Confession #24

Recently, I overheard two women complaining that white Christians are victims of discrimination.  I did not interrupt them or try to inject my opinion because I honestly wanted to listen to why they feel that way.  I also enjoy eavesdropping.

I don’t know these women very well but I know them well enough to discern they are law abiding, hard working, educated women in their 50’s who do not vandalize property with swastikas in their spare time.  I believe they care about people and if a black or Muslim person entered their workplace they would not treat them disrespectfully.

After listening to them for a while, it occurred to me they truly believe white Christians are targets now.  While, I do not agree with them, I respect their authentic fear that the people of their race and religion are being treated unfairly.

I don’t think they are racist.  I think they are afraid.  While they read in their history books about the civil rights movement and slavery, they don’t know the feeling of struggle and disenfranchisement people of color and minority religions have dealt with.  It’s one thing to intellectually know something – it’s virtually impossible to feel it in your core if you have not experienced it.

I know in my core I have privilege because I am white.  As a Jew, I’ve heard anti-Semitic sentiments thrown my way.  Until this Trump election, I really never took them seriously because as far as I know, being Jewish has not affected my life negatively (other than being neurotic and being made fun of for loving gefilte fish).  I say until this Trump election because the KKK and people getting on the Nazi bandwagon are brushing off the dirt after hiding under their rocks for so long.  But I digress.  As a woman and a Jew, I have a few things to complain about (just comes with the territory).  As a caucasian, not much room to complain.

What are they afraid of?  Losing privileged status?  Maybe that is an oversimplification.  A redistribution of resources? Maybe that is too complicated. I can’t speak for them.

I think a lot of people who are afraid white Christians are victims of prejudice are a lot like those two women.  They aren’t racist or hateful.  If you talk to them on a personal level, they are really nice.  Hmmm…I kind of wish I did speak with them instead of just eavesdropping.




Confessions of ANOTHER Middle Aged Woman Gone Wild

Guest blogger, Kristy Patterson, gives us the dirt on household clutter and cleaning up after the new year.


First Confession- My house is disorganized and I’m mad as hell! As I rang in the new year with my husband and a small group of our friends I thought about all the things I want to do in 2017. Start writing more regularly, work harder on my paintings, make new contacts to collaborate on creative projects and ultimately start my own podcast. A to-do list that I felt excited to start on January 1st, that is until I found myself standing in my kitchen looking around at the mess which is my house. Thinking of all the creative ideas I have floating around in my head and how to make them viable has always been exhilarating for me, like a pure high, perhaps like the ones runners experience, though I can’t be sure since I abhor intense exercise.


So as my mind wandered from creative thought to present moment reality it became abundantly clear to me that my lack of organization could be hindering my creative efforts. As I glanced around my kitchen and living room with its empty Amazon shipping boxes, shoes, clothes, blankets for forts, legos, wrestling figures and their gear, my husbands work stuff and about a pound of opened and unopened mail loosely stacked on every available surface my blood began to boil and I had “one of those moments” where you want to scream, run away and just start a new life somewhere else, or maybe that’s just me. Instead of fleeing, I took the high road and turned my frustration on my husband who was sitting quietly amongst the disarray playing a video game on his iPad. “When are WE ever going to do something about this house?!” I bellowed out in the otherwise quite room. Of course my husband wasn’t ready for this level of emotion about something that we have both contributed to in our own way and expressed that he just assumed that I had grown to be “fine” with the continual clutter in our home. More unproductive words were exchanged between us before my husband skulked off to the farthest corner of our house and I stood in the kitchen crying tears of frustration. Happy freaking New Year I though to myself as I tried to lick my wounds and soothe myself back to composure.

Admittedly my living space has been disorganized my whole adult life. A stark contrast to my childhood having a mother who is an obsessive compulsive clean freak and a queen of household organization. I wish a healthy tad of that had rubbed off on me but alas all I was gifted was the depression gene and and memories of my mother kicking us out of the house to play for hours as she toiled away cleaning and organizing. I was never asked or even directed to assist, simply shoved out the door with my younger brother a cup of Kool-Aid and maybe a snack to appease us so what went on inside was truly a mystery to me. My mother was praised or rather renowned amongst family and friends for her domestic attributes. So as I stand in my own kitchen surrounded by clutter at 42 with my own family I once again feel angry with myself and cheated by my ineffectual upbringing. Damn you mom! Surely this is somehow all YOUR fault! In as much as that thought may hold some deeper merit it does little to combat all the plastic bins and piles of random items laying next to them in my spare bedroom which is designated to become our little adult escape room and future podcast/creative arts studio.

