Pantene Pro-V for Women of Color…and Kaitlin

dandruffpanteneI use Pantene Pro-V  Relaxed & Natural for Women of Color Intensive Moisturizing Shampoo, mainly because it has an absurdly long name, and because I am without a doubt relaxed, natural, a woman and a color. It works fine for me, mostly likely because I am a qualified user, but I was extremely alarmed to find that my roommate Kaitlin had used my diva wash. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about sharind (let’s be real, I’ve had more than a couple of her Wheat Thin Flatbread crackers), but she obviously didn’t notice the warning on the back label:


Kaitlin is a great girl, and she made three out of four, which isn’t bad. She is a woman, strong and proud. She is certainly relaxed (she wasn’t even PO’d about the Wheat Thins), and she is definitely natural. I have rarely seen her wear make up, and I’m pretty sure she hasn’t gotten Botox yet. But, well, she’s white. On Saturday, she’s going to the Bruce Springsteen concert. That’s white.

So I was very confused when I woke up one morning to hear Jill Scott tunes flowing from our living room. I walked in to see Kaitlin, her hair in tiny, neat dreds, sporting a pair of skin-tight studded Baby Phat jeans.

“Ooo, this is my jam,” she said, rocking her neck, as “Golden” began to play. “Hey, girl. Ooo, you look too cute in that dress.”

“Thanks, girl,” I replied, unsure of what was happening.

“What are you doing tonight?” she asked. “My girl and her boo are going to a spoken word open mic in Harlem. You should come.”


“Oh, girl, I meant to tell you. I ran out of shampoo, so I-”

“No,” I said. “Don’t say it.” Then everything began to happen in slow motion. She stood up and began swinging her hips to the Jill Scott.


Good God, I thought. I can’t let her leave the house like this. She’ll be beaten immediately.

“Come on,” I said grabbing her hand and running to the bathroom. I rummaged through the shower, finding a variety of white people shampoos.

“Why didn’t you just use this?” I asked, picking up Becca’s Herbal Essences.

“I wanted to mix it up a little, you know,” she said. I threw her into the shower and grabbed the Herbal Essences and the Nexus, for reinforcement. “Be careful,” she said. “I’m tender-headed.” I used half a bottle of each on Kaitlin, until the dreds disappeared and her light brown waves returned.

Wiping the soap from her eyes, she shook her head. “What just happened?”

“Nothing,” I said, stroking her wet white people hair. “Nothing at all.”


Water Wary

I’ve come to the realization that I just don’t like being in water. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about hydration, and I even shower every once in a while. But being completely immersed in water is never as enjoyable as friends and movies make it seem like it should be.

Let’s begin with swimming. “Weeeeee, yaaaaay, summmmerrrr!” everyone says as soon as it’s 65 friggin degrees outside. “Let’s go swimming!” What fun. First of all, I don’t do oceans, lakes or any other natural bodies of water. The last time I went to the beach in the United States, I ended up nearly drowning in knee-deep water, while my top came undone and five year old children stood, watching me flounder in the mild waves. Count me out.

Pools are fairly atrocious (unless they are located at a private residence), considering the number of strange bodies that go in and out of them each day. Also, there are always kids at the pool, splashing around and committing all sorts of tomfoolery. That’s about the last thing I need when I’m trying to relax, or have fun, or whatever people claim to go to the pool for.

Another reason I don’t like swimming is that it just seems stupid unless you’re doing it for exercise. What, you think floating like a buoy in chlorinated, urine-filled water with your friends is a good time? See how much more fun you’ll all have if you’re on dry land. Seriously. It’s so much better. I can respect swimming as a form of exercise, but when I exercise, I like to sweat. When you swim, you get wet anyway, thus how do you prove you were exercising at all? I like to be congratulated each time I partake in fitness activities, and swimming is just too iffy. People could think that I just got in that stupid thing and stood, and how could I prove them wrong.

Don’t get me started on baths. I’m sorry, but stewing in a tub of my own filth does not seem relaxing (I am, more often than not, completely filthy). How’s about I take a shower, save 30 minutes and gallons of water? Really, even if it were not for my inexplicable grime, baths just seem terribly boring. Am I really just supposed to sit there and enjoy getting soggy and warm? Also, if I do happen to relax while in the tub, I have always been afraid that I will sink under the surface and drown. And I’m not going out like that, especially because I wouldn’t have even wanted to be taking a bath in the first place.

I believe with all of my heart and soul, that jacuzzis (or hot tubs, if there is a difference) are the foulest places on planet earth. They are a horrific combination of pools and bathtubs, and it just seems like nothing good could ever come of entering one. I mean, it’s warm, there are a bunch of other gross people, and there are bubbles. Oh god, the bubbles. Just boil me alive, why don’t ya? One might assume that because the hot tub is, well, hot, that the heinous germs floating around might be killed, but I choose to believe that new germs and diseases are formed within jacuzzis. If you have entered a hot tub within the past 30 days, get tested. You still have time to stop whatever you’ve got before it’s too late.

