Wednesday, October 31, 2007

happy all hallows eve

Well, here we are. It's Halloween. Krista and I did manage to wear red to the office today, but that's where my Halloween energies end. Krista is hosting a Halloween party for her two sons and fifteen of their closest friends. I am going home, turning off the lights, and hiding under the covers so that no trick-or-treaters know I'm home. I think I did that last year, too.

Partly I don't have a costume. I stumbled upon this, but only just today. Too bad. If I could go out as Borat, maybe I'd have the motivation to brave the Castro this year. But alas, digging out my rhinestone cowgirl hat yet again because I failed to figure out a good costume was tragic last year. I think I have a mental block against Halloween. I had one good year in the Castro, and that was in 2002.

This year there is a ZERO-TOLERANCE policy in the Castro, and the one party I really wanted to go to is pretty much IN the Castro.

It's important to remember that nine people got shot in the Castro last year, and I am feeling a little vulnerable in the aftermath of the computer theft. If I start now I might be able to pull off the Borat costume for next year. All I'd really need is a huge-ass stretched out bikini bottom and a new razor.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

liars, cheaters, and stealers

We've been offline here for a few days. I had a nice post lined up, about Britney's mom's new memoir and the fact that it's being published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher. I had a thoughtful draft about the many issues that brings up for me. But alas, that draft was among the many things I lost when my computer was stolen over the weekend. Yep, people, we had a break-in at our offices. Someone apparently stole the superintendent's keys, had access to our building all weekend, and stole three (yes, only three) computers. And so there you go. Krista and I are suffering from immobilization. I sat down at my desk today and immediately started clicking on my mouse and keyboard. It was involuntary. And then I just stared at my blank monitor and let it sink in yet again: My laptop is gone. Without it my monitor and keyboard are useless. Empty. Dead.

Something like this brings up so mcuh: Coping mechanisms, how people deal with hard and frustrating circumstances, why people steal, individual loss and gain, serious questions about morality. I spent most of yesterday in a fog, trying to process the immensity of what rebuilding my files might look like. I felt heavy and sluggish and lost. The reality of my reliance on that thing hit me right in the gut. Just an Oh Shit! reaction that leaves you pretty speachless.

Last night I ended up talking to my friend's dad who's a cop for the City of Oakland. I was struggling with the idea that someone would risk being charged with breaking and entering for three computers. He's attended to countless incidents where people just walk into offices as if they're delivery people, or as if they work there (carrying internal office envelopes or some such thing). It's not until people's wallets or purses or computers have gone missing that people realize, oh yeah, that friendly stranger from earlier today... I've never seen her before. The person who stole our computers didn't just walk in and grab them in broad daylight, but really, they could have. I guess I'm trying to weave a little warning into this post, but mostly it's just an UGGHHH post. I'm angry. I hate you, whoever you are. And now I'm going to take a deep breath. Cause we're going to be okay.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Go Go Ginsburg

So my son would say, "Yo, props to you dude," if he were complimenting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because of her recent talk in a synagogue in Atlanta. (No my son is not Randall Jackson from American Idol.)

Seal author, Jessica Valenti of Feministing fame reported Quick Hit: Ginsburg speaks out on women's rights that Ginsburg spoke about the backlash against women and reproductive justice when she was in Atlanta. Thank god Ginsburg is out and about saying what needs to be said. I feel thankful to her. So thankful. And then I feel greedy, and I feel guilty. Can she speak out even more? It must be hard to carry such responsibility; she has to be a loud voice for women. There are so few women in government positions speaking out for women's rights. Ginsburg importantly noted that if Roe was overturned, middle class women would still be able to obtain abortions as they were pre-Roe in NY, CA, and Hawaii, but clearly the decision to overturn the 1973 decision would have a devastating impact on poor women.

We love you Justice Ginsburg. Keep it coming. And thank you.

Until next time.

Monday, October 22, 2007

cleavage creek

I didn't get out of my pajamas until three o'clock in the afternoon yesterday. I was a little hung over. I saw a concert in the city the night before. I stayed out too late, drank too much, talked too much, maybe smoked a cigarette, definitely inhaled a lot of secondhand pot smoke. I'd watched two hourlong biographies---Reese Witherspoon and LeAnn Rimes---before noon.

I'm just setting up context for my mood here. Cause when I flipped the channel to the local news and saw this segment on Cleavage Creek Cellars I felt confused. My thoughts were forming too slowly, my judgment questionable. This is a winery up in Pope Valley, California. They've got a cool mission. The man who owns it lost his wife to breast cancer, and so he's developed this wine label to honor breast cancer survivors.

