The Hater’s Guide to Super Bowl Parties

Reach for your smelling salts, readers. I’m about to lay down some shock and awe.

I hate the Super Bowl.

Crazy, right? The only way to get more un-American is to throw apple pies at bald eagles. To make matters worse, I’m a Texan. We grow up on touchdowns and tailgates. I can feel the tar being boiled and the chickens getting plucked, as I write this. So, let me explain.

It’s not that I hate football. Despite the truckload of feminist issues I have with the sport (We get our own league, but we have to play in lingerie? Are you fucking kidding me?), I’m a fan. I know a field goal from an extra point and have no need to ask my boyfriend what down it is. At one point in my life, I was even a cheerleader. Pro-football, however, makes me livid. All the guts and glory of college football too quickly devolves into flashy touchdown dances and salary negotiations at the professional level. We treat the players like gods come to Earth, when so many of our students can’t name one Supreme Court justice. The Super Bowl is the worst example of this. Just the thought of all that money going into advertising, merchandizing, and entertainment for this one game sets my stomach roiling.

With all that righteous indignation, why not just blow it off and go see a movie? I would, really. Only…as much as I hate pro-football, I love a good party. With friends yelling at the TV, food traditionally eaten without utensils, and gallons of alcohol, Super Bowl Sunday has all the makings of a solid American party holiday. When you add in vampires and stack the empty beer cans into trees, it’s almost like Christmas! If you’re throwing the party this year and pigskin makes you wretch, don’t fret. I’ve got you covered.

A Super Bowl Party Guide (for the haters, the unwilling hosts, and the soccer fans):

  1. Join Pinterest – If you don’t have a Pinterest account, you’re a masochist. Instead of angsting over party details, please let others do it for you. With a 30 second search, I learned how to turn strawberries, rice krispy treats, and deviled eggs into footballs. Sure, molding food into unnatural shapes is a bit creepy, but this is the kind of shit that makes other people squeal in delight. You have just become the Martha Stewart of your friend circle! Unfortunately, if they also have Pinterest accounts, then they’ve probably brought a true-to-scale stadium chip & dip tray. Damn one-uppers.
  2. McDonald’s Is Your Friend –  The big day arrives. Instead of spending the morning whittling a fondant replica of Tom Brady, you slept off the hangover from last night and read a book. All your big plans are shot. You can’t deep fry macaroni-and-cheese in less than an hour! Breathe. McDonald’s, that bastion of faux-food we love to hate, has you covered. On Super Bowl Sunday, they will sell you fifty – FIFTY – chicken nuggets for under ten dollars. Get those nuggets, readers. With enough fried poultry and beer, people will totally believe your story about throwing a “nostalgic” party. Bust out your ancient box of Twister and it’s middle school all over again.
  3. Tim Tebow Is Also Your Friend – Look, if you’re going to sit through this travesty of modern athletics, you should probably be drunkish. Enter Tim Tebow. No, the Broncos didn’t miraculously make it to the Super Bowl, but that won’t stop people from talking about him. Whenever an announcer utters his name, everyone must drink. If your gang wants to get really crazy? Take a shot every time Tom Brady flips his hair. I swear, that man is a Pantene commercial come to life.
  4. Run Low on Ice –When it gets unbearable, usually halfway through the third quarter, go get ice. This is every hostess’ favorite trick. When your head pounds after the thirtieth scantily clad beerbunny ad, just escape. I don’t care if everyone is drinking beer straight from bottles, people will always believe you’ve run out of ice. Take a breather, run to the grocery store (not the one right around the corner), and revel in the deserted, post-apocalyptic world of Super Bowl Sunday.
  5. Move to England – Perhaps a little extreme, but let’s be honest. The only way to truly escape this trumped-up gladiator match is to leave the country. Skip the Super Bowl party and throw yourself a flat-christening party instead. I promise, you won’t find any cheeseheads in London. You will, however, still find football fans. It may be a different ball, but the zeal is just as intense. The upside? The World Cup only happens every four years.