After an hour or so of “me time” I was ready to face my family again. In my deepest moments of frustration about my messy house I realized, as if for the first time THIS IS MY MESS and I have to clean it up. By that I don’t mean the physical labor of lifting and stacking heavy boxes those duties I will still leave to my husband and son, but with a new caveat. I will be directing them, you know, the this needs to go here and please stack that there and maybe let’s mark some of these bins for future reference so we don’t have to tear the house apart looking for someone’s long lost item or cherished keepsake.

The hardest part of being a disorganized mother and wife is that your family is looking to YOU to run the inner workings of the home. Whether or not you still have career aspirations, or you have Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis or depression or you are going through early menopause or have a crazy extended family to deal with. Even if aliens came down and snatched your body and beamed you back home as only a fully functional head on a stick, as a wife and mother you would STILL be looked to for answers to questions like “What did you do with my dress shoes?” “Whatever happened to that shirt I used to wear all the time?” “Where’s that letter from so and so it was really important?” “I have no idea where my backpack is, where did you put it?” “Why is the floor so sticky?” And my personal favorite question, “When was the last time the such and such was cleaned?” ….Ha! You know what they say, “If you have to ask.”

So in the spirit of living with less clutter and taking more control over things I actually have control of in life I am going to put more effort into my domestic disaster area in hopes of making my creative self and my family feel more at ease in our home. I will make no grandiose promises on how each day I will bust my butt to achieve a perfectly organized home but I do vow to stop walking past the same items over and over expecting someone to magically make them disappear into the perfect spot and start being more proactive on where in hell I want to put this stuff and getting rid of what we clearly don’t need.

Kristy Patterson was born in Saint Louis, Missouri and grew up in Ferguson, Missouri. I graduated high school in 1992 and then floundered as a bartender and sometime cocktail waitress until I was 26 and enrolled in junior college for Mass Communications. After many semesters in J.C. I transferred to a four year state school and ultimately landed at the only “Liberal Arts” university I could find in my region, Webster University. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Public Relations in 2006 and my Masters in Marketing/Advertising in 2009. In between I moved in with my husband and we had our son in 2007. In 2010, after losing our home we moved to Southern Illinois, about 30 minutes from the Saint Louis area. I’ve written poetry and short stories, worked in freelance journalism, Ad Sales, Co Owned a small Advertising publication, volunteered for women’s rights organizations, campaigned religiously for political candidates, protested on more than one occasion and picked up painting as a means of creative outlet, always bartending in between. I also love to travel almost anywhere, pet every dog and help empower other women to be the best version of themselves



Confession #23

With the chocolate money festival (Hanukkah) upon us, it is time to reminisce about growing up in northern Jew Jersey.  Back in the 70’s Hanukkah was a burgeoning holiday for jealous Jewish children begging their parents for presents.  My father reiterated time and again how Hanukkah was not traditionally a gift giving holiday and the rise in commercialism was merely a competition against Christmas in which our family would not participate.  I took that to mean he was cheap.

One night when I was in fourth grade, my father mumbled a prayer in what I believed to be fake Hebrew over the electric menorah in our kitchen.  He then handed me a small wrapped present.  My nagging and crying about being a deprived Jewish child had paid off!  My first Rubix cube was a testament to my relentless badgering and hopefully a sign I could guilt my father into buying me stuff.  I was wrong.  After handing me the gift he said, “Don’t expect 7 more.”  Lest you feel sorry for me, I will accept your sympathy.  At school, I had to hear the kids brag about getting a cool gift all eight nights.  Even the Maccabees, who had to clean out an entire temple, had a better experience than I.

I now have a daughter who has grown up in full blown Hanukkah = Christmas mentality when it comes to getting presents.   Now that I am a parent and realize having a child is a bottomless pit of  debt and unexpected urgent care bills, I empathize more with my father.  I was hoping living in Colorado where you actually have to look for Jews, there wouldn’t be as much pressure to dole out my cash during the holiday season.  Again, I was wrong.

