Lifestyle

Dear vaccine opponents: I wonder whether the reason so many young parents are refusing to vaccinate their children is that they themselves have never had measles, mumps, chickenpox, or rubella — especially measles. They were born so long after these vaccines were developed and widely used that they have no idea what it feels like to be sick with these diseases or to watch a child suffer their ravages. These “usual childhood illnesses,” as we used to call them in medicine, are no longer usual. To some young parents of today they are an abstraction. Let me tell you what it’s like to have measles. I came down with measles when I was about 10 years old, in the mid-1950s. I had never been as sick before then, and have never been so sick since. I was sent home from school one morning with...
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To the lady on my left, Well, this is awkward. I don't know if you've realised, but I can actually see into your kitchen from my kitchen. Unfortunately, that 5'9" fence installed between our houses is not tall enough to keep my 5'11" self from making eye contact with you as we do our washing up - what feels like together - most evenings. If you hadn't noticed, this may be a something you would like to take into consideration next time you decide to have wonderfully adventurous sexual relations whilst perched on top of your gas cooker. Last time I honestly felt like we'd made quite strong and uncomfortable eye contact. I remember because I was cleaning a particularly vicious stain from my stewing pot, and you were... well, you know what you were doing. I've gotta be honest, that's...
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Dear World, I was only three when I felt different from other girls. I played with the toys and wore the clothes of a girl, but I felt…weird. Uncomfortable. Alienated. The first time I got to choose my own toy, I picked out a hot wheels set from a white elephant sale. Mom yelled at me, so I started playing with polly pockets instead. I still felt like that was wrong. I developed depression, anxiety, felt isolated even among my closest friends, I started self harming and having suicidal thoughts. It wasn’t until I started experimenting with drag at age 16 that I began to feel more in my place. I came out as bigender at age 19. I still felt depressed and I managed to get myself to stop cutting, but the urges wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t until I came out as female to male transgender that...
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Dear People Who Write Open Letters to Their Exes, Yesterday on Jezebel, we learned that writing an open letter to your ex/ex's new partner is a universally bad idea. My preference is to institute a requirement for these you writers: before any open letter gets published and/or commented on, you MUST give the truthful reason for the break up. There's something highly suspicious and ironic when a writer (and I'm using that term OH SO loosely) such as Anthony D'Ambrosio bloviates and over-shares about how awesome his ex was, how much he misses her, how beautiful and irreplaceable she is, and HOW FUCKING HAPPY AND AT PEACE HE IS RIGHT NOW without her, but gets coy when asked the reason the break up occurred in the first place. (I'm intentionally not linking to the original letters so as...
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When I wrote about E. F. Benson’s very funny but also rather nasty Mapp and Lucia, I speculated that one reason I didn’t love it is that “I like my social comedy served up with a hint of conscience, or even of pathos.” “Give me Nancy Mitford any day,” wrote Min in the comments — and that reminded me that Mitford is another writer I keep meaning to read. So I asked for and got The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate for Christmas (thanks, D...
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Dear Porn Industry, I never watch porn. Or rather, before this week, I had never watched porn. I’m not sure why I chose this week to change that habit but my boyfriend was busy, I guess I got a bit curious, and everyone does it, right? I wasn’t looking for anything too “hardcore” or unusual. But in a way, this makes what I found even more shocking – I used a simple Google search and what I found was degrading, disrespectful, and outright damaging. I am not going to disclose how many sexual encounters I have had but I will say that when I was seventeen, I had my first “boyfriend”. We fooled around, as hormone-fuelled teenagers do – nothing too frisky, mind: just hands. And he came. As boys do. And he came over my stomach. And I thought, ‘that makes sense, he doesn’t want to get...
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I’m sorry you didn’t get the chance to be born and carry on the family line. You might have been funny and warm like your potential dad, Bob, or ditzy and slightly neurotic like your potential mum, Sharon, but we’ll never know. You see, I never felt particularly broody. Other women would drool over babies, but although I agreed they were cute I didn’t feel that I must have one. Whenever I held someone else’s baby they always cried, as if sensing they were being cradled by a novice. Now it’s too late. I am entering the perimenopause, you see. My child-bearing years are nearly at an end and Bob and I are too set in our ways now. Even if I decided to try to beat my biological clock and gave birth to you in nine months time, in September 2015, by the time you were 20 I would be 69. I’m...
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Dear Acquaintances, If you find you are listed below, please reconsider your grasping, clasping inclinations. Friend of a friend that I’ve met only once and now encounter at another party One conversation about the weather and an old movie we both saw doesn’t mean we are on a hugging basis. Or that we know each other. Or that I like you. You know what? I lied to you. I don’t like rainy days. They are depressing. And I hated that movie. Julia Robert’s teeth are too big and she reminds me of a horse. And once a horse bit me. No shit. Right on the shoulder. That sucker just stretched his big head right out of the stall and chomped on down. So big teeth are freaky, and I hate all of Julia Robert’s movies. And what I mean by that story is keep your grubby mitts off of me. Coworker...
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So you think that sexually active gay men should not be able to donate blood? Yet, when I went to donate, with a tattoo from almost a year ago, you told me that I would have to wait until it was a full year and then I’d be fine. What? You need to get one thing clear- STRAIGHT PEOPLE CARRY STDs AND STIs AS MUCH AS HOMOSEXUALS! I still can’t believe that the people in charge of regulating food and drugs don’t know this simple fact! If they do, it just makes it seem like you’re trying to play God and kill people by not having a significant supply of blood. Then again, if you were trying to play God, nothing in the past of the FDA would lead me to be surprised. If someone has HIV or AIDS, it’s detectable in the blood sample the take from your finger before you donate. it could be...
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Dear People Who Fear/Reject Feminism, Why are we afraid of being labeled as Feminist if we believe in gender equality? Can we please get past labeling and get to the point. It’s quite simple; you are a Feminist if you believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. You are also a Feminist if you acknowledge that there is social inequality based on gender, and that this benefits one gender more than the other, but also understand that this inequality causes social, political, and economic implications for both genders. It is important to remind you of what Feminism really is, because studies show that individuals will not identify as Feminists until after they are reminded of the definition. The weight of the term is so heavy that the association of Feminism comes...
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