If a woman asks a man to stop talking, does she make a sound?

When the person who wants to give you money for your tomatoes asks you to stop talking, STOP TALKING

What do you do when a man is being annoying and you ask him to stop and he doesn’t stop?

All I wanted was a few tomatoes and some corn on the cob.

But when Mr T and I started discussing which tomatoes to get and which corn to get, the vendor – whose entire job is to get people to give him money – interjected himself into the conversation with his musings on the proper roles of men and women.

“Who does the cooking?” the vendor asked.

“She does most of it,” Mr T said.

The vendor nodded in satisfaction.

I picked a box of tomatoes and showed it to Mr T. “What about these?” I asked him.

The vendor nodded again. “He’s THE MAN but I bet you’re THE BOSS!” he said.

“Uh huh,” I answered politely, “uh-huh” being a nice way of saying, “I know there are words coming out of your mouth but I do not want to listen to them. Even if I were not busy selecting tomatoes, I would not want to listen to you.”

“I mean,” the vendor continued, “we all know who the man is and who the woman is but we all really know who THE BOSS is!”

“Uh huh,” I said again, as Mr T disagreed with my choice of tomatoes, which was fine because he cares way more than I do and whatever tomatoes is not the hill I am dying on and it’s not like he picks bad tomatoes anyhow. He is an excellent selector of tomatoes.

We walked around to the corn and Mr T started to examine it.

“He’s picking the corn? But you’re the cook!” the vendor said.

“He’s better at picking corn,” I said.

(This is true – Mr T is also a very good selector of corn.)

“In the Bible,” the vendor volunteered, “the man is the head of the household but we all know who is really in charge!” he said.

“Yeah we’re not going to have this conversation,” I said. “Please stop.”

The vendor persisted. “But in the BIBLE….” he said.

“I do not like where this conversation is going,” I interrupted. “Please. Please stop talking.”

It did not work.

He kept talking.

Because he’s the man and if the man wants to talk, it doesn’t matter what a woman wants.


He is not the only one selling tomatoes or corn.

So I will never see him again.


Hide the sex toys

If you don’t have a friend you can trust to clean out your Box of Stuff, then you have been living your life wrong

From Helen Ellis’ “Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light”

I’m going to gossip about relatives and I’m not even embarrassed about it.

But first – heed my advice.

If you have any kind of toys or equipment or nekkid photos of you and anyone else with or without the toys or equipment, keep them all in a box and enlist a trusted friend – give her a key – to burn it (without opening it) when you die. Make those arrangements right now.

Here’s the thing: Your kids, even if they are adults, do not want to see your toys. They do not want to see your equipment. They do not want to see your collection of vintage porn. They do not want to see photos of you naked. With equipment.

And yet.

And yet.

And yet.

When Mr T’s parents died, he got to see all of that.

In all of the mess of settling their estate – they made him executor but disinherited him, which was mean, so don’t do that. It’s OK to give all your money to your grandkids, but to give all your money to your grandkids and then still stick your child with all the work of not only closing the estate but also then being the trustee for the grandkids?

That is next-level assholery.

Don’t be those people.

So that wasn’t bad enough. But then, Mr T’s parents apparently either thought they would never die or shrugged their shoulders at the idea of Mr T finding and having to discard their – their stuff.

And we did find it.

No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to erase the image of my sister in law opening the nightstand and pulling out a – toy. She started laughing in shocked surprise, then wagged the – toy – around.

You could not have paid me a million dollars to touch that thing.

(Well yes I would have touched it for a million dollars but not for ten dollars.)

Mr T also found a strap on. And he found photos of his parents naked. With – you know.

Y’all! I am not a prude! Grown folks acting with full consent, do what you want to do!

But hear this:

Nobody in the entire world ever wants to see naked photos of his parents. Ever. Even the most twisted person does not want that.

Do it. Do it right now. Put the stuff in a box. Label it “Tax records 2003-07” so nobody gets curious. Put the box on a shelf in your closet. Call your best friend. Ask her to commit to getting rid of the box when you die. Buy her a drink the next time you see her. And know that you will not be inflicting distress on your kids.

On why I don’t want to wait to use my Nice Things

So many takeaways from COVID and one of them is that Life is Short

When my grandmother moved into the nursing home, she had a small stash of Nice Things. Some of them were gifts – fancy soaps and toiletries – that she returned to the giver, some were items that I guess she had had for a long time – nightgowns, tablecloths – that she was saving for a special occasion.

Instead of using the Good Soap, she used Irish Spring. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Irish Spring, but sometimes, it’s nice to use the Lavender with Goats’ Milk.)

Instead of using the Fancy Nightgowns, she slept in what she had.

I understand, I think. She grew up very poor and never did have much money. I mean, this was a woman who mended and re-used her pantyhose. She knew how to get along with what she had.

But even if what she had was nice, she wouldn’t use it. The time wasn’t right.

And then she got too old and had to move into a nursing home and never used the Nice Things at all.