Be strong, fellow haters. After Sunday, we have seven whole months without professional football. In the meantime, I shall be working on my apple carving skills.

– Grace

A Monday PSA

Spinster friends, I didn’t know it still existed out there.  I thought we were well beyond those days, that they’d died over 10 years ago along with my love of JC Chasez and sleeveless turtlenecks.  And now that I’ve had a solid several weeks to recover, I think I’m ready to talk about it.

It’s the pelvic thrust hug.  Or the PTH (you know I love a good acronym).  What. The.  Hell.

Oh, you know what this is.    The date is going well and it’s time to say your goodbyes but you’re not quite ready for that first kiss so you go in for a quality hug.  In my own mind I’m imaging a closer whiff of that nice aftershave scent I detected earlier. Then I’m thinking (with delight!) of the opportunity to smooth my hands across those man muscles that I saw rippling underneath that Ralph Lauren half-zip when you reached for your fork. Then, then!  Just when you’ve both closed in and you think you’re at full (appropriate) hugging contact you detect a horrifying movement in the hip region.  It’s like the guy’s hips are a Boeing 747 that overshot the runway and just kept going.  They crossed the hugging plane into full PTH territory and there’s no going back.

I can’t imagine a worse buzz kill at the end of a date (ok, I can, but go with me on this).  Just when I thought I was about to get a quality hug – WHAM! – man parts being thrust at me with nary an invitation.  Gentlemen, this is just not acceptable.  It’s wasn’t acceptable in high school either, but you were a bit more forgiven at that time.  The hormones were a-ragin’ and it didn’t surprise me that the PTH was the only way some of the boys got any action when the rest of their free time was spent ogling Cobra Mustangs at the local car show.  Even Hunky Hank with his shoulders of a Greek god (seriously you guys, best shoulders I’ve ever seen on a guy, as in I didn’t even know a shoulder could get me so worked up!) fell victim to the unfortunate PTH.  Or rather, I fell victim to his PTH.  I’m sure he was as happy as a clam.

The PTH should have died out when we were 18.  It was the hug that belonged on extinction list of everything awkward from our teenage years and I’m pretty much horrified to discover it still exists.  Gentlemen, don’t make me stick a flotation device around my hips just so I can keep my personal space.  As much as I love Belle, she doesn’t go with anything in my wardrobe and would likely ruin the line of my Kate Spade skirt.

– Kate

I Like Wedding Shows. Deal With It.

Audrey Hepburn Wedding

I love wedding shows. I do. (Pun completely intended cheesy though it may be).  And for years and years I’ve been too afraid to admit this to anyone other than Grace and Kate for fear of being mercilessly mocked or viewed as pathetic. You see, whenever a single gal admits to loving wedding shows or wedding related things you get a variation of five reactions.

  1. Oh that poor girl, single and so desperate to be married. How very sad.
  2. Pathetic. What a weak woman, she should be basking in her independent glory, not pining after patriarchal bullshit.
  3. Starved for love much? Hahahaha! You’re desperate to get married but you’re all alone! Hahahahaha!
  4. That is so sad. She doesn’t even have a marriage prospect, why is she torturing herself watching wedding shows? Clearly she’s an emotional masochist.
  5. Yuck. Just another girl who thinks her life begins and ends with a wedding and marriage.  Pitiful.

Did I mention all five of these reactions come complete with patronizing looks? Because those are the best. I’ve avoided admitting my deep love of wedding shows for fear of those reactions and looks. At least, I did avoid it until I realized recently I absolutely did not give a shit if people thought those things about me. I’m allowed to like whatever I like and I like wedding shows. They are full of pretty dresses, lovely flowers, wonderful lighting, romance, and delicious looking food. I like all of those things, a lot.

And for the record, I’m not desperate to get married, I do bask in my independence, I’m not starved for love (although I am starved for French fries), watching these shows doesn’t torture me in any way, and I have a very full and incredibly happy life. Capisce?

