Monday, December 20, 2010

what i can take away from 2010

This has been an interesting year. Sometimes strange but mostly very good. The weird thing for me is how clearly my lessons have stood out. I've learned a few things, or rather as my friend says, I've internalized cliches which is a pretty accurate way to describe it.

1. Nothing is ever really black or white.
I can be an extreme person sometimes. Extremely happy, extremely sad, etc. I have also tended to view things in extreme ways, too. Extremely good, extremely bad. But I think this year I've started to realize that so much of where most things fall is in the gray. I've found that the things that I thought were the worst things in the world turn out to eventually be much better than I could've expected. And sometimes good intentions are not as good as they seem. Just as nothing is ever really definite and unchangeable, things not usually completely good or bad.

2. Never doubt that people can do impossible things.

This I learned from my boss. Not that I've done anything impossible yet, I'm lucky if I can wake up and get myself to work on time instead of dicking around with my loungy, adorable cats all morning. What I've pulled from my boss and from amazing friends of mine is that we CAN do things that other people might shoot down. There will always be someone out there who wants to put you in your place and assure you that, no, you really can't do that. They will try to force you back into the average parameters of society so you don't make waves with your big ideas. But I'm not buying it. Whenever I come up with these big ideas one day and really get them into focus, I'm going to fucking do them. Where would we be if we listened to every naysayer out there? Ships wouldn't have been built, journeys would not have been taken, moons would not have been walked on. So here's a seed of confidence planted for the future, for when I need it. :D

2010, I'm sad to see you go, but I learned a lot from you and I think I'm ready for 2011!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

dealing with mud

Right now my mind is a little muddy and so is my spirit. Maybe I'm just suffering from after-college-reality blues. Schools fill you up with the most magical beliefs when you're there. First they get you angry when they tell you all the awful truths about past, (and current), American society (i.e. racism, corruption, sexism). Then they pump you full of can-do, optimistic energy. When you graduate you walk down the yellow brick road of idealism in search for that job that's going to help you change the world. But then you turn on the news. And right now I'm at that point where I am starting to feel inundated with negativity in the news. I know sometimes it just depends on what you read...

I read an article online today about Obama and how all of the far left progressives are fools for buying into him. That is because it turns out he was just spewing rhetoric back in 2008 and he now goes the way of passive progressive which never gets anybody anywhere.

At the same time there's another article praising Obama as the next Harry Truman, a president who's now seen as a great one but was heavily criticized during his time in office.

I saw another article about Sarah Palin and all of her haberdashery. First complaining of liberal feminists and their lack of understanding of feminism, then praising the movie "Juno" for showing an American movie where a young girl took the right path, the difficult path instead of "having an abortion and smoking cigarettes afterward for an hour." ... This woman is likely going to run for office in 2012. And in that event I'm likely going to run for my office window and leap from the 7th floor.

I'm starting to feel a little drained from all of these articles and I'm not even in any sort of position of power where I need to defend my beliefs. What the hell am I going to do when I go into that forum and need to step up my game? I'm just weary of all the bullshit. It's hard to really get a good grasp of all of the mud flinging through the air, I don't know what else to do but just sit in the middle and get muddy.

I just keep telling myself it's a long journey and it's not always going to be simple & clear. You run into a few rough patches along the way but that doesn't have to keep you from moving towards where you want to go. I've heard my share of cynics saying young people eventually wise up and abandon these pie-in-the-sky beliefs. Fuck that. Now is not the time to sit down in the middle of this path and abandon the journey.

This is just another storm along the path, this feeling of pessimism and uncertainty. When it's over and I trudge through the mud I'll be closer to where I ultimately want to be. And better prepared for the next storm.

photo by we heart it

Sunday, November 14, 2010

don't shave

I realize this inappropriate post is closely trailing a recent post about my boss, but... this is who I am.

Girls, how many times have you jinxed yourself out of a date? You get excited in anticipation of seeing your love interest on a particular night, you hop in the shower and shave everything but your head only to end up not hanging out with them that night. Not only is it a letdown, now you've got razor burn in places you're not really allowed to scratch in public. Son of a bitch!

I'll tell you a surefire way to ensure you don't jinx yourself next time. Let that hair grow, don't shave a thing for a while. I'll tell you why, because you always manage to get lucky when you've let yourself go to the point of lumberjack proportions. I've been there and I'm sure you have, too. Don't let it hinder your enjoyment, though. He'll get over your bush just like you will get over the patch of hair on his lower back that only gets thicker once it reaches his butt crack. You know what I'm talking about.

So let it grow out and long! If it doesn't move with a breeze it's not long enough. In other words, just keep being who you are and don't feel like you need to be something better (or smoother) for a guy. You can get rid of that hair today but it'll still grow back tomorrow. To ensure that the magic will happen, save the shaving for tomorrow, or even the next day...

Friday, November 12, 2010

my heroes

OMG, here they are, all in one picture. I did not see this moment in person, but I'm pretty sure something good happened to me while this was taking place. I just took a sip of a delicious cocoa-coffee combo that I make at work. Or I received a happy email, or I was thinking a happy thought. Life was good in that moment. :)

L to R:

I love Martin O'Malley, governor of Maryland. Not just because he's a muscly-armed dreamboat with a slightly southern twang, (my mom's Harlequin romance novels are to blame for this fixation). Also because he's an enormous champion for the large immigrant community in Maryland and for the organization I teach for CASA de Maryland. But also because he is the first governor to join Share Our Strength in making the proclamation that we will end childhood hunger in America by 2015. The man combines so many of my favorite things - muscly arms (but not too muscly, we don't need to be on the cover of Iron Man magazine), concern for the immigrant community & childhood hunger.

