Month: October 2015

Kenahora, Dude: Why I Knock On Wood Before Bragging Online

We are all complicit in shouting our truths on social media at full volume and thinking that it’s fine. I’ve played along for years – turning my mommy freelance boredom and procrastination problems toward my need to connect with others and to zone out by going deep down the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram rabbit holes. I put effort towards my online self for sure, sharing my writing projects and weirdo observations and, of course, pictures of my family and I doing picturesque things. But lately, I’m at an oversaturation point. I’ve been having this confusing existential feeling that if I don’t post a picture or say something cute about what I’m doing, then it’s almost like it didn’t happen. New channels create new customs, but really, WTF? Ten years ago, did you show your vacation pictures to this many people? When did 673 people have to know that you went apple picking in the fall, sledding in the winter, to Disney in the spring and to the beach in the summer? Can you imagine being …

6 Ways to Brag About Yourself (Without Being an A**hole)

For women, bragging is a necessary but tricky endeavor. We’ve heard that women need to brag more, and that’s true. The only way people will know how awesome and competent we are is if we show them. And lucky us, with our social media presence, we have the show-and-tell platform of every kindergartner’s dreams. So, go ahead and tell the world that you’re totally winning at this life thing. A promotion! A new client! You lost weight! You overcame a yearlong illness! You overcame the yearlong sleeplessness of new motherhood!  But guess what? As necessary as bragging and show-and-tell are, no one likes a showoff. So, here are tips for how to express yourself when you know you’re the sh*t — because you should also know better than to act like your sh*t don’t stink. 1. When you score a sweet new job or promotion. Avoid thanking God and giving an Oscar speech. I’m not against people publicly sharing their religious/spiritual gratitude. I do it all the time. But, like bragging, acknowledging one’s faith on social …

#SoProud Moms on Facebook, We Need to Talk

Dear Moms on Facebook With Above-Average Kids (hereafter referred to as MOF-WAACs), Your children are unique in their accomplishments. They exceed in a wide range of sports: soccer, basketball, field hockey and then soccer again, but of the “travel team” variety. They are given baffling-to-me-and-perhaps-other-people-who-don’t-live-in-your-town awards like “regional,” “all-city” and “division champ” (I say choose one geographical designation and go with it, but I don’t live in your town.) They always get A’s, and you, as a MOF-WAAC, have never failed to photograph their report cards and upload them to Facebook with the hashtag #soproud. In fact, from their post-natal APGAR score (perfect 10s, scanned and uploaded) to their college diplomas (magna cum laude, ditto), they’ve done nothing but made you #soproud. One noteworthy example (and I’m not making this up): Your toddler photographed mid-defecation, straddling a low plastic toilet with the caption “First poop in a big-girl potty!” And the hashtag #poophappens. On this point I couldn’t agree more: Poop does happen. But ask yourselves, MOF-WAACs, do we need photos of it online? Setting …

Can We Ban “Busy”?

Over a leisurely lunch of pasta and prosciutto, I was talking to a dear friend about how much I had enjoyed reading over the summer. My friend, a successful entrepreneur, paused and looked at me thoughtfully. Then he shook his head, looked down and said he would love to read but, unfortunately, just didn’t have time. Specifically he said he was “too busy.” I smiled. Our lunch lasted an hour and a half. Afterwards we strolled to browse menus at nearby restaurants, evaluating spots for a family dinner he was planning later in the week. He then met a friend of mine about joining a social club neither of us thought he would actually join. By the time he returned to work it would be 4:30pm, nearly four hours after he had left to meet me for lunch. My friend was making decisions about how to spend his day. They were active choices. The decision was, simply, not to read. We all have the same 24 hours in our day. Most of us are choosing …

