I was raised Catholic. Very Catholic. Now I’d call myself “Agnostic.” I think that can often be shorthand for “I don’t really think about it much.” That is not what I mean. I think about religion and spirituality often. And I just don’t know. I don’t really want to get into the intricacies of my relationship with faith, but suffice to say that I allow for the possibility of a deity, though I suspect there isn’t one, and I definitely don’t…believe. While I thought my parents knew this, they apparently didn’t (or chose to ignore it) but it came up a few months ago and I stated my position pretty clearly.

My response to my mom’s email 2 days ago telling me she’s been crying and losing sleep for months over my lack of faith, worrying that she won’t see me in heaven:

“No, I don’t mind you sharing what’s on your mind. I’m sorry I can’t put it more at ease. I think the world can be an amazing and wonderful place, but no, I do not necessarily see a divine hand in that. I respect your right to your beliefs, but they aren’t mine, and haven’t been for quite some time. I’m sorry to have sprung that on your at Christmas. I thought you knew. Could that change in the future? Maybe. I don’t want to give you the idea that this is a phase that will surely pass, but I’m not so arrogant to think that my beliefs couldn’t change over time. I don’t think it’s likely, but I suppose it’s possible.

I lead a moral life. I try to stand up for things I think are right. I have an excellent foundation of right and wrong (in not small part due to my upbringing) and while I don’t always do the right thing (who does?!) I try to do the right thing more often than I do the wrong. I don’t do it because I’m afraid of hell, but because I want to live in a world of goodness, and I think that comes from people. I hope you take comfort in that, and that you believe in a god who, if it turns out he or she exists, will care more about the life I’ve lead than about the beliefs of my fallible human brain.”


And the winner is….The Patriarchy!

Well, now that I’ve thoroughly dressed down some famous ladies for not looking pretty enough at the Oscars, I’d like to take a minute to complain about misogyny at the Oscars! Let me just turn off this hypocrisy siren….

My first Feminist Sigh came during the program. As part of Hollywood’s continuing plea to get people to pay to watch movies, they ran a (long-ish) segment just sort of…praising movies? Controversial stuff. Famous people waxed poetic about their thoughts and feelings on film. And of the (estimated) 20 speakers, 2 of them were women. Ladies get pretty equal time onstage at the Oscars, tromping around with heels, and cleavage, and trumpet skirts, but when it comes to sharing unscripted opinions, speaking directly and using their brains? Less so.

While researching my Red Carpet post, I stumbled on this video examining the Best Picture nominees and whether or not they pass the Bechdel Test:

She notes that only two of the nominees fully pass the test (The Descendants and The Help) while two more sort of pass, in that there is a scene where two named women speak to each other, but it is for less than 30 seconds each and has no relevance to the plot (Midnight in Paris and Hugo).

I am disappointed, yet not surprised.

I am, in particular, disappointed in Martin Scorsese. Affable, talented, unassuming Marty. Who could be mad at him? Me. I am mad at Marty Scorsese.

There are so many excuses people give as to why films fail the Bechdel Test. It’s a movie about baseball! They say. Or war. (Yet no one questions why so, so many war and baseball stories dominate the fiction landscape. But I digress.) Conventions! They say. We had to get the movie made, and the Execs–they want leading men!

Hugo is set in a train station, not the beaches of Normandy. Martin Scorsese can get movies made. He has the clout to say “no, this movie has to have more than a token female presence. It is important in a world that is 51% female to show even a close to equitable female presence in my story.” But he tells the same story of a plucky white boy that has been told countless times. This time in 3D!

Why should he care? Why shouldn’t he tell the stories that resonate with him?

Because he brought his granddaughter to the Oscars. Scorsese has the power to actually make a dent in the cultural landscape, changing it for the better so that when that little girl grows up, she can tell stories, too. Yes, I think it is his responsibility to help make that world. I think it is his responsibility to be cognizant of the effect his work has on the world. As a creator of culture at the top of his field, yes, he must consider the Bechdel test. Yes, he should consider the racial make up of his cast and whether its over-whelming whiteness might be a symptom of ingrained racism. When you lead the kind of charmed life Marty leads, you owe something to the universe.

Who Did We Love and Who Did We Hate: Oscar 2012 Edition

Servicable. That’s generally how I felt about last night’s red carpet and ceremony. When a Meryl Streep win is your big surprise upset, well, your sense of theatricality has faltered. And Hollywood wonders why it has to beg people to see movies these days. There weren’t any swans or backward tuxedos this year, but I’m sure we can find something to talk about.

Kristen Wiig

Image from Just Jared
Say one thing for this girl–she is consistent. In keeping with her sadsack SAG Awards dress, Kristen came to the Oscars as a Sad Dust Mop. Get it together, Wiig.

