Hold the Kids, Please. Seriously, Hold Them. I Don’t Want To.

Depositphotos_5005519_s           portrait of young woman disgusted on white background

I never want kids. Not in an, “Oh, I haven’t found the right guy” kind of way, or a “Just not right now” kind of way. I never want them. Ever.

I pretty much realized I had zero maternal instinct and zero desire to procreate in high school. I clearly remember being 16, riding in a car with my softball coach and a group of teammates. My coach had her baby in the car – it was coming to the game with us, although I can’t really remember why. I say “it” not to diminish the fact that it was an actual tiny person, but because if you’d asked me the next day whether it was a boy or a girl I could not have told you. I was trapped next to the car seat and looked over at this sticky, crying little creature next to me and wished I was anywhere but there.

My coach turned around and asked me if I could hold the kid, or feed it, or something equally objectionable to me and my response was automatically “No thanks, I’d rather not.” In my head, all I was thinking was I’m a fucking 3rd basemen, not a babysitter!! Yes, I cursed like a sailor during my inner monologues as a 16 year old – who didn’t? Every other girl in the car was cooing over the kid and someone jumped at the chance to do it for me. I exhaled an audible sigh of relief. I knew then I would never want to be responsible for one of those.

When I was younger, people would always tell me I might change my mind, or decide I wanted kids if I met the right person. I usually acquiesced, mumbling something along the lines of “Yeah, I guess you never know.” But I’m 30 now, and my feelings haven’t changed. Rarely do I ever get grief from my close friends about not wanting children. Those who really know me know it’s not just a phase, like the time in high school I thought I could pull of dark brown lipstick (spoiler alert: I can’t) or that year in college I was kind of a stoner. And my parents are basically the most supportive people on the planet, and truly just want me to be happy. If that means having pink hair, quitting my job and traveling the world, they’d support my decision. And if it means never having kids, they support that too. I have never ONCE gotten a guilt trip from my mother about not wanting kids (seriously, be jealous, my mom is cool as fuck).

I feel like I did a pretty good job being clear about my feelings, especially as I got closer to 30 and more of my friends were getting married and talking about kids. It’s kind of a running joke actually, because not only do I not want kids, I’m painfully awkward and uncomfortable around them. My friends always threaten to leave their future children with me on date nights, and I promise that if they do, I’ll return them with a new puppy and a belly full of candy and Red Bull after we watch Jaws. It’s good banter, and it’s fun. I never feel judged, and I never feel like my aversion towards having kids is being seen as some defect of personality, or that it’s the all-encompassing trait that defines my identity. Frankly, it’s just a matter of personal taste. Some people don’t like tomatoes. Some people refuse to listen to country music. I don’t want kids.

The reason I bring this up is because I’ve noticed an interesting shift over the last year or so, and I don’t think it’s because I turned 30. No, I think it’s because I finally met the person I want to spend my life with (married or not, who knows… we’ll figure that out later). We want exactly the same things… to travel, to live different places, and to never have kids. I feel so lucky that we are so in tune with each other on so many levels. I think we even talked about some of this stuff on our first date.

But the fact that my position on kids hasn’t changed, and that my feelings haven’t wavered even after finding “the one” makes some people a little uncomfortable. Or maybe confused is a better word. Apparently it’s a difficult concept to grasp – why, now that I am with the person I see myself with for the long haul, I am not considering children with said person. As if everything I ever felt (or didn’t feel for that matter) about children was only due to the fact that I hadn’t found my Prince Charming. And once he rode in on his valiant steed, oozing virility, I’d finally start wanting those things that every girl always secretly dreams of having. (Babies. I’m referring to babies.)

I’m not sure exactly why it’s so hard for some people to accept that my idea of a happy and content life just doesn’t include children. And that I don’t feel in any way that I’m making a sacrifice. Or maybe it’s just that there isn’t a nice, neat package to put me in. Seriously though, I thought we were past all that. I thought as a society we’d gotten to a point where not wanting kids is no longer viewed as an aberration, or even something worthy of much conversation. I mean, there are way more interesting things going on in the world and in my life than my ovaries. But inevitably, people will ask me if I want kids and I’ve noticed they seem to expect me to justify my feelings. “Why DON’T you want kids?” they ask, looking at me expectantly. Well, I have about 584 reasons why, but frankly, they’re none of your business. I don’t say that, but I find myself thinking it more and more.

