Episode 95: A Scammer's Scammer
Published June 2, 2017.
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Ann: Support for today's show comes from Squarespace.
Aminatou: Squarespace, thanks for keeping us laced in beautiful website!
Ann: Oh my gosh, yeah. So they make these templates with customizable features and you can just drag-and-drop. It's so intuitive. We make pretty much all of our CYG platforms using Squarespace.
Aminatou: And callyourgirlfriend.com looks amazing so check it out. You can start your free trial today at squarespace.com and enter code GIRLFRIEND to get 10% off your first purchase. What are you waiting for? Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.
Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.
Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.
Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. Love that pause. [Laughs]
Aminatou: You know, I don't know why. I always get this -- I get panicked saying my own name. And every time I imagine myself saying "Hello, I'm Ann Friedman," and our one-person meld has finally happened.
Ann: I can't wait. I can't wait to like -- I mean, listen, I'm flattered. We should just switch it up. You can totally identify as me for an episode.
Aminatou: I'm just trying to identify as you when I try to buy a house. [Laughter]
Ann: I'm not sure you should say that having not seen my bank account.
Aminatou: Don't worry, we'll make it work.
Ann: On this week's agenda, quick update about our new web shop and a reminder to buy tickets to our Philly show plus we talk gender differences in obituaries and the things that obituaries tend to miss about women, Joyce Wadler, our favorite New York Times columnist you've never heard of, cross-generational friendships, plus what's Hillary Clinton been up to? Samantha Irby on lattes and avocado toast, and Amanda Chantal Bacon, your scammer's favorite scammer. Plus shout out to Tucci and Goldblum fanfic in the kitchen.
Ann: What's going on?
Aminatou: I went to the coffee shop this morning and the guy was like "Oh, I haven't seen you in a week!" And I was like "That's because my wife was here."
Aminatou: I didn't have to get my own coffee for a week.
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: The transition back into doing my own stuff has been rough.
Ann: I mean not so much all of my own stuff but I made my own breakfast today and I was like wow. Like I had -- we had really divided the domestic labor perfectly in like one week. [Laughs]
Aminatou: I know, and then I made too many eggs. It was crazy today. I feel very stupid, like I just couldn't figure it out. I was like wow, one week of having a good partner and I forgot how to take care of myself.
Ann: I know. I know. It's real. But anyway . . .
Aminatou: And I really wish I could do a Borat impression. [Laughs]
Aminatou: That's all I've been thinking about. I'm not even going to try. Anyway, how's it going?
Ann: Oh my gosh, I've been so deep in it because we just launched our new summer merch run and . . .
Ann: I know. I know. And in our like -- I think we talked about this a little bit in our biz episode, but in our division of CYG labor, the shop is a little bit more in my zone with a lot of great help from Carlie Knowles (?) who, you know, really does the hard work of keeping things running. But anyway it is a very exciting day to be saying like you can actually go to callyourgirlfriend.com and buy such incredible stuff.
Aminatou: Oh my god, I could put my paws on everything. It was great. [Laughs] I love -- you know, it's like, you know, me and Gina are like "Ooh, here's what we want," and then you and Carlie make magic happen. That makes me very happy.
Ann: Okay, so I called Carlie for this episode because -- kind of as a follow-up to that biz episode, but also just because we love transparency in general. We talked about the ways that really a one-woman run shop, I mean I help a little but it's mostly her, the ways in which that works and doesn't work and kind of the ways we have changed and altered some of the policies to make it more realistic for a micro business like us.
Ann: Carlie, welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.
Carlie: Hey. How are you?
Ann: I am so happy to be talking to you on the front end of things because you are the essentially one-woman show who runs everything with our shop behind the scenes. How are you feeling about this summer merch run?
Carlie: I'm really excited. It's definitely my favorite run we've done so far and I think everyone will really love it.
Ann: So we are doing things a little bit differently both from how we've done them in the past and from how a lot of other online shopping works. And you can talk about the changes we've made this time, and why from a business perspective we made them.
Carlie: Yeah. So when we launched the shop last year we ordered pretty much all of our merchandise up front and sold it kind of as we went. And I think over the holidays people maybe weren't able to get their hands on everything they wanted to, so we kind of switched over to a preorder just to make sure that everybody who wanted their own Shine Theory button, that we had enough and were able to ship it out this time where everything is going to be preorder. That means that for three weeks everyone has an equal opportunity to order everything they want, cutting down on -- we don't have a warehouse to stock everything full-time either.
Carlie: So we can plan it. We have more control.
Ann: And I think that if you have people whose full-time job it is to fulfill and ship merch you don't need to set these kinds of rules, right? Because everyone's coming into work every day. And for you, you are a woman who hustles and you have other jobs. You don't only do this for us.
Carlie: I know. I have a full-time job and other hustles too so this is my after work and weekend gig so it's nice to be able to get a little balance and plan everything.
Ann: Right. So you can be in intense shipping mode for a while, then the rest of the time it's not like you have to take the time out of your day to ship like three buttons.
Carlie: Yeah. And I loved the way we did this now. I actually had a lot more time to plan and design and work with our designers to put together some really cool products.
Ann: Oh my god, okay, that's actually a perfect segue. Tell me about the designers who we've worked with for this merch run.
