Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

The other day I was lying with my legs hiked up, chatting with the charming woman who was ripping out my excess pubic hair by the roots, and Jen was telling me a few of her stories as a facialist/waxer (she's thinking of writing a book titled Pimples And Pubes). Apparently I am in the minority, since most of her clients opt for full Brazilians (everything off but a small landing strip), and I was a bit taken aback by how far we've come in our willingness to discuss (and deal with) unwanted body hair.

I'm a nice Jewish girl, so I know from body hair - I had to start shaving my legs at 11, and soon after that the hair on my upper lip started looking undeniably mustache-like. Back then, it wasn't anything I admitted to anyone - I begged my mom to buy me some Jolene Creme Bleach, which I'd seen advertised in a magazine, and ever since then it's been an endless cycle of plucking, shaving, waxing, bleaching, regrowth and repeat. Which I figured would go on forever.

Which would be fine, except why is it that when you DO want hair to grow back, it won't? LIke on that eyebrow I overplucked in high school? Or that one thin patch along my part? Sometimes I want to ask my body hair, How do you KNOW, and why are you torturing me by disappearing where I want you and reappearing in the most embarrassing places? (As I age, I spend more time in front of a magnifying mirror frantically tweezing those weird witch-like strands coming out of my chin.)

At least I've got company in my body-hair-obsession. The boys are both in full-on puberty, which produces numerous discussions of the various physical changes. Recently Ben insisted that he had real pubic hair, and David, who is 14, claimed that Ben, at 11, was too young. Ben pulled down his pants to prove his point, so David pulled down HIS pants to prove he had more. Fortunately, Scott stepped in, saying, "Boys, why are you having such a ridiculous argument?" Then Scott dropped his own pants and announced, "THIS is real pubic hair!"

After an evening like that, I think I'll go back to Jen and have some more hair waxed off - it's more relaxing!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Scary Movies

Seemingly overnight, I've gone from having to hold my boys on my lap during the scary parts of Wizard of Oz, to hiding my eyes when we watch movies they love. I've always been easily frightened by movies - I like to think it's because of my artistic temperament and vivid imagination, but maybe I'm just a wimp. (Actually, as a kid, I used to be so terrified by the witch in Wizard of Oz that I pretended I was rooting for her, so I wouldn't fall apart when she looked like she was triumphing; of course, I only had to resort to this strategy during the once-a-year broadcast, which we watched on our old black & white TV. We didn't get a color television until I was too old to stay home for the movie, so the first time I saw it in color, it was during a finals-week movie night in college, and when Dorothy opened the door to the technicolor of Munchkinland, I was at first convinced I'd picked up a contact high.) (Trying to explain this story to kids who don't remember life before DVDs and on-demand movies is just about impossible - even with leaving out the 'contact high' angle!)

My boys have always loved movies with explosions and technical wizardry -evil characters don't frighten them at all, and they sneer at the limited special effects in movies from my era ("Geez, mom, that exploding planet in Star Wars Episode Four is so lame!"). The new Star Wars movies were a bit too graphic for my taste (although I was even more frightened by the terrible acting!), but I kept up with the boys until the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out - David got the full directors' cut set as a gift, and he was really upset that I wouldn't watch it with him. So we struck a deal - I would sit through the 2nd one (with the really gory battle scenes) and he had to watch the 'chick flick' of my choice ("Clueless", which he ended up thoroughly enjoying).

Well, last night, we came full circle - without consulting me, Husband 2.0 rented "I Am Legend" for a guys' movie night. I came home, watched about 2 minutes and fled - explosions or global panics are one thing, but I was out of there at the first sighting of a flesh-eating zombie. The boys teased me for leaving, but at bedtime, all of a sudden they were both suddenly freaked out by the realistic premise and afraid they'd have nightmares. I made up some scientific-sounding nonsense about variations in human DNA and cancer strains and the impossibility of a mutating virus spreading that quickly, and they both settled down - it felt vaguely reminiscent of checking for monsters under the bed and reassuring them that the witch wouldn't come to get them in their sleep.

