A Visit with the Ghost of Awkwardness Past

I was talking to a friend the other day. The conversation turned to our favorited books-turned-movies and, therefore, about some of our favorite actors-as-novel-character-hotties. You know, Tom Hardy as Heathcliff:

[Source] Really, Tom Hardy? With the smoldering stare ? Stop it. Just stop. *faints*

I mean, I realize that with Hardy-boy Heathcliff, you have to be able to get over what a deranged f*ckhead his character is, but I think that I have proven that this is no problem for me. Smolder, Hardy, smolder! The list also included Edwardian babe #1:

[source] Mr. Darcy #1. Colin Firth is the ultimate Darcy, but in a chaste, wholesome sort of way. To quote my friend, “Firth’s Darcy is the man I want to make me Mrs. Darcy…..”

  And Edwardian babe#2:

[source] “…..and, well, I just want MacFayden’s Darcy to make me Naughty Lizzie.” Right you are, my friend. Why yes, Lady Catherine, I SHALL pollute the shades of Pemberly thusly!

The Darcy Twins are hard to compete with, but my friend and I agreed that our first and, perhaps, forever leading-man-as-literary-hottie love will always be Christian Bale as Laurie in Little Women.

  What a sweet face. Except when he’s pouting, which, I’ve learned as an adult, he does for approximately 47.8% of the movie:

You’re welcome for all of this book-to-movie eye candy. That, however, isn’t really the point.

What was most interesting about this conversation was the moment where we both confessed to watching Little Women every single day after school for a year.


For me, it became a grounding moment, an almost meditative action. No matter how terrible school was or how I’d been teased or bullied, I could come home and watch the March girls grow up. It was a perfect movie. I would argue it still is a perfect movie for adolescent girls and beyond. I wanted to be a Jo, even though I often felt like an Amy. This makes sense because, while I thought myself such the adult, I was actually 11 and, therefore, a giant pain in the ass.

  Little Women taught me about death:

  It taught me about the importance of following your own star:

  And it taught me that, somedays, your milkshake just isn’t bringing the boys to the yard and that that’s okay.

More than anything, however, I think it taught me that everything’s going to be okay in the end. For me, the message of Little Women was, “You’ll get there, girlfriend. Promise.”

Once I entered the tumultuous cesspool that is the seventh grade, however, Little Women wasn’t meeting me where I was anymore. Thus began my love affair with the dark siren that is Andrew Lloyd Weber.

I stole my grandparents’ VHS copy of CATS and watched that every day after school for a year. I was hormonally chubby and had acne, braces, and a haircut that can only be described as “of the criminally insane.”

Skimbleshanks mocked me with his plucky optimism and grooming. And while the Rum Tum Tugger caused many a stirring, I sort of hated him because I knew that, if I ever encountered him, he would politely sign my autograph and then go make out with Jenny and Dots. Those sluts.

But Grizabella? That bitch got me. Where the year before, the March girls and their unfailing optimism had bolstered me, in the darkness of seventh grade, “Grizabella let me lick my wounds bitterly in the dark alley of my soul.” (Note: Twelve-year-old me wrote that exact line angstily in a college rule notebook and I included it here for your reading pleasure. I have no shame anymore.) As such, I sang “Memory” in the shower every day.

I had lots of feelings in Middle School. Like you do.

This, my friends, is the ultimate bullshit of adolescence. In my twelve-year-old head, Grizabella and I were kindred spirits. “No one wanted to dance with me at the mixer this weekend, Grizabella. I bet no one wants to dance with you either because you’re a dirty, mangy alley cat.”

As an adult, my relationship with the Griz has changed. Now that I have had a small taste of the harsher truths of abandonment, loss, rejection, fear, and self loathing, I have a greater respect for her as a character. I also have a great desire to go back in time and backhand myself, screaming, “It’s not that bad, bitch! Just wait! You think missing Xenon: Girl of the 21st Century tonight was bad? JUST WAIT! You think you get Grizabella? You don’t get her! You don’t know her pain!” And then I’d slap me again because, as we all know, I am nothing if not measured and rational.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about younger me. This trip down memory lane, while EXTREMELY embarrassing, was a good one. After all, my new favorite mantra is, “How can one expect to become old and wise if they have not first been young and stupid?” (Tori Murden McClure)

So here’s what I’ve learned about younger me:

1. I was a bajillion years old even at twelve.

2. I was hardly the only one to have gone through a prolonged Ugly Ducking phase. (And, yes, Mom and Dad, that’s what it was. Your protests that I’ve “always been beautiful” are in vain. And yet, I love you so much for always thinking I was beautiful, even when I didn’t.)