The thing is, as awesome as the concept and the awareness-building are, the name and the labels are creepy. Check out the website. And then there's this news guy who can barely contain his enthusiasm. He gets to talk about boobs, to boobs. He's talking to one of the models, saying things like, "Well, look at you on this label. You look absolutely gorgeous." And "You'll always have this label as a reminder of how beautiful you look." And yes, and no, and this is where my overindulgence from the night before was starting to cloud my thinking. I felt alternately like I should be supportive of this, and like something was so off. The women of Cleavage Creek bear their cleavage, and they have every right. And good for them! Be honored. Dress up and have your decolletage out there for the world to partake from---literally. It's good. Busts are sexy. But then, I don't know. There's an edge of Stepfordness to it, a little something about the glamour shots that makes me squirm. They're celebrating life and wine, and they look like they're gueststarring on next week's episode of "Desperate Housewives."

I'm going to ask The Boob Lady, our resident boob expert, what she thinks. Her book, bOObs: a guide to your girls is out, by the way. It's true that we can never get enough of boobs. And October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. So I'm glad for the segment on Cleavage Creek, but you know, simultaneously a teensy bit disturbed.


Friday, October 19, 2007


I hope you've all heard by now about the judge in Philadelphia, Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni, who ruled that gang rape of a sexworker at gunpoint was not rape at all, because of course, any woman who would take money for sex deserves to be raped. In fact, read the story and you'll see that not only did she decide that this gang rape was not rape at all, it was rather, she conceded, "theft of services" because the attackers, not rapists, did not pay for their sex.

This week Feministe had this post 10.16.2007
When is rape at gunpoint not rape? When it is theft of services.

These kinds of rulings by ignorant, troubled, hateful people are beyond distressing. Let's all follow the links here to complain about Judge Deni. We can do that.

How did she get to this job I can't help but wonder? Doesn't she know people in her own life who've been raped? Who does she think she is? How can someone so problematic be in a position of power like this? I know, stupid question, eh? Naive, at best.

But the brain doesn't compute this. I just don't understand. To believe that any woman, no matter their day job, deserves to be the victim of a violent crime is to believe that people with more money, who sit behind desks and lead "traditional" lives are better, more deserving of a law that supports them--even more human--than someone who sells sex to pay the bills. This is the most fucked up view of people, the saddest perception of life. Not only is it a blatant misinterpretation of the actual law defining rape--a violent crime that has long-term multilayered effects on survivors--but it paints a picture of a woman, Deni, so wounded and closed off to compassion and emotion that she has lost her ability to see how closely connected she and this single, 20-year-old mother actually are.

I am mad. We are mad. And I am so sad for Judge Deni and any woman whose case she will preside over or has presided over. How many other women has Deni shafted because she can't bear to see how interwoven her own life is with every other woman who has had to struggle, fight, and do whatever she has to do to survive?

Thank you to Gayle and Sarah for bringing this piece to our attention.

Until next time.



Oh my god! I am so excited. Jenn Pozner of WIMN (Women in News & Media), you just made my day. Her casual and nonchalant use of the word "schadenfreude" in a conversation we had this morning is a reminder of how easily delighted I am by cool words. Those of you who've seen Avenue Q doubtlessly remember the scene dedicated to schadenfreude.

Wikipedia defines it as a German word meaning "pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune." There is no English equivalent, though one is listed there: epicaricacy. But people. Please. Epicaricacy? That's way too easy to botch, especially given my track record with another favorite---specificity---which has equally confounding syllables.

But yay to schadenfreude. I need to buy Jenn a drink. But how can we not have a word for this in the English language? I can't think of any other culture that takes more pleasure from other people's misfortunes than ours. The British maybe, but not the Germans. The cool thing is that I only hang out with people who take pleasure in other people's misfortunes, so I'll find ample opportunity to slip it into conversation. "The way you get off on schadenfreude is distressing." I'll say. "Have you thought of seeking professional help?" And they'll just nod, acting like they know what I'm talking about and I'll feel satisfied.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

new girl order?

I wanted to love the idea of this article, "The New Girl Order," by Kay S. Hymowitz, which ran in City Journal recently. But it's a conservative journal and the article's tagline gives away the real intention behind it---

The Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle is showing up in unexpected places, with unintended consequences.

---and so always with stuff like this you have to know that the writer is ultimately going to go to the place where you wish she wouldn't go.

