When Doves Cry

Today, Prince has died.

In honor, I am re-posting a little piece I wrote about him on my blog in August 2011.


I called it: “Darling Nikki:”

I just walked into the living room at midnight, to discover my husband watching Prince’s 1984 film “Purple Rain”… if you are younger than 45 – this may be a quaint story of nostalgia about how Grandma and Grandpa used to “get down,” but if you are older than that, perhaps you will recognize some of my memories.

First of all, I was 19-years-old when this movie came out – and to this day, I love me some Prince.  This tiny, elfin, androgynous, almost certainly bi-sexual, black man was making girls scream and pass out like a munchkin-sized black-Elvis back in 1984.

Of course, at the time, I was unaware of how truly short he was.

As a woman who was 5’8” in the 7th grade, I was later heartbroken to learn that my little mini-chocolate-chip of desire was only 5’2” and explicitly didn’t date women taller than he was… like my meeting Prince, much less dating him, was even a remote possibility.

I took posters of him, one of which featured a semi-nude, effeminate African American male lounging on purple satin sheets, and taped them on large pieces of leftover paneling from a basement renovation project. I propped these pieces of homemade art in my bedroom windows, creating a darkened den of Prince-lust.

Sometimes, it is painful to realize that I have lived long enough to find out that the mysterious, elusive, too-cool-for-school Prince, re-named himself some unpronounceable hieroglyphic, and became a Jehovah’s Witness… seriously, people in Minnesota, have opened their doors to find PRINCE on their porch wanting to come inside for a religious chat.

I’ve never opened the door to anyone holding a pamphlet in my life, but I swear, I would let Prince come into my living room and talk about anything he wanted just to hang out with him for an hour.

Do you think he would be embarrassed if I started writhing on the floor doing my impression of him doing “Darling Nikki” on stage almost thirty years ago?




Terror in the Toilet

Spork Cartoon

Every couple of years (during election cycles), there seems to be a national panic over some life-altering threat to our very “existence-as-we-know-it.”

These threats pop up overnight and disappear just as quickly. Like tornadoes. They seem to stay on the ground just long enough to distract people from whatever the hell is really going on at the moment.

Remember when we were all going to die from Ebola? You probably don’t since you haven’t heard about it since the last presidential election. One day, Ebola is looming over the country like a giant swarm of death bees, then, all of a sudden, they disappear in a cloud of smoke, like a magic trick.

Now, overnight it seems, there is a new threat to our life and liberty. I call it, “Terror in the Toilet.”

My main question is where the hell have all these trans-people been hiding? There are apparently enough of them causing mayhem that states have to pass legislation to protect ordinary citizens from the threat that they might see one in a public bathroom.

I’ve met two trans-people in my entire life and I happen to know a lot of weirdos. I’ll bet 99% of people worried about a penis in their potty have never even seen a trans-person.

It’s like all those handicap parking spaces at Walmart. If every single handicapped person who can drive showed up at the exact same time, there would still be too many of them.

There just aren’t that many trans-people either. If we made transgender-only public bathrooms, the toilet handles would rust before some of them were ever used. It seems that no one really knows how many trans-people there are, but it is estimated at less than half a percent of the population.

And they have just now become a problem requiring the time and energy of state lawmakers, while gripping the nation in a paralysis of fear? They were lying low until the time was right to strike, I guess.

Besides actual trans-folk, who are deliberately presenting as a different gender than the one they were born to, I wonder about the people who simply “look” different than their gender, regardless of their sexual preference, what about ladies who look masculine or men who look feminine?

We’ve all seen a person and we weren’t quite sure “what” they were, right? Remember the ambiguous “Pat” from Saturday Night Live back in the ‘90s? Where should Pat go poo poo?

I, personally, know two different married, straight, anatomically correct (I assume), biologically-born women who look like men in drag. Not by choice, they are just large ladies with masculine faces and man-hands.

So are we supposed to accost people who don’t look like their stereotypical gender norms and insist on seeing their prizes and goodies before we allow them to use the bathroom?

Are we going to have a gender-version of asking a woman who is not pregnant when she is due?

