One Flew Over the High School Reunion

woman_typing_vintageDear Eastlake High School Class of 2003,

Thanks to your thirty-two Facebook messages, I am now quite aware that it’s been ten years since we departed the hallowed halls of Eastlake. Tradition calls for marking that in some way, I suppose. You have decided that way shall be a $40/ticket cocktail hour with my fellow alums, while I…

I have decided to dance a jig on the grave of my high school career and never think of it again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Eastlake was torture. You were all perfectly nice to me, except for that one time in ninth grade when Steven Belch called my boobs fat, and I was relatively well-known and liked. It’s just that…high school was lame, my dears. So painfully lame! To my recollection, it was filled with relationship drama, people who didn’t always apply deodorant, and the wearing of entirely too much burnt orange. I look so much better in a nice blush pink.

Let’s be honest, high school reunions serve one time-honored purpose: to let everyone know what you’ve been doing with the last decade of your life and bask in their envy. Darlings, I enjoy a good envy bask as much as the next girl, but we have Facebook now! I don’t need to feign enjoyment in Kyle HerpesChin’s conversation about insurance sales, for him to know I have four fancy schmancy degrees. Suffering through Maggie Ho’s retelling of her fifth childbirth is unnecessary, as I’ve seen all of her Facebook photos, including that ill-advised one of her pee stick pregnancy test. I know what’s happening in your lives, lieblings, and I don’t care.

You’re shocked. That’s understandable, but we just put in new blog carpet, so do contain your horrified meltdown. It’s not that I dislike you, only that I’m benignly disinterested in you. We were forced together for four years of public school, then set free into the world. Those of you whom I really cared about, I’ve stayed friends with. We talk, we get together on holidays, and we gossip about the rest of you. I know what’s happening, you know what’s happening, so why suffer through weak cocktails and awkward small talk? That sounds more painful than our senior year performance of West Side Story! (Which is saying something, as my only lines consisted of “Ooo” and “Ooo-bi-lee-oo,” followed by ditzy and anti-feminist giggling.) If I wanted such torture, I’d join the Junior League. At least, they offer fancy dinner parties!

Friends of mine are attending and perfectly excited to do so. I don’t know where they obtained those rosy lenses through which to view our time at Eastlake, but I haven’t invested in any yet. You’re lovely people, but I have better things to do with the weekend of August 10th. Expressing my dog’s anal glands, perhaps.

So, no. I will not be reuniting with you. Check my Scantron in the negative! I hope you’re all having lovely lives—with the possible exception of Steve Belch and his amusingly receding hairline—and are as happy as General Sherman with flame thrower. Do not miss me or speculate on my absence! If I’ve forgotten enough of the early 2000s by then, I will see you at our twentieth reunion.

Don’t bet your mobile phone accessories store on it.

Love In The Impersonal Sense,

 Miss Grace O’Kelly, Class of ’03

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Hello, Big Boy: Pornography and Feminism

On Saturdays, We Talk About Sex is a new series in which the Spinsters talk about sex, sexual politics, and sexy things. On Saturdays. If you’re related to one of the Spinsters, or would prefer to never think of Grace/Kate/Mae mid-bedsport, this may not be the series for you. We recommend watching This ABBA video, instead of reading ahead. Everyone else, let’s talk about sex (on a Saturday).

04eMen watch pornography. It’s a bit of an expected thing, in this day and age. Teenage boys, given thirty seconds and relaxed Google settings, will find some people doing it. Boys will be boys, you know. Teenage girls, on the other hand, are expected to be horrified by porn, pretend it doesn’t exist, and spend all their time on Pinterest instead. This socially expected discrepancy will eventually play out in the following scenario:

A party of guys/girls. The first winter break of college.

