Monday, December 10, 2012

Would You Like Some Tea with Your Placenta?

Well, folks, I have officially become the crazy lady who plans to eat her own placenta.  This afternoon I spent several hours speaking with different people who advertise their “placenta preservation” services while simultaneously coming to terms with the fact that impending Motherhood has turned me into a complete and utter hippie weirdo.  In the past I made fun of January Jones for taking placenta vitamins, but it looks like now I’m going to have to eat my words (literally).
It had never crossed my mind to get myself a placenta pick-me-up.  In fact, until recently, I’m not sure I even really understood what a placenta was.
Placentathe organ in most mammals formed in the lining of the uterus by the union of the uterine mucous membrane with the membranes of the fetus that provides for the nourishment of the fetus and the elimination of its waste products.
Basically, it’s this rather large pouch that comes out after your baby has made his or her journey down the Yellow Brick Road of the birth canal and popped out of your vagina.  Oh, and the thing weighs approximately two pounds and looks disgusting.  Taking all of the gory details into account, one might ask, “Anna, why in God’s name would you want to eat that?!”  Eating your own placenta is supposed to help with post-partum bleeding, post-partum depression and milk-production.  It’s also great for your skin, and since I live in the land of perfect people known as Hollywood, I’ll basically swallow anything that’s purported to make me look younger (except semen.  That I just won’t do, as my Husband would love to tell you).
The biggest reason I’m setting aside my squeamishness is because I’m concerned about post-partum depression.  I have this recurrent nightmare that I’m trying to drown myself in my kid’s infant bathtub while sobbing inconsolably.  It’s horrifying; especially since those tubs don’t really hold enough water to do much damage.  I’ve had my struggles with depression in the past, and while the pregnancy hormones often make me feel as though I’ve snorted several lines of cocaine before my morning coffee, I’ve heard the let down after birth can be brutal.  I figure if swallowing some ground up placenta pills might keep me from sticking my head in the oven, or worse, from an all-expenses paid vacation to the psych ward, I’m willing to give it a try.
I’ll be transporting my placenta in your average Igloo cooler, which prior to birth will contain delicious snacks to enjoy during labor, including Almond Milk Yogurt, soy cheese, and kale chips.  After I give birth, while I’m getting to know my little one, my long-suffering husband will be in charge of making sure my placenta is bagged, labeled and put on ice in our cooler.  He’ll then call the placenta pick-up hotline, and someone who makes placenta jerky for a living will show up to whisk away the goods.  After about a week or so, a bottle of pills filled with placenta dust will be delivered to my home for me to enjoy daily.  I’m sure they’ll taste absolutely delicious with a side of wheatgrass, some sprouted grain toast, and a very dry martini.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Does This Come in Size Hugely Pregnant?

Over the last eight months I have gained 40 pounds.  Not four, not fourteen, but 40.  Obviously, this is to be expected, as I am currently gestating a human being.  However, trying on clothing when one is eight months pregnant and 40 pounds heavier than normal is a truly humbling experience.  I’m one of those annoying women who have always been super skinny.  I’ve never had to starve myself in order to achieve Hollywood’s famine survivor look; I’ve pretty much always appeared as though the only thing I’ve eaten in the past two days was a leaf of lettuce.  In fact, for most of my life I’ve wanted, and tried, to put on weight.  So when I got pregnant and began to shovel anything that even remotely resembled food into my gaping maw, I was excited to finally, finally, have the chance for life as a normal-sized woman.  What I somehow failed to realize is that I wouldn’t be getting hot, sexy Marilyn Monroe-esque curves.  I would be getting a giant round belly, ridiculously over-sized boobs and the attendant back pain and flatulence that accompanies both of these things.
Last week I dragged my pregnant self all the way to Beverly Hills to purchase a dress for my baby shower.  I hate to shop under the best of circumstances, so imagine, if you will, just how fun shopping seemed when eight months pregnant, gasping for breath, and having to pee every seven minutes or so.  Up until last week I’d avoided the supreme torture of bad lighting and dressing room mirrors by shopping for all my maternity clothes either online or in my no-longer-pregnant friends’ closets.  But I couldn’t very well show up to a party thrown in my honor looking, as I do most days, like a homeless, drug addicted Mother-to-be.  So I set aside my usual hatred of clothes shopping and I gave it the old college try.  Thankfully, the store had a nice selection of cute, hip clothing designed to flatter my pumpkin sized belly and camouflage my three rows of love handles.  I flipped through rack after rack after rack, avoiding anything with horizontal stripes (really?  Horizontal stripes on maternity clothes?  I certainly don’t need any help looking wider through the ass and the middle than I already am, thank you) or patterns that reminded me of the housedresses my Jewish Grandmother used to wear.  After picking out a large stack of dresses, I somehow managed to wedge the clothes, my giant purse, and myself into a dressing room that seemed more suitable for a child than a large and clumsy pregnant woman.
After at least an hour of trying, and rejecting, everything I’d selected, I was in danger of having yet another pregnancy melt down on the level of the epic Buy Buy Baby event.  Dresses that were designed to be loose and flowing made me look like a drawing of a pregnant stick figure; skinny arms and legs with a big bump covered in a triangle of printed material.  Items that were supposed to be sexy and form fitting showed more than I really wanted to share about how wide and lumpy my hips have gotten.  Over the course of eight months I’d turned into the skinny fat woman, and it was ugly.  Finally, just as I was on the verge of attempting to slit my wrists with a garment hanger, I found the perfect dress.  It was the maternity version of the Little Black Dress: simple, chic, flattering and, most importantly, comfortable.  Suicide averted, I threw that dress at the saleswoman, handed her my credit card, and screamed, “I’ll take it!”  As I left the store, I glowed with happiness.  Not only had I survived shopping and found something I actually liked, but I’d survived shopping while eight months pregnant.  After that experience, giving birth should be a cakewalk!
Honestly, I never expected that pregnancy would give me a new appreciation for my pre-baby figure.  In fact, I’m really looking forward to getting some semblance of it back after the baby makes his appearance, and I’ve made a pact with myself that I will no longer complain about my body.   Although it would be nice if I could keep the porno-size boobs indefinitely.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baby (Stuff) on Board

