Archive | Age Matters

A Cleaning Woman of One’s Own

I came home today so cross, so “bullshit,” as my mother used to say. Lately my tolerance for mansplaining and manspreading and general man-boorishness is at an all-time low. Yet many (mostly white, mostly straight) men around me carry on as they always have, willfully practicing the obliviousness that is yet another privilege of the culturally dominant. Which is to say: assume they are authorities to whom the rest of us will defer. Now that I am a grown woman who’s been on her own for more than two decades, and now that we are 15 years into a new millennium that is so post-industrial that physical might should be entirely besides the point, there’s no legitimate reason for any sane male to behave this way with me and yet… well, you know. So many guys (even trans guys, even guys I like) still assume deference is part of the package when you walk this world as a woman. I don’t care why they make this assumption; I’m just over it. We female persons can practice as much magic, read as many self-help books, attend as many therapy sessions as we like. But male entitlement will not go away so long as we accept it as our problem to solve. We must trample over such inequities, and back up other women who do the same.  Make it the problem of the perpetrators, and it will finally fade away. This is the only way true social change has ever been effected.

Anyway, without getting into the specific origin of my pique, I’ll just say that, by the time I returned to my stoop, I wanted to punch somebody, holler at the heavens, break vases and glasses and hearts. Do something really, really ill-advised. So I cleaned my house. Continue Reading →

All Hail Nora Ephron, Mostly

In between gigs, I’ve been working through The Most of Nora Ephron, a posthumous collection of Ephron’s essays, scripts, blog posts, books. Mostly I love it. Even When Harry Met Sally is less cloying on the page, and her early work is so smart and acerbic that it makes me envious of a girl she left behind long before she died. Sure, her class biases are a bummer but in her writing (less in her films) she relishes so much–and with such a crisp specificity–that her pleasure is infectious. It hits me: Imagine what this woman would have accomplished had she lived to the age she’d assumed she would. (In early pieces she blithely refers to her 80s though she died at 71.) Once she’d achieved grand dame status, she’d likely have maintained her generosity of spirit while taking off the good girl gloves that never suited her anyway. Oh, how our spines would have straightened. The lesson is there for the taking: Let none of us assume we’ll achieve a ripe old age. Everything we do may duly suffer.

All We Ever Wish For

It was one of those days that just kept going and going, and the whole time I had to be on in a very public, TV lady sort of way. By the time I headed home, it was late, and my sense of humor–already eroded by the Winter That Will Not End–had evaporated. Still, when a woman on the subway platform pointed out she had the same hat, I couldn’t help but smile. It’s rare to find another adult who’ll wear the blue-dyed rabbit fur I refer to as my Muppet bonnet. The two of us struck up a chat while her boyfriend–tall, broad-shouldered, with a knitted brow–stood by, clearly not thrilled that his companion’s attention had been diverted. I knew his type well, had made the mistake of dating men like him when I’d been naive enough to conflate size with stability. After a bit it came out we all had been at the same event, and she and I compared notes while he continued to glower. Talking to her while he steamed reminded me of the conversations my mother used to have with female neighbors in the 1970s, all of them talking in lowered voices while glancing over their shoulders lest their husbands catch them lollygagging.

Finally he burst out: “I don’t judge.”

If I’d hadn’t been so fried, I would’ve let his comment go. I saw the quick hunch of her shoulders. Instead, I said, “You can have an opinion without judging.” Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy