See me tonight at this professional panel!

(BYOB because it’s prob more profesh than professional.) Today at 6:30 p.m. I’ll be speaking on a panel with three incredible professionals I just happen to be friends with as we talk about “The Art of Breaking Into Freelancing.” There is a photographer, a writer and two event and marketing consultants on the panel. Things kick off at 6:30 p.m. Run through 8:30 p.m. This is part of the Goose’s The Art of Breaking Into series about art-centric entrepreneurship and how to do it sustainably. More info here! See you tonight.

 

The Art of Breaking Into Freelance

 

Struck A Nerve Rom Com Edition: Facebook Killed the Rom Com Star

san

The Romantic Comedy as we know it is dead.

This beloved genre’s demise is not just because TV is getting better or because Tom Hanks and Freddie Prinze Jr. are getting old.

Nay, the culprit is coming from inside your pocket.

Social Media has murdered the rom com.

Yes, the time suck that is Facebook, Tinder, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, ChatChat, TapDat, AssHat…

has irrevocably changed how we interact with, write and consume the time-honored first-world tradition of romantic comedy.

First, let us consider the plotline problem.

The lost-then-found lover is a motif as important to the rom com as spritely mischief is to Shakespeare.

These tales of old-flame-returns-for-high-school-reunion or mysterious-man’s-child-keeps-calling-me-from-Seattle seem quaint in the era of social media.

They seem *so* not plausible today that if you tried to make a movie with these storylines, you’d lose viewers. Instead of getting lost in the story, they’d be thinking about how this just wouldn’t happen. Why wouldn’t she just look him up on LinkedIn?

The last thing you, as a writer, want your audience to do is to start asking questions about plausibility. We all know love isn’t real.

Here’s a specific example of rom com plotline extinction.

Do you guys remember the movie 40 Days and 40 Nights? It’s a movie with Josh Harnett and the hot girl from Wristcutters (that’s the better movie to watch if we’re doling out Netflix suggestions here).

Anyway, Josh’s character swears off sex for 40 days and 40 nights, but, alas, during this time he meets the would-be love of his life, hot girl from Wristcutters! So he hides from her what he’s doing, she thinks he isn’t that into her, cupid’s arrow is nearly for naught. (The moral of the story, to 17-year-old boys, here is to always have sex asap.)

Social media’s role in our modern lives would not allow for any of this story to unfold the way it does. First, the couple meets in a Laundromat and connects over how hot girl from Wristcutters circles words she doesn’t know in the book she’s reading so she can go look them up in the dictionary.

HA! She’s reading a real book!

If this were happening in 2015 and not 2002, she’d be all up on her phone either googling the words she doesn’t know as soon as she finds them or, let’s be honest, digging into her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s step sister’s Instagram photos from a beach vacay to the Dominican Republic.

“Her baby is super ugly.”

So not only would this couple likely not meet, if they did, the dude character would have a hard time hiding his abstinence mission and thus, hot girl from Wristcutters would never go experience the folly of misunderstanding her potential lover’s intentions.

After all, in 2015 he will have taken this opportunity to start a blog and podcast series following his sex-free adventures so he could share them on his Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and hopefully get a book deal.

Because rom coms, the gluttonous slinger of gender stereotypes that they are, teach us that all guys are all about the Benjamins until he finds love he didn’t know he wanted… and they need you to stop fucking playing Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” on repeat already.

HASHTAG YOU’RENOTJESSICAALBA

Furthermore, catching a cheater is no longer visually interesting, which is kind of a key element of a film.

And cheating, or at least thinking someone is cheating, is a blockbuster plot device. But today, this is what it looks like:

1) Receive text from friend about potential cheating.

2) Turn red, hyperventilate, furiously text lover.

3) Cry quietly as you scroll through now-ex’s Facebook feed looking for any shred of evidence.

4) Chug whiskey alone.

Not exactly the most sexy, riveting stuff. And because things can happen so quickly, romance is kind of a lost art. On Tinder, you can literally scroll through hundreds of potential lovers while doing nothing but eating cheese and crackers off your belly.

