsetting and illuminating. I don't understand what is so hard to grasp about the idea that the residents of most American communities represent a broad range of socioeconomic conditions.

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm 0

On Lionel Shriver on obesity and the surplus of attractive characters in fiction: "The solution is to get a grip and put human beauty in perspective"

@pollypeachum I had the same thought. The summer of my graduation was occasion for a plethora of ill-fitting, shapeless linen dresses I'd bought on the sale rack at the Gap because they were dirt cheap; hair that was suddenly 2-feet of frizz, and stress-breakouts like I'd never experienced before.

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm 1

On Lionel Shriver on obesity and the surplus of attractive characters in fiction: "The solution is to get a grip and put human beauty in perspective"

@queenofbithynia Thank you for capturing this; when I got to that line I just had an unsettling feeling that I couldn't articulate.

In my office, most of the employees are middle-aged men, but most of the interns are young women. There's always this weird dynamic that the men try to perpetuate wherein I (a near 40-year-old woman) have to choose to be either 1) jealous of the interns' youth and loveliness or 2) an appreciative bystander, like a benevolent aunt at a piano recital. So, for me, that last line was like Shriver openly choosing the second option.

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm 1

On 10 Scariest Excerpts from "The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In"

@harebell I think I'm with one too. We also don't have kids, but my husband gets up sometimes more than once a night to deal with issues related to our elderly cat.

One thing about us, though, is that my husband's self-awareness and honesty is a (probably big) part of why we don't have kids. When we got together, he was quite straightforward about how he'd like our life to be and how having kids would (negatively) affect that. He'd clearly thought a lot about the work involved in raising kids and running a household.

These days, after nearly 20 years together, I really appreciate his honesty because I think I could easily have stumbled into a situation like those described in the article.

And, yes, yes, yes, to your last sentence.

Posted on August 8, 2013 at 11:56 am 0

On Manly Me

@harebell Seconding what Judith Slutler said about planting the seed. About a decade ago, I worked with a woman who told me a lot about the institutionalized sexism she'd witnessed. And, honestly, I thought she was a bit paranoid. But I heard her. And, later, when I started accumulating my own experiences with it, I thought of her and it reminded me that what was happening 1) wasn't my fault and 2) wasn't limited to me .

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm 4

On The Evolution of Playgirl: Reviewing Three Decades of Covers

@Betsy Murgatroyd Yeah, and considering that Jon Hamm and Adam Scott just spoofed the intro, it's hardly an obscure relic.

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm 0

On Just Your Average Barbie

@fondue with cheddar Yeah, something's different from my circa mid-1980s dolls. The head looks bigger, the chest smaller, and the thighs (even) thinner.

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 11:57 am 0

On The American Way of Birth: Pay More

@catfoodandhairnets Seriously, this is one of the worst parts of insurance. When I had cancer, every single procedure was like a financial roulette wheel. I spent hours on the phone with my doctors' offices and insurance company, just trying to find out whether a PET scan was going to cost me a couple of hundred dollars, a couple of thousand dollars, or ten thousand dollars. (I never did find out until I'd had the procedure and got billed.) Once when I when to fill a prescription, the pharmacist (to my eternal gratitude) tipped me off that it would cost (no lie) $17,000. I later got it via my mail-order prescription service for $35. Insane.

Posted on July 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm 3

On You Are Entitled to One Hour, Six Minutes, and 48 Seconds of Comfort

@Gwdihw In some local newspaper I read a piece by a Sex and the City superfan who'd won a day on the set of the show. She reported that she worked up the nerve to approach SJP at the catering table. Their conversation (as I remember it):

Super Fan: [eagerly] I love your shoes!
SJP: [serenely] Thank you.
Super Fan: Don't they hurt?
SJP: [even more serenely] Of course.
End scene.

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm 16

On Do You Need a Hug?

Is anyone else confused about the implicit assumption here that hugs transcend forced social interaction, that hugs are inherently a sincere and moving thing? Admittedly, I'm coming off of a recent string of experiences when professional acquaintances insisted on a hug when I went for the handshake, so I'm biased here. But I've had a number of hugs that just felt like an extension of the forced workplace/social interaction.

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm 2