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Hey Ladies! and the Shudder of Recognition
August 14, 2014 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Ok, this may be the most important email I send all year, so PLEASE RESPOND RIGHT AWAY. We need to figure out our summer weekend plans ASAP!!!! We’re closing in on our mid-twenties and I think this is gonna be the summer we all meet our potential first husbands, so location is EVERYTHING!!! Plus Sex and the City. Let’s take a vote! Creeping psychological horror, hilarious satire, or terribly accurate glimpse into the emails of a group of passive aggressive group of "friends" in their mid-late twenties? The Hey Ladies saga by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss at The Toast chronicles the adventures of a group of friends who live in New York via their group emails as they plan various outings and events. posted by yasaman (140 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was really hoping these stories would devolve into Cthulhu stalking and then eating each person. Just because I while I know it's a parody, I was getting this weird frantic, desperate insanity bubbling up the longer I read.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 7:33 PM on August 14 [15 favorites]


These are uncannily accurate. And I so wish I wasn't able to say that. Thankfully it's not my typical habitat, but...xoxo from the heart of bachelorette weekend season.
posted by sallybrown at 7:42 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]


These feel chillingly familiar.
posted by liquorice at 7:46 PM on August 14


help my skin crawled all the way off
posted by elizardbits at 7:48 PM on August 14 [50 favorites]


I was hoping that most recent email chain would result in them murdering Brad and hiding his body out at Jen's parents cabin. MAKE IT HAPPEN.
posted by liquorice at 7:54 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I read two and felt ill.
posted by kenko at 7:54 PM on August 14


LOL this is great!!!!!! but can we just agree Ali is the worst (jk lol)
posted by likeatoaster at 8:03 PM on August 14 [20 favorites]


you stop that
posted by elizardbits at 8:06 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


I was so relieved when other people in The Toast comments (and here) commented that Hey Ladies installments make them bizarrely anxious. Like, I think they're hilarious, but I also find them totally horrifying and kind of anxiety-inducing.

But anxiety aside, I will love this series forever for the perfect gem of vicious passive aggression that is this comment from Nicole on the subject of Ali's breakup in the New Year's Eve installment:

Al – are you okay? I am so sorry to hear about you and Mike. I mean, let’s be honest, when you met him we all kind of were like, sure Ali, another UVA Lax bro with khakis and an overwhelming amount of Patagonia in his closet, what else is new (but really), but Mike really seemed different!! He was so patient with you

Anyway, I would totally read a whole book's worth of these, but only if they descend into full on psychological thriller territory, as Ali and Nicole become entrenched in psychological then actual warfare over the course of various email chains. The series is ongoing, so there's hope yet!
posted by yasaman at 8:13 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Gracie! Be free.

I fucking love The Toast with all my heart.
posted by sonmi at 8:14 PM on August 14 [13 favorites]


I am sad that Gracie didn't snap and slaughter them all.
posted by elizardbits at 8:16 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


I'm just so happy Gracie got out.
posted by protocoach at 8:17 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


I can't make it through. It was girls like these (the caricatures are slight IMO) that made me want to renounce my gender, and possibly, my species, for most of my teen years. At the time, I assumed they were just shallow and stupid and vicious and did my best to avoid getting in their sights.

But then at my last job there was a woman who acted like this with her "girls" and had the rich husband and all, but, was actually really smart but just good at acting dumb, and thus simmering with rage underneath all the time. She and I, when no one was looking, could have normal conversations. I got her sarcastic jokes that went over her friends' heads. But that was as far as she would let it go; the minute anyone else was around, she snapped back into her role. It was kind of terrifying to behold. It made me wonder about the rest of them.

These are the ideal women, the women who do what they are told a woman should do, who marry men with money and boring jobs, have two maybe three kids and a giant house, and diet and obsess over their bodies and money and status, and inside, they are like walking volcanoes full of misery and rage.

Some people find them hilarious, but not me.
posted by emjaybee at 8:22 PM on August 14 [70 favorites]


Cute!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:25 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


"I’m so sorry you are going through this babe. But if you got divorced, it might be fun because then you can only date other divorced guys cause no other guys will want you, and who doesn’t wanna be a stepmom LOL! Let me know what you wanna do! I have apps for all of this!! Love, Ali"

the Shudder of Recognition indeed!
posted by hush at 8:35 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


In real life, this degenerates into that Delta Gamma sorority letter from a couple of months back, rather than actual murder like we all wish.
posted by axiom at 8:36 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


These are uncannily accurate.

Just reading one is enough to invoke Post Murray Hill Traumatic Stress Disorder.
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


They seem like really interesting people.
posted by goethean at 9:03 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Sometimes I am reminded that there is a whole species of humanity that I am completely unfamiliar with.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:07 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


I really want to take Nicole, cut up all her credit cards, move her to Queens, and find her some friends that go out for $5 beers. Girl, you're in danger.
posted by lunasol at 9:07 PM on August 14 [12 favorites]


I kinda like Katie, but Ali is the worst.
posted by oddman at 9:09 PM on August 14


I feel deeply lucky to be distant enough from this sort of thing to only find comedy and not the opening of thought-to-be/healed mental scars in it. Kind of like The Office in that sense.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:21 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Wow, I can hear people I know talking like this, that syrupy and false greeting that is a "Hey ladies!" or a "Hey hon!" This is the New York version of "bless your heart" wrought over years. Yikes.
posted by sockermom at 9:42 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I'm positive that when these ladies grow up they find themselves married to the governor of Texas, or if not the First Lady of Texas themselves then part of her entourage.
posted by barchan at 9:59 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I adore The Toast, its the first time I've consistently seen the kind of women's humor for women that we all enjoy in real life but out there for everyone to see in an unwatered down format. It feels so shocking and subversive to see it out there on the internet with no disclaimers about being nice or not being mean.

It's like sitting around with my Mom and her bridge friends.
posted by fshgrl at 10:00 PM on August 14 [27 favorites]


Is it just me, or did these remind anyone else of those booklets passed out in grade school "sex ed" where a group of girls corresponded over who had/had not achieved the Miracle of Womanhood one summer? It was ultimately a not-very-subtle ad for Kotex (or some other feminine hygiene product brand), but the tone of the letters was like a tween, desexualized version of these, at least in my memory.
posted by Superplin at 10:38 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I found the satire spot-on and a good indicator of why I don't make friends with people who act this way. I also wanted to fist-bump Gracie and get Nicole the hell out of there. I would have enjoyed it more had The Toast not decided to run American Apparel ads in the sidebar. The fact that they flick back and forth between two equally soft-porn pictures makes it hard to ignore them. Come for the satire, stay for the crotch-shot...
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 10:42 PM on August 14


Could everyone in this thread paypal me $4500 by EOB?
posted by Literaryhero at 12:15 AM on August 15 [20 favorites]


Jen's divorce email was almost word for word list of complaints my ex wife made against me. The only difference, I was the one doing the dishes.

What's a mixture of depression, relief, and elation called?
posted by The Power Nap at 12:32 AM on August 15


Obama.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:52 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


yasaman: Like, I think they're hilarious, but I also find them totally horrifying and kind of anxiety-inducing.