I say, all bathrooms should be unisex. As human beings, whether black or white, gay or straight, or any other version or variety, the one thing we have in common is that we all pee and poop.

So, I say, live and let live. Go and let go.

Let’s stop this “terror-in-the-toilet” in its tracks right now!

Dear Girl’s Clothing Manufacturers: I Am Begging You

Posted by of Suburban Misfit Mom on April 7, 2016

clothing manufacturers

I know I am not the first mother-of-a-daughter to have this problem, but could someone please sell clothes for girls somewhere in between the range of Ariel and a street-walker?

My daughter is 5’2” and weighs 105 pounds. She is also 11-years-old. She cannot wear “children’s” sizes anymore.  My only choice is to take her to the disarmingly named “Juniors” section and try, through frustration, and sometimes tears (mine, not hers), to find her a pair of shorts that covers her ass cheeks or a two-piece bathing suit in which the bottoms cover the pubic bone.

And as I am fond of saying, I am not a prude. If you are 17 or 18-years-old and have the confidence to let your booty hang out of the hand towel you’re wearing over your whale spout, you go girl. You are at an age where being sexually active is not unreasonable, or illegal, and though I am not advocating that teenagers dress like sex workers, I did when I was your age, and I respect your right to do the same. Be careful out there.

No, I am talking about children. I do not want my 11-year-old to be dressed in a manner that attracts the attention of boys and men because she is dressed like a much older girl. Yet, my almost-tween should not have to choose between the humiliation of a Dora The Explorer tank top and being asked out on a date by a college student.

So, will somebody please sell age-appropriate, reasonably modest clothing for children who are not yet young women? You could call it the “I am a Child not a Whore” store.

You will have the undying gratitude of mothers everywhere.

Sitters vs. Squatters: The Revolution

Originally posted on Suburban Misfit Mom on March 29, 2016

squatters vs sitters

 Everyone is talking about political revolution these days, but I think it is time we start focusing on the truly important issues of our time, like the fact that women are frequently, and inadvertently, sitting on pee-soaked toilets way more often than seems reasonable.

If you are a “Squatter” – defined as one who hovers with their butt above the toilet like an alien spacecraft, spraying urine all over the seat, then leaving the bathroom with DNA splattered all over the place like a Jackson Pollock painting– this warning is for you.

We, the Sitters of the world, are done.  Do you hear me? We are D.O.N.E. We are officially declaring war on Squatters.

I have often wondered what “they” looked like.  Who are these arrogant heifers who think their butt cheeks are too precious to touch a seat other behinds have been on, yet think I enjoy an unsuspecting sit-down in their pee?

The arrogance of this is truly astounding to me.

One day I caught one.  It was in a Target bathroom and I happened to enter a stall just as a lady (and I use that term loosely) was exiting.  While she was washing her hands, I was in the cubicle using a scrap of toilet paper to clean her urine off the seat.

I stared at her through the crack in the door.  She looked normal.  Yet, something must be very wrong with her.

I did not confront her because then I would be embarrassed, which is completely irrational, I know.  But I make myself this promise now, and ask you, my fellow Sitters to join me:  The next time we catch one of them, we confront them.

You can be nice:  “Excuse me ma’am, I am not sure if you realize that your phobic reaction to public toilets has caused you to spray urine all over the stall like a cat in heat, and I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to clean up after yourself in consideration of the next user.”  Then quietly hold out a few squares of toilet paper.

Or you can be sarcastic: Do you charge for your Golden Showers or is this a freebie?

You could make some pre-printed post-its that you leave behind in every stall that says: “Don’t be a “B”, clean up your “P”.  Just pop one on the back of the door every time you relieve your own bladder.

I think if we can catch them – and shame them – that we can win this war on public health.  It’s worth a try, right?

Squatters:  You are on notice.  Start behaving like civilized, thoughtful human beings or we will call you out.

Sitters:  Who’s with me?

Puppy Poop Patrol


That face…

I love animals as much as the next person, but I must have been temporarily insane when I volunteered to foster eleven puppies for three weeks.

Yes, I said, eleven puppies. Why would anyone do that, you ask? Well, all I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time.

