This story begins in a basement waiting room in Brooklyn. My boyfriend and I stare at our phones on a dirty looking love seat across from the reception desk. There’s no service, and cellphone games give me headaches, so I pick up an issue of Parenting magazine, even though I am not a parent and — thank god — this isn’t that kind of doctor’s visit. I’m not thirsty, but I drink a lot of water from the water cooler to occupy myself. It takes almost an hour before my name is called. The nurse is friendly, but she mumbles and I keep having to ask her to repeat herself. I am relieved when she asks me how much I weigh rather than making me step on the scale, but the anxiety rises again when she measures my blood pressure. The machine squeezes my arm and then releases it in slow puffs — panic, panic, panic.
Actually, this story begins on Christmas night. And the night before. And the night after. And all of the nights that I went to bed too early. This story begins with me apologizing. This story begins with my mother’s worried face. It begins with an unquenchable, inexplicable desire for sleep, which actually begins nine years ago when I was in 12th grade and became addicted to going to bed. Because that’s what this is really about. That’s the reason I am waiting in a cold doctor’s office, picking nervously at my nail polish, listening to the paper crinkle each time I move, and wanting very badly to pee.
I’m tired. I’m tired all the time. Keep reading »
I didn’t physically prepare for my first orgy. My husband and I talked about boundaries and asked the friends who invited us about party etiquette. But I didn’t put much thought into what I looked like because I wasn’t planning to do a whole lot. I wanted to meet people, maybe kiss and fondle a few, and generally take in the experience as an observer in order to judge whether a second orgy was in my future. So I planned for comfort rather than beauty. I wore attractive but conservative clothing. My bra was snazzy, but my underwear was generic. And I didn’t even consider trimming my pubic hair.
I’ve never shaved my pubic hair. When I was a teenager, I read “The Vagina Monologues,” which features the harrowing account of a woman whose ex-husband shaved her bush without her enthusiastic consent. I decided right then that I never wanted to shave down there. The occasional hygienic trim, sure, but I’d never shave or wax or remove it in full. Pubic hair serves a purpose, and I like having it. (Plus, don’t let my kinkiness fool you – I hate pain. I don’t even tweeze my eyebrows because it hurts. So the thought of a bikini wax makes my toes curl, and not in an orgasmic way.) Keep reading »
I work from home, so I spend a lot of time alone. Eight hours a day, actually, and often more than that. I miss having coworkers (especially because my Frisky coworkers are so freakin’ awesome), but my ADD makes it really hard to get anything–especially writing–done anywhere other than a totally controlled, calm environment. When I tell people about my work schedule, they usually say something like, “I can’t believe you spend all day alone. I would go crazy.”
“Thank you,” I say stoically. “It’s hard sometimes, but it’s really good for me.” And then I go back to debating the finer points of gun control with my quesadilla.
Spending so much time alone led me to the logical conclusion that I’m pretty good at being alone. I mean, not everyone can work all by themselves day after day, right? I figured that made me some kind of professional loner. But recently I realized that maybe there’s more to this whole “being alone” thing than the hours you put into it, and maybe I’m still learning how to truly be alone. Keep reading »
A few years ago, I posted a roommate request on Craigslist. I received a handful of responses, and after weeding out the crazies, I invited a few people to come see the apartment. One afternoon, a girl I had contacted stopped by with her boyfriend. She seemed nice, respectful and she really liked the place. I remember her boyfriend walked around the whole time with a look of delight on his face, as if to say, “Wow, you could actually live here!” Shortly after meeting them, I told the girl she could have the place. This is how Tam and Fred* came into my life.
At first things went really well. Tam was a very sweet person and a considerate roommate. Fred spent a lot of time at our apartment, but he was so friendly I didn’t mind his presence. He would go out of his way to talk to me when he was over and to see how I was doing. If Tam was busy, he would watch TV with me and talk. During these conversations, I learned something important about Fred: he was an idiot. Keep reading »
I named my gun Roxy after the chick on ”Army Wives” who I thought was spunky. I’m not your typical gun owner — in fact, according to a Gallup survey, I fall in the least likely demographic to own a gun: I’m a woman, under 34 years old, a college graduate, I live on the east coast, and I am a Democrat. But I do. And Roxy is big.
