Her Bad Mother

Thursday, June 21, 2007

An Open Letter To A Dick

Dear Tardy McAsshole Von F***tard,

You looked so slick in your bespoke suit, your polished wingtips, your neatly trimmed hair. You strode purposefully, manfully, through the crowd, Wall Street Journal tucked under your arm, eyes fixed ahead. You couldn't have been a broker or hedge fund manager - too late in the morning to be on the subway, and to be on the subway in the first place - but still, you smelled of business and money clips and your walk told me that you probably had some meeting to get to, some merger to oversee, some economy to destroy.

That's what I saw, anyway, as you strode toward me, the mom, shuffling along in capri pants and scuffed ballet flats and wrinkled Gap t-shirt, pushing the Maclaren, singing to the toddler fidgeting within. I don't know if you saw me, I don't know what you saw, but I do know this: we were in your way.

We were pushing our way through the open-gated ticket entrance, the one that strollers and wheelchairs use, the one that isn't supposed to be used as an exit, the one that you were exiting through anyway. There was you, and there was us, and there were twenty or forty or a hundred other commuters thronging through the downtown station and we got stuck. We were coming in, you were coming out. We came to a stop, me and my baby, and we waited for you to step aside. We expected you to step aside.

You didn't.

You stared right over our heads and kept walking. You just kept right on walking. You lifted your perfectly-creased pantleg and stepped over the front-end of the stroller, stepped over the stroller, baby and all, and kept right on walking.

You stepped over my stroller, you stepped over my baby in her stroller, and knocked me in the shoulder as you pushed by. You stepped over my baby and you didn't lose pace, you didn't miss a step, you didn't give it a thought. You have, I'm sure, done this before. Maybe not with a stroller - maybe it was a wheelchair, maybe a walker, unfortunately attached to someone infirm or elderly, someone inconvenient - but with something in your way.

Mr. Tardhole McAsshat, I want you to know this: you're an asshole. The worst kind of asshole, the kind who causes me to lose faith with humanity, the kind who makes me feel that we are, we humans, irredeemable. I hate you for making me so angry on such a beautiful morning.

I would hope that your balls shrivel up in your pressed cotton boxers and rot. I could hope that, but I won't. What I do hope is this: that one day, you are pushing a stroller, or a walker, or are navigating the city in a wheelchair, and you come face to face to someone just like you. And I hope that, in that moment, you recognize you, and that you shrivel a little inside at the expectation of being shoved or stepped over. And then, I hope, that person stops, and steps aside, and shows you what human beings should be like. Can be like.

And I hope that you feel just a little bit ashamed. Okay, a lot ashamed. And then I hope that you go to hell anyway.


Her Very Mad Bad Mother


I would have taken a picture of me lifting my skirt and doing a rude flash, instead of recycling the bird, but I'm just not that bendy. You can, however, still check out my more figurative skirt-lifting here, and vote for me to get presents.

And check back for the announcement of the winner of BlogHer or Bust. IMMINENT.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Peering At The Backside Of The Moon

I kept my mouth shut for a reason. I figured, if I never, ever discuss that fact that WonderBaby is both sleeping through the night and napping every afternoon, in her crib, I will never have to answer to the gods for impertinence. I figured, if I never speak of it, I will never tempt them to relieve me of this great gift.

So I never spoke of it. After months and months and months of kvetching about WonderBaby's wakefulness, I simply went silent. On the day that she finally started napping - April 2, 2007 - after a seven-month nap strike, I went silent. I swore that I would not speak, nor write, about her sleep. The gods are impetuous, and fickle, and they would, I knew, take me from the gift of sleep as quickly as they had given it.

But the temptation became too strong. My secret was too sweet - she sleeps. She sleeps! I began to whisper it: she sleeps. Hand cupped to mouth, eyes raised heavenward, hoping that the gods be distracted by demi-gods taking their women or mortals stealing fire: she sleeps.

And then I began to gain confidence. Surely it was I who had brought about the sleep; surely it was my commitment to schedules and rituals and my persistence in trying, always trying, to bring about the precious sleep that had won me this victory. Surely this was my accomplishment, mine alone. Surely I could sing my own praises. Surely I could say it out loud: I have won her sleep!

I forgot the gods. I sang openly of my accomplishment. I waxed philosophic and pragmatic and prudential. I speculated upon technique. I regarded the nap and the easy bedtime as works of art, crafted by my own will. I displayed them proudly, and announced them to anyone who drew near. These were mine, I said. I made these.

I was prideful, hubristic. You know, then, how this story ends.

Sleep has flown, been snatched away, is gone. The naps are sporadic, bedtime is a battle, our nights and days have become long, too long, far too long to bear. The wax that has held the harmony of my days has melted, and I am falling, have fallen, into the sea. Is this the gods' vengeance, or did I simply reach too high, too far, too soon?

If only it were always this easy. If only.

I am peering at the backside of the moon.* It is dark, and it is pockmarked, and I would give anything to feel the sun again.

