HTLYT Answers Your Questions: “How Do I Look Hot In a Bikini Despite Cellulite?”

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“How Do I Look Hot In a Bikini Despite Cellulite?”

This question was submitted by Natalie, which, firstly, hello Natalie, it made me insanely excited to get this question because it made me feel like I was running a legitimate blog with an actual readership instead of whatever the hell this is. Secondly, this question resonates deeply with me – as I’m sure it does with most women – because I have been fighting the cellulite battle since I was twelve years old.

The answer, though, is one you probably won’t like, since it was one I personally hated until very, very recently. And my answer is simply:

Put on the bikini.


You did it.

You look hot as hell.

I mean, sure,  you can definitely go grab a sarong to tie it around your waist, or grab bathing suit bottoms with a ruffled skirt to hide your ass. You can even get teeny tiny little shorts with the aim of hiding your butt-dimples, but then the shorts squeeze too tight around your thighs and wind up making you look somehow worse than before.

Those are all things that I’ve done before to hide my cellulite, which I considered my worst physical feature. I’ll never forget when, in high school, my friend Sarah put up a picture of my butt on Facebook and some shitty guy commented ‘looks like it was hit with a bag of nickels.’ That set me back a few years and I always packed that stupid sarong whenever I went to the beach or pool.

But weirdly now that I’m 10 weeks post-partum after baby number two and my body is 100% in worse shape than it’s ever been, I am more comfortable with it than ever. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve finally stopped trying to swim upstream: I just sort of stopped caring whether or not I was the hottest girl at the pool, since I’m 24 now and I’m never gonna be as perky-breasted or tan as the 18-year-olds again. But hey, I look pretty good for a mom of two, and my cellulite isn’t that bad. I work out, I eat right, and I’m doing the best I can.

So really, this is a semi-depressing answer that isn’t really an answer at all. Because I sure as hell don’t know how to completely eradicate cellulite. I only just learned how to embrace it.

(PS Natalie I love you.)

Sometimes, You Move.


Sometimes you move, and it takes up entirely more time than you thought it was going to. And sometimes you have an infant who doesn’t like sleeping through the night, and your partner in child-rearing is still in New England while you’re in charge of waking up 6 times a night to stuff the pacifier back into said infant’s mouth. And sometimes you have a toddler who is highly demanding, since she misses her dad and she misses her ‘stuff’, but the dad is in Maine and the stuff is in Maine and you’re playing the Distraction Game by overpromising your time and focus every day. And sometimes you lose your glasses twenty minutes before you’re meant to catch the bus to the airport, so you wind up flying cross-country while your glasses stay with your stuff and your spouse up in freaking Maine. That’s extra unfortunate, since you need your glasses to write, and writing is the only thing that makes you feel productive and connected to the outside world.

Those are all times when you keep opening your browser and typing in ‘Google Docs,’ just to stare at a blank white digital page for ten minutes before realizing you have been defeated. You have nothing worthwhile left to give, since you are slightly delirious with exhaustion – to the point where you keep seeing little moving dots at the edge of your vision and every time you think it’s a bug, but blessedly in this house it never is.

Sorry, blog, for skipping last Wednesday blogday. Sorry, blog, because I will likely skip the next one as well. Sorry, Rocky Flinstone, for failing to rehash S3E3 of My Dad Wrote a Porno. Sorry, reader (hi Mady), for failing for deliver anything entertaining.

Soon I’ll be back to my usual nonsense.

Until then, I will sleep. At least in brief, half-hour bursts.

Hulu Recap: The Handmaid’s Tale, Episode 9, “The Bridge”

Warning: Graphic content and general depressing stuff.

I am so tired.


