Author: Amy Alkon

Pleased to meat you

I turned 38 last week, and through some introspection, realized I\’m unfulfilled. I thought a girls\’ night out might help. The last thing I wanted was attention from men. Of course, at the bar, I ended up getting hit on by a 50-something overweight man. Shortly after introducing himself, he told me I have a lovely figure and began guessing my height, weight, and measurements. (Including bra size!) Then he asked me my age! Outraged, I said my stats were none of his concern, and that if he\’s in the habit of treating women like sexual objects he should take his chauvinistic attitude elsewhere. Then I slapped his face, and told him it was on behalf of all the women who\’ve had to endure his offensive pickup lines. He walked sheepishly back to his laughing buddies. My friends gave me \”you go, girl\” high fives, but said I seemed a little on edge lately. If they\’re right, do you know some good techniques to find inner peace? — Venting Common sense is getting rarer every day. My neighborhood grocery store just started tagging cheese with the sticker \”CONTAINS: MILK.\” A Welsh regulatory agency said Smoked Welsh Dragon Sausages should be renamed so it\’s clear they\’re made of pork — not dragon. Surely your local pickup joint will soon post advisories on the door, like \”Contains drunks\” and \”To avoid...

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You get what you co-pay for

I\’ve been arguing a point with a male friend who\’s in a relationship with a very nice woman. His girlfriend got on the birth control patch because they wanted a more reliable method than condoms. She\’s just a student, and in their two years together, birth control has set her back $1,140 ($570 a year). She\’s been asking him to split the cost of the patch ($35/month) and her yearly checkup to renew it ($150), and he\’s balking. He feels that since she\’s the one using it, as opposed to him using condoms, he shouldn\’t have to help. If you say he should pay, he promises he will. What\’s the verdict? — The Mediator Yes, he correctly notes, \”she\’s the one using\” the birth control patch — mainly because slapping a medicated sticker with female hormones on his hairy back won\’t do much more than increase his bra size from 46AAA to 46B, and maybe make him lactate a little. So, who was the eighth-grade teacher who forgot to send your friend to summer school to repeat sex ed? Somebody should break the news to him that babies are made by a man and a woman having sexual intercourse, not dropped off by a giant cartoon stork. Maybe once he gets hip to the whole sperm-meets-egg/egg-inflates-into-baby thing, he\’ll come to understand that his girlfriend isn\’t wearing the patch as...

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Along came polyester

Five years ago, when I was 23, this guy had a crush on me. I was kind of attracted to him, but his crush was so obvious it made me uncomfortable. Also, he had the worst hair and clothes — shiny polyester op-art print shirts and Cosby sweaters. I ended up blowing off dates with him twice, and, unfortunately, my roommate told him to back off in an extremely cruel way. Since then, I\’ve run into him periodically, and he\’s always friendly. I\’ve come to realize he\’s one of the kindest people I know, plus he\’s smart and has the deadpan humor I prize. Also, he\’s suddenly well-dressed and looks hot. It just hit me: I totally want him. I e-mailed and asked if he wanted to hang out sometime. He never answered. I feel sad, guilty and confused. Do I not deserve his friendship after the jerky way I treated him? — My Bad Five years ago, you were probably smack in the middle of that charming stage common to people in their early 20s, \”If you like me, you\’re obviously a steaming pile of poo.\” If this guy hadn\’t made himself so easy to despise, with his disco dirty-old-man shirts and his tendency to spell out your name in drool, you would\’ve found some other reason, like the fact that he has ears. All you had to...

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She Mrs. The Point

Although I\’m a staunch feminist, I took my husband\’s last name. We regularly get mail to \”Mr. and Mrs. John Doe.\” Because of my long-standing hatred of this method of address (eliminating the woman\’s first name), we deliberately return-addressed our wedding invitations and subsequent holiday cards with \”Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Doe,\” hoping people would understand our preference. Yet, even friends and family who knew me prior to marriage are writing \”Mr. and Mrs. John Doe.\” Surely my own loved ones would consider me someone who still has a first name! My husband understands my plight, but postulates that if I\’m so bothered, I ought to inform the offenders. I do feel strongly about this (and all matters pertaining to a woman\’s right to her own identity), but I\’m an extreme introvert who\’d rather die than hurt people\’s feelings. Should I care less about what others think and tell them they\’re hurting me by perpetuating something I find reprehensible? — Blinding Rage Dear Mrs. John Doe, Enough about your blinding rage; let\’s talk about mine. Last weekend, my boyfriend and I were staying at a hotel. I called down to the front desk with a request. The front desk guy said, \”Certainly, Mrs. Sutter!\” Well, I\’m not \”Mrs. Sutter,\” and I have no intention of ever getting married. So … what was the proper response, lecturing him in...

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Here comes the doomed

My best friend of five years was the maid of honor at my wedding, and wants me to be hers, too. The problem is, whenever she isn’t with her fiance, she’s with another man. They go on dates, have sex, and send each other sappy text messages. He paid to name a star (in the sky!) after her for Christmas, and got her a $300 spa package. She says she cannot imagine her life without her fiance, then says the same thing about Guy B. When I tell her I can’t help her plan her wedding to Guy A while she’s telling me about being with this other man, she says I’m judging her, and abandoning her, and I’m just a “fair-weather friend.” — Tormented Like the bride-to-be, I’ve recently made the disappointing discovery that a number of people in my life seem to be “fair-weather friends.” Just last week, I was planning to rob the liquor store, and my so-called friend Jackie, after all I’ve done for her, refused to drive the getaway car. And the other night, I just didn’t have what it takes to drag the garbage bags of body parts into the backyard, then do all the digging. Wouldn’t you know it, I called Nancy, Hillary and Cathy, and surprise, surprise, everybody’s shovel was “in the shop.” Oh, sorry, was I confusing “friend” with “accomplice”?...

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  1. Spiritual Bodies: Photography by Carlton Wilkinson

    January 10 @ 8:00 am - February 29 @ 8:00 pm
  2. History Lecture Series: Accommodation and Resistance

    January 14 @ 7:00 pm - March 10 @ 7:00 pm
  3. Meleko Mokgosi: Acts of Resistance

    January 22 @ 10:00 am - April 9 @ 4:00 pm
  4. Of Ebony Embers: Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance

    February 24 @ 7:00 pm
  5. Ventura County Research Symposium: Sustainability Through Soil Health

    February 27 @ 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
  6. Post-Fire Food Safety Workshop

    February 27 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  7. Wildfire Recovery Community Healing Workshop

    February 28 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  8. Watercolor on Yupo Workshop

    February 29 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  9. Zlatomir Fung, Cellist with Janice Carissa, Pianist

    March 1 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  10. Dinner & Art Demonstration

    March 3 @ 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm