Fun Hair

I stand in support of all women with wild hair.

So I am back on the dating app juice. It’s always fun at first. Sure, I like cocktails, sushi and travel.  Lots of swiping, BOOMS, matches, and then comes…the chat.

(The following conversation was pieced together by memory due to the fact that he “unmatched” me. Note to self: SCREENSHOT).

Him:  So, are you looking for LTR (Long Term Relationship), friendship or just casual fun, I prefer the third option.

Me:  No judgement, but I am only interested in the first or second. Best of luck!

Him: Thanks!

Me: Just curious, did anything about my profile bio imply that I would be more “fun”?

I asked this because a while ago I had a miscommunication with a guy who misinterpreted my idea of a “fun date.”  I meant a movie and Tender Greens, he thought Imeant “tender” greens.

Him: “I don’t know…maybe your hair.”

Me: MY HAIR?!

Him: It’s kind of big.

Big hair.  The provocative statement of 2018.  Non-straightened wild hair is the new crop top and short skirt.  I blame blow out salons.  Also, the misogyny of the patriarchy, but also blow out salons. I refuse to do more than occasional blow dry and curl, and even then I only do it to make myself look passable. But lately, I have noticed in rooms that I am the the only one whose hair looks naturally crazy (i.e., not in a long silky managed place). I feel  like I look a little more Wildling and less Sansa Stark.

At the very least, I have new material.

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We Who Tolerate The Crippling Anxiety of Self-Employment

Look at these lazy assholes. Seriously, get a job.

I admit that “self-employed” can be a fancy way of saying “unemployed.”   However, “unemployed” assumes a not-so-distant future of gainful earning with all it’s weary appendages like a crappy commute and a boss.  While funemployment can be a relaxed, some-day, fuck it, I’m-takin’-a-breather-till-the-money-runs-out transitional moment in a career, self-employment is a decision that puts to rest the myth that there is a job out there that won’t cuisinart your soul into dust, French press it and drink it with unsweetened Almond milk.  It ruins the idea of “weekends” and creates confusion around the notion of “vacation.” It is a state of anxiety that never ends.

We who have chosen this route have done so for several reasons:

  • We value time over money. Jobs take not just time, they take your life. You can maybe find a way to earn money, but you’ll never be 25, 35, 45 (etc.) again. The self-employed opt to live today, if they can, anxiety and worry be damned.
  • We would rather die than service The Man.  Corporate America treats non-alpha men like service dogs and ALL women are secretaries.  You can be a fancy, well-paid, secretary like Sherry Lansing, or you can be a low paid sexy secretary like Joan from Mad Men. You are still a secretary. You are an extension of Him. This is what kills our souls. At least mine.
  • Corporate America doesn’t pay. Sure, some people make big salaries, but at great cost to their families, health and well-being. There really is no number that makes it OK to not exercise, see your kids, pursue creativity and live in the present moment rather than in some future retired bliss state.

If you have chosen this life, you have chosen an equal, but different kind of Hard.  There is no one to blame or hate. No Boss.  It’s just you and the Cosmos.  There is a mystical energy to self-employment that would be magical if it weren’t laden with so much stress.  Here are a few of its crazy rules:

  • Workflow makes no sense.  It’s true that in Corporate America, managers don’t dish out reasonable steady workloads, but neither do the forces of the universe. Jobs don’t trickle in one at a time. There are two states of work: nothing or an avalanche.  There is nothing you can do to fix this.
  • Your REAL job is finding work and negotiating. You thought your job was working? Making things? The only job you have is finding work and negotiating your rate. The work itself, that’s when you can relax.

Sidenote:  I have the added “reason” to be self-employed in that I am also a writer/standup comic. I am not even sure they are legitimate pursuits.  However, I think, ultimately, my desire for freedom exceeds any need for security.

Somehow it all works out. At least, so far. 🙂

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Hey Kaiser, My Breasts Are Not Playdough!

Does anything about this look wrong to you?

Not to brag, but I have dense fibrous breasts.   However, dense breasts are 6 times more likely to develop cancer.  Last year, I found a lump in my breast and was ordered to have a mammogram and an ultrasound. The lump turned out to be a cyst, but they found other “things” and were like, this is so fun, why don’t you come back in six months! The experience cost me over $500, which I contested, to which Kaiser informed me that I had a “diagnosis” of fibroid cysts, which half of all women will probably experience. So, essentially, I was diagnosed with being a woman.