I just registered for a breast pump.  Let me say that again in case you missed it the first time, I just registered for a breast pump.  Prior to becoming pregnant, the last things I added to my Amazon wish list were 50 Shades of Grey and How to Mix the Perfect Cocktail.  Dear God, what has become of me?  I have spent much of the past several days registering for strange gadgets on that are  “must haves” when one has a baby.  Apparently, you actually do need more than a few diapers, a couple of onesies and your boobs once baby arrives.
I am not one of these women whose bedside table is piled with pregnancy and motherhood books.  In fact, had it not been for my Mother sending me Amazon boxes full of parenting books, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have read anything pertaining to baby care at all.  What can I say, I find House Beautiful just a tiny bit more fascinating than reading about diapering and sore nipple care.  So imagine my distress when a friend asked me where I was registered.  I was tempted to tell her just to get me a case of Belvedere at BevMo (to enjoy after the birth), but then I thought better of it.  Which is how I found myself at Buy Buy Baby surrounded by stuff I’ve never heard of, accompanied by my Mother.  Buy Buy Baby is the Bed Bath and Beyond of baby crap.  Imagine a store, several football fields in size, stocked floor to ceiling with stuff I supposedly need for my soon-to-arrive offspring.  Now couple this super-sized baby supply hell with an emotionally unstable pregnant woman prone to anxiety and her Mother who hasn’t bought baby supplies since Staying Alive was number one on the pop charts and the Harvey Wallbanger was the cocktail of choice.
As my Mother cruised around the store commenting on how many wonderful things have been invented since I was born in the Mesozoic age, I followed behind, attempting to use my self-hypnosis techniques to avoid having a panic attack and/or causing gross bodily harm to my Mother or myself with a bottle cleaning brush.  Eventually one of the salespeople noticed the homicidal maniac look on my face and took us under his wing.  After explaining that he himself has five kids (I was tempted to give him the condoms I still carry in my wallet, but I figured it was too late at this point), he walked us through the store and pointed out all the things that I really did need to purchase if I didn’t want to have my child taken away by the Department of Children and Family Services.  I test drove strollers, I learned how to fasten a kid in a car seat, and I even got to try on a Boppy and a My Breast Friend pillow!  Several hours later we left the store with a list of all the necessary stuff, and a bag full of cute baby clothes that my Mother couldn’t resist purchasing.
As I sat at my computer this afternoon registering for all the baby gear we’d picked out, I couldn’t help but be grateful to that salesman at Buy Buy Baby.  I’m pretty sure if he hadn’t shown up not only would I have dissolved into tears in the rocking chair section, but I probably would be planning to let my kid sleep in a dresser drawer instead of the nifty bassinet I picked out.  Which makes me feel really guilty for registering at Amazon.  But, hey, their prices are better and they have free shipping.

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Natural, Baby

Pregnancy has brought out my latent Northern California hippie tendencies.  I have spent my adult life attempting to free myself from a childhood that was awash in pot smoke, unshaven women and drumming circles, but it turns out that you can never quite take Berkeley out of the girl, despite bi-monthly waxing appointments.  For the past 15 years or so I’ve prided myself on how well I’ve managed to leave my counter-culture upbringing in the past.  But then I got pregnant.  I could no longer slather myself with chemical-laden lotions, creams and makeup without being worried that I would find myself the parent of a child with some sort of Kiehl’s-induced birth defect.  Going to the salon to have my “naturally blonde” hair dyed felt like a visit to Chernobyl!  In the span of the three minutes it took my discount brand pregnancy test to tell me, “yes, indeed, you did forget to use your diaphragm two weeks ago and now you are knocked up”, I morphed into Hippie Momma extraordinaire.
The first several weeks after finding out I was with child I spent all the time that I wasn’t throwing up from all day sickness throwing out anything even remotely toxic that had taken up residence in my home.  All of my usual, non-hippie grooming habits went right out the window, which ultimately led to quite a few hours spent shopping at Whole Foods attempting to embrace my new make-up free, prematurely grey-haired identity.  During one of these shopping trips, while lunching on some sort of vegan, gluten-free, flavor-free sandwich from the deli case, I wandered into the book section and discovered that while I was certainly on the right path with my non-toxic pregnancy, I was completely unprepared to give my child a trauma-free birth experience.  Here I was, blissfully unaware of all the dangers that could befall my offspring simply by being born in a hospital!  Did I not realize that getting an epidural often leads to emergency c-section?  How about the drugs that are used for induction of labor that can cause uterine rupture and death of the Mother?  There I was, barely out of my first trimester and sobbing over a fake meat sandwich in the aisles of Whole Foods.  I had failed my child already by not preparing myself to have a natural birth.  I was, as I feared, a terrible Mother.
Thus began my journey into the world of natural childbirth.  I read books, I watchedThe Business of Being Born, I met with Doulas (birth coaches), I watched More Business of Being Born, and eventually I signed myself up for a HypnoBirthing class.  Once a week I drag my husband to this class where they use terms like “pressure waves” (for contractions), “birthing time” (for labor), and “caregiver” (instead of Doctor).  This HypnoBirthing stuff is no joke.  We’re talking about making a major commitment to natural childbirth; daily exercises, hypnosis practice multiple times a week, and three-hour classes in which we learn all about how horrible it is to not have a natural birth.  But of course, I want to do what’s best for my baby (at least until he comes out, and then it’ll just be downhill from there), and I’m a complete and utter control freak, so I’m determined to succeed at pushing this kid out without anything except my natural “hypnoanaesthesia”.  So now I spend at least an hour each night hypnotizing myself and practicing exercises designed to open up my birthing muscles (I know, totally gross).  In addition to the classes and the hypnosis practice, I also have to listen to a “Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations” CD every day.  If you can, dear reader, picture me driving around Los Angeles fighting my inherent road rage while listening to a calming female voice tell me that “I love my pregnant body.  My pregnant body is beautiful and perfect.” or “Babies come on their birth days, not when Doctors decide.”  It’s truly a sight to behold when I’m sobbing at my joyful pregnancy affirmations while at the same time giving the asshole in the Prius who just cut me off the finger.
I think in the end I’m surprised at my dedication to being such a Hippie Mamma.  Considering all the unnatural substances I’ve put into my body over the course of my lifetime, I figured I’d be as casual about pregnancy as I was about the men I slept with.  In the end, though, I figure I’m pretty lucky to have the chance to give birth to my own kid, and I might as well give him the best chance from the outset.  Oh, I’m sure I’ll manage to screw the kid up pretty quickly after he comes out, but at least I know that I did my best to make sure he had a non-toxic stay in my womb and a trauma-free trip down the birth canal.  Once he’s out, I plan to go back to wearing toxic lipstick and drinking with abandon, but until then I’m learning to love the smell of Patchouli.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mother is the Scariest Word in the English Language

