Month: October 2018

TueNight 10: Tamar Anitai

Tamar Anitai making everyone laugh at the Birthday Bash (Photo: Simon Courchel) If you haven’t experienced a Tamar Anitai story, this might be the time to read one (if you’re like us, you could use a good laugh right about now.)  She wins the award, too, for the most far-reaching topics: Kale, No Kids, Sleep Gurus, Slang, Germs and Creepy Babies. She also stirred up some controversy in TueNighters with her epic tampon tossing thread. Tamar turned 40 recently and, after a long career as a digital editor and writer, she’s now director of audience engagement for a multinational healthcare consumer company. But that’s certainly not all she is. “I’m trying to learn to not define myself by my work/day job,” says Tamar, “Is that a thing women do? I do, and I’m curious about how that changes — or doesn’t change — as we get older. I’m working on it as I try to be a more mindful, meditating type of person.” As to her home life, Tamar has a lovely husband and two cats “one of whom has really unfortunate teeth that are literally rotting and …

TueNight Live: Photos from our Birthday Party!

We turned five, y’all! With nearly 100 of our BFFs in attendance, we celebrated our first TueNight half-decade remembering our favorite pieces from the past and listening to brand new ones. We also noshed on some delicious “pencil” cake, raised $1500 for VoteRunLead and connected with TueNighters old and new. All photos by Simon Courchel. The Invisible Dog Art Center filled up quickly as we got the evening started. Margit reminded us of the TueNight origin story and the piece she published on Medium that started it all: Dinosaur Jr. — On Entering the Puberty of Old Age. She thanked our sponsors Ruth Ann Harnisch, MedAmour, Hint Water and Brandless. And then kicked off our first storyteller, Tamar Anitai. Tamar read her 2013 story that has resonated with so many of you — and a bit controversial at the time she wrote it —  being a grown, married woman who planned to live a child-free life. A lot of nodding heads in our midst. Watch Tamar read here! Susan Linney, one of our founding editors, contributing …

TueNight 10: Lizz Winstead

Lizz Winstead is a feminist cultural icon for our times — and a hilarious one at that (if you follow her on Twitter or are a fan of the Daily Show which she co-created.). For the past three months, she’s toured the country doing stand-up in support of abortion providers, joined protest movement after protest movement and “raged at the machine known as my TV,” she tells us. Last week she hosted “The Golden Probes,” (you can watch Oct 28 on GoldenProbes.com) alongside Margaret Cho, a raucous evening of comedy, music, and celebration, to raise awareness about what is at stake for reproductive rights in the midterm elections. Produced by Lady Parts Justice, the organization Lizz founded in 2012, The Probes is billed as “Sexism’s Most Glamorous Night. “I’m thrilled to have Margaret Cho come on board this year as our host along Stormy Daniels,” says Lizz. “Yes, Stormy will be presenting at our show!” The show also includes Sandra Bernhard, Taylor Schilling, Dan Savage, and Patricia Okoumou, the woman who scaled the Statue of Liberty of July …

Birthday Issue: Not Dead Yet

I write this to you with no pants on.  Sorry for the image, but I’m on deadline to publish this piece, I haven’t figured out what I’m wearing to our big birthday bash celebrating five years of TueNight, and, well, I’m between outfits. It’s not that I don’t take writing this Editor’s Note seriously, but honestly, this is life. Do I care that I don’t have pants on? Hell to the no. This is the kind of thing that has changed, now that I am 51. Now that we are five years in on TueNight. You do what you gotta do, pants be damned. Wait, we’re 5 years old, already? It still feels like we’re just getting started. Which is kind of the essence of TueNight.  We have, in fact, covered a lot of ground. To review: 1287 stories292 contributors275 weekly newsletters15 TueNight Live eventsScores of TueNighter Facebook threads where we’ve uncovered and discussed all manner of things — from how often we wash our towels to what qualifies us as “peak old lady” (e.g. Karen …

The Night I Took Uber Pool to the Emergency Room

I’m crawling around on the bathroom floor, picking up pieces of myself. These pieces are not metaphor. They are actual pieces. Plum-sized, beet-colored, with the consistency and sheen of chicken liver, four of them have shot out of my vagina like shells from a canon. Altogether 18 of these projectiles will erupt from my body. “A chai,” I apparently joked, after the last one shot out, although I have only a vague memory of this. For now, there are only four, I’m still conscious, it’s just after midnight, and my 20-year-old middle child, Sasha, the only other human in the apartment — added bonus, I’m mid-divorce — is fast asleep after having arrived home only a few hours earlier from her Birthright trip to Israel. I am bleeding out. But my brain, starved of blood and in shock at the sight of so much of it, cannot process this information. Instead, I’ve become convinced that the ordnance sliding around my bathroom floor are my internal organs, which I must rescue so someone can put them back inside me. I …

tuenight retire 39 freelance writing penny wrenn

Why I’m Throwing My Own Damn Retirement Party

At 38, and soon to be 39, I am nowhere close to receiving social security checks or living off a cushy pension or a seven-figure Roth IRA. But financial security hasn’t stopped me from declaring my retirement at the end of 2016. That’s right. I said retirement. This is retirement in the tradition of the thirty-something-year-old NBA basketball player who retires from the hustle of the game. (Except I’m neither as rich nor as famous as Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan.) I have been writing professionally for 15 years, and most of that time I’ve been a freelancer. That means that I’ve been floating from assignment to assignment without an employer to call my own. But this year, I am retiring from that writer-for-hire life. I have not made a lot of money, I have not made an indelible mark (whatever that means) and I have not achieved all that I’d hoped to accomplish in my professional writing life. Having written my way to mediocre success, I am choosing now to say to myself, “Good …