During my leaner single years I conjured up my Jewish resourcefulness and found a way to get her an acceptable amount of Hanukkah gifts -the free Santa workshop at a Lutheran church.  While I preserve my  father’s tradition of twisting on the electric menorah candles in the kitchen, I put an end to his practice of robbing a Jewish child of her Christmas gifts.



I will not sell out completely and get a Hanukkah bush, though.

Confession #22

I’m so old that I started blind dating before existed. I’m not sure if blind dating is a verb but the other variations – blindly dating or dating blind – sounded worse. I used newspaper ads and a matchmaking service to try and meet my future husband. Even though I learned pretty quickly that describing oneself with brown hair and blue eyes in written form is no match for a photo, I kept doing it, hoping my wealthy, good looking, funny, preferably Jewish prince would appear.

To love, cherish and complain to, were vows I wanted to share on my wedding day and felt only a fellow Jew would understand how important the complaining part is. So I put an ad in the dating/classified section of the Jewish Standard and waited for someone good to buy me, I mean ask me out for a drink. You get a pin code to dial in to hear your messages and attempt to discern cuteness through voice. It’s even less effective than a blind person feeling someone’s face to discern cuteness.

One guy I talked to over the phone had a deep voice – the kind I expected to house a hot rugged motorcycle riding yet clean cut Jew. I just figured if he was Jewish and rode a motorcycle he would still be clean cut. We would talk late into the night for several nights before actually meeting in person. We never engaged in phone sex (that was with another guy), but there was flirting going on and I couldn’t wait to meet him.


Pre internet dating photo when I could still wear a cut off shirt

After about a week of getting to know him and realizing we had a remarkable connection, we set a date to get together at a restaurant. I couldn’t believe it only took one response to find my Jewish hunk. I was told by friends who were experienced doing this to keep it to coffee. You don’t want to be too masochistic to put yourself in a position to have to eat an entire meal with someone with whom you have the chemistry of a failed experiment. And I guess all of these types of dates are experiments.

He described himself with brown hair, brown eyes, 5’9 and medium build. As soon as I walked through the lobby, I spotted a guy in a booth matching that description near the hostess’s station, but pretended I didn’t. I scanned the place more thoroughly to make sure I hadn’t jumped to any conclusions that he was actually the guy I was supposed to meet. My heart sank as I clearly understood my voice to hotness correlation radar was non-existent.

Then I saw him wave in my direction as he realized the girl standing alone looking lost was his date. There was no way to feign standing him up or oops I just didn’t see you! It’s not that he was horrid looking, but I knew I would need very low lights and tequila goggles on every time I was with him. It takes me about 3 seconds to know whether or not I’ll want to kiss someone – he was a not.

That sounds incredibly shallow and it pained me that I could not have a relationship with his disembodied voice but I wanted all parts of the matrix – smarts, personality and looks. Oh, and he couldn’t be broke living in his parent’s basement.

I eventually gave up on the Jewish Standard’s lack of standards and moved on to a professional Jewish matchmaker. My friend told me her mother-in-law had a track record of successful connections. At our first meeting she told me she had three candidates that she felt would suit me. I say candidates because for the most part,  blind dates are like job interviews. Hopeful yet uncomfortable.

A bald Oliver Hardy was not how I described my ideal match to her. Introverted with OCD tendencies also not included in that list. Yet that is a fair depiction of date #1. I figured I would make the most of the hour I was going to lose having lunch with him by trying to engage in interesting conversation, such as finding out what he liked to do for fun, about his family, etc… Yes, I was kidding myself that I would have a gripping dialogue with him about his hobbies and I did think of running away when he took a bathroom break but there I was, my enchilada the only redeeming factor on this date. When the waitress brought the bill, he asked if I thought I would want to see him again. I was still in my infantile stage of blind dating and so I practiced honesty and said no. He then called over the waitress and asked for separate checks. I learned honesty is not the best policy when it came to first dates/interviews.

Date #2 was definitely better looking. He was an extrovert and had a cute smile. I love unique personalities but I would say a Jewish wigger decked out with an extra large “chai” (חי) (Hebrew for Life) instead money symbol necklace went beyond my expectations. Although the date wasn’t as lifeless as #1, I knew a Jewish Vanilla Ice was not my future husband.