Sandra Bullock

Image by Red Carpet Fashion Awards
Loved it. I’ve heard criticism that the front was too blousy, but I disagree. I think it’s beautifully draped in contrast to the slim hip she’s working and va-va-voom back.

Rooney Mara

Image by Constantce Zahn
This dress was divisive. I agree with the esteemed Fug Girls that it could have used better tailoring, but not so much that I think it ruined the overall ensemble. Rooney Mara has an unusual look and she’s running with it. I liked the quirky, ethereal fabric and the whimsical bustline. It felt like a grown-up, less angsty Lydia Deetz. Has Tim Burton cast this girl yet? You know that’s coming.

Jennifer Lopez

Image by Pop Sugar
It’s not so much the fabric or the cut of this dress that is a problem for me, but the smell. Yes, even through the television screen, this dress reeks. Of desperation. As for her areola’s star turn on the stage? Let’s not dignify that with a response.

Melissa McCarthy

Image by The Mirror
I’m calling out Melissa’s friends, because they are straight up bitches. Some douchebag stylist wraps your friend in a cloud of vomit colored chiffon and you say nothing? Bitches. Those sleeves. THOSE SLEEVES! Lorelai Gilmore, where are you when we need you to mercifully dump coffee on an unacceptable dress!? Melissa, please call. I can help.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Image by LuxeFinds
People have feelings about this dress. I nearly left it out of my recap because I don’t really get all of the hoohah about it, but I felt like I would be remiss not to include it for discussion. Is it really so polarizing? It’s a white column. Yeah, sure, there’s a cape. But not like, A Cape. I think it’s…nice. Perfectly…nice. Elegant, if a little dull. Of course, I was perhaps the only person on the planet who didn’t love GOOP’s celebrated [Ed.Note: ill-fitting, wrinkled, cheap-looking] pink frock at the 1999 Oscar’s, so maybe I have a blind spot when it comes to Gwyneth.

Viola Davis

Image by IBtimes
Boy, I really want to like this dress. The color is a knock-out and the general sillouette is nice. But it looks like someone took a box cutter to the hem. Also, her boobs. They are not right. They sort of look like how boobs might appear on a statue sculpted by a person who had never actually seen boobs before, but whose assistant had described them verbally.

Shailene Woodley

It was nice of Shailene to drop by after her wedding to Warren Jeffs.

Sherri Shepherd

Image by Highlight Hollywood
Did you…did you think we wouldn’t notice? That is just straight up your bra. I don’t even know why you’re AT the Oscars, but lady, have the decency to wear the right undergarments. You’ve got a lot to keep up; I feel ya. But maybe that dress is not for you. Even your highly visible bra is not doing them justice.

Octavia Spencer

Image from Just Jared
I covet this dress. It hits the all important WOW factor without the unfortunate …WHOA factor.

Both Ellie Kemper and Berenice Bejo looked fantastic, but I have little more to say other than: Shiny! Pretty!

I take three things away from this year’s Red Carpet:

  1. Kate Middleton really did bring back sleeves in formal wear.
  2. Wedding dresses for red carpet?
  3. Hollywood stylists still wholey flummoxed by boobs.

Things That Irrationally Piss Me Off: Lizzy

For months now, I’ve been emailing back and forth with a dude, trying to decide whether I might want to meet him. We’re a high match (whatever that’s worth), he’s cute, and he’s extraordinarily persistent. But something about him pisses me off. I can’t lay my finger on it (hence continuing to speak with him at all–I feel sort of unreasonable), but I find myself annoyed after almost every exchange. Today, he sealed his fate though. He called me Lizzy.

I have nothing against the name Lizzy as a derivative of Elizabeth, just as I have nothing against the names Beth, or Betty, or Eliza, etc. etc. and so on (there are a ludicrous number of Elizabeth derivatives).

But that is not my fucking name.

I do not find it endearing. You will not be the one person I let get away with it because, gosh, you’re so cheeky and special.

Even the few people in my life who do it to tease me, knowing I will scowl at them, are dear, close friends. Presuming to call me a diminutive nickname before we’ve even met seems excessively intimate. (Clearly, I watch a lot of Downton Abbey and favor the Dowager Countess.) My own mother can’t get away with it.

It’s not that I have anything against nicknames in general. I have my own, and I certainly employ them in speaking to others. But they are from or for people I know well, with whom I have some shared history.

Was I looking for a reason to put this business to bed? Probably. But calling me Lizzy was definitely the last straw. It’s not like I’d chuck a friend I already knew and liked for calling me Lizzy (at least, not consistently) but man, if there is any question about whether I like a person or not, “Lizzy” casts a weighted vote against them.

Are there nicknames you can’t stand? How well do you tolerate them?

