Guest Blogger Elysia: Evo Psych and Icky Girls

Friend of Shapely Prose Elysia (who writes the blog Born That Way) is an evolutionary biologist, and she had some choice words for the latest dude to use evolutionary psychology as an explanation for why he believes seriously douchey things about women. Please give Elysia a warm welcome. — Kate

My friend Sweet Machine brought a recent post by Amanda Hess to my attention.  In her essay, Ms. Hess discusses a blog entry on the Scientific American Mind website, written by one Dr. Jesse Bering. Once you’ve read her post, come back here to see me talk about how good (and bad) science can be totally skewed by reporters.  Even scientists.  Just so we start on the same page: Dr. Bering discussed the concept of menstruation as shameful or dirty.  He presented some good evidence for the social context of menstruation as having a huge impact on the way women experience/remember first menses (although he also seemed to be saying that Western feminism was wrong in concluding the same thing).

Dr. Bering is described as an evolutionary psychologist – a title which always makes me uneasy, because as “just” an evolutionary biologist (actually, I’m a population and evolutionary geneticist), I have seen very little thus far from the field of evo psych that actually gets the evolution part right.  (I’m always willing to give it a try, though, in hopes that someone will prove me wrong about the field.)  Let’s start out with the premise: a male researcher is curious about women’s first menses, and the psychological context and consquences thereof.  Fair enough.  What else does Dr. Bering have to say?

“Without a doubt, the best studies on the subject of menarche are those that have attempted to reconcile individual differences in age of female pubertal onset with various evolutionarily relevant variables in girls’ social environments.”

The best studies?  Not my field, so I can’t judge, although “without a doubt” with respect to a set of studies on a very general topic being the “best” of anything is a standard not often met in science. However – evolutionarily relevant is my field.  So the question becomes: has evolution, of either culture or biology, shaped human psychological response to first menstruation?  There follows in Dr. Bering’s essay a series of anecdotes and studies grounded in 20th-century data.  From a strictly biological viewpoint, this is hardly even the blink of an eye, and evolution simply cannot have occurred and been detected.  Let me repeat: citing only data from the last 100 years, approximately five generations, is insufficient to demonstrate that biological evolution has occurred.

“[G]irls growing up in homes where the biological father is absent but the stepfather is present tend to mature faster than those living under the same roof as their biological fathers (their bodies are essentially competing with their mothers for the attention of this genetically unrelated male …)”

I’ve spent a fair amount of time studying and discussing mammalian reproduction during my graduate work and professional life.  My response to the quoted passage: Wait, what?  The last time I talked about this type of interaction was during a lab meeting, in the context of mouse mating behavior.  Female mice experience an acceleration in sexual development because they are being influenced by an adult male’s presence, via hormones he produces – they’re not competing with their mothers for matings, but experiencing a side effect of cohabiting with non-parental males.  (Read more here and here.)  My evolutionary just-so story, err, hypothetical explanation for this observation is that some male mouse had a different body chemistry that could induce sexual maturation in any female nearby, which would mean he’d have more babies than other males because he’d be, you know, there when the females matured.  His sons might have that same capability, and if this provided enough of an advantage relative to other males (and survives a number of other conditions, including pressure by female biology working against it), you could end up with males generally affecting female sexual development – regardless of any relationship between the male and nearby females.  Please note that a juvenile female mouse’s mom does not appear in this model.  The implication of your phrasing – “their bodies are essentially competing with their mothers” – does hint at the lack of volition in this situation (the idea that girls’ bodies are simply reacting to a biological stimulus) but sets up a mother-daughter rivalry where none exists.  Mom has nothing to do with this, except having gotten remarried.  Not to mention, there’s no accounting in your summary for siblings, stepsiblings, the role of stress…it’s a fascinating observation, but there’s a lot of careful dissection of the situation that has to be done before it’s appropriate to flag this as mother-daughter competition.  (If such detail exists in the professional scientific literature, please, someone let me know!)

“reminds me of that shower scene in Steven King’s Carrie (you know the one).”

Excuse me, sir, your preconceptions are showing.  (Really?  A horror flick?  Really? Let me guess – you also consider menstrual blood to be dirty.  This and other word choice throughout the essay is consistent with that position – is that what you meant to convey?)