Guys: We’re so free and adult now! We can talk about sex in front of girls!
Girls: We shall hint about our newfound sexual adventures, because it’s college and we’re no longer automatically slutty, if we’ve seen a penis!
Guys: Oh my god. The girls are ALSO talking about sex.
Girls: Sex, sex, sex! We are so empowered!
Guys: You know would be awesome, group of friends we’re really excited to be talking about real things with? Watching porn.
Girls: But no! We’ve never seen such a thing! Our eyes, our eyes!
Guys: Porn it is!
Girls: Oh My GOD! PEOPLE ARE HAVING THE SEX AND BEING NAKED! BRING US OUR PEARLS, FOR WE MUST CLUTCH THEM!

I know this scenario happens, because I’ve been there. An eighteen year-old Grace quite vocally insisted that she had never, not ever, seen pornography and why would anyone want to watch such a thing and, also, gross! Of course, I had seen porn. I was a teenager with an internet connection. It was “off limits”, so I’d switched off my safe settings and gone traversing the great, wide world of people doing it on camera. Being a virgin at the time, it was also super enlightening to have visuals of acts that seemed somewhat mechanically questionable. They weren’t my regular internet haunts, by any means, but I’d seen some P put into some V quite a few times.

So, why the feelings of shame? The guys weren’t embarrassed, but I would have bathed in warm garlic mayonnaise, before admitting to any virtual voyeurism. It was, of course, fear. If I’d spoken up and asked what the big deal was, my friends might have thought me—terror of terrors!—slutty. Good girls don’t watch porn. Good girls can be in touch with their sexuality, but only to the extent that they sometimes have monogamous heterosexual sex without hurling. To not only enjoy it, but actively seek it out? Unthinkable. Boys were the ones super interested in sex, while girls simply gave into it. As porn served chiefly to aid self-arousal, porn was off limits.

Now, here’s the thing—I am not pro-pornography. I think there are a lot of problems, for women specifically, when it comes to modern internet porn. In many ways, it has radically changed the way my generation looks at normal sex and sexuality. The most tangible example is in our grooming habits: well over 80% of women under thirty completely wax their pubic regions. While we say it’s for our own hygiene or for the guys we love, it has roots in a trend started in 80’s pornography, with the goal of better camera shots. That a standard beauty practice for young women has direct roots in pornography and the resulting look of pre-pubescence should cause anyone to pause. As a feminist, such pervasive and quick changes to the expectations of womanhood make me uncomfortable. Moreover, it’s just the beginning. We’re only just now starting to understand all the ways porn has changed the bedroom politics of America.

Vol-4 erotism-lingerie  (12)I’m not here to make value judgment on porn, but instead on the way we deal with it. Anytime something is a labeled a “man thing,” my hackles start twitching upwards. What exactly makes porn an exclusively male domain, World? Well, Grace darling, it’s because men are base creatures driven by their sexual desires and they’re going to masturbate themselves blind anyway, so we should let them have an outlet. Women, on the other hand, are delicate flowers who aren’t as in to sex and certainly don’t want the kind of dirty, lewd things featured in internet pornography. Unless they’re slutty, of course. That’s where porn really comes from: sluts.

Yeah, okay, see that’s all reeks-of-sexism bullshit. Women are told, subtlety and constantly every day, that we shouldn’t like sex. When we make jokes about wives having headaches or thinking of England, we’re reinforcing the notion of appropriate, gendered sexuality standards. Bullshit! Some dudes don’t have super excitable sex drives, while some women want it all the damn time. What’s more, how many women enjoy sex a whole bunch, but don’t feel comfortable voicing that enjoyment? How many men are made uncomfortable by the impersonal nature of porn, but must pretend otherwise to their buddies?

We’re doing everyone a disservice with these Victorian notions of what’s appropriate for whom. How will we ever talk about actual problems pornography may foster, if we can’t openly discuss who’s watching it and what’s happening in it? World, teenage boys are not the only young people watching pornography. Your daughters are seeing it too. What’s more, it’s quickly becoming the way all teenagers truly learn about sex. We need to address what that means for us as a society and we need to do it honestly. Let’s stop pretending men are all hypersexual semen monsters and that women are all innocence and light. Neither gender is that simple.

Men are watching porn. Women are watching porn. Instead of treating it as the flesh-colored elephant in the bedroom, let’s treat it like what it is: our modern sexual reality. How you choose to deal with that is the next question.

