Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pregnant Lady Gut

Last week I brought up two things that our culture asks pregnant women to change: their tendency to talk about their feelings and their views on their bodies. After enough talk on talk, this week let us discuss, Le Gut.

Along with Le Thighs and Le Ass, Le Gut has never been a friend of mine or of any woman’s. Yes it is so sensual, so laissez-faire as it rides over low-rise jeans after a filling holiday meal, but like  dealing with a French man on your first visit to Europe, you are constantly reminded to keep it at bay with rigorous all-American exercise and strict pilgrim-like puritanical abstinence. From a young age we are prepared for the battle with our guts through instructions on sit-ups, crunches and Shape magazine articles with year-round ten new tips to bikini abs. And so we work-out, cut ourselves off from lady friends who lunch on guilty caloric pleasures, sacrifice Doritos for baby carrots and then we get pregnant and we’re told, “Forget all the work you’ve done, love that big belly of yours!” What? Does being a baby incubator make me no longer a woman? Don’t I still want to look good? Oh but you will. Once a woman gets preggers you see, we are all re-brainwashed to now believe that everyone finds nothing more attractive than a pregnant gut. To say otherwise is a horrible faux-pas that shows you to be unenlightened to the ways of womanhood and could get you banned from any upcoming baby showers (that last part I know is not much of a deterrent, but still, just in case). So agree with it, pregnant bellies are so beautiful, so natural. Yes, and so was my non-pregnant belly gut, but no one said how beautiful or sexy it was when it squeezed on out my ironic baby T’s back in the 90’s!

As someone who used to be at one time forty pounds heavier (on my frame = 6 dress sizes larger) without a baby inside, this whole, “Miracle of life makes my gut okay,” is hard to accept. Maybe getting fat is an exciting new adventure for skinny ladies who have never struggled with their weight, but for those of us who have worked hard to trim down and undo years of bad eating habits and lifestyle choices, the idea of purposefully putting on pounds is not cool. It’s like asking a recovering alcoholic to suddenly stop their sober lifestyle and start drinking a glass of booze a day. Hey but in 9 months, no worries, you’ll be back to normal!  Oh really?

Now I understand that expecting mothers are not asked to get fat for fat sake, it’s just enough weight to help feed the baby and your new babymaking machine of a body. But still, part of you is gonna get larger than usual. Your arms, your legs. Madonna got fat arms. Hilary Duff got fat legs. I even had a friend who got a fat nose!  Of course I’ll do what I have to do to make sure our baby is healthy and out of me, but please, oh please don’t tell me not to worry and just let my body do its thing. And definitely don’t ask me to suddenly find the larger me gorgeous. Isn’t that sort of a stretch? No pun intended. I see these women who get obsessed with this new weird shape they take on and even go so far to try and make it sexy. Why? Is it really? Or is it because as women we always have to feel that we are in a state of sexy at all times. What if we’re not sexy when we get knocked up, or beautiful–would that be so awful? I do acknowledge that there are some women who look absolutely precious with their big alien-like extended bellies. Although I think that has something more to do with those sweet goofy smiles they get when they talk about being pregnant than the belly itself. Oh wait…no it is the belly. ‘Cause it’s pretty funny to see a good friend with a big ol’ Buddha belly walking around. So cute. But beautiful? Sexy?

I’d rather not try to make it something it’s not. How about instead of fetishizing it with sexy belly shots, just look at it for what it is–a part of life and our bodies. Ears for instance are not that exciting to look at and not all that particularly beautiful, but I don’t go out and prove otherwise by taking a sexy or sweet photo of my ears. No I’ll stick to knowing that what I have to look forward to is nothing more than the perfect extended tight gut needed for that beer-drinking trucker costume I’ve always wanted to pull off at Halloween. When the time comes, I hope to neither love Le Gut, nor hate it, but just let it be. And instead of fretting over making it out to be more than it is, I say as the French would say, “C’est la vie.”

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Shut-up I’m Pregnant!