I told my friend’s mother-in-law I did not want to meet pick #3, thank you for the completely incompatible dates and good-bye. Yenta she was not. I would take my chances on meeting guys the old-fashioned way – drunk in a bar.



Confession #21

I wish I was a right wing conservative Christian who loved cooking meatloaf and quilting. I wish I loved ‘Murica, guns and Ann Coulter.  But alas, I am a Jewish liberal who leans far enough to the left that I might fall over.  I marched for abortion rights in Washington DC several times, I support gay marriage and I sang Kumbaya on the plane as I traveled to Bulgaria as a Peace Corps volunteer.  I don’t know if my tree hugging Bernie Sanders rooting tendencies are from DNA or my upbringing or a mixture of both.  In fact, when I was 20 years old, one of my aunts condescendingly told me when I “grew up” I would see the light and join the ranks of the right wing.

You may ask, why would you want to change the essence of who you are? It’s not that I really want to change my essence.  I just want to believe in the American dream – it seems so pleasant.  I remember in my freshman year of college telling a group of friends about the pro-choice rally I had just attended.  I mentioned a few anti-choice stragglers holding up placards of supposed fetuses pulled apart. One of the girls said she was offended by the term anti-choice and preferred I use the term pro-life.  Her boyfriend was the leader of the campus group, Young Americans for Freedom which my Women’s Issues Now group dubbed as the Young American Fascists.

As she spoke about how pro-choice activists should be respectful of her preference of the term pro-life, my mind wandered.  I thought about how lovely it would be if I could believe that corporations had people’s best interests at heart.  I wanted to share in the fantasy that benefits for the wealthy will trickle down to everyone else because with tax cuts they will use the extra money to help the poor and needy.  I wished my brain would allow me to contemplate that industries would self regulate to keep people safe and healthy.  I wanted to be confident in the idea that affirmative action was not necessary because we lived in a meritocracy. I wanted to accept that wage discrimination was a conspiracy made up by angry feminists.  In fact, I hoped that feminism was an outdated theory and the Equal Rights Amendment was not necessary.  Life just seemed easier, breezier and more fair.


I’m not saying that girl didn’t have worries or fears.  And it wasn’t a competition in who was more depressed about that state of affairs.  She was just as upset about the (misguided) thought of babies being dismembered in utero as I was about a woman’s right to choose being more limited or (eventually but unlikely) overturned.  But I still thought she was so lucky to have blind faith in CEO’s, corporate boards and probably at some point in her life, the Koch brothers.  She loved capitalism and believed our country should be run like a corporation.  Problem is a corporation exists to make a profit, not to help people.

I still think it would be less depressing to be in the majority (as a Jew I can say I’m a minority) and trust that what is good for a corporation is good for the people.  I can’t though (think Wells Fargo, Duke Energy and Takata).  And I think this makes me the overwrought liberal Jew that I am.  My bleeding heart is part of my essence.  Sometimes my brain hurts because of it. On a lighter note, I proved my smug aunt wrong and stayed true to my integrity.



Confession #20 (really 21 but I put an actual title on my last blog post)

I miss the days when I had the luxury of having a nervous breakdown.  B.C. (Before Child), I could spend an entire weekend in bed sleeping, wallowing in misery and whining to my girlfriends on the phone.  Usually these breakdowns happened after some schmuck I thought was the love of my life dumped me.  Some of them didn’t even have the balls to dump me – they just disappeared – or as the kids say today – ghosted me.  I think that’s how they say it.

Once you become a mom, losing your shit isn’t possible.  Because even though you hardly feel like taking care of yourself, you’re responsible for someone else’s life.  It’s not like the beta fish that died after 9 months because I didn’t do a good job of cleaning it’s jar-like aquarium.  This is the life that you go to jail for if you neglect it.


Ah, the good ol’ days


As a single mom, you don’t even have the back up of a partner to allow you to cry in the bathtub.  Sure, you can do that while your kid is asleep – but then you are bleary eyed and tired the next day and…guess what – you’ve gotta feed, drive around, pick up from school, go over homework, read a bedtime story and all the other mom duties.  Whatever is making you a basket case doesn’t matter.  Not only do you have to perform the routine tasks, you have to exude concern and love while you do them.