10 Things I’ll Never Post on Facebook

I post frequently on social media, particularly Facebook. I wouldn’t classify myself as an oversharer, but I will post up to five times a day if I think something is worth sharing. Is it funny? Is it interesting? Is it somehow otherwise significant? Like many proud parents, I posted WAY too many photos of my kids at first. But I quickly realized that those posts were only interesting to about one percent of my friends. And I never get too personal about what I really think and feel — it’s really a false intimacy Facebook seems to foster. As a result of plenty of trial and error, I now have very clear guidelines for what I will or will not post. Here’s a short list: 1. Coded Jabs: I will not post anything about personal relationships, either overtly or in code. That violates a trust. “Don’t you just hate it when people [insert friend or family name here — and you know who you are] don’t send thank-you notes? SMH.” 2. Sick Bait: I will not …

Margit’s Note: Stumblebrag

I’m thrilled to announce my honorable awesome. I’m humbled to be nominated as the greatest. I did it first, best and before all you bitches. #Blessed. Bragging has become a regular part of our everyday. Your promotion to VP of everything, your landmark book (which Joan Didion praises as her favorite), your incredible baby who has her own YouTube channel. Mazel. If you don’t brag about it, did it happen? Every day we publish the newspaper of me; social sites curated with the very best of our brand. We subconsciously rank each other’s accomplishments — your selfie at Sundance beats my selfie with sunchokes. Studies have shown that we’re living in an increasingly narcissistic society. We’re even considering electing a Braggart in Chief. Make America great again; we’ll be UUUUUUGE. I’m on a few different listservs where it’s a regular practice to draft a “click to tweet” so others can easily share your self-promotion. Not only are we bragging, but we’re asking others to brag our brag! (That being said, click to tweet!) Yes, I am …

The Daily Uniform: Is Anything Wrong With a Stylistic Default?

When I was in my 20s, I worked for a woman who wore the same outfit every single day. No matter the season, no matter her mood, Marian arrived each morning in black pants, a black turtleneck and a pixie haircut. Was she making a fashion statement or rather, a statement that she cared not a whit about fashion? My guess is that Marian, a wealthy art collector who, with her husband, ran a multi-million dollar business that employed hundreds of people, adopted her signature style by default. She simply went for the easiest option. As I think about Marian some 30 years later, I consider my own signature look of blue jeans and a black top (t-shirt in summer, sweater come autumn). I wonder: Do I wear some variation of this combination most days because it truly reflects my personal style or have I, like Marian, opted for brainless dressing? Perhaps a bit of both is true. On the one hand, I’ve got a foolproof formula: No chance of colors clashing, appearing passé or …

Splurge-Worthy: 12 Boots Made for Fall

I’ve reached a point in my career that I always fantasized about but never dreamed would actually come true: I work from home, full-time, all the time. Which means that pants are not a requirement for editorial meetings, as all of my editorial meetings occur on Skype. Which means that I don’t have to wear makeup (though I almost always do), and I rarely bother to blow-dry my hair. (Try this if you can; my curls have never been healthier.) Which means that my once fairly put together “look” — a look that I carefully curated during my years as a fashion and ladymag editor — has totally gone out the window in exchange for mock jersey crop pants and a wide array of tank tops, t-shirts and tunics. (If you haven’t already, check out Alternative Apparel. I now live in this brand.) If you told me five years ago that this kind of no-look look would eventually become my style status, I probably would have cried, assuming it a consequence of sobriety, a really …

Mandates of a Middle-Aged Man Repeller

“…I didn’t want to wear a sack dress myself; I just wanted to be friends with a woman who did. She’d be smart, sophisticated, witty, and brave, and together we’d bond over this haute hoot.” John Waters, “The Dress that Changed My Life,” Harper’s Bazaar, September 2014 Shapeless sacks. These are the two words that best describe my wardrobe, according to my always-natty brother. His next three words would be saggy diaper pants (AKA, harem or MC Hammer pants). Super sexy, I know. Tunics, caftans, sack dresses, oversized shirts, drop-crotch pants – if it’s large or voluminous, boyish or boxy, it’s in my closet. But it wasn’t always this way. You see, I spent my formative sartorial years working in retail, where the number one mantra was: Look. The. Brand. So my “style” was essentially dictated by what was currently in store and what I could afford. I went from saving up my $4.75-per-hour Foxmoor Casuals paycheck to buy Sasson jeans (no Levi’s allowed) to sporting a lab coat, chunky gold earrings and beaucoup de …

