On the last day where I feel safe in this country

“Why don’t you feel safe, elm?”

I’m a cisgender (I identify as the gender I was born) white (SO MUCH PRIVILEGE) woman, so I’ve had a lot of things go my way. None of those things are sarcastic. I’m cisgender, I’m white, I’m a woman. I didn’t mention my sexual orientation. We might talk about that in a later post, but I’ll address it briefly here.  I’ve dated a woman. I would do it again.  I’ve mostly dated men.

But why don’t I feel safe?

Because I’m a woman who has had her pussy grabbed (fucked, really) against her will. Because I’m a woman who believes that every man and woman, no matter his/her/their sexual orientation, deserves to feel safe. Because I’m a woman who believes every transgender person, every person with a disability, every person of color, every person who practices a religion other than Christianity, every PERSON for that matter, deserves to feel safe in this country.

And we’ve elected a man who will be sworn in as the 45th President of our United States who makes me feel unsafe. There were a lot of things I didn’t like about Former President George W. Bush, but I didn’t even so much as think for a second that he’d plunge us into World War III or just get us nuked off the map.  To be honest, I’m hoping for nukes if it gets that bad. I don’t know what I’d do with Torii and Ty if the world gets that bad.  If it even gets close, you’ll find me in Michigan with my parents.  I love Chicago, but I’d rather not be alone if the world is ending.

For those of you who think I’m being melodramatic?  Try living in my head for a minute.  This is nothing. My anxiety has been on overdrive since the election, and I’m not going to lie, I’ve been scrambling around these couple of months just so I don’t kill myself. Depression and anxiety combined with our current political climate don’t make for good bedfellows. I’ve been watching videos of both Bush Presidents, Clinton, and praying. I don’t usually pray, but now?  ANYWAY.

As a woman who feels that while, yes, he is the person who won the electoral college, he clearly did not win the popular vote. And for those of you who have hoped that he is impeached or worse? Our next Vice President, Mike Pence, would be next in line, and he is not a good alternative. I’ll happily send you links to articles about why he isn’t a good choice, but I’m not going into that here.

For those of you that voted for him? I’ve told most of you how I feel about this, and I’m pretty much done with you. Show me that you don’t agree with him. Your words aren’t enough at this point. This has gone too far. Betsy “the Grizzly” DeVos was too far. You didn’t speak up against her. Speak up. Speak out.

It’s not just about how it affects you. It’s about how this affects all of us, and if you’re not fighting for all of us? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I spent the last eight years being alternately thrilled and pissed off at outgoing President  Barack Obama. But I never felt unsafe. I do feel unsafe now.  This isn’t up for debate. I feel unsafe. There’s nothing you can say to change that unless we can work a whole lot of magic.

The electoral college is confusing enough

So Cosmo has been showing up, and I’ve kind of been writing about it, but I’ve also been writing about other stuff. Some of the posts you can see, some you can’t. I’ve also been thinking about whether I’m going to do Nanowrimo again this year (probably – I miss my Nano friends, and that’s a guaranteed way I’ll get to reconnect with them. I write a book noneya will ever read, I get to chat with my friends and release a lot of anxiety, win win, amirite?), and I’ve been really stressed out over politics.

So imagine my absolute DELIGHT when I get my newest issue of Cosmo, and there’s a lede that promises to save me (AND YOU!): “Sex Moves That Change Lives! Trust in the Erectoral College.”

Oh jumping jaysus on a pogo stick, NO. Do not bring anything politics into my bedroom. I mean seriously, Trump is “joking around” about grabbing pussies, some men are saying “NOT ALL MEN,” and I have had enough. But I look anyway because I’m a glutton for punishment, and so are you if you’re still here.

So, the electoral college. I could explain it to you, but you’d be better off with wikipedia or calling your 7th grade Social Studies teacher. Your 7th grade social studies teacher might even be a better sex reference than Cosmo. I’d stay away from Wikipedia though, if you’re looking for sex advice.  And maybe away from your 7th grade teacher. Mrs. Bunce was lovely, but I doubt she was in anyone’s school fantasies.

So let’s see what we have. It’s sex moves paired with certain kinds of dates. Interesting. “Switch up your post-date routine – or surprise someone new! – with these perfectly paired positions.” Not a terrible idea, but they start with mini-golf. Is mini-golf still a thing?  I’m also not a huge fan of “HEY PUT YOUR LEG HERE!” without any of my input, but here we go.

Oh jeez. “Squat over your putt-putt partner . . . ” I can’t even. It’s basically her on top of him, bracing herself so she doesn’t just sink down on top of him, but he can thrust to speed it up. Been there, done that, didn’t bother with the mini-golf. It’s fun, but it’s not winning huge votes in my “erectoral college.” Wait. “It’ll erase the memory of that creepy clown mouth.” WHAT THE HELL, COSMO.  Do you not know what’s up with clowns right now?  Negative points.