I just love wedding shows. They are fun and light and sometimes, especially after a long work week, that’s all I want. One of my favorite shows is Four Weddings in which four different brides attend each other’s weddings and then rate them; the winning wedding wins the couple a free honeymoon. It’s awesome.  Sometimes the brides are all bitchy and judgy and then other times they’re quite sweet and genuinely excited to attend the other weddings. Again, it’s awesome. The show is really fun and I love seeing other people’s idea of a perfect wedding, and I love judging others weddings from the comfort of my couch while I’m binge eating tacos and not wearing pants. This is my moment of bliss after long and usually stressful work weeks.   And I’m not ashamed of it anymore. (Except for the binge eating tacos part, don’t tell anyone about that).

I don’t see how what I watch on television reflects what I want in my life. I also like to watch Criminal Minds, that doesn’t mean I’m desperate to be a serial killer. And hey, I really like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, but it doesn’t mean that I want to open a restaurant. And my eternal devotion to ER doesn’t mean I want to be a doctor or a patient. Just so, my love of Four Weddings doesn’t mean I’m desperate to have a wedding. It’s television. That’s all. It entertains me while I sit around my apartment not wearing pants.

I’m a gal who likes to watch, among many other things, wedding shows. I like what I like. Deal with it naysayers.

Much Ado About Nouns

There will come a time in every female human’s life, when she must make a choice.

Yeah, I wrote female human. Awkward, right? I can feel my agent cringing all the way from Boston. Luckily, there are better descriptors for our gender. Girl, woman, lady, bird, lass, and matron are just a few that come to mind. Of course, those aren’t really synonyms. Each carries its own connotation beyond gender. Whichever noun is applied to me speaks volumes – my age, marital status, and attractiveness can be summed up with the choice. Lately, I’ve been musing on the two biggest and seemingly most benign: girl and woman.

I’m in my mid-twenties. I’m way past puberty, perfectly capable of bearing children, and in possession of both a credit card and breasts. Technically, this makes me woman. I have all the working parts. And yet…I don’t feel like one. Maybe it’s that I’m still in school, because holy hashbrowns becoming a doctor takes forever, or that I’m unmarried. If I were asked to describe myself to someone, I’d probably say Grace is a smart, blonde, book-obsessed girl. However, does that diminish me? There is obviously an age difference between a woman and a girl, but there are also disparate connotations of maturity and accomplishment. A girl is still small, vulnerable, and unformed. A kid. Why would I identify more with that word than its older, more respected sister?

Well, because she’s older, of course. My entire life, I’ve been told “One day, when you’re a woman…” This sentence can end with any number of things: “you’ll get married”, “you’ll make Boeuf Bourguignon without a recipe,” or even “you’ll stop gagging during blow jobs.” There are requirements for becoming a woman. Proper women know how to dress, know how to cook, have sexual confidence, and – the biggie – meet nice men and wear white dresses down aisles. I am not that person.

My wardrobe is awesome, yes, but oral sex still makes me want to gargle with vodka. Women, fully grown-up ones, wouldn’t have irrational fears of Australia (everything there wants to KILL you) or know every word to “I Kissed a Girl.” Despite my age and accomplishments, my mind rebels at the label. Aren’t I supposed to be more equipped? Hilary Clinton is a woman. Maya Angelou is a woman. I’m just a medical student who watches too much BBC America. I’m not dealing with issues of international security or winning National Book Awards. My mother is a woman. How can we possibly have the same descriptor? It can’t be one day yet, can it? I’m so behind!

In the span of history, it’s strange to even ask this question. Not until the turn of the last century, did our society even have the concept of teenagers. One went from child to adult with no perceived period of maturation between. Which is, as I see it, precisely my problem. There is no definite switch anymore. There is no coming out ball to attend, no four-day ritual to endure. One day someone refers to you as That hot girl from the gym, then the next you’re that lovely woman next door. Congratulations! You’re may or may not be a grown-up! Y’all, I want a definitive moment. I want a ritual. Where is my poofy ball gown?