“[The Head Teacher] suggested that ‘nobody would want to talk about it’ and that there would be ‘hell to pay’ from his many ‘conservative parents’ if he put his name to the research.”

Sooo…because some parents might have been unhappy, this means that the girls themselves were necessarily ashamed?  Because that’s sort of how that reads.  The research study was challenging because of – oh wait! – a larger societal attitude that might or might not have accurately reflected the girls’ own feelings.

“Such anecdotes would appear to pose some serious problems for traditional feminist theories, which tend to argue that Western negative attitudes toward everything from menstruation to vaginas at large are simply the result of cultural constructions.”

When you follow this sentence by a paragraph of examples of how women in different cultures experience different responses to the onset of menstruation, it…doesn’t sit well with a lot of readers.  Especially when you go on to say:

“According to most Western females, however, nothing could be more nightmarish than the prospect of “leaking” in public, and so perhaps it’s not too surprising that so many teenagers say that, in retrospect, their preparation for womanhood amounted to little more than a how-to guide for hiding their menstrual blood from all other eyes.”

As a layperson in psychology and sociology, I can only say that this doesn’t surprise me, given how much Western culture seems to prize cleanliness in…everything, to the point where it seems to be backfiring.  (Hygiene hypothesis, anyone?)  Seriously, it seems like a viable alternative hypothesis is just that cleanliness is so highly valued that any and all sexuality gets shoved into the shadows.  How often do we talk about men remembering the first time they ejaculated?  Popular humor about boys suddenly doing their own laundry seems on its face to be consistent with the same “cleanliness above all” hypothesis.  I’d love to know if anyone has studied the influence of Puritans and other Protestant groups that largely shaped early American culture, the evidence of which we still see today, and how their feelings about cleanliness and purity have contributed to this. (Sweet Machine, editor/human extraordinaire, suggests the work of Mary Douglas for further information.)

In fact, Dr. Bering, you allude to something like this when you discuss Joan Jacobs Brumberg’s work.

Oh, and I’m not the local expert on this, but I hear there’s this thing out there – this idea that men have, for many years, tried to control female sexuality.  Wouldn’t propagandizing menstruation be a convenient way to do that?

” When the researchers asked 157 white, middle-class ninth-grade girls what advice and information they would give to younger girls about menarche, […] one lone teenage girl of this entire group of 157 participants—ever linked menstruation to reproduction …”

Do you really think that this shows “clearly that, in the minds of these newly fertile adolescents, reproductive biology—that is to say, the actual purpose of periods—was a complete afterthought in their thinking”?  Or could it be that those girls were trying to pass on practical information to their peers, since they were asked what advice they would give?  Trust me, my public school sex ed made it abundantly clear that menstruation was part of reproductive biology.  But that’s not much comfort when you’re not ready to reproduce, and it’s not helpful in understanding the logistics of being a pubescent girl.

“I’m sure many of my straight male friends are indeed praising Allah for the invention of Kotex.”

If you have a daughter or a wife or girlfriend or sister – please understand that she may hear you say things like this and not want to discuss menstruation with you.

” … here comes my British accent—bloody companies and their concern with the bottom dollar.”

Your (public) Facebook page tells me that you hail from Ohio.  That doesn’t rule out a British accent, but I am rather curious.  Also, in making puns of the word “bloody,” you are actually engaging in a joke based on slang, not accent.  To perpetuate a quote I rather like, words mean things (link goes to an OT explanation).   And distorting those meanings as you do here gives me pause; were I grading this, I would become suspicious that you were attempting to sound smart so I wouldn’t notice any problems with your work.

“In fact, I’ve often wondered if the tremendous reservation that most parents have in communicating with their children about sex has the ironic consequence of making their children more curious about it—a curiosity that translates into earlier and more frequent sexual activity.”

Trust me, you’re not the first.  In fact, I’m willing to wager that the vast majority of people at or past their teens in Western society have pursued various “illicit” exploits because their parents forbade them or refused to talk about them.  (Also, have you ever studied Prohibition?)

“And that makes me wonder if there weren’t (and aren’t) perhaps some natural selection pressures at work here, forces favoring parental modesty over candor in the sex education of children.”