It’s Not Valentine’s Day, It’s HBO

Your kid could be the kid who hands these out instead of Spongebob Valentine’s in the school exchange. I’m just sayin’. Available at Walgreens and other fine retailers. 

HBO Original Valentines

You’re great, but this is really a love letter to Baltimore.

I’ll Be Your Stallion That Mounts The World

Fang Bangers put the “V” in Valentine

You Make My Heart Go Bada Bing

Omar Coming, Yo…To Wish You a Happy Valentine’s Day

Let’s Hug It Out!

If You Exploded, I’d Carry You Around In A Jar
The Talbot Jar
Image from True Blood Wiki 

A Lannister Always Pays His Debts–And I Owe You a Kiss

Be My Taxi Cab Confession


Past the point of no return

I was seeing a very nice guy for about a month, up until Monday when I politely declined to continue. I had a sneaking suspicion early on that it wasn’t clicking, but I really wanted it to, which as we all discover at one point or another, just isn’t enough. Ah, the stupid vagaries of the heart.

We had plans to spend Valentine’s Day together (the degree to which that wigged me out was another red flag I ignored) and so I started poking around on Etsy for a cute token gift. And that, dear readers, is when I knew there was no salvaging it.

As I’ve noted before, I fucking love giving gifts. Shopping for other people thrills me, and truth be told, the first few gifts are usually the most exciting because it’s a new game, a new person to puzzle out. So when I’d coolly scrolled though pages of custom shaving soaps, vintage books, cufflinks, Tardis greeting cards, and cigar cutters without a twinge of excitement, that was the sign I couldn’t turn away from, a message from my smarter inner self saying, “this is a waste of your time and his.”

What are your signs that it’s time to call it quits? Big red flags or little (yet unmistakable!) notes from your subconscious?

Who Did We Love and Who Did We Hate: SAG Awards

It’s still relevant if I write about a red carpet event almost a week later, right?

Lea Michele

Image from Celebuzz
Girl, I get it. You play a teenager on television and you don’t want to get typecast. But I don’t need to give you a pelvic exam to believe that you can play adult.
Also, it would probably play a little less desperate if there weren’t photos of you deliberately pulling your skirt back as you walk to show more leg. I’m just sayin’.

Melissa McCarthy

Image from Chicago Now
Who hasn’t found one dress they like and bought it in 4 different colors? I’m guilty. But while I like this dress on its own, I am pretty sure I’ve seen MM walk 4 different red carpets in it in the last year, with slight variations in color and neckline. And I mean slight. Here, let me show you. You’re a celebrity now. Either the studio is paying for your dress, or a designer is donating it. Live it up a little.

Jayma Mays

Image by FabSugar
When you can make a floor length gown covered in sequins look understated and elegant, you have won the red carpet. Cap sleeves, so often misused, work perfectly on her frame and the peekaboo back ensures that the whole thing doesn’t get a little too precious. Simple hair and bare arms (no bling) complete the look. 

 Meryl Streep

Image from The Washington Post
“Martin, pull that curtain down and hand me the belt that farmhand left behind. I want to see how far I can push this red carpet thing before they stop handing me awards.”

Emily Blunt

Image by Celebuzz
Lea, this is how one rocks a slit like a grown-up. Killer color, love the wrapped look of the bodice, wish the hair was a little less whoops I was walking my dog and ended up at The SAG Awards.

Rose Byrne
Thou Shalt Not Wear A Jumpsuit
Image by The Huffington Post
Ye shall not wear of the garment that is a shirt and pants as one and also of the formal fashion; it is an abomination. So sayeth the Lord.

Amber Riley
I like big bows and I cannot lie
Image by Red Carpet Fashion Awards
Conventional fashion wisdom would say that a rack like Amber’s does not need the added volume of a big ole bow, but I love this dress and I love it on her. Am I wrong? Is is boob-empathy? Can I simply not say no to a lace/taffeta combo? (I can’t. I just can’t!)

Kristen Wiig

Image by The Fashion Court
Can we please skip your Tina Fey phase where you are a beautiful woman who doesn’t know how to dress herself because she’s a comedian? I can’t do this again. Everyone is hating on the choker, but I think it’s the least of her problems. The dress is drab and sadsacky. Like, she literally looks like a sack who is sad.

Busy Phillips 

Image by Mix1065fm
One of my favorite things about Michelle Williams is that she always brings BFF Busy Phillips as her date to award shows. I love Busy Phillips and I wish she were more famous (where’s the Freaks and Geeks love, Judd? You’ve basically produced star vehicles for every dude on that show) because she is hilarious.  So it is with a heavy heart that I say to Busy, WTF? Did you just roll up to a red carpet looking like a Sister Wife?!
That’s all for me. Who did you love and who did you hate?