My friends, I am a mere 13 weeks away from becoming some poor kid’s Mother.  This is a terrifying thought.  In just three months I will be expected to not only push a large human being out through a very small hole, but I’ll also have to care for this child right away without any sort of nap or shower or even a revitalizing cocktail.  Which begs the question: what the hell have I gotten myself into? 

One would surmise that in my advanced age (I’m 102 in Hollywood years) I would be ready to assume the responsibility of parenthood.  The trouble is that I have spent my life avoiding taking responsibility for anything other than deciding where my friends and I should meet for Happy Hour.  Hey, I even chose a career that allows me the freedom to sleep until noon and to drink while I work.  Does that sound like a woman uniquely suited for Motherhood?  And yet, here I am, buying things called Soothies and Boo Boo Bears and making appointments with Pediatricians who expect me to ask educated questions about the health of my future child.  And in just a few weeks a tiny, helpless bundle of screaming humanity will be looking up at me expecting me to instinctively know how to feed it or diaper it or put it to sleep.  Dear Reader, I am S-C-R-E-W-E-D. 

I know that women have been giving birth and caring for babies since the beginning of time, but now that my Baby’s birth day is actually within shouting distance, I’m starting to get concerned that I may not possess the distinct gene that tells women what to do when presented with a small, screaming, red-faced infant.  Oh, sure, I’m a smart woman and I’ll figure it out (read: hand baby to my Mother and run screaming from the house), but I am absolutely terrified that this is not going to end well for me or my offspring.  The ideas that run through my over-taxed pregnant brain are insane.  I can’t help but think about all the terrible outcomes that my bad parenting could cause.  Perhaps my child will become a hard-partying screw-up because I don’t plan to co-sleep.  Or worse, maybe my kid will be a total math nerd with no friends who gets beat up at lunchtime.  No matter which way it goes, I can definitely be guaranteed one thing: my kid will most likely need a very long and expensive course of therapy. 

If you think I’m a neurotic mess now, just imagine what I’m going to be like when I’ve only slept two hours, my boobs are leaking milk, and I haven’t showered for six days.  Honestly, I’m not sure one really can be prepared for the complete and utter life change that occurs when one becomes a parent.  Sure, I’ve registered for all the stuff that tells me are “must-haves”, I’ve signed up for a diaper delivery service and I’m planning on buying out the entire Trader Joe’s freezer section to make sure there’s food for us to eat, but that’s kind of as far as you can go until the kid decides to make his entrance downstage vagina.  Until then I’ll continue to pace the hallway each night imagining all the ways I’m sure to be an unfit Mother.  Here’s hoping it’s okay to take Klonopin while breastfeeding.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bad Credit

I’ve never been very good at choosing the people I get involved with; from lovers to roommates, I’ve managed to snag myself some real losers.  While I can trace my bad choices in men to my Daddy issues (thank you, 25 years of therapy!), I’m still trying to figure out how I can blame him for some of the truly terrible roommates I’ve chosen over the years.  I’ve lived with a raging coke addict, a girl with OCD, the hooker fondly remembered here and sticky fingers Suzy. 

My co-habitation with Suzy started out well enough.  We met in the incredibly stupid, unbelievably boring English 101 class all NYU students are required to take during their freshman year.  Suzy and I bonded over the fact that our fellow students were idiots who didn’t know how to write a paper and that we were pretty sure our scores on the English portion of the SATs were higher than the Professor’s.  So basically, our friendship was forged on the fact that we felt ourselves to be intellectually superior to, well, everyone.  We began to hang out together all the time, and found we had quite a lot in common, such as preferring to spend our afternoons at Happy Hour rather than in class.  Naturally, when the school sent out a notice that it was time to choose roommates for sophomore year housing, Suzy and I jumped at the chance to live together.  We envisioned hours of fun decorating our glamorous dorm room on the corner of 26th Street and Ghetto Ave., and spending our weekends at all the hot clubs willing to let us in if we gave the doormen blow jobs.  

Our rooming together worked out well at first, mainly because I was happy to be living with someone who wasn’t charging the men she brought home.  Then one afternoon, while I was enjoying a nap (AKA sleeping off a hangover), the phone rang.  In my half-awake state it took me a minute to understand who was on the other end, but slowly I started to come to consciousness and figure out that it was MasterCard calling to tell me that someone had used my credit card and charged $7560.00 at Rampage.  They thought this seemed out of the ordinary because most of my debt was racked up at bars, nightclubs, and the bodega where my dealer dropped off my blow (what can I say, I am a creature of habit.  Bad habit, but still…).  They wanted to know if I had recently gone on a shopping spree.  Now, if I were going to go shopping for clothing and spend $7560, it sure as Hell would not be at Rampage.  I may not have good taste in men, but I have excellent taste in clothing.  For that kind of cash I would’ve at least gone to Miu Miu or bought myself a couple pairs of Manolos.  I started reading Vogue magazine at the age of nine so, no, MasterCard, I did not recently spend over $7000 on tacky clothing made of synthetic material assembled by some malnourished 10 year old girl in a Malaysian sweat shop.  Give me a little credit here (no pun intended).  I filed a fraud claim with MasterCard and hung up the phone, perplexed.  I didn’t remember losing my card recently.  Sure, I suppose I could’ve been so drunk that I left it at one of the bars I frequented, but I only went to places where the bartenders were hot dudes, and I couldn’t imagine any of them stealing my card and buying clothing at Rampage.  When I checked my wallet the stolen card was there, sitting in its well-worn little pocket, just as it should be. 

