Royal Tiaras & Medical Dramas

Dames Nation! We are Amy Spalding and Jasmine Guillory, and we are thrilled to be your guest editors this week!

We are huge fans of our hosts, the Bossy Dames themselves, and it’s an honor to be here with you. We thought we would introduce each other to you, to let you know a little about ourselves, and also so we could each do one of our favorite things: brag about our friends.

Jasmine introduces Amy:

This is cheating a little, because I already wrote a whole essay about how fantastic Amy is. But in short, Amy is a young adult writer who lives in LA, and always has smart and funny and great stuff to say about pop culture and feminism and books, and you should all follow her on Twitter and Instagram if you weren’t already. All of her books are fantastic, but people, you are going to love her next book SO MUCH. THE SUMMER OF JORDI PEREZ is a YA lesbian rom-com set in LA, and it is just a delight. Abby (the main character) and Jordi (the girl she falls in love with) are both such fun, real, interesting people, and I cared about them and their families and friends all so much. AND there are a ton of descriptions of delicious burgers! This book made me grin ear to ear basically the entire time I was reading it, and you should all pre-order it immediately, so as soon as it comes out, you’ll be able to gobble the whole thing up with a burger on the side, and then tweet me how much you love it.

Amy introduces Jasmine:
Hopefully by now you’ve already read Jasmine’s incredible essay (I have cried multiple times reading it), linked above, but she is one hundred percent one of the coolest people I’ve ever met on LiveJournal (and I met some really cool people back in the LJ days of yore). Jasmine always has the best advice for recipes, and once made me the finest meat and cheese tray I have consumed in my entire forty years. If you don’t already follow her on Instagram and Twitter, you should course-correct right now. I think it’s clear I already think she is aces, but then IMAGINE your aces friend says “I’m writing a romance” and then the swooniest, sexiest, smartest Word document lands in your inbox. This was my experience reading THE WEDDING DATE, Jasmine’s brand new book that you will ADORE. You’ve probably already heard some of the incredible buzz on this book (Roxane freaking Gay loved it, after all!) but I always think back to opening that Word document and flying through to make sure Alexa and Drew would make things work! No buzz, just a great book written by a great friend. I can’t wait for all of you to read it!

Amy: Jasmine, how many lipsticks are in your purse right now?
Jasmine: I just counted: 8, which is in the range of normal for me. What about you?
Amy: 7 full size, a sample size, and a Burt’s Bees lip balm. This is about my standard. It breaks down to: three reds (SephoraBurberry, and Fenty), two pinks (Ciate London and Kat Von D), a coral (Sephora), and a neutral (Tarte) that was free for my birthday that I would probably never buy otherwise but can be good occasionally. Honestly I could probably cut down to the Sephora and Burberry and be fine 95 percent of the time.
Jasmine: I also have the Fenty and the Sephora in my bag, though that one is one of my three sample sizes. The others are a Marc Jacobs and a YSL, both also in red. My others are a full size YSL lip stain (I adore their lip stains), a purpleish Bobbi Brown, a pinkish/purple Too Faced lip gloss, and the gold lipstick from Hi Wildflower, which is too much the exact color of my skin to wear alone, but is fun layered on top of other stuff. I also have a lip primer, which I’m not sure makes a huge difference but I use occasionally. I’ve been really wanting to get one of the Fenty Mattemoiselle lipsticks but I am trying to resist!
Amy: I went from being lip-balm-only to being one-dedicated-lipstick-only to OK-fine-I-just-want-to-own-all-the-lipsticks but honestly the more I own the longer they last so really isn’t this responsible financial planning or something?
Jasmine: Look, as small splurges to treat yourself go, nothing makes me feel better than a brand new lipstick. And nothing makes me feel more ready to tackle what the world throws at me than putting great sunglasses and red lipstick on, so as far as I’m concerned, it isn’t possible to have too many! Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this chance to plug my own newsletter, where I talk a lot about lipstick, and also about books and favorite recipes.

Important Reads This Week

Focus, and take copious notes.

Jasmine Goes Deep on Megan Markle & Prince Harry!