This is not the type of scenario for which God made men as gorgeous as Ryan Gosling.

We’ve become desensitized to romance. After all, your girl can just get on Pinterest and post quotes full of loving sentiment you could never come up with. Oh, and your guy can just go read your Pins to figure out what is required for you in particular to woo.

It’s why kids these days prefer their romance from the mouths of babes that turn into werewolves during the full moon.

Social media lets you be whoever you want to be, let’s you concoct or express a whole well-rounded personality and, on the positive side of that, helps eliminate stereotypes – you are not just the weird girl in art class with glasses, you are a complete person who has family photos and interesting things to say about world events and look at this whole album of selfies taken without your glasses on!!! Social media is a confidence booster. It reinforces the idea that you can be whatever you want!

But here’s one thing you can’t be anymore. And it’s a thing that is also incredibly important to the rom com cannon—a magazine reporter.

Some of my favorite romantic comedies revolve around the career field of magazine journalism. I think this is because it’s glamorous without being too POWER BABE (heaven forbid), plus most of these screenplay writers were probably once journalists so publishing is a world they understand.

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada and Morning Glory are all great rom coms starring characters who work in journalism.

Here’s the thing though. Social media is also singlehandedly murdering print journalism. Today’s newsroom is anything but glamorous. The editorial meetings are no longer about which champagne to offer on the set of a fancy photo shoot but how to convince the unpaid intern who is five out of journalism school to stay on board – man, at least after sweeps!

Hardworking journalists are being replaced by hardworking bloggers and freelance content sharers. But finagling in your pajamas with your accountant on the phone about tax writeoffs isn’t nearly as sexy as a fun loving, wacky work crew that always seems to be there for you when your dream man is aloof.

Finally, because of the fast paced and argumentative nature of social media, some of our favorite rom coms wouldn’t even get made today.

Consider, Grease. If you do not know the plot of Grease and the melody of at least one of its songs, you clearly didn’t know a theater kid in high school.

Cover your ears if it is possible to spoil the ending of Grease for you, grandpa.

Olivia Newton John’s wholesome Sandy gets all slutifued by her pink ladies to impress the Danny Zucko.

Granted Danny also donned a letterman sweater at the school carnival to impress Sandy but that decision was quickly revoked when everyone just silently admitted that it’s way more fun to be a bad bitch than a basic one.

But you know who would’ve been all over that plot line of woman giving up it all for a love? jezebel.com.

And probably all the Christian organizations you can think of, for other reasons. But basically this movie would’ve been a flop before it went direct to DVD, jazz hands cart wheels and dancing hotdogs be damned.

Same goes for the abusive principal in The Breakfast Club. And the patriarchal town in Footloose would’ve had its own reality TV show before that movie could ever get made.

We are think piecing  ourselves out of a good old-fashioned, gender-roled love story, people.

So in conclusion social media has made us too savvy, too homogeneous and too stalker-prone to enjoy  romantic comedies. The stories seem as fake and contrived as Channing Tatum’s abs.

For the real funny drama we’ll just all turn to Facebook.

“Compulation” of success

There’s not a lot of tangible reward to being a journalist. Most of my journalist friends are rebel types with above average work ethic. Even inside writers of the fluffiest fuzzies, not  too far down, a First Amendment soldier lurks.

It’s rewarding to tell people’s stories, to actively participate in free speech, to have a job writing (Writer’s Digest sends me a depressing email at least once a week with a subject line “You CAN make a living writing!”).

But that’s about it. We don’t make a lot of money. Our field is changing by the minute so we’re constantly being challenged to find new ways for print to survive. The line between advertising and editorial is growing so muddy you could ford the river between the two in a nice new pair of goulashes.

That’s why awards season is so fun for journalists. It’s validation for a job well done when there’s little other tangible validation to be found. (Also, most of us have fragile egos and fluctuating self confidence. We did, after all, choose a profession where everything we do has a byline.)