The episode opens with One-Eyed Batshit Janine handing off her baby to her commander’s wife, though it’s far from a smooth transaction. Janine is understandably resistant to let her baby go, though after her rapist/baby daddy gives her a reassuring nod, Janine relinquishes her daughter. (The baby doesn’t seem particularly pleased to be with her new mom.) OEBJanine’s exit from the house is somber; she walks through a corridor of fellow handmaids, all of whom are murmuring variations of ‘blessed be.’ Janine stops to hug Offred, telling Offred not to be sad, that ‘he’ – Commander Baby Daddy – is ‘coming for her.’ It’s hearbtreaking enough to prompt Offred to seek out fellow handmaid Alma afterward and offer to help with Mayday – but Alma dismisses Offred soundly, saying she has ‘no idea’ what Offred’s talking about.

After the farewell, OEBJanine is promptly driven to another family. There is apparently no respite period for the handmaids between families, which really shouldn’t shock me at this point but I was somehow further crushed by this revelation.  OEBJanine notes that they ‘live very far,’ and Auntie Thunderc*nt sharply asks ‘far from what.’ It’s clear that OEBJanine is expected to fully put her daughter out of her mind and simply ‘move on’ to the new family, which, what the hell, do they think this is going to work?

In the meantime, we’ve got Mrs. Baby Daddy and Lady Beardface out on a walk together, pushing the baby in a stroller. Mrs. Baby Daddy is just bitching about OEBJanine the whole time, which is pretty rich considering the whole ‘she grew a human at your command’ thing. Lady Beardface seems to think so too, since she gently admonishes Mrs. Baby Daddy and reminds her that the baby is a ‘blessing.’

The next time we see Offred, she’s being accosted by Alma outside of a grocery store and told to go retrieve a package from Jezebel’s, behind the bar. Offred, understandably, is like how tf did you know I went there, but Alma is all urgent and dismissive. She wants Offred to get to Jezebel’s tonight. It’s a tall order, but one that Offred takes seriously, since later that evening she waits for Cmdr. Beardface downstairs and turns on the charm.

She does some serious acting, playing flirtatious and coy, and despite the clear toll it takes on her, she’s successful. Nick drives them to Jezebel’s again and is impassive as ever, even as Offred and Cmdr. Beardface flirt and are gross in the backseat. Cmdr. Beardface comments that Nick ‘is no fun,’ and Offred agrees by pointedly saying he ‘needs to chill.’

Fun’s over once they get to Jezebel’s, though, since Cmdr. Beardface tells Nick that it won’t be long since they’re going… straight to the room. Offred is understandably unhappy with this and suggests they go to the bar, but Beardface says ‘maybe after.’ It’s panic-mode, since now Offred’s basically agreed to an extra night of rape for nothing, but she can hardly turn back now.

Back at the house, Lady Beardface is awake, melancholy and restless about not having a baby. She goes downstairs to the kitchen and she and the maid lady cross paths, with the maid lady taking sympathy on her and suggesting she have a drink of something with ‘more flavor.’ Lady Beardface agrees and invites Maid Lady to join her; it’s clear that Lady Beardface is lonely, but difficult to feel sympathetic for her given the role she plays in this woman-hating hellscape. She and Maid Lady bond over Maid Lady’s quiet, sad story about her son, dead at nineteen thanks to the war, and Lady Beardface spouts off some bible verse as consolation. She is truly garbage at relating to people.

Across town – presumably way across town – OEBJanine is anxious as the first Ceremony in her new house approaches. She’s clearly waiting on Cmdr. Baby Daddy to burst in and stop it, though as the wife pins her down and her new commander, Daniel, starts to undo his pants, it becomes painfully clear that it won’t happen. OEBJanine isn’t having it; Cmdr. Daniel gets a few thrusts in before OEBJanine freaks out and snarls ‘don’t you fucking touch me’ before fleeing into a crouch at the opposite end of the room. “He’s coming for me,” she says tearfully, and why, oh my god, why. This episode is the most painful so far.