My 11-year-old daughter does not remember our dogs as puppies and is always clamoring for one. I thought this would be a fun way to do a good deed and give my child the experience she craved without a lifetime commitment to a new dog in the house.


Chow Time

I honestly had no idea how much a puppy pooped. Multiply that times eleven and it was poop-ageddon at my house.

They were corralled in a crate large enough for a Great Dane, but just like an over-populated city, there just wasn’t enough real estate for eleven puppies to do their business without sleeping in it.


Eleven Clean Puppies Go To Bed

They spent their days in a pen in the backyard and every night I put them to bed in a clean crate. In the morning, they were clamoring to be let out of what looked like a crime scene… only you know, it wasn’t blood.


Law & Order SVU: Puppies

Not only did I clean a crate every day that looked like a septic tank exploded, I also had eleven puppies covered in poop from head to toe every morning. In three weeks, I gave them six baths, which if you are doing the math, is sixty-six baths, but my efforts were futile. The stench was overwhelming within a matter of hours.


Bath Time Fun/Craziness

My daughter helped, but I couldn’t glove her up and send her into that toxic waste dump, so poop patrol was always my job.

At one point, I had something of a wine-fueled nervous breakdown. I was crying and mumbling things like, “The poop. It’s just too much. I can’t keep up.”

I think there were times when I was cleaning the crate that my mind left and went somewhere far, far away, maybe to a tropical beach where no one pooped.

When it was time to give them back, I cried like a baby. I nuzzled my favorite, the tiny runt named Fifi, until she was the last to go. My husband patted my shoulder and said soothingly, “It’s okay.” I replied, “If I’d had to keep them another week, I would be crying even harder.”



So here is what I learned from this experience, eleven puppies poop a lot and Disney is a big fat liar. Taking care of 101 Dalmatians is not physically possible without a guy showing up on your doorstep from the health department wearing a hazmat suit.

5 Reasons Why I Am Jealous Of Divorced Women


Originally published at http://www.suburbanmisfitmom.com

I was recently surprised to discover that I am jealous of divorced women.

Let me clarify that statement: I am jealous of financially solvent divorced women.

I know that chasing a deadbeat dad for child support is no picnic, and many female heads-of-households fall into poverty, and even homelessness, due to losing 50% of their financial security.

I don’t envy those women. No, I mean women who are making as much, or more than, their husbands when they get divorced.

Hell, sometimes these women are even better off financially. If hubby has an expensive hobby, an addiction, or makes bad financial decisions, sometimes women are economically better off with less income once they are legally separated from their ball and chain and he no longer has access to the joint account.

And of course, I’m not oblivious to the grief of genuine heartbreak and broken dreams. To put it mildly, it is no fun being physically separated from someone you love. Or to love someone who doesn’t love you back.

But imagine, if you will, strong, independent, professional women who have initiated divorce with a joyous heart, a yearning for freedom, and the ability to pay their bills.

This is what I envy:

  1. Divorced women aren’t responsible for every facet of their children’s lives. For God’s sake, every other weekend, they are on freaking vacation. Twenty-six weeks a year, they get to take a weekend trip, read a book from cover to cover, take an uninterrupted bubble bath, and have a guilt-free Girl’s Night Out, all while basking in the knowledge that their children are spending quality time with their loving father. It’s an unbelievable bonus for doing the right thing for your children! You have fewer responsibilities – because Daddy now does half, something you know damn well he wasn’t doing before – and the children now have more quality time with both parents! It’s a win-win for everybody!
  2. Divorced women go on dates! They get their hair “done,” shave their legs, put on lipstick, and go out! They get to go to fancy restaurants and flirt over a glass of wine. If they’re lucky, they still get butterflies on occasion.
  3. Divorced women do less housework than when they were married. Think about it, one less person’s laundry means less towels. One less person to cook for means fewer dishes. One less person leaving their dirty socks on the floor means less to pick up at the end of the day. Sure, you’re the only adult around to walk the dog and take out the trash, but that’s better than having to repeatedly ask someone else to do it every night. And if your kids are old enough to take on some of these tasks, Score!
  4. Divorced women do not have to ask anyone a flippin’ thing about what they do or don’t do. They can choose to purchase a new comforter for the bed without a committee meeting. They can paint the dining table blue. They can buy a pony! They can do any damn thing they want to do and there is no one around to judge them. Divorced women receive more compliments and less criticism.
  5. Divorced women do not have to have mercy sex when they are tired or not in the mood. A divorced woman doesn’t hurry to bed and pretend to be asleep before her husband gets there in order to avoid the inevitable negotiations – “tomorrow night, I promise.” Divorced women can have orgasms every night or go for months without and there is no one to consider but themselves. And when self-love and sex toys are not enough, there’s always that date on their off-duty weekend, and when they don’t want that one around, they can send him home.

