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T (1648 posts)
This morning, those of us who were born just in time to take advantage of Title IX noticed one more small result of the 1972 legislation (prohibiting gender discrimination at schools that receive federal money). Back then, we heard from our mothers about "all" that we could do—and then we took to the soccer fields and running tracks, trying to figure out what the heck the "all" was. The potential was exciting, for us and our mothers, aunts and neighbors who weren't invited to join high-level sports and almost yanked out when they did (hello, Boston Marathon 1967).
And yet, seeing the U.S. Women's World Cup victory yesterday on the front page of The New York Times sports section and the U.S. Women's Open for golf covered inside has given us a whole new kind of joy, especially the soccer story.
It was also covered, via AP reports, in The Detroit Free Press, Atlanta Journal Constitution and elsewhere. With good reason: For the first time in years, the Americans aren't favored to win this World Cup (competition in women's international sports is heating up—drama!). The team played Brazil, who has Marta, perhaps the current Pele of women's soccer. The game itself had ups and downs, and the quotes afterward—from the players to the coach—were lump-in-your-throat inducing. (Really, go read them.)
But it was this sentence in The San Francisco Chronicle that got us: "Running low on hope and time, the Americans were surely beaten. ... And then, with one of the most thrilling goals in U.S. history, they weren't."
Not U.S. women's sports history. In sports. Full stop. Which is nice. But what's nicer still is that it means if you are 7 or 10 or 12 years old, you don't have to imagine a woman doing one of the most thrilling things in U.S. sports history. You can watch it here.
Elsewhere you can watch female Olympic hockey teams, LPGA golfers and collegiate lacrosse players compete at top levels, and you will read about their victories and losses in the papers. Also thrilling, no?
That was today's discovery. That there's a difference between hearing what women could do and seeing them do it this very minute. The difference between the girls we used to be and the girls right now, who can look at these mightily talented women and think, "I can do what she did...and I can do it even better."
Men, I now believe, love a lot of things as much sex. They love doughnuts as much as sex. They love a solid night of sleep under a heavy down duvet. They love an hour in the bathroom with a newspaper with nobody banging on the door. They love when people buy them clothes one size bigger than they are emotionally ready to deal with, cut off the tags, and pretend the L's are M's.
Now the British Telegraph tells me that, "Acts of affection like hugs ... were more important to men than women." Research by sociologists at the Kinsey Institute, the paper reported, confirmed that "men who said kissing and cuddling were a regular part of their relationship were on average three times happier than those who did not."
Even better, the 1,000 couples interviewed were aged 40 to 70 and had been in a relationship for an average of 25 years.
I find it uplifting that cuddling wins big in long-term loves. I can't give my husband a solid night of sleep or an hour in the bathroom with nobody banging on the door. (We are a family of four! With one toilet!) I can give him the doughnuts, but then I will have to buy a closet's worth of XL clothing, cut off the tags and pretend they are also M's. The hugging, however, I can handle—one arm, other arm, squeeze.
Where were you at 22? Crashing in Mom and Dad's basement, hiding from an ego-piercing job market? Slinging lattes at the local espresso shop--an activity complicated by various piercings and projectile hair "experiments?" Racing off to work as an administrative assistant, hoping that somebody would notice your stellar labeling skills in the file cabinet and promote you to "MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THIS MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION?" (Okay, that one was me...and by the way, neither the job title, nor the accompanying gold sticker I so feverishly imagined, panned out.)
This weekend on NPR, I heard this story about Katie Davis and felt compelled to go hug my own kids--over and over--until they made me stop. Davis, at age 22, gave up her own dreams of being a nurse in order to remain in Africa, where she had been volunteering, and raise 13 orphaned or otherwise needy girls. Her plan is to one day adopt them.
"I think that's definitely something that I was made for," said Davis. "God just designed me that way because he already knew that this is what the plan was for my life--even though I didn't."
Her first child was an HIV positive 9-year-old who was injured when a mud hut collapsed. She asked if she could live with Davis--and Davis, then age 19, said yes. Thus began her new life, as a mother and full-time resident of Uganda where she and the girls live, complete with an oversized minivan.
In her spare time, Davis also runs a nonprofit called Amazima Ministries, a job supports the family of 14. There she oversees educating 400 other children, setting up community health programs and feeding more than a thousand children five days a week.