Some of you may not know this, but there is a little thing called a ROYAL WEDDING coming up in just under four months! (I don’t know your lives, maybe you were in comas, or hiking in the Himalayas, or buried under rocks for the second half of 2017). Fun fact: one thing that got cut from my essay about my friendship with Amy was that the very day I had that first conversation with her about writing, I’d woken up at 4 am that day to watch William and Kate’s wedding with Amy’s cats (Amy stayed sound asleep, but the cats were delighted to watch with me).

And I know what you’re thinking, monarchy is an old, tired, terrible institution. I AGREE. But here’s my counterpoint: BLACK PRINCESS TIME. Have you been wondering “Just who is this Meghan Markle person who is going to marry Prince Harry and become the Black Princess the world needs right now?” Well, you are in luck, because I’m here to give you the Meghan and Harry 101 (and maybe 201), so you’re all ready to host a royal wedding breakfast on Saturday, May 19, or at least attend one in your best pajamas and tiara. Also, if you have not already read The Royal We, by the incredible Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks (otherwise known as the Fug Girls, prior guest editors of this very newsletter), you are in for a TREAT. Among many other wonderful things, their book about an American who marries a prince predicted a number of things in the Harry/Meghan relationship.

Also, not to brag (that’s a lie, this is 100% a brag) I predicted the exact day they would announce their engagement well over a month before it happened, so you could say I’m a Meghan and Harry expert. Come on this journey with me:

The world found out that Meghan and Harry were dating in the fall of 2016, because of a scoop from a royal reporter. Meghan, a biracial actress (her mother is black, her father is white) from California, was a surprise for the role of Prince Harry’s girlfriend, especially since she didn’t even live in England, but lived in Toronto (where she filmed her show Suits). There were no pictures of the two of them together, so all we had to go on to believe in their romance were a few stories in the press and Meghan’s slightly coy Instagram (now deleted) where she posted pictures of flowers from an unnamed someone and cuddling bananas (I know, I know). Were they actually dating? Signs pointed to yes, but we all knew the Palace would never confirm their relationship. Royals never comment on mere girlfriends, they don’t even use that word, it’s an engagement or nothing.

WELL, that was before Harry and Meghan. On November 8, 2016 (a day we all needed the distraction), Kensington Palace dropped this swoony press release, where Harry called Meghan his girlfriend, defended her against the racist harassment she was getting, and referred to his privilege (!!!). The whole thing made most royal watchers clutch their pearls in unison, and made me rub my hands together with glee.

After that, the news about Meghan came fast and furiously. We got some fantastic Meghan style retrospectives, she became the most googled actress of 2016, and we got their first date that involved the paparazzi. They went on a romantic vacation together after Christmas to see the Northern Lights, he took her as his plus one to his best friend’s wedding in Jamaica, and, pulling out all of the “I’m a prince” stops, Harry took Meghan on a date to the Natural History Museum when it was closed to the public.

My second biggest sign that this relationship was going to go the distance was that all of the Kate bloggers started Meghan blogs. (My first was that press release; it was clear that Harry -- the last of his bros to settle down -- was ready, and he was wooing her hard). There are a number of great Meghan related blogs, and if you like her clothes, you should follow all of these ladies on twitter, because they identify every accessory within minutes. My favorites are Mad About MeghanMeghan’s MirrorMeghan’s Fashion, and What Meghan Wore, but obviously the OGs are The Girls of Fug, who have a shiny new Harry and Meghan tag for all of the couples’ outings. In other royal related (but non Harry/Meghan specific) blog news), I’m obsessed with The Crown Jeweller, who I have to thank for keeping me upright during the dark days of December 2016 and January 2017; I basically read the backstories of every tiara that exists in the world during that time, and I would recommend this course of action to all of you for self-care during your next difficult time. She did a fantastic post in May (see, we all knew this one was going to stick) speculating on which tiara Meghan might wear for her wedding to Harry.