At Jezebel’s, Offred is enduring Cmdr. Beardface, who upon finishing has the nerve to ask, ‘did you like that?’ Offred tonelessly tells him yes, and he sharply instructs her to let him know next time, she doesn’t have to be quiet here, she can be – get this – ‘free.’ Before we can fully digest the utter idiocy and insensitivity of such a comment, Beardface says that he knows why Offred wanted to come here – she panics for a silent moment, before he says he’s onto her wanting to meet someone. He brings that ‘someone’ in and it’s Moira, dressed up like a cheap hooker and looking as shocked to see Offred as Offred does to see her.

Offred is quick to shoot down Beardface’s creepy allusion to a perverse threesome and Beardface gets snappish, telling her to ‘relax, he did something nice for her.’ He then goes to shower and leaves them alone, where Moira loses her shit and tells Offred not to come back here. She wants Offred to go home, to follow orders, but and Offred isn’t having it. She reminds Moira that Moira swore they’d find Hannah, and tells Moira she needs to ‘keep her shit together and fight.’ Moira snaps that she was doing alright until she saw Offred again, and storms out.

Offred, in a rare moment of weakness, begins to cry. Beardface comes out, sees this, and we are once again made privy to the depths of his cruelty when he rolls his eyes and tells her to ‘pull herself together, we’re going.’

While this is happening Nick is downstairs, talking to his Sister again, not playing into her flirtation. He asks if there’s any word about Cmdr. Beardface’s handmaid; the Sister pinpoints that Nick has feelings, warns him that it’s dangerous to be sweet on a handmaid, he could get strung up. Nick, as always, makes no substantial reply.

But the fun’s not over yet! Offred is rudely shake awaken early the next morning by Lady Beardface and taken to the bridge, where… OEBJanine is holding her baby, stolen from her old Commander’s house, and clearly preparing to jump. At this point I basically dissolved into stress tears because I was watching this scene while holding my eight-week-old baby, so it’s really all a blur. Offred does manage to convince OEBJanine not to jump with the baby; OEBJanine hands the baby off to Offred, then jumps herself, and I let out a horrible strangled sob because I really freaking love OEBJanine.

The next scene we see is OEBJanine in a hospital bed, hooked up to all sorts of stuff, with Auntie Thunderc*nt watching over her. She says, “You stupid girl,” very softly, so that cannot bode well for OEBJanine’s future. Also, I’m dropping the Batshit from Janine’s title. She’s not batshit. I love her. I would be a volatile mess too after all of this, good god.

And this episode still isn’t over.

Apparently everyone knows what happened to the Beardface’s last handmaid – everyone but us, anyway – since Mrs. Baby Daddy snappishly tells Lady Beardface to ‘worry about her own husband’ since she knows ‘what happened to the last handmaid.’ This is in response to Lady Beardface’s attempts to console Mrs. Baby Daddy as her commander is being hauled off to court for the affair One-Eyed Janine confessed they were having.

As for Offred, she’s at the market, listless and depressed, grabbing the meat for the Commander. What she isn’t expecting is the package bundled up with her meat; there’s a note attached, and the butcher is totally deadpan as he hands it over. Offred thanks him, then hurries outside to read the attached note:

“Praised be, bitch. Here’s your damn package. Xo, Moira.”

HELL. YES. MOIRA. The episode ends with her, bloody-handed after presumably killing a driver AND a john, driving away in a stolen truck.



Stuff We Love: My Dad Wrote a Porno, S3E2 Discussion with Els

As promised, the long-anticipated (lol) discussion of Belinda Blinked 3, Chapter 2. We’ve got Els back on the blog to help us through this gorgeous trainwreck of a novel and discuss the delicate nuances of Rocky Flinstone’s latest offering.

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Grace: This is weird, we’ve never done a chat in this format before. Welcome back to the blog, BFF!

Els: I am at work, this is gonna be a clusterfuck.

