Two and a half years ago, an email landed in my inbox with the subject line, “Cover story?” At the time, I was a freelance journalist and those two words made me drool like none other. But as I read the email, my face sunk—Good Housekeeping wanted me to write a feature where I’d interview five woman who’d lost 100 pounds each. Normally, I would have rolled my eyes—I fancied myself a “serious journalist” and stayed away from weight loss stories at all costs. But this was the beginning of the recession and I needed money. I felt pained as I wrote back and begrudgingly accepted the assignment.
I felt defeated for the next few days as I tracked down women to interview. Really, was this the state my career was in? Weren’t there more important stories I could be working on? I thought.
My first interview was with a woman named Janice, a stay-at-home mom who’d lost 75 pounds doing Weight Watchers and had gone on to become a counselor herself. We spent more than an hour on the phone as I asked her a zillion questions about how she’d gained the weight, how she’d changed her eating habits, and how life was different as a thin person. Near the end of our conversation, she asked me a simple question:
“How do you feel about your body?”
It landed like a slap against my jaw. Keep reading »
I met Omar* at a New Year’s Eve party shortly after graduating college. He was 6’2″ and built with dark brown eyes and black wavy hair that fell below his ears. I was a 5’2″ chubby bookworm who had recently lost her virginity and was tired of being single and inexperienced.
We hit it off immediately because of our love for going out dancing and the exact same taste in TV shows. Fueled by alcohol and a newfound sense of adventure, I jumped into bed with him that night. The next day, after talking for 12 hours straight, he told me that he wanted to be together. I thought, Okay, maybe this guy can be my Starter Boyfriend. Keep reading »
“I have to introduce you to my cousin Logan*,” my childhood friend told me emphatically one weekend when I was home from college. “He’s really good looking—if he were taller he could be a model.”
“… OK,” I answered with trepidation. I was 19, and my freshman year of college at a small, cloistered university in the middle of the Bible Belt was not going well. My stomach turned to knots. I was trying so hard to fit in without fitting in that it was driving me crazy. For some reason it felt like if I got involved with a guy it would fix things. Logan was 24 and seemed nice enough.
The problem was, I was a virgin when we met, and at 19 I was among the last of my friends. Virtually inexperienced, I felt it was time to get it over with. In hindsight I should’ve listened to my gut. Keep reading »
Emotional affairs are when a person in a committed relationship looks to establish an emotional bond with someone outside of his or her relationship. I know this because I Googled it. I felt that there had to be a description for what I was going through, feeling an incredible closeness with an unavailable man. I typed the words into my computer and felt my heart sink as I nodded along, recognizing his behavior described perfectly in the warning signs. Is he lying about the amount of time we communicate to his partner? Yes. Would he want his partner to hear the conversations we have? Hell no! Is your relationship forged with a secretive, forbidden energy? Oh god, it is. Keep reading »
A few weeks ago, on a first date, a guy told me about how watching his mother — a strong, intelligent woman who held the family together — made him into a feminist. Then he asked me what it was that made me start caring about women’s equality. I’m sure he expected that I was going to tell him a traditional “how I became a feminist” story: Dad hauled me to my first pro-choice march kicking and screaming, or my parents were radical separatist lesbians, or Mom was a famous liberal journalist and progressive ideals were in their blood.
Not. At. All.
My blood is the thick, viscous fluid of dirty martinis. My parents contributed to me becoming a feminist, sure. But it was only because as I was a young sprout blossoming into a beautiful flower, they were … kind of sexist. Keep reading »
It starts early. Little girls give each other broken heart necklaces for their birthdays while boys have paintball parties. While boys are encouraged to participate in sports and group activities, us girls are pushed to more one-on-one activities like tea parties or making Barbies have sex under a blanket. Studies show that there are different friendship styles for boys and girls. In one, when middle school girls were faced with the prospect of meeting a new friend, their brains lit up in areas associated with pleasure and reward. Boy brains’ just didn’t do the same thing.
My “anecdotal evidence” from the field? Over the years, I could actually feel my brain light up when it became clear that a new friend would earn the title of “best.” I’ve learned that these relationships are just as valuable as any amorous one and that they do indeed have their own sense of romance.
For me, they also bring about a whole lot of crazy. Keep reading »