I had exactly the same reaction to watching Freaks & Geeks. This sits in some kind of uncanny valley where it's realer than real life. Is there a term for that?
posted by dr_dank at 4:27 AM on August 15 [7 favorites]


i'm a woman. do woman write like this? granted, I am a strange woman. but I mean it's like reading about a pile of dog vomit. Help.
posted by angrycat at 6:05 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


I'm positive that when these ladies grow up they find themselves married to the governor of Texas, or if not the First Lady of Texas themselves then part of her entourage.

Oh no, these girls are amateurs compared to the women who climb the social jungle gym to "heights" like that. A well-trained Park Cities girl would cut Ali to shreds with one look.
posted by sallybrown at 6:07 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I dated someone like this. A couple of weekends with her friends staring into the abyss...never again.
posted by wuwei at 6:41 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Gracie's escape was epic.
posted by Yowser at 6:42 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


This new year will be my Pony dance.
posted by xingcat at 6:45 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Renting furniture for a book club. This is hilarious.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:50 AM on August 15


You know why I have way more male friends than I do female ones?

This.

I've always been this way. When I was about 26 I went with my then-boyfriend to a party at his friend's house, and at some point the room split into two gender-segregated camps - the women were all in one corner with someone who'd just learned she was pregnant, and they were making a list of the maternity clothes she still had to get. The men were all in the other corner, laughing like loons over the staged photos they'd taken of themselves during a guys'-weekend trip to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I was sitting over with the guys.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:50 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


If you’re still upset, then let’s deal with this directly on facebook message.
xx Nicole

posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:58 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Oh these are hilarious-- the deep dives and COB. So glad my friends are not anything like these ladies.

Seems there's a charlotte.smith857@gmail.com that is copied on everything and never responds. Slow fade success?
posted by travertina at 7:22 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Seems there's a charlotte.smith857@gmail.com that is copied on everything and never responds. Slow fade success?


Same goes for "Caitlin", I think. Also enjoyed the fact that all of these were going to Gracie's work email, poor thing.
posted by damayanti at 7:33 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I like to think the people not responding are the people posting them to the site.
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


This was hilarious. South Portugal = SoPu

This one literally made me L.O.L.:


For plane tickets – I haven’t done any research, but here are some links to “travel websites” – http://www.expedia.com
Also – for hotels we should look into http://www.hotels.com – I heard they have some good deals!
YAY THIS IS GONNA BE SO FUNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!
ps – We better brush up on our Spanish for Portugal!!!!!!!



And Charlottte - cmon everyone has that friend that never replies to emails but then suddenly shows up at the event.


but but but

Am I feeling oversensitive today, but wasn't it also kind of demeaning to women? That whole internalized mysogyny bit. I'm having a hard time putting it into words. "This is what women are, ha ha men are better."

It's like when I read the novel Gone Girl - I could NOT put it down, while at the same time feeling like the author deeply resented being a woman. It was delicious and uncomfortable at the same time.

Or maybe it's just 'overthinking it Friday' for me.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:40 AM on August 15 [15 favorites]


....Good point, St. Peepsburg.

No, seriously, you're making me rethink my earlier comment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:43 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


Only started, and "literally so excited about Jen’s bachelorette weekend!!" has me giggling.

(also: disliking, even intensely disliking, certain kinds of stereotyped gendered behavior does not mean one has to actually dislike all members of a gender, or even all kinds of stereotyped gendered behavior. get annoyed every time a humor piece uses a woman as the butt of a joke, and you're pushing women out of humor writing)
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:46 AM on August 15 [9 favorites]


For anyone who really really loves this but wishes there were a book where Gracie gets center stage -- Meg Cabot wrote a series of three adult books that are written in emails. The second book especially (Boy Meets Girl) has a character who is dead on for one of these "ladies."

On the misogyny front: I think the internalized misogyny is in assuming that all or most women are like this. I certainly know SOME women who are like this (either all the time, or just with a certain group of friends). I don't think there's anything misogynist about representing SOME women as rather like this.

I do think it's crazy misogynist to think that ALL or even MOST women are like this, but that particular reading is on the reader, not on the writers.
posted by pie ninja at 7:48 AM on August 15 [13 favorites]


Am I feeling oversensitive today, but wasn't it also kind of demeaning to women?

I spend my entire social life with women-- for some reason my social circle includes more Jewish lesbian librarians than one would expect, given their representation in the general population, and my one close male friend is in Galway-- and I know not a single woman who acts or talks like this. Some of the verbal/written tropes are just very internetty, and the high-pitched enthusiasm during planning of escapades is familiar (except when I've encountered it, it's been genuine, because the people planning are in different countries/states/provinces and we're arranging a meetup), but otherwise? These are the girls who I avoided in high school, looked on with bewilderment in University, and know no examples of in my adult life.

I still read through all of these last night marvelling. And then I dreamt about them too.
posted by jokeefe at 7:51 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]




Ha ha. I had some roomates that were like this, though a ski resort version. I tried to hang with them. I just couldn't do it. I'm am just spectacularly bad at the girly, girl thang and I just didn't care about the same stuff.

We parted on decent terms after I stunned them one night while we were walking to the bar. We passed a hotel as we were talking guys and saw several really nice and expensive cars parked in the check in zone.

This sparked a conversation about the type of cars they were, how amazing they were, how expensive they were and I wonder who owns them. Wouldn't it be great if we met a guy who owns something like this.

Then there is me standing quietly and looking bored. Bored turned to impatience and I think I wandered a few steps away and started looking at a tree or something.

"Jalli, did you see these cars?"

"Uh yah."

"Aren't they amazing and so expensive blah blah. It's awesome to see them."

"Yeah I guess they are."

"Aw come on Jalli, come over here..."

"Look, I really don't give a shit about these cars or care what kind of car people drive. It's just not my thing can we get going?"

"What? How can you not care?" (genuine looks of puzzlement)

"I just don't. It's not a big deal."

"........" (puzzled and looks that made me think I was some sort of alien)


After that I just hung out with my guy room mates, smoked dope and played console games.
posted by Jalliah at 7:53 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


No, seriously, you're making me rethink my earlier comment.

Good, it was offensive.
posted by likeatoaster at 7:54 AM on August 15 [49 favorites]


Am I feeling oversensitive today, but wasn't it also kind of demeaning to women? That whole internalized mysogyny bit. I'm having a hard time putting it into words. "This is what women are, ha ha men are better."

Yeah, these have never quite hit the mark for me for a similar reason. The tone is pitch perfect but mocking this particular kind of performative, exaggerated language some women use in connecting with one another sets my teeth on edge a bit. I've been on e-mail chains like this that certainly made me roll my eyes, but in some circles of women this overheated style is a way into a deeper intimacy of friendship that's no less valuable to those involved just because they care a lot about brunch or whatever. It's pretty dismissive, like there are women who do THIS, and then there are cool women who don't care about stupid stuff, and aren't the first kind just totally awful.