Touch My Body — I’ll Pay For It

I’m single. Sometimes it seems like I’ve always been single. I’ve had boyfriends, sure, but the default is single. This time around I’ve been single for about five continuous years. I live alone with a small, affection-withholding dog. I’m very busy, and I’m very social, and yet stretches of time go by during which I do not feel the touch of another human. But that’s not entirely true. Because there are those who touch me. Folks beyond my doctor and my (incredibly handsome, erudite, gentle and highly recommended) dentist. For instance: the woman who performs my ritual mani-pedi. Like so many other ladies in this town, I make a monthly — sometimes weekly! — pilgrimage to the nail salon where an attendant awaits with a steaming, bubbling basin. Like the Greco Roman baths of yore, I attempt to relax with my fellow plebeians, other exhausted citizens stealing minutes from our days to try and absorb the healing properties of water and “ballet slippers.” We soak our extremities, they sand, buff and arm us with a …

Masking It: The Night I Started Hiding Alcohol

After a six-month, self-imposed period of abstinence from alcohol, drinking crept back into my life — while I was in costume. It was Halloween night, 2009. I was dressed up as a hippie, with a long, blond, knotty-dread-ish wig (topped with a colorful tam) and a floor-length, swirly patterned dress. My husband (then fiancé), Andy, matched me as my mate in his own wig and Grateful Dead tee, and we brought along my old Cabbage Patch Kid to complete our peace-and-love family. I had also just completed a six-month, self-imposed period of abstinence from alcohol, which I was oh-so-proud of. The fact that I had been able to stay sober all on my own, without AA meetings, rehab, or ultimatums from loved ones, was a major accomplishment; one that I believe proved, once a for all, the thing I so desperately needed to believe about myself – that I was not an alcoholic. So after dousing ourselves in Patchouli oil (the scent of which stayed with us for days — don’t ever do this as …

Silly Things People Have Said to Me When I Tell Them I’m Not Having Kids

There will be no children in my future. Ever. Yes, I am married. Yes, my husband knows that I do not want children. Yes, we both realize we’re extremely fortunate to be able to elect to live childfree. He doesn’t want kids either. It’s part of the reason I married him. (That, and he has excellent hair.) He married me knowing that and also because I always clean the litter box. I probably brought up the topic of kids on the second date — it would have been a deal breaker. My husband would make the world’s greatest father. But that alone isn’t reason enough for me to become the mother I’ve never wanted to be, to take on a crushing financial burden or to add more to my already too-full plate. I love my friends’ children. Because I don’t have to take care of them. Their cuteness is there to fulfill my need to see cute things. I don’t expect them to behave for me, and they don’t expect 18 years of dinner from …

The Mazel Tov Slap: The Jewish Tradition You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

When I told my mother I got my period for the very first time, she slapped me across the face and shouted, “Mazel Tov!” It wasn’t a punishment slap — more like the way you’d slap a person who fainted, or something out of the Marx Brothers — and it didn’t feel violent. I don’t remember the moment in great detail, and I don’t remember it as something terrible that happened to me. I mostly remember knowing that it was part of long-standing tradition from shtetl times, passed down from Jewish mother to Jewish daughter, the purpose (supposedly) being to bring the color back to your face (because it’s all draining out through your vagina now!). It’s possible I even knew it was coming, that it was something we discussed in advance — probably with all of my female relatives! — as I eagerly awaited the big day. And yes, I so desperately wanted my period, because at 14, it felt like ALL OF MY FRIENDS had theirs, and I was on the outside of this magical …

My Struggle With God Ended on a Plane

It was my best friend, Brenda, who introduced God and me. I was four. She was eight and lived in my grandparent’s trailer park with her mom, dad, several rabbits and a dog that scared me. To say that I worshipped her is to put it mildly. She knew everything, and, if I were lucky, she would teach it all to me. When Brenda fell in love with Shaun Cassidy, I was determined to fall harder, even though I still thought boys were sweaty and full of cooties. When she picked out cowl neck sweaters and velour V-necks from the Sears catalogue, I begged my mom for the identical style and color. And in the summer of 1977, when Brenda signed up for Bible Camp, I tagged along without hesitation. Before school started up again that fall, we were both saved. Jesus was our new crush, and we competed to be his biggest fan. We never swore, never took the Lord’s name in vain, always respected the Sabbath by going to Sunday school and always, …

