Profile for Diane Shipley

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The Soapbox: Yes, Women Writers Without Kids “Understand Human Emotions”

Defending Chick Lit
Why Jennifer Egan was wrong to diss the genre. Read More »
Friends With Kids
Oh look, an ensemble cast that does not look godawful. Read More »
Broken Biological Clock
Some biological clocks just don't tick. Read More »

The death of Irish novelist Maeve Binchy earlier this week has inspired a lot of articles, most of them warm tributes to her kind heart, quick wit, and writing ability.

British novelist Amanda Craig took a different tack.

In a piece published today by The Telegraph, she wonders whether Binchy might have been a better writer if she had been a mother. The subtitle is even more blunt, asking: “Does a female novelist need to have experienced motherhood to truly understand human emotions?” Keep reading »

Girl Talk: Step Off, Stepmothers

For years, stepmothers have complained that “Snow White” cast them in an unflattering light. Pop culture has tried to rehabilitate their reputation, presenting us with such paragons of step-parental virtue as Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music,” Florence Henderson on “The Brady Bunch,” and Allison Janney in “Juno.”

But in real life, many women find coping with another woman’s child harder than they had hoped. Some balk. Many moan. They form support groups, write articles about their hardships, and even publish books based on their challenging new situation.

While I’m sure parenting your partner’s kids can’t be a cakewalk, I think these women should shut up and wise up. Because no matter how hard it might be to become a step-parent, it’s twice as challenging to gain one. Keep reading »

Girl Talk: “Friendships” In The Technological Age

Hold onto your mouse pads, I have a revelation for you (drum roll please): online friends are not the same as their “real world” equivalents.

I know, duh. You rarely, if ever, actually see the people you meet online. They don’t go with you to the grocery store or to check out the cute guy at Starbucks and are unlikely to ever ask to borrow your Marc Jacobs handbag (meaning you never have to humiliate them by saying no). If you’re going through a bad time, they might be there with some emailed sympathy and advice but call them in tears at 4 AM and you’re crossing over into stalker territory.
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Girl Talk: The Naked Truth

Recently, my friend became a naturist. I re-read her email twice to make sure she hadn’t said “naturalist”. But no: there it was in 12 point Verdana, as clear as the shock on my face: “I’ve joined a naturism society”.

I couldn’t be more shocked had she joined a satanic cult. Not only is she English to an almost stereotypical degree (reserved to the point of inhibition – or so I thought – and sporting milk-pale skin prone to burning) but she lives for Doris Day musicals and her politics make Sarah Palin look liberal.

And yet her new hobby is meeting up with people she doesn’t know… and taking off all her clothes. Keep reading »

Pregnant In Public: Where Did You Pee On A Stick?

When Sally was seven weeks pregnant, her doctor said he was 99% sure she’d had a miscarriage. But she didn’t want to believe him. So in the restroom of a restaurant in San Francisco, she peed on a stick (or seven) and against all her expectations, got two blue lines.

Meanwhile, my friend Cat was so eager to find out whether she was with child that she dashed into the local Burger King toilet to take a test, despite being a vegetarian.

And Linda took her test in a supermarket restroom on the way to a Weight Watchers meeting… which she never got around to going to.

I used to think that pregnancy was a pretty private thing – at least until the belly starts to pop and strangers want to rub it. My mom and other women of her generation all went to their gynecologist or the privacy of their own bathrooms if they wanted to know if they were knocked up or not. Keep reading »

Dealbreaker: The Junk Food Junkie

Food is one of the great joys of life. Or it is for most people. And when I say “most people”, I mean me.

For my ex, food was fuel, nothing more – something to be burped down between video games, beer-drinking sessions and advancing his engineering career. While studying for his degree, his dinner would routinely consist of half a loaf of bread, two packets of cookies and a large bottle of Coke. Seriously.

That’s okay when you’re a bachelor (as long as your cholesterol can take it) but can you imagine how difficult it is to keep a relationship going when your interests in food are so unbalanced? We’d go to grab dinner and a movie, but be finished with our drive-thru so soon we had hours to kill before the opening credits rolled. And it’s hard to get really romantic over a meal without wine… or a table.

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