At first, it felt like defeatRead More
Shabbat is a really big deal at my house, as it is for most Syrian Jewish families living in Brooklyn today. At my house, Shabbat is partly about spirituality, partly about family but mostly about food...Read More
Recently, I attended a lecture and the woman who sat in front of me took countless selfies of herself throughout the talk. And I mean countless. I couldn’t get over it. It was so distracting. But it was comical too...Read More
Helen Fisher says that couples want to know everything about a potential life partner before they tie the knot. But when I first met my husband, I didn’t care if a closet door was left open. People change. And maybe that’s the point.Read More
I’m the mother of three sons and I don’t usually get involved, or show much interest, when they discuss Fantasy Football; but when my son, Jack, revealed at dinner that he’d be waxing one of his legs, I got real curious...Read More
A friend, Vicky, and I walked in her neighborhood, near her house. A car pulled up and the driver called us over. He asked for directions. It took a few seconds before I noticed; he was exposed and stroking himself.
When the man drove away, Vicky and I ran and hid behind bushes. Peeking through the greenery, we watched as the man circled the block. He slowed, looking for us.
Petrified, we stayed out of sight. We waited for the man to drive away again before we ran back to Vicky’s house. Her mother called the police and when they showed up, they asked us questions.
Looking back, I think we were awfully lucky. Crouching behind those bushes, in essence, made us sitting ducks. At the time, I weighed less than 90 pounds and, in my memory, the man who exposed himself to us looms large. The scary truth is that story could've ended differently.
Some kids are not as lucky. That unpleasant experience occurred just a few years before Etan Patz disappeared and he, and other missing children, appeared on milk cartons.
Those disturbing memories were elicited with the release of the movie, Room, based on the novel written by Emma Donoghue.
(I read the book, Room, a few years back and recommend it.)
The story is about a mother and son held captive in a small room. The book is fiction but it is based on a true story.
Here’s the thing that many people don’t know: Slavery exists today.
And it exists in many countries, including the United States. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 states. Children are sometimes forced to work in brothels, in sweatshops, in houses as domestic servants, in wars as child soldiers, on farms and in strip clubs.
Putting a stop to all forms of child trafficking is critical to UNICEF's work around the world.
Stop Child Trafficking Now (also called SCTNow) is a nonprofit international organization that does advocacy work attempting to bring an end to child trafficking. SCTNow targets those who sexually abuse children and aims to prosecute and convict them.
Years ago, I read The Slave Next Door by Kevin Bals and Ron Soodalter. The Slave Next Door explores human trafficking and slavery that exists in the United States today.
The book is a call to action, letting us know what we can do to bring an end to these horrific crimes.
“I’m bi now,” Jasmine told Pam and me. Jasmine was a make-up artist at Barney’s. ( I did not "make-up" her fairytale name to serve this post.)
For fun, Pam and I went there before her first date in over 25 years. Her husband, Sandy, an Emmy Award-winning television writer, best dad and husband, all around great guy, had passed away a year before.
"I’m bi by choice,” Jasmine continued. “Women are more honest, more compassionate. Men are little boys. You," she said to Pam, as she dabbed her eyelids with cover-up, "have great energy."
And it’s true, Pam does have great energy. What she didn’t have was a How To manual for dating. The last time she dated, Boy George was a hit singing Karma Chameleon and Blockbuster Video was opening their first store.
A lot has changed since then.
Men don’t come to the door to pick up women anymore.
They don’t bring their date home.
They might, or might not, pay for the meal, or more likely drinks, because a meal, it turns out, is too big of a commitment.
“You’re going to be fine,” Jasmine said to Pam. “You’re an alpha-female.”
In this strange new world, Pam as a single woman, it was hard to discern if Jasmine was flirting.
That night, Pam’s date was lovely. As men of his generation did, he picked her up, and they went to a restaurant together. Once there, confident and comfortable in her own skin, Pam read the menu with her reading glasses on. Not the skinny bitch type, she wasn’t about to order a salad and a piece of grilled fish— dry. She wasn’t that kind of girl. No, she ordered eggplant parmesan just as an alpha-female should. Pam feeling relaxed, took her shoes off under the table.
The evening went well enough. Until it was time to go.
Maybe there was too much salt in the food or maybe it was because Pam had flown in from California that morning but when she attempted to put her shoes back on, she couldn’t. Her feet, mysteriously, blew up, and both her pinky toes refused to be crammed into her shoes.
Her date locked arms with her as she hobbled, her pinky toes dangling, to a taxi outside.
When my husband heard what happened, he laughed and said, “That’s reverse Cinderella!”
Dating can be tough but dating after 50 is a whole different story.
“You have to kiss a hundred frogs before you find a prince,” my friend Susan said.