I don’t know much about breast medical research, which seems to put me on par with contemporary medicine. But I do know that my breasts are flesh and blood and not meant to be treated like play dough or whatever malleable substance some neo-nazi imagined when he devised the medieval torture devices/panini maker that passes for a medical exam called a mammogram.  I know this might be shocking, but mammogram machines were developed 100% by men.  They are also evidence of the absurd level of tolerance women have for pain and discomfort.  I am not blaming women, as I, too, have been unreasonably cool with gifts from The Patriarchy like toxic tampons and threading…but as of yesterday, I draw the line at anything that treats my flesh like silly putty.

A medieval chair of nails or a mammogram machine? I need a minute.

Not only are they painful and humiliating, but mammogram machines result in a high number of  false negatives for women with dense breasts. Not to mention the whole radiation thing.  Isn’t that what causes cancer? None of it makes sense, but neither do school shootings or the fact that Apple and Verizon have communication issues.  We live in an insane world and if there is one thing I have learned since the election, THERE ARE NO ADULTS IN AMERICA.

I came back six months later and the lump had disappeared.  Why? How? Nobody knows, but, sadly, nobody cares. Lady parts do weird things.  It takes caring about women to understand the changes in our bodies, and who has the time, when you have nifty 50-year-old inaccurate machine that -— on some level — reminds “medical practitioners” that torture isn’t just for the CIA. (And, yes, I do believe that somebody somewhere is jerking off to the image of flattened boobs…)

I can see a day when mammograms are treated like a spa day. But no matter how much flute music and cucumber water you give me, I am not squashing myself into that thing ever again.

Kaiser has reimbursed me for some of the costs of the ultrasound that, while expensive, at least doesn’t traumatize me physically.  (I do have to listen to the technician’s self-talk, “What is this?!)  I am not done publicly shaming Kaiser for flagrantly profiting off of a very real threat to my health.  You will never convince me that Kaiser gives a crap about actual cancer prevention.  But the least they could do, is advance their medical practices beyond the archaic stone age of blood letting.

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Because You Have To Dance!

Need some inspiration? I am here for you!

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Crockpots & Paisley Suits

Not a willing participant in the fashion show. My face says it all.

For my 14th birthday, my grandmother bought me a paisley suit from Contempo Casuals.  She loved clothes and Contempo was her store.  She wore leopard print tops (and nightgowns and bathrobes) and three inch heels (as slippers), well into her 70s. I don’t want to hear about your mid-life crisis; I had a Sexy Grandma.

When I opened the box with the Paisley-print suit in Miami Vice pastels, I was mortified.  In my mind, family didn’t “get” me.  I probably wanted something from Esprit or Guess to wear with my espadrilles and pearls (which I never owned). I wanted to look like the evil girls in 80s movies.  The sorority girls in “Revenge Of The Nerds.”  I was more Molly Ringwald in “Pretty In Pink,” with far less (to none) personal style and a mother at home.  An important distinction.

My grandmother loved clothes; they were her source of creativity and expression. Whenever I went on a trip, and she helped me pack, we had an outfit for the plane. That was the time period, if you can believe it, when people would have been horrified by sweat pants in economy.  She worked as a migrant farm worker, but dressed like a Mad Men secretary.  She dressed up to go to K-Mart or the doctor.  I had a hamper full of her cast off dresses and wigs that I used for dressing up. I would give anything for a piece of her wardrobe now.

I would also give anything for that Paisley suit, that I hated.  I wanted to be preppy, not Contempo-chic. Now I shop at the $15.99 or less stores at strip malls. Screw Made(not-so)well and Splendid (I find their stuff all the time at Thrift stores). I’m all about the cheap, low quality.  Maybe it’s the salsa dancer in me, but I think of short-lived not-sustainable fashion as the people’s clothes.

A few years ago my mother gave me a crock pot for Christmas.  Like the Paisley suit, I wanted to throw it in the trash. What the hell am I going to do with a crockpot? I DON’T COOK. Which is precisely why my mother knew I needed a crockpot. A crockpot is only cooking, if opening containers and dumping contents into a pot is cooking.  I think I wanted a gift card for Anthropologie.  My mother refused to go my way, and got me what she thought I needed.

Since she died I do something I never did before. I think about meals. I plan them ahead of time. I BUY vegetables.  I hear her voice, “Use the crockpot,” whispering to me.  On the the three year anniversary of her death I made arroz con pollo (rich and chicken). It took all of five minutes to assemble and came out great.