I recently read there is something called the “child-free by choice” movement. I am child-free. And it is a choice. But I definitely don’t consider myself part of a “movement” in any way, shape or form. Nor do I particularly care to be. There are days when I work from home and can’t be bothered to put on a bra – a movement? Please.

But the idea that people feel the need to defend their life choices in any way is total bullshit, whether they want kids or not. No one asks a mother to justify her reasons for wanting a kid, so why is it OK the other way around? Imagine a world where every time someone announced a pregnancy (usually on Facebook, let’s be honest), they were met with an interrogation: “Why ARE you choosing to have a baby? What was the motivation? How do you know you won’t change your mind about this?” I have a feeling it wouldn’t go over well. And frankly, your reasons might sound crazy to me. You might be having a baby to try save your relationship or because all your friends are having kids and you don’t want to be left out. But you know what? Those are your reasons, and crazy or not, I’m not going to quiz you on them, because it’s none of my business. I don’t have to raise your kid – you do.

And when I’m at your house and your kid is screaming bloody murder and all the furniture is stained and you haven’t had a chance to get to the salon in months (or you know, since before the kid was born) I won’t look at you and ask if you’ve changed your mind yet. I won’t question whether you really thought about your decision. THAT WOULD BE TOTALLY HORRIBLE AND INAPPROPRIATE.

I expect the same courtesy in return. We might not agree with or understand all of each other’s life choices. In fact, I can guarantee that we won’t. But that doesn’t make one greater than the other, or give us the right to pass judgment on each other.

So I have some thoughts to share with all the parents out there. I’m happy for you. I really am. You’re doing one of the most difficult jobs in the world – one that I have chosen not to. We have each chosen what was best for us.

So please, try to remember that just because someone doesn’t want to hold your baby, or prefers expensive furniture and traveling over children in their lives, we aren’t any less happy – so try not to patronize. Try not to make comments about us “coming around” or “changing our minds” or “missing out.” And definitely don’t quiz us on the reasons why we don’t want to squeeze a 9 pound full time job out of our vagina. Because you will open the door for me to start quizzing you too, and then we can ALL be uncomfortable.

I Look Like A Clown Hooker

“Hold on, your eyebrow smeared and it’s on your cheek.”

Um, WHAT??? I never thought I would hear someone utter those words to me, but it happened and now I need to talk about it. Allow me to elaborate.

You see, I decided a few weeks ago I needed to branch out and really try some new things so I could turn one of my hobbies into something I could actually do some freelance work with. My own business – nothing fancy, just something on the side that I was in control of, and that could be a creative outlet for me. The idea of a tax break wasn’t unappealing either.

So I started doing my research and found a program to learn how to be a makeup artist. PERFECT. I love makeup. I’ve always done it for my friends and this would be a fun excuse to actually learn what the hell I was doing. And in my mind, this would be a perfect freelance gig I could try out with no pressure since I’m not quitting my day job.

I found a one-day workshop that got great reviews online, and they offered a “basic certification” after completion, as well as the ability to apply for a pro card – meaning I get discounts on makeup. SCORE. Sign me up.

Sunday was the day. A friend I’d met at work a few years ago got wind of this little adventure and decided to join me. Bright and early, we made our way to the class. Dress code: all black. Excitement level: high.

It started out fine, if a little unorganized. They held the workshop in a hair salon on the days it was closed, and 20 or so wannabe makeup artists, including myself, piled inside. Most of the girls were professional cosmetologists looking to expand their skill set to include makeup, but a handful of us were just doing it “for fun”.

As I watched the owner and professional makeup artist go through her demo, I started to develop some concerns. Because about halfway through the demo, she got to eyebrows. I agreed with her statement about how important eyebrows are, and how they frame the face. She even made a comment about wanting to avoid “chola eyebrows” that look like they were just drawn onto the face. Forgetting for a second that she may have offended a number of people in class, I happen to personally prefer a more natural looking brow as well (I over-plucked in high school and I’m still recovering).

She goes on to explain that they have REVOLUTIONIZED a new technique, and it’s one we are all going to master in this class. Apparently, eyebrows that angle down at the ends at all (so, basically almost everyone) make people look “sad” and is apparently an epidemic we need to address. So as we broke off into pairs to practice different techniques, I kid you not, these were the instructions:

Ignore the natural brow where it angles down. It’s only distracting you from where the true brow should be. Pretend your client has no eyebrows and you are going to create the perfect eyebrow. Longer, and higher than where the hair is.