Dinner and a movie. Now, I love going out to dinner, and I love movies, but if I’m doing both, I’m probably going to sleep immediately upon getting home. I already sat through a food coma to watch a movie and you want me to do what now? And the picture for this one looks like she’s kinda in a food coma – lay on the bed, drop one leg over the side, start snoring, he stops because you aren’t consenting. It doesn’t say that, but this is clearly written by someone under 30. This article isn’t winning my vote.

“The 10-Pin Peen” Don’t call it a peen. Just don’t. But if you want to bowl a strike (my words, not theirs), stand against the wall with your ass out and have him penetrate while you keep your legs close together. They say it makes his “Lebowski” feel even bigger. I say this sounds complicated and involves maths to get the angles right. Generally not voting for this one, but bonus points for Lebowski.

The Gallery Glide.  I don’t even know what’s going on here, and I’m looking at a (cartoon) picture. Go to an art museum, and have him sit down. Wait, you should probably go home first. Then, straddle him with your legs behind you (what?), then slide up and down with your back arched. I have no idea. I’m trying to think of fun positions the guy I dated in law school and I tried, and some of them might have been like these, but we usually ended up laughing hysterically and falling asleep.  Maybe I was old even then. One point, I guess? My erectoral college is so lame.

Karaoke. Okay, so karaoke to me says drinking a fuckton of booze so you have enough confidence to belt out “Copacabana,” and then passing out when you get home. But this article tells me that you should get home and get in doggie style, lift a leg, and tilt your pelvis to hit all the right spots. If anyone is lifting their leg after karaoke, I’m expecting them to piss all over everything, and I want nothing to do with that. I remember a night where we’d gone out for all you can drink margaritas and tried something like this. He ended up with a sprained wrist, and his roommate (god he was an asshole) banned me from the apartment (I always wondered if he loved J more than I did). Sorry dude, I laugh hard when someone falls off the bed, and I might be vocal when I get off anyway because the floor works.

And now for “fancy drinks” when you end up in the “sensual speakeasy.” Uh, you lay facedown, with a pillow under your pelvis. He gets on top of your prone body and gets at it. This might be okay with some people. I’m not one of those people. Negative points.

Did you read this far? I’ll know if you did. Cosmo had one of their editors create a bunch of online dating profiles and go on dates. She reported back, and the article is actually interesting. I’ve been single for about 15 years (not without sex, sorry parents), and this is actually something I’m willing to do.

But I need your help to create my online dating profile. I will NOT be on tinder or wherever just to fuck – I can do that without an app. So next Tuesday (10/25/16), I’ll be creating dating profiles and asking for your advice.

So now I’m all in

It’s 2012, and I’ve seen the Tigers at two parks, and I have an idea.  The Tigers are going to be in Cleveland for my birthday, so I should go there.  At my last job, I used vaca time to go to Hawaii.  I can’t afford Hawaii, but I can afford Cleveland.  I book my flight, I buy my tickets (omg full price, I was so naive), and I go.  I sleep through the first few innings, but I get there, and I’m starting to think about why  I’m doing this. The Tigers win, they lose the next one, and I head home.

I’ve traveled all over the place to see people and do things, so why not travel to all the ball parks?  It’s an idea in the very back of my mind, but it’s there.

What do you know about baseball?

Admittedly?  Not much, but more than the guy asking.  I was at a bar, and I mentioned that I’d been in Cleveland and maybe I could see the Tigers play in all of the ballparks.

“It’s not possible because of the lack of interleague play.”

My brain started working as I told him that he was probably right.

“But what if you’re wrong? They’re doing more of it lately, right?”

“What if I can see the Tigers play in all the parks? I’ve got a couple already.”

And I waited for the 2013 schedule to come out because why not.

I have 13 parks to go. 12 after this weekend. Because interleague play.

I’m not patient.


Have you even met this person?

When I was a little girl, my parents and I would make occasional trips up to Traverse City to visit family.  My Grandma had a transistor radio, and while I spent most of my evening time in Traverse City sitting on the porch on Peninsula Drive counting the cars by color with my Great-Aunt Besse (I’m named after her), I remember crawling into bed with Dianne and listening to baseball.  I didn’t understand the game at all, but it was time with my grandma when it did happen. It didn’t happen often because she was married and her husband scared me.  I asked a lot of questions, and I wish I’d asked more because I’m pretty sure she knew more about baseball than she was telling.  I’m also pretty sure that once I was older she was probably drunk and trying to fall asleep.  She let me have the olives out of her martinis, and sometimes she scared me a little, but she loved baseball.  I wish I could go to a game with her.  We’d heckle the other team and talk about how they looked in their baseball pants.  My Grandma was that kind of woman.

Fast forward 29 years. I’m on the internets, meeting people.

“Have you even met this person?” I think that’s what my Mom said to me the first time I went to a new city for a running thing.

Nope. I hadn’t. It was 2006, and I was telling her how I was being picked up at the airport by someone I’d never met, to run a race and hang out with people I’d never met in person. Turned out I hooked up with someone (that I’d never met before that day – the sex was great, sorry Wendy), made a lot of friends, and started my travels around this country.

The person I hooked up with lived in Oakland, and I was 29 years old and idealistic, so I thought we’d have a real relationship.  Now that I’m older, I realize how silly that was, but I also thank him for taking me to my third ballpark to see the Tigers play.  I’d seen the Tigers in two parks at that point: US Cellular Field and Tigers Stadium.  I went out there to visit (or something, I mean come on), and he was all, “you like baseball, let’s go to a game.”  I wasn’t a fan then like I am now, but I said sure, let’s go. So we did, and I went to a game at O.Co. Park number three.

We lost that game, and some of the OCo fans were assholes, but my then boyfriend is a colorful person who takes no shit, so when they were razzing me, he shut it down quick. (tattoos and piercings everywhere were scary in 2006, I guess).  We won’t talk about the Tigers in 2006, okay?

Fast forward a few years after traveling just to see people (I had people at my house – which was a disaster – I’m a terrible host, and I admit it. I don’t like having people in my house. There. I said it), and my parents were like “who are you going to see now?”  Back then it was just going to hang out because I missed my friends.

And then all of a sudden I left a job and had some time on my hands.  Enter the Hot Stove. That time of the year when people talk about baseball but there are no games, and why the hell NOT pay attention to it?  So it’s February of 2012, and I’m paying real close attention and I get a new job.  My Mom is all, “Let’s go on vacation,” and probably to her dismay, I said, “SPRING TRAINING!!!!”  But she said okay and we did, and my love of baseball was reborn.

We didn’t know who a lot of those guys were, but we cheered for all of them.  We contemplated getting strawberry shortcake, we had hot dogs, I had beer, we ate barbecue, and I’m pretty sure my Mom learned how to love baseball. We stood in line to get Prince Fielder’s autograph (he’s a nice guy, and he’s huge. Also?  He’s incredibly polite.)  Yeah, we had a beach day (I sat in our chairs, she went for a long walk, and we didn’t kill each other, so the trip was a huge fucking success), but it was a baseball trip.

I started my new job in April of 2012, cognizant of the fact that I had to earn a living, but also newly aware that baseball was a new part of my life.  Once upon a time it had been traveling to see people to run races, now it was traveling to see my team play baseball.

As much as I’ve always loved what I do (I’m a workers’ comp attorney), I realize that I don’t love it enough to not use all my vacation time.  So I started planning.  I was just going to go see the Tigers that year and vaguely looked at the schedule.  Lots of games in Chicago, maybe I’ll go to two cities.  Sounds good.

I went to two games here in Chicago because it was warm (oh, and assume it’s US Cellular Field unless I say otherwise) in April, and I got hooked.  I went to the game with a friend from high school, and we rekindled a friendship.  Then I realized the Tigers were coming to Chicago in June to play at Wrigley.  My Dad was all in.  He can’t come to ST because tax season, so we planned to go to this game. We did. They lost. I went to the game the next day though .  Tigers won.




There is nothing wrong with you

It’s been ages since I’ve written one of these, so I’m a little rusty (kind of like my lady bits, amirite? Okay you don’t want to hear about my lack of a sex life, I get it).

But the October 2016 issue of Cosmo proclaims to have the sex secret for easy Os!!!!!!!!!  (their emphasis on exclamation points, not mine), so of course I’m curious.

This gal gets super horny when they start hooking up, but she can’t orgasm.  Cosmo calls it an “O,” I call it an orgasm.  I’m a fan of calling it like it is.  Their advice? Whisper in his ear what you like, guide his fingers where you want them but “even the most confident-seeming bros appreciate a little guidance if it’s what takes you to O-town.” (Ccsmo, October 2016).

Really? “Confident-seeming bros?” I just can’t even. Yes, I want to have sex with a man who has confidence, but what the actual fuck. How about we call him a man rather than a bro? Bro implies that he’s kind of a douche, and while you might want to have sex with that guy, most of the women I know run screaming if he’s a bro. Maybe I don’t know enough women.

This next bit is about pap smears – get them. Talk to your doctor. Don’t take advice from some random blog about your vagina.

And then a bit about female Viagra.

Here’s a fun, random story. I did random temp work back in the day, and one of the jobs I worked was sending out drug samples to doctors’ offices. Some random heart drug, but we were practically strip searched. It was Viagra. They knew even then that it wasn’t gonna be just a heart drug.

ANYWAY. What else can I do to increase my sex drive?

Turn 30. Hell, turn 40. I have no (other person) outlet for my sex drive, but gotdamn is my sex drive off the charts. I mean, I do have an outlet (masturbation is great), but no partner gets old after a while.

The article basically says to fantasize. Unless you’re lucky enough to have that person who wants to work with you to get you both to that O. I dated that guy once, and my god. Best sex of my life.

And until you find that guy? Cosmo has some good advice, y’all. (I KNOW.)

But first? Get down and familiar with your own lady bits. I mean, really, how can you expect him to get in there if you don’t already know what’s up?

I’ve been thinking – an explanation of sorts

I know, thinking is dangerous. But more than a few of you have asked how I can write about sex after what happened to me.  Well, you know what?  Once upon a time, I had sex after what happened to me.  It was a long time ago.  And I’ve had a fair amount of sex since then.  I’m almost 40.  If you believe I’ve been celibate this whole time, well, you don’t know me well, do you?  I mean, really, I’m almost 40, and if this blog is any indication? I’m a fan of getting down.  I was going to apologize to my parents here, but hell.  I’m almost 40.  I do what I want.

About a year after that happened- I met up with a woman (I call her a woman, but to this day, I think of her and myself as girls)  I knew from high school.  We started working together.  She introduced me to being a waitress – thanks to her, I have a history of almost nine years (off and on) in the business, and I don’t regret a single day of it.  I’ve lost touch with B, but my parents are still in touch with her, and I hope she sees this.  It literally made me a better person.  Restored my faith in people.  Met some guys that I may or may not have done the dirty with.  Made me a fuck ton of money too.  But just from waitressing.  She wasn’t that kind of girl. Neither was I.

Because of what happened to me, I didn’t trust anyone for a long time, but I tried my hardest to develop real relationships. Most of the time, it didn’t work, but I think I played it off pretty well.  I never got close to my sorority sisters, but I played the game really well.  I’m not friends with any of them now because I didn’t try or care after one of them called me a frigid bitch and a lot of them laughed, but I had mostly good experiences there.  I wish I could do college over again sometimes, but such is life.

I wish I could say sorry to a couple of guys who tried so hard to get close to me.  It was too soon, and I didn’t know how to tell them.  One guy in particular sticks in my brain.  Marcus was a lovely human being, a fantastic person, and a wonderful friend.  If times were different, he’d be number one on my phone to text.  But back then?  I pushed him away.  Probably for the right reasons, romantically, but I should have figured out a way to keep him close to me as a friend.    Instead, I shoved him away because I was 20 years old and didn’t know better.  I’m still pushing people away, and if you’re one who gets pushed away?  It’s not you.  It’s me.  Promise.  You’re probably fantastic.

But do you really have an active sex life with one person or just random flings?

Actual question, friends.  And feel free to ask questions.  I’ll tell you when you should mind your damn business.

I was engaged at one time in my life.  I know.  Who in their right mind would want to marry me? When I was in law school (Yes, I’m a lawyer, laugh it up!), I met a guy.  We dated, we fucked a lot, we broke up for a minute, but the sex, and then he got down on one knee in a hotel bathroom in Seattle (that city sucks, IMO. I showed up, so did thunderstorms and everyone was all OMG STORMS.  Shut the hell up.  One thundercrack is not a storm, you idiots), and for some stupid reason I said yes.  The love of your life isn’t proposing marriage in a hotel bathroom, fam, I’ll tell you that.  The guy who wants to have sex with you for a hot weekend and doesn’t want to let down his family does.  I was supposed to have a gorgeous sunset proposal (he told me this on the way back to the hotel after dinner with his ultra-conservative family who had presents and shit).

I got a “dude, get up, I have to wash my hands,” proposal.  And I mean, I told him to get up because I had to wash my hands because of course I had my period that weekend. (We’ll talk about having sex on your period another time.  For now?  Don’t rule it out.)  Some of it was me realizing he wasn’t serious.  Some of it realizing that I had to call my parents and act excited.  Days  before cellphones.  We worried about how much the call cost.

Anyway, the engagement didn’t last long, the sex took a break and then lasted until he moved (he was living in Chicago only for law school and had every intention of moving back to Seattle), and I swore when he was gone that I wasn’t ever going to be that stupid again. And I haven’t been.  Probably because I don’t let people get close.  However, I’ve had sex again.

That guy who loves the chick who sings the songs in the SPCA commercials.  The guy who loves summertime as much as I do.  The guy who accepts me for who I am and goes on to find his amazing wife (I won’t tell if you don’t – you didn’t know her then anyway!).  The guy who calls on a random Tuesday and doesn’t care if I’m not wearing any makeup and am having a breakdown but just wants to be there for me, and there’s not even a hint of sex.  The guy who asks why I don’t have the heating pads in the foot of the bed (they’re in the microwave).  The guy who . . .


How many are there?  Well, that’s none of your goddamn business.  But in the interest of public health, I’m even more careful about birth control than I am about sunscreen.

