The Perfect Body? Cut the Facade, Not the Pounds.

My yoga buddy, a sixty-something-year-old engineer from an affluent family, told me this week that I have a perfect body. He meant it as a compliment because I’m thin with socially privileged body measurements, but his statement left me wondering about its deeper implications. The perfect body… what does that mean? (more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, June 2015

Dear Connor,

I had another dream about you last night, this time that I pushed you against the upstairs banister, causing you to fall through the bars, face first down to ground level. You were dead, it was all my fault, and you looked a lot like you did when I found your unconscious, damp body in real life. I woke up shaking and wide-eyed. Needless to say, it was a rough morning.

Mom just vividly described Gran’s gaudy, pink-nightmare of a casket to Aaron and, in doing so, reminded me that she and Dad couldn’t bear to put your ashes in the ground. Your cremated remains are held in a polished, wooden, latched box in your room. (more…)

Simplifying Your Nine-to-Five: Meet the Work Uniform, Ladies.

My friends know that my ideal daily uniform would be absolutely nothing, followed by nothing but my favorite sweatpants, followed by nothing but my favorite sweatpants and my favorite flip flops. But alas, I’m not rich enough (read: at all) to be able to afford to not work, so the next best thing is making my daily outfits as comfortable as possible. It’s not that I don’t care about how I look these days, because I do, but I care much, much less than when I was younger. Why? … because have learned to value myself as both a person and a woman even when I’m not my most conventionally attractive, despite my years of relentless social programming. Go figure that I’m the only one not self-fat-shaming at the office happy hour. SHOCKER.

In my office, the women dress quite differently from one another, based on their roles. Everyone wears makeup, but the non-attorney staff wear pants, sweaters, and general business-casual comfort-wear. The attorneys, however, wear dresses, pencil skirts, and high heels every single day — the stale, trite essence of professional hyperfemininity branded many decades ago.  (more…)

Maybe Baby? Maybe Not.

When I was twenty, I met a woman who remarked that she wanted to have a baby someday because that child would love her unconditionally. “HAH!!” I rudely retorted. “Relationships require constant maintenance. In the end, it is your child’s choice of what kind of relationship to have with you, if any. If you want unconditional love, get a dog.”

Since girlhood, I have always assumed I would have my own children someday because I love kids, and that’s what grown-ups do — reproduce. Recently, however, I have begun to question that assumption for the first time. Why make babies?  (more…)

Pedophilia as a Sexual Orientation?

“It’s no use, he sees her / he starts to shake and cough / Just like the old man in / that book by Nabokov.”

When I first drafted this piece, I’d had a conversation on the phone app, Whisper, earlier in the day with a fool who argued that homosexuality and pedophilia were essentially the same thing, and that I should not “be mad” because he or she “could have mentioned bestiality” as an additional comparison. Although every respondent to the contributor’s initial post offered support for homosexuality and denounced pedophilia, I have to wonder why, in this day and age, anyone could possibly compare any consensual adult sexual interest to pedophilia. I was also curious how much the general public truly understood about pedophiles, so I did some research.
(more…)

An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, April 2015

Dear Connor,

The first of April has come and gone, so happy 20th birthday, little brother. When I had originally drafted this piece on February 23, and it had been exactly six years and five months since you died. Google says that’s about 2,344 days — or, as you would prefer, 202,490,275,166,666,688 nanoseconds. Sounds like a long time, right? Some days, it feels like it. Other days, it feels more like just a week has passed.

I’m still mad you’re gone, but over the past few years, my anger and frustration have started to feel more… empty.

(more…)