Seriously?  Your hypothesis is that modest parents will have higher fitness (i.e., in the long run, will have a reproductive advantage) than immodest parents (and the word “modest” is so subjective that I feel this is already a difficult hypothesis to argue).  That means that the children of modest parents must in turn be modest parents to their own children, or you simply have a fluctuation with a period of a generation, right?  My very own parents decried their parents’ modesty and had fairly frank discussions with me, as appropriate.  And while there’s such a thing as temporally-varying selection..this doesn’t seem to be such a case.  (By way of explanation: temporally-varying selection.  Put simply, sometimes the force that makes a particular feature favorable can itself change over time.  Say you have dandelions in your yard – the features of a dandelion plant that grows well in rainy March that let the plant have more babies may not do a lick of good for that plant’s offspring when dry July comes around.  Here, well, you can imagine that modesty might be bad if we were facing certain kinds of famine, as it would mean fewer babies and a higher chance that they’d survive, but it’s unlikely that every single generation – or every few generations – we’d alternate between stark feast and famine.  Even if it were true, biological evolution in humans takes thousands of years, so it would be extremely hard for me to come up with a plausible mathematical model in which relatively recent social mores affect biological fitness.)

No offense, but this is a poor reflection of the basic components of evolutionary biology.  No, strike that – I hope to offend you enough to get you to stop and think, because as an evolutionary biologist and instructor, I am left to deal with the aftermath of students who come in to my classroom with serious biases about a field they’ve only ever seen misrepresented.   Partly because essays like yours get into the lay media.  It’s especially infuriating to see sloppy or inaccurate science used to justify positions from the mildly offensive to the abhorrent.  Please don’t let the entire field of evolutionary psychology devolve into a mere shadow of the science it could be – I’d rather it be “based on” rather than “inspired by” evolution.

Yes, it’s important to realize that cultural constructs influence the way biological events are experienced and recalled.  It’s important to link biological and cultural evolution, and to remember that we humans are animals.  And as a male ape, you are well within your rights to wonder how female apes differ from you; just please remember while you call elderly women apes that you are one, yourself.  More importantly, it’s great for you as a human man to want to understand the human woman’s experience, and I encourage you to reframe your language to make it clear that you understand that distinction. Because your personal discomfort with my menstruation – or my feminism – does not a sound scientific discussion make, and dismissing my humanity when you examine my biology ill befits a doctor of psychology.

For the record: I make no claim to perfect impartiality here – this is just me, a professionally trained scientist and a self-identified feminist talking about why a particular piece of popular science writing raised my personal and professional hackles.  Like any good scientist, when I’m working, I try to minimize the impact of my own bias on my research, but you know what?  I’m human, and biased, and the best I can do is own those biases and be honest about them with friends, students, and colleagues.

A Post

…in which I write some things other than “Hey, I’m not going to post for a while.” Specifically, some reasons why I haven’t been posting and probably still won’t for a bit.

1) Two nights ago, a spider got up my pajama pant leg while I slept, got trapped around the knee, and left me with 11 goddamn bites. This happens about once a year, and it’s hardly a big crisis, but it means that for the next several days, I will wake up with my knee on fire, and sit around whimpering and cursing the spider for 10-20 minutes until it calms down instead of posting first thing in the morning, which is usually my best time. (This is not a good reason for not posting, mind you, but since I just woke up, it’s the one that’s foremost in my mind.)

2) I just got back from a 10-day trip to New York, which was amazing in several ways, perhaps most notably that I think I went like three days without turning on the computer at all. (I  did, of course, check e-mail and Twitter on my phone. But it was still a big change for me.) Like my recent trip to Toronto, it reinforced that I spend too goddamned much time on the internet, and I actually enjoy leaving the house and speaking to other human beings face to face. So I’m still trying to figure out how to do more of that.

3) I am, as previously mentioned (I think), working on a new book proposal. Although when I was out with Amy Benfer and another writer friend last week, I said “I’m still at the proposal stage,” and Amy immediately corrected me: “She’s still at the talking-about-it-in-bars stage.” Mostly because that’s exactly what I was doing at the time instead of writing. But A) that is an important stage, dammit, and B) I have written half a proposal and would like to get the other half finished soon. So that’s ongoing.