Dun-dun Dun-dun Dun-dun DUN-DUN DUN-DUN! (think Jaws)

The cool thing about what she's pinpointing is the existence of a New Girl Order, and the phenomenon of what she calls the SYF (Single Young Female)---and we've gone international! We've got major earning power, we're living our lives for ourselves, we're marrying later (if at all), we're buying all kinds of shit with our big bucks because we're not spending them on things like kids...

This trend is very real, but it's written about in a problematic way here. For lots of reasons. But one that struck me right away is the fact that there are lots of SYFs who are barely making ends meet. Hymowitz writes that one of the defining characteristics of this "lifestyle" is "long hours of office work, often in quasi-creative fields like media, fashion, communications, and design---areas in which the number of careers has exploded in the global economy over the past few decades."

But I question how many of these women are making six-figure salaries. If they're living in major metropolitan cities---San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Madrid, wherever---they're not living this high-flying lifestyle that Hymowitz's portrays. Almost every SYF I know, myself included, is struggling to make ends meet in our quasi-creative fields.

It's a nice sentiment, though, this idea that we're living the high life. There's so much to admire! Goodbye to the limitations of our foremothers; hello abundance. "It's a dramatic advance in personal freedom and wealth," she writes. And that's true. It is.

But wait. Don't forget what this article is actually about!

Dun-dun Dun-dun Dun-dun DUN-DUN DUN-DUN!

Unintended consequences? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Fertility decline. Yes, that's correct. You didn't have to accidentally stumble upon it. You knew that that's what it was going to be about. But the notion that we're experiencing some sort of massive crisis where fertility is concerned is so absurd. Yes, birth rates are down in lots of places---mainly in Europe. And people are bemoaning it, and have been for a while. I was living in Spain in 1993 and people were freaking out about population---the decline in the number of Spanish births, though, coupled with the increase in immigration. (Bad word.) So really, this is such a problematic topic.

The New Girl Order is not at all about choices and options and the fact that women are making different decisions---including not having children---for lots of different personal reasons. It's really about our country----and now our world----going to hell in a hand basket because women are more interested in "partying on" than we are in getting married.

It's a common strategy: Tell us we're awesome but that we'd better be careful. One day we're going to wake up and regret our decisions. One day it's going to be too late. I'm getting that the New Girl Order is not a demographic this writer admires at all. I'm getting that it scares her shitless. Cause what happens when SYFs turn into SOFs? Hopefully they just party on to their graves and look back and love the life they've lived. Or, if Hymowitz's crystal ball turns out to have all the answers, they'll be miserable old wenches who start online communities for women who have too many cats, and who should've married and had children before it was too late. Unintended consequences indeed.

I leave you with this: Dun-dun Dun-dun Dun-dun DUN-DUN DUN-DUN!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

litquake recap

Yes, I should have written about this yesterday. But it felt good to vent, and now I'm in a happier space. I'm over myself for the moment---until I receive the next submission that makes me want to put a gun to my head. No, I'm not being dramatic.

Litquake, though ... specifically, Lit Crawl, Saturday night, Phase II at Modern Times.

It was a great turnout for the Seal event. THANK YOU! to all of you who turned out. Our illustrious publisher (and my esteemed co-blogger) Krista kicked off the line-up, which included:

Julia Serano, author of Whipping Girl (June 2007)
highlight: The way Julia manages to be so unassuming and yet whips out the most profound and mind-blowing analysis about bias, social injustice, misogyny, and more. This book changed my life. Seriously.

Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of Dirty Girls (March 2008)
highlight: Watching the audience reaction to Rachel's confession that she loves to give head and she's damn good at it. I love a woman who knows how to own up to a skill.

Jenesha de Rivera, co-editor of Homelands (January 2007)
highlight: Jinky does a hilarious interpretation of her Filipino relatives, and seeing her play out a scene where her girlfriend pretty much outs them to the family had me laughing out loud.

Samara Halperin, contributor to It's So You (October 2007)
highlight: Also laugh-out-loud funny. Samara, when are you going to write a book? I had the privilege of watching her perform again the very next night at Sister Spit, now on tour!

Victoria Zackheim, editor of For Keeps (November 2007)
highlight: Representing a different type of book. Victoria's anthology is about aging and body issues and this is a category that's dear to my heart and important to Seal's mission.

