This week, I found out my brother is going to be deployed to Afghanistan. Ever since he joined the Marines, as difficult and stressful as the journey has been, I have always comforted myself with the fact that he wasn’t in a war zone, and that, thanks to the type of work he does, he probably would never have to be.
Over the course of the past couple years, I watched him swear his oath of loyalty to the military. I read his heartbreaking letters from bootcamp. I fell into a pretty deep depression. I fought with him and for a long time, we were estranged. I saw my family fall apart as we realized that our ways of dealing with such a massive change were completely incompatible.
But none of that mattered, because at least my brother was safe. At least my brother wasn’t at war. Whenever I read stories about military families with a loved one in the Middle East, I shuddered. When a friend of mine’s brother was deployed and she resumed her day-to-day life, I thought, She is so much stronger than me. I would just be a constant wreck. Imagining my brother in such a dangerous situation left me feeling frozen with fear. The idea of him killing people, the idea of him being killed — I had been able to stomach every other difficult milestone of this journey, but those two possibilities? I couldn’t even bear the abstract, hazy idea that someday they might be part of my reality.
And now my brother is going to war. Keep reading »
Here are my first memories of my sisters.
My newborn sister Jenny is brought home from the hospital, three days after my birthday. I am excited, suspicious, eager, and in my curiosity, poke her in the eye, provoking a banshee shriek that does not stop. This sets the tone for all of our interactions for the rest of our lives, including adulthood, where we routinely bicker over the remote control and create pillow barriers on the couch at home, creating our separate but equal spaces.
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I don’t masturbate. Don’t judge me.
That isn’t to say I never have. I’ve tried. I really have. But it’s always felt more of a chore -– a kind of requisite feminist activity -– than the pleasurable, relaxing, even necessary pastime I assume it is for everyone else.
While for most women, I’m told, masturbation is a shameful activity, my shame always came from the fact that my orgasms were never self-induced.
Feminists are supposed to masturbate. We’re supposed to be empowered, sexually liberated, independent women of the (sexy, sexy) future! In essence, we’re supposed to be able to give ourselves dick-free orgasms. Keep reading »
I’ve recently come to terms with something: I don’t like sports. This should have been obvious to me a long time ago — like, we’re talking in kindergarten when I quit my soccer team because I was never the goalie (or as I saw it, the person who just got to stand there and do nothing). The cool girls in elementary school were the girls who had friends that were boys. How did they get those super-masculine friends? By playing sports – or at least, by watching them from the sidelines. Me? I was too busy staging my own production of “Little Shop of Horrors” to notice, until everyone quit my show to play sports, that is. Because apparently, sports are fun! But they weren’t for me. I could name so many things that were more fun than having a ball thrown at your face. Like eating, for instance.
At a very young age, I learned that if I wanted to meet boys, or more specifically, if I wanted boys to like me, I had to like sports.Volleyball girls were totally rad, with their bumping and serving or whatever other sporty moves they did, cheerleaders knew all about football and got to wear those stylish skirts, and die-hard baseball fans always had home runs when it came to starting conversations with guys. I could run, but didn’t join the track team because it interfered with drama club. Keep reading »
Today, I’m going to go where, if you’re a woman, you’re never supposed to go. And that forbidden zone is to talk about the perils of women at work—and specifically, about that most fearsome of office creatures, the bad female boss. “Gird your loins!” Stanley Tucci warns as his tyrannical female boss, played by Meryl Streep, approaches in “The Devil Wears Prada.” Having survived a veritable parade of bad female bosses, my loins are fully girded.
Aware that I’ll now probably have to enroll in the Witness Protection Program anyway, I’ll just come right out and say it: I’d rather work for a man.
Correction: I’d rather work for a man than a wine-guzzling, insecure, jealous woman who’s more focused on rivalry and one-upmanship, or should I say, one-upwomanship, than in getting any actual work done.Which is to say, almost every woman I’ve ever worked for.
Working my way up to director of PR for a major financial company, I had only one good female boss—an erudite woman who embodied grace and truth and principles. She actually wanted me to succeed and did everything within her power to help me. She left two years after hiring me to go get a master’s degree at Harvard.
Aside from that one lovely exception, I was far more experienced in working for glorious train wrecks. I had the incompetent-because-she-was-young female boss, the boss-who-avoided-direct-communication-like-it–was-Ebola female boss, and the really-just-a-lady–who-lunched-but-wanted-to-be-able-to-say-she-had-a-job female boss. Keep reading »