Bill Shore, the founder of Share Our Strength is a terrific speaker, writer, human being. I don't think I could accurately translate the respect I have for him from my head into words. He combines the perfect amount of humility and passion. He has continuously rejuvenated my idealistic views of the world despite everyone else trying to beat it out of me. He has convinced me that it's not irrational to want more for the world, to want better. What's more, better is achievable. It's okay to believe big things can happen, indeed, it's necessary. How else can we make the world a better place? We first have to believe we can do it. He has made me believe.

Jeff Bridges, first of all, reminds me of my dad, which to me is a good thing. He's very relaxed & comfortable in his own skin. He says a lot of random things and has just that little bit of aloofness that I treasure in my own father. But more importantly, despite his incredible success as an actor, he still gives a damn about the rest of society. Instead of retreating to his mansion, counting his money by the stacks and staring at himself in the mirror he seems to do what he believes in. He chooses the roles that matter whether in movies or in charities. I'm so thrilled he has joined Share Our Strength to make No Kid Hungry in America. He's deep enough to identify with the people in this country who have never known the riches he has. I can't say enough about this man. When I grow up I hope I'm just like him, (and/or my dad), charitable, humble, completely comfortable with myself, compassionate, bearded and 6'1".

Just like a masculine group of Charlie's Angels, here is a delightful group of lean, mean childhood hunger fighting machines.

Monday, October 4, 2010

creepy old men

A friend of mine went to a bar last weekend. She is single and lovely. Someone put something in her drink. She ended up in the hospital. Fortunately she was with her friends who acted quickly and took her to help. She said she suspected it was a creepy old man who was hanging out around her and her group for part of the night. She vaguely remembered him sitting next to her on a bench outside after she had been drugged and fled the bar to find a place to lie down. She knew something was wrong after she got the urge to lie down at the bar and she was right, she had been drugged.

The scary thing is that these guys aren't like vampires that only come out at night. Their official daytime job title isn't "Creepy Old Man" unless they're always movie extras in Rob Zombie films. They are "normal" guys with "normal" jobs. Presumably they interact with women every day on a regular basis. And yet their respect for women as fellow human beings is so low that they can attempt these types of stunts on the weekends and not let that affect their weekly routine.

You can say this is a one-off thing and that these men are rare, but I wonder. If they're guaranteed to get away with something like this, what would keep them from doing it? I'd say it'd be pretty safe to assume it wouldn't be respect for women.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I have small breasts. There's no hiding this, really. As a woman, most of the shirts I have to choose from (that are reasonably fashionable) are designed to accent and/or highlight this feature of my body.

To be honest it's okay, I don't need a huge chest, it seems a bit cumbersome to me, really. But I am reminded pretty regularly by society that I should be ashamed of something I don't have any control over. Why not try a padded bra? Or implants?

I'm never going to be in a T.I. video and I've learned over time to tell myself that's fine.

I have come up with a solution, though, to even out the discomfort so that men, too, can share in the pleasure of bodily exposure. Men's tights. First I need to make them au the rage and then the rest is cake.

Men might judge women for having misshapen bodies, but that's the pot calling the kettle black for sure. We just can't tell because they hide in those loose boxers and jeans. A small penis can look funny on a big guy but a big penis can look equally funny on a little guy, too. We should all be able to witness this and not be left to wonder.

Tights would eliminate the need for false confidence and Ford F-350s. Men would be brought to a female's level of constant questioning and need for reassurance -

Guy A - *walks out of bathroom* Hey...does my penis look big in these tights?
Guy B - Don't worry about it! You look hot and you've got an amazing ass anyway.
Guy A - Yeah but what about my balls? Does one look bigger than the other?
Guy B - Nobody's going to be looking at your balls, man, I promise.

Who wouldn't want to hear a conversation like this between two men?


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

damned if we do

...she was struck by how often the nation’s most powerful females were stranded in cab lines and late for meetings because, in heels, walking any distance was out of the question. These were working, powerful, leading women, she writes. Why did they insist on wearing heels? Sure, some women just like heels (and still others probably know their bosses like them). But there is also the reality that however hard men have it—and, from an economic perspective, their “beauty premium” is higher, say economists—women will always face a double bind, expected to conform to the beauty standards of the day, yet simultaneously condemned for doing so...

Deborah Rhode, a Stanford law professor and author of The Beauty Bias from

Monday, August 2, 2010

12 and Delaware

I'm watching an HBO documentary called 12 and Delaware about a crisis pregnancy center in Florida that sits across the street from an abortion clinic. It's very sad to see that so many people value the lives of unborn children over the lives of the women having these children.

Women are controlled in a number of ways. What is especially sad to me is how these centers are able to guilt women into making decisions they might not want to make in the first place. What is sad is that these women are being lied to and given incorrect facts like abortions give you breast cancer and condoms only work 85% of the time. Women aren't even given the courtesy of truth. It's apparently okay to lie to women in order to make sure they have a baby that maybe they can't afford or don't want or can't physically carry due to health reasons.

I'll be glad to see the day when women are allowed to make decisions on their own without constant ridicule and scrutiny from both men and women.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

cereal serving sizes

Look, General Mills, you and your industry cereal-making friends need to level with us, here.

