One Awesome Mom

mothers day

Just a friendly reminder that Mothers’ Day is this coming Sunday – have you shopped yet? Hurry, hurry! Bonus #240 of working in publishing: free books make perfect gifts for all occasions. (Spoiler alert, Mom!).  I was hoping you might indulge me a few minutes in honor of this impending holiday to say a few words about my own special lady.

The thing about my mama is, she’s a pretty great gal. Her name is Bernadette but her pals call her Bebe. Her kids call her Bernie, Bernard, Bern-dawg, Beans, Bernice or Schmoopy, a bizzaro nickname we invented somewhere around mile seven of a fifteen hour family car trip. She is undoubtedly the backbone of our family and a source of warmth and strength for all around her.  Everyone who knows her loves her. It’s impossible not to love The Schmoopster, it just is. She’s smart and funny and snarky and warm and wise and giving and would jump in front of a stampeding herd of wildabeasts to protect her loved ones. So basically she’s Simba’s dad from The Lion King. Except still alive. And not a lion. Or a king. Or voiced by James Earl Jones. What I’m trying to say is: she’s the best. I’m lucky she’s mine.

I’ve been blessed, we’ve always been close. I know there were times where it wasn’t perfect and I was a bit of a snotty brat or she was being like, SO NOT fairrrr, Moommmmmm, but for the most part, we’ve always had a strong and open relationship. I know that can be a rare thing, so I don’t take it for granted.

A few weekends ago, she came up to New York for a visit and we had the most wonderful time. Long walks and museums and lots and lots and lots of wine. The best parts of the weekend for me were between the wandering and wining and dining. Saturday evening after dinner we sat up talking - in my kitchen with ice cream and then on my bed like a slumber party, and then again Sunday morning over mugs of coffee on the living room couch with the windows wide open to the sun. We talked about family history and future goals and worries and hopes and memories and her life and my life and I felt like we connected and communicated in a way we never had before. It is a strange thing to enter into adulthood and suddenly see your parents on a similar plain. She’s still my mommy and I’m still her little girl, but things are different now. I’m an adult and have my own life and am flying further and further away from the nest. I know this will continue to change as I check off additional life boxes like marriage and babies and things. That weekend, staying up late, talking, I felt like we clicked, like we hit the right groove on this new phase, as two adults. I felt as though I got to see and hear new sides of my mom and she opened up to me in a new way. And on the other side, I sensed myself as a grownup, in a good way. It’s hard to explain, as I sit here to type, but I feel I already know that our hours chatting here in my little Brooklyn apartment will be something I cherish forever. Can you know that after just a week? I’ll say you can. I was genuinely sad to see our weekend come to an end.

 I feel myself becoming more and more like my mom every day - in good ways and in ways that make me cringe: "I’m becoming my mother!" Sometimes when I’m exhibiting certain traits that drove us nuts growing up - say slight bossiness (we just know best!) or worrying (it’s a crazy world!), my siblings will call me Bernie Junior. They’re being jerks, but I take it as a compliment.

 I can't think of anyone I’d rather grow up to be.

So happy (early) Mothers’ Day, Schmoopaloop, and thank you for all you have taught me and shared with me and passed on to me. I think you’re just the best.


One Awkward Question: Have you high fived your boobs today?

So a few years ago, I asked my mom if she would be upset if I became a stripper to pay my way through college. She laughed and said she wasn't really worried about it, I'm so ungraceful, I'd never end up on the pole. (Incidentally, she also told me I'd never make a good nun, on account of being so self absorbed. That's totally true, but ouch, Mom.) So when a Groupon offering discounted stripping lessons showed up my inbox I finally had my opportunity to prove my mom wrong. Or at least have a good story to tell. Armed with two adventurous friends, a lot of wine, slutty heels and an extra back-closure bra (it was mandatory), I spent last Friday night at Teaser Class, learning Basics of Floor and Wall. It was THE WORST! But also...the best? Let's break it down.

DISCLAIMER: This post is about to get a little NSFW, and sort of horrifying - at one point it discusses blow jobs and Stevie Wonder, in the SAME SENTENCE so if you're like, a relative or a colleague or just a normal, sane human being who doesn't feel the need to learn what "Barbie Legs" means, this might be a good time to stop. Or at least pour yourself a drink.