3. At some point in everyone’s life (yea, dudes too), we will be Amy, Beth, Jo, or Meg. I’m in a Meg phase now. I’m not a huge fan, I’ll admit it, because Meg bores me with her stability and calm, but that’s what my life and its inhabitants need right now and so Meg shall I remain for a while longer. I feel a Jo phase coming on though.

4. A weird childhood and adolescence is the recipe for a vibrant adulthood, I think. Some of the most incredible adults I know were tragically weird in their youth. They’re still total weirdos,but it’s an evolved, comfortable, self-assured weirdness and I’m so thankful for them and all their moxy.

5. Sometimes you just need to revisit your old wounds. In revisiting our old wounds, we also remember our old balms. I’m going to watch Little Women tonight. I’ll cry like a baby for approximately 87.4% of it. When Beth dies, I’ll have to pause it, hug the dog, and sob for a little while. Then I’ll hit play again and watch as life goes on.

Because it most assuredly does.

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Proof that I have matured….

So, I was at the grocery this morning. I am aware that nearly all of my recent posts have involved the grocery in some form or another, but that’s where I’m at in life.

Anyway, I was unloading bags from my cart and loading cold items into coolers because, yes, I am just that Type A. A young man in an old Bronco sped down the parking lot aisle. He was blaring some godawful screamer “rock” music as loud as those speakers could possibly go. Base turned up high. Windows rolled all the way down.

I was visibly annoyed, of this I have no doubt, and I knew what he’d be wearing before he even got out of the car.

Combat boots.

Ripped Jeans.

No visible eyes due to full-on hair shag.

Wallet chain.


I thought to myself, “Ugh. Youths.”


Or, alternately,

Then, all of a sudden, it hit me.

Adult me wants to give that young man a haircut and teach him something about good music.

Teenage me would have actively tried to make out with him.

Take that, every high school teacher who said I’d never grow up.

“Your baby is so, so, so….. what a nice outfit!”

Departing from my usual Senior Day tradition, I went to the grocery this morning. Next to the frozen peas I saw the ugliest baby I have ever seen in my entire life. I mean, the sweet child required a double take to make sure that he was, in fact, a baby human. Bafflingly, the woman pushing him in the buggy was, without a doubt, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen… in this part of the country.

Before you mothers or other sensitive souls jump all over my case for this, let’s get something straight.

I’m sure the baby has a wonderful personality.

I kid, I kid. Nowhere in that little anecdote did I say that I was a peach, especially not this morning. I was wearing my early-morning grocery uniform of yoga pants and a long-sleeved tee. Normal enough, you might say, but it wasn’t until I looked in my rearview while backing out of my parking space to come home that I noticed that I had toothpaste foam dried to the side of my cheek.

And all over the front of my shirt.

It’s fine. I have no room to judge.

Though this child looked frighteningly like, well, the baby from Dinosaurs, I am certain beyond the pale that this baby will grow up to be a studmuffin of the highest order, complete with a full head of hair and all of his natural teeth, both well into adulthood.

My mama read The Ugly Duckling to me. I know how this works.

There does seem to be a pattern, however. I was an adorable baby. I can say it. It’s science. But then I went through what averaged out to be a 16 year-long awkward phase wherein I vacillated between looking like a tiny, tiny Rosie O’Donnell or the goth version of a character from Fraggle Rock. I came out of it, I suppose, but Carter didn’t know what I looked like throughout my childhood until we were married.

Hook ’em. Reel ’em in. Throw ’em in the live well from which there is no escape. Then show them the pictures of you looking like, well, like this:

Yea, call me the Dowager Lady Shawn Hunter, Teen Heartthrob. As a matter of fact, put that on my business cards. (“But I’m a girl! I’m a girl! So what if I have a bowl cut and like plaid! I need love, too!”)

I’m over it. I promise. Well, I’m trying to be. The T-Boz haircut, on the other hand? *shudder*

We take for granted, however, that all babies will be adorable, simply because they are babies. You can blame the kittens and puppies of the world for screwing them over like this. No, really – they’ve screwed up the curve.

The ugly baby is a real thing. Even in the celebrity biodome, ugly babies can be found. This story about Emily Blunt (wife of “Jim, from The Office,” as my husband knows him) made me laugh out loud at the same time it made me thankful that I speak Southern.

