Trick Or Treat People With Kindness

As we hope you already know, our beloved Queen Carly just released a brand new single, and it is a certified bop. This pair of tweets perfectly express our sentiments on this issue. First:

and second:

What you may not know, however, is that in a particularly vicious act of Dames-baiting, Carly set the music video for the song in a hotel, which one of our shared fictional fixations! WE LOVE STORIES SET IN HOTELS! This one is no exception, from Carly’s incredible Margot Tenenbaum meets Cher Horowitz looq…

to everyone’s extremely aspirational hotel party indulgences:

In this final week of pre-midterms stress, this treat was so exactly what we needed, and we could not be more grateful to Carly for providing it if we tried.

Dame Margaret’s Hairstyle-Based Allegiances and Other Surprising Weak Spots

Truly, this specific hairstyle was the Coolest One I Could Imagine from 1998-2002

  • Today, and always, I am low-key trash for Gwyneth Paltrow. I know she is both Problematic and Often Insufferable, but with the back to back releases of Emma (1996) and Sliding Doors (1998), she took root in my heart and will never be removed, any more than my longing for her Chic Blonde Breakup Hair from the latter will be. So, obviously, I have clicked through every slide in the 48-image slideshow from her recent Hamptons wedding to Glee producer Brad Falchuk, and I have no regrets. If you are less gone on her, however, I can also recommend without reservations this quick overview from The Cut:All the Gwyneth Paltrow-iest Details From Gwyneth Paltrow’s Wedding,” which delivers entirely on the promise in its headline.

  • If you, like me, are now deep in your Late 90s Gwyneth Feelings, or merely want to understand mine better, let me recommend two things:

    • Sliding Doors, the parallel universe romantic comedy that I have loved for fully 20 years now, is presently streaming on Netflix, and is a pretty much perfect movie to watch on the first weekend in November— especially if you, like ME!!!, are just about to take your first trip to London in TWELVE YEARS! Whether you’re revisiting it or discovering it for the first time, I feel confident you will love it, and be just as full of longing for Gwyneth’s 90s blonde lop.

    • While neither Gwyneth’s Emma nor its perfect score are presently available to stream for free on any platforms, Rachel Portman’s similarly beautiful score to 2002’s Nicholas Nickleby (another probably mediocre movie to which I have a DEEP emotional attachment) is available in full on Spotify, and makes a great soundtrack to writing a newsletter!   

  • A very weird thing I learned last year from TV Critic and Tastemaker Margaret Lyons is that Katy Perry has a line of shoes, and they are EXTREMELY cute and to my taste. I have yet to buy myself a single pair, so I cannot speak to their quality, but I do find browsing them to be both emotionally centering and joy-bringing. They are frequently alarmingly on the nose, and they do not recognize the concept of “too much.” When they are ugly, they are truly hideous. When they are cute, they are nearly irresistible. They contain both high heels AND flats inspired by Katy’s infamous Super Bowl Companion, Left Shark. Her whimsical fashion sneaker game is particularly on point. When they are on sale, they can be quite reasonably priced and they are often available on 6 PM shoes, my preferred discount shoe shop. All told, they are a source of great visual pleasure for me, and I hope they affect you the same way. And, if you buy yourself a pair, PLEASE DO holler at me about how they feel.

  • Speaking of Margaret Lyons, after I recently tweeted that Maureen Dowd is the only one woman bad enough to deserve Aaron Sorkin, she alerted me to the existence of this very old and quite entertaining profile of said red-haired hack wherein Aaron Sorkin describes Dowd exactly the way you imagine he would. This came up because, thanks to my television podcast, I have been harming myself terribly by engaging in a rewatch of The Newsroom’s first season, and it is SO much worse than I remembered. If you would like to hear me rant about Sorkin’s misogyny with the single-minded intensity of a… male Sorkin character shouting at a woman whose shallow thinking has disappointed him, however, YOU SURE ARE IN LUCK! Here is our first installment, here is our second, and our third should be out this coming Thursday.

  • AND! If you would like a podcast that does NOT feature me, please let me recommend my newest addiction: The Dream with Jane Marie, an investigative podcast that looks at the history and present of multi-level marketing firms like Mary Kay, Lula Roe, and Avon. It has so much to say about America’s relationship with capitalism, Christianity, and femininity, and it’s INSANELY compelling and EXTREMELY our shit.