Who in the hell eats 1 & 1/2 cups of cereal and calls it a morning!? I think we all know the average serving size should be 2-3 bowlfuls. Yes, the calorie count will probably be upwards in the 400s, but at least we'd be real. No more of this 1.5 cups of rice krispies jibber-jabber. Just hardcore mother-fucking TRUTH. Pour some milk and eat a bowl of THAT.

Monday, July 12, 2010


On any given day we see a number of near-naked women in various sexy positions. This might be on TV, billboard, online, so on.

Take the Gucci example above. This is Gucci, so naturally it is seen as provocative, sexy & interesting, tastefully done. Never mind that the girl's head is cut off and only her body is seen and that she has a G branded into her pubic hair, this ad is fucking art.

But a woman in the flesh, performing the same actions seen in these ads, as a real-life stripper, is not seen the same way. A stripper is the embodiment of how women are portrayed every day. Women are supposed to be sexy, but the minute they cash in on this idea and make money from it, they've gone too far. That's where the shame comes in. Suddenly they're dirty. And not just dirty, I've heard a number of terrible adjectives and similes used to describe these women.

Dumpsters, sluts, nasty, disgusting.

What would it take to shake these beliefs about women taking command over their own sexuality?

Monday, June 28, 2010

men in haiti

Haiti has long been a place of unspeakable sadness and despair and the earthquake at the beginning of this year was like pouring gasoline onto a bonfire.

This article in the NY Times about a 22 year old woman who was kidnapped and raped was pretty horrific. And the worst part is this is not an isolated incident, but a commonplace one, especially after the earthquake. It seems that in these awful situations where people are not just uncertain about their future but clawing for dear life just to stay alive, to find food and a place to sleep, aggression is abundant. Women feel the brunt of the abuse.

Men are left to deal with the feeling and weight of hopelessness and with no power or patience to find a way out of the rubble. They are desperate, depressed and angry. They are not supposed to cry or feel in need of help. They are supposed to take care of their family and themselves. And that desperation is what leads them to the torture and abuse of women, to take out all the anger the world has thrust against them and redirect it at a less powerful group.

This is absolutely not right, it's still completely despicable and wrong. Women need help, but I think this shows that men need help, too. I don't want to excuse these men in any way, but I do think this should make us think critically about the expectations we have for men that appropriate this type of behavior. We have to treat the symptoms AND the disease itself, otherwise we'll just keep treating the symptoms over and over and over...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

be careful

Be careful!
Take care of yourself!
Be safe!

I know these are all well-intentioned warnings and I hear them all the time when I go out for the night or for a trip from people I love and who I know care about me. But lately I've started to wonder if maybe these phrases of advice are traps for women. We often find ourselves in damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't situations, maybe this is another one of those, albeit a subliminal one.

Maybe this seems extreme, but let me explain myself.

As a woman, there are many things to consider when you leave the house.

Where are you going? What are you wearing? Who will be there? Is the area safe?

We carry the burden of the expectation of knowing the answers to all of these questions and more when we leave our front door. So if we leave unprepared and something bad happens, it becomes our fault. The world is dangerous. Men are dangerous. This is understood. We should have known better. We shouldn't have worn that. We shouldn't have been out alone that late. We shouldn't have...

Let's look at 2 situations -
Situation 1 - A girl is going to a party where she doesn't really know anyone. She goes and ends up drinking a lot and passes out. She is raped. Is it her fault?

Situation 2 - A girl is going to a party where she doesn't really know anyone. She drinks one drink and starts talking to a guy at the party for a long time. They go upstairs to make out. They are naked and almost ready to have sex. She changes her mind and says "No! I can't do this." The guy ignores her protest thinking she is playing hard-to-get. She is raped. Is it her fault?

I would venture to say many people would say "yes," it is her fault in both situations.

Two situations, one in which a woman loses control of her own body through being unconscious, another in which a woman is in coherent control of her own body but is taken advantage of anyhow.

When we tell women to be careful, when we give them numerous ways of protecting themselves, the proper way to hold your keys when walking alone so as to attack anyone who threatens you, anti-rape condoms, all of these things.

Do they help women? Sure. But we are missing the point.

The responsibility of rape should not lie on the shoulders of women. By constantly warning women we are simultaneously excusing men. It allows people to ask when terrible things happen to women "why did she stay with him if he was abusing her?" "what was she wearing?" "why did she drink so much?" "why did she go alone?"
Instead of asking the most important fucking question of all, why did he do that to her?

We need to stop the issue of sexual violence at the source, not just treat the symptoms.

I'm not saying that women should drop their inhibitions at all times. Clearly we are not there yet and I doubt any society could ever be there, for men or women. But I do think we absolutely need to start giving these warnings and suggestions to men instead of just women.

Be careful of your actions towards women, don't take advantage of them.
Take care of yourself and the people around you.
Be safe and aware of how you treat other people.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


This picture has made my week so far. Here's hoping it does the same for you.

A little inspiration, perhaps? If nothing else...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

screw that, eat more

Hey! Hey! Come look at how ironic this Urban Outfitters shirt is.

The model's expression just seems to scream (or indifferently whisper) "oooooo, I'm seething with hollowed emptiness about this statement being made here."

Anorexia is a big fucking deal. The irony of an underweight girl wearing a shirt saying "Eat Less" is not funny, just fucking insensitive. Girls are already reminded on a constant basis to eat less, be thinner, lose weight. I don't find it funny to put a girl in this shirt and parade her around as some sort of hegemonic symbol to shame girls who don't fit this near-impossible standard.

