Friday, February 25, 2011

For Women Only: Things Other Women SHOULD Tell You...But Don't

If you're a man, go away. Get out of here! I mean it. This isn't for you. If you read it, you'll be sorry. I use words like "period" and "grandmother's nipples." Don't say I didn't warn you.

If you're a woman, brace yourself. I'm contemplating writing a book about all the things the women in your life should tell you, but most likely, never will.

Why other women won't impart this wisdom is beyond me. Come on, girls! We're all sisters, right? Don't we owe it to each other to share such truths? Maybe other women are embarrassed or afraid the knowledge will depress us, since we in all likelihood can't avoid our female trappings. Perhaps our women friends are in deep denial about their own issues.

But knowledge is power. With that in mind, I am going to lift the veil of silence...or at least open the medicine cabinet of a woman's life. As an almost-41-year-old-woman, I still have a great deal to learn. But here are a few things I've picked up along the way that I think all young women should know:

  • Practicing kissing on Tiger Beat posters is fine, but if you wear Bonnie Bell lip gloss when doing so, people will know what you've done. (But damn, that John Schneider as Bo Duke was a good kisser.)

  • When you start your first period, your mother will embarrass you, in spite of her best intentions. You will be eating breakfast at the kitchen table with your brothers, and she will say, "Sweetie, did you remember to pack some doolollies in your purse today? You're going to need those doolollies before school is out." As your brothers snicker uncontrollably, you will want to drown yourself in your Lucky Charms.

  • You probably will start your period in school one day -- most likely the very day your wear those white pants and expect the cute boy to ask you out. It happens to every girl at least once. Don't sweat it. Keep a jacket, a change of underwear and, yes, doolollies in your locker. You won't regret it.

  • The boy you love in ninth grade? The one you will omg love forever and ever and always? You won't.

  • When you're a teen-ager, you think your Mom is stupid. She's not. In fact, she's smart enough to know you think she's stupid, and she somehow loves you in spite of all your eye rolling. Love her back because you will never stop needing her. She will always be your staunchest ally.

  • High school sex sucks. When that boy says, "I love you, and I want to make you feel good," what he really means is, "I love my penis and I want to make it feel good." If you're smart, you'll at least save sex for college. It's a whole new world. And if you're old enough to "do it", you're old enough to protect yourself from pregnancy and disease. So if you want to use your vagina, use your brain first, please.

  • A significant other who makes you laugh is a very big, huge deal. Chemistry will ebb and flow. A long relationship is a roller coaster. But laughter? That can get you through anything.

  • Whenever you are at the gynecologist's office, you will inevitably hear the doctor say, "I need you to scoot your bottom down to the end of the table" no matter how appropriately you think you have positioned yourself. It still amuses me that they place a sheet over your belly for modesty when your legs are in stirrups, a spotlight is trained on you and someone is wrist-deep in your lady business.

  • Be proactive with your health. Take care of you, and listen to your body. If something seems wrong, don't delay getting it checked out. I know women who saved their own lives.

  • The sexy guy isn't the one who sends flowers. It's the one who vacuums (the older you get, the more this will matter).

  • During your wedding ceremony, the primary thought in your head should not be, "Oh no! They gave him the wrong boutonniere!" If it is, turn around and walk back down the aisle until you're mature enough to focus on the marriage, and not the wedding.

  • If you hate laundry, be aware that every child comes with 487,543,211 loads of laundry. At least.

  • Children are messy, unpredictable, often exasperating and always expensive. But when they are yours, they are everything.

  • Not every woman "glows" during pregnancy. Many of us puke -- daily and repeatedly. In the shower. On the road. In our purse during that boring meeting at work. But the damnedest thing about morning sickness is that right after puking, you will suddenly want to eat a cheeseburger. Or three.

  • When you are at the obstetrician's office for your check-up, and your swollen, sweaty pregnant feet smell like rotten cabbage, know that the doctor will walk in on you as you're frantically scrubbing between your toes with the feminine wipes. Every time.