The enormity of being a single mom makes keeping your shit together during a crisis all that much harder.  If you get fired and you don’t have a kid, it sucks and you can go out with your friends and drink wine until you pass out.  If you’re a single mom, you can hire a babysitter and drink yourself silly but all the while in the back of your head you’re thinking “I gotta get up when my kid gets up and she is not gonna care about my hangover.”

I suppose one of the good things about being a single mom is that you quickly learn what is worth worrying about.  I’m not saying I don’t worry about everything anymore – I’m Jewish, it’s in my DNA.  I just mean I can more evaluate what is really a crisis and what isn’t.  The guy I dated for six weeks in my early 30’s from who I convinced myself was the last man I would date and then kicked me to the curb sent me into a spiral of depression and landed me on Wellbutrin.  That would never have happened after my daughter was born.

Now that I’m married, I do get the occasional opportunity to hide in the bathroom or take a 20 minute walk around the block.  But I don’t get the extravagance of a full blown meltdown. My husband may disagree with that but that is just because he doesn’t have the flair for drama that I have.





I wrote my first short story at 7 years old.  It was a murder mystery solved by a female detective.  I think it was Scooby Doo-ish and I added illustrations at the end which were just a bit more sophisticated than stick figures.  I remember my mom dragged me to the mall to go shopping while I was in the middle of writing it and I lagged behind her with my paper and pencil trying to write about a “cleverly” disguised ghost as she tried on clothing.  This wasn’t for a school assignment – it was strictly for my own enjoyment.  I continued writing stories throughout elementary and middle school.  I tried my hand at poetry in high school but for the most part sucked at it.  I did get one into the Scarlet Letters, the poetry club magazine that only members of the poetry club and high school newspaper read (they consisted of the same people).

I think the best poem I wrote was in 4th grade about Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live: There once was poor Mr. Bill, who everyone liked to kill, though he would beg, they’d break off his leg and grind his poor arm in the mill.

Fast forward to my mid 30’s when I was visiting friends down at the Jersey shore for a few days and six of us were bunking in a cheap hotel room.  I brought my Panasonic camcorder with me and started filming my friends in various states of undress as we got ready to go out clubbing.  My friends began to shimmy and shake in their towels and undies and I was yelling out “It’s middle aged women gone wild!”  Needless to say a few of them were offended but an idea was born and I knew that one day I would make an epic parody of Girls Gone Wild.

Fast forward again to my early 40’s when I joined a social networking group focused on filmmaking.  Fortunately, the leader of the group agreed to shoot a series of raunchy/funny and I’ve been told disturbing scenes that came together to bring my dream of Middle Aged Women Gone Wild to fruition.  I didn’t own an HD camera but I owned some wacky ideas that have become a bunch of short comedy videos on my YouTube channel called Mile High Nancy.


(This is a photo of me shooting a scene in my web series Mile High Nancy in which my daughter pretends to inhale from a helium balloon with the pretense of it being like a joint – I may not be mother of the year but I’m not going to jail.)

I call filmmaking the hardship to which I’m addicted.  I’ve worked with shitty camera people, had actors bail on me at the last minute, busted my ass to find locations like bars and offices that would allow me to shoot there and pulled out my hair while editing.  I’ve raised my blood pressure while trying to direct and act at the same time.  I’ve made no money making comedy videos and they only way they’ll go viral is if my computer gets hacked.  But I can’t seem to stop no matter how painful it gets.  That’s why I call it an addiction.  Sometimes it’s not even fun.  But if I don’t do it I go through creative withdrawal.

I tell myself it would be easier to convey my stories through writing a novel so I would’t have to worry about lighting, sound, actors, locations, etc…But I’m too lazy or unfocused to do that. In fact,  I’m spacing out right now while writing this blog post.

I love seeing the ideas from my head become reality in video.  I like hearing people laugh at something I wrote.  And somehow in most of my videos, I get to do a bedroom scene with a young good-looking guy (wink wink).  So until my warped brain stops streaming images connected to stories, I’m stuck with this needle in my arm.





Confession #19

I’ve waited a long time to write about being a single mother by choice.  Yea, my web series, Mile High Nancy, is about a single mother by choice but I do take fictional creative liberties there.  I also joked about it while doing stand up comedy, saying my eggs were rotting,  referring to the turkey baster method of insemination and how I found the sperm on Craigslist because I was too cheap to buy it from a sperm bank.