Mr T and I have, in the course of our marriage, broken or damaged things, including the red ITALIAN bowls you see above.

OK – true confession – I did get them at TJMaxx, but that does not make me love them any less.

(Gorgeous AND a great deal!)

We have also chipped the beautiful pasta bowls my friends Dave and Laura got for me.

(Pro tip: Part of keeping your ceramics nice is not to get the Zojila dishrack. The slots are too small and your dishes will slip and chip and crack. I hate you, Zojila.)

I have found replacements for the damaged bowls on eBay.

No, they weren’t cheap. That is, they cost more than the original prices.

I don’t care. I like having nice things to use every day.

Yet Mr T’s attitude is that the new, undamaged items should live in the attic until the damaged items are completely unusable.

That is, we should use the damaged goods instead of the – the – the good goods.

(And yes, I have learned how to place items in the dishdrainer to prevent cracking. Basically, you can dry one bowl at a time because it has to sit completely upside down. Again – I hate you, Zojila.)

Mr T is concerned about damaging things through normal use.

It’s a lot easier to bake and cook when he’s out of the house, because if he’s here, he hovers and looms and worries about ALL THE DIRTY DISHES and WHAT IF I SPILL SOMETHING ON THE FLOOR and HEY THAT’S MESSY!

Although I find it hard to believe based on what I saw of his parents’ house – they did not really run a tight ship when it came to tidiness or cleanliness, I suspect he was beaten with a cat o’ nine tails when he deviated at all from absolute neatness when was a child.

(As in, shortly after we met, he vacuumed the pollen off some cut sunflowers so it wouldn’t fall on the table.)

(Yes I know this is very very weird.)

So you see what I’m up against.

And yet – I persisted.

And I prevailed.

And I have convinced Mr T that we will switch the damaged bowls for the good bowls and will happily, merrily (at least I will – Mr T will probably use them trepidatiously) use our Nice Things Before We Die.


The solution is so obvious

When a 6’6″, 250-lb man mansplains how I should deal with rude behavior

Mr T, my friend L, and I were at a music festival. It was all free to see a ton of amazing musicians, so we were grateful and didn’t want to complain about anything. How can you complain about great music delivered to you for nothing?

I admit I wasn’t happy about being in an enclosed space with unmasked people and on a warm day, at that, but then I realized I could solve the problem. At least, I could solve the problem of warm, stagnant air.

I opened the plastic walls.

Nobody stopped me and indeed, others joined me. Soon, we had airflow and it was much more comfortable.

But dealing with the Standers was a little more challenging.

For an hour – an entire hour, people drifted in front of us and stopped. They didn’t sit in the empty seats near us. They didn’t check to make sure they weren’t blocking anyone’s view.

They just walked until they hit a chokepoint and then they stopped.

Sometimes, they danced. I don’t want to harsh anyone’s mellow and I believe you should dance if the spirit so moves you, but what dancing does is make it impossible for me to adjust to your position. That is, even if I move a bit so I can now see the performer, you move as well and – there you go, blocking me again.

For the first hour, we just laughed about it. Every few minutes, a new person would step into the spot where he blocked our view. We rolled our eyes and laughed, but after an hour, it got to be a bit annoying.

That was when Mr T stomped in front of one of the standers to block the stander’s view. Mr T was going to Show Them!

He lasted 22 seconds.

Then he slunk back to his seat.

He couldn’t bear to be rude.

Which of course is one of the reasons I love him.

We had to resort to grand gestures to indicate our displeasure. We pointed to the empty seats. We laughed louder and rolled our eyes – well, rollier? In any case, it was probably clear to anyone paying attention that we recognized the situation and were not terribly happy about it.

As we got up to leave – our musician had finished, a huge man – maybe 6’6″ with big muscles – came over to me.

(Not to Mr T, but to me. Because it’s the Little Woman who needs telling, right?)

“Just let it go,” he advised. “And if you can’t, then just ask them to move.”

  1. Total stranger
  2. Giving me advice
  3. I had not asked for
  4. And would not work in this context

What even is the proper answer?

What I wanted to say:

  1. I’m supposed to ask every single person who has blocked my view over the past hour to move? Which means I would be asking someone every three minutes or so?
  2. Did I ask you for advice?
  3. What color is the sky in your world? The world where women’s requests of men are heeded immediately and never turn into bad situations?
  4. Did I ask you?
  5. I bet that works for you.
  6. Did I ask you?
  7. Did I ask you?
  8. Did I ask you?

What I did:

I adopted the strategy I used years ago when I was a clerk at Macy’s over Christmas.

I couldn’t use my current online strategy, which is not to argue or engage in any way with idiots, but the Macy’s strategy is close: Say anything to get them to go away.

“If you don’t like it,” he persisted, “you should just say something!”

“Of course you are right,” I said.

“Don’t just get mad! Just ask them!” he continued.

Because when women just ask men to do something, they do it! It always works! THANK YOU SIR!