Carlie: So I think our designer we worked with was Lindsey Eith (?), friend of the podcast, and one of my besties. So it was really cool to get to work with her one-on-one here in Austin to come up with some really cool stuff. She put together the beach towel. We did a super cool office pack and she put together a bumper sticker too.
Ann: So she did a really good job, I think, of taking a lot of the original designs that another friend of the podcast Kanesha Sneed (?) made for us and adapting them. She did this incredible thing with we have this logo that's like two women in silhouettes talking, and to make the beach towel design she like turned it on its side and made it kind of this more abstract pattern. And it is the coolest thing.
Carlie: Yeah. We love, love, love the beach towel. If you haven't seen it yet it's like super lux and plush and just very cozy. And I tested it by the pool and it's very absorbent and dries quickly.
Ann: Yes! And it's funny, as soon as decided we were going to do merch, Amina's first request was like please can we have a beach towel? And so this is like a dream fulfilled.
Carlie: Yeah. I spent a lot of time researching beach towels and making sure we had the best one we could possibly get. So it's super lux and woven, not printed on the fabric. Just perfect.
Ann: Okay, so more behind-the-scenes. We've been referring to this tower, and PS, for preorder purposes we only got one that we can photograph. We've been referring to it as the most expensive towel in the world. Maybe you can explain a little bit about what that nickname comes from.
Carlie: Yeah, so before we order any merchandise that we put in the shop we always do production samples to make sure we're 100% happy. You know, we don't want to sell you something we don't love. So for the beach towel we had to order a one-off and it was extremely expensive just to have one towel made because they had to setup all their threads and weave it together, so we're not getting the price break we would get from ordering 100 towels. So definitely the most expensive towel but it was worth it. We love it.
Ann: Tell CYG fans how expensive the most expensive towel in the world was.
Carlie: Okay, it was $500 to have this one towel made.
Carlie: Taking a big risk. I was super nervous the whole time we were waiting for it to ship that it was just going to be awful and that we just threw away $500 but it was great.
Ann: It's great.
Carlie: Yeah, I was very relieved. I was relieved when you guys got it and loved it and sent me an unveiling video. [Laughs]
Ann: Yeah, maybe we'll have to post sometime our unboxing video. But the most expensive towel in the world is a real lesson for me anyway too of why some things look like they cost so much money, because essentially in order to pay upfront for that $500 towel we have to redistribute some of that cost back into the price of all the ones we sell. And so it's like, you know, we're selling it for $70 which I think is expensive but it's a really nice item. And part of that price is because we had to get -- basically because we were doing quality control.
Carlie: Yeah. And we hired somebody to design it too so that's all a part of it. So it's just a really nice, well thought-out, beautifully-designed towel. So definitely the best towel you can buy. And it's made in the USA if that's something that's important to you as a shopper.
Ann: It also says "See you on the Internet, boo" on the towel so it's perfect for Instagramming every time you're at the beach.
Carlie: Or at the pool.
Ann: Yes, or at the pool. Any other things that you want people to know other than that you work hard and you're one human being and this is why we did the preorder?
Carlie: As far as questions we've gotten or anything like that, we've had a few customers ask about the international shipping. So just to touch on that, I kind of fleshed out the shop policy section a little bit more if you're curious about why it is a little bit more expensive. And it's because the shipping method we use, everything has to ship as a package so we make sure you get it. So there's not much we can do about that unfortunately, but if you want to go read about why it's priced the way it is I added that in.
Carlie: And I would recommend maybe if you have a friend who's also interested in ordering some stuff from the shop, maybe you guys can split shipping. Because if you look at the different weight it pretty much starts at one price but you can order a few items and it stays the same price. So that would be my tip if you're trying to cut down on shipping costs.
Ann: Yeah. Oh my gosh, bottom line is stuff is expensive and stores are hard to run and we're just figuring it out as we go along and trying to make some cute stuff in the meantime.
Ann: Yeah, what is the URL for the shop? [Laughs]
Carlie: Oh, it's callyourgirlfriend.com/shop. Also be sure to read through the preorder information if you have any questions about when stuff's going to ship out. And some things, I think most importantly, it's going to have different ship dates like the towel is going to ship a little further out. So make sure if you want your other stuff shipped sooner to do separate orders.
Ann: I know, it sounds like a huge pain but this is what we're trying to do because we're not a full-time shop. It's a struggle.
Carlie: Yeah. I just want to make sure if you're trying to get it sooner, you know, just do separate orders and we'll send it out as soon as it's ready.
Ann: Okay. Thanks, Carlie. Oh, and while we have you here, what of your many other hustles do you want to plug? What's going on with you?
Carlie: I run a zine called Women Artists and we're going to start working on some fun t-shirts in our next issue soon, so that's what I'm working on after this. So if you want to follow us on Instagram that's really where we're the most active at women_artists.
Ann: Thanks, Carlie.
Carlie: Talk to you soon.
Aminatou: This is exciting. So limited edition, like we'll probably never . . . if you don't get it now you'll probably never get it again stuff. This is exciting.
Ann: I know. We're like really moving into a like we reward your loyalty to us zone. I think that's what this is. So for the next two weeks you can go to callyourgirlfriend.com/shop and get it before it's gone because it will be gone. Trust me. We get those late-breaking emails like "Hey, can I get a sweatshirt?" It's like no, it's July. You can't get a sweatshirt.
Aminatou: And shout out to Cat Alaho (?) who took all of the photos for this merch.