Hmmm. Weird. I bet you’re thinking what I’m thinking… wouldn’t you have 2 eyebrows on each side then? Basically an eyebrow that forks in the road and goes both ways? YES. YOU DO. YOU HAVE TWO FUCKING EYEBROWS ON EACH SIDE. And guess what??? That look we were trying to avoid? The one where it looks like a 5 year old drew on your eyebrow with a sharpie? THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS. When you decide to create a whole new eyebrow where there is no hair, what do you expect?

I was working with an adorable little blond massage therapist with perfect skin – one of the other people in the class just taking it for fun. As the instructor comes over to paint on her dark brows, she looks at me in horror. I point out that the color is too dark and that you can still clearly see her actual eyebrow hair under the heavy line, and the instructor promptly informs me we can “hide” that, and a lot of people just shave off the ends of their brows so you can do this shape properly. Oh, of course. YOU SHAVE IT OFF. I see. Now the massage therapist looks really nervous.

“Can we trim your eyebrow, just a little?” the instructor asks her. She agrees. I decide she’s insane. I wouldn’t let that woman near me with scissors. She “trims” them all right… basically down the skin. After she walks away, my partner looks at me in dismay, groaning about how the instructor just “stole” her whole eyebrow, and how ridiculous she looks. The instructor circles back, one of her minions in tow to show off her beautiful work. I can’t help myself at this point. “She hates it. She wouldn’t go in public like that. That may work for an editorial shoot with models, but it’s not an everyday look. No normal person wants to wear a look like that for everyday life.” The death stare of an angry makeup artist (who does in fact, shave her eyebrows so she can “create any shape she wants”) sears into my very soul. “Well, I WOULD wear that look every day,” she snaps at me, and stomps away on her 5 inch heels. Huh, guess I won’t be winning any teacher’s pet points.

Now, I don’t know if it was punishment for mouthing off, but when the other instructor came back to “help” do my eyebrows, it was a sight to behold. Same double rainbow effect, but this time, THEY ADDED GLUE. “Oh, we just layer on glue and then paint over it with concealer to hide the hairs,” she tells me. I’m laughing so hard inside at this point, I figure why not? It was basically the same glue that was in our 3rd grade glue sticks, all over my face. As she finishes her masterpiece, her hand grazes my “new” eyebrow and it winds up on my cheek.

OK, timeout. If my eyebrow can smear onto my fucking cheek, that is not a good look. I grabbed the handheld mirror at my station to take a peek. Bad idea. I looked like a clown hooker after a rough night. Not OK. And as she finishes wiping my eyebrow OFF MY CHEEK, my workshop partner is standing behind her, eyes wide, mouthing, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over and over. I think she might need therapy now.

As they finished taking our individual “after” pictures and started getting ready for a group shot, my friend who had tagged along and I looked at each other and just decided to get the hell out of there. It look me a minute to register what she was thinking though… at that point, everyone in class looked permanently surprised. We made our way to the door, but not before I got cornered by one of the instructors. “Don’t you just love how you look?” she asks me. I know I should have lied and been polite – it would be easier. But I just couldn’t. “Well, no. I mean, the work my partner did is great and I like the eye shadow, but I would never draw on eyebrows like this. I just wouldn’t wear them like this in public.” Awkward silence. I turned and walked away and we made our way out of the salon and back to my car.

I looked in my rear-view mirror as soon as we got in the car and just lost it. I needed to get that shit off my face, ASAP. As I reached for my bag I realized I left my makeup remover wipes in class. SHIT. I can’t go home like this and I’m sure as hell not walking back into that salon. I found an old paper towel, probably from that day last week I ate a bagel in the car on the way to work, and wiped off as much as I could.

If you don’t believe me, I have photographic evidence:

eyebrow

Now, who wants me to do their eyebrows??