G: Perfect, because clusterfuck is sort of the name of the game right now, isn’t it? Since we’re delving into… Chapter 2 of Belinda Blinked THREE. I’m actually really impressed because – okay, for some background, Els and I are both writers, and I’m dying to write a novel one day. And here we’ve got Rocky, who’s just gone and done it. He’s done three now.

E: I think he’s actually done more! Book three was completed about two years ago, so there is PLENTY of Belinda to go around for many moons to come.

G: Get out. Has he really? I didn’t hear this, has this been confirmed? Like, he’s got a whole completed Belinda canon? With volumes?

E: I mean… let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start calling anything canon.But yes.

G: The only thing that is canon for me now is the small man dressed in black.  What a guy. We were just talking about Harry Styles a moment ago – who would you prefer, Harry Styles or the small man dressed in black? As a lover, obviously.

E: God, no contest. Small man dressed in black. We’re already connected on LinkedIn. I’ve endorsed him for sound technician work, and he endorsed me for my great podcast dissecting skills.

G: That’s some quality networking, I’m gonna have to go find him. Okay, so, we missed discussing Series 3, Episode 1 because I was late listening as always, but I’m all caught up now. And I think it’s important that we mention that we are both writers and editors by trade, so listening to My Dad Wrote a Porno has been… trying, at times.

Like, at the start, I wanted nothing more than to get my hands on a manuscript and fix it, or maybe sit down with Rocky himself and be like ‘okay, Rocky, now THIS is a comma splice, and THIS is how you use a semicolon.’ But now I feel like editing it would ruin so much of its charm. Don’t you think?

E: Oh, completely. You and I both love a semicolon but I feel like we don’t actually love them as much as Rocky does so really we should let him use them however he wants to.

G: We do love a semicolon. I feel like we’re missing so much by just listening to it, we really should read it to really appreciate how thoroughly he’s eviscerating the English language. Next gift-giving holiday, copies of Belinda Blinked for each other, what do you say.

E: Maybe just BB1 for posterity – the temptation to read ahead would be far too great, and then we wouldn’t get the joy not only of having Rocky’s errant commas being read out loud, but the myriad accents that are on offer. I know you loved the American ones and definitely told me they were 100% true to form.

G: Oh my god, please don’t get me started on the goddamned ‘ranch hands’ slash ‘cowboys,’ that was the first time I’d ever been offended by a stereotype.

Okay so this episode was a cluster. There were horny babies, secret mirror rooms, and buzzing vaginas, so basically a normal day of sex in Rocky’s imagination.

E: “Horny since birth” – we’ve all been there.

G: Amen. My biggest issue was with Jamie’s Duchess voice, which, okay, so I know you listened to the English Stephen Fry-narrated Harry Potter audiobooks, but he sounded just like the American version’s narrator Jim Dale doing Nearly Headless Nick. So whenever the Duchess was speaking, I just kept thinking of Nearly Headless Nick, just casually thrusting some Love Eggs at Belinda and being like ‘lube up, love.’ I can’t tell if that added to or detracted from the experience?

E: I have never heard the Jim Dale version and now I feel simultaneously like I need to, but also really don’t want to because I might picture Nearly Headless Nick scrabbling for his over-lubed anal beads on the floor or something.

G: On the floor of Claridge’s. Am I spelling that right? This is why I need you, all these English references. Is Claridge’s like, a really ritzy tea house? Also, what exactly is a tea house? I’m imagining like an opium den sort of setup, but I think that’s pretty definitely wrong.

E: He’s definitely posh enough to have gone to Claridges when he was alive. It’s a REALLY fancy hotel.

G: Oh, so not an opium den.

E: It might be, I have never been. Still trying to wangle my invite from the Duchess.

G: She’s notoriously coy, that one. Maybe send her a zinc-encased dildo, speed up the process.

I also think Rocky is getting better with his similes. They’re still absolutely ludicrous and barely-sensical, but the line about the Duchess buzzing Belinder’s vagina like ‘an orchestra being conducted by a mad conductor’ was at least a well-thought-out line.

E: That was actually remarkably easy to picture, you’re right. Also… ‘Belinder’ – are you secretly Jim Stirling???

G: It’s not a secret, Els, I am publicly Jim Stirling.

E: Rocky was right, Americans DO talk like that.

G: Hahahahah NO, we don’t, oh my god. Rocky, please. Cut us some slack.

E: That does explain your prolonged absence at the beginning of the year. Pretending you were having a baby but actually getting a Brazilian alien penis enlargement

G: Yeah right, you know I’d never splash out extra money, not even on the blue semen package.

E: Oh just the basic one then. Sure.

G: I’m a Southerner, too, so I feel like Jamie’s doubly insulting me by doing legitimately the worst Southern accent I’ve ever heard.

E: You haven’t heard mine.

G: But I do think this episode was better in terms of writing. I mean, it was dragging and the Duchess is a nutcase – what about her secret mirror room? The ‘elegant mirrors’? I sort of prefer it with Jamie’s description, plastered floor-to-ceiling with the Polly Pocket mirrors.

E: That definitely would have added something extra to the whole experience. Those Polly Pocket mirrors weren’t exactly straight, were they? It’d be like being in one of those wacky hall of mirrors where one makes you fat and short, and another one makes you tall and squiggly. Imagine having those reflected around you while the Duchess lovingly rubs three-quarters of the lube on your arse cheeks.

G: I cannot think of a more erotic experience. I also sort of feel like Rocky is feeling out reception for his inevitable sex-toy line launch, by mentioning in such detail the ‘ebony penis’ holding an ‘out-of-this-world necklace with added nipple clamps.’ Like, that was so viscerally specific, I just don’t think he put that in there as a throwaway. I think he’s gauging interest so he can take it to his investors and bless us with dick-shaped necklace holders.

E: It was definitely specific but I still didn’t understand AT ALL. I don’t know about whom that speaks more volumes – me for not being ‘down with the kids’ or Rocky for probably just making weird sex stuff up from his own brain. Real talk though, would you buy one if he released ’em? I would.

G: Please don’t use Rocky as a judge of who is ‘down with the kids,’ I refuse to believe that’s where the next generation is headed. But oh my god, absolutely I would. No questions asked. Didn’t you hear, the necklace had added nipple clamps.

E: I am a sucker for added nipple clamps.

G: Okay so what do you think is going to happen next? Who are her guests?I hope they all have some variation of ‘ish’ descriptors. ‘The oldish hag, the wealthyish aristocrat.’

E: Personally I’m hoping for another reappearance of the Youngish Man from book one. Or even our friend the man dressed in black who is so handy with a microphone wire. However, I would say… Sir James?? He’s one of those “wealthy-ish” aristocrat types, right?

G: I honestly don’t know if I want Sir James Godwin to ‘pop back up’ since Jamie’s Sir Godwin voice makes me want to puke. Not that I want him to change it. I’m a little in love with Jamie’s accents.

E: You’ve just made me want it even more.

G: But yeah, I bet you’re right, I bet it’s Sir James. I WISH Jim Stirling would show back up, but I doubt he will, and maybe… What if Bella is there?

E: If attendees are based purely on accent, I bloody hope Bella is gonna go. #TeamBella. She’s gotta have somewhere to wear her one grand’s worth of riding gear to. Might as well be the Duchess’s party.

G: I forgot about the thousand-pound riding gear, oh my god. Bella, you beautiful idiot.

But YES. You know how much I love Bella’s accent. I like to imagine that’s how all of you posh English people really sound when you get home. Like girls take off their bras to relax, English people take off their posh to really lounge around and replace their ‘th’s with ‘f’s.

E: That is exactly what happens, don’t tell anyone.

G: It’s too late, I’ve put it on my blog.

E: Damn. I’ll be arrested for treason, now. That’s a national secret.

G: I guess that’s it, then? I mean, we can (and will) talk about this for hours, but we can curb it until next episode. Any final thoughts, Els? Parting words, questions we should tweet at Rocky?

E: So, so many questions. First being when is this bespoke range of necklaces with added nipple clamps going to be available?

G: Definitely, definitely.

E: Or perhaps we should just stick to tweeting him messages of encouragement because I really cannot get through a Monday at work without this podcast. So the day Rocky stops writing means it’s the day the podcast will cease to be and I am too young and fragile to cope with that bereavement.

G: Aw, I like that, yes. We’ll go google ‘motivational memes’ and tweet at Rocky.

E: Some happy kittens in fields etc, yes how perfect. Maybe we can edit them with some nice graphics of semi colons.

G: No, stop, I love the semicolon so much, let’s not draw Rocky’s attention to it.

Thanks English, until next week!

E: Many thanks, Gregor. Love yas.

Stuff We Love: “My Dad Wrote a Porno” Podcast

On HTLYT, we love smart, hilarious things that make us think, which is why we subscribe to the #BookSquadGoals podcast. But we also love smart, hilarious things that make us cringe, and it doesn’t feel right that we should keep them to ourselves. That’s why we wanted to make sure you knew about…


The My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast.

We’re sure you’ve likely heard of it before – you’re probably even already subscribed, in which case you are cordially invited to be our new best friend. But International HTLYT Babe Els and I wanted to take our listenership to the next level.

That’s why, starting with Season 3, Episode 2, we’re going to have Porno Recap Mondays-though-sometimes-maybe-Tuesdays-depending-on-our-schedules.

If that seems like an unnecessary use of our time, you’re right! The podcast itself is already three people commenting on the genius of Rocky Flinstone; the last thing the world needs is the pair of us commenting on their commentary.

And yet we want to, and I pay for this domain, so. It’s gonna happen.

If you’re not listening to My Dad Wrote A Porno, start now. There’s only two seasons to catch up on – you can cram that into a weekend. Then, come back on Monday-but-maybe-Tuesday for Els (or, as I affectionately call her, “English”) to explain to us Americans what exactly James, Jamie, and Alice are saying when they make weird British references that we don’t understand over here in the colonies.

Until then, Belinkers.

Hulu Recap: The Handmaid’s Tale, Episode 8, “Jezebel’s”

Warning: Graphic content and general depressing stuff.

This week we’re introduced to the shameless hypocrisy of Gilead’s misogynistic new world order via Offred’s attendance at a swanky ‘secret’ brothel. She’s lucky enough to bag an invite from the creepy Commander Beardface, and we’re lucky enough to have trash cans on hand to puke into every time he touches her arm.


The episode opens with Offred once again in Nick’s bed, and we’re treated to her self-disparaging inner monologue as she admits that despite knowing Luke is alive, she’s unable to stay away from Nick. “I’m a fucking weakling,” she narrates scathingly, before admitting that she is still with Nick because it feels good, and because she doesn’t want to be alone. Absolutely no one blames her. She also confesses that she spends time studying Nick, memorizing him, because Luke is ‘fading’ from her memory, and she doesn’t want that to happen again.

The flashbacks this episode fittingly fill out Nick’s backstory, and we learn that his full name is Nick Blaine. In the midst of society’s collapse, he was having difficulty staying employed and was recruited by a leader of the Sons of Jacob out of desperation. We also see his first interaction with Cmdr. Beardface: he’s serving as the driver and overhears Beardface telling two other crinkly old white guys that their wives will never go for the concept of husbands impregnating other women, not if it’s referred to as ‘the Act.’ Beardface suggests they call it the Ceremony. Beardface is effing gross.

Back in real time, Beardface is up to his creepy old tricks when he visits Offred in her room and… shaves her legs. It is about as erotic as you’d expect (so, not erotic at all), but he’s not done there. He also gives her makeup, a swanky beaded dress, and a pair of high heels, though the piece de resistance is when he takes her hair down and gives it a good, hearty sniff, just like that sweaty guy who sat behind you in freshman algebra used to do.