Oh, and to get back to Cosmo?  There’s a thing this month, and I’ve never had this issue, but here we go:  sometimes my guy slides out of me during sex: I’m gonna skip the advice on this one.  Google is your friend.

I love you guys.

Thank you, friends

I need to say thank you. Thank you to those of you who have sent supportive messages. Thank you to those of you who called. Those of you who told me that you wish you’d known sooner.  I wish I’d leaned on you back then, but I was 18 and was so ashamed.  
Here is your “there are gonna be a lot of four letter words in here” warning for those of you who don’t like swearing (why are we friends?  Seriously, tell me why in a message or something because I have no idea).
I also need to say good fucking riddance. Good riddance to those of you who said horrible things and who I unfriended and blocked. What did I expect drinking at a party? I expected to have fun with my friends and go get taco bell after and to wake up the next day feeling like shit, like the other times I’d been to those parties. What did I expect dressed like that? I expect you to tell me that I look nice, to even wolf whistle, but not to tell me that I “probably looked like a whore” and certainly not that “girls who dress like that are asking for it.”  If you think that way?  Get the fuck out of my life.
Enough about those assholes, and fuck them.  Not literally.  A note here.  Raping the men who did this?  That isn’t gonna help anything. I understand the whole “RAPE THEM” but no.  It won’t help anyone.
I have a lot of thoughts about what’s been in the news lately.  I was pretty much silent for over 20 years, and now I can’t shut up about it.   Things at Baylor got me fired up.  This has me fucking LIVID.  If you’re tired of hearing about it, the unfollow button is up there somewhere.  I’m glad I finally opened my big mouth about this issue, and I will not shut up.
Brock Turner has been convicted of things that mean he’s convicted of raping an anonymous woman.  For those of you who wonder who she is?  It’s not your fucking business.  Let her try to live her life. It took me over 20 years to come out about this.  Those of you who wonder what the charges are?  Google it.  I’m fucking tired of googling this asshole.  He’s going to jail for six months (*three with good behavior which is a fucking joke) and will probably be out in three.
So.  That’s a thing.  So many of you have stood by me. So, thanks, friends.

So. This one is going to be really hard to read.

It will also be really hard to write.  In light of recent developments at Baylor University (which I mostly learned about by following Jessica Luther @scATX on Twitter – here’s her latest article, co-authored by Dan Solomon – http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/end-art-briles-era/ ), I’ve been thinking a lot about rape on college campuses.  Whether it’s reported, who is to blame, what happens when it is reported.

So I went to Cosmo’s website to see what they have on the topic, since this is, after all, a (usually) funny blog about my random subscription to Cosmo.  They have a lot.  But I picked this one to talk about.


Read both of those, and come back.  Or don’t if you suspect what’s coming and would rather not know.  It’s your choice, and I understand completely if you don’t want to keep reading.  I wasn’t sure I was even going to talk about this, but I’m tired of remaining silent.  I wish I’d spoken up a bit over 21 years ago when I was 18 years old, but I didn’t.  For many of the reasons you see in the Cosmo article.  And because as you see in the article about Baylor, nothing lasting may come of it so why expose yourself, no pun intended.  So I remained silent.  A few friends know.  Most have no idea.  My parents didn’t even know until I called to tell them I was writing about this before I published it.  I owed that to them, and I’m sorry I didn’t tell them sooner. I might be a different person today if I’d told someone who would have fought for me.  But nobody should tell me they’re sorry.  Remember that, fam.  You didn’t do it.  You have no reason to be sorry.  Just like I have no reason to feel ashamed.

In 1994, I went to Michigan State University for college.  I was a 17 year old freshman, and I didn’t know many people there.  I had been accepted into the Color Guard for the Michigan State University Marching Band (they only march percussion and brass – flute wasn’t an option, though I would have rocked it if they marched woodwinds as well), so I kind of had an automatic group of “friends” who I felt comfortable with.  Band nerds like me.  There was actually another girl from my high school in the Color Guard, but we weren’t close friends.  I regret that now.  I got to school a week early to start practices (which were brutal and long – people talk about the freshman 15 meaning they gain weight, but I’m pretty sure I lost at least that much), and I quickly forgot that I didn’t really know anyone.  I turned 18 at some point during those early days, and I kept making more friends.

There were occasional parties after practices, often with members of the drum line, and because the internet wasn’t really a thing back then, I didn’t know why there were always groups of guys at these parties that I never saw at practices.  You’ve heard of groupies, but groupies for marching band?  That were dudes?

If you google Michigan State University Marching Band hazing, you’ll understand why I’d never seen them before.  They’d been kicked out of the band.  I’ll wait if you want to google.

At one of these parties shortly after our first game (we probably lost, that team was terrible), I was offered a beer, and I declined because I didn’t like beer (oh young me, beer is good!  But it was probably shitty cheap keg beer, so who knows).  So one of the guys I didn’t recognize offered me a drink that what I now realize was probably a vodka with fruit punch.  Pretty gross, but I was 18, what did I know?  My friend Megan* (name changed) ran over and told me to stay away from him and dragged me away.   “Stay away from Matt*.  He’s bad news.”

I listened, and we went on our merry way, drinking wine coolers and dancing around the party.  A couple of hours and a few wine coolers later, I was talking to this guy Brad*, and he asked me if I wanted to go talk somewhere a little more quiet.  I knew him from the drum line and figured, sure why not, he’s cute, I know him, it’ll be totally fine.  Megan actually gave me a thumbs up as we went back to his room.

Here’s your last chance to quit reading.  I figure you’re all in at this point, but I’m giving you an out just in case.

We were making out, as the kids call it, and he asked if I was a virgin. I said it wasn’t his business, and he laughed and we kept kissing.  I laughed a little, and I should have left then, but I knew him.  He wasn’t a bad guy.  He asked again if I was a virgin, and I thought about telling him I was, but I just said “I don’t want to do that.”  I will never forget that moment.  I will also never forget what happened next.  I tried to run out of the room, but he grabbed me, pulled my short skirt up around my waist, and pinned me to the bed.  I yelled at him to stop it more than a few times, but the music from the party was loud, and I was yelling through tears by this point.

The door opened, and I thought I was going to be okay.  That someone was coming to save me.  They weren’t.  It was the guy I didn’t recognize, but I remembered his name.  “Matt, help me please,” I screamed.  I won’t go into details, other than to say that he did not save me as I lay there sobbing and trying to get away.

I had been drinking.  I was flirting.  I went into Brad’s room willingly.  I kissed him.  I was wearing a short skirt and a halter top.  I still own the halter top.  Every time I clean out my dresser, I think about throwing it away, but I keep it.  As a reminder that what I was wearing wasn’t the problem.  I said no, many times, but by the time Matt came into the room, it was a moot point.  My life was forever changed.

I went into the bathroom and washed my face, doing my best to fix my makeup and my hair, trying to stop crying, adjusting my skirt, trying to pull my shirt to cover more of me.  I was ashamed.  I was embarrassed.  But I couldn’t admit what happened to anyone.  I didn’t want to be that girl.

I went back into the party, and Matt gave Brad a high five as I walked into the room.  I went and found Megan and told her I needed to go home.  She asked me what happened – had I been crying?  I just want to go home, okay?

Life went on, classes and practices, and a few days later, Sarah* asked me what happened at the party because Megan told her that something had happened but she wasn’t sure what.  So I told her and said I didn’t know who to tell.

“Nobody.  You’re not telling anyone.  You were drinking.  You were dressed like that?  What did you expect?”

I was shocked.  Someone I trusted and considered to be a friend didn’t believe me.  She believed that I’d gotten drunk and laid back and let two men have sex with me when I didn’t want to have sex.  I was 18 years old and suddenly I didn’t know who to trust.  If I choose to willingly have sex with two men in one night, I’ll own up to it.  I might not tell you about it, but if you find out and ask?  I’ll own up to it, but I’m now 39 years old and pretty much have no shame.  When I was 18?  Having sex with anyone I’d just met at a party wasn’t going to happen and rape was something that happened to other people.  I didn’t even call what happened to me “rape.”  I’m not sure I called it anything, but I knew it didn’t feel right.

I told her I was scared of Brad and seeing him again at practice, and she said she’d take care of it.  “I mean, really, dressed like that and you were drunk?  What did you expect?”  I sure as shit didn’t expect what happened, or I would have stayed home.  I came from a high school relationship of respect and taking care of each other as best a couple of high school kids can.  I came from having sex with someone who was respectful of me and who was so gentle and kind, although our relationship fizzled out because long distance phone calls were expensive and he didn’t live in East Lansing.  But my sexual history didn’t matter in that situation.  I didn’t tell her any of this and asked what I should do.  She said she’d take care of it.

I didn’t believe her and went to an assistant band director.

“You know what’s happened here the last couple of years, right?  We don’t need this publicity.  Were you drunk?”

Does that matter?


Were. You. Drinking.  Answer me.  I told him that I had been, and he asked if I’d told anyone.  I was horrified and embarrassed and ashamed.  I was a whore.  A slut.  Someone who deserved  exactly what I’d gotten and who was terrified of being kicked out of the band because I reported something.  Because I admitted I was drinking.  “If you were drinking, you’re subject to expulsion from the band and even the school.”

So I let it go.  I couldn’t get kicked out of school for underage drinking.  I stayed in the band and finished the season.  I didn’t go to any more band parties.  I wasn’t popular anymore.  Maybe because I was used.  Maybe because they were warned by a guy on the drum line who I told what happened and who told them to leave me alone.

Shortly thereafter, I met a guy who became my boyfriend.  He turned out to be a terrible person in the long run, and one night at a party at his house, who walks in but Matt.  Yeah, that guy.  I left and went home to my dorm and cried.  I didn’t join the band again and instead joined a sorority my sophomore year of college.  I met some great people.  I’m not friends with any of them because for a long time I just wanted to forget that time in my life, and well, because I push people away.  I don’t trust people.  I’m sure you’re all lovely.  But I don’t trust you as far as I could throw you, and I don’t even have a bad knee.

And now I’m 39 going on 40 in a few months.  I still don’t trust people, but I’m trying.  I’m coming out with this because I have friends who have daughters and sons who are getting close to college age.  If she says no?  She means it.  If he says no?  He means it.  I’m not sure how you talk to your kid about this because it’s awkward.  But most importantly for everyone?  If it isn’t yours and someone says no?  Just fucking stop.


How long does it take for a burn?

I could make a “that’s what she said,” joke about needing some lube or whether you need to be seen by a doctor, but I won’t.  Except I think I just did.  So there you go.

Sorry, but I’m stuck on this Cosmo article about skin.  I’ll make a real apology when you start really wearing your sunscreen. Not gonna do it?  I’m gonna keep talking about this insanely boring article/subject.  So here we go.

Freckles are cute, right?  Sure.  But more freckles mean you’re more pasty, mean you wear more sunscreen (except some of you don’t), mean let’s talk about moles.  Cosmo says people with melanoma tend to have few moles.  Hold on.  I’ve got to catch my breath.  People with melanoma have few moles.  OH GOD this is great.  Wait.  These aren’t moles.  THEY’RE ALL CANCER BECAUSE IF COSMO SAYS . . .

I need to take a deep fucking breath here.  This might be true in some cases.  Maybe I’m an anomaly (lucky me!). I have a lot of moles.  Not the annoying ones to dig a sprinkler system in your yard, minus the sprinklers.  If you’re one of the lucky few to have seen me naked (I promise it’s a treat, but if you’re not interested, I’ll put on clothes and make dinner or something – I’m a pretty good cook), you know that I’m kind of spotty.  And if you’ve been with me naked and haven’t noticed, well, I wasn’t exactly looking at your skin that closely either.  You know those pictures of models you see with flawless skin on their backs all the way down to their, well, I’m sure they’re lovely, but I’m not that girl.

As I said, I’m spotty.  From head to toe.  I generally see my dermatologist twice a year, more often when she finds something weird, so I see her kind of a lot.  Yep, a lady sees me naked a lot and it’s not even a little bit sexy.  Especially when she asks if she can bring students in to see the removal. I usually don’t mind but I’ll never forget the time I was laying half naked on a table while a chunk of skin was being taken off of my ass.  One of them said, “it’s a big one, did you get it all?”

“I hope she did because I’m sure you you aren’t going to get to watch again if she didn’t,”

Laughter all around, but I wanted to die.  I wasn’t being funny, and the doctor assured me later that she talked to him about things that you do NOT say in the room.  I asked her to tell him that there are some things you don’t do or say and to have a little fucking compassion, and she promised me that she’d bring it up with him.  Note – when I went back to have the stitches out, there was a group of medical students around, some of who (I feel like whom is the correct word here, but I don’t have an editor, and I don’t know) I recognized.  He wasn’t there.


Does getting a base tan help?

There’s a long answer in the magazine – buy it if you want to know what they have to say.  Short answer?  NO.

Is it okay if I only tan once or twice a year?

NO.  Don’t fucking do it.  If we’re friends, I may unfriend you for this.  I’ve had very angry conversations with my parents about this.  They quit doing it.  Or they lie to me.  One of those.

Which is worse – going to a tanning bed or laying out in the sun?

Bottom line?  Both are bad, but tanning beds are worse, IMO.  People who go to tanning beds aren’t putting on sunscreen before they go in (though NGL, I went to a tanning bed when I was in high school and college – I KNOW – and a few times, I wore sunscreen), and if they’re out in the sun, they might.Either way?  I just told you to not go to a tanner.  Don’t make me tell you twice. Or a fourth time, or however many times I’ve told you now.

If I have one type of skin cancer, can I get another?

Yep.  And if you’ve had one, you’re more likely to get another.Also at an increased risk for other cancers.  :buzzkill:

Does water resistant sunscreen work?

Yep.  It does. Read what the tube says and reapply before the low end of the time that it’s resistant for.  If you’re alone at a beach or pool, find a Mom with kids and ask her if she can put some on your back.  Have spray sunscreen or ask if she can spray you with hers.  If you’re a dude?  Just don’t be a creeper – explain that you know about sun damage and want to reduce your risk.  I’m not a Mom, but I’ve actually put sunscreen on strangers in three states – Illinois, Florida, and Hawaii.