I’ve been learning over the course of the last few months that once you get knocked up the general female neuroses are expected to get knocked out of our lives momentarily. I’m a woman as many of you know, so that means I’m always worried about my weight and I love talking about my feelings–two nearly destructive obsessions that have taken me years to develop with the help of family, friends, dating and the beauty industry. But since entering this bizarre pregnant world of THE BUMP and never-ending doctor appointments, I have found two things to be true:

1. Pregnant women must restrain themselves from announcing their pregnancy until after the first trimester.

2. Pregnant women are supposed to love their big gut.

WAIT TO TELL

So I found out I was preggers about 2 months ago and my husband and I thought we should tell our family right away. Then I remembered some weird thing I had heard–don’t tell anyone you’re pregnant until after the first trimester to make sure the baby’s in there. So at the most womanly time in a woman’s life, going through something only a woman can go through, I’m being advised to completely abstain from my womanhood and not tell everyone everything going on with me? Sorry, I am not that kind of woman. In fact I don’t know many women who are.

Is there anything more unnatural for a woman than to not express the good or the bad in her life? In general we women like to talk–A LOT. If we stopped doing so half of the male stand-up comics wouldn’t have an act. So it throws me for a loop to know that women are made to feel scared and superstitious over wanting to announce their pregnancy as soon as they find out. We don’t wait to announce when we’ve been accepted to a college of our dreams even though something tragic could happen that could prevent us from going. When we get engaged we’re expected to run around and show off the ring seconds after it gets put on our finger, even though there’s still time for things to go sour during the engagement. So why is it that with something even more life-altering, out of your control, and just plan crazy are we told to keep mum?

Well you could have  a miscarriage.

Oh happy day, sunshine. Yes, and if you did wouldn’t you want people to know about it so you can have some shoulders to cry on? For those who are terrified of saying anything in case something bad happens, I understand. Fear is a powerful motivator. But why do we allow it to grip us when it comes to having a baby? Aren’t negative thoughts also bad for your kid? Besides, in all honesty something bad can happen with the baby at any point in the pregnancy, so why do we have to focus on the one period of it when you still don’t look pregnant and people are going to want to know why you’re suddenly on a health kick of not drinking coffee, not drinking booze and staying in on Saturday nights. “I’m just taking a break,” only works as an excuse for so long.

I think we’re getting into the habit of not announcing the big news more for the sake of others than for ourselves. As if we need to add anymore anxiety to our lives by making sure our pregnancy is a good-time gig with only good news for others. But how does that make sense? The people around you are not the ones going through this momentous time, you the woman are. And so what if a miscarriage happens? That’s a part of life that people should be aware of and be comfortable in accepting. It’s like growing a plant from seed. Some of them don’t make it, some of them do. You never know, but you don’t not show off your seedling just because it might not take. I say us ladies take back this major event in our lives, stop being scared and tell the world the minute we find out… if we feel like it. Of course there are other things to keep us from telling the world: work, not ready to be besties with other mommies and not wanting the pregnancy to be the central point of conversation with friends so early on. I’m still not ready for any of it, but I figure besides our family and some close friends (who we enjoyed telling after the official test at the doctor’s office week 6), it’s about time everybody knew why I won’t toast with a proper cocktail, why I can’t step into that jacuzzi and why I so desperately want to go to a dance club while I can still dance.

Next up…THE GUT. 

To be continued.

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I Want A Baby?

Stupid sperm are so dangerous. Thanks to them we have to come up with gifts for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Those selfish little jerks have only one thing on their minds…making babies. Because of them women can’t simply relax and enjoy sex, they have to think about it, weigh the options and consider whether or not they want babies. We’re stuck with buying condoms, paying more for healthcare, and suffering through hormonal imbalances caused by pills, shots, and spongy things just to make sure that Band of Squiggles doesn’t make it to our always contrarian and open for business egg brothel. Which is why at some point in her life, a woman has to decide if she wants to give up the fight or not. Of course there are some women who just don’t think about it and continue to not think about it after every child they pop out; but for those of us who have been fully aware of our tiny but long-tailed enemies since we were technically capable of procreating, this decision is always looming and even more so as our 40’s approach.