As the Meghan PR machine started chugging along, we got this piece from her about how the stigma of periods affects girls, a new one about how being biracialhas affected her in Hollywood, and lots of reprints of this old one about her biracial identity. She went to go watch him play polo, they went to Botswana for her birthday, and she got a big Vanity Fair cover story. The Invictus Games (an excellent event where injured service members compete in lots of different sporting events, and one of Harry’s major charities), was conveniently in Toronto in September, and all Harry/Meghan watchers were on the edges of our seats about how public they would be. The answer was: VERY. First she came to watch him make his opening night speech (in a jacket I still covet). THEN we got their first public appearance, where she carried a fantastic tote bag and they HELD HANDS. And THEN: at the closing ceremony, Meghan brought her mom, and we got many pictures of Meghan, her mom, and Harry, which was the biggest sign of them all that an engagement was imminent.

AND THEN. On the Monday after Thanksgiving (the exact date I predicted it would be, but an hour earlier, no one can be perfect) Clarence House dropped the mic. (Clarence House is where Prince Charles lives for those of you who do other things than pay attention to the royal palaces). Megan and Harry came out to greet the press in the garden that was recently planted to honor Princess Diana, which I thought was a lovely little gesture, and while I loved everything about that, I also really loved this moment when they were walking away. Their official engagement interview will fill the coldest and deadest hearts with glee, I promise you. And the outtakes! The outtakes are so good.

Since then, Meghan has had Christmas with the royal family, they released official engagement pictures, and Meghan and Harry have had numerous jointappearances. The wedding is May 19, and I cannot wait to see her dress (possibly dresses, Kate had two, I hope Meghan does too, this is the time to go all out). I hope you all enjoyed this real life romantic tale, and I hope you’re all around to watch the wedding early in the morning on May 19th with me!!!

​Amy Goes Deep on ER!

Did you know that ER is now streaming on Hulu? I have been waiting for this for many, many years, wondering when its 15 seasons would hit a streaming service (I mean I subscribe to them all because I love television, though loving television can be awkward because people count on you for exciting tips on what hot new thing to watch and you have to admit things like “oh I’ve just been mainlining the first three seasons of Frasier for weeks now). Anyway, that day has finally here. (Though could we place a moratorium on declaring this the show where we all fell in love with Clooney, as many of us fell for Booker years previously?)

When ER premiered, it was actually part of a strange Chicago-set medical dramas airing on Thursday at 10pm/9pm Central cagematch scenario withChicago Hope written by award-winning weirdo David E. Kelley. Very quickly, ER was declared the victor, and so I, a ‘90s alt-teen, chose Chicago Hope as my champion in spite of -- or, perhaps, in my dark-lipsticked Manic-Panic’d revulsion for the mainstream -- because of its sad relative performance.

I still watched ER, though, because here is the truth: I LOVE A MEDICAL DRAMA. Is it ironic that I am a hypochondriac, or is it all part of the same thing? WHO KNOWS, EITHER WAY, I LOVE A MEDICAL DRAMA. I will watch the weird ones, the stupid ones, the cranky ones, and, while I bailed on ER at some point during college, I believe, I am eager to fly my way through all 15 seasons, and, like, soon. I was also eager to start the show again without my underdog attitude from being a Chicago Hope fangirl dragging me down! It was time to enjoy ER in its full racing-down-corridors Ross-and-Hathaway handheld-cam glory.

If you don’t think this shot is iconic I can’t even relate to you.

I haven’t seen most episodes of ER since they originally aired. For season one, that’s nearly TWENTY-FOUR YEARS AGO, which means I am now old enough to have TWENTY-FOUR YEAR OLD PETULANT TEEN FEELINGS. Anyway, watching Hathaway deal with boring Tag and manboy Ross feels VERY different when you are 40 than 17, and also watched Alicia Florrick have to put up with Peter while WILL GARDNER, PERFECT MAN, was close and yet so far, until… sorry. I’m still not over it.



Having lived a lot longer, and also consumed MANY MORE medical shows, since then, watching the show has been an interesting experience, beyond understanding adult decisions a whole lot better and having gone through my own visits to the ER. The first season is good. Great, even. I’m not sure anyone possessing a human heart could get through Very Young Bradley Whitford’s episode without feeling a whole lot of INTENSE SADNESS. I know everyone brings them up but seriously it is hard to overstate just how incredible the chemistry is between George Clooney and Julianna Marguiles.