Susan who got divorced after 20 years of marriage navigated the single world brilliantly. While she was single, we mused over how impossible it seemed to find someone to spend the rest of your life with, especially at such a late stage of the game. A needle in a haystack.
At 50, you know who you are. You can’t lie to yourself like you did when you were 20. At 20, often, the fantasy took over and you forgot to pay attention to his work ethic, his wandering eye, his fear of intimacy, his tendency to drink everyone under the table or that he was a Momma’s Boy. Maybe he was social and loved to entertain, and you liked a more quiet life, but you got married anyway and figured you’d work it out after.
You don’t do that at 50.
At 50, there are things you can’t ignore. And it seemed like an impossible feat to find a match. There were the big things to consider like chemistry, education, religion and lifestyle. But what about weird things like hygiene?
Susan and I would lament; it seemed like too much. Date after date, there were stories.
Once, a man told Susan, on their first date, about his ex-wife. His fury mounted. “Wait until I get my hands around her neck, I’ll fix her wagon. That bitch.”
But Susan took it all in stride. “Dating is like shopping online for shoes,” she said. “You keep clicking until you find the right pair.”
Susan did find her match.
And just the other day someone responded to the new profile picture Pam put up. He wrote,
“Good Morning, Snow White.”
The year I turned thirty my friend said, “You know, you move your face a lot when you talk. You should be more careful.”
“What?” I asked, my forehead scrunched.
“You’re going to have to live with that skin for the rest of your life,” my friend said.
Of course what she’d said was not news to me but it was jarring. What was I supposed to do, talk without expression? No joy? No wonder?
In all honesty, I didn’t give what she said much thought.
But not too long after, I looked in the rear view mirror of my car and saw (with horror) a vertical line (my first) beginning to form in between my eyes.
It was a significant moment, if not traumatic, my youth fleeting.
Then, I started to pay attention.
For a while I got caught up, buying into the idea that aging was bad, something to be avoided or slowed.
But when I noticed lines around my mouth, something shifted.
Maybe I’m crazy but I like those lines! They’re called smile lines for a reason. Why would I want to erase them?
This revelation was empowering.
And that’s why the article in the New York Times, "Cursed With A Death Stare", aggravated me.
That kind of journalism creates an unrealistic, unhealthy, view and perpetuate a ridiculous notion: that we have endless reasons to be ashamed of how we look.
I’d never heard of the term “Resting Bitch Face” or RBF until I read the New York Times piece and its condescending, anti-women, agenda was enough to make me scowl.
And just to be clear, I’m not blaming men.
Women do it to themselves. In the article, Anna Paquin, 33, defined RBF (a woman’s face at rest- no smile) as looking like you want to kill someone.
There are photos of celebrities (Kristen Stewart, 25, January Jones, 37 and Victoria Beckham, 41) who are accused of RBF, which means they look like they are frowning. In my opinion, they are beautiful. But because we arbitrarily label the look pejoratively (angry, irritated), we establish truth from a lie.
Resting Bitch Face is a result of genetics, gravity and aging.
There is madness in creating standards around age and beauty that are impossible to meet, expectations that leave us feeling bad about ourselves.
In the article, Anna Kendrick, age 31, actually wonders, “What’s wrong with me?”
And how’s this for insanity— If I smile, I get smile lines. If I don’t smile, I get accused of having an angry bitch face.
One female doctor, an educated 51 year old women who did not have a line anywhere on her plumped up face, educated me about how as women grew older the corners of their mouths curled downward.
I’d never noticed that before.
She suggested that I become more aware, that I give a little (continuous) smirk, to raise the corners of my mouth a bit.
Was she kidding?
What she suggested sounded exhausting, unrealistic and overly self-focused.
But this summer, at a party, it happened to me for the first time. Someone asked me what was wrong.
“Nothing,” I said.
“You look angry.”
I guess what he saw was my “resting bitch face”, which incidentally we should rename “resting thinking face” because that’s what I was doing.
And what actually makes my brows furrow is the idea that I have to concentrate on looking perky while I’m supposed to be resting.
I was scared and unsure:
Would people like what I wrote and how I wrote it?
Was I ready for the world of social media?
What if I made a grammatical mistake?
Well, I did make errors. Some I was able to fix, others I wasn’t.
And remarkably, I survived.
Reader comments kept me going.
Some of you responded directly on the blog site, some on Facebook, some on Instagram, some by private text message and many in person: at the grocery store, at parties and on the street.
(You’d be surprised how many people are hesitant to comment through social media. I was happy to learn, I wasn’t the only inhibited one.)
Tuesdays became my favorite day of the week as I woke to other bloggers liking my post and tracking how many people had read.