4th of July Weekend – In Pictures

I’ve been lagging on getting a new post of up, but I’ve had a busy past few days. This is my 4th of July weekend in pictures. I will include some context as there is a little explanation needed…

tattoo

First, I got a new tattoo. Everyone thinks it’s a 99, but really it’s open quotes… basically symbolizing that I am writing my own story and in a lot of ways, I feel like it’s just beginning.

fireworks

Next, we spent the night of the 4th hanging out with Gil’s friends in their gorgeous newly remodeled backyard. Their neighbors all apparently set off a ton of (super illegal) fireworks every year and it was a very impressive display. Go team.

eyebrow

And finally, here is my double eyebrow or “clown hooker” look from the makeup artist certification class I took. You better believe there will be a whole post coming on this one, so consider this a sneak preview.

Dear Vagina

Petals of Pink Roses on woman's body. Concept of Waxing. Bikini Zone

Dear Vagina,     

I hope we can find someone to just love us for US someday.

Love,

Courtney

Dear Courtney, 

Do it yourself. Seriously. We’re awesome.

PS: I’m cold.

Love,

Vagina

There is a weird mental block that happens to a lot of women when it comes to our vaginas on display, and I want to talk about it.

Most of us have, at some point or another, made the trek to the salon/spa/shady nail place with a backroom and a faded old curtain, to have some or all of our pubic hair ripped out with hot wax. As I type that sentence I can’t help but wonder what broke in our brains to think it was a good idea. That notwithstanding, many of us (myself included) went back, time after time for more of the same. That means a total stranger basically within inches of your lady garden, getting a fully unobstructed view of every last detail, making sure you are getting your $50-$100 worth of torture. And I do mean every last detail, as any woman who has gone through this can attest – they are THOROUGH and get you into positions you didn’t even think were possible for non-gymnasts.

But we happily oblige, letting Olga bodily flip us over on her table in a room with walls that don’t go to the ceiling, barking at us in Russian, grabbing our ankle and spreading us wide to get every last offending hair (true story). Seriously, after the first experience and mild mortification when you belatedly realize that a Brazilian means that OH MY GOD YES THEY ARE ACTUALLY WAXING MY ASSHOLE… SHOULD I SAY SOMETHING? IS THIS NORMAL? OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD, you get used to it. I used to have totally normal, pleasant conversations with my waxers (all female obviously) as they were pulling and stretching and spreading to do their job. It never occurred to me to be self-conscious at that point and there was a predictable routine, so it was essentially like getting my nails done.

And even if you’ve never subjected yourself to that experience, all women have had to hoist their feet up into the stirrups for a pelvic exam – it’s part of our coming of age I suppose, and you do get used to it.

On the flip side, at the same point in my life that I was going Brazilian on the regular, if someone I was dating had asked to just “look at it” and give my vag a full inspection in a well lit room – just looking – I would have been uncomfortable. And I explicitly remember a girlfriend of mine recounting that exact scenario. I remember her telling me how weird and self conscious she felt and me emphatically agreeing. And we’re not alone. I know this concept makes a lot of women uncomfortable. But WHY??

Why, after spending all that time spread eagle in the salon, was I at all self-conscious when a new boyfriend wanted to leave the lights on and visually drink it all in? I spent all this time and money on something I wanted to just hide under the covers? Where is the vagina-love?  I mean, I am no prude and have no objection to oral sex, but the idea of someone really looking that closely without DOING something… I guess I assumed they would be looking for imperfections. Because that was what I did to myself and to my body – look for the things that were wrong.

And that’s the crux of it I think, at least for me. I spent way too much time beating myself up, comparing myself to others, and wondering if I looked ok, that I couldn’t just be. I couldn’t love myself completely. It was different when it was just a stranger at a New York salon – who cares what they thought of me? Who cares if they were comparing my vagina to the one they’d seen an hour before? But with someone I cared about, someone I loved, it was scarier. Somehow, my twisted self-criticism had morphed into an unfair projection that my boyfriend would be doing the same: picking out what was wrong, or comparing me to others.

It took some time and a healthy relationship to drive home the point that in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. At the point that someone just wants to admire your body like that, and once you have that level of intimacy, they are THRILLED to be able to see all of you and love every inch, whether it’s waxed or not. We should embrace it. And give our vaginas (and our whole bodies for that matter) some unconditional love.

Men as a whole (at least the ones I know) are very visual creatures, and they relish the chance to enjoy all of you without self-conscious squirming or outright refusal for them to just be able to look. It is actually a very loving and erotic moment in a relationship when you let those insecurities go and literally lay yourself bare for them. Unless you’re having no strings attached one night stands with guys with a gyno fetish, in which case mazel tov and enjoy.