GameStop and Scott Galloway and Bad Takes and (you guessed it) The Patriarchy

The GameStop thing. On Wednesday, I had a busy day and in the afternoon, when I peeked at Twitter, everyone was talking about it. I had never even HEARD of GameStop and before I read anything to understand it, I saw this tweet and already knew it was a bad take:

I, like my fave infectious disease researcher Laurel Bristow, think of the stock market as "astrology for bros" (note: being a bro is more of an ethos than a gender identity, so women can also be bros). Because of this I don't care about this GameStop thing beyond enjoying seeing some underdogs take down some smug capitalist overlords.

What I DO care about is prominent people who are seen as smart and authoritative explaining away "bad male behaviour" (is this bad male behaviour? Or just PEOPLE--men and women--playing the game the way their opponents do?) with lack of access to sex. Which always really means access to WOMEN, because even though he doesn't specify these are straight men, I've seen this narrative enough to know that he hasn't even considered that some men have sex with other men in this equation.

It's just... STOP IT.

Setting aside his ridiculous assumption that this is being driven solely by single men who have no "guardrails" on their lives, he is giving his fellow men ZERO credit or agency over their own lives.


Believe it or not, I know actual human men who (gasp!) will avoid getting into fights and throwing all their money away, even without a sexual partner to nag them into responsibility, because they actually VALUE themselves, their lives, and their communities. (BIGGER GASP!)

A bored/angry young man is only "the most dangerous person in the world" if his social system has completely neglected his emotional and relational health (note: not sex, but relationships, you know those things where people care about each other? Even without orgasms?) while telling him certain things (sex, money) can replace feelings and meaningful community.

If a man in this situation feels he has nothing and ALSO believes he is entitled to things and ALSO believes that the things he is entitled to are being withheld from him, then yeah. He's dangerous AF. Guess what might tell him all that? Sing it with me: toxic patriarchal masculinityyyyyyyyyy. Guess what system we need to change to help set this sad and angry man free? Let's sing again: the patriarchyyyyyy!

Oh! And the gall. THE GALL! Of his "(enough)" caveat. It's not even that they need to get sex, but they need to get ENOUGH sex. So shame on you if you don't give your man whatever he deems to be ENOUGH sex because he must meet a certain threshold of sexual encounters to activate the guardrails around his desire to burn down his own life!!!

If Scott Galloway is right, then guess what? So are the women who say "all men are trash." Because this is a MAN telling us with his own little twitter-typing fingers that if men don't get enough sex they'll very reasonably turn into godzilla and smash everything good in their lives. Which is trash.

An animated gif clip from the movie Toy Story where Buzz Lightyear, an astronaut toy, says, "there seem to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere."

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Mars Attacks! Is STILL Pure Delight

An animated gif clip from the movie Mars Attacks with three martians standing in a row to take a photo in front of the Taj Mahal just as it is being blown up

I have always maintained that the movie Mars Attacks! was delightful genius encapsulated on film and that it never got its due. Last night, I rewatched it (because I still have my old DVDs, y'all!) and I stand by my previous assessment.

First of all, if a bop was a term for a group of actors, this cast would be a bop. Annette Benning! Jim Brown! Martin Short! Jack Nicholson! SJP! All the rest of them!

Second, the writers clearly embraced their weird and did not miss a SINGLE opportunity for a joke. The whole thing is a series of absurdly hilarious punchlines. And the DETAIL! Each character's little world is so precise and yes, they are archetypes but they are parodied so perfectly it's irresistible. (The president and his wife eat their meals off TV TRAYS, for pete's sake!!! The fact that people STILL gather to watch the martians visit congress even after they got shot up in the desert!!!)

Third, while a movie made out of a card game is clearly just an excuse to bring a bunch of martians to earth and shoot stuff, they actually strung together a ludicrous-yet-semi-plausible storyline that has emotional weight and reality for each of the characters!

