A few weeks ago, my boyfriend came home from hanging out with his male cousin with a startling report: the cousin had an ugly, yellowing bruise on his upper arm. The cousin also needed to buy a new cell phone because his had been smashed. We noticed his Facebook status had been updated over the weekend to say that he’d made his recent ex-girlfriend cry.
“What happened?!” I gasped. My boyfriend shrugged.
“What, you didn’t ask?” I sputtered. These two are as close as brothers. They’ll be best men at each other’s weddings. But he shrugged again and responded, “I didn’t want to be nosy.” Keep reading »
My younger brother Dan used to sleep in a car bed with a GI Joe tent over it. He owned a skateboard, a boogie board, a BMX bike, a moped, and a scooter. His favorite movies were “Rad” and “Gleaming the Cube.” But underneath his little daredevil facade was a kid that worshiped me, his older sister who occasionally used him as a human Barbie doll. He did whatever he could to please me — even if it meant wearing a dress — whatever it took to be accepted by me — even if it meant watching “Annie” every day for a week. I embraced him as my apprentice, my little neophyte. As we got older, I tried to instill him with values and culture. I introduced him to indie films and alternative music. I dragged him along to parties with my artist friends and gave him books to broaden his perspective. I encouraged him to leave the state for college and travel, to grow as a human being. I supported him 100 percent when he decided to move to New York City post-college to pursue a career in finance. I was always there when he needed advice. Staring at the clean-cut, 26-year-old man sitting across from me at his engagement dinner, I barely recognized the person he had become. Keep reading »
Two weeks after confessing my worry about surviving my first ever road trip with my husband, I’m happy to report we made it home alive — with our bodies, minds, and marriage all safely intact. The trip wasn’t without a few close calls, though. While driving for the first time in three years — on narrow, winding back roads, no less — was nerve-wracking, it turns out our most anxious moments came before we even picked up our rental car. But what could have turned into a disastrous first anniversary — or, at the very least, a terribly unpleasant evening — quickly became one of the best weekends we’ve ever had together and was another reminder just how important a positive attitude and an open heart — not to mention an adventurous spirit — are in maintaining a happy relationship (with yourself or a significant other). Keep reading »
I was in fourth grade when my grandmother first took me to a hair salon. She drove me to her hairdresser, Betsy, a 50-year-old woman who dyed her hair pitch black, and had a head full of curls the perfect shape of large hot rollers. I squirmed as Betsy ripped out the rubber bands holding in my afro puffs and inspected the black cloud of kink on my head.
“Naomi, have you been trimming this yourself?” Betsy asked, horrified.
“Well, yes, but I don’t know how to do her hair.” Gram said sheepishly. Gram raised five straight-haired Irish-American kids, my mother being one of them. No curls were in sight until my father’s African-American hair genes messed it up. She was lost. Keep reading »
I have a confession to make. I love the male cast members of MTV’s now media-saturated hit, “Jersey Shore.” I want to rub my hands over The Situation‘s abs and my fingers through Pauly D‘s hair. I want to giggle at nothing with Ronnie and hold Vinny’s hand as we stroll down the boardwalk. Ladies, listen up: guidos are catches! Keep reading »
When it comes to my long-distance girlfriends, I know what it takes to keep those relationships tight despite the years and the miles apart: a willingness to pick up the phone. If we’re not having heart-to-hearts once in a while — say, every couple of months — then I’m not feeling like the connection is all that. A good, long chat between two girlfriends is like sex is to a couple, and if a relationship doesn’t get fed, it’s going to starve to death.
But the truth is, these days I feel like my closest ladies are starving me and I’m starving them. I’m not sure whether to blame our busy lives or the fact that technology has zapped all the intimacy out of communication and also keeps us too busy for the real thing. I’m talking to you, Facebook.
Keep reading »
“I’d rather see you strip at Stilettos than take help from the government,” my dad once told me. According to him, the most disgraceful thing I could do was be on the dole. As the daughter of successful New York State Republicans, I was nurtured on the GOP gin ‘n’ juice. But apparently, the bottle was spiked because I grew up to be a gay-loving, liberal, struggling artist.
So, a year ago, when I was fired from my job as a copywriter at an ad agency after six years, due to layoffs, I was forced to register for unemployment. I wanted to find another job, yes, but unlike my Amex Gold Card Member Mama, I didn’t mind having to pay the angry Chinese food delivery man in dimes in the meantime. But I also knew that I’d have to go to great lengths not to let my parents know what was going on. Keep reading »
I’ve waxed my eyebrows. I’ve waxed my upper lip. But when it came to waxing my ladyparts, I passed. I checked out. I just chose to be a noncombatant. I removed excess hair on my eyebrows and on my upper lip because it embarrassed me. But did it make sense to be embarrassed — nay, to form an opinion at all — about a part of my body seen by no one but me? No, I decided, it didn’t. In fact, a woman’s vagina is so personal and so private that I thought it would be pretty un-feminist to feel shame that it didn’t look quote, unquote “pretty.” (And yes, I’ve seen Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues,” like, eight times.) Besides, who would want to let an aesthetician down there with her tongue depressor dipped in hot wax? Surely someone of heartier stock than I.
Then I had my first bikini wax at age 26 and surprised myself by liking it. Keep reading »
Recently I was complaining to my cousin Lei about my mother.
“I tell her I’m happy,” I said as we waited for our table to be called, “but she doesn’t believe me.” I had money in the bank, a dream career, and was in a sickeningly loving relationship with a guy she adored like a son. Yet every time we spoke, she asked with fear in her voice: “Is everything okay? Are you okay? Is Alex’s job okay? Are you guys okay?”
“She’s your mother,” Lei said. “She’ll always worry.” My cousin watched her 3-year old zoom past us, her husband close on her tail. “Before I became a mother, I didn’t understand that worry. Now I do.”
I sighed. There it was again, that exclusive club. Motherhood. Keep reading »
In honor of the season four premiere of “Mad Men” on Sunday, July 25th at 10/9 Central on AMC, this weekend The Frisky is re-posting a few of our favorite “Mad Men”-inspired essays.
As a redhead, I’ve often been told I resemble, well, anyone else who also happens to have red — or even reddish — hair. When I had a pixie cut, people told me all the time I looked like a young Mia Farrow from “Rosemary’s Baby,” and before that, when my hair was longer, I always got compared to Lauren Ambrose from “Six Feet Under.” About two years ago people started telling me I looked like a character on a new series called “Mad Men.” I’d never seen the show, but a friend soon emailed me a picture of Joan Holloway and wrote “Your doppelganger!” in the subject line. I had to admit — we did kind of look a little alike. Keep reading »