Luckily, I’m not alone. My friends still refer to each other as The Girls. When Kate meets a person of the male persuasion, she calls to say she met a dreamy boy. This needs no translation. She met an attractive guy our age, not an actual drowsy minor. Mae is dating a really nice guy, not a really nice man. Despite our age and maturity level, we haven’t switched our language yet. Nowadays, I don’t know when that change comes. Perhaps, it happens when we’ve all married or when we all hit thirty. Perhaps, it happens when we stop getting carded for beer. Perhaps, it just happens.

That’s the answer, of course. The requirements society has cast down are crap. Becoming a woman, that great thunderclap of supposed maturity, has nothing to do with whether I’m married or know how to glaze a ham. One day, when I’m a woman, I’ll be exactly the same as I am now. I’m a woman because my chromosomes are all fancily matched and I’m of a mature age. I’m also a girl, a lass, a chick, and a dame. Creating Italian topiary tablescapes has nothing to do with it. Now, just tell that to my vocabulary. Hopefully “woman” steadily weaves itself into my self-image. Quite frankly, I’ve decided not to care. They’re only words, after all. Girl, woman. Boy, man. Bread, sandwich.

Just in case, maybe I will start perfecting that boeuf…

– Grace

Manfriend Musings

Hello spinster friends!  I’m a tad bit late with a post this week which is due to some Exciting and completely exhausting Happenings in the Land of Hepburn.  You might not know this, but this little Kate is an introvert so a wild week of unexpected travel, a flat tire, and not a single night spent vegging on my sofa with a good romance and a pot of Earl Grey… well, let’s just say it’s Saturday morning, I’m still in my jammies, and I intend to stay that way.

I’m not a whiner and complainer, that’s a lie, don’t listen to me, but in these particularly trying types of weeks I’m reminded of those little things that a manfriend might bring to the situation.  Sometimes, I miss them.  I give you my short list:

The Arm/Back/You-Name-It Scratch.

Spinster friends, you know what I’m talking about!  Nothing is more lovely than a night spent in, forcing your beloved to watch HGTV’s Design Time Saturday Night, and getting a good arm scratch.  One of those wooden back scratchers just will not do.  And nevermind if most men have nubs for nails.  It’s soothing either way.  Plus, I’ve perfected the technique so the future Mr. Hepburn need not put out more effort than necessary.  It’s called the Hot Dog.  Step 1: Place arm directly in front of partner.  Step 2: Manfriend starts scratching arm in a horizontal motion.  Step 3:  Rotate your arm like a hot dog at a hot dog stand and behold! total arm scratch satisfaction.

The Flat Tire Savior.

I know how to change a flat.  In fact, it was one of the first things I did in driving school.  (Aside: Did you know that in Texas we didn’t have to take behind-the-wheel tests???  We required only 7 hours of actual driving time.  Yah, I know.  So, if you’re ever in this state, forgive us on the road.  We know not what we do.  Well, I mean, I do but I can’t say the others have a clue.)  So when I get a flat tire, I just want to have someone to call.  Someone who would come and hang out with me while I remedy the situation.  Or if not that, and if I was fortunate to have an awesome company that sends someone to fill my tire with air, someone who would at least lend me their car so I’m not scrambling to figure out how to get to Very Important Places the next day.  That’s a particular spinster challenge, I feel – the lack of a second car option is the pits!

Breakfast in Bed

Alright, alright, nobody has ever made me breakfast in bed.  But as I’m sitting here in my jammies it strikes me as something that would be really nice.  I’d like a stack of four pancakes.  No, make that five, just in case.  With a little pat of butter and two bitty twin pots of crème anglaise, and raspberry jelly.  A cup of Early Grey with a tiny spoon that has a dob of honey would also be nice.  And a big glass of 1% milk.  Oh, and sausage links!  I love sausage links.  And if Mr. Hepburn would be so kind, that romance I left on the couch the other night.  He romanced me enough last night, I’ll give him a break this morning.

What am I missing?  What other nice things might a manfriend* do?

*Or ladyfriend as I can’t leave out our beloved gentlemen spinster friends!

-Kate

The Bride and Groom Have Never Kissed.