Fourth, there are little touches that I think are meant to really drive home the skewering of certain systemic issues in society. FOR EXAMPLE, when the martian goes to congress, it is made up of almost entirely actual old white men, most wearing grey suits. I saw one woman, and one dude who was a bit younger. THAT'S COMMENTARY, PEOPLE. (Although I will be the first to admit that the cast should have been more diverse as a whole and the first person the martians kill is a Black man which his NOT a trope we need to parody through replication.)


Tragically, it's only available to rent, not stream, and I'm not loaning out my DVD (that's how I lost I Heart Huckabees, thankyouverymuch), but it is WORTH the $4.99 rental fee.

An animated gif clip from the movie Mars Attacks with Annette Benning sitting on a floatie in the middle of a pool in a meditation pose with a big smile on her face

An animated gif clip from the movie Mars Attacks. In the desert, there is a large flying saucer landed with a martian standing in front of it. Among the large group of people there to witness the event is a group of hippies, one of whom releases a dove as a symbol of peace. The martian shoots the dove.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Look! I'm On the News!

Hey friends! My tweet was on the news!

So if you're wondering my take on local COVID restrictions, this is it. I'm tired (as is everyone I know) of trying to interpret every decision I make, especially under a vague order to "do more." What's more when I'm already following all the rules???

Anyways, if you want autographs, well, don't line up or come in person or do anything because it's a pandemic.

An animated gif video clip from the movie Superstar. Molly Shannon is dressed in a school uniform, jumps into a lunge, and says "superstar!"

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Have I Reached Peak Self-Care?

Here's a question:

Let's say you have a daily recurring reminder to do a self-care thing, like meditate. And let's say you're just not actually doing the thing, and seeing the reminder there every day is just making you feel kind of bad.

Is deleting said reminder PEAK SELF-CARE? Or is it just giving up?

An animated gif video of a man sitting cross-legged. He has his hands on his knees in a classic meditation position, inhales deeply and then his head drops, asleep

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Hope Hall's Guide to Being Overwhelmed

“When I feel overwhelmed or stressed or lose my center, I draw on one or all of these things:

Be kind & be useful.

Slow way, way down.

Let the world speak to you.

Rest your mind on your breath.

I am only as good as the company I keep.

How can I best support my own vulnerability?

Compassion is the highest form of critical thinking.

My life—which includes my work—is only as good as I feel.

Try to put how you want to feel ahead of what you want to be or even do.

This is what I’m doing, this thing, right now; drop the words, stick with the feeling.

Be ready for opportunities & openings as they come along; change is the only constant.

Go toward the good—the good people, the good moments—& let the rest of the static, noise & drama fall away.

While we’re breathing—which is miraculous, and won’t be happening some day—all we’re doing is learning and growing. That’s all, learning and growing.

Follow your interests, wherever they lead will be somewhere that lights up your eyes, or floats your cork; notice when you get excited &/or confused by things, write down these moments & let them guide you.”

– Hope Hall

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

You'll Never Guess This GENIUS Way Your Dark Inner Voices Are Sabotaging Your Every Move

An animate gif with a black-and-white, line-drawn illustration of a person (more of a bean, really) with a scribbly line over their head representing a scribbly mess in their brain. The scribbles are jostling around.
Lisa Vertudaches

Y'all! Despite having written a whole book about learning to like yourself and not undermine your own every move with self-hatred, I have recently discovered YET ANOTHER WAY those dark voices in my head are tripping me up.

Generally, I have gotten pretty good at ignoring, setting aside, or countering those voices (as per the techniques in my book). But! They are sneaky! They change tactics! They change focus! They do not go quiet into that good night! (Not because they are mean, necessarily, but because they are very misguidedly trying to protect us from hurt.)

I have realized one really place those voices have been really effective for a while is in undermining my follow up. Whether it's at work, with friends, or even here on this blog, in the space between me saying I'll do something and the time when I should actually do it, those little voices come in and do their darndest to convince me that nobody really cares, that I am not needed, or that hearing from me again will just be annoying.

An example: a friend reaches out to me to let me know something I did that hurt them--a generous and vulnerable act of love on their part. I respond in the moment to apologize and try to begin to make things right, but there is need for a follow-up conversation. I should be the one to initiate that, to show that I care and am taking this seriously but it gets dangerously delayed or even dropped.

Why? Because of those dang voices: "They don't really want to hear from you, don't bug them," "You already annoyed them once, don't want to be a pest," "They don't really care about you that much," "This is the perfect opportunity for them to ditch your friendship," "Just forget about it, they have basically forgotten you already."

On the plus side, thanks to all the previous work I've done, I am now fully able to talk back to these voices. I can say no, actually my friend wouldn't have reached out in the first place if they didn't care. People don't put in extra emotional work to repair relationships that don't matter to them, and if anything, this is a sign of how much I mean to them.

On the negative side, by the time my mental tug of war finished, enough time had passed that I have now left my friend feeling high and dry and now there is something new to apologize for. (We all know how terrible it feels to share something vulnerable with someone we love and feel like they aren't taking it seriously.)

I have to say kudos to the strategy at play here. If YOU were in charge of protecting someone from future hurt by making sure they never got too close to anyone or had too big of expectations for their life, undermining their ability build any form of trust by interfering with their follow-up is pure genius. Mwa! Chef's kiss!

But now I'm onto them. Look out, dark voices! Because over the coming months or years I will slowly start to get better at noticing and pushing back against my own brain when this happens, an act that always feels like trying to swim through a pool full of wet cement.

Can't wait to encounter your next move, dark voice strategist.

PS: How was my click-bait headline???

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

On High School and Futility

An animated gif video clip of Jerry Seinfeld on a red carpet interview saying "Do you ever pull out your high school yearbook and think 'that was great! Let me go back and relive those four years!'"
E! Online

A story about futility:

My high school grad class has a Facebook group. I left this group years ago, because, well, do I need a reason to leave a Facebook group for my high school grad class?

HOWEVER, recently, some friends from those days who I do keep in touch with mentioned that there was a thread on the group where everyone was posting life updates and that it was a fun opportunity to spy on everyone's lives.

I figured what the heck, if social media is good for anything, it's spying on other people's lives. I LOVE spying on other people's lives! I rejoined.


These 126 life updates were EXACTLY the same: marriage status (married or divorced), number of children, and what city they live in. THAT'S IT. The big variation was some people adding in what kind of work they do.

A "fun opportunity to spy", indeed! Everyone (with two exceptions) has the exact same life!

I GET IT. Our relationships and family status are very significant parts of our lives, especially if you're in the thick of raising three kids. But the fact that none of them seemed to think ANYTHING else about their lives was interesting or worth sharing??? AT ALL??? I'm sure at least some of these people have picked up fun new hobbies or had some big accomplishments in the last 18 years!


I wasn't going to even engage with it, but then I thought, you know what, I will. I'm going to post an update about my life and I'm not even going to mention relationships or kids because they are not the only things that matter in life. I posted a cute photo of me and my cat (obvi) and gave an update that included my work, an accomplishment, and a hobby. So well-rounded! That'll show 'em!

A few minutes later, a comment! 

It was brief: "marriage family kids ?"

That's it. That's all the words and the exact punctuation.

I laaaaaaaauuuuuughed.

At myself for thinking that I was really making a bold statement about the value of life outside of marriage and children with one little Facebook comment.

At them for being the perfect example of the opposite.

At all of us, for existing in the world.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

This Week's Gratitude & Delight Roundup

An animated gif illustration. There is a black background and a white speech bubble with the text "thank you" inside it that blinks on and off. Around the speech bubble are two white stars that wiggle back and forth.
Ivo Adventures

This week I have been grateful for

Getting my closet slightly more organized as I make plans to redo the whole thing because it gives me a sense of control.

Saying hello to my nephew over video chat and seeing his GIANT smile (like, huge, I don't know if his mouth is big or what, but it takes up half his face) because I love that kiddo.

Having friends who I can unpack complicated things with because I don't get stuck in my own brain and it feels like we're in it together.

Video chats with the kinds of friends who are so close and comfortable that it ALMOST feels like we're in the same room because I don't feel so alone.

Standing in the sunshine because it is fresh and bright and alive.

Being able to give someone something they requested because I got to help them AND clear some unused stuff out of my home.

Bending over, saying "oof" and then realizing my body didn't actually FEEL oofy! Because bodies not hurting is better.

Gertie making a point of curling up with me or reaching out as if she is trying to hug me because it feels like love.

A friend and a neighbour to get my bag back because they both went out of their way to help me.

This Week's Delight:
- My dad calling someone a dipstick
- A TikTok video about potatoes that made me laugh so so hard
- Putting Bernie into the Friendly Giant set.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Do I Have a Weird Internal Process for Turning Calendar Pages?

An animated gif illustration showing a drawing of a wall calendar on a wall with blue and white stripes. The pages of the calendar rip off one by one, showing each month. The images for each month progress through a bare patch of land and then a house being built.
Thoka Maer.

I feel like my internal process when it comes to turning calendar pages is weird. Here's an example month of my process, assuming that it's a brand new calendar page on day one. Does anyone else do this?

1: Turn new calendar page, feel a small endorphin hit from the freshness of a new month and seeing a new picture. Want that hit again, but know it won't come for another month.
4: Wonder if it's time to change the calendar page. No, turns out it has only been a few days.
5: Okay, but NOW it's time to change the page? NO?
15: It's been a while, time to change the calendar page now?
22: Ugh, a month is SO LONG.
28: Just a few days!
1: Completely forget about the passage of time or the existence of calendars.
8: Oh yeah, the calendar! [flips page, process repeats.]

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Learning! Roundup: Researching Death, Happy Families, and Potty Mouths

An old black and white photo from the New York Public Library Archives, showing two Black nurses, wearing the old uniform dresses and caps, one with a cape, standing facing one another. They are smiling, as if in conversation, and holding vials for injections.
New York Public Library

How to Research Death

I learned more about how longevity and fitness-based research is developed from this article than I did about the value of exercise (although I did learn that doing HIIT-style workouts is better for your longevity and overall quality of life by a pretty small margin, although that margin might mean a lot when you're dying). Apparently, scientists studying longevity like to use elderly participants because they are more likely to die which will make it easier to identify if, you know, the interventions are making a difference.

It's a bit morbid and a lot logical.

The Recipe for a Happy Family

Being happy with your partner and kids, if you go that route in life, may depend on psychological flexibility. This includes traits like being open to new experiences (good or bad), connecting to the present moment, and maintaining "deeper values" despite other stressors in life. Honestly, these seem like a recipe for increased satisfaction in life, in general.

(Also, I read the full list of traits of psychological flexibility in the article, and went, oh crap, I may not be psychologically flexible.)

Potty Mouths

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

This Octopus Could Be You

In case you needed to see this today, here's an octopus using a shield and smacking another octopus that gets too close.

Maybe it's about personal boundaries. Maybe it's about American politics. Maybe it's about nature being its natural self. Choose your own adventure.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Following Our Guts Is Hard, But Not That Hard

An animated gif video of a woman saying "I've just got a feeling I can't shake."

“Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fall out. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. Don’t seek joy at all costs.

I know it’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do—have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly. I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always."

-Cheryl Strayed

Things I love about this quote:

First, the obvious: listening to our guts. This is the trick of life, isn't it? To not shut out the part of us that knows when something is right or wrong.

Next, the joy. Don't give up all your joy, don't prioritize joy above all else. This combination is as perfect as a sunrise. Oooooh, and the idea of holding onto an old idea about ourselves and letting that steal our joy??? It's just so real I want to hug it! But like a tough love hug where it gets set straight.

Then, being hard. Have you noticed that the hardest part of doing something you know is right is usually the part where you decide to commit to it?

It's like there's a path over there and your gut knows you should follow it, but you can't even see it because there's a giant Monument of Impossibility and Dread blocking it that makes you feel a pit in your stomach just to look at it.