That’s when I started to put the pieces together.  I’d noticed Suzy had been sporting quite a few new outfits in the past week or so.  While my drinking schedule had kept me so busy I hadn’t had a chance to check them out/ borrow any of them, they looked as though they could’ve been purchased from Rampage.  So I started sleuthing in her half of our dorm room.  Sure enough, she had a whole closet full of cheap clothing with Rampage tags still attached.  A little further digging in her desk unearthed the receipt for said purchases with my credit card number and my forged signature.  Talk about a bad friend!  Not only was Suzy stealing from me, but she also didn’t even know me well enough to realize that I would never, ever, spend that much money on clothing made out of rayon. 

I never spent another night in the same room with Suzy.  I packed my stuff, filed a report with the campus police after showing them the receipts with my obviously forged signature, and they arrested her.  For the rest of the year I spent my nights sleeping at random guys’ apartments, always with my wallet tucked safely under my pillow.  Somehow I eventually snagged myself a really great roommate; a lovely and talented girl who enjoyed very dry martinis, jazz music, and Vogue magazine.  As for Suzy, last I heard she became a lawyer; which I guess just means that she figured out a way to steal from people legally.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Well, dear reader, I am with child.  I am pregnant, preggo, knocked up, pg, have a bun in the oven, whatever you want to call it, I am expecting a baby.  Apparently I have reached the stage in my life where I have decided to make the ultimate commitment and have a child.  Considering that most mornings I can’t even commit to a hairstyle, this is a pretty big deal for me.  On the one hand, I appear to be in a place in my life where this seems to be a rational, adult decision: I’m married, I no longer live in a studio apartment on a questionable block in East Hollywood, and I’ve learned to save money instead of buying shoes.  On the other hand I don’t really feel “grown-up”, I tell jokes about sex for living, and I still haven’t gotten comfortable reacting to a positive pregnancy test with joy instead of horror. 

As I’m sure you can imagine, a woman with my checkered past has experienced her share of pregnancy scares.  Despite the fact that teen pregnancy seemed to rip through my high school faster than a bad case of head lice, it’s a miracle that I managed to make it to the age of 18 with an unmolested uterus.  However, I apparently felt it was my duty to make up for this fact when I moved to New York for college.  In my oh-so-impressive quest to sleep with every single sleazy and inappropriate man on the island of Manhattan (as well as several from the outer boroughs), I often found myself whiling away the hours at NYU health services sheepishly explaining my reckless lifestyle and how exactly I forgot to take my birth control pill yet again.

My first pregnancy scare happened just a month or two after moving to New York.  At the time I was “dating” a guy who was an older, somewhat successful talent manager, who had several bad habits that included not returning phone calls and a cocaine addiction.  While I didn’t find Mitch’s late-eighties hairdo and booze-bloated figure particularly attractive, I did get turned on by his Platinum Amex and his willingness to share his stash of blow.  Mitch and I went out for a few dinners followed by some extremely mediocre sex, after which Mitch did blow off of his nightstand.  Several weeks in to my “relationship” with Mitch, I realized that my period was six days late.  Ok, I admit it, I wasn’t the most responsible person when it came to remembering to take my birth control pill or enforcing the whole “no glove, no love thing.”  Yes, I am horrified by this now that I am older, somewhat more responsible, and trying to imagine how I’m going to explain my dangerous and embarrassing behavior to my offspring.  But at the time I was more horrified by the fact that I might be carrying the child of a coke fiend who’s last name I didn’t even know.  When I called Mitch to tell him my period was late, I tried to be calm and not turn into the screaming harpie I was on the brink of becoming.  I said, “Mitch, I just want you to know that my period is late and there’s a chance I might be pregnant.  I’m going to health services this afternoon to find out.”  I can still hear Mitch’s response in my head, all these years later.  “ I’m sure you’re sleeping with lots of other guys and just want pin this on me.  Don’t bother calling me if you are pregnant, because it’s not my problem.  In fact, don’t bother calling me ever again.”  In point of fact, I wasn’t actually sleeping with anyone else, but being accused of doing so made me feel dirtier than when I’d done it with Mitch in the alley behind his office. 

When I hung up the phone, I felt as though I was in an ABC after school special about what happens when you don’t practice safe sex.  Here I was, 18 years old, alone except for some friends I’d only known two months, and accused of being a dirty whore by the one person who was willing to sleep with me but not take responsibility for what could happen.  Mitch may have been living in the adult world but he sure as hell didn’t act like an adult.

When the nurse at health services told me that I wasn’t pregnant, I cried with relief, and later, as I danced home through Washington Square Park, I vowed that I would never again sleep with a guy like Mitch.  Of course, I tend to be a bit of a slow learner, so it took me many years, many horrible relationships, and one pregnancy scare that didn’t end so happily for me to finally get it right.  So I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to have a child.  I just hope that if it’s a girl she has better taste in men than her Mother.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Funny AND A Lady

I feel like every time I hop on the Internet, I’m inundated with yet another quote by some blow hard with a penis saying he doesn’t think women are funny.  A couple months ago, it was Eddie Brill, this week it was Adam Corolla, and just a few years ago it was Christopher Hitchens.  I really can’t believe that this issue is being rehashed again.  I mean, honestly, I’m so sick of hearing that some asshat doesn’t think my peers and I are funny solely because we possess the enviable ability of having multiple orgasms. 