Happy Birthday to Us! Get Tix to Our Live Event, 10/23

We can hardly believe it’s been five years. But as any TueNighter knows… Age is something to CELEBRATE. For our birthday edition, we’re bringing back excerpts of some of our TueNight faves — from Dodai Stewart bonding with bodywork professionals, to Susan Linney’s brave “Bottles Down” chronicles, to Tamar Anitai’s “Silly Things People Say When I Tell Them I Don’t Want Kids.” We’ll also have Deb Copaken and Michele Carlo with new stories and Cindy Gallop on why we need to shout our age from the rooftops. Hell yeah.  (Top row (l-r): Deb Copaken, Susan Linney, Dionne Ford. Middle Row: Heather Barmore, Dodai Stewart, Tamar Anitai. Bottom row: Karen Gerwin, Michele Carlo, Penny Wrenn) We’ll walk down memory lane with old friends and introduce some new ones. Plus, CAKE. TICKET PROCEEDS WILL SUPPORT VOTE RUN LEAD Buy tickets here!

TueNight 10: Cindy Gallop

To quote her Twitter bio, Cindy Gallop likes to “blow shit up.” Following a decades-long career in advertising, Cindy started building the world’s first social sex video-sharing platform, MakeLoveNotPorn. At her TedTalk in 2009, she explained that the idea for the site came out of dating younger men, which opened her eyes to “the real ramifications of the creeping ubiquity of hardcore pornography in our culture.” But it hasn’t been an easy sell: “It’s been enormously challenging raising funding; my biggest obstacle finding investors is the social dynamic I call, ‘Fear of what other people will think.’ When you have a truly world-changing startup, you have to change the world to fit it, not the other way round.” In addition to life as a boundary-busting entrepreneur and consultant, Cindy is a life-long champion of gender equality, diversity and inclusion in every area of business and life. “I’m 58 and I encourage everyone to #sayyourage — I’m partnering with AARP and their excellent #DisruptAging program to challenge and change depictions of age in advertising and popular culture, by challenging …

TueNight 10: Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder is the founder of ClearHealthCosts, a journalism startup in New York City bringing transparency to health care by telling people what things cost. “After almost 25 years at The New York Times, I volunteered for a buyout in 2009. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but was lucky enough to land in a class in “entrepreneurial journalism,” at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, with Jeff Jarvis and Jeremy Caplan, where I grew the idea for this startup.” Almost exactly a year later, she won a shark-tank-type pitch contest in front of a jury of New York City venture capitalists and internet bigwigs to found the company. Jeanne hails from Iowa, where she started her career as a journalist at her family’s paper, The Grinnbell Herald-Register, as a cub reporter at the tender age of 13. This means she has been a journalist for more than 50 years! Here is her TueNight 10:1. On the nightstand:  The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. No One Tells You This, Glynnis MacNicol. Women and Power, Mary Beard. Rereading: Eloquent Rage, …

TueNight 10: Soraya Chemaly

Soraya at the Women’s Right to Rally. (Photo courtesy of Soraya Chemaly)  Why are we so filled with rage, like, all the damn time? We can think of a few reasons… Soraya Chemaly‘s new collection of essays, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger hits at the root causes of that anger, how it affects us in every aspect of our lives, and how we might, in fact, celebrate it.  Rage is something we’ve been trained to hide, suggests Soraya. In Rage she writes,”This desire not to be disliked or seen as crazy, irrational, or dangerous, masks the lack of control that we already live with as the result of the silencing, sublimating, denying, and social opprobrium.”Time to let your rage flag fly. An award-winning writer, activist, and director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project, Soraya has been traveling all over the country to promote Rage. “Being on book tour is so very different from writing a book,” she says, “It’s been fun, but hard to adjust from being basically solitary to being intensely social…One of the most interesting parts has been how difficult …

TueNight Live: Photos from “FLASH”

On September 25, TueNight Live steamed things up with our latest issue —  FLASH. Braving the (appropriately named) flash floods outside, we cozied into the couches of Industrious to talk flashbacks, hot flashes, fevers and desert orgies. All photos by Erika Hokanson. Margit introduced the evening and a flash of skin. Dig her “Trouble Maker” temporary tattoo from Tattly. Alixandria Arungah, community manager for our sponsor Industrious Brooklyn, welcomed us into her comfortable space. Activist Sara Berliner describes her organization Vote Like a Mother, as one that promotes acceptance, equity, justice and love. Tracey made us laugh with a tale of her first hot flash in the five Kübler-Ross stages. Jen reads her story of getting pregnant, going through menopause and learning the ukulele.  We were delighted to witness her first public performance, adapting Peggy Lee’s Fever into a hilarious (and also poignant?) meditation on menopause and aging. TueNight newsletter editor Karen Gerwin introduced her good friend, Sue Kramer. Sue brought us stories from her past bodies — from the Playboy mansion to Paris — and …