Most people are sad to see the end of summer, but I welcome the fall with open arms. I no longer have to pretend that I have something better to do when my friends invite me on  water-based excursions. And now, that you’ve all read this, I never will again. Sorry guys, I just prefer dry land. water

Double Trouble

This is for Kaitlin.

People like to tell me that, because my mother is a twin (she has a twin brother, as does her older sister. That’s right, two sets of twins in the family. Unaccepatable.), I will give birth to multiples. Although there is some merit to this obnoxious suggestion, I pray each day that I do not spurt out simultaneous look-a-likes. If, though, my world is ruined and my life goes all “John and Kate,” I have a few ground rules:

1. Do not give your twins (triplets, octies, what have you) matching names. It’s bad enough that those kids look exactly alike, but you want to furhter confuse people by naming them Jen and Jan? You’re a jerk. My mother’s name is Louise and her brother is Louis. I know. The only thing that makes this almost permissible is the fact that they are fairly hard to mix up, as they are of the opposite sex. But you can’t guarantee that your opposite sex twins will not be totally androginous, especially when they are babies (because who among hasn’t told a woman how cute her son is only to find out he is a Lucy?), so refrain from naming them Nick and Nicole (because eventually, she’ll be a Nicki, and our worlds will be turned upside down). If I have twins I am naming them Eugene and Sunny, regardless of gender.

2. Do not dress your twins alike. identical-twinsLike the name situation, this only makes it nearly impossible for anyone to know which is which. Then there is also the issue of money. Twins, triplettes, etc. are all basically the same person. They are generally about the same size, so why buy three purple short sets when you can buy one and have them rotate? If I were John and Kate (before the rainfall), those kids would have one outfit each, and every day a new one would wear it. Even the older ones.

My non-existent twins will never wear the same outfit at once, because they are individuals, and because I will forever be too poor to waste money on two silly outfits, and because I probably won’t be able to tell them apart until one begins to make regretable life choices.

Many people may think that when the kids are still babies, it is the optimum time to dress them alike, because they don’t care, but there are much more exciting things you can do at this time. I plan on dressing my baby like a professor, complete with a bowtie, suspenders, slacks, monacle and blazer with elbow patches. Perhaps you will see me out one day, pushing a stroller inside of which sleeps a dashiki clad infant. But you will never see me with Double Mint twins.

3. Don’t have twins. I mean really, it would just be the worst. Two kids whining at you all the time. One wants to go to Disney World, one wants to go to Busch Gardens, and you want to go to Universal Studios. Just a royal pain. And just think, what if one turns out to be really pretty and the other, you know, not so much? You don’t want to have to deal with the ugly one and her crying all the time. So annoying.

Just stick to one. I realize, that sometimes this is not an option, but my plan, if (God help me) I have multiples, is to have audtions immediately after the last birth. I’ll lay them in a row and say, “Show me fierce!” and whichever can be the fiercest (without crying of course. crying is an immediate disqualification) will be my chosen child. I’ll give the other (or others) away to a deserving mother. This will be better for both the child and me. Mostly me.

The Little Contralto

I constantly remember random activities I took part in as a child, such as acting classes at the JCC (Jewish Community Center. I know. We’ll talk about it later.) and swimming and gymnastics at the Y. Until recently, though, I had completely forgotten about my stint as a singer for the Spring Chorus Concert at Garrett Elementary. I think I was in second grade.

The chorus sang various memorable songs to which I remember all the words (if you ask me what happened in a movie I saw last week, I won’t be able to tell you, but these second grade song lyrics are crystal clear in my mind), but my shining moment came in a little tune called “Down to the Bone.” This is the first verse:

“When I was a baby/a little bitty baby/I learned my ABC’s./I learned about my numbers, and my colors and my letters/it came so easy to me./All I had to do was hear it in the music/all I had to do was sing it in a song/all I had to do was hear it in my mind/and then my heart beat (pause pause) followed along in my bones.”

That is what the other children sang. But I, no, I was special. I had the honor to sing the low point in the song, as at 7 years old, my voice was indistinguishable from that of James Earl Jones. So, while the other children sang their adorable song, I stood on the side, likely with the male gym teacher or something, singing at my lowest tone:

“Down, down, down, down, down, down to the bone,” over and over again. This, until the chorus.  The part in parenthesis is what I sang, along with the other man, while the normal children sang their part:

“(Down to the bone) My music makes me feel whole (it makes me whole), it really touches my soul (touches my soul), it getBarry_Whites me down to the bone (down to the bone).”

It was a mannish foray into the world of music, which could be why I didn’t last very long. Was I good? No. I was great. Josh Groban had nothing on me. But I knew that my butch pipes would only lead to a very sad and confusing VH1 Behing the Music, so I gracefully turned down the open invitation to sing in the chorus concert that following fall. Now I only sing in the shower, and I most often chose Barry White.