4) Before that, though, I have to finish revising/adding to the body image chapter for the upcoming edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. How awesome is that?

5) My mother-in-law is coming to visit tomorrow.

6) In anticipation of 5 — and because I really couldn’t avoid it much longer and still have a usable space — I have spent the last two days thoroughly cleaning my office, including going through every box full of papers that’s been sitting around there for months to years, figuring out what to shred and what to save, and creating a filing system that lends itself to actually finding things when I want them, as opposed to my tried and true “throw it in a box and maybe go through it the next time I move” system. I am still not done. And now Al’s gung-ho on organizing the closets and pantry and trying to set up systems all over the place that will help our future selves avoid getting buried under heaps of clutter and I’ll Deal With It Later boxes, so if you don’t hear from me, it is probably because I will be cleaning this fucking apartment FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

But to tide you over, here’s a thing I probably would have posted about, had I been in a posting mood. In the “Flesh and Stone” episode of Doctor Who, which is the last one we’ve watched (so please don’t spoil anything past that) (and if you haven’t seen that ep and don’t want to be spoiled for it, quit reading now), new companion Amy comes back from a typically harrowing adventure and reacts in exactly the way I would if I were a young, single, heterosexual woman who’d just traveled through time and space (and nearly died) with a guy who looks like Matt Smith and is basically the most amazing dude ever, because that’s the whole point of him: She tries to get him into bed. (And gets nowhere, predictably, but still.)

Now, I should note that A) I am not remotely a Doctor Who purist (I’ve only watched the new version) and am therefore not invested in the notion that the Doctor is meant to be asexual. (Especially when he’s as hot as the last three have been, which frankly is the main reason I got into watching it.) B) I am also not remotely the kind of person who thinks sex/tension between leads ruins good shows in general. In fact, I would pretty much like everyone on TV to be fucking and/or having relationship angst all the time. So there’s that.

But even setting those things aside, I was stunned to see the internet reaction to that scene. Not only is there slut-shaming galore (I forgot to mention that Amy’s supposed to get married in the morning, so OMG HOW COULD SHE?) but there are several people advancing the theory that her hitting on the Doctor is meant to be read as evidence of mental illness (by which they seem to mean daddy issues and low self-esteem, mostly, but they’re framing it in terms of a disorder). Simply because she wants to have sex with what appears to be a very cute twentysomething guy (ok, he’s a 900-year-old alien, but still) after going through several adrenaline-pumping adventures with him. Previous companions in the new version have either mooned over the Doctor endlessly or kept it strictly platonic, and on a show about time and space travel and aliens and monsters, the fact that no one’s tried to bone him yet has strained my credulity more than just about anything else.

And I’m not alone, as I learned in this (very amusing) Doctor Who Confidential clip about the scene in question:

Around 2:05, the show runner, Steven Moffat (who’s been accused lots of times of being anti-feminist, but whatever, that’s another post) says: “Here’s this man, this generally rather good-looking man — sometimes older, sometimes younger, but generally good-looking — who’s wonderful, funny, passionate and kind, and the nicest, bestest human being (apparently), you’ll ever meet. And all those girls… didn’t notice? Ever? Not once?” GOD, THANK YOU.  ABOUT TIME. Yes, previous companions have been crazy about him, but only in a “You are my One True Love and I will wait around until you think of me that way, which I know you never will” way, so later, Moffat explicitly states the obvious:  Unlike them, Amy’s just looking for a romp, not true love, because why not? See also the part around 3:05 where Karen Gillan, who plays Amy, gives her reasoning for why the character went for it: “I don’t know, sometimes you do things in the heat of the moment…when you’re, like, excited, and you’ve shared something with someone and… [shrug].” Indeed. NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

And yet. Precisely because she just wants sex, a disturbing number of people can’t figure out her motivation. There must be something deeper — something dark and fucked up, in fact — because a young woman just wanting a roll in the hay because hey, you’re here and you’re hot and all that stuff we just did was kind of mind-blowing? Well, that makes no sense whatsoever! To take that at face value, you’d have to believe that girls like sex or something!