In Which Dame Sophie Does Her Best Coach Taylor

Huddle up, buttercups

For those Dames Nationals living in or from the United States, this is the final week before our midterm congressional elections. We are simmering in a stew of anxiety and fear, while holding fast to hope and determination to get this cycle more right than we did the 2016 elections. For those of you living outside the US, we hope your week is going better than ours (though we know things are looking quite grim in Brazil; solidarity to our friends there).

Now, the brilliance of Coach Taylor’s motto is in its flexibility. It doesn’t mean you win every game. It means that if you approach the endeavor as a team, seeing things as they are and filled with a generosity of spirit, you’ll have won regardless of the outcome. It also works as a snappy, six-word pump up jam that distills “let’s go out there and crush them, with integrity!” to its memorable, call-and-response essence, but I’m going for something a little bigger than that right now.

This week, I’m sharing some strategies that are seeing me through. This weekend: canvassing like the dickens. Next week: between the polling and the fundraising and the canvassing and the early voting and the voter suppression, who knows? Come what may, we’ll see you on the other side. Clear eyes, full hearts.

  • Canvassing! As I mentioned above, I’ve been canvassing for one of my candidates of choice. This is something I was a little nervous about doing, as the work is in a district adjacent to mine so I don’t know the neighborhoods as well, and what if people yell at me? What I’ve learned is that political campaigns are very well-organized and furnish volunteers with maps where they’ve plotted out each address they want you to visit, along with the name and age of the people they want you to speak with at each address. They give you talking points, instructions on how to engage and when not to, and safety tips. In many cases, you’ll have a buddy (and you can make sure you have a buddy if you bring a friend along). I’ve only been yelled at once, and you know what? It was fine. I don’t prefer it as a social interaction, but it was very much not the end of the world, and I knew that already, but it was a valuable lesson for me to re-learn.

    Now, you may be thinking “ugh, Dame Sophie, the election is in like 4 days, isn’t it too late to do something?” Au contraire, darlings, it most certainly is not! Not only is it not too late, this weekend is actually a great time to do a couple of hours of work on behalf of a campaign that can use some help. Find the one closest to you and ask them what they need. You can phone bank. You can text-bank (this is literally texting registered and/or likely voters on behalf of a specific candidate. You can do it from the comfort of your couch and speak with no one at all!). You can canvass (or as they say in the biz, having dropped the usual preposition for the more jaunty sounding “knock doors”). You can donate for last-minute ad buys. You can volunteer to drive people to the polls. You can talk to friends and family about their voting plans. All of it counts, all of it matters, all of it will be a bulwark against the sickening feeling of “I should have done more” when some of the races inevitably don’t go our way next week. Maybe most importantly, all of it starts to create a habit of engagement. Once you help out with one campaign, you lower whatever bar to participation in others you may have experienced before. Democracy belongs to us, so let’s scoop it up, give it a cuddle, and help it flourish.

  • Halloween has long been one of my favorite days on the ol’ interwebs, thanks to how easy it is to see so many creative people having fun and expressing themselves with their Halloween costumes. Some of the best ones I’ve seen this year (please do @ me with your favorites!) include:

  • When high-stakes outcomes are in question, I seek the reassurance of outcomes that are entirely predictable. I seek a balm in every medium, and I find it in rewatching, rereading, and relistening. Some find solace in the scary embrace of horror movies. Others take to the mosh pit. I like to re-listen to my audiobook of Persuasion, re-re-rewatch The Crown, and re-listen for the fafillionth time to U2’s entire back catalogue. I’ve enjoyed these stories so many times that they’re woven into the fiber of my being, they’re part of the texture of what makes me, me, but they still have the power to transport me, taking my mind on a brief vacation for however long I immerse myself in them. They also hold object lessons I find it useful to remind myself of. Persuasion is about second chances and making up one’s own mind. The Crown is about balancing duty, honor, and personal preferences, and about finding your way in an institution you’re leading, and that you hope will long outlive you. U2’s music and their history together is, for me, about creative problem solving, finding a way forward together amidst profound disagreements, and the kind of mutual devotion that’s brought them to work together with no change in personnel for over 40 years. Soooo, yeah: stability narratives. I need them! And would love to hear what kinds of narratives keep you steady when your nerves are jangled.      

I’ll just be over here, trusting the process

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