On… Amy Schumer, again

Okay, so this started as a post about Amy Schumer’s speech at the Gloria awards last year, but then I saw this and… I had to post about it, too. The world’s first-ever funny rape joke. Amy Schumer is a golden god.

Also, her speech is so brilliant that I stood up at my desk and gave her a standing ovation. Enjoy.

“Here I go, and if it doesn’t go well, please just don’t blog about it.

Right before I left for college, I was running my high school. Feel it. I knew where to park, I knew where to get the best chicken-cutlet sandwich, I knew which custodians had pot. People knew me. They liked me. I was an athlete and a good friend. I felt pretty, I felt funny, I felt sane. Then I got to college in Maryland. My school was voted number one … for the hottest freshman girls in Playboy that year. And not because of me. All of a sudden, being witty and charismatic didn’t mean shit. Day after day, I could feel the confidence drain from my body. I was not what these guys wanted. They wanted thinner, blonder, dumber … My sassy one-liners were only working on the cafeteria employees, who I was visiting all too frequently, tacking on not the Freshman 15, but the 30, in record-breaking time, which led my mother to make comments over winter break like, “You look healthy!” I was getting no male attention, and I’m embarrassed to say, it was killing me.

But one guy paid me some attention — Matt. Matt was six feet tall, he looked like a grown-up von Trapp child, and he was five years older than me. What?! An older boy, paying attention to me? I must be okay. Uff. I made him laugh in our bio lab, and I could tell a couple times that we had a vibe. He was a super senior, which is a sexy way of saying “should have graduated, but needed an extra year.” He barely spoke, which was perfect for all the projecting I had planned for him. We grew up in the same town, and getting attention from him felt like success. When I would see him on campus, my heart would race, and I would smile as he passed. I’d look in the mirror and see all the blood rise to my face. I’d spend time analyzing the interaction, and planning my outfit for the next time I saw him. I wanted him to call. He never called. But then finally, he called.

It was 8 a.m., my dorm room phone rang. “Amy, wassup? It’s Matt. Come over.” Holy shit! This is it, I thought.He woke up thinking about me! He realized we’re meant to start a life together! Let’s just stop all this pretending that we weren’t free just to love one another! I wondered, would we raise our kids in the town we both grew up in, or has he taken a liking to Baltimore? I don’t care. I’ll settle wherever he’s most comfortable. Will he want to raise our kids Jewish? Who cares? I shaved my legs in the sink, I splashed some water under my armpits, and my randomly assigned Albanian roommate stared at me from under her sheets as I rushed around our shitty dorm room. I ran right over to his place, ready for our day together. What would we do? It’s still early enough, maybe we’re going fishing? Or maybe his mom’s in town, and he wanted me to join them for breakfast. Knock-knock. Is he going to carry me over the threshold? I bet he’s fixing his hair and telling his mom, “Be cool, this may be the one!” I’ll be very sweet with her, but assert myself, so she doesn’t think she’s completely in charge of all the holiday dinners we’re going to plan together. I’ll call her by her first name, too, so she knows she can’t mess with me. “Rita! I’m going to make the green bean casserole this year, and that’s that!” Knock-knock. Ring ring. Where is he?

Finally, the door opens. It’s Matt, but not really. He’s there, but not really. His face is kind of distorted, and his eyes seem like he can’t focus on me. He’s actually trying to see me from the side, like a shark. “Hey!” he yells, too loud, and gives me a hug, too hard. He’s fucking wasted. I’m not the first person he thought of that morning. I’m the last person he called that night. I wonder, how many girls didn’t answer before he got to fat freshman me? Am I in his phone as Schumer? Probably. But I was here, and I wanted to be held and touched and felt desired, despite everything. I wanted to be with him. I imagined us on campus together, holding hands, proving, “Look! I am lovable! And this cool older guy likes me!” I can’t be the troll doll I’m afraid I’ve become.