So, yeah. I guess I did sort of post about that just now, except if I were really posting, I’d spend 9 more paragraph reiterating the above points in increasingly ranty ways. As it is, I’m just going to issue a big, fat SHUT UP, INTERNET and turn it over to you guys. That’s all.

Another non-post

So yeah, I was off on the return date by nearly a week. Sorry about that.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve quit writing for Broadsheet — last Friday was my last day. I was a bit burned out on daily ladyblogging, and I want to get working on a new book. (No, I’m not ready to talk about specifics yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as I am.) So in theory, I’ve got more time to hang out here again, and I’m planning to. In practice, a whole week’s already gone by, in which I got a lot of writing done but never blogged. So it goes.

Right now, I’m out of town until next Saturday, attending a wedding and visiting family and old friends — so realistically, I probably won’t post much this week, either. But I wanted to say hi.

Hi!

OK, bye.

Some Stuff

So, three of us have colds, one of us is out of town and indisposed, and the other one hates you all. (Kidding. Mostly.) Until we’re back into blogging shape, have some links.

I wrote about Lincoln University requiring fat students to take a “Fitness for Life” course before they can graduate here. I’ve got more thoughts, and we’ve got a half-assed SP roundtable going on about it behind the scenes, but that might take a while to get anywhere (see above), so start there.

I’m also writing for Broadsheet 5 days a week now (usually two posts a day), if I haven’t officially mentioned that, so there’s lots of other stuff there. For instance, I wrote today about a British “Next Top Model” kinda competition for women with disabilities, and a couple weeks ago about Candy Crowley’s weight and how The Rules will. not. die.

I would link to stuff other people are writing, but between working and and traveling and getting laid out with a cold over the holiday weekend (and thus spending 3 straight days doing nothing but watching 21 Jump Street on Hulu, which was actually kind of awesome), I haven’t been reading shit. Well, I did read Nick Hornby’s latest novel while I was traveling, and I loved it, but that’s about it.

One more link, though! Women, Action and the Media (WAM!)  is auctioning off a bunch of cool stuff to support their work for gender justice in the media, and one of the items is an opportunity to have me edit any prose manuscript up to 25 pages. I actually used to do that for a living, and I really miss it, so if you need feedback on something you’re writing, support WAM! and give me the chance to have some fun with it.

Up close

Long-time Shapelings know that we are big fans of PostSecret. If you haven’t been there yet, check it out — it’s an amazing project. I loved one of the secrets posted today:

hopper
[A pointillist painting: Georges Seurat’s Esquisse d’ensemble [sketch for a larger work, presumably Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte], with these words handwritten over it: Up close, everyone looks less perfect. In that, though, they look human.]

Polanski, Polanski, Polanski

kateiconThat has been my entire week. Since my first post about it here got a lot of responses, I figured I’d share everything I’ve been doing on it in one place. (Trigger warnings on pretty much all of it.)

But before I get to that incredibly depressing shit, please go watch Chris Rock going off on Polanski on Jay Leno last night. I was beginning to despair of ever seeing an actual big-name celeb I like join Team Child Rape Is Bad (see second Thursday post below). The clip is both painfully (and I mean that) funny and quite satisfying if you’ve been waiting like I have, though not perfect. In any case, it’s ABOUT FUCKING TIME.

Monday
Reminder: Roman Polanski Raped a Child

Tuesday
Letters from Hollywood: Roman Polanski’s Rape of Child No Big Thing

Wednesday
Sharon Tate’s Sister: It Was A Consensual Matter

Peter Fonda and Roman Polanski on Rape vs. Murder

Thursday
Lynchpin of Polanski Misconduct Case: I Lied

Are Anti-Polanski Celebs Afraid To Speak Up?

Oh, and Thursday was also the day I appeared on The Today Show to talk Polanski, because that’s just how bananas shit had gotten by that point. (If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t get excited. They literally left in one sentence of my 15- or 20-minute interview.)

Speaking of shit being bananas, I was also on Nightline last night, though that was not Polanski-related. They finally aired a teeny part of an interview I did weeks ago (I got like two sentences in that one!), squished in among Crystal Renn, Brooke Elliott and headless fatty B-roll. Woohoo!

Friday
Polanski, “Hounddog” and 13-year-old voices (After Monday’s post, this is probably the one I’m proudest of.)