I wish people didn’t have to die to realize that they did get me.

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PMS And A Course In Miracles

I don’t believe in the Super Bowl, but I do believe in Super Bowl parties. Especially when they extract me from a PMS bed-ridden crying spell and get me to put on concealer and mascara.  (I was very honest with my friend about why I couldn’t make his party and he promised me that Aleve would be waiting for me along with margaritas and Pringles.)

I used to think that PMS was, yet, another myth intended discredit women’s thoughts and feelings.  I no longer feel that way. PMS. Is. Real. However, rather than making women “crazy,” I do believe that all of PMS’s Kill Bill– feelings are actually the result of an unhealthy level of sanity and clarity.  PMS shines fluorescent lights on a reality we’re not really prepared to see that clearly.  Rather than pathologize it, PMS is my new best friend. The kind that tells you that your boyfriend is a cheater. PMS makes you accept the crappiness of life, feel the sadness so you can move on, and fully supports your trip to Yogurtland.

[WARNING: THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH CONTAINS GRAPHIC REFERENCE TO THE FEMALE MENSTRUAL CYLE]  I have gotten squeamish about body stuff, but that is about to change. Last month I co-produced a comedy benefit show to raise money for the Alexandria House. We asked the organization what items they would like us to donate and they responded with “tampons, pads, diapers and cleaning supplies.” “Tampons?!”  I thought.  You mean, Target and Walmart don’t just give them away?  WHY DO HOMELESS WOMEN HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT TAMPONS?

It made me realize how much money women spend to keep our personal worlds from looking like elevator scene from The Shining.  Not only that, but tampons are taxed.  The streets and roads that we drive on are PAVED WITH THE BLOOD OF OUR UTERI (and I had to look to up the plural of uterus to figure out that it was “uteri”…because that’s how far behind me are as women). Seeing that, at this age, I have probably fully funded the construction of at least one traffic light, I think I have the right to discuss the physical reality and discomfort of working, living and walking while in fear of when Carrie’s prom will take over my jeans. *you were warned*

In an ideal world, when femininity is respected, the female orgasm is celebrated, and young women can go to the doctor without getting assaulted, we will have reams of books and videos about how to handle the depth of feeling during PMS.  For now, when the sky falls, I eat bacon, cookie dough, really, anything with salt and sugar, cry and read my favorite inspirational book, “A Course In Miracles.”  Although I have been reading it for 15 years, I don’t talk about it too much because I worry that my reverence for a 600 page tome of channelled material in the voice of Jesus Christ could really be misunderstood.  At it’s most accessible, The Course In Miracles is a metaphor for a better state of living and healing. At it’s weirdo-ist, it’s the voice of Jesus Christ being channelled to a Harvard psychiatrist named Helen Schucman containing a dearth of male pronouns.

I spent Saturday with a Man Friend who also reads “A Course In Miracles” and we got into a debate about the meaning of a “Holy Relationship.” My interpretation of a “Holy Relationship” is basically a crappy relationship that, through the grace of a “miracle” has been transformed into a loving one.  One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.”  Like when you see your enemy from improv class at an audition, and suddenly, you’re like, “Life sucks for both of us and now I like you. I GET IT.”

My Man Friend, however, follows the interpretation of a guy named Ken Wapnick, who helped edit the text.  He disagreed with me and believes that a Holy Relationship is any one in which you are primarily connected to God.  We kind of got into an argument about the nature of a “Holy Relationship”  and he told me that since Ken Wapnick edited the original book, he would trust his interpretation over mine.  Then I told him that Ken Wapnick could suck a dick.

But I really do recommend reading “A Course In Miracles” during PMS.

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“Sin Sentimientos” (Without Feeling) – A Salsa Music Video

Comedy friends, Benny Spiewak and Amir Kabiri, and I made a romantic salsa music video to the song “Sin Sentimientos” (aka, Without Feeling) by Grupo Niche, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Relax and enjoy this romp into the sultry world of SAL-SAH!

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Si Hablo Español

Dad is third from left. Mom is fourth from right. Take in Philadelphia in 1968 (?).

I am not a great political activist, I admit. Since I grew up in Berkeley, Protest Capital of The World, this is confusing. My mom, a Mexican American, who was the first in her family to go to college, worked for Cesar Chavez.  She was not a first generation Mexican American only because my grandparents were from Canutillo, Texas and, as she liked to say, “the border crossed them.” I don’t know what The Man Who Occupies The White House would say about Mexicans on the American side of the border, but while I miss my mother, I am glad she is not here to hear it.