She’s Got The Look: Best of the Worst of Your 80’s Style

  As we were putting together this week’s LOOK issue, our thoughts floated back to the time of Guess jeans, Benetton sweaters, Zinc Pink lipstick and Aussie Sprunch spray. Oh, 1980’s. You were so special! No other era in fashion elicits “what were we thinking??” gasps in quite the same way. So, we asked you, our beloved TueNight readers, to send in your favorite photos of yourselves in all of your 80’s glory, and boy, did you deliver! Here are a few of our favorites: New Year’s Eve 1987. There’s so much wrong with this photo I don’t even know where to start. I am on the far left, in a Benetton sweater that was 10 sizes too big for me. I remember it being $85 and that was 85 percent of the money I had for the whole month at college. That was a leather mini skirt underneath. I do remember wearing ballet flats, as we were going out in the Cleveland flats. I’m not sure why we all dressed in such big clothes when we …

The Age of the Unrecognizable Face

I was at the salon having my nails done a few weeks back when I overheard a conversation between two women of a certain age. The impeccably dressed pair were poring over a series of glossy celebrity magazines while waiting for their nails to dry. They commented on the clothing and accessories and adorable babies but never quite mentioned any of the A-Listers by name. It was more of “The redhead who is blonde now and has a new face and was in the prostitute movie a few years back;” which received the response of “No. That’s not her. That’s the one from the talk show who got divorced again.” My curiosity was piqued. I sidled up to them and asked if they had a favorite actress from the current crop, and both women looked at me blankly. “I don’t know who any of these people are,” said one. Her friend countered with, “Maybe I used to know who some of them were, but I don’t recognize any of them anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m …

Margit’s Note: What’s Your Signature Look?

About a month ago I spied Patti Smith standing outside the newly revamped Whitney Museum. Talk about a New York moment. The rock and roll icon was exactly as you’d envision — the menswear blazer, long white shirt, black jeans and the same engineer boots she’s worn forever (save for those early years). Her simple look, carefully crafted — and seemingly effortless. I was too star-struck to say hi (my husband was like, “What’s wrong with you?!”), but hastily snapped this photo of her walking up the Highline stairs. A legend in her own capsule collection. This week we’re taking a look at our own “Look” — that signature style we’ve pieced together from decades of trial and error. How did we get here? We spent our younger years emulating our heroes and what our best friends wore. We’ve sifted through our history and winnowed down to what works. We built a wardrobe as a reaction to our lives. My own history of “Looks”: 1983: The “Hey Muffy!” An explosion of pinks and greens, patchwork …

After The Alt-Weekly, Where Will You Find Your Roots?

Wednesday morning! Better get up and see what you can pitch to Pat. Then you remember. After 34 years, there is no more tempting your editor with tidbits of roots music. Philadelphia City Paper has been purchased by the competition and put down. But why, why would I put in 34 years in the first place? It wasn’t the next-to-no money nor the non-existent recognition. (“Hey, are you still writing for City Paper?” asks an old friend who should know.) No, it was purely to share the joy of music that is made by the people and for the people. What is Roots music? Think the old story songs and ballads of an Appalachian town. The community of union organizers like Joe Hill, who would write barbed anti-boss lyrics to familiar tunes. Hill’s memory is being recalled this year on the 100th anniversary of death. The Freedom Singers who were invaluable aid to civil rights marches of the 60s. They, too, would take a familiar melody, gospel especially and lead the crowd in unison, adding …

Hey, This Newspaper Could Be a Sitcom

“It took me a very long time to realize that the ads in the back of the newspaper I wrote for were for prostitutes. I’m not sure what I thought these ladies were selling, I just didn’t know prostitutes were allowed to advertise. Well, whether or not they are, the truth is they do. In fact, the real boom time for alternative newspapers in the United States were the years between the deregulation of 976 numbers and the emergence of Internet porn.”          I took the above paragraph from my first novel, The Big Love. I took all of The Big Love straight from my life, and my life, in my early 20s, was like an old Meg Ryan movie complete with pleated-front khaki pants and very little actual sex. I lived in a brownstone on the most beautiful street in Philadelphia, just like Meg would have, and I worked as a columnist at The City Paper, just like Meg would have. The City Paper was a free weekly, and I got …