– Grace

I Don’t Get Coachella Fashion

There. I said it. I don’t get Coachella fashion. At all.

I get that it’s California and it’s filled to the port-o-potties with celebrities who need to be SEEN, but the fashion choices just seem impractical for a music festival. I can say that because I am so stranger to music festivals, I go to ACL every year and it’s the best music festival in the world and yes I absolutely am biased on that so don’t even try to call me out on it.  And of course, I want to look nice because people take pictures and there are cameras and one year Christian Bale was literally standing like 10 feet away from Grace and I so, yeah, I get wanting to look good. But, it’s still an outdoor music festival.

Wearing all white?

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Uh- hello?? You sit on the grass. Or on a blanket on the grass. There is loads of grass. Am I the only one who lives in fear of the grass stain?

Wearing nothing but a bathing suit?

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I checked. Yes, the weather was warm during the day, but at night? Weren’t you cold? It seems like you would be cold. Also, bathing suits don’t breathe real well in the heat. Knock knock – it’s a yeast infection, motherfuckers.

Wearing jeans you clearly ripped apart yourself?

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Yeah. You’re not fooling anyone. Stop trying so hard to look like you’re not trying at all. You must be exhausted. Also, your boyfriend? Tell him to let the 60’s keep their things, he wasn’t at Woodstock, and everyone knows that.

Also, do you think all these people were wearing sunscreen and drinking enough water? I worry about that.

– Mae

Some Random Thoughts Amidst Dating

vintage-date[Hi spinster friends!  It’s been awhile.  For those of you with whom I’m not acquainted, pertinent things about me are thus:  I wear cat necklaces, I drink 5 cups of tea a day, I keep a poison garden, I tend to tell stories that involve TMI, and I’m currently braving the online dating scene for the second time (take pity on me).]

My armpits are probably the softest this side of the Mississippi.  The latest manfriend hasn’t shown any affinity for armpit nuzzling, but by God, armpit exfoliation seems important when I’m primping for a date.  And please, none of that apricot scrub crap.  If you’re serious about this type of thing, only a firm bristled body brush will do.  Think of it like a boot scraper, but for your armpits.  Ignore your tears the first couple of rounds.  It gets more bearable, I promise.  But under no circumstances should you apply a prescription strength antiperspirant following said exfoliation.  DON’T DO IT, TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.

My latest horror is also the state of my feet calluses.  My favorite sporting activity started up which means disgusting, painful blisters.  And so, I let my calluses flourish because I don’t want to feel like my feet are falling off when I play.  But this puts a wrench in the Getting Frisky process.  Just when I want to start writhing in ecstasy (TMI?), and I’m ready to start rubbing my legs against the other person, I recall my toes and freeze.  God forbid my toe should snag against his khakis, or worse, maim his bare leg (I have fierce calluses, y’all).  Just last night I was in danger of this very thing!  Thank goodness for socks.  Selection of them is key and you must sell the excuse for not taking them off, “I’m allergic to carpet, isn’t that wild?!  Hives every time if I don’t properly protect myself.”

I’m also becoming an expert at the application of concealer.  It’s almost a necessity when one has a chin like Sarah Jessica Parker.  That thing gets in the way of everything, and kissing a guy with sexy facial stubble is like rubbing against coarse sandpaper for hours.  I’ve even scabbed over after a particularly amorous night (Marcus Aurelius, 2003).  The next morning arrives and my chin is flaming red.  To arrive at work like that would be like wearing a giant sign, “I Made Out with a Boy Last Night.”  Sure, I’m kind of happy to know I was up to Fun Happenings while my coworker was at home watching Dora with her 5 yr. old, but they don’t need to know that.  And thus, I’ve carefully mastered the technique of concealer, powder, foundation, concealer, foundation, powder.  The Chagall of concealer, right here, folks.