It’s evident that Beardface is taking Offred out on the town. After parading her in front of Nick and unknowingly salting a wound, he has Nick drive them into what was once Boston. They go through two security checkpoints and Offred keeps her hood up; she is pretending to be Lady Beardface tonight, something made possible by Lady Beardface being out of town visiting her mother. For the second checkpoint she has to lie down on Cmdr. Beardface’s lap since ‘no women are allowed past this point,’ which, ew. Nick keeps glancing at them in the rearview mirror and does not look like he’s having a good time. Then again, he never does. Nick is an enigma.

Their destination is Jezebel’s, an art deco-inspired club that has an Eyes Wide Shut situation going on inside. It’s a bunch of crusty old men with half-naked women draped across their laps, and Offred is understandably not stoked to be here. Cmdr. Beardface is, as always, utterly out of touch with the emotions of women, since he is super proud of his little sin-and-rape den and seems to see no triggering issues when he tells Offred that, despite this sort of operation being forbidden, they ‘turn a blind eye.’ “Everyone’s human, after all,” Beardface says, and miraculously Offred does not stab him in the eye while shrieking WHAT ABOUT ME, MOTHERFUCKER?! like I might have done.

Instead, she asks who these women are, and Cmdr. Beardface contradicts his moment of egalitarianism by proudly telling her that they have “quite a collection” including CEO’s, lawyers, professors, and former working girls. “All women who couldn’t assimilate.” In other words, more sex slaves of the titled. Offred looks like she might puke, at least until she sees someone across the room –

No, not Rory, but it is Samira Wiley!!! She’s alive, and she’s cute as a freaking button as always. Offred excuses herself and she and Samira Wiley have a hasty reunion in the ladies’ room, where Samira immediately apologizes for leaving Offred behind on the train. Offred is clearly not torn up about it, since all she wants to do is hug Samira Wiley and tell her much she loves her. The reunion is interrupted by an angry Aunt telling Samira to get back out there, which only means that this entire operation is aunt-sanctioned and even more heinous. The Aunts are literally the worst example of #girlshelpinggirls I have ever seen.

Meanwhile, Nick is downstairs doing a trade with a Sister. They’re trading contraband and it’s clearly a standing arrangement, though he shuts her down when she tries to entice him into sex. This is evidently not his usual response and the Sister seems put out  but says nothing. Cut to another Nick flashback, this one back in the Beardface’s manor.

He’s cutting down a hanged handmaid, presumably the one before Offred. Rita, the cook, is beside herself with grief, and Nick looks shellshocked. The next scene is all of them somberly watching the body being taken away, and we see Lady Beardface hiss to Cmdr. Beardface, “What did you think was going to happen?”

And then we’re back in the brothel, where Cmdr. Beardface has taken Offred to a private room. None of it bodes well. He wants to have sex ‘for real’ and we are only given a glimpse of his initiation and a single tear rolling down Offred’s cheek. She’s still keeping it together far better than I could.

Once that’s done, Offred sneaks out of the hotel room to find Samira Wiley. On her way down the hall, she hears all sorts of horrific things: men beating women, women crying, the boorish laughter of spectators in a gangrape of a woman dressed like a handmaid. It’s literally just a coterie of hypocrisy, and even the brief, quiet meet-up between Samira Wiley and Offred isn’t enough to lift my ensuing depression. Samira Wiley tells Offred to give up on escape, though Offred doesn’t accept it.

Not even once she’s back home, and Nick tells her they need to stop seeing one another. He tells her what they’re doing is stupid and dangerous. She tells him she had no choice but to go with Beardface, which is tragic since she shouldn’t have to tell Nick that. He says nothing. She gives him a withering glare, reminds him mockingly of his position within their heinous government, and sweeps from the room.