Letters to the Editor, From the Daughter of a Slave

In the late 1800s, my great-grandmother Josephine started writing to the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a newspaper based in New Orleans that primarily served black Methodist Episcopalians in the south. At first, her notes were two or three line missives – “I am a girl sixteen years old. I take the Southwestern and enjoy reading it. My sister died April 18, 1889.” But by the time she was almost 19 and soon to be married, she was writing editorials. They’re very spicy. She says stuff like, “A bold and specious humanitarianism is destroying worship” and “Heart sins that are not opposed, not warred against arrest prayer.” I’ve spent long passages of time rereading her words, trying to understand what exactly was destroying worship, twisting my hair and equating her editorials to wars against all the things she must have been up against. She was the youngest child like me. Her parents were a former slave and her former master. One of her brothers was lynched in a manner so dramatic that news of it appeared in …

Giving Good, Living Bad: The True Story of a Sex Columnist

Throughout the course of my dating life I have spent time naked with (in no particular order) a nearly homeless alcoholic who was so hygiene-impaired I made him leave his sneakers out on my fire escape; a closeted sociopath who lived with his parents; a hoarder who dumped me for a baby-talker; and a batterer whom I recently rediscovered on the sex offenders registry. And yet up until last August, I had spent the past 13 years of my life working as a sex and love advice columnist for Seattle Weekly and a bevy of other publications and websites. While I was busily doling out good advice — and I did give seriously sound counsel — for much of the time I was living bad advice. If any of my readers (or editors) had seen secret footage of the comings and goings of my own vagina, I would’ve been out of a job immediately. However, the deeply flawed advice columnist is certainly nothing new — Ann Landers and her sister who penned the “Dear Abby” …

Swimming Upstream: Growing Up at an Alt-Weekly

Every job is a stone upon which you step. For me, that first stone was in a creek called Philadelphia City Paper, a small but mighty body of water with a near electric current. It was publisher Bruce Schimmel’s paper then, and he had editor David Warner help him run it. Together, they encouraged me to stir the proverbial pot, to ask questions that made people uncomfortable, to speak truth to power, and to write like I meant it. [pullquote]We were mostly young, underpaid, overworked and totally and utterly in love with the printed thing we made week after week.[/pullquote] I was 22. It was 1989. It was a time when you picked up the phone to talk to a source, and when out in the field you holed up in a phone booth. We filed our stories on early generation Macintosh word processors, stories that the art department (two gals who would become like sisters to me) would lay out by hand, using an exact-o knife to remove typos. The entire staff stayed until …

Fear and Listings in Philadelphia

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in the Philadelphia City Paper July 19, 2001. As a former Listings Editor myself, I can 100% identify. — Margit Lots of people ask me, “What’s it like to be a listings editor?” I tell them it’s sort of like being shot into a cannon every day. Other people ask me, “What does a listings editor do?” I hate people. The short answer is this: All week long I get press releases and calendars from local galleries, rock venues, artists, musicians, comedy clubs, hospitals, rodeo planners, fetishists, support groups, cat lovers, etc. My crafty fleet of interns and I sort the press releases into little piles and type them into humorless little summaries. Then something magic happens when I sleep and the listings show up in the paper. But this hardly explains my job here. To help you see the world through the Listings Editor’s eyes, I decided to keep a log of a typical day in my professional life. Mon., July 9, 9 a.m. sharp. I arrive …

