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Binders, depression, Guest Posts

The Napkin Thief

March 31, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Ruth Deming

I’m not much of a thief. But to console myself during the five sad years of my marriage to the lately deceased Mike Deming, who gave me two beautiful children, I began to pilfer little things.  Can’t rightly remember if he ever knew of this. Probably not since we had a bad habit of not speaking.

Born in Texas, Mike took a job up in Ossining, New York, home of “Sing Sing” Prison. We lived on the top of a two-story furnished dump, with a lumpy bed where we forgot how to make love. He worked as a counselor at a bad boy’s school, founded by Eleanor Roosevelt, while I worked as a secretary at aryknoll Missioners, founded by Jesus Christ. I was the only Jew on the premises.

It was like working in a castle, an old castle in Scotland, with its stone walls and ringing footsteps when you walked down the corridors. Father Meehan was my boss, a dour thick-jowled man who would come into the secretary’s pool and say, “Take a letter, Mrs. Deming.”

But my favorite was Father Morgan O’Hara, who looked like Richard Burton, but instead of being a drunk, he had manic-depression. When his psychosis hit, you’d find him out in the parking lot jotting down license plate numbers. He was trying to solve the mystery of the universe, the great pastime of all successful manic-depressives, myself included. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Pregnancy

Red-Handed: On Shoplifting and Infertility.

October 17, 2014


By Jennifer Maher.

Resolve, The National Infertility Association of America, lists a variety of emotional and physical symptoms in response to not getting pregnant when you want to get pregnant. They include but are not limited to:

  • Lack of energy (especially when you have an unsuccessful cycle, on medical appointment days, or when you will see a pregnant friend);
  • Headaches
  • Irritability (snapping at people or making mountains out of molehills)
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme sadness
  • Inability to concentrate

Shoplifting is nowhere on this list.

Yet in the nearly three years it took me to conceive, along with over $22,000 in home-refinancing and credit card debt, I also acquired the following:

  • One black large-ring pullback belt with double buckle
  • A boxy caramel suede jacket with fringe on the front pockets and hem
  • Decadent Fig, Orchid Surrender, and Cheating Heart lipstick (Estee Lauder)
  • Two bottles of 2006 Chalone Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • The complete boxed set of My So-Called-Life

Much like infertility, shoplifting requires a certain kind of seat-of-your-pants creativity. Some seasoned lifters, for instance, line empty bags with aluminum foil to get past the door sensors; others rig bags with springs or wear enormous coats with hand-sewn secret pockets inside. Whatever the method of concealment, though, recreational shoplifting has long been considered an archetypal feminine vice, an impulsive pilfering of the phallus and the mirror image of castration anxiety. Secreting a skin cream in the feminine folds of your purse couldn’t be more obvious in this respect. Or imagine a necklace up your coat-sleeve, its laminated price tag held fast like a nascent IUD. Think about the fact that just this year in a South Carolina outlet mall, they arrested a woman with over $1700 dollars’ worth of stolen clothes in an empty infant car seat. Continue Reading…