The point of this loquacious lead: I won some writing awards at the Press Club of Cleveland’s statewide Excellence in Journalism contest.

I was so excited to attend the ceremony. I wore my new library card shirt from my new gig at The Library Store. #alwaysbeworking

Library shirt

I placed first in non-daily newspaper writing for the category Personality Profile writing for this story about Alix, and second for Arts and Entertainment reporting for this article about the two toddler-refugees-turned-CCAD-designers.

The big one, though, was this guy:

award

Best Freelance Journalist in Ohio. Bam!

Wait… is that… that word… is spelled wrong… oh… oh god!

award closeup

Pretty immediately, though, I decided the “compulation” on my award was perfect. Two reasons.

1)  It’s a reminder that copy editors are important. What a concept.

2) It’s a reminder to keep working and working as hard as possible. I may be good, but I could be better. For every success I have I can count five other fuck ups. Mistakes don’t mean I’m not talented, and success doesn’t mean I’m not human. Keep that ego and that self-criticism in balance, sister, and then you really win.

flowers

Alternative Fashion Week’s keychains

I got a nice little surprise this week from my badass friends behind the Columbus Alternative Fashion Week, an event in its inaugural year that celebrates and promotes independent fashion designers of Columbus. (The big finale runway showcase of those designers is this Friday. Get there.) The team designed this keychain with the words “Columbus For a Reason” inspired by a post I wrote that referenced why we live in Columbus and not a city like L.A. or New York. What an honor! You can get one for free at any fashion week event. My reasons for living in Columbus are many, but the fact that independent artists are valued here is tops.

Columbus For a Reason

 

Disney World’s Greatest Lesson for Adults

I have family in Orlando and my Ohio family regularly visits the Sunshine State. Disney World is our playground of choice. We love the Mouse’s house, offensively overpriced hot dogs and cucumber salads be damned.

I have been to Disney World as an adult four or five times. I only went as a kid once, I think, and at that point I was a teenager, so I’ve never really experienced it as a child. That’s OK. There’s so much to love about it as a grown up–even a princess-questioning lady grown up–because it is so creative.

Everything at Disney World is thoughtful, visually speaking. Disney gets down to every last detail.

Here’s an example. On our most recent visit my family stayed at The Pop Century resort, a hotel the Disney empire operates.  The buildings of the resort are decorated with giant metal sculptures of American cultural icons–mood rings, 8-tracks, a Yo-Yo.

Our courtyard this go-round was home to a two-story foosball playground.

foosball

And this guy. A four-story Big Wheel (which, neither here nor there, I like to imagine was used in a giant’s version of “The Shining” and that Jack Nicholson the Giant was a real diva on set… “I ordered whales for dinner! Not elephants! Someone is getting fired! I’m Jack Nicholson the Giant!).

big wheel

A massive Big Wheel would have been impressive enough, right? Where else can you see that out your hotel window? But, alas, Disney details ensue.

big wheel detail

That reads “Recommended Child Weight 877 Pounds.” Clever. Thoughtful.

That is just one example of many in an entertainment complex that is big and powerful enough to be its own city, but you get the idea.

So here it is. My takeaway for life from Disney has nothing to do with dreams or wishes or romance or anthropomorphic ducks. It is this: For best results, never half-ass anything and never stop trying to make things better.  I’ll take honest effort over wishing on stars any day.

Batman for (most) Straight Girls

This past Monday I had the great honor of participating in comedian Dustin Meadows’ monthly Struck a Nerve show at Wild Goose Creative in Clintonville. At these shows, writers, comedians and artists wax poetic and irreverent on different themes. For example, last month’s topic was 2013; I do believe a character who was a pot-themed wedding planner of gay weddings made an appearance. So, yes, fun. This month’s edition was focused on… Batman! Here’s my piece and its PowerPoint images transcribed as best I could for a blog post. If you missed the show, I regret to inform you you missed out on a great night. That’s OK. Just come next month.

batman

Batman for (most) Straight Girls: An Essay

why so serious

My hypothesis is that most modern American straight women have a similar storied relationship with The Dark Knight. It’s not that we don’t like Batman, it’s that our relationship to Batman (and superheroes)–like our relationships to most things–is fucking complicated.