For me, the monument's plaque says, "Other People." There are always people who are invested in us following whatever path we've been on so far who will be hurt or upset by us making a change. Just the idea of telling them I am going a different direction makes my insides feel all twisted up in a knot.

Once we commit, though, and start walking towards that monument, it blips out of existence because it wasn't even real in the first place, it was an illusion our brains created just to make things harder. We are rewarded with massive elation and relief. We are doing it!!! 

The process of getting there is all very hard. But as Cheryl says, it's not as hard as we act like it is. Definitely not hard enough to justify ignoring what we know to be right.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Hating On Our Past Selves is SO Over

I just realized something!

When I dunk on my past self, all I am doing is perpetuating the self-hatred I held back then!

I joke sometimes about how I must have been a real "pill" or a "challenge" in high school, and have sometimes marvelled that people stayed friends with me.

I base these statements on facts like that I was pretty into Evangelical Christianity and I tried to convert my non-Christian friends at most sleepovers. Or my general hyperactivity. Or the fact that it kind of took me a while to realize that if I could see my period-stained underwear when I sat cross-legged in my shorts, then everyone else could see it too.


Focusing on those things and saying things like, "I can't believe I even had friends" just means I believe all the terrible things I believed about myself back then! It says that I was, indeed, lame and unloveable and I just managed to somehow turn it around and gain some worth as an adult???

That's malarky!

The fact is that as a teenager I may have been zealous and loud and sometimes not grasping what people were physically seeing when they looked at me, but I was also fun and smart and engaged and creative and willing to step out and be different and those are pretty effing cool traits, too.

So I'm not going to join in with Former Andrea's self-hatred by talking about her as if she was the worst. She was great!

Will you join me? Let's all love on our past selves!!!!

An animated gif video of a little girl holding a mug, saying, "I don't care if you like me, I love me."

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

This Week's Gratitude & Delight Roundup

An animated gif illustration. There is a black background and a white speech bubble with the text "thank you" inside it that blinks on and off. Around the speech bubble are two white stars that wiggle back and forth.
Ivo Adventures

Remember how I was going to start actually doing a gratitude journal again? And then I decided to use y'all for my accountability to actually do it?

Well, week one, it's working!

Here's a roundup of some of the things I was grateful for:

- A video date because it reminded me that there are single men out there who like to have conversations.

- Finding out that the reason my heat isn't working properly may be as simple as buying a new $30 thermostat because I may actually get a functioning heater!!!

- Getting a bunch of blog posts drafted because I like writing.

- Having a virtual happy hour with my soulmate-bestie because she is my everything.

- Getting an easy-but-boring and time-consuming task done at work because then I don't have to think about it.

- Several non-rainy commutes to and from work because then my bike ride is so much more pleasant.

- A few meaningful and tough conversations with friends because they made me feel closer to them.

- Gertie lying on my chest and purring and reaching out like she wants to hold me because it makes me feel warm and loved.

- A morning spent writing a comedy book that will probably go nowhere but made me laugh so much while I was doing it.

- A sunny walk because it made me feel free.

- Trying a new "ritual" for a group that meets weekly because it felt nice and I think it helped bring meaning to our gathering.

Also, this week I was delighted by the sky, Gertie, and my nephew's smile.

A wide-angle photo of the sky. The sun is low, the sky is blue and there is a streak of clouds diagonally across it. At the bottom of the photo are the silhouettes of a row of trees.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

I May Genuinely Be a Worse Person for This

I've discovered something about myself that may make me a worse person: I think... I like arguing with people on Twitter?

Recently, I made the terrible mistake of commenting on Erin O'Toole's tweet about how prisoners shouldn't get priority in vaccination schedules (because they're criminals and obviously we should let our justice system and moral judgements about someone's character have a say in the distribution of healthcare).

Naturally, a lot of people responded. The smart thing to do would have been to ignore those responses and go on with my life, but I couldn't help it. I engaged. And it was... kind of fun? To snipe with strangers online?

Do I need to be cut off? Should I do some soul-searching? Am unfulfilled in other parts of my life?

