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 »
This piece originally appeared on Role/Reboot. Republished here with permission.
An email arrives from an old friend with the name of your ex-boyfriend in the subject line. In the body of the email, just this: “I’m totally shocked. When was the last time you talked to him?” You sigh, what now? Is he getting married? Having a baby? You head to Facebook, the one-stop shop for dirt on old flames. No wedding announcement, no ultrasound. Instead, there’s a video. Same crooked grin, same floppy hair, and this:
“This is a clip of me taking my first dose of Atripla, which is a combination antiretroviral drug. My name is Jake Earl, and on May 13, 2013 I was diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).”
There’s chaos in your brain for 30 seconds before you’re able to make some sense of what you’re seeing. Order descends and you start a convoluted march through a series of reactions: Self-preservation. Nostalgia. Anger. Fear. Curiosity. Admiration? Keep reading »
Here is a collection of memories from my childhood.
I am in kindergarten, it is story time, I am wearing a turtleneck that itches at my neck and I am not feeling well. I throw up on the rug, in front of everyone, sobbing hysterically, and my father leaves the campus where he’s teaching to come pick me up, taking me straight to class with him because it was easier than taking me to the babysitter. I fall asleep in the corner of his classroom to the sound of his voice lecturing disenchanted freshmen about the Yangtze river.
My sister and I spend a hazy, humid summer in Taiwan with our mother, running amok in the streets, eating food at the night market and listening to my mother’s sisters babble over our heads in Chinese. My uncle takes me for a ride on his scooter and I wear no helmet as we careen around the corners and dart in and out of traffic near my ah-ma’s apartment. My mother brings me to the salon to get a perm, and I return to the United States nut-brown and curly haired. When I run to my father at the airport, he holds me at arm’s length. “Who is this?!” he jokes. “You’re not my daughter!”
Countless nights, my father falls asleep in the living room with the television on, our dog Maggie curled up on the floor near the couch. I remove his glasses and wake him up, telling him to go to bed.
My parents divorced when I was very young. The courts granted my father primary custody of my sister and myself because they ruled that my mother’s new relationship with my stepfather was her priority. I have no memory of a family other than the tiny unit that existed — myself, my sister and my father.
Keep reading »
Not long ago, I was promoted to Associate Editor at the local Toronto magazine where I had been working as an Assistant Online Editor. Shortly after receiving the news, I cried at my desk. They were not tears of joy. No. These were snot-is-coming-out-of-my-nose-running-into-my-mouth tears. These were I-am-an-uglier-crier-than-James-Van-der-Beek tears.
My co-worker sent me an email, asking: “Is everything okay?”
It clearly wasn’t.
Amidst curious stares and GChat gossip, I dashed outside to the parking lot and called the one person who, much to my stubborn Capricorn chagrin, always had the best advice: Mom. Keep reading »
My father gave great, yet strange advice to me when I was younger. “My advice to you is this,” he said. “Let’s go be bad, let’s go poot in public.” Clearly, my dad is not a man who’s embarrassed of his actions. The only reason he said he wanted kids was so that he could embarrass us. To give you an idea of who you should imagine saying these brilliant words, picture a southern, taller version of Steve Martin. Picture him doing a special dance when he goes to get his ice cream every night.
When I was younger my mom left because of mental issues and my dad raised me, my brother and my sister on his own. Because there were so many dark periods when we were little, my dad tried his damnedest to make sure it was all sunshine and happiness for us after my mom was gone. He did his best to play both mother and father at the same time. He even dared to take us girls shopping for Jelly shoes and skorts at Gap Kids. Needless to say, we left the mall with Umbros and baggy t-shirts instead, but it was the thought that counted.
We called him “Camp Director Conroy” because he was always ready with his zip off pants (just so you know they zip off at the knee and the ankle) and a backpack. He always loved to get anyone (including you if you met him) excited for some type of adventure. He would clap and do a little jig and say his famous refrain, “Let’s go be bad, let’s go poot in public.” Keep reading »