Ann: Oh, yes, the best. We had the best time in our photoshoot with Cat so look for those photos on social slowly, surely, a trickle. Also if you want to be the first to get these updates about everything that's going on with merch world for us, but everything else like live shows too, you should sign up to The Bleed, our email newsletter. You can find that on our website too. We never plug it here but we send a great email once a month so we should, right?
Aminatou: I know. And also the people who respond to The Bleed, I'm just like wow, you really -- you get it. It's awesome. And speaking of live events we're still coming to Philly July 16th. Definitely on track to sell out that show, so tell all your friends and see you July 16th at the Trocadero.
Ann: Oh yeah. I can't wait.
Aminatou: Oh man, Ann, I was in Philly this weekend though. Oh my god, like Philly is cute. It's so tough going to visit cities that I like because I'm like oh, I could definitely live here, and I'm like calm down. You just put shelves on your wall. You're not allowed to look at living anywhere else. But Philly was so, so, so fun.
Ann: You're saying you have a wandering eye for cities?
Aminatou: I definitely do. I went to visit friends that are kind of newly-moved there and they showed us around. It was just super, super, super like chill. And on Sunday we went to the Colored Girls Museum and I believe it's only open on Sundays and honestly . . . like I still haven't fully processed what it was like being in a museum that spoke directly to me. It's run out of this wonderful woman's house called Vashti Dubois. She's a legend, like an iconic woman, everything. And the story about why she started the museum and kind of her life and how entrenched she is in Philly everything was really amazing. It's just remarkable to go into a museum that it's somebody's house. It's like all day I've been looking for a hostess gift for her because I'm really feeling she let us into her house, talking about all of the ways that colored women are. And she is super-conscious about using the word colored for talking about this before anybody comes for me and is like "That's a bad word." It's like please, check yourself.
Yeah, and all of the ways that the colored girl is ordinary and extraordinary, and I will not do it justice, but if you live in Philly or you're passing through Philly make time to go to the Colored Girls Museum. It will change your life.
Ann: I also just love -- there is something about a really well-done kind of personal passion project museum like this. You know, a lot of cities have them and they are very much not on the beaten path, like a not in the guidebooks kind of thing. And I love that you've already sourced the must-see for me when I'm in Philly.
Aminatou: Yeah, seriously. Between this and the fact that all of our Philly listeners have sent us great cocktail bar recommendations I think we're set for July. I'm very excited to go visit again.
Ann: Ugh, yes.
Ann: A couple episodes ago we were talking about men in rompers and you were like trying to remember the name of your favorite Bond who is not an iconic Bond in a romper but a different iconic bond.
Ann: And we couldn't remember Roger Moore.
Aminatou: I mean, yeah, I don't think it was a remember situation; it was just a member. Like I don't know which one of these you are. [Laughs] You know, like handsome, old white guys. I'm just like oh, you know, definitely in the bottom of the spank bank but I don't know your name.
Ann: But then, plot twist . . .
Aminatou: Plot twist, it was Sir Roger Moore. I'm making up that he was sirred ever. [Laughs] But he like died.
Ann: I know, and so a friend of the podcast texted Gina, right? And was like "Oh my gosh, I hope that they never forget my name because it's basically a death sentence." And I was like wow, deep superstition. Anyway, Roger Moore, sorry we forgot your name.
Aminatou: I know. RIP, Roger Moore. Thank you for your legacy. Also, cold blooded Call Your Girlfriend sometimes.
Ann: But also this is funny because we have been wanting to talk a long time about our shared passion for reading obituaries. Like I would say that in the links we send each other, a high percentage are obituaries of women who have done incredible things who we have somehow never heard of.
Aminatou: Yes, because it's insane that -- it's like if you follow the obituary . . . you know, the obituary industrial complex, you're going to just come across amazing rad ladies who kind of don't get talked about until they die. And that infuriates me. But also, you know, I think it's also our shared passion of we just like hearing about what women who are older than us are up to. You know, it's like an obituary well-done, it's like a celebration of life and other ways are just these infuriating ways that women still get written out of history. Like what was the obituary, do you remember, when it was like this woman who was a super STEM amazing scientist, and the first thing that her obituary was about was how she was really good at making goulash or something? I wanted to scream.
Ann: Oh my gosh, yeah. There is -- there's actually a study about this. So some academics looked at 869 obituaries, death notices, and memorials, and looked at the way men versus women are compared. I mean I'm going to let you guess. I'm sure you can make many guesses about what the differences were, like men get described by their careers and professional achievements.
Aminatou: And women always get described by their family accomplishments. Yeah, I was talking about the Yvonne Brill obituary in the Times. Like she was an actual rocket scientist. You know, there are very few of those in existence. And her obituary was all about how she made great beef stroganoff.
Ann: Yeah. I mean the other thing that this study found is that when you look at the photos that company obituaries for men versus women the discrepancy between the actual age or the age at death and the estimated picture age was significantly greater for women as opposed to men.
Ann: So basically -- you know, and this is something that's bothered me a lot, actually, especially when you think about writers or people . . . women who are sort of known for their intellectual pursuits but then are kind of like meme-famous, you know? Like the way all the photos of Joan Didion are her outside that Corvette at age 28 as opposed to now even though a lot of the work that's being discussed now is the work from later in her life.
Aminatou: Yeah, but it's like that's when she was, you know, easy on the eyes as the people would say.