  • You will never love anyone more than you love the anesthesiologist who gives you an epidural during labor.

  • If you must forgo an epidural for medical reasons, you should not think, "If the baby is coming that way, then I'm going this way," and flip yourself heroically off the back of the hospital bed as the baby crowns. Turns out, this maneuver will not keep the giant baby from coming out your vajayjay. It will only injure your back.

  • Immediately after having the baby, when the nurse hands the precious bundle to you, you are supposed to feel this incredible, magical connection to this miracle you've waited nine long months to meet. While family members snap pictures of your "bonding" moment, you will actually have the following thoughts:
  1. Oh my God. I am so freaking tired. Can someone take this to the nursery? Please? Anyone?
  2. I never want to be touched again, yet I'm supposed to attach this person I've never met to my boob right now? Are you kidding me? Where's the pacifier? No -- not the baby's. Mine.
  3. I never want a penis in there ever again. But honey, if you really want to make me happy, I would love a cheeseburger.

  • When they give your baby to you as you leave the hospital, you will feel woefully unprepared. You are.

  • First-time moms are incredibly anxious to leave the hospital and get home. That's dumb. Experienced moms do everything in their power to stay in the place where they bring you hot meals and take the crying infant so you can sleep.

  • When the pastor from the local church comes to visit your new baby, he will politely pretend he doesn't notice the damp nursing pad you left out on the arm of the chair. But as a new mom, it will be all you see or think about during his 30-minute visit. The horror! Fortunately, before he leaves, he will whisper in your ear, "My wife breastfed, too. It's okay." And you cry tears of gratitude. When you breastfeed subsequent children, you will do so openly at ballgames and restaurants, and you won't give a darn who might inadvertently see your breasts. Baby has to eat, yo. It's a boobie. Deal with it.

  • If you have small breasts and choose to nurse, beware the electric breast pump. All I'm saying is that the space between your small boob and the large cup creates a powerful vacuum, and the neighbors three doors down will come running when they hear you screaming, "Get it off! Get it off! For the love of all things good, get this mother&#@!-ing thing off of me!" Removal of the pump will most likely involve a crow bar, firefighters, the Jaws of Life and a future nipple transplant.

  • Speaking of nipples, they change as you age, and with each child. Remember that one time you saw Grandma naked, and how scary it was? I'm sorry, but that's your future.

  • After you have a couple of children, you'd damn well better cross your legs when you sneeze. Trust me on this.

  • As a parent, your instinct is your best friend. Rely on it. Believe in it -- even if no one else does. And pray your children turn out okay in spite of you because we all fly by the seat of our pants.

  • If you choose not to have children, or if you cannot have children, you are not less of a woman. You will find other meaningful ways to use your superpowers. Mother Teresa wasn't actually a mother, you know.

  • If you work outside the home, you are a good mother. If you stay home with your child, you are a good mother. What works for your family is the right thing. Stop beating yourself and other women up for the choices we make.

  • There isn't enough true love in this world. So wherever you find it, whomever you find it with, whenever you find it, you are lucky to have it. That is all that matters. Celebrate it. And screw the people who judge you for it.

  • You will not know who you are before age 30. It's a shame, in a way, since you will make so many major life decisions before then.

  • There is power in educating yourself and in earning your own money.

  • Your body will change at 35, and at 40, no matter how much you exercise or eat right. Things will ache that never ached before. White hairs will show up in interesting places. You will grow a mustache (see below). Accept it with grace and be grateful for another day. Or better yet, pour another glass of wine.

  • The adage "use it or lose it" is very true. This applies to lots of things: your mind; your body; sex; and most importantly, dental floss.

  • A woman over 35 should invest in good tweezers and have regular appointments at the salon for waxing. Otherwise, you will look like Chewbacca. And just because the lighting in your house is poor, and you can't see the hair, that does not mean it isn't there. Bert on Sesame Street can get away with a unibrow. You cannot.