I heard from people I hadn’t talked to in 20 years, from people all over the country and yes, even an old boyfriend.
My work was read in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Spain, France, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and more.
A special thanks goes to my friends and family who let me write about them, their outrageous stories and vulnerable moments.
All year, friends teased that they had to watch what they said in front of me for fear they’d end up in a post.
I heard everything from, “Shhh, she’s going to write about you” to “It’s good Corie’s not here.” (Yes, people repeat these things to me.)
Looking for material or attempting to drum up good conversation, this blog has been the impetus for many a dinner table debate.
Over the course of this year, I wrote about topics that mattered to me.
Equal rights- Gay Marriage
Empathy- Still Alice
Parenting- Parenting Gone Well
Friendship- Friendship Matters
Sex- Masters of Sex
Education- Doodle Power
Addiction- Monkey See, Monkey Do
Writing- Writing: It Could Come Back to Bite You.
The Environment- Earth Day 2015.
I wrote about topics that peturbed me slightly- Pouting Face Emoji
And things that annoyed me greatly- A Tip for My Uber Driver.
And things I feared- Fear: The Good The Bad and The Ugly.
Writing about these topics made me focus on them, and in writing Gone Girl No More, I faced my apprehension, put myself out there, and finally got headshots!
Daring greatly (I'm a Brene Brown lover) I'm posting them here.
Help me choose the new From The Core photograph so I can get rid of the blurry one on my About Page.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the night my husband asked me to marry him so this is kind of a double anniversary for me.
And it’s appropriate that my blog about relationships and my marriage share an anniversary because as long as I’m married to my husband, I’ll always have plenty to write about!
P.S. Thanks for reading!! And don’t forget to pick a headshot favorite!!
We travel Italy on a boat. Close quarters.
From the moment we step onboard, until the moment we get off eight days later, we are together—morning, noon and night.
We take turns, three years in a row, getting the Master Bedroom. This year was my turn.
For a week straight, we don’t wear shoes. Boat rules.
We dance on deck to Marvin Gaye. We laugh at shrewd one-liners.
Everything we eat is delicious: arugula, pasta pomodoro, figs. All different than in the United States.
One bright morning, Italian men in row boats paddle us inside the Blue Grotto singing, “Volare oh ohhhh, Cantaree, oh oh ohhh.” The light through the cave, glorious. We swim– the sea electric blue.
We know each other: The Control Freak, The Picky Eater, The Electronic Genius, The Bloody Mary Lover.
We share everything. We negotiate and compromise. For this week, we are married to each other.
Late one night, we journey from Ponza to Sardinia, a 16 hour, overnight, expedition.
We sit at the bow and stare at the stars looking for: Orion’s Belt, The Milky Way, The Big Dipper.
I am uneasy because we are alone in the middle of the sea, no land in sight. I think about Columbus, the bravery. No electricity, no radar, no knowledge of what lay ahead.
The night wind blows, the sea waves break against the boat.
Around us, darkness—the only light from the stars above— and the Shabbat candles, four sets, burning bright in the main cabin.
“Who’s happy?” one of my friends said over drinks this past weekend in regards to marriage. He wasn’t being facetious. He was really asking. Okay maybe he was being a bit tongue-in- cheek since he is actually happily married.
But as I looked around at my group of friends, I saw something I’d never really seen before:
A friend who was divorced and with her new husband. A friend who was there alone because she was in a fight with her spouse. A friend in the middle of a divorce. A friend who is widowed. And one married couple.
That same day the New York Times reported: 5-4 Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide.
So of course, this historic news came up in conversation with my friends.
“It will be the new normal,” one of my friends said, a bit concerned or at least unsure. “It’s all the children of today will know.”
“That’s okay,” another friend responded. “Fifty years ago Blacks and whites didn’t share the same public restrooms and then that became the new normal.”
How was that reality even possible?
I guess it’s a good thing that situation feels antiquated and, more to the point, it is evidence that in time we'll look back and wonder how we could've denied marriage rights to any particular group.
I must admit I stared for a long while at the twelve photos of the same-sex couples on the cover of the newspaper, wanting to know their stories, imagining their lives— what it was like for them before this vote and what life would be like for them now.
I took a hard look at these people, happy for them, feeling celebratory that they’d accomplished this goal—to be together, openly and legally.
And now they had what we had.
And yet here we were a handful of mostly married people: all living our own individual lives, all making different choices, at different turning points.
What did we all have in common?
Maybe the divorced friend would remarry, maybe not. Maybe the married couple would stay together, maybe not.
I recently read that the word gay has become so prevalent in meaning homosexual that people hesitate to use the term in its original sense to mean happy or joyful.
I’d like to use the word in its original meaning here.
If it’s what you choose—Gay Marriage for all.