Ann: Exactly. And I'm like even women who we all acknowledge are easy on the brain, or rather hard on the brain in a good way . . .
Aminatou: I know. I'm like give me my women hard on the brain. [Laughs]
Ann: Yeah, so anyway, and it's a thing I catch myself doing too, right? Like oh, a really fashionable old Gloria Steinem photo as opposed to a new one or a recent one. Stuff like that.
Aminatou: Yeah, or like an old DVF photo. I feel like there's that one we're all obsessed with when she's in her pink office or whatever. And, you know, I think that that cuts both ways, right? I think that one of the reasons that I love those photos is just like a reminder that, you know -- I'm sometimes like oh, everybody was young. There's nothing remarkable about being a young person. You're just a fool if you think that's it. But I feel like it gives you the fuller picture. But I definitely agree with you about how we choose to memorialize people and what we choose to remember them by, especially in the looks department. Like for women it can be very limiting and insulting.
Ann: Yeah. And then also, I mean, I get a daily morning New York Times email that always features three obituaries at the bottom. And you better believe I'm paying attention to how many of those obituaries are for white men and how many of those obituaries are for everybody else.
Ann: It's also just like who gets memorialized, you know?
Aminatou: It's crazy. I just watched this HBO documentary If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, which is actually delightful because it's all about people who are like 80s -- 70s, 80s, 90s, but it's all about the secret to living into your 90s and people who are really happy. Tony Bennett's in the film, like Mel Brooks, Dan Harper, Norman Lear, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White. But again it's just like -- and I fucking loved it, but I was like wow, are you trying to tell me that only old white men lived to be 90 and happy about it? [Laughs] You know, like that was just . . . that was the super depressing part of it. Like I'm like this documentary is exhilarating and great and not enough representation.
Ann: Yeah. Totally also a continuation of our conversation last week about the fact that even if some of these people who make these choice about who to make movies about and who to feature in articles, even if those people aren't interested in the lives of older women, we definitely are. And a lot of people definitely are.
Aminatou: Yeah. You know, but also I think that so much -- you know, so much of it is like . . . like that is one place that writing about women can be revolutionary. I feel like I've learned so much about the history of women or feminism from reading obituaries in just like things that I had no idea of. Like there was a woman who got married, didn't change her name, and basically went to try to vote and they had taken her off the voter rolls. And she challenged that all the way to the Supreme Court, and that's how come women get to keep their names if they want now.
Aminatou: And I read that in a Baltimore paper obituary.
Ann: Or more recently what got us talking about this before we were recording is this obituary for Roxcy Bolton who was a feminist activist who did a bunch of things to support the Equal Rights Amendment but also to get the National Hurricane Center to stop naming hurricanes extremely after women.
Aminatou: What did she call them? [Laughs] Wasn't it like himcanes or something?
Ann: I'm looking for it right now.
Aminatou: It was pretty amazing.
Ann: She gave a quote at the time that women "deeply resent being arbitrarily associated with disaster." It's like yes.
Aminatou: [Laughs] True story. Just like a true, true story. It's like both great and infuriating to read obituaries about women. In one sense I'm like oh, everything I know about so many women who do amazing shit is from here but also here's how they're reduced to being moms and homemakers. And to be clear there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but clearly it's like men get to live full lives outside of the home and women who do amazing stuff are still defined by primarily what they're doing in the home even when they're rocket scientists.
Ann: Yeah. It's also a real barometer. Like obituaries and what ends up up top is a real barometer for what society sees as important and what isn't. So even in this Roxcy Bolton obit which is super interesting the hurricane thing makes it into the headline and the photo and the lead, and until you read much further down -- like I'm talking at least halfway through the article, two-thirds maybe even -- it says she founded what has been called the nation's first rape treatment center in Miami.
Ann: It's like hello? I get it, the hurricane thing is interesting, but you have to scroll this far into the article to be like she was actually a pioneer in serving this completely stigmatized and underserved population that is still underserved and stigmatized. It's like I wonder why it appears two-thirds of the way down instead of right up top. It's a real sign of what we still have to work on.
Aminatou: It is making me really sad that this is what is going on.
Ann: Yeah. I mean, although like the more you know the closer you read. I wonder like how those choices have changed over time, right? As opposed to -- I don't have any data to support this, but I'm sure it is more likely for women to be described by professional achievements first and foremost than it was years and years ago, or even make it to the obit section at all just as values change about what is important work within and outside the home.
Aminatou: Yeah. And also when you think about -- you know how when a celebrity dies, you're like oh my god, how did the Times get on this so fast? Clearly there are people who just write obituaries for people who are in the moment all the time. Wow, that sounds like a really depressing job. But, you know, I wonder how those people are thinking about their jobs changing on the slate of here are people who should be memorialized fast enough, like are they taking all of that into consideration in their workflows? And that's a thing that we'll never really have an idea on but it would make me feel better to know that that was happening.
Ann: Yeah. So I don't know. I mean I'm like obituary activism, a real line of work there. [Laughs]
Aminatou: Yeah. But, you know, always be vigilant, you know what I mean?
Ann: No, totally.
Aminatou: Now that I enjoy reading obituaries -- wow, another morbid situation -- I pay more attention to that stuff.
