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Letter to the editor #2

2 Jun

We’ve received our second letter to the editor and I have gotta tell you, it’s a doozie! Read on…

Hey How Not To Be A Crazy Bitch,

My mother-in-law is showing signs of serious crazy bitch behaviour.

So my 10-year-old daughter, Jane*, recently got her period for the first time. After a few screams and tears, my wife and I easily calmed Jane down by explaining that this was just another aspect of puberty.

But soon after is when the absurd conduct began: enter one intervening, traditional and adamant mother-in-law (think Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond).

For those unfamiliar with Marie's work.

For those unfamiliar with Marie’s work.

Behind my wife and I’s back, Marie* had fished from the garbage Jane’s first used pad and took it home with her to place in a snap lock bag. My wife discovered the artifact in one of Marie’s jewellery boxes and we soon both began asking questions.

To cut a long story short, it turns out that Marie believes that a girl’s first ‘bleed’ is something that is very sacred and should be retained for her future husband. According to her, if little Jane gives it to her first boyfriend, they will both be forever in love and live a prosperous life. Marie was planning on giving this back to Jane when she enters the dating scene to pass onto her boyfriend for good luck. Never in my life have I heard of such nonsense.

I’ve seen your posts on period-related topics; you seem to be on the same wavelength as me. Any advice in confronting Marie about not forging her unreasonable traditions on our family? I don’t want to cause her any sadness, but I also don’t want to jeopardise my daughter’s future.

Cheers,
Fed Up Son-In-Law

*Names have been changed

Firstly, thank you for the letter Fed Up Son-In Law.

Secondly, um… what the fuck am I meant to say to that? My immediate reaction is “That’s absolutely mental!” but I guess that’s hardly helpful in a situation like this. One key feature of this situation is that you’re dealing with a cultural practice and, as you’re clearly aware, people can be very tied to their cultural heritage and can get extremely upset if you don’t take these practices seriously.

I was pretty taken aback by this specific tradition but it’s a tradition none-the-less and yours and my shared belief that it’s an archaic and disturbing protocol isn’t going to add much additional space between the rock on your left and the hard-place on your right.

Here’s the best solution I can come up with to keep the peace between you and your Cookoo McGoos Mother-in-law:

Throw the original pad in the bin. Do that before anything else. No matter what happens, that thing has to go. Alrighty, now that your daughters blood soaked pad is out of the picture, we can get on to to placating your monster-in-law.

As a just-in-case, grab a clean pad, wipe a bit of tomato sauce on it and crinkle the thing up a bit to make it look used. Smash this period catchment imposter device into a sandwich bag and tell your mother-in-law that you want her to take care of it. Ask her if she’ll keep it in her freezer or something so you never ever have to see it again.

Then you take your family on a short vacation. A weekend road trip will do. When you get back from the road trip, you tell your mother-in-law that something wonderful happened… your daughter met a boy! She’s got her first ever boyfriend! Hooray and whatnot.

Now you tell your mother-in-law that your daughter is going to have a pen-pal relationship with this imaginary lad and she’s so taken with this idea that the bloody-pad will lead to a long and loving relationship, that she wants your mother-in-law to send the item that she honestly believes contains her granddaughter’s first blood (which sounds like a title for a terrible action movie to me) to the boy on her behalf.

Then you provide your mother-in-law the address of someone you strongly dislike and BAM, you’ve hit two birds with one fake period blood carrying, comfortable stone. Just make sure there’s no return sender address on that envelope and you’re scot-free!

Thanks again for the letter. Please don’t take on my suggestions. Maybe just tell your wife that it’s her job to stop her mother ruining your daughter’s life.

If anyone has a better suggestion, please post it in the comments!

 

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Role models

2 Apr

Some women make fantastic role models because they carry themselves with poise and elegance, and maintain a quiet dignity as they traverse the world we share. Those women are mesmerising wonders and I’m always grateful to them for casting such a sorely needed glimpse into what magnificence a modern woman can be.

As will all things however, some women only get half way. They get the manner but fail the looks or they get the looks and fail the dignity, or they get hand-fed all the money they could ever need, the good fortune to have movie-star looks, and they still manage to give of the tried and true impression of a downright crazy bitch. No finer example of this exists at the minute than the subject of a very recent ‘Conscious Uncoupling’, named Gwyneth Paltrow.

Her life is more difficult than ours.

Now, let me tell you something. You’re more likely to catch me with my head inside an oven than wedged between the glossy pages of a gossip magazine but sometimes the silliness that would normally be kept to that sort of publication pushes its way out into the rest of the world loudly enough that the rest of us hear about it, and this Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris whats-his-face from Coldplay divorce thing is one of those noisy celebrity stories that everyone ends up hearing about.