My first task tomorrow is to promote her to "MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING" and send her a gold-star sticker--and a donation--that officially affirms the title.
Note: This article has been changed as of July 12, 2011.
Every Monday, we're rounding up things--small and big--that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by a Yankees fan who shows true sportsmanship, an author who found a way to learn from one rejection (and the 59 that followed it), and more...
Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, telling Katie Couric about the 60 rejections she received from agents (via Glamour):
Every time I got a rejection letter, it made me go back to the story and try to figure out what was not working. I think there are a lot of bad books out there that got published on the first try. And you've got to take a story, write it, put it in the drawer, soak out the stains, go back, and rewrite it over and over again.
Yankees fan Christian Lopez, who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th-hit baseball, volunteering to return the home-run memento to Jeter for little more than a photo op (instead of trying to sell it for, like, a bajillion dollars):
It wasn't about the money, it's about a milestone, and I'm not going to take that away from him.
WSJ writer Katherine Rosman on how friends strengthen a marriage:
When a friend says to me, "I saw Joe and your daughter at the park and she has him wrapped around her finger," my focus is drawn past dirty socks left on the floor and onto the fact that I married a terrific guy who is loved by many.
Former First Lady Betty Ford, who died last week at the age of 93, on giving her name to the now-famous drug and alcohol treatment center in California:
It was very helpful for women, too, because women had in many ways been underserved. And if my name was one there it was a safe place for women to come and be treated.
Life's a beach (as they say), but if you didn't have time to get away this weekend at least you can fake that post-sun glow with this slim, purse-sized palette from Stila. It comes filled with a blush, bronzer, and four shadows inspired by the Hamptons--the ultra-chic beach retreat New Yorkers flock to for R&R. Plus, a step-by-step guide for getting an easy, warm-weather look comes screen-printed inside the compact (which means you'll never be at a loss for where to put that bold azure shade). With colors reminiscent of blue skies, sandy beaches, and golden sunsets, this is the only makeup you'll need to pack for your next summer escape.
Stila Haute in the Hamptons Palette, $14
For more info on the Hamptons this season, check out Stila's website for the best shopping destinations, restaurants, and summer sites they discovered while doing "research" for this palette.
For more summer makeup ideas keep reading:
Check out July's best beauty buys
10 ways to summerize your beauty routine
If it's Friday, we must be grateful. Here are a few things we're saying thank you for this week:
1. The astronauts (including Elmo)
3. He makes clouds! Of bubbles! They float!
4. There really was a Charlotte (yes, the spider), and that, to us, is kind of beautiful
5. Turntable.fm: Because at least one of us will be going to a club to hear music, like it's 1994, this weekend—without hiring a babysitter or leaving the couch
6. Joan Didion @JoanDidion, for reminding us that it doesn't hurt to set attainable goals
(We really wanted to believe it was you.)
Here's to a productive and happy weekend!
Last week, the hilarious comedy troupe Improv Everywhere hijacked a carousel. I am a devoted fan of Improv Everywhere, who have pulled off such stunts as a public figure-skating display during which one man slips and falls all over the ice while romantic music plays, and the invasion of a subway car by Darth Vader and assorted characters from Star Wars.
"We try to keep the focus on doing something positive rather than something negative," says founder Charlie Todd. "We want to create scenes of chaos and joy."
The carousel, however, has a magical, feel-good quality that seems exceeds all others. Why is that? Is it simply by virtue of the fact that a giant bunny wins a horse race? Is it the dramatic slow-mo finish? In the other videos, I noticed there's a period of adjustment during which the crowd of adult spectators need to observe, digest, and understand that what is happening is a public prank. Then and only then do they react with laughter. But in the carousel scene, the adults plunge into the spirit of the enterprise almost immediately even more so than the kids, who seem perplexed, but willing to go along, slapping their animals into "galloping."
There is something so wonderful in watching grown-up people play as if still in preschool, where all of us were allowed to be firemen or doctors everyday. I plan on spending the rest of the afternoon at my desk with a thick layer of sunscreen on my nose and my sunglasses down over my eyes, playing lifeguard-at-the-beach.
Read More: Laugh Until You Laugh... What's Your Emotional Age?