I Got Published!

That’s right. I wrote a thing, and The Billfold published it.

It feels like it took forever to get something published, but in reality, the amount of work I was submitting was pretty small. In fact, I’ve probably submitted more in the past month or so than I did all of last year.

A great bonus is that I’ll also be paid for this, and of course it feels like a huge step forward. That said, it’s funny how inconsequential it feels when it’s followed by a rejection from a sister site a few days later, but as a fellow writer once said, got to think of pieces as pets trying to find the right home. And that one’s a tough one to nail down in terms of relevance, timeliness, tone, subject, pretty much everything. It would do best, I think, in a local publication.

But all in all, I’m proud of myself. It feels good and a little bit weird, mostly because it’s memoir. On the one hand, I of course posted it all over my social media, meaning I quite publicly invited everyone from former teachers to classmates to coworkers to relatives to read it. This one isn’t too personal so that’s fine, but it’s bizarre to think that people I’m ordinarily not close with now have this glimpse into the inner workings of my brain. It’s a very new, strange sort of vulnerability, but the reaction has been positive–even in the piece’s comment section, which I risked peeking at since this is the kind of piece that’s unlikely to draw a strong, harsh reaction.

People seem to relate to it, actually, which is obviously a great feeling as a writer but is its own form of weirdness, too, although not necessarily in a bad way. It’s just that I’ve suddenly got strangers expressing thoughts on my life and experiences. This piece isn’t really mine anymore, you know? It’s gone from a little thing on my computer shared with a few other writers for feedback to this thing on the internet.

I can’t imagine what sort of proper existential crisis I’ll have when I publish something truly heavy.

But for now, this is an exciting start to a career beyond basic journalism and an exciting start to 2015.

Is It the Weekend Yet?

I’ve had a busy week.

Terra and I went to see AFI Tuesday night, who played a set so epic that it went by faster than maybe any other concert I’ve ever been to. They found a great balance of old and new material, plus they encored with their “Just Like Heaven” cover, which is fantastic. It was the kind of show that both reminds you of why you ever fell in love with a band and makes you fall in love all over again. The show was in what I consider to be Pittsburgh’s worst live venue, though–Club Zoo. It currently operates as an under-21 club, and the setup is perfect for that, but it’s about the worst setup imaginable for live music, especially live music that invites large crowds and mosh pits. It has a sort of elevated bar area with rails that zig-zag, so if you’re in one of those corners, you’re screwed. You’re also screwed if you’re on that platform and aren’t in the front two or three rows. You’re also screwed if you’re anywhere past about where the sound guy’s setup is. You basically can’t see from any of these locations, and traffic got us there later than I wanted, so we ended up paying an extra 10 bucks each to get access to the VIP lounge on a balcony. The aim of the VIP lounge is to get people to drink at shows at the cash bars, but everyone up there obviously went for the better view. It wasn’t a bad plan–we could certainly see more up there than we could anywhere else on the floor, and it kept injury-prone Terra far away from the intense mosh pits. The bros next to me were pretty obnoxious and yelled for the band to play their “Halloween” cover maybe every other time there was a brief break in the music at all because “IT’S OCTOBER!” Should’ve told them to shut up.

I usually don’t take the day off from work after concerts–I feel guilty for taking time off, even if I’ve earned it and have plenty of days stockpiled. I suspect this is some leftover thing from college, especially since I really haven’t been out in the workforce all that long. I guess it’s something I’ll have to get used to, and I am starting to. The tons of summer concerts I went to had me all worn out the next day, and when I bought our tickets, we discussed possibly hanging out to meet the band so I figured requesting off was smart, but turns out Terra had a 9 a.m. internship the next morning and we went to Taco Bell instead.

The day off proved a smart move, though, and I’m gonna have to remember to keep doing it. Getting in late didn’t matter and I got to sleep in, and being home all day meant Paul and I could actually talk to each other like a normal couple before he went to work. In the evening, I went to the Pens game with my whole family–my mom got club seats through a company she deals with at work, so we had a great view (I think the ticket value is something around, oh, $170) and we won.

Yesterday, I finally got my ass back on birth control with a trip to Planned Parenthood. I am very excited about no longer having horrible, painful, ass-kicking periods. And Planned Parenthood was a great place, too–the wait was long, but it’s obvious that it’s a great resource for women. I mean, most of the reason I even went to them specifically is because I knew I could afford it and they have a good reputation.

Today was laundry day, but since I actually stayed home, it’s been my night to unwind before dinner with Leah and Mr. Mac tomorrow and a mountain trip Saturday with Paul. It’s supposed to rain. He doesn’t care. Besides, he LOVES the mountains, so it’ll be good for him.

Yo, Dudes, Cut the Shit Pt. 3: Sherwood's

Sherwood’s, my favorite dive bar, is in the middle of nowhere in Fayette County, PA, known for its poverty, welfare, and just general fuckery. Anyone familiar with the area knows few county bar stories are good, and anyone familiar with Sherwood’s is probably already hyperventilating.

One night, Sarah and I were drinking down there alone. I’m pretty sure Marion was there, too, though for some reason I only remember her being around for certain parts of this night. We most likely started drinking with everyone else and were the last ones standing–if not, it was one of those rare nights where it was just the three of us.

Paul had decided not to go. He’s not into the bar scene (really, whether or not I am depends on the bar) and doesn’t like most of my friends/former friends. But sometimes, a night out without him is fun–but the advantages of ditching your significant other on occasion are to be rehashed another time.

The whole night was kind of weird. First, we were approached by an old guy who bought us a round of beers, which was nice of him. However, it’s a little less impressive considering some of Sherwood’s beers are only $1 (CHEAPEST BAR EVER. $5 margaritas that were the best I’ve ever had made with three different kinds of tequila, most mixed drinks ranging between $2.50 and $5, cheap shots and pitchers, beer buckets…). Also, I don’t like beer. He was friendly enough at first, but he gradually got creepier as he told dirty jokes and I believe at one point talked about loneliness and his dead wife.

Soon after, we were approached by two friends who had taken an interest in Sarah. That conversation quickly got sexual, too, with one guy saying the other had a huge dick–the size of Vanderbilt Road and just as windy, in the very rare event locals read this. We happened to know he had once jumped Sarah’s nephew Chad from behind and beat him up. Worth noting that Chad is close in age to Sarah due to her sisters being considerably older than her.

And then two more guys approached. One wanted to do karaoke with her, or at least approached under that pretense. The other just kind of wanted to grope her and make out with her, but she wasn’t interested. Did he care? Hell, no! Right in the middle of the bar, despite her refusals, he grabbed her breasts, groped her all over, and full-on kissed her. When she pulled away and was visibly angry and upset, yelling and telling them to leave, he insisted that she’d kissed back and actually wanted it. Even Marion and I told this guy to back off and leave her alone, though not too forcefully. At the time, I didn’t really know how to react, but now I’ve seen and encountered enough myself that I don’t really care. The only concern I still have is for my own safety and sexual privacy because I don’t believe, nor do I have any reason to, intervening and forcefully telling a man to leave or physically pulling a friend away won’t cause him to negatively turn his attention to me. I won’t just let things happen, but I am still scared, and that’s yet another very sad reality. These situations can be so difficult that just telling a guy to leave a friend alone makes a lady feel like she may be his next target instead.

They also kept trying to get us to leave with them, which we were not having. They didn’t leave until the owner, who knows us well due to being regulars and the bar actually being across from my cousins’ house, saw that we were having trouble and yelled at them.

At the time, Sarah was dating a woman, Nicole, who she recently broke up with. When we discussed the events of the night later, Sarah mentioned that she didn’t like telling guys that she was in a relationship with a woman. I’m not sure if this is based on her experience or just a theory, but she felt doing so only encouraged them–a 20-something girl with a girlfriend is hot and no reason to back off. At the same time, I felt that saying I had a boyfriend would’ve been futile, as well. I’ve never really had any trouble with this myself, but I’ve heard and witnessed plenty of persistent guys saying, “Well, why isn’t he here?” or “What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him” or some variation of either sentiment. Paul’s presence likely would’ve kept them off, though, seeing as other nights when any male was with us we were pretty much left alone. However, that still has uncertainty. That doesn’t stop some people, for one (open relationships aside), and it would only potentially exempt me. Sarah, or any other woman with us, would likely still get unwanted attention. The only solution to that would be to make it seem like he was dating Sarah, too–and I’d be totally down with my boyfriend doing a little flirting or light physical affection with a friend if it meant sparing her from what is, essentially, sexual assault.

In the past parts of this series, I’ve tried to include some sort of takeaway to make this all very clear in case it isn’t, and the takeaways all end up being the same–men aren’t entitled to women’s bodies or sex, no means no, we’re not toys or property, etc. Here’s a legal one, in case general morals and human decency aren’t enough–this is all actually sexual assault, and you can get in legal trouble for it.

At this point, it was last call–though this all transpired in about a half hour, including the creepy old guy. And suddenly, the two separate groups of guys that had approached us started yelling at each other, but we couldn’t tell what it was about. Marion thought she heard something about someone being owed money. I can’t remember what, but I remember thinking I heard something about which group we were gonna leave with or something. Someone yelled, “I’ve been to prison and I’m not afraid to go back.”

We’d wanted to leave for a little while, but we obviously didn’t trust these guys. The owner, Sis, started yelling about calling the cops and while everyone was distracted and yelling, we gathered our things as fast as we could, linked arms, booked it out the nearest door and into my car. I got us out of the lot as fast as I could and gunned it across the street to my cousins’, where we where staying.

Coincidentally, one of the groups of guys had parked their car in the yard. I nearly panicked when we were walking up and saw them walking up, too. I’ve talked about how scary it is to be followed, but seeing someone who was just touching someone against her will in the yard of the house where you’re gonna be sleeping is a whole other level of scary. I shut Sarah up so they wouldn’t hear us, watched them, snuck around, and we went unnoticed.

Interestingly, an article popped up in my Facebook feed today about self-proclaimed “nice guys” on OK Cupid who have been unlucky in love but are really nice guys! Oh, except the part where they think they’re entitled to sex and a woman should indulge them whenever just because. Protip: that makes you basically the polar opposite of a nice guy.

Yo, Dudes, Cut the Shit: Pt. 2

We stopped at Charlie Murdoch’s for Stephanie’s bachelorette party, a dueling piano bar. I loved it, by the way–the heckling is foul but hilarious without being mean, and the bands are awesome. I could’ve stayed and watched the bands all night, probably, but alas, we went downstairs for dancing.

Bar culture often gets weird. Usually, I have a good time and love it, but men have this tendency to cross the line and think they’re allowed to or they’re entitled to a woman. We’ve been through this–you’re not.

For privacy’s sake, even though this is by far not the worst male encounter I’ve ever witnessed, experienced, or heard tell of, I won’t say who was involved.

But she was dancing. She looked hot, I have to say, in tight, bright leggings and studded heels. Men like these things, understandably. And one such man decided to come right up behind her, right up against her, grinding and pretty intensely groping her legs. I mean, as I recall, hands running all up and down thighs. The kind of touching I prefer only Paul to do. The kind of touching Steve tried to a lesser extent that contributed significantly to our severed friendship.

She looked uncomfortable. To be fair, he couldn’t see her face, so he had no way of knowing this. But he could hear her repeatedly saying, “I don’t like this.” I know he could hear her because could hear her, and I was farther away.

He obviously didn’t care. And this is the main problem–dudes, when a girl is obviously uncomfortable with the way you’re interacting with her, you need to stop. She’s not playing hard to get. She’s not being a tease. She’s not secretly asking for it. She may freeze up and be unsure of what to do, but if she’s saying she doesn’t like what’s happening, you respect that. That’s Gentleman 101.

He wasn’t listening and she obviously was uncomfortable but didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to bitch him out for disrespecting people and boundaries, so I did the passive-aggressive thing–I grabbed her arm and forcibly pulled her away from him. Fortunately and somewhat miraculously, he got that hint and left.

Some other guy a few hours later in a different bar didn’t.

He started a little more innocently, at least, telling Tessa how gorgeous she is (this is an accepted consensus among every human that has seen Tessa). And then he gradually got more belligerent, rude, and a bit odd, honestly. He goes from complimenting her to telling us he’s gay but thinks she’s gorgeous to trying to convince her to make out, no matter how many times she denied him, and insisting it was totally okay because he was gay.

Men using homosexuality as justification for the way they treat women is increasingly common, both in stories of gay men inappropriately touching women and saying they didn’t think the women would mind because they were gay or, what I suspect this gay was doing, pretending to be gay in the hopes that women will for some reason feel more inclined to get sexual. If a woman doesn’t want to do something with a guy, she doesn’t want to do something with a guy. Sexual orientation isn’t gonna change that.


Every time we thought we’d lost him, he’d show back up again. This peaked when we went to leave and he followed us out of the bar.

I’m not sure if men understand how terrifying it is to be followed like that. When I was about 12 or 13, my mom noticed a man watching me closely and following me in a Walmart. It was scary then and even in a group on a busy street with cops everywhere, being followed out of a bar is scary now. Men can be threatened, harassed, assaulted, and raped, but these things are rare. Men don’t live with these threats quite the same way that women do. How many times have you been lectured by a parent about staying in a group, being aware of your surroundings, not leaving a drink unattended, or making sure someone knows where you are?

He followed us out of the bar, down the street, and held us up, moving from complimenting Tessa to addressing each of the rest of us, complimenting us or trying to sort of pin us down, telling us all about how he perceived us.

He didn’t leave until Stephanie yelled at him to leave. He got a little huffy and stormed off, but at least he left. In the end he may have been harmless, but we had no way of knowing that. Again, boundaries. He’d been turned down and ignored, and when we ready to leave for the night, we couldn’t. We were followed, and we had no idea what he might do to get what he wanted.

That’s the key there, dudes, even for you lovely well-behaved gentlemen (you do exist, I know, just keep fighting the good fight!)–maybe sometimes, you think the flirting or the persistence is harmless or effective or attractive or whatever. Maybe you think women overreact and freak out easily, and maybe sometimes we do, but you have to consider why. It’s because most of us have already experienced that refusals can be ignored. Most of us have already experienced some physical, sexual contact against our will. Most of us have already dealt with a man who feels he’s entitled to our bodies by virtue of having a penis. Most of us have been followed out of bars. Most of us just don’t know how far you’ll go to get what you want.

Yo, Dudes, Cut the Shit: A Tale in Many Parts (Or Why I Don't Want Your Bod. Really.)

This was supposed to be a simple post about bar creepers, and then I realized that I wasn’t blogging when I experienced some epic male douchery that y’all need to hear about. Seriously.

Old followers (I’m mostly lookin’ at you, scrivener) may remember my friend Steve. We met in middle school. He was cool. We got along well and had great conversations. Over the years, Steve turned into a compulsive liar, then a huge asshole. That’s the really short version.

Steve was my first kiss–late for me at 16, and I knew he’d already made moves on basically all of my other female friends. We were a close group who we talked about boys, so one night when someone said, “You guys, Steve tried to kiss me,” almost everyone had similar stories. We knew better than to trust him and that he obviously wanted ass. Steve never learned this lesson, and it was probably his downfall.

The kiss was terrible. I probably did blog about that–my brother and I went over to swim with Steve and his brother Nick, I somehow ended up in Steve’s room, he teasingly got off my clothes so I was in my bikini, then I somehow ended up against the wall in his closet being kissed. Now, I haven’t kissed very many people. I’ve kissed Steve, Stephanie’s brother Steve, and Paul, plus a few games of spin the bottle that involve some people’s ex-boyfriends, some people’s current boyfriends, and my friend Tessa. Circumstantially and skill-wise, Steve was the worst. It was a total mess. I had saliva all over my face and wasn’t exactly thrilled with the encounter or a willing participant, but I also didn’t stop him.

Some time later, we were having one of our awesome conversations when it turned to that kiss. “I could’ve gotten you to go farther,” he said. “No, you couldn’t have,” I said. But he insisted. RED FLAG. It made him sound arrogant, for one, and for another had some implications that really scared me.

He became notorious for that kind of persistence, if you want to call it that, with me and others. I heard a rumor about him in a car with a girl that very nearly escalated to rape. He always dated really young, naive girls–including one that was warned by my friend Bianca but didn’t listen, instead insisting Bianca was jealous and wanted Steve–whose parents always hated him, resulting in restraining orders more than once. He always claimed they were undeserved and the parents were crazy.

Once he was hanging out with my brother and texted me from the bathroom more or less asking me to go blow him. When I refused, he said, “Come on, you’re in college,” as if that made me willing to just suck all the dicks. For the record, I hate oral. I didn’t leave my seat in the living room until he left the bathroom, lest he hear me and think I was complying or tried to accost me (again) or something.

A year or so later, he messaged me while high and was like, “Hey, you’re single. I’m single. Why don’t we get together?” Nope.

The best of them all came the summer before my senior year of college, the same summer Paul and I met and started our romance. In fact, this happened a week before he asked me out.

Brandon was supposed to ship off to train with the military (he ended up being overweight, despite some weirdness where a bigger guy was able to go). We threw him an American-themed going-away party. I thought about telling him not to invite Steve but decided against it. It was his party, so I let him invite who he wanted. After the party, I believe I told him Steve was never to come to any of our social functions again.

Everything was awesome at first. It was one of our most successful themes, too, I suspect because it was easy–you could either just dress patriotic or come as a historical or classic figure. I was Rosie the Riveter, Brandon was Bruce Springsteen, friends came as everything from soldiers to Amelia Earheart. We played 40 Hands and called it 40 Hands Across America.

At some point–though I don’t think I found out until the next day–Steve started hitting on Terra. Right in front of then-rebound-boyfriend and old friend Shawn.

But all parties must end. Meri went almost catatonic (hilarious story about that–she lost 40 Hands, I left her on the couch with a glass of water, came back to find her waking up with a fresh 40, no one knows how it got there) and Nolan went to bed, leaving me in charge of everyone else and turning the shed lights off and everything.

Some stragglers falling asleep on couches, so Steve and I were the last ones standing. We had one of our long-lost awesome conversations. I figured we’d talk until he decided to sleep. I didn’t want to leave him out there awake and unsupervised. I guess I didn’t trust him.

At first, he was whining about our friend Rachael. I think in old blogs she was called Rachael Buddy to differentiate between her and another friend Rachael. Basically, he wanted all up on her, she wasn’t having it, and I remember him saying some things about the situation that seemed off to me and made me think, “I need to ask Rachael if this is true.” Spoiler alert: I did and it wasn’t.

At some point, he moved really close to me and was touching me a bit affectionately. I wasn’t really into it, but I figured, “It’s late and we’ve both been drinking. I’ll deal for now. He’ll probably quit and go to sleep.”

The whole time, I was thinking of not-yet-boyfriend-but-serious-crush Paul and was like, “Man, if he was the one doing this, I’d be totally down with that. Why, Lord, must you make it be Steve instead!?”

So then Steve sort of lunges at me and tries to kiss me. In a move reserved for embarrassing romance-movie moments, I turned my head and told him no just as he made the move, giving him nothing but my cheek. COCK BLOCKED.

He scooted a little closer and started slowly and gently stroking my thigh. Not much later, he lunged at me again, to the same results. This time after my refusal, he whimpered and put his head on my shoulder, like I was supposed to feel bad for him because he doesn’t accept the word “No,” or like I didn’t figure out he’d just spend the moments stroking my thigh to warm me up to kissing him. Then he went on about how hard it is to get a girl to like him. Nevermind he’d been a disrespectful, creepy, arrogant douchebag on a regular basis for four or five years.

I went inside the house shortly thereafter. I was sure that otherwise, I’d wake up pregnant with a dick in my mouth. It was one of only two or three times I’ve ever really, consciously been afraid of what a man might do to me, and here’s the saddest part about that–I’m lucky. Lucky that not only did nothing happen but lucky that I’ve only experienced it once or twice. It’s a sick world we live in when only worrying you might get raped a few times means you’re lucky.

He said some other dumb shit, too, most notably that he was pretending to be more drunk than he really was because he thought it would help his chances.

The next day, when I was fully sober and all the implications and everything fully hit me, I was furious. Completely livid. I couldn’t even have a conversation with the dude without him trying to make out with me, even after I told him I wasn’t interested–like I had many times before. On top of that, given everything I knew, including things he told me himself before he tried to kiss me, I knew he wasn’t interested in me. He was interested in what he could get from me. He was using me for sex, or for as much physical pleasure as he could get–which, as he told me when we were teenagers, was anything he wanted.

A week later, Paul and I went to the movies together with some of his friends, plus Brandon and Jacob. I was still pissed. Jacob wanted to know what happened, so as Brandon drove us all back, I told the story–while this guy I wanted to date was listening.

I was very careful not to sound like I hated all men or something, both so he wouldn’t be put off of going out again and because it wasn’t true. I didn’t hate men. I still don’t hate men. I probably never will hate men. Men aren’t the problem. Gentlemen do exist. Some lucky friends and I have managed to find some. They’re not perfect. They’ve been insensitive and harsh and clueless and have accidentally hurt feelings, made us cry. But they’ve respected us. They’ve listened when we’ve said no. They’ve respected our wishes, our boundaries, and our bodies.

This is titled to be addressing men, but the main points here aren’t lessons all men need to learn–plenty are already aware, although reinforcing them doesn’t hurt. Bottom lines: no means no, all people deserve respect, and women’s bodies aren’t your playthings that you get to have whenever you want. You’re not entitled to us, and we don’t like when you act like you are, especially if we know we as people mean nothing to you.

Let's Talk About Rape Jokes Real Fast

We interrupt the happenings of my life to talk about rape jokes because it’s a big deal on the internet right now. As it should be.

I have a friend who was raped. One of her coping mechanisms has been to joke. Everyone is different. That’s her way. Others might not be able to handle it, and that’s fine, too. Mainly, she makes light of her personal experiences. Her jokes never suggest that rape itself is a funny thing. Does this make all rape jokes 100% okay to be said by anyone at any time? Absolutely not. One’s personal sense of humor may come in to play to a degree, making some things less problematic than others, but that and my friends coping mechanism of choose are not excuses for blatant sexism in humor and implications that are downright scary.

A story is making the internet rounds about two women who decided to go to a comedy club. One of the acts was Daniel Tosh. I’ve heard pretty shitty things about Tosh recently, but the problems remained kind of unclear because when I went looking for the questionable “Tosh.0” content that’s been brought up, it had been removed. Anyway, his reputation makes this story unsurprising. He started insisting rape jokes are always funny. Sure, I’ve laughed at some of my aforementioned friend’s tasteless but witty jokes, but I’d hardly say that rape is all laughs all the time. In fact, we’re going to talk about why it’s not in a little bit. But one of these women was brave enough to yell to Tosh that no, rape jokes aren’t guaranteed hilarity. He responded by talking about how funny it would be if that woman were immediately basically gang-raped.

I’ve noticed that men frequently don’t understand the problem with making casual statements like, “That test raped me.” In fact, I’ve noticed many men don’t understand why rape is such a touchy subject with women, and I’m still trying to figure out why. My cousin’s boyfriend once said, “Every girl I know is afraid of being raped,” as if he was genuinely confused about why this is such a common fear. We’re raised to be afraid. We’re raised with the knowledge that some men want to violate us in the most horrible ways, not to mention the fact that society teaches girls not to get raped rather than teaching boys not to rape.

I haven’t been raped, but I have been in situations where I was truly concerned the man I was with was capable and willing to do such a thing to me. It’s frustrating enough for me to hear comments like, “Rape is just women regretting it the next day.” I can’t imagine how women who have actually been through that feel hearing such things.

The best explanation I can come up with–and it still excuses nothing and is unacceptable–is that men, for the most part, have little concept of just how scary it is to be in a room with a man that could overpower you and literally force something on you. Sex is a very intimate, personal thing, whether within a relationship or one-night stand or whatever other personal boundaries people have for their sex lives, and someone claiming that by force because they like the power is a terrifying thought.

So, I don’t think Tosh gets it. As a woman, I don’t understand how someone could not understand it, but my conversations with men on the subject have led me to believe that’s what it is.

We should be furious with Daniel Tosh. People making statements like that should be called out, and I applaud the woman who had the courage to do so publicly, even though she was ultimately ridiculed for it. Tosh (and others) have to know that this is wrong, but maybe we can move forward as a society by explaining why it’s wrong. No, we shouldn’t have to. We’re by no means obligated to, and as women, it’s not our job to say these things. But maybe doing so is a start.

Birth Control and the Men Who Hate It Pt. 2

Obama wants to make birth control free. Party on, I say!

The Catholic church and conservative Republicans disagree.

Look, I get it. Birth control is bad because pregnancy should only be prevented via abstinence or natural planning methods. A baby should be God’s will. Because women on birth control are irresponsible hussies who just don’t want to keep their legs closed.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and the church has been known to exert control over its members since its creation. I get why they don’t want to comply with insurance having to provide birth control for free, but that doesn’t make it right.

Side note: If I worked for a Catholic organization and had to abide by all their crazy rules, I’d never make it. They’d have me out of there within hours. I’d probably accidentally call birth control “baby stoppers” in front of the Pope.

The women are going to use the pills whether the church likes it or not. Yeah, some women will be more inclined to if they can get them for free, but in the grand scheme of things, is that so bad?

This is also why my insurance company not covering my birth control doesn’t make sense to me. I have it easy compared to others–$35 for a pack of pills. I have a nice, sympathetic gynecologist who gave me three free sample packs when he asked if my insurance was covering it. Some women don’t have that. The insurance companies and religious institutions are faced with two options–be okay with contraception or deal with what happens with a pregnancy.

For insurance companies, this translates to money. You can either just let me have my $25 copay, fully cover the pills, or possibly pay for a whole damn baby. Prenatal care, delivery, and everything else, like having that kid on my insurance for 18+ years. Are you really sending the message that you’d rather pay for all of that than a little pack of pills? That’s not even logical, especially from a business perspective.

As for the church, I always liked my mom’s thinking–it’s a greater sin to bring a child into this world that you cannot provide for than it is to prevent a child from being conceived. Besides, if God really wants that baby there, he’ll put it there. Not to mention that an unplanned pregnancy brings up the biggest problem of all–abortion. So, as an institution, your options are be okay with a little pack of pills or potentially have abortions, abandoned children, unwanted children, and children that can’t be adequately be cared for. Would it be so bad to relent on the birth control issue? Does it really make a huge difference if I take a little pill once a day or monitor my temperature and mucus production?

Oh, wait. Not all women use birth control for pregnancy prevention. Hmm. You mean the religious groups are getting all worked up and ignoring numerous health benefits of birth control?

Being on birth control made my cramps and other related physical pains significantly decrease. By now, they’re almost gone. This has made me happier and more productive. Imagine if I had to call off work once a month due to feeling like my uterus was trying to beat me up.

I bleed astoundingly less, which means no iron deficiency.

And then there’s the fact that it can also prevent cancer and lots of other things I can’t remember without getting my handy massive page of information that comes with every pack.

So basically, all for the sake of hypothetical babies, the church is dicking women over. Again.

Women in Commercials: Tampons

Every female complains about tampon commercials. They like to make us think that their tampons will make our periods full of sunshine and daisies (this WILL happen on birth control, though!), but we know better. So there’s no point in complaining about those.

But Kotex has got a point in with their new one with the girl being all secretive about her period. Why are some girls embarrassed about the periods? Sure, it’s uncomfortable and no one wants to announce or hear, “Be right back, I need to change my tampon” any more than someone wants to announce or here, “Be right back, I have diarrhea” (for some reason, pee seems to be more socially acceptable. No idea why. Regular shit, in some circles, is also acceptable). But at the same time, why does it have to be some shameful thing? Why be all freaked out like, “Oh, can’t let anyone see my tampon!” Everyone knows women have periods. Everyone knows women have to handle them. So who really cares? Why make it seem so shameful?

I mean, sometimes, need overrides discretion. When you’re drunk on New Year’s and your period’s decided to pull a fast one on you and show up at random and you need to ask your cousin for a tampon, sometimes you just have to poke your head in the door and ask for a tampon, even though other partygoers will hear you and laugh. First of all, that shit is actually pretty funny. Second, your options are to sidle next to your cousin and whisper it and create a really awkward situation where no one knows what’s going on, or you can just be real about it.

So thanks, Kotex, for keeping it real. And making great tampons.