Ann: I'm always thinking about ideas for things that I don't actually have the time to follow through on, but what if someone did some kind of women's media project that was like let me find these obituaries from the time and rewrite them in a way that is worthy of the lives that these women lived? Or to do some research that has totally gone below the radar about who these people were. Like I would pay for that publication. I'd like sign me up to write obituaries. Yeah.
Aminatou: Freeideas.biz. We will generate the idea if somebody will execute on it.
Ann: Seriously, we will support you on this podcast if you give me better obituaries about women. I'm there.
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Aminatou: Go to thirdlove.com/girlfriend for now to find your perfect-fitting bra and try it on for 30 days. You know what to do, thirdlove.com/girlfriend. Support for today's show comes from Squarespace!
Ann: Oh my gosh, the new CYG shop is 100% made possible by Squarespace which has all of this great commerce functionality where we can upload photos of our stuff. Carlie and I can both go in there and edit the descriptions, and all of the checkout stuff is so easy and intuitive.
Aminatou: Honestly if you have a website idea or you need to make a personal website or whatever, there is literally zero excuses for why you don't own that website, like you don't have it, because Squarespace just makes it so easy. It's so easy, simple, and intuitive.
Ann: Oh my god, Squarespace also makes it easy to level up. Like I said, we didn't do commerce at the beginning; we just wanted to showcase our episodes. And now that we are doing sales we didn't have to move URLs. Everything is there and ready for us even though no one who is working on that website has software engineering experience or anything deep like that.
Aminatou: Yeah. You don't need any technology bones in your body. Just do it. There's no excuse. Stop being lazy. Make your next move and start a free trial at squarespace.com today. You can enter code GIRLFRIEND to get 10% off your first purchase. Again that's GIRLFRIEND.
Ann: Use it, get a website. And also Gina get a website. [Laughs]
Aminatou: I know, Gina, ginadelvac.com. Get on it.
Aminatou: Apart from the obituary one thing that we both enjoy, a very special category of links that we send to each other, is Joyce Wadler's column in the New York Times.
Ann: Who is Joyce Wadler for people who have not heard of her? [Laughs]
Aminatou: Oh my god, who is Joyce Wadler? The name of my novel. Joyce Wadler is a columnist of the Times who is a delightful lady who is in her late 60s. She's a writer and humorist. Her column now is all about the joys, trials, and tribulations of being an older lady. But she's like hilarious, one. I feel like Joyce Wadler does not get enough credit for how funny she is. And everything she writes about is so current and I have those issues. [Laughs] Like I relate to this. It's so real. It's like my favorite thing to read every time she writes.
Ann: Yeah. And it's like every two weeks or so I think?
Ann: Like it's not super regular.
Aminatou: I know, that's why it's like it's an event every time she writes.
Aminatou: I think she's had breast cancer and ovarian cancer definitely, and she just writes about the full -- you know, like the full spectrum of being a cancer survivor, being an older lady who is seeing men and having sex, and how do you get rid of your sex toys? All of these very . . . yeah, just very fresh and current thoughts. I don't know. I really enjoy reading her column.
Ann: Totally. And I just like the idea too, like she writes a lot about her mother who is in her late 80s and the experience of caring for a parent which I think is one of those caregiving experiences that, in terms of how common it is, it's like way underdiscussed. And it's done in this way where it's just totally integrated with other things that are happening in life. Not like oh, this is a column about caring for an aging parent. It's not. It's just like a holistic view of what her life looks like at this age, which she's not perfect. I'm not sure she passes -- and here's what's funny about her: she doesn't pass woke Internet politics barometer, you know what I mean? Like it's very funny. There's also like a generational thing going on where she challenges me to be like okay, what are you really saying here versus are you using the right signaling words about certain issues?
Aminatou: Yeah. But that's also kind of what I like about it, you know?
Ann: Exactly, yeah.
Aminatou: She is unapologetically herself. You know, columns are really hard for me. I'm just like everybody should only do it for a year then we should retire you because having a take every week is just like ugh, like hard. Every time I read her I'm so happy. Also I wish she would tweet more. Joyce Wadler, if you hear this, this is my only exhortation to you is tweet more because her Twitter bio is hilarious. "New York Times humor columnist. Does not want to see pictures of your grandchildren ever." [Laughs]
Ann: I mean . . .
Aminatou: She's just like real. I think that's what I like about her the most.
Ann: So anyway, the column is called I Was Misinformed. It's in the Times style section and on the Internet. We'll link it in the show notes.
Aminatou: Yeah. And also there's a really good Observer story about her that has really juicy, great details. We'll link to it in the show notes.
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: The public life of Joyce Wadler.
Ann: I can't wait. I don't -- have I seen that? I don't remember.
Aminatou: I don't know, but it's like amazing. "Later Ms. Wadler got confused, pointing to a dark-skinned Indian woman and thinking she was Salman Rushdie's wife, Padma Lakshmi. Told that it wasn't, the Times woman was unperturbed. She has mulled wearing a button to such events that reads 'Who the fuck are you and why should I care?' This is my life at these things. I stumble through." She like doesn't give a shit. I love her.
Ann: Ugh, yes. So yeah, call us. We want to be friends, Joyce.
Aminatou: Okay, yes. Call us, Joyce. We'll have coffee. I think the last time I ever read somebody calling someone zaftig it was definitely she was the one that wrote that and I was like are we still doing this? [Laughs]
Ann: Yeah. Like that experience, though, of "Oh, this is not Internet okay." Not like modern feminist okay, but like in context I see where you're going with this.