The truth is, I did really find the sperm donor through a Craigslist ad I posted.  I’m not the only woman to do this as fucked up as it seems to me now.  The difference between me and I’m sure all the other desperate over 35 year old women who put up ads is that I agreed to let the donor be a part of my child’s life.  Like a real father.  I was too scared to be a single mother by choice on my own for two reasons – psychologically and financially.  While I support women being SMC’s wholeheartedly, I realized soon after my daughter was born that  if your mindset and bank account are not firmly established, working towards those goals is better than getting knocked up by a vial of sperm from guy on Craigslist.

I won’t get into all the details leading up to the actual birth but as time went on and my uterus grew I started wondering about the mental health of this guy.  By the fifth month I could hardly breathe with the baby pushing on my diaphragm but I wonder if part of the suffocation stemmed from a feeling of dread as I got to know him better.  I did wait more than a year of getting to know him before actually going through with it.  But the first year was like getting to know Dr Jekyll and after getting pregnant it was like getting to know Mr. Hyde.  Control freak and passive aggressive are putting it mildly.

I actually lived with him for about three months – half while pregnant and the other half after she was born.  I left (more like I escaped) when she was six weeks old because I couldn’t deal with his rules and regulations and his almost violent outbursts.  The plan was I would live there for one year but I couldn’t deal with his control issues.  Before she was born he told me he would pay for my expenses while I lived with him – after she was born he wanted an itemized list of where the money went.

After I moved out, we went through a custody battle.  We were never married but got to experience the hell of divorce.  I felt like I was sinking – I was in the ocean holding onto a floating raft with my baby girl in one hand and he was standing on the raft stomping on the hand that was holding on for dear life.  I was scared shitless.

During the past several years he’s used his money/child support as a tool to manipulate and bully me.  I’m in a different situation and place in my life now and so he can’t dangle that carrot anymore.

I’m not writing this to demonize him believe it or not. I’m writing this because one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is that when you rely on someone for financial reasons you give up your freedom.  I relied on my father for a long time to help me out financially as well and then when that ship sailed I jumped onto something that looked like a luxury cruise line and ended up being the Titanic.

I do take responsibility for not either believing in myself to do this fully on my own or simply waiting and taking the steps to be financially independent.  And if I did make the decision to do it 100% alone I would have preferred to live in a ditch with my child than deal with being strong-armed and harassed.  I admit making a decent living before getting pregnant would probably have been the better choice.

This post is only a snippet of the fear, depression, and general rollercoaster of emotions I rode for a few years after having her (and still do for a variety of other reasons).  As cliche as this sounds, my hope is my daughter grows up to be independent and finds a loving relationship and partner but does not become dependent on anyone.  I used to joke with her it’s just as easy to love a rich man as it is a poor one (yes, I’m turning into my mother but that’s another post), but now I tell her to become a petroleum engineer.. or any kind of engineer.  Of course I would love to see her marry a multi-millionaire.  But if he didn’t treat her well, I would love her to be able to walk away from him with ease and never look back.





Confession #18

Today my mom reminded me that in just a few years I’ll be old enough to own a home in her retirement community.  As I get older, I admit there are some things I need to be reminded of – like where I left my keys.  I may seem paranoid, but her comment seemed more like a cheap shot than a helpful reminder.

My mother (originally from Brooklyn), moved to Arizona (which currently feels like a large-scale sauna) 13 years ago to escape the cold weather.  She moved into a retirement community with one of her husbands (she’s a widow of three if you count the one that died after they had the marriage annulled and a divorcee of one – I have to admit, she’s done well for herself.)

Presently, I don’t like retirement community living because the pool has restrictions on times when children can go swimming and I am here with my 9 year old daughter.  I’m sure when she’s 18 and I don’t have to worry about it, I’ll be happy they have restrictions on times when children can go swimming.

From my observations and the conversations I have with my mom, living in one of these villages is akin to being in high school until you die or end up in an assisted living facility (which will hopefully be like being in a bar).  Every year, she has a new best friend.  Out with the old, in with the new old.  This year Ginny is her bestie.  When I ask her what happened to the other throw aways, she shakes her head and mentions something about either not inviting her to a party they had or cheating at mahjong.