(*Undying respect and big geek high-five to whomever can tell me the source of this line.)


I lifted my skirt and... what? Whaddya think? Check it out, and tell me that you love it over here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

If Truth Is A Woman, She Wears A Skort

When I was about seven years old, a boy asked to see under my skirt.

It was a hot summer day, near the schoolyard. We'd been playing in the grass near the playground; it was long grass, the kind that sings in a good wind, the kind that you hide in. We'd been hiding, we two, and some other children, hiding and running and running and hiding, in and out of the grass, the blades scratching our sunburnt skin. We'd been crouched for what seemed a very long while, hiding, separated by a thin clutch of stalky grass, when I heard him whisper: show me under your skirt.

I didn't answer him. I remember holding my breath and listening to the wind in the grass and pretending that he wasn't there.

Show me under your skirt and I'll show you under my pants.

I still didn't answer. I plucked a stalk of grass out from the ground by its root and chewed its tip. My legs were sore from the sun, from squatting. I was getting tired of this game.

I have a thing in my pants. I'll show you.

I stood up.

Show me, I said.

He did. He yanked his shorts down, very quickly, revealing tiny white briefs. He tugged at those, and his tiny appendage flopped out. Small, pink, and quivering ever so slightly, like the squirming, hairless baby mice my sister and I once found, out behind the shed, the baby mice that the cat got and that made my mom shriek and that we knew better than to mention at dinner. It quivered there for a moment, and then disappeared again behind white cotton.

Now you.

I chewed my blade of grass and looked him straight in the eye.


And then I turned and walked, through the grass, back home, and told my sister: I saw a dink.

She said, what's a dink?

I shrugged, and went off to find my Barbies.

Why didn't I lift my skirt? I was as capable of brazen exhibitionism as any precocious seven year-old. I don't recall feeling shame, or reticence. I can remember the feel of the sun on my skin and the scratch of the grass on my bare legs and the far-away sounds of children playing and parents calling, but I don't remember what I felt about what I was seeing. And it seems to me that I didn't feel anything, other than a mild curiosity and probably some measure of disappointment that what came out of his pants was really nothing as interesting as one would have hoped.

I really just didn't care, I think. And because I didn't care, because the game just didn't seem all that interesting, I just left, the question of what was under my clothes, what was concealed within my underpants, abandoned as irrelevant.

I wish that I could say that this demonstrated some preternatural awareness of the sacredness of what was, what is, beneath my skirt, that I became aware in that moment of the power of the skirt as veil, as that which conceals what men desire, what they seek to understand, as that which conceals what Nietszche understood as a metaphor for truth, for what men understand to be truth, that which has made fools of so many men, so many philosophers (supposing truth were a woman, what then?), that which does not allow itself to be won.

I wish that I could say this - that I could identify my pre-pubescent self as possessing an understanding of the force of womanhood, even if only an intuitive understanding - but I can't. In a different mood, on a different day - if the grass hadn't been scratching my legs, if his weiner hadn't been so mouse-like - I might well have hoisted my skirt and flashed my plump cleft and enjoyed the cool brush of the breeze on my parts. If truth is a child, she lets herself be well-known. I didn't learn modesty until adolescence. I did not learn the power of what modesty conceals until much later. I did not start refusing to lift my skirt out of principle until I learnt these things.

But I wonder now, what was lost when I lost that pre-pubescent whimsy, that careless impulsivity, that thoughtless willingness to say no just because? To say yes just because? To reveal or conceal as the mood strikes, and not for the purposes of negotiation, manipulation, protection?

Did I become, in my maturity, too convinced of the sacrosanctity of what lies beneath my skirt? Did I become too convinced of its exalted status as an object of pursuit, of desire? Did I make the mistake of the philosophers, convincing myself that it must not be too easily won? Did I come to take it too seriously? Did I forget how to not care?

I watch as my daughter twirls in the sand, her skirt hoisted high above her waist, exulting in the dust and the breeze and the sun, and my heart pounds with exhilaration and fear. Fear, for what her openness could provoke. Fear that she'll lose that openness. Fear that I'll cause her to lose that openness, because I want her, in some dark corner of my heart, to lose that openness, because I am afraid of that openness.

Exhilaration, because I remember, and because that memory forestalls, if only for a moment, the fear.

Here's to lifting our skirts. Or not.

Here's to bare legs and carelessness.


Posted as part of the PBN Blog Blast for Sk*rt - go check out my cross-post on Sk*rt so that a) you can check it out, and b) you can vote for me to win stuff cuz you likes me. Check it HERE. And while you're there, click the LOVE IT button. I don't lift my skirt for just anybody, you know.

And check back here at HBM- and at MBT - later in the week for the results of our super-duper BlogHer or Bust or Candy Contest. In the meantime, you can find most of the links to participating posts in the comments here. Go read - and if you did a post but didn't leave a comment here or at MBT, let me know asap.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Love Made Us

It did indeed.

Happy Dad's Day, you big crabby jerk. We adore you beyond measure.