After so many years of being on the defense, it’s hard to break the habit and consider having kids. If I was always the type that wanted them then great, I’d be one of those women testing their body temperature every day alongside a dedicated happy pee bowl for ovulation sticks and pregnancy tests; the ones who try every vitamin reported to induce conception; read every “Yay I’m Pregnant” magazine like wishful porn; the ones who make it their life’s mission to get pregnant because they can’t wait to be what I can only decipher is some mythical construct of what being a mother is. Are these women so unhappy in their current non-baby state that they become desperate for what is essentially an unknown? I mean don’t they want to try it out? I think a lot more women and even men would be thrilled to attempt parenting if it came with a better return policy. Or even if life with babies or without were like tapas and you could just try both options without having to commit to a full plate. But sadly no tapas for us. Women must choose their direction.

Which is hard for me because the thought of having a baby has always been frightening, but the alternative is just as scary. I’m not the kind of woman to say, “F- it! Mom stayed at home and stopped living to raise me; why sentence myself to that same miserable fate? I want to live crazy with a drink in one hand, fabulous clothes and no responsibilities to anyone or anything–except maybe a dog or cat that I can’t wait to treat like a baby!” Do I really want to do the same ol’, same ol’ with my husband for the rest of my life? Not that a baby’s purpose is to bring me some life-changing excitement, but at least it’s different. It’s growth. Plus if Abraham in the Old Testament was so thrilled to score as many kids as he could make, why can’t I be thrilled with the same prospect–even if I am a woman and it’s my body that would get thrashed each time those little gifts would come out. Is anyone with me on these points? No? Okay so these aren’t the best reasons to have a kid but why else am I tempted to birth a child?

In the end I don’t think there is ever a real reason why some women want kids. The only thing comparable to it that I can think of is sexual attraction. Can anyone sufficiently explain why he or she finds himself or herself attracted to a certain sex? Being attracted to people has no real benefits other than it feels good. And even biologically, I don’t know how much sense it makes. I was only four years old when I looked up in a movie theater and saw Han Solo on the big screen. Downstairs wasn’t talking yet but I froze, looked up and all I knew was that I wanted that man; and that man lead to that man, and that man, and that man, until I ended up with the man that I’m with and suddenly (well, ten years married and later) I want to have his baby.

So why the hesitation? Because I am cursed with having to think everything to death! I can’t even pick food off a menu in less than 20 minutes much less decide on a having a baby. It’s a major responsibility after all! You not only have to consider your financial stability but mental stability too. Have you overcome all of your personal issues so you can be a good guide to the soul you’ve been given? Are you ready for a new chapter in your life where you’ll have to relinquish your freedom? And my biggest issue—have you achieved everything you’ve ever wanted to in your career so you can happily turn your life over to this newborn child? I guess I always saw the babymaking phase in life sort of like retirement. Wait until you’re successful in your career and settled in your life then have a baby. Like in this interview with Beyoncé for Harper’s Bazaar:

“Like everything that Beyoncé undertakes… this next step into motherhood has been deliberately thought out. “It was important to me that I gave myself time to focus on becoming the woman I want to be, building my empire, my relationship, and my self-worth, before I became a mother,” she says. “Now God has blessed us with the ultimate.”

Well good for you B! But what about the rest of us?! Should we feel obligated to wait until we’ve built our empires or are we stuck taking the plunge to have a kid ready or not? Does it pay to be excessively prepared, or is it like those overly researched vacations that are never as fun as the unplanned ones because your preparations inevitably  demand to be in proportion to your expectations wrongly built off the advice of Trip Advisors with awful taste in hotels? FYI–Never trust a Trip Advisor. Maybe it’s time to stop hating sperm and just take a lesson from the little buggers. Start focusing that mind to one track and just go for it.

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Don’t Call 911, Call CAA

If anyone’s been spooked about budget cuts in our police force or emergency room services in California, fear no more–celebrities are there to save us! Mila Kunis saved a man struck with a violent seizure at her home, Dustin Hoffman saved a jogger having a heart attack, Patrick Dempsey rescued a teen trapped in an overturned car, and Ryan Gosling broke up a fight. Hell even Obama got on board with saving the gay rights movement (injured by North Carolina legislation) by announcing that he’s FOR gay marriage.

Some people though are a little skeptical of these newfound heroes. Could celebrities be doing this just to save their careers, not us? Who cares! If they all need the good press just when we need a funding solution, it looks like this stream of goodwill could be a win-win situation. We would no longer have to argue about whether or not taxes should be raised because we won’t want our money. The more in crisis we are the more chances celebrities can save us! With less paramedics and emergency room services, Californians can be treated by their dreamboats and silver screen heroes. Let fans come up with life-threatening situations that can call the attention of A-listers like George Clooney or Brad Pitt (not Angelina Jolie–she does not save domestics), and stop training new paramedics and just train actors. After all there is no better breed of professionals able to act like they know what they’re doing than thespians. And by the number of super famous actors having to turn to TV and AT&T commercials, it seems that celebrities are desperate for work, so there should be plenty of them ready for recruitment. So let’s keep slashing those budgets California and let’s save ourselves by letting actors save us.

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Gingrich Believes in The Secret

Newt Gingrich the artist

Thank God it’s over–Gingrich finally bowed out of the presidential race. I don’t think I could have handled it much longer. Every time Newt Gingrich declared himself the clear frontrunner during the republican primary, who didn’t think, “Dude, he’s crazy!” It was like watching a pathological liar get caught stealing a cookie but swear he’s never seen a cookie in his whole life while holding the stolen cookie in his hand. I even started feeling bad for Newt whenever he’d say Mitt Romney couldn’t win an election. Maybe he had gone numb from the number of times Romney’s boot kicked him in every state?  And not just Mitt Romney, he even got beat out by Rick Santorum! But did that stop our Newt bomb from going off? No it did not. At first I thought that maybe this crazy talk of winning had something to do with Newt’s infamously massive ego, but then I started wondering: What if he didn’t believe that he was winning? What if he just said that so he wouldn’t lose? That’s when I realized–Gingrich isn’t crazy, he’s an artist!

If you’ve known any actors, writers, artists or musicians, you’ve probably seen a bit of Newt in them. For years they don’t get a gig, yet when asked how things are going in their careers they reply with a simple and upbeat, “Great.” Now if you ask those same friends for details they may divulge some of the ugly truth, but in the impossible world of professional artists, they can never let you in on all their insecurities, because if they do, they will fail.

This is due in small part to the mythos of The Secret. According to The Secret what you say will in turn manifest itself. It seems that thanks to the power of imagination and vocabulary, we all possess the power to create or destroy our own futures. So if for instance, you’re a Debbie Downer and you complain about never making it, well guess what? The reason you’re miserable and not making it is because you keep saying you’re not making it. Knowing that kind of weight is on an artist’s shoulders, do you believe any of them could ever admit to failing? Even if one of them doesn’t believe in The Secret, the rest of them do (or at least pretend they do just in case); so non-believers still have to play the confidence game so they don’t get written off by possible job creators. It’s like the butterfly effect. Let’s say you’re an actor and you’re really depressed and say, “Yeah I haven’t scored a gig in 2 years, and my agent’s about to drop me, and hell I can’t even work on a student film, what’s wrong with me?” The person that hears this will respond with a look of disgust at having come so dangerously close to a living breathing failure. The scent from your listener’s twisted face (oh yes, bad faces do emit smells) transmits negative signals to prospective fans of yours that causes them to hate your face, which in turn vibrates to managers, agents and casting directors, so by the time you show up to their offices, a sort of gag reflex takes over the manager, agent and casting director and you are instantly shut out before you can even begin your career. Simply put, if you let anyone know you’re failing then you won’t get any support because people like to help those with a chance of success, and that chance is best calculated by how successful those people already are.

Well how is that really considered helping if you’re not supporting a person in need? It’s not helping, it’s betting on a winner. Face it, if people are going to invest their time or money on anything, they want to make sure it’s going to succeed. But if you’re not the winner, then what can you do to get the help you so desperately need? Don’t tell anyone you’re a loser and market yourself as the underdog–the one with the right stuff that nobody had the brains and foresight to see except for your loyal fans. So basically you’re still selling yourself as a winner, but a more nuanced one.

This is the lesson that Newt missed out on. He stuck so closely to The Secret that he forgot to change his plan of attack. As a result, Newt put his campaign to rest leaving thousands of Secret believers shocked to discover that Newt has no verbal powers to change the minds of voters or the results of the Republican primary. Still the ever-winning and Secret-following Newt made sure he did not step down a loser. He chose hopeful words during his goodbye speech and to the universe coined himself, “An active citizen,” because active doers make winning happen.

Newt Gingrich and Shep Smith of Fox

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