The world of comedy, specifically of the stand-up variety, is one that’s designed for women not to succeed.  Starting from the very beginning, when you’re honing your skills at an open mic, you’re usually one of the few women in a room full of men.  Just in case any of you non-comedians have the idea that this sounds like a wonderful way to combine your dating life with your career aspirations, let me disabuse you of that notion right now.  Unless the men you like to date happen to be unemployed, socially retarded individuals with a penchant for talking incessantly about their masturbation habits, these are not the kind of guys one adds to her Saturday night dating rotation.  If you’re lucky, the worst thing that will happen to you at an open mic is that the host will keep you there for over three hours and put you up second to last simply so he can stare at your tits.  If you’re unlucky, as most women who enter the comedy scene happen to be, you’ll probably get molested in the green room before you go on last to an audience of one bored bartender and a busboy who doesn’t speak English.  A lot of women, tired of being treated as a piece of meat, or too sensitive to listen to stories about jerking off and ass rape night after night, never make it past the open mics.  They give up and go back to “acting” or move back home to Iowa and entertain the locals with tales of their time as a stand-up comedienne.

If you do have the ovaries to stick it out, once you graduate from being an open micer, then you have to hustle to get actual booked gigs.  I’ll give you three guesses what sex most of the bookers are, and the first two don’t count.  That’s right, men.  And not surprisingly, they often don’t want to book female comics.  I’ve had bookers tell me that they don’t like women and won’t book them.  Or they say that the audience at their club doesn’t like women.  The thing that really chaps my hide is when the headliner is a well-known female comic and she refuses to have any other women on the line-up.  Way to have a sister’s back!  (Yes, this happens.  Often.)  There have been many days when I actually considered changing my first name to something unisex just to get a booker to click the link to my tape. 

If you do get booked, and you start getting work, then you’re confronted with the audiences’ prejudices.  Comedy is a really, really aggressive art form.  If you aren’t making the audience cry, you aren’t doing your job.  But aggressivity isn’t a trait that society at large is comfortable seeing in women.  When it comes down to it, we’re still genetically a hunter-gatherer society.  Men are expected to hunt, and women are expected to gather berries and not complain that their lazy-ass husband was too busy watching Sports Center to kill a buffalo.  So when a female comic is truly doing her job, and repeatedly hitting the audience with joke after joke after joke, then she gets accused of not being feminine.  Of course, if you bomb, then the booker uses that as proof that all female comedians are terrible, and says that he’ll never book another woman again.  It’s amazing how many male comedians I’ve seen eat shit, and yet no one ever uses their sets as proof that all male comedians suck.  Fascinating double standard, that one. 

The bottom line is that the deck is stacked against us from the outset.  But despite the misogyny, and the fewer bookings, and the prejudice against women, the cream always rises to the top.  Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, Ellen DeGeneres, Kathy Griffin, Whitney Cummings; these are funny people, not just funny women.  The notion that women are not inherently funny is B.S.  In fact, I’d like to see some of these male comedians do what we do: work twice as hard for half the reward and then, if you do succeed, get called a bitch and accused of sleeping with someone to get where you are.  I’m guessing that if the roles were reversed, they’d be too pussy to handle it.  So the next time some lousy guy accuses me of not being funny, I’m just going to quote Roseanne and say,

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fifty Shades of Stupid

For the last two months all of my friends have been telling me that I have to read the book 50 Shades of Grey.  I’m an avid reader and always willing to jump on the NY Times Bestseller List bandwagon (especially when the book involves sex), so I fired up my trusty Kindle, ordered myself a digital copy and settled in with a glass of wine for a titillating evening.  Unfortunately, what my friends failed to tell me is that while the book may have hot sex scenes, the writing is atrocious.  We’re talking so bad that my eight-year-old niece could’ve written something better (minus the bondage, of course).  Not wanting to be as uncool as I know I really am, I made a valiant attempt to wade through this amateur-hour porn, but I just couldn’t do it.  The thing is, when my brain is busy rewriting the awkward dialogue and inane plot, it’s basically impossible for me to enjoy the sex.  Which is exactly the problem I used to encounter when I was dating. 

I suppose I should be thankful that I’m intelligent, well-read, and have an impressive vocabulary, but these are not traits that worked well for me when my pool of dating candidates included actors, stand-up comedians, and guys who didn’t seem to have any job other than hanging out at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.  Before I moved to Los Angeles I dated a lot of freaks, but none of them were actually dumb.  Sure, one of my exes liked to call me “Mommy” in bed, but the guy had an MBA from Harvard, so other than his truly disturbing Oedipal issues, he was a great catch. 

My first (and only) foray into the world of sex with a really dumb guy left quite an impression on me; and not in a good way.  At first, I was really charmed by Derek.  He had seen me driving in my neighborhood, thought I was cute, and proceeded to spend several hours driving around until he found my car parked on the street, wherein he proceeded to leave a note on my windshield asking me out.  In hindsight, I probably should’ve been creeped out by the fact the guy was clearly a stalker in training, but I was so flattered that he’d taken time out of his busy day to find me that all thoughts of Sleeping With the Enemy went out of my head.  I called him right away and we made plans to meet for a drink.  I had no idea what to expect, but I figured if the guy was a total troll I could at least get drunk on someone else’s dollar and then go home and watch a Lifetime movie while I cried.  To my relief, Derek was hot.  Really, really, REALLY hot.  When he came over and introduced himself and proceeded to tell me how he had been so taken with my beauty he had to find me, I almost fainted and fell off my bar stool.  I couldn’t believe this guy, who looked like he belonged in a Versace ad, was into me.  I figured I should probably seal the deal before Derek realized either a.) I was a complete and total dork unused to sleeping with attractive men or b.) I hadn’t washed my hair in several days and was therefore a dirty and disgusting woman more fit for a commune in Ojai than a fancy bar in Hollywood.  I downed my Belvedere martini, invited Derek back to my place, and hightailed it out of there before we’d had a chance to find out anything more about each other than our names and whether we had theatrical representation. 