My grandparents in 1940s. Most likely in Arvin.

My mom enrolled me in the Spanish bilingual program in Berkeley schools, which put me in classes with mostly immigrant children, most from Mexico. I also spent my early mornings and evenings with Mexican families who babysat me. One family consisted of ten members who lived in a one bedroom apartment. The father worked as a waiter at a seafood restaurant. I was only 3 or 4 and needed things like juice or help using the bathroom.  So I learned to speak Spanish fluently in order to survive and get my needs met.  Like many first generations Mexicans, my mother didn’t speak Spanish to her parents.  She had a slight English accent. When I speak Spanish, however, I sound like Mexican immigrant.

As I grew older, and didn’t need to speak Spanish to survive, I stopped speaking it and it became rusty.  When I travel to a Spanish speaking country my fluency comes back.  A few years ago I worked at Herbalife corporate headquarters, a mostly Spanish speaking company, and I began to speak to the cooks in the cafeteria. I realized that I am a different person when I speak Spanish. A different part of my personality comes out.  I am not sure how to describe it, but one who is probably more chill, relaxed, grounded and non-judgmental.  Probably the part of me that stopped growing when I turned 12 or 13 and started hanging out with White Kids from the hills of Berkeley. I wanted to assimilate, and I guess, be white.

But I got over that.

In the last ten years, I have begun to speak Spanish to people providing a service, the guys at the car wash, my mechanic, or, more recently, the guys my building manager sent over to (miraculously) fix the cracks in the ceiling and walls.  When I said to them, “Si hablo espanol” they looked at me as if butterflies had flown out of my mouth.  Clearly, this is not a common occurrence in Los Angeles, a city with an almost 50% Latino population.  Even though I am 1/2 Mexican (and 1/2 half angry), I look like a White Girl. White women don’t go around speaking Spanish to the workers, let alone in a fluent Mexican immigrant accent.  It’s humbling to realize the effect that something so little, that requires so little energy, like saying a few words in a different language, can have on a person.

What does it mean to speak the language as the person doing a service for you in this country? It’s an extension, a show of respect. You are making their (and your own) life easier.  Quite often it results in excellent work, a great interaction, and for me, a feeling of connection. I never spoke English because I thought it made me superior, but there is something inherently superior about the native language of any western country. This is a racist world.

I have met none, if very few, Latino immigrants who do not work seven days a week.  The nurse who helped me in the hospital last week works seven days a week, the men who came and made new slip covers for my couch work seven days a week, my friend Francisco at Peet’s work seven days a week.  While I have no hard data on this (and I doubt any exists) I expect that the vast majority of immigrants do as well. Most work tirelessly and with gratitude. The way people live in Los Angeles would not be possible without the service of underpaid immigrants extend themselves beyond the traditional reaches of a 40-hour work week.  This is often not sitting in an office work. This is not scrolling through Facebook on big “mental” breaks kind of work.  This is labor; building things, creating things, like gardens, and clean bathrooms, keeping children fed and alive.  I am often tired, but I do not work that hard.

Because I grew up in a family with an immigrant mentality and was cared for and raised by Mexican immigrants, I love Mexican people.  Not everyone has that experience to draw from. But most white and middle-to-upper class people in Los Angeles, do benefit from the immense work ethic of the immigrant Spanish speaking population who make our tacos, care for your children, pick up your empty micro-brewed overpriced beer glass, clean your cars in the hot sun, and pick your oranges in the even hotter Central Californian sun.  I respect Mexican immigrants.  It goes without saying, light years more than the leaders of today.

What I want to suggest is that next time you interact work with a native Spanish speaker maybe try saying “Hola.” Practice your Spanish. Surely, you know a few words.  It’s not going to change the behavior of The Man Who Occupies The White House. But it will change the world, or one person’s day.

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Only Six Days Into 2018 And I’ve Already Had Two Days Of Needles Stuck Into My Face

My embattled superhero look.

My genius plan to start off the year at maximum productivity resulted in back-to-back dental and cancer (basal cell carcinoma) removal. As a result, I got to experience two days of needles stuck in my face…LET’S HEAR IT FOR  SELF-CARE.