“I remember when we were in the recovery room … and this nurse came in – her name was Mabel, another great old lady name. She had this fantastic, crazy weave and she said, ‘Damn, your baby is so cute!’ And I went, ‘Oh, thank you,” Blunt, 31, recalls.

“She went, ‘Damn, she’s awesome, she’s so cute.’ And I went, ‘Mabel, I think you say that to everyone,’ and she went, ‘No, I don’t … when I know a baby’s ugly, I say, “You had a baby!”‘ I was like, ‘Those poor parents must know.’” [People Magazine]

“You had a baby!”

That right there, friends, is why I’m so glad to be fluent in Southern. For instance, if I have an ugly baby and someone says, “How precious!,” I’m gonna slap them right in the mouth, blaming the hormones all the way.

The same holds true for the following: “What an adorable little outfit!”,  “Have you figured out who it looks more like?”, “What a face!”, and, of course, “You had a baby!”

Slaps. Slaps for all of them.

I may or may not have gone home and immediately told my mother that I saw the ugliest baby in the world at the store. I also may or may not have told my husband, sister, and best friend about it, too. But I did save a bird’s nest and promised God I’d do more volunteering. Because Karma. (I’m honest, not stupid.)

But I would never, ever, ever breathe a word about it to that sweet mama. Tact matters, my friends. I am a lady, after all.

Though I am not, it seems, enough of a lady to refrain from writing about this on this blog. In case you or the Karma Police come after me, however, let me remind you that I predicted that this child’s ugly babyhood is just a phase and that he will grow up to be a modern Robert Redford while I, for my sins, will likely grow a fantastic mustache.

My mama read the Ugly Duckling to me. I know how it ended:

And then, the ugly duckling grew into a beautiful, majestic swan. She moved to Quebec with a handsome Canadian Goose and, together, they ruled the city’s largest pond with grace and fairness all their days.

As for the ducks who taunted the ugly ducking, they grew embarrassing amounts of lady facial hair and, despite their best efforts to make lemons into lemonade, were denied entry into the county fair’s fantastic mustache competition.

And that, sweet children, is why you should never bully.

What did you say you were dressed as again? A "Sexy Tupperware Container?"

Today is Halloween, y’all, which means it is literally my least favorite day of the year. Seriously, I like tax day more than this.

As promised, I scoured the internet looking for the most ridiculous sexy costumes. Why? This phenomenon of “Slutty Halloween” or, as some call it, “Slutoween” fascinates me. (No slut shaming here.) What’s wrong with just dressing as Hillary Clinton in drag and calling it a day?

Let me tell you, kids – there are some real doozies out there. We have taken this concept to a completely ridiculous level. Observe.

First, however, I’d like to offer some context. If you are a man and you want to dress all sexy-like for Halloween, here are your choices:

  • Sexy Top Gun
  • Sexy Firefighter
  • Sexy Policeman
  • Sexy Cowboy
  • Sexy Detective
  • Sexy Soldier
  • Sexy Football Player
  • Sexy Vampire
Degrading? Shut up. At least they represent somewhat real careers.
Okay, fine, the vampire thing is embarrassing. I’ll give it to you. Sorry, Twi-hards.
Degrading, though? Like I said, shut up. Here are our options:


Sexy Chucky
Because nothing says sexy like a creepy, murderous doll with a bad perm and a rage problem. Though,  to be fair, I’m not convinced that the rage problem wasn’t caused by the bad perm.
Sexy Pikachu
Goodbye, childhood pleasantries. An entire generation of boys-turned-men just lost it in their pants.
Sexy Lioness
Ladies, please. Lionesses would never wear those f*cking ridiculous bath slippers. They’ve got too much shit to do. I saw The Lion King. I know how it works.


Sexy Mermaid
I ask you, what about this says mermaid? She looks like the My Pageant Barbie I never wanted. Hint: Just because you’ve got seashells on your tits doesn’t make you a mermaid.
Sexy Convict
First of all, what is sexy about incarceration? Let me give you a little hint about reality, lovebugs: if you wear this in the slammer, you’re going to get traded around cell block 5 for cigarettes and solitary showering.