So Urban Outfitters can go fuck itself.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

the douchebag statisticians at the university of phoenix

I was riding home on the metro yesterday and happened to notice an ad for the University of Phoenix.

Above the ad was a giant question asking - What percentage of the students at the University of Phoenix are female? Among the choices there were the following:

A. 73% (too high, could never be)
B. 67% (seems high, but more feasible)
C. 1% (haha! wouldn't THAT be funny??)

The answer was in the ad you see above - 67%.

The part that really seemed to infuriate me, though, was the insinuation of women as minorities.

The University of Phoenix is proud to be the #1 university for conferring master's degrees to minorities.

Are you SHITTING me?

No offense to those disenfranchised ethnic groups who mark "other" instead of white on all of their government forms and are judged unfairly as a result. That sucks, too. But women have always made up half of the population and yet, somehow, we are considered minorities, making up less than the majority of the population. (Maybe I haven't done my homework and the stats in every country for thousands of years has always been 51% male, 49% female, but I fucking doubt it.)

For the past several years women have been leaving men in the dust in college and university enrollment. The University of Phoenix is not the only establishment bringing in women at a rate greater than 50%. Their target base is women, I get it, but maybe they should be smarter when marketing to the women they're trying to recruit into their program. Hopefully the next generation of marketers will be a majority of women and they will be smart enough to realize that we are not minorities and never have been.

Monday, May 24, 2010


After a great trip this weekend to Chicago, I want to reflect on a few things that cross my mind when flying.

1 - I love riding in an airplane. LOVE it. I think taking off is the closest most ordinary people get to an otherworldly experience. I should've been a pilot, John Travolta had the right idea. But he probably decided to fly for the little pilot's cap alone.

2 - Why does most luggage have to be so boring and similar? I want the balls to get a custom suitcase with a big design of naked, sexy Donald Duck on it. That way when it comes around on the conveyor belt it will be a beacon in a sea of boring maroons and navy blues. Then I can confidently declare in front of a crowd of shocked passengers - "that one's mine!" I pick it up, shoot a knowing glance at a gawking & shocked elderly man and roll on about my business.

3 - I always think of my favorite memory of flying with my family. My mom, my dad and I were coming back from Florida (where else?) and getting close to DC. The plane had started its descent and we were going over the Potomac River bridge we are all so familiar with. The same bridge my mom would cross into Virginia for cheap cigarettes and gas. It was very close to our house and my mom was very excited to have spotted it first. I was on the aisle, my dad in the middle and my mom pointed next to the window.

My mom: "Look, Mike! The Potomac River bridge!" My dad leaned over slowly, (his only adverb).

My mom: "...MIKE look DOWN, why are you looking UP!?"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Isn't she lovely? ...well??

The gorgeous women vying for Miss USA have released some "scandalous" sexy pictures.

It's so shocking! Who would've ever thought of these women as being super sexy? I watch the pageants to hear what they have to say about world affairs, not to see their bodies float across a stage in high heels and a bikini!

Anyway, the more interesting thing I found on the site was not so much the sexy pictures, but that the public is now able to rate these women online.

5 stars = perfection and it goes all the way down to 1 star which probably = bridge troll.

The crazy thing is that not one of the 51 girls (DC's included) got more than 3 stars as an average rating.

I would be interested to see the people rating them. I'm sure they are beyond perfect. Like angels sitting at a computer screen, opening their sparkling eyes to cast judgment on these many women who do not compare to their almost painful attractiveness. They don't even have to click for their rating, they simply look at the mouse and their beauty takes control to click for them.

If these beauties are judged that harshly, I'd hate to think what people would say about the rest of us average harpies. There's not enough negative stars in the world for those ratings!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Here's a fun fact that I have learned rings true more and more each day -
Mother nature doesn't give a SHIT about our plans, wants and needs.

I think we are taught from an early age that there is an inherent justice owed to us all. But that's wrong. Nobody should've promised us that life would be easy or just. The fact is that for some people life is a breeze for the most part, and a knock-down drag-out bitch for others. The only thing that exists that is fair is the occasional promise we might make to one another, allegiances made in moments when we can't see past the tips of our noses.

This all came to me in a giant helping yesterday.

I was walking to the Dupont Circle metro station on a very beautiful DC late afternoon when I encountered a problem. I was wearing a billowy skirt. It was breezy. No, windy. My beautiful afternoon walk was abruptly interrupted with the worry of holding my skirt down. I liken mother nature to a passive aggressive boss.

Me - Hey, mother nature? It's Jenna.
MN - Sorry, who?
Me - Jenna from Bethesda.
MN - I'm sorry, I don't know you. I am a big entity, you don't matter.
Me - Sure, I understand. Look, I'm wearing a skirt today, I was wondering if you could tone down the breeze a little bit.
MN - Wow, that's nice, but, I'm mother nature and I've got pollen to blow and it's going to be fucking windy.
Me - But, mother nature, it'll be embarrassing if passersby see my underwear.
MN - Not. My. Problem.

Luckily, by some stroke of grace my skirt stayed down, but not without some stress and care on my part.

