Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of

What a day in the love life of me. He was cute, tall, a little older than I’d usually go for, but I’m open. It was the Internet. The cruelest part about dating in your thirties is staying “open”. I’ve spent thirty-one years honing my spidey sense to tingle at the first sign of asshole, but at the behest of well-meaning friends and a newfound fear of dying alone, I have to squelch my one super power at every turn.

We exchanged a couple of hilarious messages. I obviously slayed. He was making some pretty hip dick jokes but then he dropped the tiniest red flag*. I’m paraphrasing but the gist of what he said is, “OkCupid is fine, but I have to deal with a lot of old stalkers.”

Old stalkers?

OLD STALKERS.

Bro, you are forty-four years old. Unless there are great g-mas creaking around your apartment sniffing your sheets when you’re gone, I doubt that very much. But I’m giving chances. So, to give this guy a chance to not sound like a prolapsed asshole, I said, again paraphrasing, “LOL, old stalkers? You must be a celebrity, how do you deal? I’m cool and fun so don’t worry about offending me!” He replied that OkCupid’s match algorithms were off. So I checked that profile. This dude is forty-four. The age range of his ideal lady? Twenty-two to forty-two.

Surprisingly in the age of outrage, we don’t talk about this obnoxious but common situation. There are so, so many men on dating sites who will date women twenty years younger then they are but WON’T DATE WOMEN THEIR OWN AGE. In my experience, without fail, they turn out to be assholes. Never in my many years of dating on the Internet have I met one who turned out to really like and respect women but just had too much energy for a women in her forties. That’s not a real thing.

Usually I would just ghost at this point. But tonight, for the first time, I dyed my hair to cover my grays. It’s not the time to quietly ignore a little misogynistic ageism. So I told this guy, who really I should be nice to since he’s dealing with so much dry old puss being flung at him, that because of his age issues and the way he talks about women, we do not share the same values. He wrote back and told me that I really am funny, maybe being nice but also maybe turning my most sought after compliment into a patronizing put down.

I don’t have a cool ending to this story, simply the fact that everyone is the worst but if you give them a chance, at least you might get re-inspired to visit your blog.

*That is how football works right? Progressively larger red flags? Soccer? I know it’s in the rules of one of the sports.

A Baker’s Dozen

This past Thursday, as I walk through my local gym from the elliptical to the showers, I spot a friend who was talking to her gym classes friend, let’s call him “Vance”. Vance is a man in his mid to late thirties. He goes to a gym in midtown Manhattan, sometimes has drinks in SoHo, and lives in Brooklyn. We are similar people. He casts aspersions on the G train; I defend the G train. This is pleasant chat.

All of a sudden, Vance says “I love [Italian Name] Pizza Place, but it’s a pain in the buns to get there.”

Pain in the buns.

PAIN IN THE BUNS.

PAIN

IN

THE

BUNS

If that phrase doesn’t make you feel like a tiny doll’s hand is fingering your spinal chord, you are made of stone. Bad as it would be from a grandmother or small child, from the mouth of a peer, it is the most upsetting thing I’ve ever heard. If you say “pain in the buns”, I assume you have a murder room, are your own mother, and fondle other people’s delicates if they leave them unattended at the laundromat (washer or dryer, probably). I assume you also say “no-no place” and use “moist” to describe too many things.

Why, WHY would anyone use this phrase? Why? If you don’t like swearing, “butt”, “head”, “neck”, and “rear” are all at your disposal. If you like to be whimsical and fun, why not “derrière”? “Glutes” is not bad. The combination of lasciviousness and impotence makes “buns” the worst possible thing you could ever say. Even Ned Flanders would not say “Pain in the buns” because Ned Flanders knows the line a man must not cross. “Pain in the buns” is the verbal incarnation of accidentally walking in on an acquaintance jerking off and having that person give you a slow, shy smile.

I’ve spent the entirety of my adult life eschewing poop talk, but that seems like child’s play now. What is a little poop talk compared to staring into the void and only seeing angry clowns? What is a little bathroom humor when you’ve been buried alive in a coffin filled with earthworms? What’s a joke about d***** when you’ve woken up with a ghost made entirely of maggots sitting at the foot of your bed? I mean, still please don’t make poop jokes to me, but mostly now because of what I’ve been through.

And Then They Came For Britney

This blog has declined to take a side in the Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry feud. We weren’t ready to face the world’s ugliness, head-on. As punishment for our negligence, we’ve paid an unimaginable price.