When we got back to my very glamorous, un-air conditioned studio apartment, I turned the lights down very low (the better to disguise my greasy hairdo), mixed a couple of drinks, and proceeded to get to know Derek better in the Biblical sense.  I practically devoured this poor guy.  I’m ripping off his clothes, falling over myself trying to get my own pants off, and pretty much wrestling him into my bed.  I was so hot for this guy I could barely contain myself.  Derek kept telling me I was beautiful and sexy and he was doing everything right and then I told him that I’d never in my life been filled with such wanton lust.  All of a sudden, Derek stopped what he was doing, looked at me with confusion, and said, “What do you mean?”  “You don’t know what wanton means?” I asked.  “Well, I always order wonton soup at Chinese restaurants, but I don’t get why you would talk about that now.”  And that, dear reader, was when I knew I could never go through with sleeping a guy who had no idea that wanton and wonton were two very different words.  It’s not that I minded so much that my burning desire had been confused with my favorite hangover cure from Szechuan Palace; it was more that my vagina dried up like the Sahara at noon on Tuesday once I realized Derek didn’t understand this simple word.  I could no longer see the beautiful face and perfect body without also picturing him scoring only 200 on his English SAT. 

Poor Derek didn’t know what hit him when I practically threw him out of my apartment.  He tried calling me a couple times in the weeks that followed, but I avoided his calls; I just couldn’t face telling the guy that he wasn’t smart enough for me.  When it comes down to it, I’m a nerd at heart.  I need physical as well as mental stimulation.  So while I may be one of the only people too obsessed with good writing and big words to enjoy 50 Shades of Grey, I comfort myself with the fact that I found a guy who’s very happy to discuss Nietzsche with me after we do the nasty.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Take it Off

When I first moved to Los Angeles I took an acting class that I like to call the Porn Acting Class.  While I appreciate the lessons I learned about my classmates’ personal grooming habits (including the recommendation for an excellent waxer who I still use to this day), it’s not entirely clear how simulating sex with one of my classmates was supposed to make me a better actor.  I know how to fake an orgasm.  What I don’t know is how to fake cry.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed up for the class.  The only thing I knew is that the teacher had worked with lots of famous people, so naturally, I assumed I would be the next movie star birthed from this class.  I handed over my $800 for four weeks of classes and proceeded to dream of the career in motion pictures I was embarking on.  In hindsight, the fact that the class cost more than my rent probably should’ve dissuaded me, but I knew how to sign my name on a Visa receipt, which is how mature, adult women destined for greatness pay for everything. 

At first, I was totally into the class.  My fellow students seemed to be really talented and passionate about their art.  I didn’t love that the class was two nights a week, but I figured I had to sacrifice some of my drinking time if I wanted to be successful.   But then two of my female classmates performed a scene from Bound.  It started off fine, but all of the sudden they were both naked and pretending to go down on each other.  I looked around at my fellow classmates.  Did no one else think this was strange?  Apparently, they were jaded Hollywood actors who had seen it all before.  And I do mean all.  When the scene ended everyone applauded and the two actresses calmly put on bathrobes and proceeded to sit down in front of the teacher to receive feedback.  I don’t remember if they received a good review or not.  I was too traumatized by the fact that I’d paid $800 to see something I could’ve watched on Cinemax for free (thanks to my introductory cable package). 

Over the following months I saw blow-jobs, anal sex, a scene about strippers where twelve of my classmates stood around naked and smoked cigarettes, and one truly unforgettable scene that included bondage.   Initially, I assumed that my classmates had an exhibitionist streak about them, but then the teacher assigned me a scene from Nine ½ Weeks.  For those of you who have never seen the aforementioned film, it stars Mickey Rourke (when he was still attractive) and Kim Basinger, and it mostly involves them having sex with produce.  Needless to say, there isn’t a lot of dialogue.  Unsure of how this was supposed to deepen my acting abilities, I asked the teacher to please elucidate exactly why he wanted me to perform the famous striptease scene.  I explained that I did that kind of stuff all the time for the random strangers I picked up at bars, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing it in front of people I actually knew.  I also pointed out that this was acting class, and that Crazy Girls was just a few miles up the road.  Apparently, he didn’t appreciate my questioning his intentions, so he told me I was impertinent and untalented and that I was no longer welcome in his class.  And then he had one of his favorite actresses (read: did a lot of naked scenes) escort me to the door.

I guess, in the end, I wasn’t passionate enough about my art to take off my clothes just because some old, horny dude told me it would make me a better actress.  What can I say, I believe if you’re going to take your clothes off in front of more than one person, you should at least be getting dollar bills thrown at you.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What's in a Name?

I, apparently, have some special affinity for last names that no one can pronounce.  I already changed my name once, years ago, the minute I turned eighteen and was legally able to ditch the name of my ne’er do well Father.  After growing up with a last name that, despite being spelled R-U-D-D, was constantly mispronounced “rude”, I swore that I would never again be saddled with a name that rhymed with anything offensive or that people couldn’t pronounce right.  When I came up with Lane, I knew that was my name.  It was easy to spell, no one would mangle it, and there wasn’t some other bitch in SAG using the name “Anna Lane”.  It was my name wet dream and I have no regrets about it.  I do, however, regret the tattoo of a butterfly I got on my ass later that same year. 

When I started dating my Husband and discovered that if he were to make an “honest woman” of me, I’d once again be stuck with some crappy last name, I hesitated.  Sure, I loved the guy, but was I willing to spend my life named after a part of my va-jay-jay?

