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So, we are taking the boys to Vegas in a couple weeks, which definitely seems like a good way to not enjoy the best parts of Vegas. (Goodbye Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, hello Cheesecake Factory!) I’m thinking we’ll try and hit up some things like the roller coaster at New York New York, the Mandalay shark reef, that giant Ferris Wheel … I don’t know, maybe swing by Fremont Street and show the kids where Daddy once bought Mommy a legit megahot lap dance? Or, well, maybe that cheesy-looking Midway carnival at Circus Circus.

Really we just booked it because John already had a hotel room for a weeklong conference, so it seemed like a relatively affordable getaway during a dreary time of year. The four of us will head there together on a Sunday, then I’ll take the boys home Tuesday morning.

It’s weird, I had a brief moment of uncertainty over the prospect of flying alone with the kids, before remembering that the odds of anyone shrieking for hours at a time or loudly squirting a noxious load of liquid waste into their pants are pretty low, and if such a thing did happen I would surely have a bigger problem on my hands than disturbing a fellow coach passenger.

The last time I was truly freaked about being on a plane with a kid was back in 2009, when I took Riley to Washington D.C. I’m so glad I documented it, because now I can remember little details I absolutely would have forgotten, and marvel at how long ago that seems. Aw, back when Riley was so little! Aw, back when brands were doing crazy things like sending no-name bloggers across the country for basically zero return on investment!

Anyway, Dylan in particular is losing his mind with excitement about our upcoming trip. “Will we see the actual Las Vegas strip?” he asked, in the sort of awestruck tone normally reserved for moon landings. “Do we get to drive right down it?” Oh man, wait until he sees that there are LIVE PIRATES. Also, lots of boobs.

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I was leaving the gym the other day and came upon an older lady in the hall who had approached a young muscle-y dude. I could hear her asking him if he worked there. He shook his head dismissively without looking at her and continued on to the water fountain, while she said to his back, “Oh, sorry. I was just going to ask a question.” He got his drink and left, without ever making eye contact.

I was thinking about this as I got in my car and headed home: how at a certain age women just become invisible to men, especially young men. The visual assessment system doesn’t even get deployed, we don’t even register. So many years being weighed on a scale of desire, then a permanent re-categorization into the wholly uninteresting land of the Unfuckable.

I see it happening with me more and more as I get older. It’s like becoming a ghost: a little more translucent as each year passes by.

It feels embarrassing and dumb to mourn this fact. Like, if it bothers me, then I’m buying into it, right? But how do you even pick apart what you truly think as opposed to what you’ve been told all your life you’re supposed to think? How do you learn to value your own worth without factoring in all the bullshit analytics that come with being a female?

In retrospect, I wish I had stopped and talked with that woman. Maybe I could have helped her, or at least pointed her towards someone who could. Seems like instead of giving a single fuck whether I show up on some dick-based radar, that’s the sort of thing that actually matters.

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