I'm probably not articulating it exactly the way I'd like to. It's certainly not that you can't make fun of women who act in particular ways just because they're women.
posted by superfluousm at 7:57 AM on August 15 [10 favorites]


pie ninja - yeah good point. On preview I think I was reacting to EmpressCallipygos' comment a bit... but also because I used to be one of those "ugh women suck, all my friends are dudes" women, and I would have used writing like this to justify it, when in truth I've never encountered these types except on tv (just like jokeefe said). Internalized misogyny is a bitch!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:58 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


Yeah, these have never quite hit the mark for me for a similar reason. The tone is pitch perfect but mocking this particular kind of performative, exaggerated language some women use in connecting with one another sets my teeth on edge a bit. I've been on e-mail chains like this that certainly made me roll my eyes, but in some circles of women this overheated style is a way into a deeper intimacy of friendship that's no less valuable to those involved just because they care a lot about brunch or whatever. It's pretty dismissive, like there are women who do THIS, and then there are cool women who don't care about stupid stuff, and aren't the first kind just totally awful.

beautifully put

Also there's nothing wrong with being a Woo Girl, some times you just gotta get it out of your system.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:59 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]




In light of comments that came after my post just want to say that I didn't intend it to be women are silly, I only have dude friends comment. That was just one time that I happened to know some women like those in the piece. I have good female friends. Just not ones that are into the same sort of stuff and way of relating.
posted by Jalliah at 8:01 AM on August 15


But then at my last job there was a woman who acted like this with her "girls" and had the rich husband and all, but, was actually really smart but just good at acting dumb, and thus simmering with rage underneath all the time. She and I, when no one was looking, could have normal conversations. I got her sarcastic jokes that went over her friends' heads. But that was as far as she would let it go; the minute anyone else was around, she snapped back into her role. It was kind of terrifying to behold. It made me wonder about the rest of them.

"Act like a dumbshit and they'll treat you like an equal." - J.R. "Bob" Dobbs
posted by vibrotronica at 8:02 AM on August 15


You know why I have way more male friends than I do female ones?

This.

I've always been this way. When I was about 26 I went with my then-boyfriend to a party at his friend's house, and at some point the room split into two gender-segregated camps - the women were all in one corner with someone who'd just learned she was pregnant, and they were making a list of the maternity clothes she still had to get. The men were all in the other corner, laughing like loons over the staged photos they'd taken of themselves during a guys'-weekend trip to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I was sitting over with the guys.


I was absolutely astonished by your comment here, EmpressCallipygos!
I've often loved/favorited what you've written here & I would never have clocked you as a cooler-with-the-dudes female.
Next I'll discover you adore Paglia!:)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:05 AM on August 15


Could someone please unpack for me how exactly EmpressCallipygos' comment, about her own personal experience with the people she's met in her own life, was offensive?

To women? Was her comment offensive to herself?
posted by Poppa Bear at 8:06 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


I understand that my comment has a challenging edge (internet magic; sorry), but the question it's coupled with is genuine and I'd value a response if anyone has one in them.
posted by Poppa Bear at 8:08 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Am I feeling oversensitive today, but wasn't it also kind of demeaning to women? That whole internalized mysogyny bit. I'm having a hard time putting it into words. "This is what women are, ha ha men are better."

I duuno, I was really surprised when I came here and saw all the comments saying "This is why I Just Don't Get Women" because I read it as pretty broad satire. I mean, people who are saying that, do you actually think women are like this? If women were actually like this, people wouldn't be reading it and thinking Cthulhu.
posted by ostro at 8:09 AM on August 15 [9 favorites]


Re: Charlotte--she does reply to at least one email. She's got the right idea; you don't want to reply often enough that Ali automatically buys you plane tickets.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:10 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


And finally (back to work, you!) I didn't take this as "Hurr Durr Women Right?" satire which may be part of my confusion. This post is straight up about social class for me, albeit through the lens of one gender. But this group obviously has a compliment on the other side of the isle! When I meet people like this, I run to the opposite side of the party, gender and sex be damned.
posted by Poppa Bear at 8:11 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


It's pretty dismissive, like there are women who do THIS, and then there are cool women who don't care about stupid stuff, and aren't the first kind just totally awful.

This. I read two of them, and 1) not only did these women not at all resemble any of the women I've met in real life; and 2) how does this do anything other than pander to corrosive stereotypes of women? Try harder, and punch up.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:13 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I was really surprised when I came here and saw all the comments saying "This is why I Just Don't Get Women" because I read it as pretty broad satire.

It's especially weird after the thread about the power of female friendship, which has this excellent comment and link in it.
posted by gladly at 8:13 AM on August 15


But this group obviously has a compliment on the other side of the isle!

As in the Isle of Man?

Lovely typo Poppa Bear.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:14 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Also there's nothing wrong with being a Woo Girl, some times you just gotta get it out of your system.

Hah, I was thinking of the Woo Girls too, that's perfect. :-)

I actually have known women who are like this In Real Life, but usually they are only like this in SOME situations. (The most annoying of them was the one who said she could score a free venue for a wedding shower and then asked us for $150 each with no warning because oops, not actually free. She was a dead ringer for Ali in her emails, right down to "Hey ladies!". But in real life, she's a high-school teacher and probably not like this much of the time.)
posted by pie ninja at 8:14 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


I have known a number of women who were exactly like this when they were younger but most of them have outgrown it, and those that did not were outgrown by the rest of our friends. I'm not silly enough to think that these examples are representative of all women, which is why I have plenty of other women friends, some of whom find this kind of behavior hilarious, scary, and familiar.
posted by elizardbits at 8:19 AM on August 15 [12 favorites]


I didn't take this all women or only women--despite the lens. It's observational humor that everyone can relate to in certain circumstances for certain bits.

Have you ever tried to plan a social gathering where nobody takes the initiative to pick a date and make things happen? It really can end up just going nowhere because you run out of time. Or a big project just fizzles if everyone doesn't make a big enough contribution (looking askance at you, Fanfare). That's not a M/F thing. It's a people thing.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 8:20 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Erg, I've somehow started a shitstorm...

I spoke without thinking, and St. Peepsburg's comment made me realize that.

I have long tended to be more comfortable with guys, but that actually only started in college and post-college. I do have female friends I've known since I was twelve and they are my soul sisters, but they also live in different places (one is in a different state and the other in a different country) and it's just been more difficult to meet women that fit into the weird niche I occupy since college. Granted, it's also been difficult to meet men who fit into that niche, but there are a handful more of them.

I truly never really got along with women that were like this stereotype, though - the cliquish popular girls in high school, the cliquish sorority types in college, the cliquish "Sex And The City" types afterward. I have no quarrel with them (someone upthread asked if I was into Camile Paglia), I mean hey, if that's what makes them happy then cool, I just don't fit into that world in my own personal life really. (I think I've been to nightclubs precisely twice, both times after having been dragged there by a theater colleague. On both occasions I sat awkwardly in a corner and tried to have a conversation. I did not dance because I didn't like the music, and I ended up leaving early and blasting Let It Bleed to indulge in music I'd like better.)

But I should have clarified that in my original comment rather than saying something that could be construed as an "all women are like this amirite" kinda thing, and I also have to admit that part of my not having as many female friends is my own doing. Nothing I regret, nothing I want to change - it's just me. I'm kinda more like Kaylee when it comes to feminity, and I'm okay with that.

And in conclusion, a funny story about the party incident and the photos, to lighten the mood: The guys were initially baffled by the fact that I was there, and decided to have a bit of fun trying to play "freak out the girl", and started showing me a series of more and more risque photos, concluding with one in which they were all mooning the camera. They showed it to me, waiting for me to do something like recoil and say "ewww, that's gross" or whatever.

Instead, I calmly looked at it, then pointed at one of the particular butts in the photo and turned to my boyfriend and said, "That's you, honey, right?"

The fact that I responded thus - and the fact that I had correctly identified the butt in question - caused them all to universally declare me "the coolest girlfriend ever".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 AM on August 15 [7 favorites]


Lovely typo Poppa Bear.

Dang!
posted by Poppa Bear at 8:30 AM on August 15


Empress, I totally understand you're responding from your personal life so I'm not talking about you in particular here. But I think the anecdote about being deemed "the coolest girlfriend ever" because you eschewed stereotypical feminine behavior might illustrate how this could be hitting other people the wrong way.

The idea of being "the cool girl" who guys love to hang out with, as opposed to the stereotypically feminine one (which usually denotes high-maintenance, or emotional, or easily offended, or whatever), can sometimes carry with it the suggestion that these "cool women" are smarter, more substantial or more interesting, as decided by male attention. So that can get hackles up.

Again, I'm not saying that you think that way. I understand you're speaking about your own experience and not generalizing outward.
posted by superfluousm at 8:37 AM on August 15 [33 favorites]


Are... are women typically frightened by nudity?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:41 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I think women are often tasked with enforcing polite behavior because, after all, we are the ones who will pay the price in terms of respectability and physical safety if the event becomes risque.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:43 AM on August 15 [18 favorites]


We scream and clutch our fans to our heaving bosoms before giving those cads the cut direct, yes.
posted by elizardbits at 8:44 AM on August 15 [19 favorites]


OMG. Yeah, the recognition was chilling. I'm still super-bitter about my friend's wedding back when we were in our mid-20s and she and the rest of her friends were lawyers and I was a broke grad student and these exact email chains would go around all, "so the bridesmaid dress is a bargain at $500 each, girls! Oh, and you all owe me $475 for your share of our bachelorette weekend plan!!" I ended up paying for "my share" of the bachelorette activies that I couldn't even attend (too broke for the ticket for the trip after all that).

This kind of immature and often passive agressive financial pressure that women who've just gotten their first Real Post-College Job exert on each other is tremendous--and the theme that I really thought that Bridesmaids absolutely nailed.
posted by TwoStride at 8:46 AM on August 15 [18 favorites]


In this one instance, I will paint women with a broad brush and say I do not think women are particularly more inclined to fear naked butts than any other animal.

I was referring more to the part where Empress said her pals were trying to play "freak out the girl."
posted by superfluousm at 8:46 AM on August 15


Are... are women typically frightened by nudity?

I think it was more because one of the butts in the mooning pic got a tiny bit into goatse territory.

Actually, I wasn't so much hanging out with the guys because they were guys, but more because they were all total freaks in the same way I was. This was the boyfriend I'd been on a date with when I got ovarian torsion, and the commotion around that lead to him having to cancel on a planned outing with the guys the following day - so when a couple months later, when they all finally met me, there was this weird elephant in the room until one of the guys walked up to me with a big grin and shook my hand and crowed, "and you must be Ovary Girl!"

You would think that this would come across as crude, but instead made me think "okay, y'all are weird. I can work with this." And thus my nickname in that circle became "O.G." ever after.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:46 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


def starting a band called "ali and the neon peplum rompers"
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:47 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


anybody reading these and patting themselves on the back because they're "not like other girls" and assuming all "other girls" are people like these fictional characters really, really needs to expand their social circle
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:55 AM on August 15 [37 favorites]


I am so happy that Gracie (work) got out! Also love that the image from May is a still from The Wicker Man.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:59 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


THE WICKER MAN
posted by elizardbits at 9:04 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Are... are women typically frightened by nudity?

Based on the results of the double-blind trial I participated on this exact subject, I came to the conclusion that I would no longer date experimental psychology majors.
posted by griphus at 9:05 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


"And in conclusion, a funny story about the party incident and the photos, to lighten the mood: The guys were initially baffled by the fact that I was there, and decided to have a bit of fun trying to play "freak out the girl", and started showing me a series of more and more risque photos, ... The fact that I responded thus - and the fact that I had correctly identified the butt in question - caused them all to universally declare me "the coolest girlfriend ever"."

Okay, but that's NOT lighthearted or funny, and it's NOT cool. It's sexual harassment, and your response was to normalize it. Their mode of dealing with a woman in their space was to show her sexually transgressive images in the hopes of upsetting her or scaring her away. When you refused to get upset, they labeled you "cool" and deemed that the only appropriate female behavior. (And I don't blame you for refusing to get upset; there's no real way to "win" this game and the best response it probably to refuse to let them get a rise out of you; and of course you were with your boyfriend whom you didn't want to alienate. But it isn't COOL. They were being NASTY and AGGRESSIVE to you.)

So what about the next woman they decide to "test" by showing her sexually suggestive imagery and when she say, "I don't like this, it isn't okay," they label her "not cool" and ostracize her?

What about when this happens at work? And the "not cool" girl is ostracized at work? This happened to me at a law firm continuing legal education seminar, where a copy of "Penthouse" was passed around so we could all PERSONALLY compare the boobs of one person to the boobs of another w/r/t a particular free speech case. The pictures were totally unrelated to understanding the "legal" point and the moderator (a partner) kept asking if we'd all had a chance to see them and pointedly asking the women for their "expertise." There were 40 men and 5 women there. One of the women said she didn't think this was appropriate at a place of business, and was heckled until she left. She didn't get credit for the seminar and I don't know what happened to her at work. I didn't like it and was really uncomfortable -- and remained uncomfortable with those colleagues until I left -- but I was just a summer intern so I didn't say anything and I laughed nervously along when the men -- 20 and 30 and 40 years older than I was -- made ribald jokes about it.

I guess that makes me the "cool girl" too.
"Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”" (From Gone Girl)

The Cool Girl has many variations: She can have tattoos, she can be into comics, she might be really into climbing or pickling vegetables. She’s always down to party, or do something spontaneous like drive all night to go to a secret concert. Her body, skin, face, and hair all look effortless and natural — the Cool Girl doesn’t even know what an elliptical machine would look like — and wears a uniform of jeans and tank tops, because trying hard isn’t Cool. The Cool Girl has a super-sexy ponytail.

The Cool Girl never nags, or “just wants one” of your chili fries, because she orders a giant order for herself. She’s an ideal that matches the times — a mix of feminism and passivity, of confidence and femininity. She knows what she wants, and what she wants is to hang out with the guys.

Cool Girls don’t have the hang-ups of normal girls: They don’t get bogged down by the patriarchy, or worrying about their weight. They’re basically dudes masquerading in beautiful women’s bodies, reaping the privileges of both. But let’s be clear: It’s a performance. It might not be a conscious one, but it’s the way our society implicitly instructs young women on how to be awesome: Be chill and don’t be a downer, act like a dude but look like a supermodel. SOURCE
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:08 AM on August 15 [76 favorites]


I'm entertained by everyone who doubts that this is a Thing That Exists in the World. I have been on these email chains. I have probably, in my uglier, bride-ier moments, inflicted these email chains. I sure as shit suffered through the "bachelorette" one in various iterations, right down to the "lol cheap option but no really" parts and the trigger-happy pre-purchasing ringleader. I think I'm related to Katie. It rang very true, and funny, and cringeworthy to me. No, most of my friends don't speak/write like this most of the time. And the people who have sent these emails are not stupid people - the absolute worst Ali in the group I'm thinking of was working in finance at the time, I believe.