It's a frustrating thing to try to bargain with world forces. When we're told that life should be fair and it's not, it's disappointing. And what is fair, exactly? Growing up poor and then experiencing upward mobility after going to college? Wanting desperately to have a child when you're sterile and magically becoming pregnant? Being born a privileged white girl with a middle class family in the rich state of Maryland and still whining? Wearing a skirt and wanting it to stay down so that nobody sees your grandmotherly underwear? I don't know.

All I'm saying is the concept of fairness is a hard one to rid from your mind, and I realized this yesterday, thanks to the wind.

image from

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yahoo's Dating Tips

Thank god. Yahoo has explained it all for me. Apparently, as a [smart] woman, I keep making all of these [stupid] dating mistakes [that men do not make].

8 Dating Mistakes Even Smart Women Make

Dating Mistake #1: Being Too Available
Take Sebastian, 34, from Chicago, for example: “When I was single, there were women I initially liked who seemed to be waiting by the phone for me to call, which let me know if I didn’t meet someone else I wanted to date, I had a standby. There just wasn’t anything to work for, and that turned me off,” he says.

It's hard for us women to contain ourselves when a new man floats into our lives. But if we want to keep these slick little angelfish from swimming to someone else, we must stay away from them. Let them swim to us by making them think we don't want them. We can always catch other fish, we don't need the angelfish. [get it? other fish in the sea hardy fucking har]

Inserted halfway through the article is this linked message:
"Related: 25 Things That Keep Him Hooked and Happy"
Because, for the love of god, girls, once we have one we have got to do everything in our power to keep him! And we are also responsible for his happiness and thus, his fidelity.

Dating Mistake #4: Feeling Sorry for Yourself
Ladies, stop feeling so bad about the fact that you're single [even though you shouldn't be]. You don't need a man to be happy [yes you do], isn't that what every movie and book tells you all the time? [No it's not] That's why every movie ends with the girl shirking the idea that she needs a husband or boyfriend to be happy and goes off into the sunset by herself [Bridget Jones, Muriel's Wedding, 10 things I hate about you, etc.].

Most single women know how much fun it is to have their relatives ask them if there's anyone "special" in their lives, and then lamenting when you say "no." Aaww, you're too great to be by yourself, you'll find that perfect guy soon. But women never let this bother us, because we are constantly being reassured by society that it is okay to be single, so why would we ever feel sorry for ourselves?

Dating Mistake #5: Knowing His Thread-Count Before You Know His Phone Number
Follow the advice of super-sexy leading man Gilles Marini (he was Samantha’s sexy neighbor in Sex and the City: The Movie): “Men love women who respect themselves and who do not rush into bed with them but instead go on a few dates, where they can start to gain an understanding of each other and then decide whether or not to take things further. Women need to know that taking it slow and getting to know one another is the best way to get into a good relationship,” he says.

Take it from the sexy guy from the Sex and the City Movie - this is simple enough, no man wants to date a slut. Plus, women get so attached as soon as they have sex with a guy. I can remember this time that I had sex with this guy and as I was doing it I pictured us at our wedding. When he lifted my veil in this fantasy I had an orgasm. [I lie]

Men, on the other hand, never become attached as a result of having sex with someone. Feelings and sex never go together for men, never. [not true] That is why they can have as much sex as humanly possible with many women and not even blink. But when they're looking for that special woman to settle down with, they will look to the girl who hasn't had a lot of sex. Maybe even a girl who doesn't know what a penis looks like. Inexperience is such a turn-on for them, who knows, maybe she won't know which hole it goes in. Silly, virginal women!

Another strategic link insert - See our tips: 12 Things Guys Wish You Knew in Bed
Learn everything you need to know about how to please a man, but don't practice it with too many men. You shouldn't get too good at it because no man wants a whore.

Dating Mistake #6: Being Too Selfish in Your Relationship
Women are notorious for thinking only of themselves. We never make enough sacrifices in relationships or life. When we want something we don't compromise, we just go after it. Like with careers, for example. Kids, be damned! I'm going to work! Your father can make all the arrangements for you while I'm on my business trips around the country. Maybe I'll have a few affairs while I'm gone, but, hey, that's my business.

Dating Mistake #7: Believing in The One
Instead of convincing yourself the ex you dumped was your soul mate or that perfect-but-married co-worker was your one that got away, take a cue from our male counterparts and approach the dating scene with the idea that there are plenty of men who are capable of making you laugh, sharing your values and melting your heart
Men have it all together. Just do what they do when it comes to dating and we'll be fine.

Dating Mistake #8: Forgetting Your Manners
We can’t imagine this is something you’d ever do, but a little reminder never hurts: Say thank you.

Good of you to remind me because I'm usually not thankful for anything. And if I'm in a relationship I need to thank my lucky stars for every day that passes that a man has decided to put up with me for an undisclosed amount of time. I could increase my chances of making that a longer amount of time by thanking him.

I feel so enlightened. I tried to make my own cheat sheet to print out but I couldn't get the whole article down to one page. It's probably because I'm a woman and I'm so bad with technology. Hopefully Yahoo will come out with a how-to for women and technology-related tasks. But knowing technology isn't going to get me closer to getting married, so that article wouldn't be worth reading.

Oh! And there were also a number of additional suggested readings at the end of the article -

More from Glamour:

* 10 Things He’s Thinking When You’re Naked
* 8 Sex Moves Every Woman Should Try Once
* Why He Hasn’t Proposed (Yet)
* The Fastest Way to Create Sparks with Your Boyfriend

I'll tell you the fastest way to create sparks with your boyfriend! Light a stick of dynamite and toss it to him, he'll toss it back and then you'll toss it back at him again. It could be like a relationship bonding experience that could bring you closer together [but also, possibly, further apart].