Daphne Gottlieb, editor of Fucking Daphne (April 2008) Since there's no link to just yet, I'm posting the cover image here so you can see how much this book fuckin' rocks.
highlight: Daphne's boobs. Well, yes. And her whole outfit. And her performance and her presence. It's a pleasure all around, always. Our poetess.


Monday, October 15, 2007

i care not

Warning: This is a bad mood post.

I thought about the danger of posting something about submissions---just in case a would-be author or a preferred agent were to stop by and recognize their recent project being bashed in the archives of our blog. But then I figured, A good dose of honesty never killed anyone, and maybe this blog could and should be a destination spot---hell, a hot spot---for those who wish to publish on Seal, or sell us projects.

So here's a submission category I would like to never ever see again: the How To Land A Man proposal, in any one of its various and unglorious manifestations. This submission is one in which the would-be author proposes to write a book that deals with said topic in any number of ways. I've seen a lot of these in my time at Seal because apparently our being a women's press equals---in many writers' minds---publishing projects that help women Land A Man.

And I've been patient and generous and even nice in my responses to people who have sent me projects about how wearing certain clothes or shoes might be sending the wrong message to men; about how women who are overachievers and totally kick ass can learn how to appropriately handle dinner dates so as not to scare or offend "Mr. Right"---since Mr. Right's ego would be bruised if he couldn't be the breadwinner. And then there was the one for women travelers and what to pack to snag Mr. European Right. Or a project idea about how to attract the right man to you by creating your personal space in such a way that you make him feel comfortable. A guy can have a bachelor pad, dishes piled in the sink, carpet that hasn't seen a vacuum since the previous renters, unmade bed. But the unspoken truth is that his looks and salary outweigh all that. You, women, should create a living space that shows openness and good taste and culture, because when you bring Mr. Right home those are things he's sure to notice when he's wandering around the apartment the next morning looking for his boxers. Yeah, this place is cozy, dude. It makes me want to come back here and get married and settle down and have kids.

People. No---Women. Get a grip. Please. First, if you're reading this and you've ever bought a book like this, why? If you're reading this and you want to buy a book like this, get help. If you're reading this and you want to write a book like this, go take a cold shower and sleep it off. And know that we will do our humble duty to never ever provide you with this least-favorite genre of mine.

To better days and better submissions.


Friday, October 12, 2007

wear red this halloween

Here's a powerful and important campaign that's working to call attention to violence against women of color.

Find more information about be bold be brave be red stop the violence at Document the Silence.

The organizers are encouraging people to wear red this October 31st. To wear red in protest. To wear red to be seen. To wear red to "break the silence and invisibility surrounding violence against women of color."

They are organizing RED RALLYS, and it looks like there will be events in most major cities. So check out their site, particularly if you're not a huge fan of Halloween.

I'll leave you with a message from the website:

In a Litany of Survival, Audre Lorde writes, "When we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." These words shape our collective organizing to break the silence surrounding women of color's stories of violence. We are asking for community groups, grass-root organizations, college campus students and groups, communities of faith, online communities, and individuals to join us in speaking out against violence against women of color. If we speak, we cannot be invisible.

This is such an important undertaking, in a culture where it's difficult to launch grassroots campaigns. This particular problem is the subject of a book we're putting out in January called Shout Out: Women of Color Respond to Violence. So I join the women of be bold be brave be red stop the violence in asking you all to wear red and see if you can't find a RED RALLY in your neighborhood.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How are you feeling today?

That's right. I'm asking about you. How are you? How did you feel today?

I have a theory, but I need field work, feedback, research to know if I'm just rationalizing or if my theory makes any sense at all. I'm interested in knowing how you feel today specifically, especially if you live in the Bay Area climate zone.

You see, every single person I've spoken with today--in my smaller home world and my larger work world feels the same way today. TIRED. Not a little sleepy. NO. I'm talking exhausted. Foggy headed. Like you're walking through muck and it's sticky, and you're slow, and you just want to lie down. Right here. Right now. Just for a minute.

This morning, I could barely get up. It rained all night last night. A treat for us here in the Bay Area where we haven't seen much rain at all--in a long time. It was nice, and I thought I slept well. But now I feel like I have a terrible disease. What is it? Hey you fabulous feminist scientists, is it the barometric pressure? Did the change in pressure mess with our chemistry? Could that be it? Or is it ludicrous to put those things together? This IS my theory. Can you tell? There was a massive change in weather here. We went from really quite warm Indian Summer-y-ness to cool with big, big rain in a short period of time. I'm thinking this is the cause of my disease.

If you felt tired today will you tell me? Now if you always feel tired, no need to tell me you felt tired today again. You see what I'm saying? Let's pretend this is real research, sorely needed for an important Seal study.

And here's to tomorrow. I'm going to work toward clarity, energy, and absence of thick muck. I hope the same for all of you. (Sleep well.)

Until next time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

when the tears come a flowing

I've pissed myself off a number of times in my adult life by crying when I was angry. There have been professional situations where I've lost my cool and cried and then beaten myself up about it later. Like the time when a woman told me that her meal was not what she'd ordered and that I must have made a mistake and that I was the worst waitress she'd ever had. Or the time my ex boss announced to the entire staff at a meeting that the mistake I'd made was due to my lack of experience. That night at the restaurant I locked myself in the walk-in freezer and bugged my eyes out in front of the blasting cold air vent to stop the tear flow. That day on my old job I stormed out of the meeting in a fit of rage and tears and got in my car and promptly ran into the curb and blew out my tire. Both effective ways of dealing with anger, I know.

I've been contemplating this thing about losing my cool over the past few days because I majorly lost it last weekend when I missed my connecting flight home from Frankfurt due to a delay out of Istanbul. The woman at the Luftansa counter was being bitchy and unhelpful. I was indignant at first because I thought I'd insist on a flight and be accommodated. But as it turned out, that wasn't the case. There were simply no flights. Meltdown ensued. I wasn't even surprised when the bitchy attendant softened even though that was not what I was after. I was upset with myself for crying. I did not want to cry. I wanted to do anything but cry. But I was frustrated and angry and totally incapable of controlling my emotions. She gave us the emergency exit aisle for the next flight out the following morning and let us use the Luftansa phone to make as many calls home to the U.S. as we wanted.

Over the years I've learned how to harness my anger. I've gotten better at getting mad and knowing how to channel my anger into words rather than tears. But not always. Men have more permission to get angry. When women express anger we're bitches. When we cry we may be perceived as weak, but generally we elicit sympathy, too. The friend I was traveling with later told me she had been shocked when she turned around and saw me crying, but that she was happy because we got special treatment because of it. Which felt strange. I got something in exchange for an emotional breakdown. I wonder how the Luftansa lady would have reacted if she'd been facing a grown man rather than a grown woman in that moment? Would she have been as sympathetic? As accommodating? I suppose this is a double standard. Not the worst that exists, to be sure, but still. There's always some reminder, if you're paying attention, about how very different men and women are treated---for better or worse, I'm not always sure.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

He's a boss, but she's a bitch, and meanwhile, smile honey

Beware people. This is an AGGGHHHHHHHH! post.

I'm going to be doing these posts from time to time. You'll recognize them. Maybe the title should say AGGHHHHHHH? The one above is an amalgam of some of the things that are pissing me off. Every day, we all face those annoying situations that make us go, aggghh. Sometimes that's a lowercase agggggh, sometimes an all capital AGGGGGHHH, and frequently perhaps, that AGGGGHH should be followed by exclamation points, expletives, and dramatic symbols that haven't even been invented yet. And let's be clear, that is not an ahhhhhh sound. It is not the sound of rest and relaxation, not the sound of Calgon taking anything or anyone away. AGGGGGH is the opposite of ahhhh. You're with me, right?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately actually, in light of this blog. What makes me react? I tend to be a fairly stoic individual. I'm calm most of the time, especially on the outside, and maybe I could even be described as quiet to those who don't know me well (although my elementary school teachers would certainly disagree--I was a "talks-too-much" kid), and then I get to that point, the AGGGGHHHH! point, and I just can't hold it in. But do I flip out and lose my shit? NO. And I find that sad. I think I need that. I think we all do. But I digress . . .

Over the last few weeks, as I've watched the news, read my news and culture blogs, tried to keep up with life--barely--I've been asking myself about my internal reactions to things. Is this an agggggh (annoying) or an AGGGGGHHH (holy crap) or worse? Is it worth posting about? That's been my big question. It's hard to know. Each day, the most annoying thing has to be ranked among the other things going on that day. Are you with me? The day I rear-ended someone in my new car? BIG FREAKIN' AGGGGGHHH! But no one was hurt, the guy I rear-ended didn't care a bit, the damage is small, (aggghh) but that dent is a daily reminder that I was stupid, that I made a mistake. In that way, it's an agggghhhhhh with staying power, like a time-release capsule or the energizer bunny. It just keeps on going.