Katy Perry is on the cover of Elle‘s March issue. Elle is apparently interviewing and featuring all kinds of people these days. When asked about the being a pop “star”, Katy Perry replied:

“It is a hundred times harder a dream than the dream that I dreamt when I was nine…You think you signed up for one thing, but you automatically sign up for a hundred others. And that is why you see people shaving their fucking heads.”

Katy, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your job be harder than you imagined it would be when you were nine. I’m sure that’s awful and you have my sympathies. But Katy, you don’t need to worry about why people shave their fucking heads. I understand fame. I’ve performed in three professional melodramas in a small gambling town in Colorado. I’ve had my chicken fingers bought for me in a casino, unsolicited. But you don’t hear me telling Elle “that is why you see people marrying David fucking Gest.” Because you see, Katy, people like us can’t understand the motivations of superstars.

No one but the greats can understand why some things happen.

This was bigger than you or I could comprehend.

People  who shave their fucking heads were the most memorable part of a Superbowl performance that also included Aerosmith and N’Sync at a time when people still wanted to have sex with all the members of both bands*. People who shave their fucking heads danced their goddamn faces off and were more compelling than a million silver tiger/lion puppet things**. People who shave their fucking heads are known as the “Princess of Pop” not the “Gallagher of Pop.”

Learn from his subtlety.

Learn from his subtlety.

Because, for real Katy, you and Taylor Swift can fight through songs and Twitter and left shark attacks all day long. Go nuts. Have John Mayer throw shade and complain about how you’ve been cast as the mean girl while lesser DJs fight your battles for you. But leave Britney Spears out of it. She is a national goddamn treasure and we’ll be listening to “Hit Me Baby, One More Time” long after people can’t remember that “Firework” and “White Horse” existed. Hell, we’ll be listening to “Mmmm Papi” that long. Don’t worry about why people shave their heads. That’s never going to be your concern.

Britney Superbowl

Treasure.

*Mostly.

**Seriously great to see the War Horse people working though.

A Functional but Ornamental Race

We all know that women aren’t people, right guys? Like, people’s rights are very important and people should be believed when they say a crime has been committed against them and people shouldn’t have to worry so much about their looks. And then there are women.

Christian blogger Veronica Partridge’s post about yoga pants recently went viral when she admitted that the good Lord, in the middle of a conversation she had with fellow Christians about yoga pants, changed her heart. One, real nice that God is spending so much time working on Veronica Partridge’s yoga pants conundrum instead of focusing on gun violence or pediatric AIDS or victims of Boko Haram. Two, this lady is being lauded and celebrated for making a choice about her body as seen by men for another man. She is not asking her husband not to wear those khakis that are too thin but also too loose so that when he sits in them I can see the outline of his entire package on the train. Because she and we don’t think of men as objects. That’s what women are for. And she and we don’t think of men’s bodies as possessions. That’s also what women are for.

As a New Yorker, this next point disappoints me the most. Likely presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, spent six and a half years working at Fox News here in New York City and I swear to God if I find out which women did this, I will speak with them personally. Huckabee breaks his traumatized silence on Mickelson in the Morning, an Iowa-based radio show, to say that people were dropping the F bomb in professional business meetings. Including women. Huckabee mentions that this is typical locker room talk, so I guess fine when it’s all men, but when a woman swears, a Southerner would call that trashy. Mike Huckabee, Southerner, is not calling these foul-mouthed women trashy. But in the South, someone might. Super Pacs Support groups are forming for former Arkansas Governor Huckabee to massage his hands out of their claw-like shape when he recovers enough to unclutch his pearls. Governor Huckabee, never let those awful cunts who think they can act the same as men change you.

Lastly, The Nightly Show premiered last Monday. This show is great. The writing is insightful. Larry Wilmore is funny and likeable. Breaking with the Daily Show / Colbert Report model of having one guest star, Wilmore joins a four guest panel on every show. The panels are full of funny, interesting people. And they have included exactly one woman per panel in the five episodes that have aired so far. Larry, I appreciate your longtime readership of this blog and as a feminist, I am so into how you called Cosby to the carpet. But come on. You make a point of highlighting minorities and yet over 50% of the population is only allowed 20% representation on your show every night? This show gives a voice to a lot of people, but not a lot of women.

Your girl Bao Bao doing it for her damn self.

Your girl Bao Bao doing it for her damn self.

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty

My parents’ cats, Bernie and Nigel, are rescue kitties. They came from a shelter to live in a nice house with food and literally more snuggles than they know what to do with. These cats have more advantages than most cats in the world and yet I’ll tell you that neither of them gives a shit about animal rights.