It feels true to my experience of a mid-late twentysomething with female friends who a) are trying to cling to their female friendships in any way possible, b) are maybe transitioning to married life, and c) conduct a lot of their lives on the internet. Sometimes, things like weddings and brunch and book clubs turn people into the email version of Woo Girls, and I thought the people at the Toast did a great job of capturing that.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 9:12 AM on August 15 [14 favorites]


Okay, but that's NOT lighthearted or funny, and it's NOT cool. It's sexual harassment, and your response was to normalize it. Their mode of dealing with a woman in their space was to show her sexually transgressive images in the hopes of upsetting her or scaring her away.

....Eyebrows, I should think that as a woman I retain the right to decide whether an image was alarming or not.

The reason I stayed to look at the pictures wasn't because I was trying to "pass" and be "cool", it was because they were honestly not freaking me out. It wasn't an act. My saying "guys, that's gross" would have been an act.

So you're saying that....in order to strike some kind of blow for women, I should have lied about what I was experiencing as a woman? Sorry, but I don't think that's the way it works.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:14 AM on August 15 [13 favorites]


To me, the "cool girl" versus "woo girl" argument is slightly off point.

The thrust of this satire is not mocking woo girls as inferior to other women or to men. This chain could be replicated with any "type" of girl or guy, because the point is that these "friends" are actually people rooting for the worst for each other, using and abusing each other as props, and passive aggressively treating each other like shit, and THAT (not their girly attitude) is why the whole thing is chilling. I don't think enjoying this satire requires one to believe woo girls are inferior to "I just hang out with the guys" girls, it requires one to hate fake people who use their friends as pincushions for unhappiness and aggression.

I do agree that this "frienemies" trope is usually illustrated with woo girls rather than other "subcultures"--that's what I find sexist. But I don't think it's fair to critique those who enjoy satirizing frienemy behavior as necessarily sexist.
posted by sallybrown at 9:14 AM on August 15 [12 favorites]


No, I'm saying it's not a lighthearted or funny story.

You reacted how you reacted and you have the feelings you have. I don't dispute that. I dispute that it's a lighthearted or funny story. It's moderately horrifying that a group of men with one, new-to-the-group woman thought, "Hey, we should definitely interact with her by showing her naked pictures to see if we can upset her!"

It's great that it didn't upset YOU. But don't you see how that sort of behavior from men is institutionally problematic as a norm? And how it contributes to the marginalization of women by labeling as "cool" only women who don't react to transgressive, genedered behavior by men?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:20 AM on August 15 [33 favorites]


But I don't think it's fair to critique those who enjoy satirizing frienemy behavior as necessarily sexist.

YES EXACTLY, if this was a group of A Certain Kind Of Guy it would be also be full of passive aggressive nastiness and snark that was well over the line from friendly teasing to outright cruelty, and the same sort of pretending that it's all okay cause we're all such great bros!
posted by elizardbits at 9:22 AM on August 15 [10 favorites]


But don't you see how that sort of behavior from men is institutionally problematic as a norm? And how it contributes to the marginalization of women by labeling as "cool" only women who don't react to transgressive, genedered behavior by men?

Sincere question: given that this category of behavior is precisely how men haze each other as part of the introductory group bonding ritual in most cultures, is it better or worse for them to treat women differently in this regard?
posted by Ryvar at 9:24 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


if this was a group of A Certain Kind Of Guy it would be also be full of passive aggressive nastiness and snark that was well over the line from friendly teasing to outright cruelty, and the same sort of pretending that it's all okay cause we're all such great bros!

see also The League.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:25 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Sincere question: given that this category of behavior is precisely how men haze each other as part of the introductory group bonding ritual in most cultures, is it better or worse for them to treat women differently in this regard?

If you're an equal-opportunity heel, you're still a heel.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:29 AM on August 15


Could someone please unpack for me how exactly EmpressCallipygos' comment, about her own personal experience with the people she's met in her own life, was offensive?

Well, I can only describe how it read to me, which is "I was at a party where the attendees had divided themselves by gender. The women were talking about stereotypically feminine things, which was obviously superficial and dumb, so *I*, not being superficial or dumb, hung out with the guys, who were talking about much less superficial and dumb things since they were not women. The guys thought I was super cool, since I wasn't like all those other superficial and dumb women.
posted by The Gooch at 9:29 AM on August 15 [25 favorites]


It's funny, but that's not how it read to me at all. I read it as "both groups were acting like idiots ('loons'), and I was more comfortable with the group of guys acting like idiots because that's more the kind of idiocy I enjoy/identify with."
posted by The Bellman at 9:37 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Wait why is discussing clothing acting like idiots?
posted by griphus at 9:39 AM on August 15 [12 favorites]


Let's be fair: she never calls them superficial and dumb. She just points out that traditionally feminine interests don't match her personal interests.



I find it interesting that we're pulling out the 'cool girl' trope as if it's in some way in opposition to the type of femininity that's displayed in Hey Ladies. I'm sure many of the characters probably pull out the cool girl card to play when they need to. These are different personas that are used for different jobs; they are not mutually exclusive. The cool girl card for encounters with men, the 'Ali' for maintaining certain friendships.

The 'Ali' persona seems extremely grating from the outside, but has a real use. Organizing social events is difficult. That's why people hire party planners, caterers, etc. The 'Ali' gets things done but manages to put an ironic, passive aggressive face on it because it allows a woman to be authoritative while still trying to preserve the facade that she's not REALLY bossing her friends around.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:41 AM on August 15 [11 favorites]


It's moderately horrifying that a group of men with one, new-to-the-group woman thought, "Hey, we should definitely interact with her by showing her naked pictures to see if we can upset her!"

I think you're overlooking the fact that I was dating one of those guys, which suggested that there was already an established level of trust in place - in the sense that if I'd have been the kind of person to have had any problem with that behavior, I either wouldn't have gotten along with one of the guys well enough to date him in the first place, or even if I did, he'd have stopped them before they started because "dudes, this isn't a good idea, chill."

I mean, I hear you, but this particular context was a bit more of a "joking amongst friends" kind of thing where I might be new to the group as a whole but knew one of the guys in the group already quite well. And when you are amongst friends and there is already some trust in place, you blow off steam a bit more. I absolutely trusted my boyfriend to have put the kibosh on it if he thought they were going too far, and I also trust the guys to have done the same if they had any kind of impression that I wasn't cool with it.

Frankly, they came across more like they were fourth-graders making fart jokes than anything else, and I could tell exactly what they were trying to do - and what's more, that it wasn't maliciously or seriously intended at all, and they wouldn't have gone there at all if they didn't feel like they already had an established level of trust with me, either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:42 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


If you're an equal-opportunity heel, you're still a heel.

Male hazing rituals are shitty, totally agreed, but that doesn't answer my question:

"is it better or worse for them to treat women differently in this regard?"

I ask because while I don't think it's possible to change how men interact with each other in this way, it might be possible through education to modify how they interact with women. What I'm not at all certain of is whether that sort of special treatment would be a good thing, because my understanding of feminism is still quite limited.
posted by Ryvar at 9:44 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Let's be fair: she never calls them superficial and dumb. She just points out that traditionally feminine interests don't match her personal interests.

This was my own lack of clarity. I wasn't interested in a conversation about maternity clothes because I think it's "superficial or dumb", the reason I wasn't interested is because I do not find the topic of clothing interesting. Maternity clothing is even less interesting to me, and maternity clothing for someone I do not know is even less interesting still.