It would be really great if dates could be scheduled a few weeks in advance.  Some of us don’t place dishes directly into the dishwasher after use.  Sometimes it take a couple weeks.  In those instances, one might need time to procure a surgical mask to ward off errant mold spores.  One might also need to organize the three foot tall and tipping stack of magazine.  And throw away the mound of Reese’s wrappers from last weekend.  And Swiffer the bathroom.  And steam clean the sofa.  And fix that broken blind.  And put the suitcase away, that one from three weeks ago.  And hide the cat foot cans.  Hell, hide the cat litter box. And the toys.  And that special grass I cultivate for them.

Oh God, what will the cats do when I finally wrangle a man into my bedroom?  Should I be concerned?  I should be concerned.

-Kate

Do You Like Us?

Kittens, we have finally entered the 21st century! The Spinsters have an official Facebook page! Crazy, right? Next thing you know, pigs will be flying and my Great Aunt Myrtle will be buying an iPad.

The only problem is that we don’t exactly have a lot of followers. Or, you know, any. So, if you like us even a little bit and use Facebook, could you wander over there and like us like us? In exchange, we will love you forever.

Forever. Ever.

– Grace, Kate, & Mae

The Pill & I

pillsI love birth control.

I also hate birth control.

Stay with me on this one. Hormonal birth control is, obviously, one of the most important medical innovations ever. Margaret Sanger, contraception advocacy pioneer, is one of my personal heroines. I love that women can plan their families and have more control over their bodies. I love that people can have sex, without worrying about creating tiny humans they’re not ready to take care of. I love that girls with irregular cycles can get their hormones under control.

However, sometimes, the whole thing makes me mad. When I take my pill at four-o-clock every afternoon, it’s a reminder that the only thing standing between me and an unexpected bundle of poo joy is a little blue tablet. My future plans rest on my phone staying charged, so that a “Take your pill, harlot!” alarm goes off. Such irrational bitterness comes down to two things: pregnancy terrifies me and guys don’t have to deal with this.

Babies are scary. Y’all are probably tired of me saying this, but they are! No amount of squishyness or tiny toes can currently outweigh my terror. I don’t want to be responsible for another human life. When I first got Remy le Super Dog, my amount of love for her just barely outpaced my resentment. There was this adorable ball of white fluff who needed things all the time. Not an hour went by that she wasn’t wanting to play or walk or go outside or eat something. Rationally, I knew that’s how puppyhood worked, but the reality of it had me strung way, way out. Just be quiet for five minutes, so I can nap, you stupid/adorable puppy! Of course, if I wanted a nap, I could put Remy in her ex-pen and ignore the whimpering. With a baby? THERE WILL BE NO NAPS. Bienvenue, Grace’s personal hell.

What’s really annoying, however, is that it’s all on me. If I accidentally get knocked up, it was some error with my pill. Perhaps I forgot to take it one day, or I just fell into that totally-not-as-exciting-as-the-other-more-famous 1%. Either way, the blame lies with my uterus. What the fuck, science? Isn’t there some way we can throw a little responsibility toward the guys? Condoms are all well and good, but they do break. So, where is the pill men have to obsessively take at the same time everyday? Where is the pill that costs $40/month, isn’t completely covered by insurance, and causes anxiety about blood clots? Hormonal birth control is more complicated for guys, but—Come the fuck on, Bridget!— if we can make a pill that lets old dudes have more sex, surely we can create one that mitigates the consequences of said sex.

If I were a billionaire, this would be my cause célèbre. Let Angelina have the starving orphans and Sarah Machlachlan have the sad puppies. My great ambition is to rid the fornicating world of blame inequality! With our powers combined, my uterus will be inhospitable and your swimmers will drunkenly backstroke downstream. We’d all be so much calmer. Of course, biology isn’t fair and women have been stuck with the blame and the baby for only eleventy billion eons now. So, suck it up, Grace! Science is going to keep making boner pills, because that’s what society wants. Babies are still for you women to prevent.