Not one fuck to give between them.

Not one fuck to give between them.

Even though they benefitted from being rescued by a no-kill shelter. Even though since their adoption, my dad has officially become a “cat person”. Even though they are the first cats in my family to be allowed to sleep on the dining room table. You might say that not being activists in the face of all that privilege makes them horrible monsters. But you’d be wrong, because they are cats. Nigel sometimes thinks his reflection is a second cat. Bernie is afraid of the crinkle of tin foil. They aren’t capable of nuanced discussion about how to make life better for other cats and dogs who haven’t had as many advantages as they have.

Bernie in bed

Bernie in the lap of luxury.

The female protagonist on CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory”, Kaley Cuoco, is the highest paid actress in television. She netted $11 million in 2013 from her role on “Big Bang” and the approximately one million times a day it airs in syndication and from playing William Shatner’s daughter on Priceline commercials and shilling for Toyota. This woman has more autonomy than most women in the world and yet I’ll tell you that Kaley Cuoco is not a feminist. Even though she has the ability to work and be a wife. Even though she has free agency over her own body including the right to get breast implants and cut and dye her hair whenever she wants. Even though she played a witch on “Charmed” and wasn’t burned at the stake.

You might say that not officially taking a stand that women deserve to be treated equally in the face of all that privilege makes Kaley Cuoco a horrible monster. But guys, Kaley Cuoco can’t grasp that her right to choose to make dinner for her husband every night and feel that that’s a special thing is part of feminism. Kaley Cuoco can’t understand that having parents who prioritized her career and education even though she is an XX chromosome-haver is an incredibly lucky life. Kaley Cuoco doesn’t understand what the word “context” means. So let’s not jump all over Kaley Cuoco. No one is abandoning feminism because she crinkles her nose adorably at it any more than animal rights activists are abandoning the cause because Bernie and Nigel would rather chase a laser on the floor than go to one goddamn rally, even if you ask them really nicely.

B&N

Everything’s Coming Up Santorum!

You guys, Christmas has come early this year. Rick Santorum is running for President in 2016. It’s truly a time for America and the baby Jesus to celebrate.

Making this my cell phone wall paper for six months is really paying off now.

Making this my cell phone wall paper for six months has really paid off.

What bounteous riches will Santorum cover us in during this 2016 campaign year? So far, the traditionally tightly-wound candidate has assured the Daily Caller that he’ll appeal to young people by letting them know he has “…seven kids, so obviously sex isn’t a real problem for me.” The idea of Santorum asking his wife if she’d like to “procreate with him tonight” is sure to get these young people’s attention.

And getting his head out of the gutter for one second, Santorum has a message for immigrants: we need to pause immigration for now because we haven’t indoctrinated the ones we have. “That’s not anti-immigration, that pro-immigration, because it says we want folks to come here to experience the American experience, to learn what it means to be an American, to assimilate into our culture.”

Y’all, Rick Santorum is really into you but as long as you insist on hanging onto your own culture, you’re ruining things for everyone.

Wipe it clean

Black people, Rick Santorum will probably have something to offer you soon, if history tells us anything. Remember the good old days of the presidential race of 2012, when Santorum told a mostly-white group of Iowa voters, referring to welfare programs, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn money.” Santorum must have quickly realized his faux pas in not promising job opportunities for Iowa’s underprivileged white population (9% of food stamp recipients in Iowa are black, and 84% are white) if the movie posters for his Christian film company Echolight are any indication.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 12.06.59 PM

Ladies, Santorum didn’t have time to whip himself into a froth over us in his most recent Daily Caller interview either, but I think we can all be pretty confident that he’ll continue to work to make abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest:

“I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you…..we have to make the best out of a bad situation.”

We can only hope that Rick Santorum will continue his press tour and that America doesn’t forget his past genius ideas for single mothers (get married!), Palestine (∄),gay marriage’s equivalence to dog marriage and 9/11, condoms (unnatural), porn (Ban it. No, like actually take the time and money to pass a law to ban porn.), and bowling ball colors (pink is for girls only). Instead, let’s look to the future as Kirk Cameron’s political equivalent promises that after all the campaign fumbling and pushing and the final release when the election’s over, he always comes out in the end.

The Fly in the Ointment

We all know that Bill Cosby is a rapist now, right? Like, twenty public accusers into this thing, I assume that we know all that it’s happening. But there are people who still blindly defend him and many of those people, maddeningly but unsurprisingly, are women. Since the Bill Cosby story broke there have been so many baffling variations of, “Well, how do we know these women aren’t just looking for [fame/money/attention/twitter followers/cake]?” I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that women who knew neither Cosby nor his accusers could be so sure that the women were lying. Recently clarity appeared on the subject from an unexpected place.