  • Men like sexy, little lacy undies; sadly, you are far more comfortable in big ol' cotton granny panties. The silver lining of your period is that you get to wear the old, comfy underwear with the holes in it, and your man can't say a damn thing because he is scared of you. Also, men like to refer to your period as your "Aunt Flo." Ridiculous. A woman would never do something so cruel to another woman; therefore, your period should always be referred to as "Uncle Asswipe."

  • Old flannel pajamas with cows on them double as awesome birth control. In my experience, they have been 100 percent effective.

  • Yes, we know by now that the beautiful, thin, perfect women who grace magazine covers are photoshopped. But did you know they also have bad breath and hairy asses? True story.

  • As you get older, do not ever make the mistake of looking in one of those super magnification mirrors. EVER. See, you might be having a great day and think you look like this:

       But at 12 x magnification, you'll discover that you, in fact, look more like this:

  • Men will let you down. Your girlfriends will pick you up. Hang onto them. If possible, keep your best friends from childhood close -- you know, the girl you talked to at recess because you were both scared of your third-grade teacher, or the one who told you she liked your dress at the elementary school talent show. That girl held your hand then, and she will hold it later, too.

  • The best moments in life are probably not the big, giant moments you anticipate. You'll likely find your greatest joys when you least expect them: the way the back of your child's neck smells as you tuck him in after a bath; your daughter's sweet voice as she absentmindedly sings while doing homework; the sun on your face as you sip wine on a porch swing; laughter over coffee with a good friend; or the serenity of lying quietly in fading sunlight with the one you love . When you find those moments, recognize them, for those are where true happiness resides.

  • Remember, my dear sisters, beauty fades. Brains last. Don't ever play dumb* (*this blog excepted, naturally). Other women worked too hard to open doors for you. If you have a gift, use it. If you have knowledge to impart, share it. On that note, my work here is done (for now, at least. I figure the men who read this in spite of my warning can only absorb so much. Serves you right, suckers.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mo' Better Foods

Bacon. French fries. Ding Dongs. Mountain Dew.

What is ... Val Kilmer's favorite breakfast? I'll take "From Iceman to Fatman" for $600, Alex.

Bad form. I love Val Kilmer. To be fair, add a chocolate long john, and the list above is my favorite breakfast.

In the throes of intense monthly food cravings (is it bad when the neighborhood Chinese restaurant staff knows your menstrual cycle?), I have been pondering food products that are always good, but are better under certain conditions. Lots better. Mo' better, if you will.

For instance, I was chowing down on pudding in a cup the other night, and sure, the pudding was decent. Layers of chocolate and vanilla pudding were swirled in a little plastic could anything chocolate and vanilla be bad? Eb-ony and i-vory / live together in perfect harmony / side by side in my pudding cup so sweet / Oh, Lord, why don't we? Damn, I love it when pudding brings people together, but I digress.

Today, most snack-size puddings are in those little plastic cups with coated, thick foil lids that are darn-near impossible to pull off without the foil splitting into a gazillion pieces. Seriously. You spend about 25 minutes attempting to pull the lid off a snack that will take about 2.5 seconds to eat. Perhaps it only tastes good at that point because you've worked up a heck of an appetite opening it.

But do you remember when you could buy single-size puddings in the little aluminum cans? Mmmmm. Something about those little cans with the pull-top lids made the pudding taste better. Lots better. Mo' better.

At least I assume the little cans of pudding were better. I can't be certain, since my mother rarely allowed me to have any of those delectable canned puddings because they were saved for my incredibly picky little brother's home-packed lunches, while I was forced to endure school lunches (rectangular pizza served with corn. Amazing that combination never caught on in the pizza industry).

I'm not bitter. On the few occasions I was allowed to have (read: sneak into the bathroom with) a treasured can of pudding, I would pull back the top, lick the chocolate pudding off the metal lid, be rushed to the emergency room for my cut tongue, return home and savor the best pudding in the world.

