Where My Girls At?

 
Wandering the streets of Mexico City during the day, there’s no shortage of ladies. They are selling food, flowers and souvenirs in sidewalk stalls. They are cutting hair in chic salons. Having a leisurely lunch with co-workers. Walking to yoga with mats in tow. Pushing little ones in strollers.

But after dark, things change. The streets empty of females.

My second night here in Mexico City, I treated myself to dinner at a trendy eatery. I wasn’t surprised that there were no other lone females, but I was surprised that there were very few females in the restaurant at all. 80% of the tables were men with another man or two or a large party of 6-8 men. The balance was a man alone or a male/female couple on a date.

Where were the girls out for a drink after work? The two-to-four female friends catching up over dinner and drinks? Or two girls swiping through Tinder profiles sharing laughs and margaritas?

My mental rolodex considered a few possibilities:

  • Perhaps I stumbled upon a gay restaurant. Not entirely unlikely. In the loves of my life, I count several gay men, so it’s reasonable to assume that I’d find comfort in a gay enclave. But alas, I was in the business district. And I have to say that even in the states, I’ve never been to an entirely gay restaurant — now a bar is another story…
  • Perhaps it’s a Cantina – which according to my travel book is a place where men in the community gather. Ok…why would men need a place to gather.? Don’t they have strip clubs? But fine, lets say this place was a cantina, what’s the opposite for females?
  • Perhaps the women are at home taking care of family. I WhatsApp’ed a friend from Chile (I know, a totally different country, but still Latin America so I thought he could shed some light. I asked him where are the females at night? He said at home cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. And my response to him:

That’s bullshit.

One of the reasons for this trip was to give me the space to decide whether or not I want kids. I’ve always been on the fence about the situation and now that I’m biologically running out of time, a fact I should have come to terms with years ago at age 35, I must decide. 

Do I want to be committed for 18+ years to care for a child or (fill in the blank with anything else I think of)?

There are pros and cons to both, of course. At this point in my life, whichever choice I make is irreversible. And the option to do both is certainly more challenging since I would be raising a child alone. (I am completely separating my desire for a mate from this because I believe you can fall in love at any point in your lifetime. You don’t run out of time for that. You do however run out of time to create biological babies – and it’s too late for me to freeze my eggs.).

Being smacked in the face with women who aren’t even out in public in their own city screams of every fear I’ve ever had about being a parent.

I look at women who are mothers and I admire the loving, nurturing and care taking in them. I fear that it’s a skill I don’t possess.  I have some personal limitations that have given me pause on procreation:

I’m no domestic diva – I prefer beauty products over the latest cleaning products 

I’m not into cleaning or other domesticated chores. And even when I was discussing the possibility of having a baby by myself with my mom, I said I thought the first two years are all about feeding, changing diapers, cleaning them up, etc, I could just outsource that to a nanny. I thought, my value as a parent wouldn’t really come into play until it was time to read to them and teach them stuff.

Janice gently said (and mom Janice isn’t typically gentle), that the first two years couldn’t be outsourced. They are about bonding. 

It made me think, would I still be happy on the 12th night in a row, at home alone mopping up spit-up and doing laundry (who am I kidding, laundry CAN’T be a bonding experience. I’m outsourcing that). Would I be happy with that choice?

Or, how about when I’m 80 and living in a retirement village and other people’s children and grandchildren come to visit them and I’m that weird old lady that keeps asking strangers if they want to look at my photos or hear my stories.

Or maybe I could be the one to find the balance of both? But how could that be possible, when I’m witnessing that out of a city of 25 million, the females are relegated to home after dark?

I’m not nurturing 

Back when I was in the workplace, as a leader, one of the complaints about me was the way I gave feedback. 

The very first time I was a supervisor in my 20s, I was once overheard saying, “Out of the 10 things I asked you to do, 8 of them were wrong.”

Sure, I got much better. But it has taken a lot of work. It’s not a natural instinct. I’m more about facts and efficiency than feelings.

In fact, I wanted to give the dog back after the first month of Cupcake’s puppyhood was much harder than I expected. But Janice said you couldn’t give puppies back (and I let myself believe her!).

I’m selfish and believe in taking care of myself 

I feel that culturally, including in the US, the expectations for women to give up themselves to care for others are too high. 