Margit’s Note: RIP Alt-Weekly

I can still see our publisher doing a shoulder stand in the middle of the newsroom. An enforced “siesta” he called it. 2 p.m. Lights out. Phones turned off. Do something quietly. The sales people hated this and, at 1:59, would scramble out the door. No one would be able to phone in an ad. The siesta concept lasted for a month or so until the staff essentially revolted. That was the Philadelphia City Paper back in 1992 (or so), my weird and wondrous workplace on 13th Street filled with a Whitman’s sampler box of characters. As staffers, we embraced the quirky, and we took our fun as seriously as our work. The two were impossible to separate. Last week after 34 years, the City Paper closed up shop, the next to fall in a line of alt-weeklies including the Boston Phoenix, San Francisco Bay Guardian and many others. Alt-weeklies are on their very last legs (somebody make the documentary, quick!) and they are/were their own brand of publication unlike any other — irreverent, edgy and …

Peeing on Sticks: When Your Body Just Won’t Comply

I’ve learned on my journey to parenthood that I have fertility issues and it’s very hard for me to get pregnant. Also, I am prone to miscarriage. After my most recent (third) miscarriage, I asked the doctor if there’s a correlation to having both issues, like maybe one makes you more likely to have the other. She replied with a simple and direct “No.” My uterus gets a big fat C-.  It gave me one beautiful, intelligent son, so it doesn’t get a total fail, but I did nearly lose him at 17 weeks. This third miscarriage was just brutal, both physically and emotionally. I was just about to enter 10 weeks in my pregnancy when I received the awful news that there wasn’t a heartbeat any more. Getting pregnant in the first place was difficult because I don’t ovulate monthly. It’s more like quarterly. And after that pregnancy had ended I begun the cycle of getting pregnant all over again. Seriously, how can my reproductive organs just not work? It’s unknown why! They just …

Talk TueNight: Cocktails and the Corporeal [Photos]

For the September 29 edition of our Tak TueNight series, we gathered in a lovely Chelsea townhouse to discuss all things BODY — from how we treat our bodies to how our bodies are changing (ahem, WTF?!) as we age. Here are some snaps of a fabulous night. Special thank you to our chief sponsors Gwynnie Bee and Spruce  & Co. and our programming sponsors Tattly, Equinox and Hint Water. Sign up for our newsletter to be alerted about our next event in November! All photos by Owen McLean.    

Tell Us! What Do You Love About Your Body?

When you think about your body, what do you love most? Your sturdy hands? Your luxurious locks? Sure, we've all got complaints -- but this is your chance to brag. It's super easy to record a video right from your phone or screen and hit submit, so join us in the fun. You can even redo as many times as you want to get it right. And don't be disappointed if it takes a few minutes for your video to show up; we're doing some light monitoring behind the scenes.

Why Weight Loss Felt Like Betrayal

I am a fat woman. Most days, that’s merely a description, not a value judgment. It wasn’t always that way. At a young age, I learned that food was a double-edged sword. Wielded by my mother, food was a gesture of love that meant she was taking care of her family. In my hands, it was a way to soothe feelings of sadness, loneliness, hurt and anger. Growing up as fat girl with a heaping helping of nerd thrown in, I was bullied at school, ignored by boys and told through every possible medium that when measured against the Western Beauty Standard, I would never win. I’ve done all the usual things every self-hating fat woman has done: crazy diets, becoming best friends with bad self-esteem and creating the world’s best arsenal of self-deprecating jokes. It wasn’t until my mid-20s, after I was brave enough to cancel my subscription to Cosmo (which taunted me every month with pages full of clothes I could never wear, guys I could never date and skinny, beautiful models I …

Margit’s Note: Let Me Hear Your Body Talk

In last week’s Body issue, we took a peek in the mirror and said, “Hey! You’re kinda hot, you. This week, in Body “part deux,” we are talking about our health — finally scheduling that checkup, getting our health in order and paying for a damn good massage. (As I write this I am literally on my way to the doc. Aren’t you proud of me?) Sometimes all the other priorities on our to-do list (kids, conference calls, just about anything else) trump our own well being. Let’s not do that anymore — ok? To encourage us all to take better care of our bods, we are introducing a new health feature from Dr. Anatasia Liapis, a plain-speaking scientist with expertise in genetics and immunology. Think of her column like that What’s Happening to My Body? book your parents handed you during puberty — only now, we’re watching our bodies change in brand new ways. Wheee! For the inaugural edition, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Anastasia is debunking myths about mammograms. We’ve also got …