Then there's what's going on with Britney. It makes me want to scream at my TV. I watched the Today show this morning, which I try to do once a week if I can to see what they're doing, which authors they're interviewing, what subjects they're tackling, etc. Today, whoa. A very slow news day indeed. Most of the time, there's not enough time for a big news story. You need more information; the 36 seconds allotted are not enough. Not today. They spent a long fucking time on crucifying Britney. Pundits, legal experts, parenting experts, they were all called in. Photos of Britney carrying her kids. She's lost custody of those children basically. She's been ordered to turn them over to that guy, Keven Federline. You know the one, ewwwweee.

Now I'm not saying Britney is going to win any mother-of-the-year awards. She wasn't ready to be a parent. And like so many other young, troubled women who believe that having a baby is going to fix things, to make life warm and fuzzy, when it's hopelessly depressing and sad, they soon find out it doesn't. So her troubled life continues under the intense heat of the sun-hot spotlight, but now she's a mom. And she's face-to-face in a stand-off with America's image of what a mom should be. We all face it in one way or another. Who of us could stand up to the pressure of that intense heat, that magnifying glass? I don't know what's going on with Britney, we don't hang, but I feel such sadness for her. Over and over again with Matt Lauer and the legal experts, photos of her getting her kids out of the car and over and over another photo of her glammed up for a night out. We're destroying this young woman with our spotlight. That's a big AGGGGGHH, enough already for me. I want to give that young woman a hug, and a new identity.

And then there was the deal with the man on Solano Ave. last week who said, "Mmmmmm, girl, you looking good. Why don't you smile for me now? Why you not smiling? I likes it better when you strut your stuff with a smile." What the hell? To me, on that particular day, when I was tired and worrying about work, money, my kids, whatever, it was too much. It was the biggest AGGGHHHHHHHH! of my week. I didn't want to smile. I didn't want to be polite. I was instantly mad. I refuse to go out in the world and be stepped on and then be told to look pretty and be polite while the stepping is going on. But sadly, I didn't say anything really good to that guy. I didn't smile, I flipped him off, I kept walking, but there are so many things I should have said. My polite meter is often on overdrive, and I want to stop that. I should have said, "I likes it better when you're not standing here drunk." Or, "I like it better when you shut the fuck up." (OK, knowing me, probably not that last one, although you never know what could happen on any given day?) But at the very least, "Why should I smile for you?" Has any man ever asked themselves that question? Why should I BE something for you, look a certain way, live my life to make you more comfortable?

So I leave you with that. What do you say when some guy tells you to smile? I'd love to hear. In her new book, It's A Jungle Out There: A Feminist Survival Guide to Inhospitable Environments, Amanda Marcotte deals with this issue specifically. Spring 2008. Watch for it.

I hope your AGGGGHHHH's today are aggggghhh's. Or better yet, ahhhhh's.

Until next time.

Oh, what's that? You have a question? Is the lady in Turkey ever coming back? I know, I know. That's a really good question, and I'm glad you asked it. I ask it myself. Yes. Yes, she's coming back. Back in the office next week. And that, that my feminist friends will definitely make me smile.


the faces of ramadan

I have the amazing good fortune to be in Istanbul during Ramadan. The best part about it is the fact that it draws people from all over the country (as well as all over the world) to the city to celebrate and break the fast together.

I expected to see continued diversity here---but its more and better than I could have imagined. There are punk rock chicks and women in full burkas. There are fashionistas and women wearing house dresses. The most commonly odd thing to see is women wearing a fashionable headscarf around their heads---full faces showing---with the ends tucked deep into the neckline of heavy winter coats. Its easily in the high seventies. Comfortable but not cool. I saw one woman today in a black burka, only her eyes exposed, who was walking around the square across from Hagia Sofia looking like a bird about to take flight. I figured out immediately that she was airing her pits. Seriously, I was sweating just observing her.

There are many many more men in the streets generally than women. I think its because fewer women come out. Also I imagine plenty of people are trying to conserve energy between sun up and sun down. The idea of no liquids is enough to make anyone want to nap through the longest part of the afternoon.

Theres a huge street fair going on at sunset well into the night. This is where the Muslims---locals and foreigners alike---are breaking their fasts for the most part. Its enormous and overwhelming and it smells delicious everywhere you turn. Istanbul is a fascinating city---more diverse, more new meets old, East meets West, tradition meets industrial boom than any city I know. The faces of Ramadan are the faces of these dichotomies, the faces of the future of Islam.