The thing about ER is that it wants to be real, and it wants to be intense, and it’s incredible just how well the show knew itself right out of the gate. Often, pilots are strange upon rewatch because tone is still being established and characters are still being figured out. S01E01 of ER is like any episode of ER.

Seriously, I can’t stop watching it right now. It’s a joy to have all of the episodes right there in front of me. But, wooooof, it’s male. Yes, there are women, and there are good women, and there are complicated women, and I love how much ER cares about nurses. Anyone who’s spent time in a hospital knows that NURSES ARE IT. But so much of it is just...male. I tried hard to put my finger on why, and I think that much of that is, in Season One, our entry points are new intern Carter (a man), and Chief Resident Mark Greene (also a man). Apologies to those who disagree, but it is astounding in 2018 to watch Greene be one of the main characters on an incredible show, because he is SO DULL and SO ANNOYED that AFTER HIS WIFE SUPPORTED HIM THUS FAR that SHE MIGHT HAVE HOPES AND DREAMS OF HER OWN and it’s like WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ON HIS SIDE but like it’s hard rooting for someone to shit all over his wife’s career just by virtue of...I dunno. His manhood?

(I started Season Two this week and already feel like there are more interesting women and women-led plotlines in the mix.)

I think it’s the intensity and the “realness” that makes people still reference the show in reverent ways even now, particularly in comparison to our current super-long-running Thursday night medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy.

Actually, Grey’s has been in the news anyway, because of star Ellen Pompeo’s magnificent, candid, bad-ass interview with The Hollywood Reporter about sexism, television, money, and so much more. Twitter was afire, and I kept seeing people ask, “Should I start watching Grey’s again?”

The opening gifs might have tipped my hand, and I have a lot to say, but, in case you are skimming, YES YES YES you should! If you’re wondering, you are curious, and if you’re curious, you’re open, and if you’re open, GO WATCH GREY’S.

Grey’s Anatomy cares about women. Shonda Rimes cares about women. Almost all our entry points are women: mainly intern Meredith Grey, but three-fifths of the first crop of interns are women, and Cristina and Izzy are completely different kinds of women and doctors, and different kinds of women and doctors than their resident, Miranda Bailey. And, like, don’t get me started on Mer and Cristina’s best friendship, which is so real and true and special.

Look, I know the only reason that people talk derisively about Grey’s isn’t that it’s by women about women often for women. THERE WAS A REAL PLOTLINE WHERE SOMEONE BASICALLY BONED A GHOST FOR MONTHS. (I know the specifics, don’t @ me with your corrections, I have rewatched Grey’s more times than most people.) But people talk about how unrealistic it is, how everyone just cares about boning instead of medicine, how the cast shifted so many times the show was unrecognizable.

UM THIS IS ALL TRUE ABOUT ER TOO. It just has dramatic camera work and more men! It looked “more real” (uglier) and NEVER used “Portions for Foxes” as a cue. But Mark freaking Greene takes a sick day JUST TO STAY HOME AND BONE HIS WIFE while poor Dr. Ross has way too much on his plate! At least on Grey’s they bone in on-call rooms where they can be nearby emergencies and such. Also remember all the helicopter shenanigans on ER? That is practically up there with ghost-boning.

ER will honestly probably become a favorite rewatch of mine too (I always get excited when anyone gets the same surgery I had!), but it also gave me a further appreciation for the women of Shondaland. You know what? They care about boning and romance and marriage and motherhood and monogamy and independence and queerness and friendship AND medicine. Ugh I’m feeling things and will probably have to head to Netflix for S01E01 of Grey’s far sooner than I’m comfortable telling you.

If you’re still on the fence about catching up on Grey’s, this season, a woman came into the ER and then SHOT PEOPLE with a GUN THAT WAS HIDDEN IN HER VAGINA. PEOPLE WERE WOUNDED BY A VAGINA GUN! I think you already know if you’re the type of person for whom this is a selling point or not. Follow your heart.