Now, if they'd been talking about something like The X-Files, I'd have been all over that shit ("yeah, goofy photos, whatever guys, we're discussing the Flukeman over here").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


(I started writing this comment last night and haven't read everything that's happened in the thread hence.)

These are uncannily accurate. And I so wish I wasn't able to say that. Thankfully it's not my typical habitat, but...xoxo from the heart of bachelorette weekend season.

Haha, too true! Have fun, but not too much ;)

Which is to say: Maybe it's just cause I got back from being in a wedding last weekend, but I was a little surprised at the comments here that declared how the commenters did their best to evade people like the characters, or had no experience with people like them, because I read it less about parodying a certain kind of person or people, and more about parodying this peculiar that emerges sometimes among groups of young women. It's, I don't know, there's just this perfect storm sometimes, when all of the creepy social training you haven't been able to shake (don't be confrontational, don't be honest about personal problems with money/relationships, go along to do all these femme activities that you don't particularly enjoy, etc.) meets all of the creepy social training your friends haven't been able to shake and it spirals out horribly.

(It does help if there's an Ali in the group, though, someone whose rocking some next-level-up proficiency at the passive aggressive guilt trips and urge to plan everything to her own specification.)

(So it is a Lovecraft story, in a way. It's the last chapter of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth")

posted by kagredon at 10:09 AM on August 15 [12 favorites]


er, that should be "peculiar social dynamic"
posted by kagredon at 10:17 AM on August 15


Hmmm. This all has got me thinking. Because I am a "Cool Girl," I suppose, and I work in a very traditional and male-dominated field. My closest friends in the world are male AND female, but a greater ratio of males. I'm divorced, a firefighter, and fiercely independent. I definitely skew more to the masculine side, but I like some "girly" things as well. I value my female friendships as much as I value my friendships with males, but I agree that there is a tight line to walk in most social situations when I know a lot more about cars, nascar, the NFL, etc, than I do about fashion and esthetics and anything else that may be construed as stereotypically feminine. I try to work the room and talk about things that are universally interesting, like cooking, deocorating, and travel.
Sometimes, not where I work now, but places I've worked in the past have been full of harassing situations, and I didn't want to speak up because I was afraid of retribution, and, yes, losing my "Cool Girl" status. In fact, at my current workplace, it took a while for the guys to get used to me because I WAS so different from their previous female coworker, and it took them awhile to decide their comfort level. But I laid down ground rules from the beginning, and everyone respects everyone else WHILE still being a group of firefighters - it's pretty awesome. Hell, I had to put the brakes on some of my own language/jokes because *I* was the offensive one, coming from a much different environment.
It's also difficult when finding a partner, because guys in my line of work are intimidated that I may be better than them, and guys outside of public service don't want to date a woman that works and lives primarily with men, and is a badass whilst doing it. So, my dating pool gets very limited and my interactions with people as friends outside emergency services/health care are also limited.
I think it's all in finding a balance, but I definitely know groups of guys AND girls who can fit the stereotypical molds, and I sit back and see how I can interact with them and maybe move out of my comfort zone a little. However, I'd definitely see myself as a Gracie in this group; maybe Nicole.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 10:23 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


There are groups of men who are just as annoying. Old white dudes talking about Obama/taxes/golf/nagging wives is one. They tend to go on motorcycling weekends for fun.

Dude-brahs (which is who these women tend to marry) is another.

And yeah, being a "cool girl who hangs with guys" is no escape; just another stereotype.

These women aren't All Women; they are just a set that is a) good at required gender roles and b) simultaneously twisted up inside by the effort of living inside those gender roles.

It makes finding female friends hard; you have all the normal constraints of finding a friend (shared interests, location, compatible personalities), plus a lot of women who might be your friends in other circumstances have merged with the Borg of Performative Femininity, or are always attempting to.
posted by emjaybee at 10:40 AM on August 15 [14 favorites]


It's, I don't know, there's just this perfect storm sometimes, when all of the creepy social training you haven't been able to shake (don't be confrontational, don't be honest about personal problems with money/relationships, go along to do all these femme activities that you don't particularly enjoy, etc.) meets all of the creepy social training your friends haven't been able to shake and it spirals out horribly.

Exactly! I was surprised to find people reading this as a point-and-laugh-at-the-dumb-ladies. But, I guess if you haven't been in the trenches, as it were, it could look like that. I read it as more like one of those Onion articles where all of the hidden, agreed-upon subtexts in some social situation are just stated baldly and that is FUNNY, because we're not supposed to say that shit, but we all know it.

This series focuses on a very specific kind of demographic, I suppose, but it seems to me like the exact same thing could be written about my extended family trying to plan Christmas, you know? Once you start trying to orchestrate 6+ autonomous adults there will be power plays and passive aggression; people clinging to a set of expectations that don't really make sense for anyone but they're THERE, and they DEMAND TO BE MET; that frustrating person who never actually intends to participate but pretends they will until the last minute...

I mean my aunt is Ali, just all grown up. She likes to make elaborate plans and withhold problematic information (oops! it'll be an extra $500/two hour drive/there aren't enough beds!) until it's too late for anyone to *politely* address it or decline. I don't think she's stupid or silly or anything like that. But dear lord she's maddening sometimes, and I think to an outsider, reading our email chains would be hilarious.
posted by like_a_friend at 10:45 AM on August 15 [19 favorites]


" I just felt like you were being really Khloe about this, and I wanted you to be more empowered like Kim"

omg
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:50 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


Yeah this has nothing to do with being "girly", it's about peer pressure and bullying and its in this format because the writers are women in their 20s and thid kind of email is instantly familiar to anyone who's ever been a woman in her 20s with a group of girlfriends trying to drag them places to meet men. Or who's ever been in a wedding. I'm in my 30s and I still get emails from women like Ali. The hilarity is the descent into madness, not in the original premise.

I'm an academic and with a few minor tweaks these could be about retirement parties and the annual department picnic.
posted by fshgrl at 10:57 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


ok in my previous comments I'd only read the first post "Bachelorette Party", but now that I'm up to "Halloween Planning" and have gotten to know the characters a bit more I am crying laughing... in "Ladies Lunch" one of them quotes Sheryl Sandberg, Tierra (The Bachelor) and Nietzsche all in one line (I'm in tears); in Halloween Planning she says "Your suggestions are great but a little tired (no offense, like literally none)."

ahahahahahahahahahahaha this is brilliant, you guys are so Ali
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:49 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


On further reflection I think a big part of why I find this to be scary/amusing satire rather than vicious nastiness is probably the source. I have not known The Toast to be cruel and hateful in its humour, although if I'm mistaken please let me know. If the source of this series was Jezebel I would likely feel very differently.
posted by elizardbits at 12:34 PM on August 15 [5 favorites]


I was surprised to find people reading this as a point-and-laugh-at-the-dumb-ladies.