I was raised in an upper-middle class suburban neighborhood in Santa Cruz, California, a town known for liberal politics, surfers, lackadaisical laws on marijuana, and hippies. We were lapsed-Protestant, my mom was a surgical nurse, my dad worked in real estate, and my brother, four years my junior, followed me around, LEGOs in hand. My childhood was normal. I read Seventeen and Sassy, not Guns & Ammo, and I was never particularly interested in playing cops and robbers. I preferred Barbies.
At 19, I began volunteering with the Sheriff’s Office at a service center where I did community outreach, took cold police reports with no suspect information, and drank coffee with deputies. Our coffee sessions eventually lead to shooting range outings, where they taught me to use a handgun. I learned and practiced on a .22 (a small caliber), and worked my way up to a 9mm. Keep reading »
At the age of three, I already didn’t want to be a girl. I saw from watching my mom what it was like to be a grown-up girl and it didn’t look good. Here are the few memories from childhood that I hadn’t managed to suppress:
We came home once to find our apartment ransacked by burglars. I was forced to drink powdered milk everyday, which I hated. My dad chasing my mom with a big knife into the kitchen. My brother and I, who were kneeling facing the wall as punishment for who-knows-what, turned and watched them run by. Screaming. My dad coming in the bathroom interrupting me and my brother taking a shower together. He came in to punish my brother, hitting him on the butt. My brother remembers us hiding under the dining table while chairs were being thrown around. Apparently my dad used to bring women home, even when my mom was home.
Needless to say I was a sad little kid. By the time I escaped to the U.S. at age six I told myself my life starts now and never to look back. Keep reading »
Women have no secrets. Not really. We readily spill the beans about everything from the guy we hooked up with to our marital problems. Discussing our lives is the glue that keeps book clubs together. But there’s something we need to talk more openly about: penis size.
Not that we haven’t been discussing size, but we’ve only been doing it in hushed voices after several martinis. Why? Because men have made size a taboo subject, even though they’re the ones who are obsessed with it.
Our silence isn’t helping. Men foolishly seem to think size is a big deal, or the only deal. This is evidenced by the overwhelming amount of emails for penis enlargement procedures clogging up my spam folder. Men get hung up on equating their masculinity or their sexual prowess with their penis size. That couldn’t be further from the truth, at least, from the female perspective. Keep reading »
There are two main versions of my name story. The first is the one I like telling, which is that I was named after my grandmother’s best friend, Charlotte. It doesn’t make any sense, I know. But it’s better — although I suspect less accurate — than the second version, which is that my mother was reading a magazine while sitting on the toilet (apparently this was an important detail), and came across an ad for Chanel perfume. Hence, a difficultly-named troublemaker was born.
I hate my name. Okay, that’s not fair. I have a complicated relationship with my name. For a long time, I just wanted to be named Jen, or Rebecca, or anything but Chanel. (I’m an only child, so there’s no one to compare names with, no sibling with an equally complicated name.) Teachers went into a full-on, sweaty panic when they saw my full name, and kids seized upon me with gleeful cruelty, creating every permutation you can think of and referring to me as such. Recently, when I was signing into the apartment building where I was cat sitting, the doorman informed me that my name was “not spelled that way.” Keep reading »
I consider myself a fairly patient person. I grew up in a house with four siblings and three pets—I can put up with a lot. But if you want to set my foot tapping and my eyes rolling, just start complaining about your life.
Recently, for example, I caught up with an old friend. Last I talked to her was several months ago, and things weren’t going great—she wasn’t happy in her job, wasn’t thrilled to be single and felt an overall uneasiness about her life. I felt her pain, and was ready to listen, encourage, and lend a shoulder to cry on. But when we talked again, and I started the conversation with a simple, “How are you?” her immediate response was, “Meh.” What followed was a string of complaints reminiscent of our previous conversation—nothing had changed, and it seemed she hadn’t tried to make it.
You hate your job, but aren’t even looking for a new one? You want to meet men, but refuse to join an online dating site? You’re upset with your weight, but won’t change your diet and exercise? I can’t help you. Only you can. Keep reading »
The irony about people who cope with depression is that some of us are actually quite happy people. We are not, contrary to stereotype, slogging through life with the weight of one thousand sorrows dragging behind us. I may feel things intensely, sure. But I’m not someone whose blue-colored glasses see everyone screwed up and the world a terrible place.
That is, until the holidays come around. Keep reading »