Because in this post, they tell you what Nora Ephron said two different times. And that’s okay – you know how I feel about NE.

But all that aside, I’m calling “Lady Guilt!” on myself for this one, because I totally indulge in reading these Things Women Should blah blah Should Not blah Never Again etcetera lists on the interwebs more often than I feel like I should. These hearken back to the pubescent musings I had over Glamour magazine tips and Cosmo lists before I’d even kissed a boy and couldn’t imagine what naked intimacy looked or felt like.

But some of them are valid, and a few of them are totally legit. On this one, I especially like the last entry, #23 – Setting deadlines for major life events.

Stop. It. Stop it. Live your own life with your own rules not according to some preconceived shiny-packaged dreamscape set between glossy magazine covers or available now as an app for your mobile device. Truly – no one actually has time for that mess.

And hand to god, Woman, if I ever see you in public or private and hear you apologize for something (see 1. Apologizing all the time) short of having drawn blood unnecessarily, killed something you didn’t eat, or have a too-visible too-small panty line, Imma slap the fire out of you and then call your mama and tell her what I just did. And I won’t regret it even a little bit. (See #9.)

Welcome to the Sassy Jack portion of your reading experience.



Best Line Readings From When Harry Met Sally

In case you too were feeling sentimental and wanted a convenient recap of how we got here in the first place.

They start with one of my favorite lines – because I would in fact, totally own that table.

Carrie Fisher
: “I want you to know…I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table.” It’s an okay table, too. I would totally own that table.

A Four Letter Word

Perhaps all of us who have gathered here have fallen into the mossy jaded perception of love as a fatuous overwrought concept too easily bandied and loaded with expectation. So what do we mean when we say ‘love’ as applied to the beloved, the intimate romantic partner?

You’re the one I want. The one I want to take to bed and wake up with after a party. The one I still smile about when I’ve drifted into memories I didn’t know I still had – the one I never expected, and the one I never want to leave. You’re the one I want to feel warm against my feet when the night is more cold than dark. You’re the one I want. You are the one.

And what in return?

I want to be the one you call when you get the call you’ve been dreading, the message you’ve been waiting for, the news that changes your life. I want to be the one who welcomes you home after you’ve been away, the one you tell about all the mundane things that fill up the spaces between the memories we want to keep and share. I want to be the one you trust enough to share yourself, and to receive me in return.

There is quite a lot of “want” in these descriptions of love; certainly desire is among the principles of our understanding of love in a relationship. But perhaps the concepts of love and desire are indeed separate things.

Thich Nhat Hanh offers these four mantras for the lover and beloved.

Darling, I am here for you.

“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer someone is. . .your true presence – you are not preoccupied with the past or future you project. You are for your beloved one.”

Darling, I know you are there, and I am so happy because you are truly there.

“Embrace your beloved one with mindfulness. To be loved means to be recognized as existing.”

“These two mantras can bring happiness right away.”

“The third mantra is what you practice when your beloved one suffers.”

Darling, I know you suffer. That is why I am here for you.

“Before you do something to help. . .your presence already can bring some relief.”

“When you suffer and you believe that your suffering has been caused by your beloved one, so you suffer so deeply.”

Darling, I suffer. I am trying my best to practice. Please help me.

“If you can bring yourself to say that mantra, you suffer less right away.”

Lady Guilt

“I’m sorry, I just think. . .”
“I guess it’s weird that I feel. . .””Well yeah, I guess so, but maybe. . .”

These are a select few of the discrepancies women create between their inner world and their conversational life. This is what my lady friends and I have learned to call Lady Guilt.

Lady Guilt!

We holler this at each other when one among us slips on the cloak of insecurity that questions our content, second-guesses our gut instincts, mocks our moxie and generally sets us back at least a generation and a half, even when we’re alone among ourselves, but especially when we’re trying to discuss meaningful issues with others.

Lady Guilt keeps us from being heard by couching our opinions as well as our statements of fact in the folds of stifling layers doubt and insecurity.

It even crops up at restaurants. I cringe to hear a woman with whom I’m dining say, “Well, I think I want a Diet Coke. And I guess I’d like a cheeseburger.” So, that’s not Lady Guilt per se, but it is the effect of years of institutionalized deference, submission to the expectations of strangers, or the constructed memory of authority figures who were probably wrong-headed and damaged in the first place.

It’s time to stop.

For reasons including and not limited to the following:

1. We’re worth more than that equivocal ambivalence.

2. Others have struggled and sacrificed so that we could have these options, choices, voices; to apologetically vacillate or undermine our own authority is to ignore and denigrate that work.

3. Our daughters are watching. (And so are their sons.)

Straighten your back, not your hair.

Stand up and breathe deeply because you deserve the air.


How do you call that thing you’re doing with that other person? Dating? Hooking up? Takin’ it easy? Or how does someone you probably don’t know ask you about that, or whether it’s a thing you’re doing at all?

My favorites of these uncomfortable questions include, 1. “Are you talking to anybody?” and 2. “Are you (still) seeing that one person?”

Because clearly 1. Yes, I talk to many people frequently, and this question neither elucidates the point intended – to determine my relationship status (and which is often a prelude to “asking me out” [a whole other problematic turn of phrase]) nor appropriately identifies the nature of the ‘relationship’ in question.

And 2. Probably – I observe a number of people every day in a variety of contexts, and I still interact with several of those people I used to ‘see’ (read: date, be married to, fantasize about, swoon over, make play lists for) but maybe not now in the same context as then, and likely not in the way the poser of this ostensibly innocuous question has in mind.

But both of these questions imply a connection between self and partner using language that indicates a level of intimacy – talking, seeing, being. And it implies a certain level of being together. So how does one describe this condition to which so much, or so little, can be ascribed?

I call it ‘paying attention to a man.’

Sometimes I just call it “none of your business.”

And this is just the tip of the heteronormative performance aspect iceberg.

Here, Nicholas Clairmont describes more of the complications of these entanglements, and suggests that most of us just don’t know what we’re talking about.

‘”Boyfriend,” “Girlfriend,” and “Significant Other” Are Terrible Phrases’