Gender, Self-Care, Sexism

Heed My Words

The other day I got mad at a friend/co-worker of mine. I was so exasperated that I just walked away, I just had to leave the conversation before I broke his nose. And when I came back to get some equipment he opened his mouth to apologize.

“Don’t talk to me right now. Don’t look at me right now. Walk away right now.”

“Oh, come on.”

“What is so confusing to you about ‘Don’t talk to me right now’? Shall I break it down for you further?”

We went on like this for a few more minutes until I managed to get away from him again. You know what would have been in his better interest? HEEDING MY WORDS.

God forbid he had walked away from me when I asked him to do so I would have gotten over my anger almost immediately. Instead I went into a spiral because he disregarded my explicitly stated needs over and over again.

Hercules: Uh, so how’d you get stuck with the…

Meg: Pinhead with hooves? Well, you know how men are. They think “No” means “Yes” and “Get lost” means “Take me, I’m yours.”  [x]

He assumed that when I said “Go away” I really meant “Grovel.” If I’d wanted him to grovel I would have said “Grovel.” I like to say what I mean and mean what I say.

Women get a reputation for being confusing but more often than not we’re telling you exactly what we want and the men around us are just assuming we couldn’t possibly be smart enough to know what is in our own best interest. Don’t be that guy.

Listen to my words. I pick them out carefully.


You’re my Rhinoceros

I got some really interesting feedback on my post from last week about the word boyfriend.

To me, the word boyfriend means the person who I’m auditioning to be my husband and who I’m expecting to land the gig. We’re past callbacks and we’re in the workshop phase, he’s hired for a limited trial run and we’re just working out whether he could survive the move to Broadway.

Meanwhile a friend of mine argued that she still uses the word boyfriend to describe the guy she just moved in with and it’s beginning to sound too petty for the level of commitment they have to one another.

So I’m starting a glossary.

Hookup – Kissed him on Friday, forgot his name by Saturday.

Date – Person I went on a date with and would or would not go on another date with, perhaps in a rotation of other more or less casual people.

Rhinoceros – He’s my… We… He’s not my boyfriend, he’s just… mine, ish. His lips are. But not exclusively. We’re still figuring it out.

Yankee – Person seen in a longterm style including “plus 1” status, casually and with no expectation of largescale romantic commitments ie monogamy, moving in, children. Yes, we have understandings about what constitutes a betrayal of our boundaries. No, it is not important to me that YOU understand them.

Boyfriend – He knows all my friends, he’s my date to just about every opening night party/wedding. I would feel comfortable bringing him to thanksgiving dinner with my grandmother. In fact I would probably feel more comfortable at thanksgiving dinner if he were there.

Husband/Fiance – We are Mr. and Mrs. Crypt Keeper, welcome to our home. We cook together. I do not have slumber parties with my friends anymore.

ManPerson – Umbrella term. A male person who I have kissed or have intention of kissing. Don’t ask me for specifics.

The important thing about this list is that it doesn’t matter at all. What matters is that these are the things I’m trying to express when I use these words. And I can define and redefine them whenever I want so long as I inform the involved parties. I’m at the point in my life for Yankees and Rhinoceri. When I’m ready for a Boyfriend I’m sure I’ll redefine the word to mean whatever we want it to mean then.



I’m not a linguist.

I have a few friends who (whup my ass in scrabble and) are linguists. They like to look up the origins of Farsi and remind me that it has no connection to Hebrew (unlike Arabic) even though the alphabet looks the same and then tell me the historic reasons why.

But I can’t do that. I just like spelling.

And some words I think are inherently beautiful, even regardless of their meanings.

I remember when I was a kid hearing a story about a woman in a hospital giving birth and hearing the word ‘placenta’ for the first time and wanting to use it as her daughters name because she thought it sounded beautiful.

When I was a kid I loved the word aneurysm. I only vaguely understood the meaning but it just felt so good coming out of my mouth, halfway between a scream and a spell.

Some other words have gotten stuck in my head over the last few years. The Hebrew word for ‘watermelon’ has a lovely shape to it. My mom will always love the Spanish word for ‘spot remover’ and this morning I was listening to an episode of the Savage Love Podcast and Dan said the word ‘abortifacient.’ And, completely divorced from it’s meaning the word has been rolling around in my head all day.

I like the ratio of consonants to vowels. It’s fun to spell in sign language. And as a service to the word, which I’m sure doesn’t get much love in every day use I’m devoting 265 words to it right here.

Dating, Intimacy, Relationships

I Will Posses Your Heart

I’m very bad at naming things.  I called my car Car, the cat Cat, my mother Mom, and all of my friends boyfriends I refer to as Boyfriend.  I’ve actually been teased a lot because I don’t call my mother My Mother, I call her Mom, as though she were your mom too.

The part I always have a hard time with is Mine.

“I have no fear of losing you, for you aren’t an object of my property, or anyone else’s. I love you as you are, without attachment, without fears, without conditions, without egoism, trying not to absorb you. I love you freely because I love your freedom, as well as mine.”
– Anthony de Mello [x]

I’ve heard it said that some couples prefer to live together without a marriage contract because that way when you have a fight you’re reminded that you’re both choosing to be in this commitment.  There is no contract binding you together, just a commitment made and re-made daily.  No Mine, just the decision to hold on for the ride.  I think that sounds nice.

Sanity, Sexuality

The Power Of Labels

Today I watched this video

I knew Deen was coming out with a line of toys (and I have at least one friend who is excited to get one) [UPDATE: review] but when I watched the video I was reminded of something.

In the interview you see lots of posters of him in the store where the signing is being held.  And as the camera flicked past these images I kept thinking how happy he looks in all the posters.  He looks like he has nothing to hide.  Like he’s saying “Hey there world!  I’m me!  Just like this!  Warts and all!  And if you don’t like it, then you can suck it!” and the world was like, “Um, ok, then I guess you’re cool.”

It reminded me of the first time I thought about the word Gay.  I listened to a lot of show tunes and watched a lot of old movies when I was a kid so I remember knowing the definition of gay as happy long before I learned that it also meant homosexual.

And I remember that my first thought was how obvious the word was.  How obviously gay people would describe themselves as happy.  Why wouldn’t they?  They’re people who show their truest selves to the world and are happily in love.  Gay people must have the highest levels of gaiety because they are doing exactly what Deen is doing in those pictures.  They’ve come the cleanest.

The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it — basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.

– Charles Bukowski, Tales of Ordinary Madness [x]

I hope one day I can find out what I need to admit to the world in order to be that happy.

Related to this, I started thinking about a concept from Doctor Who.  On the show the main character is called “The Doctor” and at a certain point he turns kind of… evil-ish and he’s told that on other planets, in other languages “Doctor” is a bad word.  It means warrior or murderer or whatever other scary thing he doesn’t want to be.

Sometimes words have meaning before they’re applied to you.  Sometimes you give words meaning when you associate with them.

The word feminist doesn’t mean “A hairy lesbian who wants to cut your balls off” it is a word which happens to encompass parts of me.  I define it with what I do and believe.  It doesn’t define me by your preconceived notions.