Aminatou: Totally. You know, everybody makes sense in context.
Ann: Wow. I'll never forget the item that you most wanted at one point in time, a pair of Velour sweats that say context on the butt.
Ann: I think about that all the time. Whenever I read an article and I'm like "Oh, this just provides the best context, or they totally missed the context," I seriously just picture a butt that says context on it because of your wish list.
Aminatou: Context. Just like walking -- like waddling away with context on my butt. I like can't wait.
Aminatou: Well, you know, this is another good segue into another article that we read last week, I guess, that we really enjoyed in the New York Magazine about -- yeah, it's like the headline is when your best friend is younger than your daughter, and it's all about cross-generational friendships which we've talked about a lot but never . . . yeah, we don't talk enough about that. Because I think we've both said that our favorite kind of mail to receive for CYG is when somebody writes us and they go "Hi, I'm not your target audience, or I'm older than you gals," or whatever, and it's always a little bit apologetic. And I'm like no, you're the only people I'm pandering to.
Ann: [Laughs] Yeah.
Aminatou: It makes me so happy, you know? I don't know, that we have a small and mighty audience that listens to us that they're more seasoned than us.
Ann: Yeah. And I don't know that I -- this article sort of says obviously cross-generational relationships aren't new but it kind of makes this argument that friendships borne of common interests as opposed to friendships borne of geographic proximity or sharing a workspace are more common now because of the Internet. And I'm like you know, I don't know. It also really pushed me to think about I don't really have a great roster of cross-generational friends in my life. I have a few but I could be doing better on this front.
Aminatou: Totally. I feel confident in my decade-plus, ten plus my age, I feel like I have a solid roster there. 20-plus, I have a few. 30-plus, I'm really shopping around. [Laughs] This is also -- I'm going to use this for like I want new friends.
Ann: Seeing older people as in play for friendship, you know, is being like "Oh, I can ask this person to brunch or coffee or whatever and we can be friends." It's like part of the battle.
Aminatou: I know. And I feel like that's really the thing that I struggle with/need to shake off, being open to the fact that they're open to being friends with me. Yeah, and all of my fucking weirdness. [Laughs] But in general, yeah, all I want is I want more friends.
Ann: I have also had some like -- I'm thinking about a networky type thing I went to a few years ago where I was one of a few women who were under the age of 40, like most women there were 40 and above. And it was a weird point of conversation where several women in the course of the night made a comment about how young I was, and that made me not want to be -- I was sort of like I was here as a peer because I thought we all had a common interest and you made it about our difference in what I perceived then to be a negative way as opposed to being like what do we have in common in a real way? So I'm not saying it's all their fault that I don't have an older friend, but there's also all these messages that we should be in competition across gender lines or they should be in competition with younger women, you know? And I think there's also that that you have to get over.
Aminatou: Yeah. I think you're absolutely right, especially when the entry point to meeting is some sort of professional thing, right? Like it's that. But yeah, it's also kind of made me think about all the ways that -- you know that you kind of need to be open to having friends who are in different places in life? Like now I'm like oh, some of my friends have kids, so when I have an activity they should be kid-friendly. It's interesting how I like to think of myself as somebody who is generally down for anything, then I see all the ways I will tend to limit how and when people hang out with me. And I'm like oh, this is also an exercise in letting go and reimagining the way that you make yourself available. Does that make sense?
Ann: Yeah, totally. Yeah, I get that. And you're right it's like the same skill set that works for trying to make more friends of generational difference works for trying to make friends of other types of differences too.
Aminatou: Yeah. You know, this is one thing I wish somebody had an app for. I see all these friendship apps and I'm like "Yeah, yeah, I don't need help with this." But a cross-generational friendship app I would be so down for.
Ann: And it's like thinking about how that doesn't just default into a quest for one-way mentorship, but like both parties are like "Yeah, we're here because we want to be friends in a really real way." I think that would be great too. I can see someone building that app, in other words, as it's a find a mentor app. And I'm like no, I don't want that. I want a co-equal two-way friendship.
Aminatou: Exactly. Yeah. I hear you on like I want a two-way co-equal friendship but in some ways I'm like god, I have nothing to offer. [Laughs]
Ann: Oh my god, that's so wrong.
Aminatou: I'm just being vulnerable here.
Ann: You have so much to offer! Honestly, anyone of any age would be lucky to call you a friend. Doh.
Aminatou: Hey, thanks Ann!
Aminatou: You know, it's something I want to work more on. You know, like all of the different things that you learn in friendship and all of the ways you should diversify your friend group. Like, my god, you can learn so much about being a good human being by being friends with people who are older than you and vice versa.
Ann: Yeah. Well, and also what we were just talking about in terms of learning in a personal way like parts of history that have been lost to the public narrative through obits. It's like hello? You can also learn that through a direct personal friendship with someone who is very much alive and several decades older than you, you know what I mean?
Aminatou: Yeah. And also I feel like there's so many of these kinds of movies or narratives of the older man taking the younger man under his wing and then they learn things and then they get memorialized in history in these amazing kinds of ways. You know, like friend, apprentice, lover, model, or whatever. And we don't really have that. We don't have that, and it's crazy that we don't have that because there's actually a rich feminist tradition of women doing this. It doesn't get romanticized in the same way that male relationships tend to.