Read more gemstonery here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

solitude and leadership

My boss, the venerable Bill Shore, forwarded one of the most phenomenal speeches I've read in a while. Not that I'm reading 100 speeches a day or anything. It's titled Solitude and Leadership by William Deresiewicz. It was delivered to the plebe class of the US Military Academy at West Point last year.

It was long, and that's always hard for me, especially if I'm reading it online. My attention wanders to other tabs at least several times every few minutes. For example, while typing this post I remembered I had to buy tickets to the New Pornographers show. So what did I do? Bounced over to Facebook to get the link to the website to purchase the tickets and the rest is history.

One of the ideas I got out of it was the concept of trying to quiet all the noise of Twitter, Facebook and everything else (Blogger, perhaps?). It's gotten so hard to focus on one thing at a time. To concentrate and dedicate our energy into one task at a time. Even as I type this I'm thinking of all the things I have to do today, the plans I have for next week, etc. This guy ain't kidding...

The main theme, of course, as the title would indicate, is the idea of pairing solitude and leadership. Sometimes, when something matters to you, a principle, a belief, you have to be the lone champion. You have to become okay with criticism. You really have to find a way to allow yourself to continue when everybody thinks you're crazy. Radical ideas are sometimes just new ideas that people can't process yet. Of course the Tea Party goers might say this and that doesn't lend much credence to my defense. But, to help me out, here's another example, my ties to feminism puts a wedge between me and some of my friends, sometimes. Many of my friends would argue that women have arrived. They arrived back in 1920 when we got the right to vote and we should've shut up a long time ago. But I'm not going to let their criticism keep me from arguing otherwise. I have to become comfortable with not always agreeing with everyone I'm friends with.

The speech was an eye opener, to say the least. I love these little bits of inspiration that float my way. They keep me going.

Read the speech here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

immigrant discrimination

I can remember a time when I was adamantly against the "dirty Mexicans" who were taking over "our" country. It is not a time I'm proud of, but I will admit that in my ignorance, and in a voice that wasn't my own, I shunned and criticized a group of people I did not know or understand. Where did this voice come from? Was it my parents? My peers? Either way, it was decidedly hateful and with no knowledge to back it up - that's the scary part.

It wasn't until I graduated from high school and went on to college that I learned more about my "enemies."

I started working at a real estate office part time during my time in school. It was like the United Nations of real estate in many ways, as I met people from all over the world, Ghana, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Columbia, Peru...

I became especially close with one Peruvian girl in the office. We talked and laughed about everything, thus my feelings regarding Latinos, Hispanics, etc. began to soften in a major way. Then one day she told me her story of coming to the U.S. Her parents left her and her brother, both around the ages of 8 or 9 at the time, with a relative. And on their own, they came to the U.S. to carve out a life for the family. It was not out of greed that her parents decided to go north, but out of necessity. Peru at that time was being run by a military dictatorship, fraught with corruption which crushed civil liberties. They didn't leave because they wanted to, they left because they felt that had to.

Her parents spent several years working as much as they could, and saving for the opportunity to bring my friend and her brother up north to join them. She spoke to her mom, as much as she could, over the phone. She paused as she began to explain the time that she told her mother she had gotten her period. I could tell she wanted to cry, and it took her some time to continue. Her mother was so overcome with the fact that she could not be there for her daughter during this milestone. Her mother knew that the years of childhood she missed could never be brought back, she couldn't stop time from bringing her daughter and eventually her son, too, into adulthood.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Never in my sheltered existence had I thought of a situation so desperate and difficult within a family. My feelings regarding "Mexicans" and immigrants would never be the same.

This was the first time I saw immigrants as humans, as families, as people who are fighting for happiness just like everyone else. But, due to the hand they were dealt, they have to fight harder. They have to travel further, they have to endure more.

That is why it is so frustrating for me to listen when I hear Americans belittle their struggles. For a country that has done a pretty good job of taking what is not ours, (hello, Native Americans), we certainly have a lot to say when other people want in on the American dream.

In an article on Yahoo! regarding Obama's promise to reform immigration, the comments flood in from all over, many negative.

Strange to think that being born in this country instills the right to guard it from all enemies, real or imagined. And we can do so in our own broken and abhorrent English:

Jim C says: You want result! pack the Illegal criminals in busses and take them back where they came from!!

Jack M says: At the least learn and speak english, pay a big fine, and go to the back of the line.

I could give these comments to the immigrant students in my English class to correct. "At the least" they would know how to spell "buses" correctly.

I think if we really want results we should get to know the people who are working to make our lives easier, at McDonald's, cleaning our offices, our homes, doing our gardening, taking care of our children and much, much more. Maybe then we could see them as people who really just want what we want, to be happy.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

the art of using the bathroom

I might start a new Facebook group:

"I know you're waiting for me to leave the bathroom so you can poop"

We've all been there, haven't we? Silence in the bathroom when you know someone else is in the next stall. You've already walked in, closed the stall, peed, and now you're washing your hands and you haven't heard a cricket's fart from your clandestine stallmate.

When you're the one who doesn't have to #2, you're left with the uncomfortable task of hurrying yourself along at lightning speed to give this person some privacy.