Thrilled that’s it over, but humbled by the years of denial that led up to it.  I now understand how people die of treatable diseases every day. It took me years to get my “this is weird, probably not normal, I really should get this looked at” bump on the side of my nose looked at.

To my credit, I did go to the dermatologist about it  five years ago and he told me that it was probably a something something, but not cancerous. And if he removed it, it would leave a scar. SCAR! NEVER! So five years go by and this thing looks bigger and sometimes if I scrub my face to hard it starts to bleed. It causes a lot of stress about the idea that I might have skin cancer. So much stress that I can’t bring myself to go to the dermatologist about it again. Because what if IT IS CANCER?!  NOT DEALING WITH THAT. I got other stuff to worry about, like relationships ending, ultrasounds, and financial fears.  Next month I’lll do it. Oh, and next month. A few years go by and I go to the dermatologist for an entirely different reason and at the end I casually say, “What do you think about this thing?”

Dr. Lee apologized profusely, as if this were all his fault, and I left his office on Friday hugging the nurse after six hours of mostly-waiting Mohs Surgery.  At least I can feel like an adult now.

Bottom line: get your weird skin growths checked out. Happy New Year!

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“12 Days of Christmas” For Single and/or Casually Dating People

Just a reminder to myself to buy this album for my sister next year.

It’s tough to be single during the holidays. All the family, connection, and songs about “true love.” “True love” has not worked out for a lot of people. People like Romeo & Juliet, and Chris Brown & Rihanna.  I think at this point a lot of people would settle for “moderate concern”  Also, how is a “true love” going to buy you so much crap like a partridge from the Marshall’s clearance table? Everyone knows a real “true love” would leave catalogs lying around and then casually ask if you’d like a Pendleton shirt or some new wearable technology.  If they changed the song lyrics to focus on what “My Moderately Concerned Love” sent to me, it would make more sense. In the name of creating more holiday songs for single people, I came up with the following:

The Twelve Days of Christmas (for Single and/or Casually Dating People)

On the first day of Christmas my Moderately Concerned Love sent to me: one ambiguous text to analyze.

On the second day of Christmas my Moderately Concerned Love sent to me: two viral videos of animals who became “best friends,” and one ambiguous text to analyze.

On the third day of Christmas my Moderately Concerned Love sent to me: three Facebook likes, two viral videos of animals who became “best friends” and one ambiguous text to analyze.

On the fourth day of Christmas my Moderately Concerned Love sent to me: nothing really, but I did stalk his Facebook photos from 2011 and found four photos of he and his ex-girlfriend, three Facebook likes, two viral videos of animals who became “best friends” and one ambiguous text to analyze.

On the fifth day of Christmas my Moderately Concerned Love sent to me: nothing again, but I did waste the time of five people asking them what they thought of his ambiguous text, four found photos of he and his ex-girlfriend from 2011, three Facebook likes, two viral videos of animals who became “best friends” and one ambiguous text to analyze.

On the sixth day of Christmas my Moderately Concerned Love sent to me: nothing again, but I watched six Instagram stories about his parents’ dog, the time I wasted of five people asking them what they thought of his ambiguous text, four found photos of he and his ex-girlfriend from 2011, three Facebook likes, two viral videos of animals who became “best friends” and one ambiguous text to analyze.

On the seventh day of Christmas my Moderately Concerned Love sent to me: seven hours between the text I sent him and his reply, six Instagram stories about his parents’ dog, the time I wasted of five people asking them what they thought of his ambiguous text, four found photos of he and his ex-girlfriend from 2011, three Facebook likes, two viral videos of animals who became “best friends” and one ambiguous text to analyze.

On the eighth through twelfth day of Christmas my Moderately Concerned Love sent to me: eight weeks of ghosting followed by a half-buzzed hostile “u there?” sent mistakenly on my birthday and immediately regretted, seven hours between the text I sent him and his reply, six Instagram stories about his parents’ dog, the time I wasted of five people asking them what they thought of his ambiguous text, four found photos of he and his ex-girlfriend from 2011, three Facebook likes, two viral videos of animals who became “best friends” and one ambiguous text to analyze.

No need for days 9-12. 

Happy Holidays!

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Episode #6 -Teaching Kyle & Matt to Dance Salsa

I taught comics and podcasters of “This Is Rad” Kyle Clark and Mathew Burnside some salsa moves. AT 6’6″ gentle giant Kyle proves that height is no obstacle to finding a salsa groove. I also got a chance to discuss my salsa passion on this episode of “This Is Rad.”

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