I definitely didn't read this series as a point-and-laugh-at-the-dumb-ladies thing, partly because like elizardbits says, it's coming from The Toast, but also because of the "Shudder of Recognition" tag used. I feel like even for those who aren't the "hey ladies" type, this particular kind of email chain full of passive aggression and confused planning is familiar from email chains with family, coworkers, and friends. Plus, I think the inclusion of the likes of poor Gracie (work) keeps it from feeling too much like "this is what all ladies are like, amirite?"
posted by yasaman at 1:02 PM on August 15 [8 favorites]


I only read half of these because it's making me want to tear my hair out, but does Ali never not run out on her friends?
posted by dabitch at 1:05 PM on August 15


This is what it's like to be in a sorority 100000%
posted by SassHat at 1:09 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


I have not known The Toast to be cruel and hateful in its humour, although if I'm mistaken please let me know. If the source of this series was Jezebel I would likely feel very differently.

Yeah, exactly, I am a regular Toast reader and my sense is that their whole editorial philosophy is committed to punching up, therefore I read Hey Ladies as punching up at women who have a lot of social capital and no shortage of intelligence, but not a lot of empathy. And, obliquely, at the conditions that produce their group dynamics, which are for sure not the exclusive province of women.
posted by clavicle at 1:24 PM on August 15 [9 favorites]


"This is what it's like to be in a sorority 100000%"

It also reminds me of a few Junior League meetings I've been to. "Ladies ... ladies! LADIES!" (And, hahahaha, I just checked facebook and the top thing on my feed is a notification of a Junior League event that begins, "Ladies, please mark your calendars for ...")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:56 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


No man, or group of men, gets to decide if I am a Cool Girl (woman) or not. I decide. End of story.
posted by nacho fries at 1:58 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Here's to the ladies who lunch --
Everybody laugh.
Lounging in their caftans
And planning a brunch
On their own behalf.
Off to the gym,
Then to a fitting,
Claiming they're fat.
And looking grim,
'Cause they've been sitting
Choosing a hat.
Does anyone still wear a hat?
I'll drink to that.

And here's to the girls who play smart --
Aren't they a gas?
Rushing to their classes
In optical art,
Wishing it would pass.
Another long exhausting day,
Another thousand dollars,
A matinee, a Pinter play,
Perhaps a piece of Mahler's.
I'll drink to that.
And one for Mahler!

And here's to the girls who play wife --
Aren't they too much?
Keeping house but clutching
A copy of LIFE,
Just to keep in touch.
The ones who follow the rules,
And meet themselves at the schools,
Too busy to know that they're fools.
Aren't they a gem?
I'll drink to them!
Let's all drink to them!

And here's to the girls who just watch --
Aren't they the best?
When they get depressed,
It's a bottle of Scotch,
Plus a little jest.
Another chance to disapprove,
Another brilliant zinger,
Another reason not to move,
Another vodka stinger.
I'll drink to that.

So here's to the girls on the go --
Everybody tries.
Look into their eyes,
And you'll see what they know:
Everybody dies.
A toast to that invincible bunch,
The dinosaurs surviving the crunch.
Let's hear it for the ladies who lunch --
Everybody rise!
Rise!
Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise!
Rise!
posted by kyrademon at 2:01 PM on August 15 [12 favorites]


Their mode of dealing with a woman in their space was to show her sexually transgressive images in the hopes of upsetting her or scaring her away.

Or, perhaps, they were preening for each other, and she was just a convenient foil for their status-seeking behavior. I see this type of one-upmanship sometimes in groups of men who will wind each other up in mixed-gender social situations. It's pecking order behavior.

And, it's quite possible that one or more of the men were themselves made uncomfortable by it, but chose not to express it. After all, it's not all that uncommon for men to have suffered sexual or psychosexual trauma at some point in their lives, and to find those kinds of sexually-tinged group antics personally painful or triggering.

It's why I won't play along, even if I think I know the guys well enough to assume they don't have a history of trauma -- you just never know. It's why I am willing to be "uncool" and shut that shit down, or walk away if it isn't shut-down-able. I refuse to be complicit, either in subjecting myself or other women to that crap, or enabling men to subject one another to it.
posted by nacho fries at 2:28 PM on August 15


I'd really recommend reading all the archives! I think the "summer weekend getaway" one becomes funnier and less "poking fun at women" when you read the ones that come before it.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:48 PM on August 15


A matinee, a Pinter play,
Perhaps a piece of Mahler's.
I'll drink to that.
And one for Mahler!


I wonder if "Jack Johnson or Mahler or something" was a nod?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:53 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


The one with the unreasonable rules set by the aunt with the summer home was my favourite, as that is precisely how I will behave when I am the relative with the fancy summer home. NO FUN ALLOWED I shall bellow, YOU MAY ONLY EAT THESE AGED LENTILS UNSALTED. All this whilst I lounge on a beach elsewhere drinking daiquiris out of a shapely youth's navel.
posted by elizardbits at 3:13 PM on August 15 [11 favorites]


I'll tell y'all what.

I won't tell any more stories about my friends ever again if y'all promise to drop the mental gymnastics in an effort to read subtext into the stories I have told.

Deal?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:17 PM on August 15 [7 favorites]


Oh for God's sake.

A group of men, with their own little tribal culture of taking risque pictures, including ass pictures, was formed. These men were interacting with each other, socializing, on their own terms. Along comes a woman. They think, hmmm, this woman wants to be part of our group! Let's make sure she's comfortable with the way this group socializes, i.e. by looking at other people's asses and our own asses. After all, if she can't handle that, she won't be able to handle the other stuff we talk about, i.e. she won't be a good fit for the group. So they showed her the pictures, and - amazingly - she didn't fall apart! She didn't act the way they expected ("Ewwww, guy's asses! gross!"), she acted like any other member of the group. This engenders respect. EC becomes part of the group.

It's hard to believe this all needs to be spelled out, but whether it's a bunch of WoW nerds or a group of Tapout-shirt wearing MMA wannabe toughguy meatheads, every social group that ever existed has at the very least, entry rituals. Yes, sometimes these rituals are called "hazing" if they involve anything other than even the slightest mental or physical discomfort. I LOL'd hard at the comments to the effect that EC was harassed, and was/is in denial and just coping with it, or whatever. She's a grown woman! Or that one of the guys is secretly not okay with it all. Right, that's why they go on vacations together!

By the way, what's the alternative? Imagine that upon EC's arrival, these guys clammed up immediately. Then, one of them comes into this thread, and says "We changed the topic of our conversation, and didn't show the new girl the same pictures we show every new friend, because women are frail and fragile creatures, and can't handle ass pics" - what then?

EC, please keep telling stories about your friends, if only for the hilarious comments they inspire.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 3:48 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Count me as someone else who thought Empress's original comment was pretty insulting to women, then appreciated her re-thinking it, then was dismayed at the "amusing story" afterwards. I was a "cool girl" for many years and played the whole "I'm not a prude/complainer/[female adjective] like other girls" thing and was proud of it, until I realised that by celebrating all my "guy-like" traits and playing down or making fun of my "girly" traits, I was straight up demonstrating to everyone around me that being a guy is better and more desirable than being a girl. Which is pretty messed up. Please don't dismiss the people in this thread who are pointing out their concerns, and please don't call their opinions "hilarious".
posted by ukdanae at 4:05 PM on August 15 [23 favorites]


It is absolutely hilarious to say that EC doesn't know her own friends, and her own mind, which is the implication of the comments I'm referring to. Just look at her latest comment. For your part ukdanae, you didn't do any of that, so my comment was not about you or your experiences.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 4:12 PM on August 15


This thread is like Mommy and Mommy fighting.
posted by Mapes at 4:14 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


wtf does that even mean
posted by kagredon at 5:05 PM on August 15


The thing is, though, ukadanae, I'm not trying to "play up" or "play down" any part of my self in any effort to fit in with anyone. Nor have I ever done that, in any of the 44 years I have spent on this planet.