It goes a little something like this.

Girls meet Batman in childhood. Through cartoons, movies,  the lunchboxes of little boy classmates and little girls with hip, gender-neutral parents. AND… costumes.

batman tutu

Every Halloween there is a little girl dressed up as Batman. It’s cute. Yellow and black are complementary colors that look good on even your ugly child. And how sassy with the tutu!

Ask the little girl who Batman is, though, and she likely doesn’t know. I mean, she’ll probably say super cutely “Batman!” but she doesn’t really know who he is other than that one guy with the suit.

Funny, because fast forward just a few precious years later and there’s a high possibility she’ll be wearing a Batman costume again.

party down batman

I’m Batman Barbie.

To be fair, a decent number of little boys do not know who or what they are dressed up as either. This is kind of the beauty of being a kid—you’re adorable until you start to have your own opinions and liking your own things and choosing your own Halloween costumes.

At 11 or 12 I chose to draw stubble on my face with a permanent marker and don my least favorite coat for Halloween. I was “Hobo In Windbreaker.” This was, I believe, the last year my parents let me trick or treat.

Anyway, Batman is a cultural force. His sixteen pack is everywhere and it is hard to ignore.

As an average little girl your interest in kind of starts to wane [(Bruce) Wayne (heyo!)] as you find your own interests and the allegories that best relate to your own tiny life.

Some of what kids are into, gender difference-wise, happens organically. Batman is OK to Girl Average, but there are not a lot of girls around and there’s a lot of kicking and his best friend/ sidekick is honestly kind of annoying, like a little brother or something.

I was way into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid. Not because of the turtles; because of April.

april

April! We had so much in common, her and little I! I mean just look at our lives! We both had red hair! And we both…. had …  red hair…

So some of it happens organically but a lot of what kids are into is marketing, subtle or otherwise. Google image search “superheroes for girls tshirt” and you will get multiple takes on this theme:

girls-rule-marvel-comics-t-shirt-80stees

If it isn’t “GIRLS RULE” screaming desperately from your pre-pubescent mosquito bites, it is an image of myriad female comic characters slinging some message of teamwork and friendship. I bet girls would like to don a little ass kicking in something meaningless like a T-shirt, too.

I imagine some marketing centaur somewhere steaming, “You know what we need to teach these asshole mean girls about? Friendship.”

My point here is that I think little girls are often socially herded into caring about cartoons and things that aren’t violent. Or if they are violent or heroic in some physical capacity they are rooted in teamwork and friendship (ie. Power Puff Girls).

While Batman has his helpers, he is, at the root of it, a lone bat, and that is what is so appealing about him on some level. I think girls could really use that a dose of imaginary self-reliance and responsibility via technicolor, to hell with self-isolation’s repercussions.

We want to feel the rage of righteous dark justice, too, bro.

Back to marketing of Batman, et al. It becomes a whole new nemesis as an adult. Here’s an example of a recent superhero t-shirt design for grown women compared to one for little boys.

i need a hero be a hero

Yeah, Pow, indeed. Pow right to your sense of being taken seriously by anyone who sees you wearing that T-shirt.

The psychology happening in these designs is a whole other item of rant, but it kind of lays the groundwork for the way young adult women interact with the Batman.

I used to use Batman as a pickup line. Asking a man “Batman or Superman” and judging him thusly was like a game of existential foreplay.

If a man selected Batman he was probably a jerk and thus more likely to get laid at 21. If a man selected Superman he was probably a lonely, tormented dreamer and most likely to spend two lonely, tormented years with me at 22. If he said Spiderman he was probably Friend Zoned immediately and married by 24 to someone who was not me.

I stopped asking this question when a dude responded, “Wonderwoman, baby.”