Ann: Right. Well then also like you just mentioning -- even like saying feminist in this context, like how the public narrative about generations within feminism is always one of opposition. You know, about how this wave is a negative response to that wave and the terminology used by this generation is totally at odds with that generation as opposed to sort of being like "What is the thru-line? What is in common here?" Yeah.
Aminatou: Yeah. Because, you know, I feel like we know this for a fact. Like feminists like Gloria Steinem have really taken a lot of younger women under their wing and done everything from having them live with them and being lifelong friends and -- basically like modeling that kind of relationship. Yeah, it's like in some ways it's expected and not as . . . yeah, it's not as public of a narrative which is crazy.
Aminatou: Ann, what else are you reading on the Internet?
Ann: Okay. First and foremost, BFF of the podcast Rebecca Traister has a new feature about what's Hillary been up to is how I could summarize it, but also a little bit of a holistic look back at what are the kind of current narratives about what went wrong? And what's going on with the people who are actually behind the campaign, and how are they picking up the pieces? I don't know. It was like wide-ranging and really interesting and made me think about my own feelings about the election and about Hillary in new ways. I definitely cried while I read it.
Aminatou: Yeah, definitely cried while I read it and also I feel like a solid fourth of the reaction that I saw on my own Internet timeline was people going "Where was this Hillary all along?" [Laughs] And I love that her speechwriter tweeted back and somebody was like "Same old shitty team. It's still us. We're here. You guys just were not paying attention." So I feel like that was a moment of levity for me. But, yeah, I thought it was a really, really good -- I felt like every feeling that you're supposed to feel reading this, and then the kind of "Where do we go next from here?" kind of thing. It was also good just to hear her in her own words and still being energized and all of the stuff that she cares about and see from other stuff that we're reading about her how she's throwing her weight behind some of these PACs that are raising money to get new female leadership and all of that stuff. If Hillary's not in the pit of depression, I'm okay not being in a pit of depression about the election anymore, like onwards. It felt good.
Ann: Yes. Okay, what else are you reading?
Aminatou: I was dying at this Sunday Review thing in the Times which it made me laugh so much I read it twice. Samantha Irby's -- she's actually written two things in the New York Times in a week, almost like she's a columnist there now, not really, but it was like an excerpt from her book If Every Day is a Rainy Day, What Am I Saving For?
Aminatou: And it's basically like every one of her insane, you know, some people would say mistakes, I would say how I also live my life . . . and so she's just like really funny and great. Her book We Are Never Meeting in Real Life is out today, so get that. And I don't know, there's something so refreshing about somebody who's honest about here's every way I fuck up my money, and how many lipsticks is too many lipsticks. It's like just talking about that stuff in really honest ways and just being real, and I feel like she does it on every topic that she touches. And also you'll be literally doubled over dying. That made me really happy.
Ann: What is so smart about this column too is it's stealthily about systemic wealth disparities. Like even though it's a very fun, kind of lighthearted thing about how she spends her money and where she goes wrong, it's also a master class in like why all of the advice about how to plan for the future and how to think about your money is geared towards people who -- with the assumption that they will have a lot of money someday, or who come from a background of financial stability. So it's actually a pretty powerful corrective to bigger narratives than just like I spent too much money on a cocktail. I love it.
Aminatou: Right. And it's like when you start reading those dumb things about the reason millennials don't have houses is because they're buying avocado toast, you're like actually, bitch, I could just give up avocado toast for ten years' worth of Lent and still not be able to afford a house, you know? Yeah, it just like pushes back against these you are an idiot and you're selfish if you're out here buying lattes instead of owning property. It's like no, no, there are bigger forces at play here.
Ann: Totally. Speaking of expensive lattes I also read the Times Magazine profile of Amanda Chantal Bacon. Did you read this?
Aminatou: Oh, of course I read it.
Ann: [Laughs] Well, it hits this spot for me of being -- I think we've maybe talked about this before, of the ways that I'm like "Oh my god, I rejected the traditional religion of my parents. Don't make me try to believe in crystals now." That is a real button for me. So she fits into this narrative that I fully acknowledge I'm ready to hate. I'm primed by personal experience.
Aminatou: I mean, yes, and to be perfectly clear this woman is like a class A scam artist. Let's just put that on the table.
Aminatou: She's an actual scam artist. Like it's nuts.
Ann: And, you know, there is a part of me too that I'm like in the hierarchy of scammers it's like scammers who scam other rich ladies are not the worst kind of scammer.
Aminatou: Yeah, I'm like really okay with this. I'm like I've definitely had the $21 smoothie, and guess what? I knew exactly what I was getting into. Half of the people who make fun of people like her are the same people who buy into that scam.
Ann: Or how many crystals do you have at home? And like, yeah, totally.
Aminatou: Yeah. You know? I'm just like I'm sorry, you have all the individual ingredients of this juice in your pantry. How does this make you different? Yes, for sure I'm all about equal opportunity scamming but there is just something about the ways that we talk about these kinds of women and minimize them. I don't know, it's also kind of -- like writing about them is almost kind of the blueprint for how you become one of these scammers, you know? Yeah, it's like why we don't write about disordered eating, like giving people specific instructions, right? You're not like "Here's the ways I was eating weirdly," or "How many exact pounds I lost," or whatever, because of contagion situations. But in this too, I don't know. Maybe I'm being completely ludicrous but it just didn't sit right with me and I can't quite put my finger on what it was that made me feel uncomfortable about it.