But she’s not broken. Not even after Lady Beardface stops her on the stairs to give her a gift – an old music box, ‘a girl in a box who only dances when someone else opens the lid.’ Not even then. Instead, Offred sits on the floor of her closet, using the music box key to carve ‘you are not alone’ into the wall for the next handmaid.

Yes, I’m Moving. No, It’s Not Because of the Snow.

A year ago, I was on the cusp. My life was a flurry of packing tape, U-Haul contracts, and ‘downsizing,’ since I was flying my self-made Tuscaloosa nest. I had just accepted a job offer as a copywriter for a bank, I was looking for places to live in the ‘greater Boston area’ just like I’d always dreamed, and I had finally gotten the hang of the whole ‘being-a-mom-while-retaining-a-personal-identity’ balancing act. The world was my New England oyster, and I had stars in my eyes and butterflies in my belly.

And, unbeknownst to me, also another baby in there.

Now, a year later, I’m waist-deep in packing tape and moving boxes again because Orie and I have decided to do the ‘adult’ thing and not go deeply into debt to maintain a decent lifestyle up here on only one income. When we got here, we had two jobs and one kid. Now, we’ve got two kids and one job. Compound that with New Hampshire’s notoriously inflated housing & daycare prices and you end up with the ‘why’ behind our living in a spider-infested rat castle in the middle of Deer Tick Central.

It took about fifteen minutes of soul-searching to agree that we didn’t want to live in a ramshackle bungalow that lacked reliable plumbing or a garage, when we could instead move back closer to home to live in a real house with non-blood-flavored tap water and a dishwasher. The ‘closer to home thing’ was a boon, too, since now we have this unexpected brand new baby that everyone wants to meet and I, for one, cannot wait to capitalize on their excitement so I can experience silence again.

And yet the more people I tell about this move, the more I receive expressions creased up in sympathy and responses like ‘yeah, not everyone can hack it up here’ or ‘being on your own is difficult.’ It’s patronizing, and aggravating, and I figured I’d go ahead and answer the most frequently asked questions when it comes to my move just to save everyone some time.

  1. No, it’s not because of the snow.
  2. No, it’s not because of the liberals. They’re actually why we came up here. Don’t tell my dad.
  3. No, it’s not because we can’t ‘hack it’. New England is not some wild, mystical enigma that is that different from the rest of the America. It’s just colder, more expensive, and people get confused when you strike up conversations for no reason. Which, fair enough. I shouldn’t’ve talked to you when you were at that CoinStar, I just really liked your shoes.
  4. No, it’s not because it’s too far from my mom. That was a weird thing to say. I’m an adult, come on. … But I don’t wanna hear a word when the first thing I do when I get to the South is go and see my mama.
  5. Yes, it is a little bit because yall don’t have Chikfilas. I don’t feel I can be blamed for that one.
  6. No, it’s not because of the spiders. Spiders don’t scare me. Not after spending countless summers in my grandparents’ Mississippi house and having to run shrieking from finger-sized flying cockroaches.
  7. No, it’s not because of the job market. I’m a copywriter. It was a miracle I got a job here in the first place, I don’t think I’m gonna fare much better down South. (On a totally unrelated note, let me know if you have any copy writing or editing needs.)
  8. Yes, it is because of the cost of living. Yes, I have looked on craigslist. No, our situations aren’t comparable, since you are a single human being who can squeeze into a subletted bedroom for $700 a month. For some reason those same subleases tend to ignore my emails when I inquire about cramming my family of four into one. Yes, I am aware that it’s my own fault that I had two kids. I’m not any happier about it than you are.
  9. No, it’s not because of the mandatory vehicle inspections, though for a state whose motto is ‘live free or die,’ you sure aren’t letting me do either with those damn inspections.
  10. … No, it’s not because of the snow.
CFA_PDP_Chick-Fil-A-Sandwich_1085I’m coming for you, you beautiful bitch.