How often do I need a skin check?

You?  Get looked at if you haven’t already.  Me?  At least once a year if not twice, and probably more than that.

Where am I most likely to get skin cancer?

Cosmo says on your legs because you’re (you being lady- type people) not good about putting sunscreen on there.  My melanoma was on my ass and my back.  Places that have never seen the sun.  When I’m planning on being in the sun, I put on sunscreen while I’m naked.  About and ounce and a half covers me.

And should I wear sunglasses?

YES YOU SHOULD.  Protect your eyeballs, friends.  Cancer of the eyes and eyelids are real things.  And not just in the summer.  Wear them in the winter.  Wear them anytime you might need them.

Wear your sunscreen.  Or don’t.

I’m not going to lie, I still love being out in the sun, which is why I wear so much sunscreen – I’ve already had (been diagnosed with?) melanoma, so I’ll get it again, it’s just a matter of when and where.  It’s kind of the irony (or not at all ironic, depending on your definition, thanks Alanis) of hating the cold and loving the heat.

How much do you know about the skin you’re in?

Presumably your skin is right there on your body, but Cosmo isn’t sure you know much about your skin, so they want to talk to you about it.  It’s an article about not getting skin cancer.  I cannot wait to read this.  I know I’ve delivered a whole lot of hate on this magazine, but here is their chance to redeem themselves.

Why do I care so much, you ask?  If you know me outside of this blog, you probably already know.  But I’ll tell you anyway in case you don’t know the history.

Sometimes your doctor calls and rather than saying hello she says, “I have good news, and bad news, which do you want first?”  Literally she didn’t say hello.  I mean, I know she knows my voice (she’s been my dermatologist for about 15 years now, and we see each other kind of a lot), but holy shit, lady, you’re scaring me.  We’ve talked on the phone a lot after appointments, and she’s always just said “pre-cancerous” or “good that we got it before it got bad!”  This time I had to choose.

I chose the bad news first.

You had a melanoma this time.

I quit listening.  I quit hearing anything she was saying, and I know she knew that, but she kept talking.  At some point, I tuned back in and asked for the good news because this news is fucking terrible and I don’t want to talk about it.

“I dug a little deeper and got it all (that explains the ugly scar, but I have a lot of ugly scars).  Clean boundaries. So, yes, cancer, but you’re fine. So you won’t need to follow up before the next three month appointment, but you will need to be extra diligent, Elizabeth.  You will need to wear your sunscreen.  Technically?  You had cancer.  And I’m sorry about that, but we got it, so you will be fine because you will be diligent.”

I feel like I shouldn’t use quotes here, but that is almost exactly what she said.  I am my only advocate at my doctor’s appointments and on the phone so when I talk to her, so I have to pay attention.  I take notes.  And well, this was serious shit.  Bad but not terrible news.  I should, in theory, have an advocate, but that’s a post for another day.

ANYWAY, enough about me, on to Cosmo.  That’s why you’re here, right?

“If I use SPF 15 primer and moisturizer with spf 30, is that like wearing spf 45?”

Oh for fuck’s sake.  NO.  I didn’t even read to see how they answered it.  It’s not.  At best you’ve got 15 on your face, and probably not even that because people don’t use enough sunscreen/lotion when they’re putting it on.

So this article is about sunscreen.  Is it safe to use this that and the other thing?

Spray ~ yes, but avoid your face (never your face says Cosmo), and don’t inhale it.  Duh. And make sure you glisten before you rub it in.  See that thing?  RUB IT IN.  Just spraying isn’t enough.  That’s why it’s my backup.

What sunscreen doesn’t make me break out?  Would you rather have a zit or cancer?  But seriously, Cosmo says to look for products with octisalate. Oil-free, wash your face when you get home, all that nonsense.

Beach umbrellas.  They’re fantastic.  When I vacation somewhere I’ll be at a beach, I tend to buy one and then have to leave it, and I’m totally okay with that. But I don’t expect that it’s actually protecting me from the sun.  I have no idea what Cosmo says on this because I quit reading it.  Wear your goddamn sunscreen.

“My skin is dark, so I don’t wear SPF every day”

Really.  You’ve heard of Bob Marley, right?  The father of reggae?  The guy who died because of skin cancer.  Not lying right now, google it.  People with dark skin die from melanoma.  Put on your goddamn sunscreen, no matter your color or skin tone.

Sunscreen on my head?  HUGE KUDOS to Cosmo for mentioning this.  They talk about sunscreen and gel and keeping your hair from looking greasy.  They also mention wearing a hat.  I suggest the hat.  We look cute in hats.  All of us.  Wear a hat.  It’s good for you.

Holy shit.  A somewhat useful article.  In the sun.  While wearing a hat and sunscreen.

I stand corrected.

~xoxo, elmy