He put on some music, and we got in bed. As that sexy maneuver where the guy pushes you on the bed, you know, like, “I’m taking the wheel on this one. Now I’m going to blow your mind,” which is almost never followed up with anything. He smelled like skunk microwaved with cheeseburgers, which I planned on finding and eating in the bathroom, as soon as he was asleep. We tried kissing. His 9 a.m. shadow was scratching my face — I knew it’d look like I had fruit-punch mouth for days after. His alcohol-swollen mouth, I felt like I was being tongued by someone who had just been given Novocain. I felt faceless, and nameless. I was just a warm body, and I was freezing cold. His fingers poked inside me like they had lost their keys in there. And then came the sex, and I use that word very loosely. His penis was so soft, it felt like one of those de-stress things that slips from your hand? So he was pushing aggressively into my thigh, and during this failed penetration, I looked around the room to try and distract myself or God willing, disassociate. What’s on the wall? A Scarface poster, of course. Mandatory. Anything else? That’s it? This Irish-Catholic son of bank teller who played JV soccer and did Mathletes feels the most connection with a Cuban refugee drug lord. The place looked like it was decorated by an overeager set designer who took the note “temporary and without substance” too far.

He started to go down on me. That’s ambitious, I think. Is it still considered getting head if the guy falls asleep every three seconds and moves his tongue like an elderly person eating their last oatmeal? Chelsea? Is it? Yes? It is. I want to scream for myself, “Get out of here, Amy. You are beautiful, you are smart, and worth more than this. This is not where you stay.” I feel like Fantine and Cosette and every fucking sad French woman from Les Miz. And whoever that cat was who sang “Memories,” what was that musical? Suze Orman just goes, “Cats.” The only wetness between my legs is from his drool, because he’s now sleeping and snoring into me. I sigh, I hear my own heartbreak, I fight back my own tears, and then I notice a change in the music. Is this just a bagpipe solo? I shake him awake. “Matt, what is this? The Braveheart soundtrack? Can you put something else on, please?” He wakes up grumpily, falls to the floor, and crawls. I look at his exposed butt crack, a dark, unkempt abyss that I was falling into. I felt paralyzed. His asshole is a canyon, and this was my 127 Hours. I might chew my arm off.

I could feel I was losing myself to this girl in this bed. He stood up and put a new CD on. “Darling, you send me, I know you send me, honest, you do …” I’m thinking, “What is this?” He crawled back into bed, and tried to mash at this point his third ball into my vagina. On his fourth thrust, he gave up and fell asleep on my breast. His head was heavy and his breath was so sour, I had to turn my head so my eyes didn’t water. But they were watering anyway, because of this song. Who is this? This is so beautiful. I’ve never heard these songs before. They’re gutting me. The score attached to our morning couldn’t have been more off. His sloppy, tentative lovemaking was certainly not in the spirit of William Wallace. And now the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard play out as this man-boy laid in my arms, after diminishing me to a last-minute booty call. I listened to the songs and I cried. I was looking down at myself from the ceiling fan. What happened to this girl? How did she get here? I felt the fan on my skin and I went, “Oh, wait! I am this girl! We got to get me out of here!” I became my own fairy godmother. I waited until the last perfect note floated out, and escaped from under him and out the door. I never heard from Matt again, but felt only grateful for being introduced to my new self, a girl who got her value from within her. I’m also grateful to Matt for introducing me to my love Sam Cooke, who I’m still with today.

Now I feel strong and beautiful. I walk proudly down the streets of Manhattan. The people I love, love me. I make the funniest people in the country laugh, and they are my friends. I am a great friend and an even better sister. I have fought my way through harsh criticism and death threats for speaking my mind. I am alive, like the strong women in this room before me. I am a hot-blooded fighter and I am fearless. But I did morning radio last week, and a DJ asked, “Have you gained weight? You seem chunkier to me. You should strike while the iron is hot, Amy.” And it’s all gone. In an instant, it’s all stripped away. I wrote an article for Men’s Healthand was so proud, until I saw instead of using my photo, they used one of a 16-year-old model wearing a clown nose, to show that she’s hilarious. But those are my words. What about who I am, and what I have to say? I can be reduced to that lost college freshman so quickly sometimes, I want to quit. Not performing, but being a woman altogether. I want to throw my hands in the air, after reading a mean Twitter comment, and say, “All right! You got it. You figured me out. I’m not pretty. I’m not thin. I do not deserve to use my voice. I’ll start wearing a burqa and start waiting tables at a pancake house. All my self-worth is based on what you can see.” But then I think, Fuck that. I am not laying in that freshman year bed anymore ever again. I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story — I will. I will speak and share and fuck and love and I will never apologize to the frightened millions who resent that they never had it in them to do it. I stand here and I am amazing, for you. Not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you, and I thank you.”

Yup. She’s the best.

If you haven’t watched Amy Schumer’s show yet, then get the hell off my blog and go watch it – Season 3 starts tonight – and prepare for Trainwreck, because it’s going to be your favorite movie this summer.