But really, come on, we're both adults here. Don't be afraid. Let's talk about this right now, or, better yet, feel free to unload. I know you have to poop, you can't fool me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

all for an abortion

I read an entry recently that made me want to cringe to the point of literal physical discomfort and bawl my eyes out simultaneously. It was titled "Lucky Girl" and was written by Bridget Potter about her experience of the pursuit and eventual finding of an illegal abortion in 1962.

She became pregnant as a result of failed birth control. Male condoms were considered "disgusting, unreliable, and boys didn’t like to use them anyway." Needless to say sexual education was not considered a good idea back then. Because, after all, young people should not be, and therefore won't be, having sex, anyway. Any sort of education would surely encourage teenagers to go out and have safe sex.

So, then, after the pink foam spermicide she was using failed, only 19 years old and nowhere near ready to have a baby or get married, she thought of seeking an abortion. It ended up being a several week journey of judgment, (from disapproving male gynecologists), and disappointment which inevitably took her all the way to Puerto Rico. It was in a remote part of the island that she eventually had the procedure done in what looked like a house on a wooden table with no anesthesia.

When she returned to the states and saw a gynecologist for the aftermath, she learned that she is not the only one who has been through such an ordeal. She was, however, a lucky one...

“The familiar symbol of illegal abortion is the infamous ‘coat hanger’—which may be the symbol, but is in no way a myth. In my years in New York, several women arrived with a hanger still in place. Whoever put it in—perhaps the patient herself—found it trapped in the cervix and could not remove it… Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion—darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.”

If there is a simple and safe solution to stopping unwanted pregnancies, why would we deny women the right to such a procedure? Are we just looking for a way to "punish" women for having sex? May they never repeal Roe v Wade here and may they also never insert loopholes to make access to abortions more difficult for women of all classes *cough* STUPAK!

Even today, 67,000 women die from abortions each year around the world, mostly in countries where abortion is illegal. Women should not have to subject themselves to self-torture in order to avoid having a child.

See "Lucky Girl" by Bridget Potter

Photo source: we heart it

Thursday, March 4, 2010


A friend came to visit from Ohio & I made him take glamor shots of my girls -


gay marriage in DC!

At long last gay marriage is allowed in DC, what a proud and exciting day!!

As with most happy events, there always seem to be a few stinkers who want to ruin the day, open a storm cloud on a big parade, etc. That was the job of Fred Phelps and his crew yesterday.

The infamous "God hates fags" crew was on hand to make sure that people could see them publicly wave their self-righteous fingers at love between two people. How did they get to DC? I'm not quite sure, I wish I could tell you a time machine from the eighteenth century, but I can't. That would be a lie.

Where would the world be without these fundamentalist religious nuts constantly reminding us how much god hates us?

I wake up every day wondering, does god love me? And of course I know the answer is no:

I live with a gay man who I platonically love and support. (hell)
I support a woman's right to choose. (hell)
I have premarital sex. (hell)
I am agnostic. (burning hell)

It's strange because I had always been taught growing up that God loves you no matter who you are or who you love. But Fred Phelps disagrees. Because, according to him, if god represents anything, it's shame and guilt. And luckily, for us sinners, he has rained down these representatives to remind us just how far into hell we all will be going.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


At last, females have the answer to the male sock-in-the-crotch. Oh, no, wait a minute. We already have the Wonderbra, and an assortment of impostor padded bras... In fact, as a flat chested woman I can tell you it's pretty hard to find bras without some sort of added padding. Why in the world would I want my tiny boobies to be their natural size and shape when out in public? Gross!!

Well, I guess now we have an additional answer to the male sock-in-the-crotch, are you excited? It's called the Booty Pop! For serious. A great new way for women to make their asses project that perfect shape that all men want.

Forget the fact that you have to spend your savings on at least a week's worth of new underwear at $28 a pop, (yes, love the pun). At least I would guess you'd want a week's worth, one pair wouldn't get you too far, that surfboard flat ass would rat you out on day two.

Forget that you don't give a shit about making your ass look bigger and more perfectly shaped in jeans, skirts, dresses, etc. - because you SHOULD care. Why aren't you caring?

The well-being of these companies depends on you thinking that something's wrong with you, so you better start doubting that self worth of yours. Because after all, it's not about just being ourselves and looking the way we want to look, it's about striving for the unachievable norm that society has created for us.

Still not sold? The panties come in fun candy names like black licorice and blueberry gumdrops. And what grown woman doesn't love fun, silly, girly childlike names for their underwear? I have a pair I named Rippy McSwirly Rainbow, because, I mean, even though they're in tatters, because I don't give a fuck, they still deserve a cutesy name to brag about when I'm having underwear-clad pillow fights with all my sexy girlfriends.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

how to date

This picture was taken from a 1938 Dating Guide for Single Women. In a series of suggestions on how to hold your date's attention, it makes many assumptions. It assumes exactly what men want to hear, see and talk about. It also assumes that women should give a big shit about all of those things.

I ask, why not talk about what interests you and try not to anticipate what a man wants to hear? Maybe he wants to talk about my style or where he buys his clothes. Maybe he wants to talk about a coffee table he decorated with his initials in Bud Light bottle caps. (in which case, Check please!)

The point is that I shouldn't have to anticipate what someone else wants to talk about just to please them. Women have always been the pleasers of the world. What is so wrong with talking about what we care about? Men have done it their whole life, why not us, too?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

valentine's day

In honor of Valentine's Day I googled "angry" and this was the image I liked the most.

Love beams, sparkles, hearts & sunshine to you & yours on this special day!