I wasn't "playing along" to be a cool girl, I simply was reacting to things honestly. I honestly felt the conversation about whether someone I didn't know should get one or two pairs of maternity pants was boring as shit, I honestly thought the pictures I was being shown were silly, and I honestly thought the way the guys were acting was even sillier and was amused by it.

I never felt unwelcome by them, or threatened or "on trial" or "unfeminine" or whatever the fuck. I was simply being me. And was accepted as me.

By contrast, I have felt that the way I conduct myself as a woman and the opinions I have as a woman are more on trial in this thread than I did at that party, because there are people in here implying that I was "doing it wrong". Even though I have repeatedly said that if I had indicated in the slightest that this was uncomfortable for me, the guys would have shut that shit down and apologized. Even though I have repeatedly said that I was dating one of the guys, and he probably would have shut that shit down first if they'd meant anything ill-intended by that. It still isn't good enough - I have been told that the story I told about people I know and whose motivations I trust is insulting and messed up.

The women in the story about which this thread is about are cliquish, and I wouldn't fit in with them. But there's another clique in this thread, and apparently I don't fit in with that clique either. I imagine there's a thread somewhere on the blue today with pictures of butts in it; I'm gonna go find that one and give up on the clique I don't fit in with. Take care.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:53 PM on August 15 [7 favorites]


If one is uncomfortable with portrayals of young women behaving in silly ways with and to one another, then Jane Austen is also right out.
posted by holgate at 6:33 PM on August 15


I have felt that the way I conduct myself as a woman and the opinions I have as a woman are more on trial

Welcome to the club, sister. It happens. I've experienced it in threads relating to women's issues. I would imagine other women (and men) have as well.

I think it is a mistake to dismiss the pushback as being clique-ish. Individuals were reacting, as individuals, to your words. There's no clique or cabal or mean-girl colluding going on, at least that I can detect. People DO get heated, and snarky, and read motives where none are in evidence; but I've seen you treat others that way yourself, so I'm assuming you are OK with a little heat in the kitchen, so to speak.
posted by nacho fries at 8:03 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


She likes to make elaborate plans and withhold problematic information (oops! it'll be an extra $500/two hour drive/there aren't enough beds!) until it's too late for anyone to *politely* address it or decline.

Behaviour like this is subconsciously deliberate - hell, I even do it myself. You either think it will all work out - something will happen to change the situation so it's okay - or if I don't tell them until it's too late then it's not my problem. It's unhealthy, and age knocks it on the head, in my experience.

I don't know any women like those in the OP, but I have seen enough of them on TV to appreciate the post. Thanks.
posted by goo at 8:32 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, for me at least I'm reacting to this:

You know why I have way more male friends than I do female ones?

This.


I mean, I kind of reared back a little, because I am a woman, who considers herself as being amongst the ordinary run of women and not some kind of exception. A guy writing that on this site would get pilloried for writing, "This is why I can't stand women!" in response to a OTT satire on a specific kind of jerkish woman. It doesn't take a clique or a cabal to take offence.

I think I actually know many more 'i'm-not-like-other-women' women than I do women like the ones in the Toast pieces, hilariously.
posted by Erasmouse at 3:05 AM on August 16 [17 favorites]


The Toast piece seems like a gender-filtered crucifixion of people with money and no personality. It could just as easily be frat douchebags.

I suspect (or at least hope) that your average Metafilter user associates with an unusually low number of people in that category, regardless of gender identity.
posted by Ryvar at 4:22 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


lol idk, those characters seem to have heaps of personality??
posted by moody cow at 5:48 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


No man, or group of men, gets to decide if I am a Cool Girl (woman) or not. I decide. End of story.

"Cool" is a judgment other people make about you. It is not something you declare about yourself. You can decide you think you are cool, but that's like deciding your are rich. All you can do is disagree with the standards other people use in defining cool, which is, of course, going to be uncool to those people.
posted by spaltavian at 9:59 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I disagree. I'm cool, even when I'm not according to other people.

I'm not cool to everyone -- only the ones who matter to my world. Same with being sexy. I am sexy because I say so, and anyone who is on board with that can come sit next to me. Everyone else's opinion is none of my business.

There's no one over-arching definition of cool (or sexy), so even if I accept that it is entirely externally derived (which I don't), I would still argue that, because I am cool to some of the people some of the time some place in the world, I am inherently cool (for certain values of "cool," which I myself choose).
posted by nacho fries at 2:04 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I love this. I've met women like this. It was surreal, they're just not common in my social group. I committed some unknown social faux pas and they gave me the social cut. I spent about five minutes trying to figure what the hell I had done, then realized they had given me a precious gift and I Gracie'd out and ran for it.

Hilariously, what they need to incorporate into this is a "'i'm-not-like-other-women' woman" who blasts them all and snidely tells them they are the reason they prefer to have male friends. I, too, have known far more of those women. And was briefly was one, until it was pointed out casually that it was internalized misogyny. Thank god I could listen and didn't try to double down.
posted by Dynex at 12:48 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: when the misogyny gets too much, we all have "Gracie'd out."
posted by wuwei at 3:07 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Huh. Showing a 404. Y'all broke it.
posted by klangklangston at 2:26 PM on August 18


They're having a server hiccup right now.
posted by The Whelk at 3:10 PM on August 18


lol idk, those characters seem to have heaps of personality??

Not to mention style! I just got up to the mention of the "neon peplum romper" on the brunch story and, my god, the authors* have an amazing eye for detail.

*I cannot imagine how hilarious the offline brainstorming conversations about this series must be.
posted by psoas at 10:57 AM on August 19


I was just watching Glen Gary Glen Ross and thinking about 'masculine-' and 'feminine'-coded horribleness and now badly want to see a genderswapped version with this crew. ALWAYS. BE. LIKE. CLOSING??!? OMIGOD.

MAKE IT HAPPEN TOAST.
posted by Erasmouse at 3:26 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


omigod ali you are SUCH a ricky roma
posted by kagredon at 5:37 PM on August 20


On further reflection I think a big part of why I find this to be scary/amusing satire rather than vicious nastiness is probably the source. I have not known The Toast to be cruel and hateful in its humour, although if I'm mistaken please let me know. If the source of this series was Jezebel I would likely feel very differently.

I know Michelle Markowitz personally so BIASED and all but I love this feature and it's definitely broad satire and also pretty accurate to what happens when a bunch of women get on email chains to discuss all the random showers, weddings, parties, crap.

It's mostly comedy of recognition - to be fair, those things can get really ridiculous and everyone's been there. There's a lot of social pressure to do some fairly superficial things "right," and it can be frustrating when you have all this other life stuff to do, so I think it's just a way of letting off steam to see things like this and recognize the dynamic, and that it's fairly ridiculous.
posted by sweetkid at 9:57 AM on September 12



The Toast piece seems like a gender-filtered crucifixion of people with money and no personality. It could just as easily be frat douchebags.

I suspect (or at least hope) that your average Metafilter user associates with an unusually low number of people in that category, regardless of gender identity.


oh whoops
posted by sweetkid at 9:58 AM on September 12


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