Sadly, pudding snacks aren't the same now. You blame nostalgia. I blame plastic containers. Pudding in little cans was better. Period. (Now I want Chinese food).

But puddings aren't alone. I have a whole list of foods that are good, but are much tastier if certain conditions are met.

For example, french fries are mo better when dug from the bottom of the fast-food bag while driving. I don't know why this is true, but we all know it is.

And bacon [chorus of angels] is always delicious, what with its delicate marbled, crispy, salted, smoked fatness. But for some reason, it tastes the very best when stolen from the plate as soon as it is removed from the frying pan. Try it. You'll see. Stolen bacon snatched from the bacon plate is fantastic! And if the person frying it swats at your hand and yells, "Hey! Keep your greasy, grubby fingers the hell out of my bacon!" it tastes even mo better.

It isn't just food. Beverages are tastier within certain parameters, too. I love to "Do the Dew" as much as the next dentally-impaired Kentuckian, but I must have my Mountain Dew served ice-cold in the can (though I sometimes drink it in the kitchen, too. Ba-dum-DUM!). On the other hand, I would never, ever drink Ale-8-One, Kentucky's premiere supa-caffeinated soft drink, out of the can. Blech! Blasphemy! Ale-8s must be served ice-cold ... in the bottle. Why? 'Cause it's mo better that way, yo!

But the mo better food I yearn for the most is the Hostess Ding Dong from my childhood. Back in the day, kids, Ding Dongs were wrapped in a delicate, thin, crinkly foil. And no, this is not the beginning of a safe-sex lecture. Once you gleefully peeled back the shiny wrapper, you discovered the most incredible, moist, chocolate, cream-filled goodness ever (still not a sex talk). Ding Dongs were so yummy in those foil wrappers that I once ate one even though it appeared to have a bite taken out of it when I unwrapped it. True story (but not a sex one).

Sadly, when Hostess switched the Ding Dongs to the current plastic wrappers (booooo!), the snack cakes lost something. And then Hostess took the Chocodiles away. Why does Hostess hate me? WHY? But the point is, Ding Dongs aren't the same.

Neither are Taco Doritos, which tasted mo better eaten right from the orange bag I hid from my siblings on my parents' carport roof in 1978. I'd tell you more about my affinity for 1970s Taco Doritos, but I'm jonesing for some cheap, greasy Chinese food, which everyone knows is mo better in cardboard containers with red Chinese lettering.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rerun: A Tutorial

I mentioned in an earlier post that my daughter's friends now routinely read my blog (much to her delight, naturally. What 14-year-old girl wouldn't love her friends reading and commenting on her 40-year-old mother's most intimate thoughts and feelings?). But hey! Readers are readers!

Anyway, when I picked up my daughter from school today, one of her friends climbed into the swagger wagon and said, "Mrs. Reese, I read your blog today, and I saw that guy in the red beret and suspenders dancing, but I don't get it. That was Kenan Thompson, right?"

::crickets chirping::

No, fellow children of the '70s, I did not promptly toss him out of my van for confusing the awesome groove-master Fred "Rerun" Berry of What's Happening!! fame with Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live. But perhaps it is time to educate the youngin'.

This, dear readers, is the one and only Rerun:

He is not to be confused with Rerun van Pelt from Charles Schultz's The Peanuts, although he also rocked a snazzy hat:

On the other hand, this is the very handsome Kenan Thompson, who clearly does not wear a hat of any sort:

Thompson, who was robbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when he failed to be nominated for his riveting performances in both D2 AND D3: The Mighty Ducks, also magnificently portrayed this 70s icon in a movie:

Hey! Hey! Hey! That is Faaaaat Albert, who is not to be confused with this Albert, who I think we can all agree, totally beasted* his Facebook profile pic:

*I have no freakin' clue what words like "beasted" actually mean, but I'm trying to keep the kids happy. Word.