Last week, someone posted in an online forum that a teacher at a school where I take classes behaved inappropriately towards his students*. A woman posted in the comments section that the initial poster was brave because “no one wants to be that woman,” meaning (I think) the one who can’t be cool when people are just joking around, the one who always thinks that dudes want her, the one who ruins a good guy’s reputation by being an uptight bitch. “That woman” doesn’t get invited to parties. She is a person we can all universally hate, ladies included! She thinks she’s hot shit or she wants attention regardless of what collateral damage it might cause the victim of her inability to just roll with things. She can’t laugh at a joke or appreciate that attention is meant to be a compliment.

The impulse to not be labeled “that woman” is infinitely relatable. You hear a bunch of co-workers make a shitty joke about the war against women or your boyfriend’s friend says a bunch of shitty sexist crap about the cheerleaders during a football game or a shitty guy on a date calls you “sweetie” when you ask a question about current events. And you say nothing. It’s the same impulse that makes you smile when some asshole on the street tells you to as you walk by. We’re cool and please don’t single us out as anything else because God forbid we say something and someone doesn’t like it.

This isn’t a paranoid delusion of neurotic ladies. Women are ostracized daily for standing up to a man or a system because he or it mistreated her. It happens all over the world to every race, class, and creed. And the quickest way to avoid this exile is to show that you would never betray that man or that system by rocking the boat. The fear of being considered “that woman” keeps real victims from coming forward and allows predators to be seen as victims. It even obfuscates the vision of people who judge where they should only empathize.

*I don’t know what’s being done, but it’s nice to study at a school where a teacher being a dick to his students is a big deal both to the school and to the male and female members of the community around said school.

So This is the Kind of Movie Judd Apatow Writes Now

I loved Knocked Up, a movie that put Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl on the map. What a fun movie that established a relatively believable base reality. So I was thrilled to finally watch the tangential sequel, This is 40, starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters from Knocked Up, also written and directed by Judd Apatow. What a very different viewing experience!

Guys, there’s a lot to love, but the most fun part of the whole movie is that Judd Apatow, a rich man who has a bunch of rich Hollywood friends, wrote a movie about people with absolutely obscene money problems. A quick calculation puts them around one hundred thousand dollars in debt with two failing small businesses, a huge house on which they can’t make mortgage payments, and a baby on the way. All of these issues make the movie so fun because they are never seriously addressed and the movie ends [SPOILERS] with the two of them confidently believing that it will all work out for the best!

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a comedy or because Apatow can’t imagine what money troubles would feel like, but the movie doesn’t let itself get bogged down in the fact that these two people are totally, insanely fucked. Like, in real life, Paul Rudd’s awful, constantly-pooping, man-child character would have to get a second job to support the family. They would have to actually go through with selling the house. Leslie Mann would have to fire both her employees and work there open to close. It would be so boring because in reality, people with crippling debt and no prospects would be panicking and budgeting and not going to nice resorts and throwing elaborate parties at their house unless they were ultimately going to end up filing Chapter Eleven. Instead, they focus on having more sex and being more forgiving of each other. So much more rewarding for an audience!

Two refreshing cameos round out this incredible film, in order of relevance to the plot: a subliminal corporate sponsorship from Sprinkles Cupcakes, and Billy Joe from Green Day. Melissa McCarthy is also in the film, but her character is so interesting and well written, I assume she just wandered on set thinking she was filming some other movie and the editors just decided to keep it in. “The longer the movie, the more seriously people will take it!”, they must have all said to each other in a congratulatory way!

It’s nice to see someone in a position of privilege and power in the entertainment industry shit all over the idea of monetary problems without ever giving them any weight and it’s really cool to see a movie talk about serious issues in a really irresponsible way. I hope that people who are actually struggling with these things really enjoyed this whimsical take on those issues and that if there’s ever a violent uprising in America against the one percent that the first place the we go to is Judd Apatow’s house to thank him for his great work!

Below is a list of all the unresolved plots in This is 40. Which one is your favorite?