Have you heard of mom jeans? Yep, a mom can’t be sexy (unless she’s objectified as a MILF). And women buy into this and run around in mini-vans with no makeup, a messy ponytail and unlabeled yoga pants as a uniform. 

Recently, when Kim Kardashian posted “empowering” naked photos of herself, so many people said, “but she’s a mom!” What does being a mom have to do with it? Moms are held to a higher standard than other women.

And how about those moms who put their child’s photo as their own on social media? No, thanks. It’s MY profile, you will be seeing MY latest pics. Can I have a child even if I don’t want to BECOME my child?

Or how about when it’s his birthday. Do I have to dig up every photo from the last 20 years and let that take over my feed? Or, instead, would it be ok for me to share my latest fancy martini or interesting article on activism, like I’m allowed to do now?

The research continues 

I’ve been keeping my eyes open, looking into every restaurant I passed after dark. It seems that the trendy restaurants – dark lighting, cocktails, live music, ladies in heels – are the domain of men and couples.

I found the ladies at family style restaurants. They were there with family, often their husband and an older adult as well. And their kids were with them, having a great time with chocolate milk and jello. And the food was usually…a buffet. 

I hate, really hate buffets.

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A Raccoon Grows in Brooklyn :(

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Emerging from a hipster bar in Brooklyn the other night, I encountered a rodent. But not a rat, squirrel, mouse or other unwelcome, yet expected creature.

At first, I thought, that humpedback cat is huge! Then my double-take identified a masked face and hand-like forepaws. The realization stung: it was a RACCOON. A huge, casually walking-in-my-neighborhood raccoon.

And I just paid $9 for a craft beer.

My true instinct to scream is finally – after many years – disappearing. I’ve been beaten down by New York City nonchalance. Like the time I was in the locker room at a New York Sports Club and a mouse streaked across the room. I screamed, but the other ladies didn’t rush to put their clothes or even stop talking.

Or the time I was at the movies at Lincoln Center and someone announced that a rat was in the auditorium. There was no screaming or a mass exodus. Instead, the moviegoers simply lifted their legs and kept munching popcorn. (I guess they’d been doing core-strengthening exercises.)

Yet, still after 15 years, I’m still not cool about the rodent situation.

So back to that night… I grabbed my phone to take a photos of the masked bandit. He was walking pretty slow, but I fumbled and soon he was between cars and I was too afraid to follow his hump-backed, masked ass.

So missed my opportunity. I wanted to immediately post on social media about my sighting and warn my neighbors. Before doing so, I ran a quick Google search to see if raccoons were a common sighting in Brooklyn. To my surprise, they are!

The search revealed stories and photos of Brooklynites and their pesky visiting raccoons. One of the more chilling stories was of a Brooklyn family who was watching TV and heard the cat in the kitchen eating. Only then, they realized that the cat was sitting on the couch with them. A raccoon had figured out the cat door and helped himself.

There were other stories and photos I’d prefer forgetting. Like this one. And This one. Although the video commentary about this drunk raccoon spotted at a Brooklyn workplace (“YO, this son is liiitttt”) is definitely more entertaining than my last Netflix binge.

So now, in addition to the bears, giant rats, abundant, constantly proliferating and apartment-dwelling mice, alligators in the sewers and coyotes on the loose, raccoons are added to the list of things we just have to deal with.

What’s next, armadillos?

My gym confessions

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I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions (I’m more into intentions). And I’m not trying to lose weight.

Nevertheless, I’ve stepped up my gym game for two reasons: Dancing and butt-shaking music make me FEEL great. 2. I visited a client and was so badly out of breathe on arrival, that the building security guard asked me where I was in town from (there is no worse insult for a New Yorker).

One of the relentlessly difficult things about New York is all the stairs — subways, walk-up buildings, Duane Reade, gyms. And you never notice them until you’re out of shape. Today on my way to Zumba class, I seriously debated taking the elevator to the class on the third floor. I started to chide myself for being the out-of-shape train wreck I am, but it occurred to me then that was far from my first infraction. I LIKE the gym. I really do. But we have a turbulent relationship and break up a lot. So, I’ve had more than my share of shameful moments at the gym.

I must speak my truth.

1. I’ve gone to the gym just for the wifi. #entrepreneur

2. I’ve gone to the gym just for a shower #walkofshame

3. I’ve gone to the gym just to use the bathroom. #nyc

4. I’ve eaten a donut at the gym.

5. I’ve taken a different class to avoid another flight of stairs at the gym. Oh, yoga is in this studio and Zumba’s upstairs? #namaste.

