In which Margaret & Sophie boss the Internet with impeccable discernment & insouciant charm. Cultural recommendations & commentary every Friday evening.

Friday, May 11, 2018 

Jesus Jugs Don’t Want Me for a Sunbeam

I Guess I'll Just Have a Waffle, Then

Hello, it’s us, Angela and Jacqui! We met almost fourteen years ago in Kevin Rozario’s American Studies 202: Methods in American Studies at Smith College, one of the most important, useful, and relevant classes we took whilst undergraduates!!!! (We both still love Peter Barry’s imperfect but extremely useful Beginning Theory and We Love Dick Hebdige’s Subculture: The Meaning of Style. Yes, that Dick Hebdige.) We’re writers and historians. Our shared interests include coffee; Angela’s mom’s corgi, Primrose; Tana French novels; and disliking Hamilton, don’t @ us, we don’t care.

Angela, moto jacket-clad whale-watching babe

Jacqui, cute shades & stylish scarf-draped babe

JS: Angela Serratore, What Is On Your Mind?? One thing on my mind is whether your mom & her husband will adopt TWO kittens and whether or not they will let us name one of them.

AS: Jacqui Shine, I have some sorry news: as of now my mom and her husband have only adopted ONE kitten, though it’s perhaps a relief--we are good at naming things, it’s true, but could we really have come up with a name better than this kitten’s name? This kitten’s name, for the readers, is Astropuff. Astropuff!

Here’s a picture of Astropuff:

Feather attack powers engage!

And here is one of Primrose:

Somehow Primrose embodies both enthusiasm *and* dignity? How?

JS: Okay, no, we could not come up with a name as good as Astropuff. I’m at peace with that and am looking forward to following her personal development through the years.

AS: One thing that has been On My Mind is what I’m supposed to wear everyday when I work from home, hate everything I own, and also am always too hot or too cold or too itchy or too modest or, to be really honest, too thirsty for attention. I know it’s bad to buy stuff from Amazon and I know, when it comes to fashion, that I should be buying exactly one linen smock every season until I have 12 linen smocks I rotate until I die. But I like to live on the edge of morality sometimes! And that means that approximately once every two weeks I type ‘floral dress’ into the Amazon search bar and order an under-thirty dollar dress that may or may not be flammable. Here are links to a few I’ve especially liked this spring:

JS: Something On My Mind this week is hotel waffle irons. Is there anything better than discovering that your two-star hotel’s continental breakfast room includes a waffle iron? No, no there is not. I was out of town on a reporting trip this week, and I was #blessed to be able to eat fresh waffles each morning. More precisely, I usually had a quadrant of a waffle, because you can decide how much waffle you want if you’re making your own waffle, and I left my waffle quadrants a little undercooked, while also allowing some thin batter on the edges to get crispy. Obviously butter and syrup. Fuck a fork. Something I’ve learned is that commercial waffle irons are not as inaccessibly expensive as I’d thought! (I mean, allowing for the fact that no one really needs a commercial waffle iron for personal private use, they are not especially expensive. Cheaper than a KItchenAid mixer!!) I don’t need to buy one, obviously, but I wondered if you guys think I could just wander into some Comfort Inn’s continental breakfast room any old morning and make myself a waffle. Like, could I crash the continental breakfast scene?

You may be interested in this information about the saturation of hotel waffle irons throughout America’s hotel chains, but please disregard the writer’s belief that the hotel waffle iron is a sign of our profound alienation from one another in modern life. We all die alone, my guy!!!! Why not have a piping hot waffle?? That’s probably enough sentences about waffles & death. Or is it?

I feel like we’ve already recommended things, but have we? What do you recommend this week?

AS: One thing I’d like to recommend this week is The Pisces, Melissa Broder’s delightful new novel about a lady who fall in l-o-v-e with a merman. [I have now seen this book documented in two friends’ Instagram stories AND read Angela’s recommendation so it’s going on my to be read list this instant! -- Dame S]

JS:  I don’t really “do” podcasts unless I’m driving long distances or at the dentist, and even then I really only like Criminal, and/but I caught up on a bunch of episodes whilst driving from Chicago to Points West and back again. I really recommend this episode of Criminal about a world-class poodle!!!! (I also suggest this episode, which is a story about abortion activism that you probably haven’t heard before, and it’s not even the one you think you haven’t heard.)