Ann: Yeah, I don't know. I mean . . .
Aminatou: But she's a scammer and I'm not going to die on the hill of defensing a scammer. Sorry. Them's just the breaks, girl.
Aminatou: You did the scam so you've got to pay the time.
Ann: We'll put this profile into our critical reading 101 list of like okay, let's go through this. I mean that is an interesting thing to think about, though, of like okay, if this article was written about a man or if this article appeared in a different kind of publication, like thinking about the ways in which it would change as a way of being a critical reader. And I think in that front you were 100% in the right direction even if we can agree she's our scammers' favorite scammer.
Aminatou: And wellness consumerism is its own kind of just scam in general, you know? But it's interesting to me that it's like we're always critical of the Gwyneth's and Amanda Chantal Bacon or whatever her name is, the Tim Ferrises and Tony Robbinses. People are critical of them but in a different way.
Ann: Yeah, yeah. Totally.
Aminatou: And these guys all exist on one spectrum as far as I'm concerned.
Ann: 100% yeah. Like where is the winking take-down of the Four Hour Work Week? I've yet to read that. Maybe it exists but I have yet to read it.
Aminatou: [Laughs] Yeah. It's just -- I was at a brunch recently where this one woman would not shut up about toxins. And then I just played dumb and I was like "Can you explain to me what toxins are, actually?" And surprise, surprise, the girl just like clammed up. [Laughs] I was like you were out here pushing all this junk science on our friends and you don't even have a one-line explanation for what this shit is? This is crazy!
Ann: Can I tell you about where this dovetails with my fears about the collapse of a functioning government that's also happening? So right now we rely on the FDA to help us tell the difference between a scam and a health product. What happens when the FDA is fully defunded/disempowered and we're all out here on our own? It's like everyone is . . .
Aminatou: You're going to be going to a moon juice hospital. [Laughs]
Ann: Listen, oh my god, please, like Moon Juice ER? Do not check me in.
Aminatou: Oh my god, they're like here's some maca powder for your vagina. Good luck. It's going to be crazy.
Ann: I can't. Anyway, but that's where it gets real with this political moment too where I'm like oh my god, like . . .
Aminatou: I know. You know, and I feel this is also something that you've challenged me on because usually I am very much like ugh, I don't want to hear any of these. Like people just start talking about like home remedy and witches and whatever and I literally just shut down. I'm like I did not leave Africa to die at the hands of a white witch. That's not going to happen.
Aminatou: But at the same time, you know, it's like I think about the ways women are built to distrust the medical establishment in general and ways that that's really focused us over and ways we're like yeah, probably you should have a modicum of knowing how your body works or whatever. And so, you know, it's a delicate balance. But by all means moon juice does not factor into this. But ladies who drink moon juice probably one day could save your life. Like who knows?
Ann: I mean honestly I think you just hit on something really important which is that yes, a lot of this stuff is scammy, but it also exists within the bigger scam of women having had their personal experiences not validated by the health establishment, by the federal government not really paying great attention to what is good science and what is healthy for women or for anyone. You know, there's a bigger systemic scam that this other scam fits within.
Aminatou: Everything is a scam!
Ann: Yeah. Yeah. And that's why.
Aminatou: The medical establishment is a big scam too, like please.
Ann: Oh my god, I can't even . . .
Aminatou: I pay for my own health insurance now, so I can tell you all about medical scams. My god.
Ann: I mean if you take off your tinfoil hat and reshape it you can drink a turmeric latte out of it.
Aminatou: [Laughs] Listen, Ann, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory.
Aminatou: I'm going to leave you with two very beautiful Internet things. You know how on this podcast we've talked about Stanly Tucci's cookbook situation?
Ann: Yes, of course.
Aminatou: Somebody has combined those photos with Jeff Goldblum is also -- they're like beautiful photos of him making pizza, so they're all what the screenplay of that would be.
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: And it's really good. One suggestion is like divorced husbands who find each other through cooking for each other again. But also like, you know, it's like Stanly Tucci is a patient teacher and compliments your first/poor attempt at handcrafting an artisanal pizza. Fantastic, he says. [Laughs] My other favorite photo that's floating around the Internet right now is an official portrait of Justin "the scammer" Trudeau and Mrs. Trudeau -- I think Sophie is her name -- where they're in a very sexy kind of embrace, like it looks amazing. But also you're like this can't be your fucking official portrait for prime minister of Canada shit. So it's like they're so beautiful it looks like a still from a Netflix movie about a Canadian prime minister. Like I'm like you don't even look real in your portrait. This is crazy.
Ann: It's true. We've also gotten a real influx of email lately and tweets about how we were ahead of the curve on Justin the scammer and I just want to take a minute to feel good about that.
Aminatou: [Laughs] Listen, we can spot a scammer like miles ahead. It's amazing. All of this to say the Internet gives and the Internet takes, but this week it gave good content.
Ann: It gaveth.
Aminatou: It gaveth. You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, download it anywhere you listen to your favorite podcast, or on Apple Podcasts where we would love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us at @callyrgf or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Facebook -- look that up yourself -- or on Instagram at callyrgf. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. Our theme song is by Robyn. All other music you heard today was composed by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs and this podcast is produced by the beautiful Gina Delvac. I'll see you on the Internet, boo-boo.
Ann: See you on the Internet.