Why did I do that? Chicks! Why do we do that? It’s not like a man has ever asked me if I was more into Nsync or Backstreet Boys and took me seriously when I explained why.

And, honestly, I probably wouldn’t want him to. If Bronies have taught us anything, it is that there is little sexual attraction to be found in grown men who hitch their wagons to the little pink ponies of our girlhood.

bronie yes

So superheroes can become an interest you feign–like watching sports or Robocop–to get a boy to like you. Then you grow up and kind of stop giving a shit and figure out what you really do like.

I discovered I loved Batman for the most stereotypical of reasons–Heath Ledger.

An ex of mine really wanted to see “The Dark Knight” when it came out in the theaters. I had stopped using existential superhero foreplay at this point but I should have on him. He loved Gambit, the wily little magic card player who could manipulate any energy he touched.

Yeah. Sounds familiar.

OK, so, Heath had just offed himself and well, morbid interest. Like I said, girls are dark.

(And, hey, just a feminist aside here: Did anyone else notice that part of the mythos of Heath’s suicide is that he was just so twisted from really getting into his acting and playing such a demented character and it just took over? And also Christian Batman Bale’s epic meltdown on the Terminator set was forgiven just a little bit because of all that high-octane action? Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan is just a crazy drug addled asshole who deserves to never work again and suffer a lifetime of shame for her mistakes? Maybe they’re all assholes. Maybe you’re the asshole, America.)

OK, so we are watching The Dark Knight. It’s in the movie theater and the screen is larger than Wonderwoman’s boobs. The sound is eerie and the mind-fuck that the leading actor is now six feet under in the reality you are actually living in but don’t feel a part of anymore because the story unfolding in front of you is so honest but surreal and putting you in a whole tailspin of storytelling and… Holy shit, Batman! I love Batman! I want to know all about Batman!

And so I learned all I could about Batman. I bought comics. I watched as many Adam Batman West episodes as I could physically handle (which really wasn’t many). I was super secret Batman fan girl.

Why super secret you ask?

Because America is an asshole.

I knew myself well enough to know my intense interest in Batman would last about a year. I would consume as much of its darkness as I could and move on to a new interest that sated my need for sanely expressing and releasing the reasons for my own dark nights.

See, if you’re a girl who says you like Batman and do not know everything about Batman and/ or comics ever, you run the risk of being stereotyped into this:

fakegeekgirl

FAKE NERD GIRL! FAKE NERD GIRL!

Heaven forbid you have a fleeting, varied interest in a subject on your journey through millions of life subjects.

My Batman obsession has been replaced since then with other things that help me feel like my own natural darkness ain’t so twisted. Like a six-month long X-Files binge. A brief but intense obsession with Iron Maiden. An even more brief attempt to learn to play clarinet again.

Dark, dark things.

Now, I, like, I’d venture to say, most grown modern straight woman, am… just a bitch that likes Batman.

never forget

An ode to the forgotten Pink Lady

My mom has gifted me at least three copies of “Grease” in my lifetime. I own zero now. I probably sold the DVDs at some point while taking care of my long line of Kenickies.

That’s OK. I can recite the movie by heart because I was incredibly obsessed with it as a child, teenager, young adult and quarter-life crisis adult.

Not obsessed in that weird theater kid way, though. The songs were fine but I didn’t, like, have the “Grease” soundtrack in every room of the house and I don’t know the sock hop dance number.

In hindsight (because who can pick this up about themselves as a kid?) what I really liked about “Grease” was the Pink Ladies and the different ways they were girls.

Grease_Pink-Ladies_Cheerleaders

Rebellious friends running the halls of Rydell, the Pink Ladies gave me a unique place to consider the different ways to be feminine, to be a girl.

I was never interested in Sandy except that her story was what introduced me to all these other interesting people. That was probably because her life was too unattainable for a redhead with bad teeth. Girls like me didn’t get boys like Danny Zuko.

Also, as I got older, I realized Sandy was the type of girl who would bitch to the sluttiest friend she had about her all-encompassing fear of being labeled a slut for making out with a strange guy the night before when said slutty friend has just told her about fucking a strange guy the night before. Ugh.

