A friend’s husband recently asked how many members we now have, and when she said 18,000 (and counting), he responded with “that’s a whole lot of menopause.” LOL.
But, seriously, with all this growth, we’re getting so many “Anonymous” queries these days that we can’t possibly post them all. Our solution? A new Woolfer advice column called “WTF Do I Do?,” which will premiere on our blog next week. Going forward, on alternating Fridays, we’ll choose two of your anonymous questions to answer by a rotating panel of wise, witty WWVWD moderators. Stay tuned.
Another development: we’re officially launching a Woolfer Business Directory. It’s our first bonafide WWVWD business venture, and we’re excited for the opportunity to provide a concrete and powerful way to showcase our talents. The idea is simple: one place to tell each other about all the amazing businesses we run, and where we can find Woolfers to support, whether we’re looking for a graphic designer, decorator, publicist, realtor, estate lawyer, soap-maker, yoga teacher, masseuse, architect, or what have you. All searchable by location, of course. We hope you will support us — if you have a business you would like to list, create your listing here.
On a personal note, my California sojourn comes to a close this week. On Tuesday, I head back to Brooklyn for the foreseeable duration, and I’m feeling pretty mixed about it. Home is always home, and I’ll be glad to be back in the bosom of my friends. But I have loved the sunny cheer of LA, and met so many women I now adore. With luck, I’ll be back.
Lastly, Happy Mother’s Day if it’s a holiday you rock; or if you’re like me, May You Sail Through The Day Without Too Much Angst.
What We’re Talking About
Mother’s Day: For the Independent Mothers of Iceland, every day is Mother’s Day: affordable preschools, paid leave, and—surprise!—no “mommy wars.”
Sex: An end-of-men moment? Jane Fonda Has ‘Closed Up Shop Down There.’ And in the Brief History of Oral Sex, we learned that the Kama Sutra put the onus on men to give women orgasms, and plenty of them.
Race: Just this past week, A Woman Said She Saw Burglars. They Were Just Black Airbnb Guests and A Black Yale Student Was Napping, and a White Student Called the Police. These disturbing, yet all-too-common events, opened up vigorous conversations about how to break out of “seeing white,” and move forward from a place of fear to healing. For many of us who actually embody a racial divide, our very own Amanda Avutu explores What It’s Like to Grow Up Mixed-Race in America.
Feminism: Still reeling in the wake of four women’s horrifying allegations of assault and physical abuse against former NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Jill Filipovic gives us an insightful look at The Problem with Feminist Men. Almost 50 years after its publication, the groundbreaking essay “I Want a Wife” remains painfully relevant.
Life: Lots of great ideas here from a course on Getting Unstuck to Be Like a Weed: The Life Advice of 102-year-old Painter to How I Hit the Reset Button on My Life. (A date with nature helps.)
Inspiration: A 96-Year-Old Woman Quietly Amasses Fortune, Then Gives Away $8.2 Million, most of it to the Henry Street Settlement to endow its college success program for disadvantaged students. Thank you, Sylvia Bloom, for showing us the true spirit of generosity, and a life well-lived.
An enthusiastic thread on must-read short story collections reminded us just how much we love the form. In the hands of a master, the short story rivals its splashy sibling, the novel. Elegant, spare, taut. Every. Word. Matters. So when we found out May is Short Story Month, we couldn’t resist — we compiled 31 Woolfer-recommended collections, one for each day of the month. Check out the list here.
Want to do even more to stay on top of your short story game? Subscribe to One Story to receive a story each month, or listen to The New Yorker‘s monthly fiction podcast, where authors read and discuss their faves.
With summer looming, it’s time to reassess our sunscreen habits. Tricky business, sunscreen. From SPF to chemical vs. physical protection to potential impact on the environment, there are an array of considerations before we even get to “which brand?” These articles are a good place to start to help guide you through the process: Ocean-Safe Sunscreens and Is Sunscreen Actually Toxic? Here’s What Science Says. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) interactive database, which rates the toxicity of various products, including sunscreen, is also a super helpful resource.
Woolfers, meanwhile, swear by these products to protect skin from damaging rays: Elta MD UV Physical Broad Spectrum SPF 41 Sunscreen doubles as a sheer foundation, thanks to a slight tint. The non-greasy, hypoallergenic Vanicream Sunscreen Sport 35 was especially praised by those with sensitive skin. For drier skins, there’s Le Roche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizing Cream with SPF 15. Looking for a higher SPF? Le Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid also got kudos.
Remember, sunscreen is only as effective as its last application, and dermatologists recommend reapplying every two hours or so — one more thing to add to the daily to-do list. (On that note, kegel!). Our quick fix: Peter Thomas Roth’s powdered Instant Mineral Sunscreen. It comes in a handy portable tube with brush that fits right in your pocket or bag. Swipe across your face and neck, and you’re good to go.
Woolfer of the Week
Carla Sarett, 65, San Francisco, #NotInvisible
About me: After stints in academia, TV, and indie film, I founded my own market research firm. I also publish short fiction/ essays—my essay on New York’s forgotten female artists is forthcoming. I blog at carlasarett.blogspot.com, and you can find my author page on Amazon.
What is your current crush? Far too many! Buildings (Union League of Philadelphia), bridges (the Bay Bridge at night!), public statues (Angel of the Waters, Central Park), cities (Philadelphia, Venice, Manhattan of course). Forgotten female artists – my latest crush, Fra Dana who lived in Montana, a rancher’s wife who painted melancholy images. And sure, I get crushes on characters I invent, too—Kyle, from my story Stand-By. I wonder how he’s doing.
Tweet to younger self: Ditch the high heels, keep the lipstick.
Describe a difficult period in your life. How did you recover?
Two months after my mom’s funeral, my wonderful friend Ruth (an alcoholic writer, estranged from a vicious brother) asked me to be her health care proxy—her liver was failing, and fast. My mom’s death had been out of the blue, and now this. I was in Philly, Ruth in New York during those snowy winter weeks. I began writing stories for Ruth (I’d never written fiction) and read them to her. Nothing prepares you for the icy hell of giving those final instructions, but writing got me through it.
Xanax or Weed? I need a more interesting drug, thanks.
For all us word nerds out there—and at WWVWD our numbers are legion—we are thrilled to kick off Woolfer Words, a new column by Kory Stamper, lexicographer and author of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. This week, Kory investigates how the word “conceal” means more than meets the eye…you can read all about it here.