Rate My JIL: Deja Vu Edition

I’m writing this while sitting ALONE at a coffee shop like some sort of…person without a kid. Usually when my (SAINTED) babysitter takes the kid out of the house, I revel in the silence and make myself a (FREE) coffee and get the fuck to work, but today I wanted to celebrate finishing (part of) a new writing project. What is this project, you ask? Well, as a wise person once said, “I’M GONNA KEEP YOU IN SUSPENSE.” (Ugh. Note to future self, reading back on this in ten years: That was a reference to Donald Trump, who ran for President of the United States, and got to stand up on a stage with an actual qualified candidate for that office and get treated like some sort of equal three goddamned times in a row, and when asked if he would follow in the tradition of literally every Presidential loser before him and accept what is very nearly sure to be a decisive defeat in the upcoming election, he responded that he’d WAIT AND FUCKING SEE.)

Anyway, while you’re in suspense, you are of course always, always, always more than welcome to pre-order my book, Schadenfreude, A Love Story, from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-A-Million, IndieBound or iTunes, and it will dutifully show up on the device of your choice (or, if you are made of money, in your mailbox) on its rapidly-encroaching release date of Feb. 7.*

And now, a digression. Every few months, we get a catalog in the mail for a men’s big-and-tall retailer, called KING SIZE. The reason we get this is because, despite his average size, my husband has huge-ass clown feet, and once ordered some shoes from somewhere, and thereby got on the big-and-tall mailing list. I used to think this was pretty funny.

Well, turnabout is fair play. As we all know, because I’ve talked about it incessantly, since becoming a mother, I have teetered between a size 10 (an upper-limit “straight” size) and 12, which is also technically a “straight” size in most stores, but is ALSO the bottom size for many plus-sized retailers, such as Lane Bryant or Torrid. Now, I am a firm believer that beauty comes in ALL shapes and sizes, including mine (also I am halfway through Jen Weiner’s memoir and she has basically charmingly screamed at me through the pages to accept my goddamned body already, and I am here for it), and I am also a fan of many Lane Bryant styles, especially the collection by my ProjRun idol and general human specimen of perfection, Christian Siriano. Torrid, though it also has some cute stuff, is a LITTLE “young” for me now. A LITTLE. This I readily admit.

But what garbage frump-nightmare of a size-12 garment did I have to order online to get on the mailing list for a purveyor called Woman Within? WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Woman within WHAT?

Yes, I readily admit to wearing PajamaJeans outside the house in the first six months of my daughter’s existence, and I readily admit to still wearing PajamaJeans as pajamas, because they are spectacular pajamas. But this should not condemn me to a lifetime of paging through suicidally depressing images of young, straight-sized models incongruously wearing massive sheet-shaped fleece sweatshirts and high-rise elastic-waist, light wash jeans, smiling through their agony, replaying the last conversation they had with their mothers back home, the one where they said, I’m a MODEL, Momma! I’m finally a model!

Is this just something that happens to all women over a size 10 when they turn 40? Like, the universe puts them on the GREAT UNFUCKABLES list and that automatically connects them to the Woman Within? Listen up, UNIVERSE. I’m 40, I’m a size 12 (or 10 when I suck in!!! #fitnessplan), and I’m a mom, and my relative fuckability is NONE OF YOUR GODDAMNED BUSINESS.

(Oh hey, here’s a recent photo of me, in all of my unfuckable plus-sized glory. Yep, that’s a big fat grey streak in my hair. #unfuckable)



KK. I’m gonna sip this green tea chai latte and rate some jobs. I might be, according to catalog mailers, on the brink of death, but at least I don’t have to apply for any of these.

UC Santa Barbara. Pro: You will get to work with (and likely refer students who are bad writers to) my very best and dearest friend, Amy Boutell. Con: NAGJ. This is a job in “German/French Media Studies,” and it is actually about fifteen jobs in one. “The successful candidate will ideally teach Media Studies in both the German and French programs, as well as in the Comparative Literature program, including large humanities courses on European literary culture, smaller courses for the German and French Majors, and graduate seminars. The ability to conduct courses at all levels in German and/or French and English is required.” Just remember, adjuncts and NTT friends: Your TT peers might look like they’re sitting pretty, but they’re actually doing about five people’s jobs for one people’s money.

Chicago. Lecturer in Yiddish. NAFGJ.

US Air Force Academy. This is a non-tenure-track job that re-evaluates (and usually rehires) every four years. Your students will be punctual and attentive AF, and their posture will be impeccable. Is it a bit creepy to yell German at a bunch of people dressed in military garb? Maybe. Who cares? Colorado has legal weed.


*I will try to keep the Book Plugs few and far between until January. Then, all bets are off, but I will try to keep THOSE Book Plugs as inoffensive as possible, until February. Then, all bets are REALLY off.


13 thoughts on “Rate My JIL: Deja Vu Edition

  1. While Colorado has legal weed, my understanding is that federal employees in states with legal weed cannot (get caught) using, owning, being associated with, having in their abode, etc. So the legal weed thing at the Air Force Academy probably isn’t so easy.


  2. Rebecca, FWIW, I and many other men (and probably more than a few women) find you fuckable. In fact, highly fuckable. So, keep on keepin’ on!


  3. Out of morbid curiosity I clicked on the Woman Within link and it was just like you said. But I did it in incognito mode because I also seem to inexplicably get on a lot of fat-frump mailing lists. Somehow I think those fuckers will find me anyway.


  4. I can’t attest to fuckability or frumpiness (well, maybe the latter: I am, if not proudly, then at least comfortably, frumpy, as well as gray-haired and fat), but I can promise that it is possible to receive, and on occasion order from, the Woman Within catalog for several decades without keeling over. I do agree that the models are ridiculously unrepresentative of the customer population, and thus supremely unhelpful, and the clothes aren’t all that well made, either (not to mention that they’re almost certainly made under horrific conditions). I mostly buy them to wear around the house. Other retailers do a much better job of showing plus-size clothes on actual plus-size models (and I’m *not* talking size 12 — more like in the 20s, where a number of us manage to semi-comfortably exist, and would even more comfortably exist if it were easier to buy clothes that both fit and are well-designed for our shapes).

    Jen Weiner sounds like good reading. So is anything from the Health at Every Size community (starting with the interestingly-named Linda Bacon’s book by that title).

    And your observation on the UC Santa Barbara job is astute. The expectations of tenure-track jobs are getting more and more unreasonable, even as they remain the comparatively “good” jobs.


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