VE-Day Kiss

The other day, my sister was telling me about her friend who is getting married, which is nice but unremarkable and I was a little bored with the story, until she said this, “It’s really crazy because they haven’t even kissed!” I listened in complete and total shock as she told me over and over  (I needed her to repeat it like 10 times) that the bride and groom to be had never ever kissed each other.

Ummm…what?

I don’t get it, friends. I really don’t. When pressed for an explanation, my sister’s friend mumbled something about it being more special that way and then something about God. My response to the first explanation is, how much more special do you want a first kiss to be? The first kiss is always special because it’s a first kiss. That’s like adding icing to icing- it was already delicious, no need to overindulge. And as to her second explanation, which was really more of an aside/whisper, all I know is that to the best of my knowledge, people who are lapsed Protestants at best are totally allowed to kiss. But, I’m not a theologian and I’m not trying to be.  If they decide as a couple that their spirituality is best served by not kissing before marriage, that’s okie-dokie. I’m just not sure how much they thought about the kind of pressure this adds to a day that is already a giant mass of stress and worry.

Weddings are stressful, y’all. I’ve been a guest, bridesmaid, and maid of honor for countless weddings and I can only think of one out of all of those that felt easy breezy. Every other wedding had at least one person (usually the bride) all a-tizzy with anxiety over how smoothly everything was going. I just cannot imagine adding something as monumental as a first kiss to all that. First kisses are completely awesome; they are also frequently completely awkward. It’s a lot of butterflies and trying to figure out if you’re kissing them they way they like to be kissed, or if they’re kissing you the way you like to be kissed. It’s like your first day at Hogwarts- overwhelmingly exciting, but you might also get lost after a staircase moves.

But maybe this couple is ok with the added pressure. Maybe they are completely zen and can handle it without causing stress acne and nausea. Good on them. I’m impressed. However, I have one other question, do they realize they will be sharing their first kiss in front of their parents? Not to mention their grandparents, siblings, cousins, friends, and assorted other guests? Do you really want an audience for your first kiss? What if it’s sloppy? What if you get a bit carried away, because of all the pent up sexual frustration? What if it looks weird? I, for one, plan on kissing my husband-to-be as much as possible before our wedding and will probably make him practice kissing me in front of a mirror so I can make sure it looks good. I mean, people will be photographing this for Zeus’ sake! And while the idea of capturing your first kiss on film may sound sweet and romantic, I think it’s quite lucky that it doesn’t happen often, because we might all stop kissing one another because of how weird our first kisses looked.

Obviously, I kept all of these feelings to myself (and you), because it’s her and her fiance’s choice and really none of my business. If she wants to add pressure and awkwardness to her wedding then so be it- she is the bride after all. And hey, I hope their first kiss/wedding kiss is everything they hoped it would be. I hope it’s fireworks, and romance, and sweetness, and flawlessness all wrapped up in a perfect bow and set atop a unicorn’s back. I really do hope that. I just think it’s a hell of a big moment to throw on top of another even bigger moment. Me, I like to spread my big moments out.

– Mae

The Unbearable Lightness of Penis Cake

Warning: This post contains sixteen utterances of or euphemisms for penis. If reading this at work, we suggest making the font a little smaller.

As any romantic comedy will tell you, weddings are filled with Rules. There are the big ones, which a wedding-wise girl can recite by heart: Don’t wear white to a wedding, always R.S.V.P before the deadline, and never violate Kate’s dibs on the cute groomsman. Even the pre-ceremony events have their own traditions. Each lingerie shower or engagement tea has an etiquette to follow. For bachelorette parties, there is but one rule: don’t be a party pooper.

Ostensibly, this is easy to follow. It’s one last hurrah for your almost-married friend. What’s the worst that could happen? Oh, my brave little toasters, just you wait. You are about to be exposed to more edible massage oils and That’s what she said! jokes than you thought possible. By the end of the night, the word “penis” will have lost all meaning, so often have you heard it. Unwanted knowledge of the groom’s left-leaning tendencies will haunt you for days. However, one horror stands above the rest. Like T-Rex among tiny, squashable raptors, The Baked Phallus looms large on the horizon of bachelorette parties.

That’s right. Someone will bring a cake shaped like a one-eyed trouser snake. Betty Cocker will have raided an adult novelty store for the pan (this being the one socially-acceptable time for  a young woman to enter one, as long as she giggles nervously throughout the visit, so everyone knows she does not approve), debated the potential connotations of chocolate and vanilla cake mixes, and then painstakingly measured food coloring for that perfect curdled flesh color. At the party, this gateau de schlong will be left in a place of honor, for all to see. Nothing says Have a Happy Marriage! like baked genitalia.

Your initial cake reaction is pivotal, friends. Whether you are shocked or delighted will determine your bachelorette party role. Play this carefully. There are generally three party archetypes: the all-knowing siren, the begrudgingly amused bystander, and the horrified prude. Much like the first time you played truth-or-dare in middle school, try to avoid the prude option. You’ll be safer, if you play it cool. Just like in the good old days of seventh grade, this hen night can quickly devolve into a game of Shock Naive Nellie. I recommend grabbing a glass of champagne and acting like Black Forest Cock is an everyday treat at your abode.

Personally, I find the whole penis obsession ridiculous. If we’re not eating phallus cake, we’re wearing light-up tallywhackers around our necks. It’s like the twisted version of my childhood birthday parties. Only, instead of a Barbie lip gloss in the goodie bag, it’s a lollicock.

The psychology of this is befuddling, at best. Are we supposed to be preparing a supposedly virgin bride for her first glimpse of the manhood? A human sexuality textbook seems wiser. I don’t trust the anatomical accuracy of buttercream icing. Besides, most brides I know are wise in the ways of whoopee. What could they possibly gain from a giant, fondant-covered model of their man’s junk? It’s not exactly the most appetizing shape. A heart-shaped confection seems much more conducive to celebrating impending marriage and staving off the gag reflex.

Unfortunately, the ultimate rule of bachelorette parties still applies: don’t rain on the parade, no matter how penis-laden the floats are. If the bride wants to drink through a dinglehopper straw and stuff her face with sausage sandwiches, that is her right. I plan on banning any phallic pastries from my own bachelorette festivities, but to each her own. If Future Kate or Mae decides she must have a penis cake, I’ll even bake the damned thing myself. Just know this: it will be from scratch. If one has to eat cock cake, it should at least have homemade icing.

– Grace

Kate the Man Nibbler

I have a confession, friends.  I haven’t logged on to that online dating site in over a month.  I know, it’s crazy (or cray-cray as my sister would say).  But here’s the thing.  I’m in over my head with this online dating thing.  I don’t know how to date multiple men at once.  I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Kate, you don’t have to date multiple men at one time.  Just pick one and see what develops.”  But gosh darn it, people, I paid good money for a three-month membership.  There is no way I will date only one person at a time and move on to the next only if the first fizzles.  I would make some argument about being responsible with my money but it comes across in an odd way.  You know what I mean.

Things were swell at the outset.  I went on a several dates with different guys and things mutually fizzled.  This was a happy thing!  I got back into the swing of dating but didn’t have to deal with the whole liking several men at once thing.  That was until mid-December when I went on two dates in one week (wild woman, right here!) and liked both the guys.  Enough to think of a second date.  Enough to think I might even want to go on three dates with each.

Intellectual Isaac is approximately the same age, hails from my home state, is a lover of reading and writing, and even owns a cat.  I swoon!  Intriguing Ivan, a reader of the audio variety, likes to keep up with his speech and debate skills, and even agrees with me that a woman shouldn’t have to take her husband’s last name (a topic of which I plan to address next week – stay tuned!).  I swoon again!

So here I am, texting two gentlemen, and feeling very uncomfortable with the situation.  It’s not because I don’t think you should date multiple people at once.  In fact, I think this is perfectly acceptable and is something more people should consider.  Half of my generation seems to throw themselves into the worst kind of relationships since it happens to be their only option at a particular time. I’m no stranger to this, even if it was 6 or 7 years ago.  My discomfort actually stems from the What If factor.