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On…. careers and children: the perfect combination

From NYMag.com this week:

“Why try to have “it all” at all? Here’s why: Because having a great career is the best and having babies is fucking incredible and having both is AMAZING, and no I’m not kidding, not even a little bit.

Ah. My God. I love this woman. Polly, whoever the hell you are, we need to meet.

 

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On… a movie deal

If you’re my buddy on Instagram (and if not, why not? Come now, let’s be friends – it’s a private account, but basically, unless I used to date you, I’ll totally accept you) then you already know this, but…

I have a movie deal with New Regency.

I’ve been waiting to share the details, so here they are: I went to LA at the end of last year with a production company called Locomotive (the marvelous people who brought you Friends With Kids) and pitched an idea to a big studio called New Regency (the marvelous people who brought you Birdman, Gone Girl, 12 Years A Slave and many many other incredible life-changing movies including PRETTY WOMAN. YES. I KNOW. ME TOO) and… they liked it. So they bought it.

And now I’m writing it. I won’t tell you the whole plot now, because why spoil the fun?… but it’s an idea I’ve been kicking around since last summer, and you know the cut of my jib by now: funny, real women being funny n real n stuff…. (SEE? That level of communication skill is what makes me a writer.) More details to come.

 

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On… Playing It Cool

Totally seeing this.

 

 

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On… covers

I haven’t posted about covers in a while. Partly because I’ve been working on movie stuff and haven’t had time, but also because I just don’t think about them much anymore. Covers are something that you completely lose your mind about with your first book, and learn to shrug off with approximately two seconds thought by the time you hit no.4. (Ditto publicity. Ditto distribution. Ditto reviews. You can’t control it, so don’t worry about it. Just start your next project. Far more productive. Everything will be fine. And so on.)

I loathed my first cover, it looked like the kind of book I’d be embarrassed to read in public. I only wrote the damn book on a whim so that girls like me and my friends could read something funny about love that wasn’t stupid, and here I was, with an incredibly stupid cover. I kept thinking ‘but… my book is so much cooler than that’. Didn’t matter: that year in the UK, all the light contemporary fiction books written by women had cartoon covers with a dickish girl sporting a red coat and a jaunty leg kick, and so it was for me. (I got a hand in the US cover, which I like very much.)

Anyway, now that I’ve had five books published in the UK and the US, as well as in German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Lithuanian and Slovakian, I just enjoy covers, and everything else book-related, with a sort of benevolent detachment. Once I’ve written the books, I love them, but they’re no longer mine, and I don’t really worry about them again. (I know some people say their books are like their babies, but dude, now that I have babies, I know that’s not true. Books are books. Babies are your heart.)

The US covers of the Brooklyn Girls series are terrific. I was unusually involved in this cover process, thanks to my lovely editor. I suggested we try something that looked a bit like an Instagram picture crossed with a Richard Linklater movie still, so we did, and they’re perfect. (Okay, so the middle one is a leetle streetwalkery, but what are you gonna do.)

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The UK covers of the series are also great – reminiscent of posters for a TV series, which I like, and the girls have attitude. (Third cover coming soon).

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Dutch covers are cool, like Dutch people. You can tell this girl is a teeny weeny bit stoned, about 6.1″ and will probably have a home birth one day. I am waiting to see the next Dutch covers. If anyone can find them, shoot them my way.

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Polish covers are incredibly damn stylish. Especially the first one, with the girl looking out of the cab. She’s adorable.

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German covers are a little kooky. Why is she chasing men with a butterfly net? Why is the Indian protagonist suddenly white? Why are there boys in a tree and why is she wearing red rainboots? Why not. Don’t ever change, Germany.

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Spanish covers are a little surreal. As though Bridget Jones wandered into a Pedro Almodovar movie.

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And… we shall have to wait for Italian, Lithuanian and Slovak covers, as I don’t have them yet. Can’t wait. I hope the Italian cover is all bunga-bunga-esque.

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On… Nude

I am tres overdue for a post. Not least because I have some exciting news (COUGH MOVIE DEAL COUGH) and stuff. But I just went to Hong Kong (family reunion) and now I have like 400 deadlines and anyway, Little GemGem is busy. And yup, I just called myself Little GemGem. I have to live with that, now so do you.

So, in the interest of all that is shallow, let me introduce you to an impulse buy that I will never regret, and if you choose to blow $33 on a lipstick, then my loves, blow this. (I know. Leave it.)