What really interested me about this story though, was hearing some of the quotes attributed to our dear Gwyneth. Such as…

About the sun: “We’re human beings and the sun is the sun—how can it be bad for you? I don’t think anything that’s natural can be bad for you.”

About veggie gardens: “When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat.”

Regarding Hot Dogs: “I basically love anything that comes in a hot dog bun… except hot dogs.”

And in an interview with E!, she broke out this fine piece of work about how much harder her life is than that of a 9-5 working mother:

“It’s much harder for me,” she said. “I feel like I set it up in a way that makes it difficult because … for me, like if I miss a school run, they are like, ‘Where were you?’ I don’t like to be the lead so I don’t (have) to work every day, you know, I have little things that I like and obviously I want it to be good and challenging and interesting, and be with good people and that kind of thing.”

“I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening,” said the polarizing Paltrow. “When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”

Holy mother of crap, woman! Can you imagine how nutty you’d have to be to even think it’s more difficult being a multimillionaire actress than it is to be a regular working Mum? It blows my mind! But to be so bat-shit crazy that you’d actually say it out loud, not just to yourself or to your family, but directly to a reporter who should surely understand by now is going to put it into a magazine or on a website that specifically targets working mothers!

Gwyneth Paltrow as the looks, she has the money, she has EVERYTHING except enough damned sense to keep her crazy on the inside of her head. She’s got two left feet and she’s planting them directly into her mouth on a regular basis.

Crazy bitch tip: Try to keep touch with reality, no matter how many movies you star in.

Check out what a real working mother had to say in response to Gwyneth’s laments:

“Dear Gwyneth,

I really enjoyed your recent comments to E! about how easy an office job is for parents, compared to the gruelling circumstances of being on a movie set. ‘I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening,’ you said. ‘When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day, and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”

“As a mother of a toddler, I couldn’t agree more!

‘Thank God I don’t make millions filming one movie per year’ is what I say to myself pretty much every morning as I wait on a windy Metro-North platform, about to begin my 45-minute commute into the city. Whenever things get rough, all I have to do is keep reminding myself of that fact. It is my mantra.

“And I know all my fellow working-mom friends feel the same. Am I right, ladies?

We’re always gabbing about how easy it is to balance work and home life. Whenever I meet with them at one of our weekly get-togethers — a breeze to schedule, because reliable baby sitters often roam my neighborhood in packs, holding up signs peddling their services — we have a competition to see who has it easier. Is it the female breadwinners who work around the clock to make sure their mortgages get paid, lying awake at night, wracked with anxiety over the idea of losing their jobs? Or is it the mothers who get mommy-tracked and denied promotions? What about the moms with ‘regular’ 9-to-5 jobs, who are penalized when their kids are sick and they don’t have backup child care?

“Those women are living the dream, I tell you!

“Which reminds me, child care. As you know, Gwynnie, having a staff can be a real drag. It’s so hard to find good help these days! That’s why it’s a good thing there’s all this nationally subsidized, high-quality day care lying around for the taking. It just makes things easier knowing you have such a strong support network and don’t have to pay someone anywhere from $30K to $65K annually to take care of your child full-time.

“You mentioned in your E! interview that when someone has an office job, ‘You know you can do all the stuff in the morning,’ and that hit the nail on the head. As someone with an office job, my mornings are obviously pretty leisurely. Sometimes I even have time to drink half of my coffee before it gets cold! After my 6 a.m. wake-up, I have a lot of time to loll around, hopping in the shower and then throwing makeup on my face, hoping that I’ll have enough time to put my tights on before my son starts crying in his crib. Then, when he does start crying, I have to make the decision: Do I get fully dressed, or do I go tend to him with my hair still dripping wet? Talk about being spoilt for choice!

“Then I have a few Bellinis and adjust my 401(k) contributions.

“After I get home from work, I’m full of energy and ready to cook dinner using one of the recipes you post on your lifestyle Web site, Goop: slow-cooked kale, pancetta and bread crumbs, anyone? After that, I’ll go to yoga, spend a few hours meditating and maybe do some online shopping, picking up a pair of $350 white leopard-printed short-shorts via Goop in preparation for the ‘spring break’ I’ll take with my husband and son.

“If there’s one thing I look good in after having a child, it’s short-shorts.”

“So, Gwyneth, you’ve figured out the secret of working parents everywhere: Livin’ la vida desk job is a breeze compared to the 14-hour days of a film set. Fourteen hours? Who in New York — especially those in the finance, law and tech professions — could possibly work 14 whole hours?

“Luckily, those 9-to-5 “ordinary job” hours grow on trees here.

“And if you lose one, all you have to do is find another.

“Yours,

Mackenzie Dawson”

 

Well said, Mackenzie. Well said.

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