Other options include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Sexy Skeleton
  • Sexy Raccoon
  • Sexy Edward Scissorhands
  • Sexy Baseball Player (I don’t even want to think of the strawberries you’d get from sliding in this number)
  • Sexy Where’s Waldo?
  • Sexy Marie Antoinette (Our youths don’t read history. Obvi.)
  • Sexy Unicorn
  • Sexy Prostitute (Not always the same thing)
  • Sexy Baby Panda
  • Sexy Crayon
  • Sexy Babe the Big Blue Ox
  • Sexy Pinata (Really? What message does this send? Hit me with a broomstick and I’ll give you Dum-Dums? AWFUL, people. Just…. awful.)
  • Sexy Native American Temptress (You’ve got to be shitting me… is what I said when I found this.) 
  • Sexy Feline Musketeer (WTF????)

I also love the copyright infringement concerns, which give us such gems as:

  • Sexy Artist Turtle Warrior
  • Sexy Tiny Green Fairy
  • Sexy Hello Baby Cat
  • Sexy Miss Polka Dot Mouse
  • Sexy Beautiful Lady Costume
  • Sexy Red Plumber (*cough* Mario! *cough*)

I also saw a Sexy Opossum. For more absurdity, check out this list.  It’s ridiculous.

Here’s the thing, and I promise this will be my only rant. If you want to dress as Sexually Liberated Something, why not look to classic literature or puns?

For example, wear some lingerie over a spandex unitard, slap on some knee-pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and a bicycle helmet and go as Safe Sex?

Or, you could take a leaf out of my friend’s idea book and blaspheme some literary characters. Go as Oscar Gone Wilde, William F@!$ner, F. Slut Fitzgerald, Charles Dickens…

Essentially, ladies, if you’re going to go as Sexually Liberated something, make it good. Everyone around you will appreciate the punnery and you, in turn, will be awesome in addition to being hot.

Or, there’s this…..

I would like to thank my friend, Amy, however, for introducing me to this little gem:


Why yes, that is a vagina costume. There is nothing slutty about it. After all, vaginas are the bringers of life, pleasure, and, occasionally, sub-psychotic rage. It’s up for auction. If you would like to bid on it for me, I would totally wear it/take a picture. Read more about it here.

And then I’ll probably turn it into my new Lady Gaga-esque sleeping cocoon because coziness.

With that, I’m realizing that you may never come back here again, but I would like to argue the point that me being okay with a giant vagina costume is not nearly as bad as Amy Sedaris (who I love) going on Chelsea Lately with a felt vagina and a demonstration for how to clean it that involved thumbtacks.

Also, this is a really shitty post. Then again, I hate Halloween, so I won’t give myself too hard a time for writing a shitty post about slutty Halloween costumes without really giving a damn.

If we’re being honest, I had big plans for this post. But then Amy sent me the vagina cocoon link and I lost all interest in slutty koala bears and fixated 100% on that. Obviously.

Incidentally, Carter has put the kibosh on all lady-part costumes, regardless of how cozy they look. The plush uterus is already a big stretch for him. I can only tax the man so much before he snaps and brings home a herd of nearly wild wolf-dogs. You know, to compensate for all of the plush ladyparts in his home.

The truth is, I’m too lazy to dress as Slutty/Sexy/Sexually Liberated anything anymore. Okay, that’s not entirely true. My bat wings and backfat are the main reason, but lazy might be the root of those problems too. I’ll never tell.

Either way, to all of you adults out there, dress to your hearts content. Just make it smart.

And if I ever have a daughter and, at 16, she tells me she wants to go as a Slutty Astronaut, give me the strength, Lord, to haul her ass out of that Target and into the minivan, all the while yelling that she will be going as an M&M and she will damn well like it. And not that tart of a green M&M. She will be the yellow M&M. And she will wear leggings for she will not get to break my heart with her boobs until she goes to college because, to quote Tina Fey, “I will not have that shit, Lord. I will not have it.”

Happy Halloween, kittens. May it be filled with adult beverages, Hocus Pocus, and the occasional plush ladypart.

P.S. Captains Morgans Spiced Rum and Apple Cider. You’re welcome.

P.P.S. Hocus Pocus is the only Halloween movie I appreciate. If you don’t, well, there’s something wrong with you.

P.P.S. I still haven’t named the plush uterus. This is a problem of similar magnitude as the conversation about whether we will have a baby in either 8 or 17 years. Of course, by then, I’ll be too exhausted to prevent my hypothetical children from dressing like tiny, tiny prostitutes. Which means that I will officially be Kris Jenner.

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