What if Intellectual Isaac should show up at the same bar as I’m at with Intriguing Ivan even though he lives 40 minutes away and doesn’t go to bars but decides he should check one out this night and then he sees us and then he’s all horrified that I’m on a date with Intriguing Ivan and he’ll call me the next day and tell me he never wants to see me again and he demands that I destroy any evidence of his short stories which he kindly sent to me to read?

(You were supposed to say that in one breath without pausing because, you know, that’s how I do it)

What if Intriguing Ivan decides to romance me with a romantic dinner and romantic candle light and I must sneak away to the restroom to remove an offending piece of spinach from betwixt my teeth and while I’m gone Intellectual Isaac texts me but I don’t realize that my phone has fallen out of my purse and Intriguing Ivan gallantly rescues it from it’s fate beneath my chair but in doing so sees that Intellectual Ivan would like us to have a movie night wherein we watch The Holiday and cuddle with our cats and then Intriguing Ivan demands I leave without even a nibble of the bread pudding he was preparing for me because he know I likes it so?

Or my simplest fear:

What if, after a number of good dates with each of the gentlemen, I can’t decide who it is that I like more than the other?

I haven’t dated enough to know this will all work itself out.  That maybe I won’t even have to decide but it will instead be one of them that has a fizzled feeling.  So I will live in fear that I will somehow screw this up, all the while feeling very ill-at-ease with myself on this particular topic.

If you have suggestions about how to own the dating (multiple people at one time) scene, I’m all ears.  Any bit of reassurance you can offer on this topic would be appreciated because lord knows I want to curl up in the fetal position every time I think of the possibilities.

-Kate

Btw, fizzled is my new favorite word of the week.  Apologies for the over-use but I love it so!

I’ll Admit It, I Call Him Baby.

Louis Armstrong

If Louis said it, it's ok by me.

For as long as I can remember, I have absolutely hated the term “baby” when used for anyone other than an actual infant. I mean, seriously, what in the world is romantic about calling someone baby? Babies aren’t romantic. Making babies is romantic, but the actual babies are full of poop and snot and tears and also are incredibly adorable, but they are not romantic. For years, whenever I would hear my friends refer to their significant others as baby, I would proceed to tease them mercilessly and insist that they admit calling someone you love romantically “baby” is absurd. In short, I was obnoxious. Incredibly and inexcusably obnoxious. I see that now.

My sudden self-realization was brought about one thing: falling madly in love.  All of the sudden being called “baby” was the sweetest and sexiest thing in the world. And furthermore, I wanted to say it back. For the first time in my life, I wanted to call my boyfriend “baby”. This meant two things to me.

  1. Woohoo! Being in love is amazing!
  2. I’m going to have to admit to my friends I call him baby, and suffer through the “I told you so’s” from the friends I had teased about it, and also the “That’s ridiculous, don’t call him that’s” from the friends whose side I was previously on in this issue.

First, I admitted my newfound fondness for the term “baby” to the friends/family I had previously teased about calling their loved ones that. Surprisingly, it went over really well. Sure, they said “I told you so,” but the sting of that was tempered by how happy they were for me. All in all, admitting I was wrong wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought it would be. And it certainly involved a lot more squealing and hugging than I thought it would.

Next up were my friends who had always fought on the side of “calling someone baby is inane and annoying.”  Before I admitted my love of the term “baby,” I decided to arm myself with some historical background.  Unfortunately, that involved a lot more research than I originally anticipated. There were quite a few accounts of where the pet name “baby” originated, but they all had different dates and historical references. Blurg. Obviously, the universe wanted to make this difficult on me. In the end, after like a week of reading, I finally landed on what I thought made the most sense, sort of an amalgam of several accounts with similar dates and references. What I landed on date-wise was the 1920’s and the jazz-era. It may not have been the first time someone called a loved one “baby,” but it certainly became very popular during that time. So, armed with that knowledge and the fact that if Louis Armstrong sang it, it can’t be that bad, I admitted my use of the term baby to my friends who think it’s stupid. And you know what? They were pretty nice about it. I mean, they still think it’s stupid (Right, Grace?), but overall they seemed to accept me switching sides. Sure, their acceptance was akin to the type of acceptance you feel if someone who was crazy did something crazy, but I’ll take any kind of acceptance I can get.