That’s right, the Hubby’s last name is spelled H-E-Y-M-A-N, but most people look at it and somehow get the word “hymen”.  I hope that his ancestors are appreciative of this close adherence to the pronunciation of a made-up last name given to them by some clerk at Ellis Island who obviously had no knowledge of the female anatomy.  I’m sure the clerk’s wife, however, was extremely unappreciative of her clueless husband.

While for the most part I do think I make a pretty good showing in the wife department, on the issue of changing my name I really can’t be swayed.  Because if I were, as my Mother likes to say, a really good wife, I would be walking around town being addressed as “Mrs. Hymen”.  While I always dreamed of marrying a Nice Jewish Boy, I was hoping for one with a last name more along the lines of Greenberg or Katz (I was also kind of hoping he would be a doctor, but no luck on either of these, unfortunately).

Thankfully, the Hubby is a modern man who happens to be unconcerned with his wife’s last name.  I suppose he figures that as long as I take my meds and I’m not sleeping around, whatever last name I use is the least of his problems.  Or maybe it’s that he still hasn’t quite lived down the humiliation of being called “Hymen” for most of his formative years.  I always tell him to look on the bright said; his first name could’ve been Seymour.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Talk

I’d always heard that giving birth is beautiful.  I grew up in Berkeley in the early 80’s, so most of my friends were born either at home or in the back of their parents’ VW bus while the “midwife” was smoking a joint and an Indian drum circle was chanting to welcome the new soul into the world (not surprisingly, I had a disproportionate number of friends named Willow, Forest and Rainbow).  When we studied reproduction in science class, the section on birth mostly involved watching the movie The Miracle of Life, where a lady with a full 70’s bush has two seconds of labor and then, voila, out pops a baby!  Apparently in real life, labor is not quite so cinematic.  In fact, from what I’ve heard, it sounds downright terrifying.

Apparently I’ve reached that stage in life where telling everyone you know the harrowing story about the birth of your offspring is considered acceptable dinner party conversation.  In the past week I’ve heard stories of 36-hour labors, cesareans gone wrong, insensitive obstetricians, and fainting Husbands; you name it I’ve heard about it.  Usually while I was trying to enjoy a delicious steak. 

I don’t mean to sound insensitive.  I think it’s amazing that my friends have brought children into the world and are somehow managing to raise them without going completely insane and without prescription drugs.  However, I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at these women again without picturing a crime scene in their nether regions.  Thanks to my friend Leslie, I’ve now seen the video of the birth of her son; all 27 hours of it.  Let me tell you, I haven’t had such horrible nightmares after seeing a movie since the first time I saw The Shining.

Despite my squeamishness about the realities of birth, I think that hearing other women’s birth stories is helpful.  I didn’t necessarily need to hear all the gory details of Janice’s episiotomy, but at least now I know what that word means (Google it – just be sure not to click “images”.  *shudder*).  I do hope to have my own child someday, so I feel thankful to my friends for warning me of what giving birth really involves.  Sure, making babies may be fun, but it’s all down hill from there.  I’ve also learned a really humbling lesson about myself: I may be a Berkeley hippie at heart, but when it comes to giving birth, I’m pretty sure that when the day finally arrives I’ll be screaming for the epidural.  However, if you happen to know of any drum circles willing to work at Cedars Sinai, please send them my way.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

In Sickness & in Hell

For the past week I have been playing nursemaid. I know that all five of the men who read this blog have fantasies of me in a sexy nurse costume, but I can assure you nothing quite so cute was going on at Casa Lane. Picture, if you will, me, un-showered and dressed in dirty sweatpants, trying to lift my 190 pound husband out of bed and help him to the bathroom. Yeah, pretty sexy, right? For five days straight I have run up and down the stairs carrying ice packs, hot tea, and doses of prescription painkillers that could tranquilize an elephant.

I do not consider myself the caregiver type. Sure, I’m a loving and caring person, but I don’t normally excel at activities that do not have me at the center of them. Putting my needs last in order to take care of someone else… not my forté. Knowing this about myself, I married a guy who is older than me, a tough manly-man, and likes to take care of people. It’s the perfect match! In fact, for the past five and half years that we’ve been married, I’ve been the one who needed to be taken care of, through bouts of pneumonia, a miscarriage, depression; you name it, I’ve probably thought I had it. My Husband, Chris, is great at taking care of me. He’s sweet and loving, he brings me flowers and donuts from Babycakes, and he rubs my head while I moan and complain. But even though Chris likes to act super human, he is fallible, and after suffering with crippling pain for over a year, he finally had to have surgery. Which meant he would be flat on his back and unable to do much for himself and I would really have to live up to those “in sickness and in health” vows I took.

While I may not have tons of experience in the nursing department, I decided to tackle my task head on. In the week leading up to surgery day, I made lists, read articles in medical journals about proper post-surgery care, and I cleaned the house from corner to corner to ensure that there would be no possible causes of infection lurking behind the refrigerator (I don’t know why I thought Chris would be sleeping behind the refrigerator, but I digress). I even went to Whole Foods and stocked the kitchen with every kind of delicious healthy food imaginable and I made blueberry muffins for Chris to enjoy after he got home from the hospital (unfortunately, they were terrible and I had to throw them out. Hence the reason my version of “cooking” is ordering delivery). I was ready to be the perfect, care giving wife.
The surgery went fine, and after just a few hours, we were dispatched for home bearing multiple prescriptions, an ice pack, and instructions to call 911 if Chris started to bleed heavily. I managed to get us home without my driving making him carsick (no small feat) and I carefully half-dragged Chris upstairs to our bedroom. Everything seemed to be going perfectly. I brought him lunch on one of our fancy bed trays that we got as a wedding gift, he took a nap, watched a movie, and then it was time to change his bandage. I should mention that the reason I did not become a doctor, in addition to the fact that I flunked most of my science courses, is because the sight of blood makes me ill. On the rare occasion that I’m forced to give blood I have a panic attack, then I cry uncontrollably, and I usually finish off the experience by either passing out or vomiting. I’m the patient for whom they have all those smelling salt tubes taped around the doctor’s office. Cut to three days ago: Chris is sitting on the toilet in our bathroom and I’m staring at a three-inch long incision covered in dried blood that I’m expected to clean and bandage. And that’s the point at which I fainted dead away, in the process clocking my forehead on the sink and falling into the bathtub. Since Chris couldn’t move without my assistance, and he certainly couldn’t bend over, he was totally powerless to help me. Apparently I lay there for a few minutes before finally coming to wherein I heard him yelling my name and telling me to wake up. My head hurt like the dickens and I was seeing stars, but I was not going to be defeated. I climbed out of the tub, borrowed my husband’s ice pack for the giant bump rapidly swelling on my forehead, and I got down to business. I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth and bandaged that wound like a pro.