Sandy Two-Shoes

When I was very young, I enjoyed Frenchy (who was totally the prettiest, right?). The Frenchy actress was on the Thomas the Tank Engine show in the ‘90s and I also watched it all the time. Kids’ interests are so associative.

But Frenchy was dumb. And I was not. So I always just felt for her like I would a best friend (she would have been a good one… flipping off those other cheerleaders… thanks, French).

Frenchy

Marty Maraschino, like the cherry, was eh. She was desperate with a leechy personality built on soggy expectations but redeemed herself in the final scene when she shows Sandy how to smoke a cigarette supa dupa sexay.

cherry

My girl for the longest time was Rizzo.

I always liked the leading lady’s best friend because that’s who I was in real life. One quarter good looking, three quarters personality/ possible mental health issue.

rizzo

Rizzo was all vulnerability haphazardly masked in sexual rage. Tough stuff on the outside but a total kid when the going got tough, when the sex and problems got real. She was such a wannabe hardass.

Now that I could relate to.

But for all her flaws Rizzo would never give up who she was for a Danny Zuko type. Plus, who wanted a dude like Zuko? A guy who would change his personality at the drop of the hat like that? (Oh, yes, the Lackluster from Down Under, that’s who.)

I always crushed on Kenickie.

Yeah. I’ll take that Hallmark card, thank you very much.

kenicke hickey

Kenickie was wild and raw and scared of all the right things and handled them in all the wrong ways.

I loved it. And I loved Rizzo for loving it. That kind of attraction I could understand. Not the we-met-at-the-beach and-hung-out-for-two-days-and-shall-now-be-in-love-for-ev-er shtick.

White doves still poop orange slime.

I have a feeling the writers really liked Rizzo, too, or at least understood how dynamic of a character she was. Who did the movie pan to when the Principal McGee said on the final morning announcements that someone in the school might one day be the next Eleanor Roosevelt?

Rizzo, bitch!

Now… who are we missing… what was her name…

Jan.

jan

Oh, Jan. If you say Jan was your favorite Pink Lady you’re lying. Or you played her in your high school’s version of the musical.

Google search “Jan +Pink Ladies” and only the first three links are actually related to the character. The Google image search results for the same prompt don’t have ANY images of her or the movie.

That’s too bad. Here’s why.

If you did, indeed, play Jan in your high school’s version of “Grease,” you were probably the fifth best person who tried out for Sandy. However, if “Grease” were made today, Jan would be the main character, portrayed by Zooey Deschanel or Lizzy Caplan.

Her name would probably still be Jan.

Jan is super “awkward” in “Grease.” But because “awkwardness” had decades yet to become an attractive attribute of which to aspire–“Awkward” is like a nice, ironic wine–Jan is just a secondary character. Her quirkiness is evident but not gratuitous; her trashiness endearing.

Eating Twinkies with a dessert wine after nailing the impression of a hygienic cartoon beaver? That is manic pixie dream girl gold to film writers today! That scene could just be the trailer for the next Zach Braff movie.

Jan totally would be an example of 1970s’ manic pixie dream girls if not for the fact that, since no one back then appreciated the kind of character on screen, they couldn’t, didn’t sensationalize her. So we viewers are treated to sweet baby Grease-us’ funniest little diamond in the rough without her baking cupcakes and dancing in the rain and referencing great pieces of literature or partaking in hokey singalongs.

Well, I guess there were hokey singalongs.

The manic pixie dream girl thing seems over. It and the anchor-tatted mermaid it rode in on have been identified and thus become predictable, outdated. But Jan in this modern day context is a fun thing to consider on one’s 500th viewing of the movie.

I thought about Jan, briefly, after I watched “Gravity” this weekend. Sandra Bullock plays mission specialist (read: not a full-time astronaut) Dr. Ryan Stone. Stone is stranded in space after her crew’s mission gets bombarded by space debris and alien poop.

OK, not alien poop.