And now, I can say to the world without hesitation or shame “My boyfriend calls me baby and I like it. And I call him baby and he likes it.” Huzzah!

What about you kids? Any pet names you love, hate, love to hate, or hate to love?

– Mae

An Ode to Men in Sweaters

Friends, this morning I’m feeling very passionate about a pressing world issue: Men in sweaters. In the Northern Hemisphere, winter is firmly upon us. Cardigans, gloves, and scarves have been unearthed from their attic boxes.

I am thrilled.

Winter is my favorite fashion season. I admit, this is helped by the relatively mild Texas winters. We don’t see a lot of blizzards around here. (I know, you just gasped in surprise, didn’t you?) What we do see is the temporary rebirth of classic men’s fashion. Suddenly, guys are busting out sweaters to wear over their polos and scarves to wrap around their necks. Men who normally wear t-shirts are donning rarely seen pea coats, for heaven’s sake! This is a heterosexual fashion-loving woman’s dream come true.

Example: A few weeks ago, Mae and I were eating at our favorite spot (hummus to-die-for, freshly baked scones, and an Anthropologie next door – need I say more?), when our favorite manager walked in. Wearing a white Oxford shirt, with a navy sweater over it, he was clearly in chilly weather mode. Now, this is a cute guy already, but in a sweater? He was a Ralph Lauren advert come to life. I blushed. I stammered. If there had been a fainting couch, I would have swooned. It was embarrassing and all (Well mostly – he is rather dashing all the time, it should be said. The boy has a beard!) caused by an extra layer of clothing. How extraordinary.

It does make me wonder, however. To quote one of my personal icons, Cher Horowitz, “I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all, but I don’t get how guys dress today.”  It’s not necessarily baggy jeans and greasy hair like in Cher’s day (thank God), but most twenty-something guys I know don’t own an iron, much less properly fitting pants. When did men stop taking pride in their style? It seems a recent phenomenon. If Mad Men is to be believed, right up to the late 60s, a well-tailored suit was considered essential to any man’s wardrobe. People even shined their shoes!

Now, a date is considered dressed up, if he shows up to my door in a polo shirt and clean jeans. I actually know guys who don’t own sweaters, because they consider them “too feminine.” Color me befuddled. How can an extra, classic layer of clothing be gendered? Maybe it’s just living in Austin. Not only are we the Live Music Capital of the World, but also the Wearing Paleontology T-shirts To Fancy Restaurants Is A-Okay By Us Headquarters of America. Our city is filled with smart, successful people who will probably wear Toms to that wedding this weekend. It drives me stark, raving mad. I long for a little shine, a little polish.

You can call me shallow, but I choose to think of it as nostalgic. Blame it on all those classic movies I watched as a child. My parents never subscribed to the Disney Channel, so I missed Justin & Brit on MMC, but I was fed a steady visual diet of Cary Grant and Gene Kelly instead. Imagine my surprise when I realized men don’t walk around in three-piece suits any longer, but may show up to lunch in white undershirts. I’ve never quite recovered from the shock. Too many of my past dating disasters have been caused by a certain blindness that occurs when I’m faced with a truly well-dressed, twenty-something man. Sure he does cocaine every once in a while, but did you see him in that sweater? It was cashmere!

To sum up: I love men in sweaters. I almost wish this would be another Year Without A Summer (without the crop failures and other awful effects, naturally), if only to make it last a little longer. Shoes may not be shined, but a scarf or coat is plenty dapper enough to set my heart aflutter. For one glorious season a year, I can walk around pretending to live in a glamorous Hitchcock film. Only, you know, with less carnivorous birds.

– Grace