And, finally, The best Polanski you might have missed this week — a round-up of other people’s posts I loved this week, though it doesn’t include two amazing ones by survivors: Lauren’s at Feministe, and our own Tari’s – which, if you read one Polanski post, should maybe be it.

Party Pictures

As most of you know, one of the reasons I’ve been largely absent from the blog recently is that I was planning my wedding reception — for 6 months after the actual wedding. In another state. WHILE IN THE MIDDLE OF A FUCKING BOOK TOUR. Boy, am I ever not going to repeat that mistake with my next wedding.

Anyway, the party was a total blast — I honestly didn’t expect to have as much fun at my own reception as I did. For your enjoyment (and to get a post up without my actually having to write anything intelligent), I present the following pictures. I tried to include the best available shots of my dress, which was a custom Jane BonBon — essentially this plus this plus a boatneck, with all the detail tone-on-tone. I cropped Al out of the last one, since he doesn’t like me posting pics of him (even though I have before, oh well), and I left three of my grad school besties in the group shot, because I’m pretty sure they’ve all authorized me to post photos of them in the past, but, uh, HI GUYS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE HERE E-MAIL ME.

So. Friday night, everyone who was already there met up at a pub, and then a group of the most accomplished drinkers continued on to the fucking ridiculous penthouse suite we got free for a night as part of the hotel’s Please, Please Have Your Wedding Here Even Though There’s a Recession package. Four of the most accomplished drinkers, of course, were Fillyjonk, Sweet Machine, Marianne and me:

As Fillyjonk said, the Photoshopping makes them look both more disturbing and soberer.

As Fillyjonk said, the Photoshopping makes them look both more disturbing and soberer.

The next afternoon, I went out to get my hair and make-up done. Here is the kind of responsible, organized person I am: I made sure to arrange in advance to have my friend Chris show up with champagne for me to sip during this process (see below), yet I completely forgot to get SOMETHING TO PUT IN MY HAIR, which was kind of a crucial part of the planned ‘do.

Arty!

Arty!

Fortunately, one of the nice things about throwing a big party is that the morning of, everyone you know asks if you need anything. Naturally, none of them expect you to say yes, but when my friend Jo asked, I was all, “Yeah, could you swing by Target and find me ANYTHING to stick in my hair? Bobby pins with pearls on the end, or the least tacky fake flower available or something?” She accepted the mission — and recruited her husband and our friend Meg to join her — but the poor things got more than they bargained for. Target had squat. Macy’s had squat. Much furious texting ensued, and finally, I was like, “Can you find me a live flower?” Please note that Jo, her husband and Meg were all very much from out of town, so I was sending them running all over a strange city because I was too scatterbrained to remember a hair accessory. That is love, man. And eventually, they came through with something way better than I would have gotten for myself:

I didn't look nearly this good from the front.

I didn't look nearly this good from the front.

Here I am with the three aforementioned grad school friends, illustrating why women with huge boobs are often advised to avoid boatnecks. (On the up side, I was able to wear a full-coverage grandma bra and never had to worry about my boobs falling out of the dress — or about the traditional Beginning of Summer Heat Rash I had all over my chest. Woo hoo!)

Hence the term "Rack of Doom."

Hence the term "Rack of Doom."

Here are Sweet Machine and Fillyjonk, all gussied up and minus heads. (FJ ‘shopped the other one for me, but my skills are limited to inelegant cropping.) Fillyjonk scored that dress at Marshall’s a few hours before the reception, and I cannot believe it fit her that perfectly off the rack. NOT THAT I’M BITTER OR ANYTHING. She was shedding glitter everywhere all night, but she looked amazing — as did Sweet Machine, who is wearing a dress she got at Vive la Femme, in case any in-betweenies are wondering if it’s worth a trip. (Also, when I did the reading there, the friend at the far right of the pic above — who I think wears about a size 4 or 6, usually — managed to find a 0x top that looks great on her. So the bad news is, some “plus-size” designers are fucking looped in terms of sizing, which we already knew, but the good news is, if you’re a smaller fat or even a non-fat, you might be able to find something at Vive.)