AS: ANOTHER thing I’d like to recommend is working from home whilst watching old episodes of the Real Housewives of Orange County for company. OC isn’t the flashiest Real Housewives franchise, and it’s not the one with Bethenny, the Housewife everyone knows, but to me it is the best because it was the first and also because it’s the one most explicitly about class. I mean: we saw a jewelry cuff designer get evicted on camera! Also this other lady whose nickname is “Jesus Jugs” is getting a nose job and her surgeon pulled a huge worm of snot from the back of her throat.

JS: I had something called a “pie shake” this week, which is a shake with a piece of pie mixed up in it. It was fine? I would say it’s more like a pudding consistency than a shake consistency, but you can get pretty much whatever flavor of pie you want in there, and isn’t that the real point of capitalism, anyway?I also ate a lot of soft serve. Please enjoy this photograph of me with ice cream and a tractor. `

AS: The final thing I’d like to ‘shout out’ is something a little Marie Antoinette-ish, please don’t hate me: it’s paying people to do stuff you don’t want to do!

I’m moving in a few weeks, and it wasn’t particularly well-thought-out. I’d been vaguely dissatisfied with my apartment for a few months, I decided on a whim to look at ONE place and it ended up being a nice rent-stabilized apartment with a lot of natural light so I threw caution to the wind and signed a lease almost immediately.

You might have guessed this from the list of Amazon dresses I shared above but I have...a lot of stuff. Clothes, books, mail from 2014, nearly empty conditioner bottles, somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 mugs (I live alone, mugs are my thing). Am I a hoarder? Don’t answer that!

And anyway, I found a nice lady via Twitter who is coming over next week to help me get rid of what I don’t need and pack what I do need. I could do this myself, probably, but I don’t want to. Part of the reason I’m moving in the first place is because I want to cast off what’s old and spend at least a few months allowing myself to imagine a new life in a new home (it’s six blocks away from where I currently live). Might it be more satisfying to do the labor of sorting and packing my own crap? It would be more Puritan, I guess, but I was baptised Catholic! This is my version of an indulgence. I thought everyone who dressed like the Pope at the Met Gala looked very nice.

JS: ANYWAY, to sort of wrap this up,  I’m excited about the story I’m working on and also enjoyed acting like a Girl Reporter, which involved things like calling strangers and saying, “Hello, this is Jacqui Shine; I’m with the [well, I won’t spoil it, but here’s a hint: Yew Nork Thymes],” and YES, reader, saying that makes you feel extremely cool. Not a single person lambasted me for working for that liberal rag. The less cool part is that sometimes being a reporter means accepting the fact that people don’t always like you and pressing on anyway! This story is not about the uppermost echelons of power or anything, but no one particularly wanted to talk to me, and no one was particularly thrilled I was doing the story. Which is fine and normal and part of my job! But it took me a couple days to figure that out, because every time someone said something disapproving about privacy or not wanting attention, I’d think to myself, “Oooooh, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. Everyone’s telling me I shouldn’t be doing it!” Maybe it wasn’t newsworthy, I thought. Then I remembered that people don’t always know whether their own situations are newsworthy, a problem that extends in...both directions. Fortunately, I’ve also been in therapy long enough that I eventually realized that the bigger problem is that it’s Very Important to me to be liked, and it bothered me that people who didn’t know me had maybe already decided that they didn’t like me, even when they’d agreed to talk to me. (I realize you’re not really supposed to care about what strangers think, but, well, I have needed a lot of therapy.) It also doesn’t feel great when someone says they won’t talk to you and walks away real fast, but that’s sort of different. At least the only person making “failing New York Times” jokes was me. But I also realize that all of this is related to the way women are socialized from girlhood. I guess what I’m saying is, I bet men don’t worry about any of this.

Mom-Adjacent News

JS: Also, if you want to read something about dead moms (fine, my dead mom) and cry a little, I wrote this essay last year and am extremely proud of it. I mean, if moms are on your mind this weekend. Whatever.

We love you, Gina!

AS: In other mom-adjacent news, a Mom We Love is my mom Gina, and we are including this photo so you will be able to picture Astropuff and Primrose snuggled up with the person they love best. (They love her only a single iota more than they love Gina’s husband Nigel). (For real, though, they love me best of all.)

GIF #2 is kind of an evergreen selection, no?


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In which Margaret & Sophie boss the Internet with impeccable discernment & insouciant charm. Cultural recommendations & commentary every Friday evening.