Plots

  • Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are husband and wife who don’t have enough sex.
  • Their kids fight.
  • One is a teen coming of age.
  • Leslie Mann’s dad is an absentee father. They have issues.
  • Leslie Mann’s dad has teen kids.
  • Paul Rudd’s dad is a mooch. He has triplet toddlers. Everyone has issues.
  • No one wants the triplet toddlers.
  • Leslie Mann’s trainer wants to fuck her. (Jason Segal, giving a great performance.)
  • Leslie Mann’s store is missing $12,000. She tries to figure out who took it.
  • Paul Rudd’s record business is failing. He’s trying to fix it.
  • Paul Rudd hasn’t disclosed any money problems to his wife ($80,000 loaned to his dad, a missed mortgage payment, failing record business).
  • Paul Rudd secretly puts their house on the market.
  • Megan Fox is a retail worker who is also a highly paid escort.
  • Leslie Mann’s sister, played by Katherine Heigle in the much better Apatow movie, Knocked Up does not exist nor does her boyfriend, Seth Rogan, or their baby, infant from the movie Knocked Up.
  • Paul Rudd hates his whole family, but likes his dad who is a piece of shit.
  • Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd both threaten a teen at their daughter’s school.
  • Leslie Mann gets unnecessarily pregnant halfway through the movie.
  • Their money manager is the main provider of exposition.
  • Subplot : Paul Rudd is always farting or pooping. Always.
  • Second subplot: They don’t know any normal people! Every single character is a zany [gynecologist, sexless friend, coworker/pill addict/lothario/uptight principal, man you get in a car accident with, etc.].
  • There is marijuana use in the movie, to no end.
  • Paul Rudd exposes himself to more than one room service person.

One More Disaster I Can Add to My Generous Supply

No Good Deed, a movie starring Idris Elba as a man who continually abuses and murders women (strangers and girlfriends alike) and Taraji P. Henson as a woman who is brutally stalked and terrified in her own home while caring for two young children, made $24.5 million at the box office this weekend and sixty percent of ticket buyers were women.

Great. Perfection.

No Good Deed

I know that after a long, stressful week of the NFL’s lies, Ray Rice’s horrific video. Oscar Pistorius’ essential acquittal, Rhianna’s pulled performance (domestic violence victims are such an unpleasant distraction from the game) and countless other stressors, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do more than watch a giant man terrorize and brutalize a woman in her own home. I need me time or I just can’t function and I know for me, being reminded that women are all just helpless sexy marks in the face of monstrous sexy psychos is a great way to settle down.

After a week of being slapped repeatedly in the face with images, videos, and press releases reminding me that women get brutalized all the time, I can’t think of any better way to chill right out than to sit through eighty four minutes of a sexy film about violence against women.

Thank goodness that Sony had the good sense to cancel all press screenings of No Good Deed in advance of the film’s opening. I’m really glad it didn’t have the opportunity to spark advance discussions of why we glorify violence against women. That would have been a heady bummer on a weekend treat. I’m so glad that Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson decided to star in this film, since they are talented, charismatic actors who could draw audiences to literally anything, even I bet, a steaming pile of shit if they were in it. I’m delighted that Sony chose to make this film, since high production values are key in nabbing a large audience. I’m thrilled to see a movie perpetuating the idea that men who abuse are sick but the women who allow themselves to be treated badly are just stupid. And I am so grateful that so many women turned out to see No Good Deed because it’s important that studios know exactly how we feel about these issues and how willing we are to stand up for where we fit into society.

No Good Deed 2

I hope you feel as great as I do about this, because movies like this help preserve a status quo where nothing changes, which is clearly was $24.5 million worth of people want. Unfortunately, not everyone can appreciate when we all need to unwind and just focus on a fun thing. CBS Sports anchor, James Brown, participated in an hour-long discussion before the Ravens – Steelers game and had this to say about domestic violence:

“…this problem is bigger than football. There has been, appropriately so, intense and widespread outrage following the release of the video showing what happened inside the elevator at the casino. But wouldn’t it be productive if this collective outrage, as my colleagues have said, could be channeled to truly hear and address the long-suffering cries for help by so many women? And as they said, do something about it? Like an on-going education of men about what healthy, respectful manhood is all about.

And it starts with how we view women. Our language is important. For instance, when a guy says, ‘you throw the ball like a girl’ or ‘you’re a little sissy,’ it reflects an attitude that devalues women and attitudes will eventually manifest in some fashion. Women have been at the forefront in the domestic violence awareness and prevention arena. And whether Janay Rice considers herself a victim or not, millions of women in this country are.

Consider this: According to domestic violence experts, more than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. That means that since the night February 15th in Atlantic City [when the elevator incident occurred] more than 600 women have died.”

Fortunately, Sony doesn’t have to worry about those women because way more than 600 showed up to the opening weekend of No Good Deed.