Feel free to roll your eyes at my tirade. It’s just that sometimes, having lady parts is a legitimate hindrance. At least once a day, I have the thought “Oh, geez. Please don’t get pregnant yet.” What’s more, I know I’m not alone. Being a woman is complicated and messy and, thanks to the genetic lottery of matching chromosomes, often all too unfair. Grumble, grumble, grumble

I would rant on a bit more, but my phone just imitated a Russian submarine sonar. Slave that I am to my nap love, I need to go take that damned little pill. Stop the ride! It’s the most important ten seconds of my day! Does anybody have a tequila shot that can help wash the bitterness down?

– Grace

Ask A Spinster: Friends to Lovers (to Zombies)

Once again, it’s time for Ask A Spinster!, the long beloved (since last week) post series in which Grace answers all your questions. Well, almost all. She really thinks you need to direct any burning questions to a doctor, as those might be signs of leprosy! Luckily for us all, today’s question involves the escalation of a romance, not Mycobacterium leprae.

 

So, I have a guy friend who I’ve known for about a year. We’ve become especially close in the last two months as we are both single and have come to rely on one another for advice and support. Before then, it had been discussed that the two of us wouldn’t work so supporting each other in this way wouldn’t create a problem.

This thing is…now I know him much better and he is not who I thought he was. He is much better – the type of person i would date. Needless to say, I have developed feelings for him.

What do I do Miss Grace – giver of advice?

Sincerely,
A

mailgirlMy dear Mademoiselle A, I have so been there. The only thing worse than developing feelings for a friend is developing feelings for a friend you’ve specifically disavowed becoming romantically entangled with. While I firmly believe that many opposite sex friendships can remain platonic on both sides, it’s also true that getting to know someone on a deeper level can change how you see him or her. Sometimes, a guy’s stealth neatness just sneaks up on you, like a sadistic pie-bearing clown.

The question is, of course, what the hell to do now. He’s obviously a great friend to you, so keeping the friendship stable in the long-term is imperative. As such, many people *cough* Cosmo writers *cough* would tell you to keep quiet on the matter and let his actions be your guide. If he touches you accidentally, if he surprises you with giant iced teas, then perhaps he likes you too. Nonverbal cues are all well and good, but that’s horrid advice. In my experience, there is one universal truth of feelings: they, like their dear cousin truth, will always out.

If you like him, tell him. Bottling up your emotions, for the good of the friendship or your own psyche, can result in calamity. Feelings insist on becoming known, whether through the machinations of a loose-lipped friend or from your own 3 a.m. ramblings, after too many margaritas and episodes of Roswell. Neither of those outcomes is ideal. The best way to keep from going down a rabbit hole of awkwardness is to take control. Let emotional honesty rule the day and tell him what’s up.

Chances are, he’s already noticed a disturbance in the Force. Talking about it has one of two possible outcomes: either he also likes likes you, or he doesn’t. Obviously, I’m pulling for the former, but even the latter isn’t the end of the world. Friendships, the good ones like yours, can overcome anything. I’ve known oodles of friend pairs who’ve dealt with one person liking the other. Despite what popular culture likes to tells us about love ruining All The Things, they’ve universally made it out the other side in tact. After some initial awkwardness, things got back to normal. Putting your feelings on the table allows you both to move forward, whether as a couple or just friends.

Also, I’m going to be honest, we don’t have all the time in the world. Crazy things happen everyday. Say he does return your feelings, but you don’t tell him out of fear. He could meet someone else tomorrow! She may not be you, but her laugh is nice and she shares his love of Disney villains, so he asks her on a date…then another one and another one and, before you know it, he’s asking you to help him plan a proposal. That would suck! Of all the Julia Roberts characters to emulate, the one from My Best Friend’s Wedding is the worst. The beauty of taking action is that you’re never left wondering “What if…” Embarrassment is a fleeting emotion, but regret lingers.

If he says no, you can move forward. But if he says yes? You can start all the happy bits now. That seems a worthy risk to take. Besides, if the Zombie apocalypse happens, don’t you want a partner? He sounds like he’d be good with a pick ax.

Good luck, my dear!

With love and pie,

Grace, Giver of Advice

If you have questions you’d like answered by your friendly local spinster, leave them in the comments or e-mail them to us!