It’s tough keeping up with the cliques in her neighborhood.  I visit once a year (vowing each time to never go back) and see her friends at lunch or dinner parties I tell her not to have in my honor.  “Hey, why isn’t Sue here?” I asked one year.  “Oh, she turned out to be crazy.” One of her best friends she kept for more than a year dropped her to hang out with some of the cooler kids who had nicer handbags and red hats that looked better with their purple dresses.


I also get to hear her friends talk about boys.  For the women who are widowed or whose husbands have Alzheimer’s, there’s a lot of talk about online dating and much too much open discussion about getting screwed (I wish they would still treat me like a child sometimes and not speak of inappropriate topics in front of me).  I picture their version of getting screwed means holding hands.  I don’t want to picture anything beyond that or I will throw up.

Of course, they also talk a lot about doing drugs.  Most are not the fun kind but occasionally there is a Percocet or Vicodin thrown in.

So far the only thing I haven’t seen them do in high school like fashion is have fist fights -which is probably the one thing I wouldn’t mind seeing.

Golden Girls



Confession #17

As a young teen in the early 80’s, I was blessed to have a father who trusted my judgement when hanging out with my friends. I felt lucky that he was naive and gullible as well. You see, he would actually drive me to the roller rink where I would hang out with a bunch of trouble making burn outs. My typical outfit was red spandex pants and a black sequin tube top. I skipped the FM pumps and opted for black suede ankle boots as I’ve never been able to pull off high heels without wobbling like a newborn giraffe.

When he picked me up at 11 or 11:30 (whenever my curfew was at that age on a Saturday night) and I was reeking of cigarette smoke, he believed me when I told him the other kids were smoking and we bemoaned the smell and health effects together. It was a rare night if someone scored beer or wine coolers but if we did, we were sure to load up on the breath mints.

Most of the time I did stay out of trouble, because I was pretty good kid. Usually I would skate around in circles to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden songs and stand in the back while my tough girlfriends postured and pumped themselves up to start fights with their rivals. It was like white suburban teenage girl Jets vs. Sharks with heavy metal songs in the background instead of show tunes.

So, I wasn’t a thug – but I was all in when it came to smoking weed and noticing boys. The weed was dirt dime bags from Harlem and I suspect oregano half the time. I say noticing boys because I was too scared to approach or flirt with them. Plus, I wasn’t really cool like the other girls that went to the trade tech high school. I was a mostly “A” student geek who wrote for the school literary magazine and at one point was a member of the chemistry club (strictly for high school transcript purposes, though).

I did a have a brief fling with a skinny blonde boy that was a straggler just like me. Both of us outsiders trying to fit in with the cool kids. My goal was make out with a guy and get a hickey on my neck. At 13 and 14, a hickey was a sign of approaching the big leagues. If the hickey was on your neck it meant someone else gave it to you – no faking it like if you gave yourself one on your arm which we did to practice creating the perfect black and blue mark.

My innocence lost moment was when Dave (I have no idea if that was blondie’s name but it’s generic so maybe it was) gave me my first hickey. I pretended to hide it from my friends and then would flip my hair back as if in a forgetful split second. Then feigning embarrassment, announce “oh my God, is my hickey noticeable?” I was so totally cool.

Until the next day as I stood in front of my bathroom mirror brushing my hair and my dad walked in. At that moment I was truly forgetful and he saw the symbol of my coming of age. An inch of a bruise on the side of my neck. My red hot skin tight pants and barely there shirts were fine – but a hickey was where he drew the line.

He called for my mother to come into the bathroom. “Do you see that?!!!” He turned to me. “You’re a slut!” That stung. What I thought would impress my pseudo-friends was shameful to my father. I wasn’t really a slut (that didn’t happen until college and by then I was sophisticated enough to take ownership of it). All I could say back was “I’m still a good girl!” I wavered between being a child and a young adult depending on the company.


Pre-slut photo

The appeal of showing off a hickey died that day. I avoided “Dave” the next time I saw him. Eventually, I stopped hanging out with the group of wannabe hoodlums (well, some of them really were hoodlums) that didn’t care if I was around anyway.

That hickey incident was the closest thing to a sex education discussion either one of my parents had with me. I had a healthy fear of sex that seems to have disappeared in young teens of today (I’m sorry if I sound like the church lady from SNL). I experimented and made out with boys, but sex was scary enough that I’m happy to report I waited until my late teens to try it with a serious boyfriend (in my bedroom while my dad was downstairs in the den).