Love always,
Jenna & this angry black guy

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

about sarah palin

Now I know she's a woman and I'm a feminist so that means I should love and support everything she does.

As my good friend Mattie once said emphatically at a restaurant table in Mendoza, a little drunk, holding a tortilla chip in each hand, "NO!"

This woman is a puppet of the conservative party in every facet. She doesn't speak from her heart, gut or even her head. I doubt she was even the one who wrote those notes on her palm. It could've been Bill O'Reilly (of DO IT LIVE! fame), or Glenn Beck or maybe the devil himself. Alright, I'm not that anti-conservative. Well, yes I am but I went a little far with the devil comment so I retract it.

The point is, this woman can dress herself up like a tough cookie and say tough things like "you betcha" and "hopey changey," but it's all a show. Like when she says she's in favor of women's rights and then poses with her daughter on the cover of a magazine, each holding their respective babies with the title reading "We're glad we chose life!" I'm sure a lot of woman would say the same thing if they were paid an absurd amount of money to pose for a magazine and make motherhood look like the most breezy, rewarding experience any woman could imagine.

Well unfortunately for Mrs. Palin she doesn't realize that defending women's rights should mean defending a woman's right to CHOOSE. Not coercing and shaming girls away from abortion if that's what they want. Mistakes happen, just ask her daughter Bristol. Girls and women should continue to enjoy the benefit of making their own decisions regarding their bodies.

Girls and women rarely seem to have a say in what they choose to do with their bodies.

Sex before marriage? What a slut.
Waiting to be married for sex? What a prude.

Getting an abortion? What a monster.
Keeping and raising a baby? She really fucked up her life, didn't she? Goodbye, youth.

Sarah Palin is not the woman to change this dialogue, she would exacerbate it. It's like she's not even thinking like a woman, but as a pawn of the Republican party. It's all hollow rhetoric, I don't even know what the fuck she IS in favor of seeing.

You can't just stand up to a microphone with your hair done up and make guns with your fingers and wink and think that will get you to the White House. Or can you? I guess we'll have to see.

Monday, February 8, 2010

making amends

For Christmas I got a letter from an ex boyfriend whom I had not heard a cricket's fart from in the past 2 years or so. Well, I guess I shouldn't be so quick to say it was to me. I was actually grouped together with my larger gaggle of friends, all of whom he really only knew superficially.

It was not a pretty break-up. At least on my end it wasn't. He called one night out of the blue and coldly told me we couldn't continue our long distance relationship. This was harsh, but the salt in the wounds was his calling me out on my shortcomings in the relationship and then not responding when I tried to call him for more explanation the following days. I have not spoken to him since that night. I found out he was with someone else via Facebook. Nothing like using the internet to avoid tough conversations. I was pretty broken up about it. He was my first love, I cursed the ground he walked on for months. And then I got over it.

He sent this letter to a mutual friend of ours for him to pass along to the rest of us. And so one night after my friend received it he read it to me over the phone.

I tried to keep from laughing out loud at the haughty tone. I did this unsuccessfully as I couldn't help but burst out randomly at his painstaking attempt at decorum throughout the letter. (But here I am with a holier-than-thou tone, too. ...I digress...)

He made mention of his "one regret" in life which would be disappointing all of us collectively. As if his presence in my friends lives was so powerful it ripped their hearts out to have him disappear unexpectedly. His letter was an indirect apology to me, I assume. It was implicit, I guess? A cowardly way of acknowledging his wrongdoing by being broad and general. I had already made amends with it some time ago, but to receive a letter like this after absolutely nothing from him was sort of a slap in the face. It's like bombing one house and then years later apologizing to the entire country. Thanks, but, uh, we don't even remember which house you fucked over.

I found it especially funny that his "one regret" in life was not knocking up his young girlfriend before either of them finished college and betraying his immaculate image as faithful and self-righteous. Woopsie-daisy!

But lucky for me his one regret, though it seemed like the end of the world at first, has turned out to be an incredibly good turn for me. There's a quote that says something along the lines of "the sting of pain and suffering lights the strongest fire underneath you to succeed, rather than a well-meaning compliment." If it weren't for what happened between us I would never have done the traveling I've done, experienced the amazing things I've been able to experience over the past 2 years. That pain was the best thing that ever happened to me. It's what thrust me into my studies to finish school and my honors thesis, to start 2 great jobs and follow my passion.

Mostly I just think the letter was more for him than anything else. Now that he's had time to accept his life he wants us all to know how great he is doing. He wanted to prove to us, (and himself), that everything he's done is not a mistake. That he's done well for himself and his new family. And it was relatively convincing. I guess I would rather him be happy than anything else, despite any shit I give him here. His happy life in many ways is mine too. I wouldn't trade or change what happened between us for anything in the world. Because if I did he wouldn't be where he is right now and I wouldn't be where I am.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Charles Barkley Golf Swing

This has absolutely nothing to do with feminism. At least I don't think it does. I just LOVE it

Monday, January 11, 2010

just asking for it?

i’m still not quite sure how people can manage to blame women for rape time and time again.

when a woman is raped, i think the last thing we should be asking is - how much did she have to drink? who was she with? what was she wearing? that has nothing to do with it.

a man can rape me if i’m wearing a burka or fish nets and a bra - it’s still rape, and it’s still his fault.

maybe we should stop trying to protect men from false accusations and start protecting women from a lifetime of fear [and false accusations].