And I'm picking the next night-time movie!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mom 3.0

Yesterday I met with someone I’ve hired to help me with web marketing. Obviously she knows more about this stuff than I do, that’s why I hired her, but I’m still amazed at all the terms and phrases she tossed off effortlessly that had me scratching my head. Apparently, we’ll start with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), then develop a template for an e-zine that will interface with my database as a way to strategically enhance my network; and eventually we’ll look at web-based affiliate marketing and potential links with e-commerce-indexed social networking sites, as well as the pros and cons of DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion) in PPC (pay-per-click). And we haven't even started exploring algorithmic search results, link farms (places that sell pork products?), and keyword stuffing (made from bread crumbs and sausage from the link farm, I imagine)
If you’re absolutely lost here, I’m so relieved! I don’t mind feeling like a technical luddite around teenage texting, because I understand the concept and I can do it, I just don’t feel like developing that much dexterity in my thumbs. But reading about the internet is already confusing enough. I like to view the web the same way I view flying in planes; my dad, a former Air Force Navigator, drew me diagrams of air currents and vectors, but in my gut I simply don’t believe a large metal object weighng several thousand tons, full of people and bad food, can leave the ground, so I just pretend I understand how it flies. I have no idea how the internet works, I just pretend I do so I can enjoy emailing, blogging, and googling (as well as all these new verbs!)
Now, apparently, we’re moving to Web 3.0. I think I get that Web 1.0 was just stuff on the internet, and Web 2.0 is more interactive, where you can respond to things, so how much more interactive is 3.0? I remember when I bought my first Mac computer, back when it had no hard drive and 512 K of memory – ah, the good old days! – and the big advantage of Macs was that they were ‘user friendly’. So if Web 3.0 is a dramatic improvement on user friendliness, what, is it going to ask us out? Make dinner? Get my kids to stop fighting?
Come to think of it, I can think of a bunch of great stuff Web 3.0 ought to do – but in the meantime, I have to study my terminology and learn the difference between DKI and DKNY. When my marketing guru mentioned Pay Per Clicks, I thought she was talking about paper clips – I guess I have a long way to go!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

How do moms call in sick?

It's been over 20 years since I held any kind of normal job with sick leave, and while I relish the flexibility and freedom of being a self-employed freelancer, there are definite disadvantages, many of which crop up when I'm sick. In particular - If I don't work, I don't get paid! Plus many of the things I do can't be cancelled or subbed out (a rehearsal with 25 people needing me to teach them music, or an early-morning choral program where I'd have to notify the kids' parents 2 days in advance). As I was sipping hot tea, blowing my nose and feeling sorry for myself, it occurred to me that all moms have the same problem - at least those of us without full-time nannies who will also take care of us!

Moms can't call in sick and have a temp worker drive the carpool, find the missing ballet shoes, or figure out something new to do with chicken for dinner. I hope that many of us have supportive spouses who will pitch in, occasionally helpful older kids, or a good pizzeria on speed-dial, but there are always times when only mom will do. In our house, that tends to be right before bedtime, when I'm already half-asleep, but David HAS to talk to me about something critical or Ben can't find something he was supposed to bring to school 3 days ago.

My girlfriend and I fantasize about having a backup clone of ourselves, a version of "Anne B. Davis as Alice" from The Brady Bunch, a briskly efficient, wry, uniformed gofer who will clean house, lovingly reprimand the kids, and compete with us as to who makes the best strawberry jam. And that dream is never more tantalizing than when I really wish someone else could declutter my family room, make Ben clean out the stray papers in his backpack and go pick up David after rehearsal tonight, naturally on a night my husband has to work late. Oh well - the best I can do is to 'call in sick' to myself and give myself permission to order takeout. while I watch "Real Housewives of Manhattan" and feel smugly superior by comparison!