6. One of my sports bras gives me a uniboob.

7. Another one gives me 4 boobs.

8. Instructor, thanks for the extra help. But I’m not actually confused about the move, I’m just taking a break. #justsaynotoburpees

9. My feet hurt in both pair of my athletic shoes, but in my search for a new pair, I bought these $468 shoes instead. Maybe going to Barney’s for gym shoes was a bad idea. #feetstillhurt 

10. I have paid a $190 monthly gym membership and not gone. #moneyisnotamotivator

11. Sometimes, in the shower at the gym after a weights class, I just let the water run through my hair, avoiding raising my arms to shampoo.

Why I’ve got beef with the TV Show Younger

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One of my secrets for working well into the wee hours is that I binge watch television shows to keep me company. Or, maybe one the reasons that I have to work well into the wee hours is because I’m binge watching TV. But, anyway.

One night at 3 AM, I couldn’t stand the abused pet “give us money” commercials for another minute (they  make me cry every time), so I turned to On Demand. I spotted Younger as an option and remembered seeing their subway ad featuring a cute, tatted guy with facial hair, but not a full-blown beard, so I decided to give it a chance.

The Premise

Younger is a TV Land sitcom about a 40-year old New Jersey woman with a 17-year old daughter and soon-ending marriage. Faced with having to support herself, she has to re-enter the workforce but can’t find a job because she’s had no work experience for the past 15 years.

Although I appreciate that the show suggests that a 40-year old can look good enough to pretend to be 26, score the job and a hot guy, the part I hate is that they portray her as a complete and OLD imbecile. All because she’s 40.

FORTY is NOT that fucking old. They have made her entirely too clueless. And, from there, it just gets annoying. Here’s how:

  • She has a 70s muff. This woman was BORN in the late 70s, why would she be running around with an afro covering her VJ? As a point of reference, Sex and the City came out in 1998, when we, — uh, I mean she — was in her 20s. She and her peers would not find genital hair maintenance to be a novelty. It’s not even acceptable for a 40-year old MAN to not groom and they were given a pass for the longest.
  • She lives in Brooklyn but goes on a date in Paramus New Jersey. That would never happen. Two bridges. Italian food in JERSEY. This would Not. happen. Ever. NEVER.
  • She didn’t know:
    • How to silence her cell phone or change the ringtone. Really? I mean REALLY. 40 is not 70. 40 year-olds know how to use their phones, even if just the most basic features.
    • What IRL means. Texting is TWENTY years old, people. She would have been in her mid-twenties when most people started using it, so how would she not know that IRL means in-real-life?
    • Whether something that is trending is a good thing. Twitter is 10 years old and not a novelty.
    • Lena Dunham. Maybe I should give her a pass on this one, but Lena is one of the most prolific writers of the past few years. Yet, a person with an interest in media/publishing hasn’t heard of her? It’s like they’re giving her early onset dementia. My best side-eye onthat one.
    • That people share Xanax. I’m older than her and still remember after-school specials about not doing that. Yet, she managed to roofie herself and sleep on the floor (IN NYC. Even drunk or high people know not to do that in NYC).
    • About the goddess menstrual cup. 40-year old women still have periods, you idiot writers.
    • That “junk” means penis. That one is not new. Just not new.
    • That the city Bombay became Mumbai. This happened in 1995 when she would have been 20 years old and at DARTMOUTH. Don’t see how that one could have slipped past her observation.
    • She doesn’t have a good excuse for this farce. She took off time to raise her child, I get that part. But in 15 years, what else was she doing? After her daughter went to school, what did she do all day? She wasn’t volunteering or starting a book club or writing a blog setting up an Etsy shop? All things I could imagine an ivy-league-educated, Jersey-dwelling woman would do.

So why am I still watching this show, you might ask? As much as it rubs me the wrong way, I realize that’s just due to my feelings about my own age. We live in a youth-driven-culture and I am still struggling with accepting the fact that I’m no longer the target demographic that anybody cares about.

Or maybe it’s because by noticing how out of touch Darren Star is, I realize he must be older than me. That’s it! SOMEONE is older than me. That’s a reason to watch.

Oh, and the hot guy. He helps, too.