HEADLESS FATTIES FROM THE INTERNET (except for how one of them's not fat)

HEADLESS FATTIES FROM THE INTERNET (except for how one of them's not fat)

The dome thingy where we did cocktails and dancing (at the Millennium Hotel Minneapolis, if anyone’s looking for a venue) looked awesome once the sun went down, as did Marianne. Well, she looked awesome in daylight, too, but I love this picture. Her dress is from Torrid — I believe it’s this one.

Head-ed fatty from the internet!

Head-ed fatty from the internet!

Al and I both brought comfy shoes to change into, but holy shit, I waited too long. I mean, my original shoes were fairly sensible, all things considered — Naturalizers with only about a two and a half inch heel. Problem is, I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot (or at least, I’m 99% sure I do — have never gone to a doctor about it), which almost never bothers me because I wear flats with ridiculous arch support 99% of the time. But when I wear heels? It always bothers me for a day or two afterwards. When I dance in heels for two straight hours before remembering I brought flats to change into? Turns out I wake up the next morning, take one step, scream in pain, and seriously consider sending Al to CVS to buy me a cane. (I managed without one — it’s always worst right upon waking, and the pain soon downgraded itself to a non-screaming level — but I was limping for a day and a half. Definitely the worst foot pain I’ve ever had, which probably means I really should go to the doctor and get custom orthotics instead of relying on Danskos and Mephistos to keep it at bay.) Anyway, these (Borns) would have been great, if I’d put them on sooner:

ow ow ow ow ow

ow ow ow ow ow

And finally, we arrive at the end of the evening, where I am soaked with sweat from dancing all night — turns out when the playlist is almost all songs you picked, you’re not as motivated to take a break as you might be — looking both happy and slightly evil, which kind of sums up my relationship with Al.

Sweaty fat girl!

Sweaty fat girl!

There you go, Shapelings. I wish you all could have been there, except that would have been really expensive.

Now that I’m done with the planning process, I’d like to say I’ll be around more often, but honestly, I just started working on another book proposal, so don’t hold your breath. In the meantime, FJ, SM, and AS will be doing what they can, and you can use this thread to talk about whatever you feel like talking about.

Happy Birthday, Al!

He’ll probably kill me for this, but I like acknowledging birthdays, and if his birthday isn’t all about me, I don’t know what is.

 

The man I married, being himself.

The man I married, being himself.

His present didn’t arrive in time (read: I didn’t order it in time), but I’m currently letting him sleep in and considering other generous and heartfelt expressions of love, such as loading the dishwasher, making him a piece of toast, and maybe not yelling so much. But hey, he’s the one who doesn’t like birthdays, so I don’t want to get carried away. 

Happy birthday, my love. I’m glad you were born.

Also, happy Father’s Day where applicable, and big fake internet hugs to those who are missing someone today. (My own dad is frightened and confused by the internet, so I’ll give him a call later.)

ETA: Just talked to my dad, who said, “You know, I was proud of you, until I saw a 3-year-old on TV this morning who can run a whole pool table. Cute as hell, just a little wee thing, had to stand on a box, but boy, can he shoot. I was a bit disappointed he didn’t smoke a cigar. Anyway, I thought you were a pretty great kid until I saw that.” LOVE YOU TOO, DAD.

Today in Things I Wrote Elsewhere

I did my first feature on Salon, on the next generation of abortion providers. (That’s what kept me away from the blog for most of last week, btw.)

I also wrote this morning about how the vitriol aimed at women who choose not to have children is suspiciously similar to anti-abortion rhetoric. You think maybe the real problem is that some people don’t want women to control our own fertility at all? Just maybe? 

And finally, there’s one fat/book related item. Marianne and I are guest blogging at Powells.com this week, and my first post, about the title of the book, just went up. For post number one, I wanted to do a mix of Fat 101 and writing/publishing issues, so that’s where I started. Haven’t yet decided what my next two will be about (I’m doing Wednesday and Friday; Marianne’s doing Tuesday and Thursday), so if there’s anything writing/publishing/reading related you’d like to hear me ramble about, let me know here! (And if you’re moved to comment over there, it would be nice to hear from people who are familiar with fat acceptance, since I imagine the alternatives are either no comments or Trollfest.)  

Also, feel free to self-link or point us to other interesting stuff in the comments. Thanks for your patience, crew.