While I may never be awarded the “caretaker of the year” medal, I feel that I made a decent showing. My Husband told me I did a great job, and while I know he’s lying, I still appreciate the sentiment. I am definitely more comfortable, and better, at being the center of attention, but I love my Husband like crazy which means sometimes I’m going to have to do things I’m not very good at. I just hope the next time I have to play Nurse Nancy it’s for something that doesn’t involve blood.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Model F*cker

In New York there is a breed of men known as “Model Fuckers”; in Los Angeles, we like to call them “Producers”. When I first moved to New York, I had never heard this term before, and was unaware of the predators that lurked at the swanky bars I frequented. “Model Fuckers” are men, both young and not-so-young, who like to be seen (and sleep with) young beautiful women. These leeches hang out at all the bars where the naïve and innocent new girls in town hang out, buy them drinks, take them home, sleep with them, and then send the girls home before the sun comes up. Oh, and they don’t ever call the girls again.

I am embarrassed to admit it, but for a period of time in my wasted youth, I was one of these girls. I liked the attention and the free cocktails, and I have Daddy issues, so I was ripe for the picking. These guys also tended to live in expensive apartments and drive nice cars and like the finer things in life, such as food from restaurants, as opposed to the Hayden Hall Cafeteria fare I was normally forced to dine on. One night, while out at some fancy club that I practically had to blow the doorman to get into, one of these aforementioned model fuckers, let’s call him Daniel, made his move. He fed me a dumb line about having seen me at some restaurant I’d never been to and didn’t even know existed, bought me a couple rounds of drinks, and asked for my phone number. 

I figured I would never hear from Daniel again, but low and behold he called me the next morning at 10AM. This was unheard of; the movie Swingers had just come out in which long conversations are had about how long you have to wait to call someone so as not to seem too interested. I thought to myself, “well, obviously this guy doesn’t care about seeming cool, he’s just so into me he couldn’t wait the requisite three days. That’s hot”. (What can I say, I’m really great at being delusional, which is why I currently spend a lot of money on therapy.) Daniel and I made a date for the following Friday night, and then I hung up the phone and proceeded to run around my dorm room like a crazy person freaking out about not having anything cute to wear.

The following Friday, Daniel picked me up in his sports car, took me out for a fancy dinner at one of the best restaurants in the city and then invited me to come back to his place. I, of course, accepted, imagining his abode to be a modern TriBeCa loft. Instead, he proceeded to drive me to his parents’ apartment in Brighton Beach, where he told me he’d been living for the last few months since he came home from Paris after having broken up with his French fiancé. The fact that maybe Daniel wasn’t such a great catch started to dawn on me, but I didn’t want to go back to my dorm room and have to spend the night listening to my roommate have sex, so I figured I’d go with it. Well, Daniel’s Parents lived in a two-bedroom apartment in a cement block building like in the movie Crossing Delancey. And I’m guessing the size of the place was maybe 800 square feet. So there I am, sneaking into the parents’ apartment, and entering Daniel’s childhood bedroom filled with posters of 80’s rock bands, his drum set, and Star Wars sheets on a twin bed. Talk about not exactly making my love come down, if you get my drift. But I did like Daniel, despite the fact that he didn’t seem all that bright and he was a chain smoker. Ok, I liked that Daniel liked me, which was enough of a turn on at the age of 19 to get me into bed. Daniel and I started making out, things got hot and heavy, and soon we were ripping each other’s clothes off and getting ready to go all the way. I was into it! If I closed my eyes I couldn’t see the Metallica Poster or the fact that we were about to leave a wet spot on the Death Star. I couldn’t wait to get my groove on, so I told Daniel to stick it in, to which he replied, “it is.” Oh my God, this guy’s dick is so small I couldn’t even feel it. Apparently, he’d been moving it around down there for at least a minute or two and I had not felt a thing. I mean, nothing. This gave new meaning to the term “baby gherkin”. Daniel finished up, I did not, and then we lay in his twin size bed in awkward silence. While I may have enjoyed the delicious dinner, even $36.00 sea bass is not a good reason for bad sex in an outer borough (this was before Brooklyn was cool, ok people? So don’t send me hate mail from your hipster commune in Red Hook). I eventually managed to fall asleep after Daniel realized the twin bed would be more comfortable if one of us slept on the floor. And by “one of us” he meant me.

The next morning I woke up shivering on Daniel’s floor, with a shag run pattern imprinted on my face. I quickly threw on my clothes, shook Daniel awake, and told him I wanted to leave.
He said, “what’s your hurry, Alice? I thought we could have breakfast with my parents before I took you home.”
I said, “my name is Anna, you idiot, and I want to go home.”
Daniel refused to get up to drive me home, so he gave me cab fare and told me if I walked five blocks over I could catch a taxi headed for Manhattan. 

As I watched the sun rise over the city, I’d never been so happy to be headed back to my dingy dorm room and sex-crazed roommate. Sure, my life wasn’t glamorous, but there’s nothing like sleeping on the floor of some loser’s childhood bedroom to put everything in perspective. Oh, and here’s the kicker: gherkin dick didn’t even give me enough cab fare to get home. Ultimately, the date with Daniel cost me my dignity and an extra twenty-five bucks.

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