The last hour of the movie, basically, is just Bullock/ Stone trying to survive. Without giving away too many character developments, it struck me afterward–once I came back to earth (buh dum chi) from the pure visual and sonic joyride “Gravity” whips you around on–that it was interesting that the movie followed a female astronaut.

Having a man save himself seems like a more obvious writing choice, especially in 1) a major blockbuster and 2) a movie about space. Everyone knows girls don’t like science!

Sexual tension between Bullock and co-star George Clooney is nill. Refreshing.

Dr. Stone’s sadness, of which we learn about in the most unclumsy of ways, stems from a very human, universal experience of loss, one both a man and a woman could feel. Her trauma is not related to a sexual relationship with a man. Refreshing.

“Gravity” is also not a Girl Power promo piece. No one and nothing preaches “I’M… YEAH ME OVER HERE!… YEAH, I’M AN ASTRONAUT… AN ASTRONAUT WITH A VAGINA!!!!!!!” It’s just an awe-some human story told with a woman. Gender held no gravitas. Say it with me: Refreshing.

I love the dual role fictional characters’ lives, stories, worlds play. When done well they are at once the greatest of escapes but agents for social, cultural change. They help you forget about yourself for a few hours but, if you’re willing to listen, reveal parts of your person previously unearthed.

Even Sandy.

The three best songs with the name Jackie in them

My favorite story about myself is, of course, one that I do not remember. Self-romanticized myths lead every great autobiography. I have had 26 years to inject my own bloated (pun! you’ll see…) self-congratulatory expectations into this story: The story of my being trained to produce poo in a potty.

It was a hot July day (not verified) in 1988 and my mom was totally pregnant (verified) when I learned that my older sister did not wear diapers.

WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME I DID NOT HAVE TO SIT IN MY OWN WET WASTE?

Immediately, I refused to wear a diaper. Refused. I wanted big girl panties and I would have NOTHING ELSE. Not even “My Little Pony: Revolt of Paradise Estate” could calm me down.

Sounds like every parent’s dream, right? No sticker chart or Tootsie Roll-lookalikes to clean out of a tiny plastic “toilet” necessary. BUT, this July day, whilst my poor mother was sick from the beautiful and miraculous pile of goo gurgling in her belly, we were all in Detroit visiting family. My mom was alone with us girls in a hotel room. It was hot. We were far away from home. She was dealing with 24-hour morning sickness.

“Please, Jackie, just wear the diaper now and I’ll buy you big girl panties when we go home,” she said as she clung to the trunk of the hotel toilet regurgitating lunchtime’s Chi-Chi’s treat.

Does man willingly submit to serfdom when he learns means of attainable self-reliance?! Does man willingly eat salsa when free queso is available?! Does man willingly watch “Nashville” when he knows anything else is on TV?!

Nay, MOTHER!

Mom shoved us girls in the car and off we went to buy me some stupid cotton underpants. She threatened severe corporeal punishment on my little white bootay if said cotton underpants got any sort of excrement upon them. They did not. And that was it. I was potty trained.

I love that story because it is indicative how stubborn I am, which has mostly been a blessing when applied to things like school, work and cyber stalking people I find attractive. I’m a pretty determined person.

Or perhaps I just don’t like sitting in my own pee. I guess we will never know.

So… that’s a little bit about me. Welcome to my blog. I plan to reference poop a lot less in future posts… my apologies if that’s what brought you here in the first place.

If what brought you here was the headline, here are my favorite songs with my name in them. Jackie proves to be a go-to stubborn character in songwriting as well. Or an adventurous drug-consuming character, also fans of cotton undies.

Come back soon!

“Jackie Blue,” by Ozark Mountain Daredevils


This song was recorded on a farm. I, too, was “recorded” on a farm. Dairy.

“Judy is a Punk,” by the Ramones


To be clear, Jackie is a punk and Judy is a runt. It’s Judy’s turn to cry.

“Walk on the Wild Side,” by Lou Reed


Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side and name your kid Jackie.