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Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Nude.

The perfect nude lipstick. Doesn’t give you corpse face, doesn’t sit on your lips like a 60s dollybird wearing Liquid Paper (or White Out or whatever you choose to call it, though if you were born in the 90s you’ll probably call it ‘Huh?’), doesn’t flash baby pink or peach or grey, not too matte or too shiny. It’s just… perfect.

Why is a writer sharing her views on lipstick with you? Why the hell not, that’s what I say.

Okay. Gotta run. Back soon. Promise.

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On… The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

If you’re not watching this yet, WATCH IT. It’s so good. I’m officially in love with Ellie Kempner. Though, if we’re being honest, I fell for her a couple of years ago in The Office. She’s one of those actresses that I have in my head when I’m writing funny women. She can pretty much do anything and I will crack up and adore her.

Fun fact: the theme song makes me shimmy in my seat.

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On… Mitera

Last summer, the incredibly inspiring Yoko Shimada invited me to be involved in the launch of Mitera Collection, a collection of beautiful, functional and stylish dresses for mothers and mothers-to-be…


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The truth is: finding lovely clothes to wear when preggers or breastfeeding is hard and stressful. Most maternity brands suck. I’m not wearing something in clownish red or purple for the first time in my life just because I’m knocked up, I’m absolutely not going to start wearing prints that will make me look even MORE like a sofa, and I’m sure as hell not wearing a tight wrap dress when I’m 50 pounds heavier with boobs like giant melons and a stomach that precedes me around corners by several seconds. It’s just not going to happen. (Even talking about pregnancy clothing choices makes me crabby. Can you tell?)

But I’m also not one of those women who says ‘oh, I just bought my normal clothes in one size bigger and it was fine!’ When I hear someone say that, I immediately assume they are lying. I am a moose when I’m pregnant. It’s just the way it is.

As for after the baby is born… the choice is even worse. I loathe those silly breastfeeding tops with the weird folds that you’re supposed to wrench your nipples through, I hate silly floaty empire dresses that make me look like Queen Victoria dressed as Miss Havisham, and I really don’t want anything that hugs my tummy and emphasizes my baby flab in the first months after the baby is born. During pregnancy and breastfeeding with Ned, I relied heavily on sweatpants from H&M and white men’s shirts and cardigans from Uniqlo. But I never felt stylish. Ever.

I wish Mitera had launched a year ago, because it really is the answer.

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The dresses are truly beautifully made. There are careful, flat little zips so you can whip your boobs out if you need to, or even pump. The waists go out and in, according to what stage of pregnancy or post-pregnancy you’re at. And they make you feel great. These photos were taken last summer when Ned was about seven months old, and I still had a little post-baby bulge, but the dress minimizes the hell out of it. (When I look at these photos I think 1. Ned is SO CUTE! and 2. Thank God I just cut seven inches off my hair, because that is some post-pregnancy baldy scraggly hair right there. Why didn’t someone TELL ME? But the point isn’t my hair, or Ned, the point is THE DRESS.)

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Anyway, the brand was launched THIS WEEK! So if you’re preggers or breastfeeding and just want a knockout dress that you can wear every day, to work events and weddings and everything in between, and always look and feel amazing, look no further. I loved the dress I wore, and I’m also obsessed with this one and this one.

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By the way, I’m not being paid to say this stuff, I really just wanted to share the brand with you. I love Yoko. Her background is in global public health, and she’s truly passionate about improving global maternal and child healthcare. With every dress sold, Mitera donates money and time to their partner, D-Rev, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing life-changing healthcare technology to people around the world living on less than $4 a day. D-Rev was founded by a wonderful woman called Krista Donaldson, a Stanford PhD engineer and mother of two.

And the dresses are genuinely gorgeous. I swear I might get knocked up again just so I can wear them for the duration of my pregnancy. (Kidding. Two is enough.) (For now.) (That sound is Fox screaming.) (No, really, if I even say it as a joke he goes into a flop sweat.)

We tried to get Errol to take some photos, by the way, but he decided he’s camera-shy last summer. In most of my photos of him, he’s holding up a hand to the camera, like a starlet running from paparazzi.

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EDIT – someone just asked via email, and: those are the sequined Converses I wore to our wedding, I bought them on Ebay so I don’t think they’re officially a thing but you can probably hunt them down, if that’s your bag. And the sunglasses are these ones. And the lipstick… urgh, I can’t remember. Probably this one.

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