A parent, yes, but not only that

November 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Every once in a while, life throws at you a moment that shifts your perspective as if someone has bumped your viewfinder, leaving you scrambling to refocus. These moments, by definition, happen when you least expect them. I had one while sitting in my hairdresser’s chair.

I was making conversation, as one does, with this woman who’d been cutting my hair for a few years, and she started rattling off the reasons she loved the location of her Brooklyn storefront shop. “I get all sorts of different kinds of customers,” she said. “Artists, writers, dancers, actresses, lawyers, businesswomen …”

When I replay this part in my mind, as I often do, I always pause for a split-second to prepare for what I was unprepared for at the time.

“… moms.” …

Don’t Call Me a Mom (Newsweek/Daily Beast)

No more Ms. Nice Guy

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Being a jerk paysFor years, I tried to be a very nice person at work—a dream colleague, a team player, the sort of woman who gave women a good name in the workplace. I thanked people. I apologized. I expressed concern. I took responsibility for making things right, even when I wasn’t the one who had made them go wrong. Then one day I looked up from my under-challenging, midlevel job and noticed that my boss, who was generally regarded as kind of a jerk, but a smart and talented one, never, ever thanked people. He never apologized. And he didn’t appear to give a rip about what was going on in the lives of anyone around him. He never took responsibility when things went wrong, preferring instead to label someone else the culprit and chew them out.

It suddenly occurred to me: he had gained responsibility, power and a big, cushy salary not despite the fact that he was a jerk, but because of it …

Why Being a Jerk at Work Pays (Newsweek/Daily Beast)

It’s a man’s list after all

November 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

They probably saw it coming.

Publishers Weekly is catching some flak for its list of the 10 best books of 2009, all of which were written by men. “We wanted the list to reflect what we thought were the top 10 books of the year with no other consideration,” explains the magazine’s reviews director, Louisa Ermelino, introducing the list, which includes Blake Bailey’s Cheever: A Life, Dan Chaon’s Await Your Reply and Neil Sheehan’s A Fiery Peace in a Cold War, among other man-made works. The magazine deliberately ignored gender, she writes, but allows, “It disturbed us when we were done that our list was all male.” …

In the Margin: The Manly Art of List-Making (The Barnes & Noble Review)

Finding the silver lining

February 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

A few weeks ago, I got laid off. After my bosses delivered the blow – plunging economy, budget cuts, blah, blah, blah – I walked up to the Miró exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, which I’d never have had the time to see if I were still employed. Taking in the paintings, I felt weirdly . . . euphoric. Working so hard during the flush times had left my soul parched, and now light and color were quenching it like a tub of La Mer (which I never could afford, anyway). Leaving the museum, I damn near flung my hat into the air like Mary Tyler Moore …

An Upside to the Downturn (Marie Claire)

Racy dolls, little hotties?

April 1, 2007 § Leave a comment

For years, the makers of Barbie caught flack for her sexed-up shape; in real life, her measurements would be about 38-19-33. But now My Scene Barbies and Bratz—more bustalicious and hoochie than those old-school dolls—are being marketed to six-year-olds (since their 2001 debut, 125 million Bratz have been sold). Similarly disconcerting: Several years ago, Abercrombie & Fitch sold preteen-size thongs with messages like Eye Candy and Wink, wink. And last fall, tesco.com came under fire for a new toy offering: a pole-dancing kit (now sold solely as a “fitness” item) …

Let’s Stop Teaching Preschoolers to be Sexy (Glamour)

Is parenthood right for everyone?

May 7, 2003 § Leave a comment

I just got off the phone with a customer service representative at my credit card company. I called to dispute a charge — the hospital where I birthed a baby boy seven weeks ago made a billing mistake — and the next thing I knew I was having an extended conversation about labor and delivery with the stranger on the other end of the line …

Mama Don’t Preach: Thoughts on Respecting Parenthood Decisions (American Baby/MSN.com)

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