Sure, my reasons for envying divorced women are tongue-in-cheek – or are they? I wouldn’t really want to be divorced. I love my husband and we love our child as a family. There are many more pros than cons to being married, but every once in a while, after a long day or an annoying verbal exchange, I imagine what it might be like to have 26 weekend vacations a year. I’m just kidding. Or am I?

P.S. Renea is married to a wonderful man who never leaves his dirty socks on the floor and always takes out the trash without being asked.

(Artwork provided by Jo Moss, Sister-in-law of one of our writers, and can be found and purchased at http://www.jomossart.com/illustration )




When Should You Talk To Your Son About His Penis?

penis-talk-shutterstock_342876125-copyDo you have a boy? Does he have a penis? If your answer to both these questions is “yes,” then you should be talking to him now.

I don’t have a boy. I have a girl. And if you don’t talk to your boy about his penis, then – and trust me on this – he will be talking to my daughter about it. Well, not “talk” exactly, more like make exaggerated gestures toward it and snort-laugh. When they are toddlers, it’s necessary to discuss their penis if for no other reason than to improve their aim. By the time they are in pre-school, they will need guidance on when it is okay to touch it. The answer is: in private. And for the love of God, call it a penis. Not a pee-pee or a wee-wee. A penis.

My daughter got in the car after school one day and said, “Well, apparently all 4th grade boys want to talk about is their penises.” By the end of summer, those sweet little 3rd grade munchkins had come back to school as 4th grade hellions obsessed with their sexual apparatus. It is natural that as their hormones start to ramp up in early puberty, they become obsessed with their “other brain.” The problem lies in the fact that parents are not talking to their boys about their penises early enough or maybe not at all. If these boys had the language and knowledge to know what was going on with the changes in their most fascinating body part, they would be less likely to behave like monkeys who escaped from the zoo.

It would not be hilarious to point at it and tell a girl to “suck it.” They would not constantly be making hand gestures that exaggerated their size and (imagined) skill. Thankfully, my daughter is not embarrassed or bullied by these antics because she has the language and knowledge to understand what is going on. She knows boys have penises and now, ever since 4th grade, she also knows they are obsessed with them.

I love that my daughter feels comfortable telling me what was said and done on the subject of penises that day. The daily Penis Report is an important part of our afternoon debriefing on the ride home. I think it is important that I know these things so that I can arm her with the intelligence and sense of humor necessary to deal with boys and their penis obsessions for the rest of her life.

I am issuing a call to all Moms-of-Boys to join me in talking about penises with their son as much as I do with my daughter.

The world will be a better place when we can all openly talk about penises.

As originally posted on Suburban Misfit Mom:



Baby Feet. New Feet. Old Feet. Gross Feet.

Five years ago, this was my very first post ever.

It is still read every week by someone, somewhere in the world.


Recently, I was struck by the hideous state of most adult’s feet.

Both men and women freely exhibit their toes in the most jaw-droppingly disgusting state… and don’t seem to care!  These are the same people who showered, shaved, put on cologne and clothes, and seemed to give a damn about their appearance to the outside world, then casually thrust their squat, fat little feet into the slimmest idea of a “shoe” and prance around with the most disgusting external part of their body visible to anyone who might be say… eating.

The two-inch thick chunks of dead skin crusted on the heel, the Fred Flintstone big toe, the pinkie all curled up in a fetal position, the chipped metallic blue nail polish, are all enough to make one wonder if people think their toes are protected by an invisibility cloak.

Then I notice the chubby little feet of toddlers and remember how often I actually KISSED the toes of my own child and am made aware of one of nature’s many cruelties – what starts out as one of the cutest, most kissable parts of the human body slowly becomes the nastiest, most feral part of our hardworking anatomy.

I just want folks to take a moment to look at their feet… go on… do it… right now.  For the love of all that is holy, do they look like a werewolf’s paws?  Have they had any kind of grooming AT ALL within say… the past year?  Could you cut through a good inch layer of calluses before your brain recognized pain from hitting live skin?  If any of this is true for you, then please… please… for the sake of all of us with a weak stomach and a love for eating outdoors in the summer time, cover up those tootsies and/or get an intensive pedicure.

I thank you in advance.  We all do.  And remember, there is no shame in wearing close-toed shoes.


The Fish That DIDN’T Get Away

Previously published in “Vodka Yonic,” an alternative women’s column in the Nashville Scene, and Charlotte, NC Creative Loafing.

Cartoon Fish

I have an ongoing love/terror relationship with the ocean.

As much as I love, and need, semi-regular visits to the sea, due to my debilitating fear of sharks (and for that I would like to thank my parents for taking me to see Jaws in 1975 when I was 10 years old), until a couple of years ago, I thought they were the only fish I had to worry about.

I was swimming in the gulf one beautiful day — more floating than swimming, really — bobbing gently on the waves… in no more than four feet of water of course, not deep enough for anything too big to silently swim beneath me, all while scanning the horizon for dorsal fins…

Staying in shallow water is one of my personal safety rules to avoid sharks that are large enough to eat me. Another rule is to never be the farthest one out; I am always aware when people are farther out to sea than me, and the minute they come in, I back up, until someone is again farther out. My theory is that if a shark comes in for lunch, he’ll be loudly snacking on the people who did not follow my safety rules, all while I quietly back out of the ocean.

After my float, I was relaxing back on land when nature called. Normally, I would just pee in the ocean (don’t judge me — millions of animals pee in it every day), but since I’d been out of the water for a while and had dried off, I didn’t want to go back in right that minute for a potty break, so I went to the real bathrooms out in the parking lot.

As I pulled down the bottom of my bathing suit, a dead fish roughly 3 inches long fell out and plopped onto the nasty concrete floor at my feet. I stared in horror. He was tiny as far as, say, bait goes, but not so tiny that I shouldn’t have felt him swimming around in my bathing suit bottoms in the first place.

At what point did he swim into what he likely thought was a particularly enticing cave, happily splish-splashing straight into his own jaws of death?

And then — after I had inadvertently pulled him out of the water to his imminent demise — I never felt him flopping around, gasping for air in his death throes, either. Surely there must have been some movement, some struggle that I would have recognized as an animal dying in my pants? I can think of few more undignified ways of dying than in someone’s pants, especially when they don’t even have the decency to notice.

Which leads me to the glaringly obvious and most disturbing question of all: Just how big is my ass? So big, apparently, that I cannot feel a living creature dying in my pants.

I felt terrible, not only that he had died in such an ignoble way, and that my rear end was apparently the size of a small pond, but that he died at all. If only I had known he was there, I would have rescued him from my valley of death and set him free. The guilt, as I stood there, staring at his lifeless, scaly little body, was overwhelming.

As I paced in the stall, trying to wrap my mind around all of the tragic things that had been happening without my knowledge — things that had obviously caused this poor creature’s death — I was suddenly filled with gratitude, because nobody had seen it fall out of my pants.

Can you imagine a graceful way to play off a dead fish falling out of the bottom of your swimsuit?

No, you probably can’t.

I couldn’t just leave him there on the floor, so I gently picked him up with a piece of toilet paper and gave him the most dignified toilet funeral I could. I placed him in the bowl and said a few words, mostly apologizing profusely that my butt was so huge. I then told him goodbye and sent him down that swirling whirlpool to the afterlife. A wild and free creature of the sea just got the standard funeral service given to a beloved family goldfish, so perhaps something was made right in the world.

Now, not only do I still retain a gnawing fear of sharks, I now have a perpetual suspicion of every little thing that might be lurking in the water. And while I can’t predict if I’ll meet my end at the mouth of Jaws, I can assure you that no other sea creature will die in my pants.