So the group (about ten 20-something chicks) all donned "Hi, My Stripper Name Is" name tags. My friends picked "Storm" and "Porsche." I was "Chablis" (wine!) and, at first, things weren't tooo weird. We practiced posture (Feet, shoulder width apart, hands on hips, pelvis and titties: outward) and a basic, figure-eight hip-swivel inexplicably called "The Robert."  (A Google search does not reveal the identity of this mysterious "Robert" but did uncover some really great Twilight fan fiction, if that's what you're into.) And then we were instructed to sensually "high five our boobs" and rub all up and down our torso regions while making "predator face" - which is sort of like smeyesing (TYRA!) but meaner. Apparently the best stripper faces have evil eyes, but a sassy smirk. It's like the mullet of facial expressions. But like, sexy face mullets. I don't know! I got like, a C- on this part, tops.

So, hah, thennnn we put those extra back-clasp bras over our clothes and were taught how remove them, provocatively: back turned to the audience, you take it off with one hand and then whip it to the ground. Yes! Fun/sexy/not even that hard. Done!

Not done!

So then, back still turned to the imaginary audience, we were instructed to pinch, rub, tweak, whatever, our nipples (Ack! I think that's the first time I've every typed "nipples"), to make them hard. "You have to match your audience," the teacher instructed. "You have to be a pair. Like salt & pepper. You can't have salt & salt, or pepper & pepper, you have to MATCH. He's hard, you're hard, everybody get hard" and (hahah stop reading this!), I understand the basic sexy mechanics behind this particular move, and I'm not sure what you guys are into, who knows, but for me, standing in a line, in a room full of chicks, everyone flicking their boobs over their t-shirts was legitamately the most awkward moment I'd ever intentinally signed myself up for on my unending quest for attention. Until "The Reverse Head," that is.

Pause while author refills, chugs and re-refills her wine glass.

OK so the "Reverse Head." I saw this move written on the board and thought "please let them mean head-on-your-neck heads and not you know...head." Of course not! Why would we do something sexy with our on-our-neck heads when we could pull out our chairs and simulate oral sex on an imaginary man? I mean, REALLY. (Hahah seeing this written down on the screen is ridiculous - what am I doing with my life? I'm just going to keep typing reallyfast and maybe it won't seem so insane?)

Ok so "The Reverse Head" is actually like, pretty mean, I think. So you sit your man down in a chair, and then you slowly sliiiiide down so you're near his bathing suit region and you slooowly take off his belt and unbutton his pants, and unzip his fly (so we were actually "unbottoning" imaginary buttons and "unzipping" imaginary flys, why god why) and then: you channel Stevie Wonder. Like:

Stevie Wonder.

Our teacher stood in front of the class, swaying her head back and forth: "You have no idea how many worlds have been rocked by Stevie Wonder." Please don't tell us!

Stevie, it turns out, actually does put the "head" in, um, head. Once your man is all unzipped and what have you, instead of, you know, giving him a beej, you lean down and rub your forehead back and forth, across his Stevie Wonder.

WHAT?!?????!!!! Seriously what? "No, babe. I just pretended I was gonna suck you off. Instead I thought I'd just rub my sweaty forehead all over your schlong and then just walk away. You loved it, I know you loved it. Did you notice my predator face?" (OMG! Serious question: Is this where the term 'giving head' came from? Like, where it originated? Have I been doing it wrong? Please advise!)

So this is what we did! In class! I thought it was an aerobics type class, sort of, and there we were, kneeling over an empty chair, channeling blind music legend Stevie Wonder in what has to be just the weirdest cock-tease move of all time.

Author drains, and refills her wine glass. Again. You should do the same. I still have to explain the Barbie legs. And the butt clap.

And we're back. With Barbie Legs. For this one, you lay on your back, sort of propped up on your elbows, I guess, with your legs spread eagle and you swivel back and forth at the hips, like a Barbie, and I was actually having fun with this one, until the teacher informed us that the ultimate goal of Barbie Legs is The Butt Clap. I guesssss if you do it fast enough/good enough (??) eventually your butt cheeks will slap together and you will give yourself a round of applause, using your anus.

SERIOUSLY?!?! STOP! I have no words for this situation. Is this a sexy thing? I mean, if I were about to become intimate with another human and they started CLAPPING with their ASS? I don't even know. I do not know.

So then we wound down with some aerobics and some casual wall move which involved bringing your hand to your "oval office" (yep, think about it) and scene. Stripper class was over.

And guess what, Mom (please don't be reading this, mom)? I fucking killed it. After class, the teacher told me I was great (!!!) and invited me to take more classes and thennnnn partipate in the year end showcase, which is like a piano recital, I guess, except with strippers, not pianos, and, best thing ever, is open to "friends and family." (Hah, family. "Hey grandpa! Don't forget my stripper recital?!")

You're all invited!