An animated gif video of a cat carrying a kitten away in its mouth with the text "that's enough internet for today"

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Ziqiang Liu's Reflections

Take a gander at this work by Ziqian Liu. It's so simple but so evocative, like a bunch of little haiku photographs. 

Also, if my recent post on the creepiness of art that's all just beautiful women made you wonder if there's, here's a non-creepy way to have your work consist primarily of women, here's an example. These photos often just depict separated body parts of women, which could be even creepier in the wrong hands, but they are actual artistic constructions, thoughts, and ideas. Not just, "look at this beautiful woman, she is beautiful" over and over again.

An art photograph that depicts a woman lying face-down, but it appears as though the front half of her body is in the floor, you can only see the back half. There is a small circular mirror beside her with a hand reflected in it.

An art photograph where w a circular mirror has a tulip laying across it, and two arms come out of either side, with one hand reflected in the mirror. It looks slightly broken and mournful, but lovely.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Seeing Your Whole Self in Barnor Hesse's 8 White Identities

I've seen this image circulate quite a bit in my social media feeds:

A graph of the 8 white identities, going from white supremacist to white abolitionist. Full text available later in the post.
Barnor Hess via The Slow Factory

Just like my understanding of the happiness-hacking social media post shifted the more I saw it, so has this one.

The first few times I encountered it, I read through the categories, trying to figure out (or confirm) what category I belong in.

I no longer think that's the most helpful way to use this chart, as a white person.

I have realized that instead of trying to stuff my whole self into one box (the most advanced one I can honestly claim, obviously), it may be more helpful to ask myself in which contexts I fall into which categories.

If I look at each identity, even the ones I am loathed to belong to, and honestly ask myself if there are any contexts or situations where this describes me, then I can begin to actually do something about them.

While ignoring the more regressive parts of myself might allow me to feel a bit more comfortable about my position in the world, it also means I will continue to perpetuate harm, and the whole point here is to stop with the harm. (Or one of the whole points, anyways.)

People are not consistent enough to always fit one label. We are wavy and fickle and we are all a little bit hypocritical. We may have super-strong convictions and then go back to our hometown or enter a new workplace where we aren't sure of our place or even just be really tired and find ourselves breaking them.

It doesn't mean we are terrible people, it just means we need to find ways to bolster and support the person we want to be. But we can't do that if we pretend we never falter.

[IMAGE TEXT: 8 White Identities by Barnor Hesse

White Supremacist: Clearly marked white society that preserves, names, and values white superiority.

White Voyeurism: Wouldn't challenge white supremacist; desires non-whiteness because it's interesting, pleasurable; seeks to control the consumption and appropriation of non-whiteness; fascination with culture (eg: consuming Black culture without the burden of Blackness)

White Privilege: May critique supremacy, but a deep investment in questions of fairness/equality under the normalization of whiteness and the white rule; sworn goal of "diversity"

White Benefit: Sympathetic to a set of issues, but only privately; won't speak/act in solidarity publicly because benefitting through whiteness in public (some POC are in this category as well)

White Confessional: Some exposure to whiteness takes place, but as a way of being accountable to POC after; seek validation from POC

White Critical: Take on board critique of whiteness and invest in exposing/marking the white regime; refuses to be complicit with the regime; whiteness speaking back to whiteness

White Traitor: Actively refuses complicity; names what's going on; intention is to subvert white authority and tell the truth at whatever cost; need them to dismantle institutions.

White Abolitionist: Changing institutions, dismantling whiteness, and not allowing whiteness to reassert itself.]

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Okay, Okay, I Get It, I Need to Get Back into Gratitude!

An animated gif illustration of a white plastic bag with a yellow smiley face and the words "thank you" on it, blowing as if in the wind

Last week's episode of the podcast Nerdette included a chat with poet Ross Gay who released an essay collection called The Book of Delights. The book is exactly what the title says: he spent a year handwriting little essays to honour something that delighted him that day. Those essays are the book.

He spoke about how looking for delights every day really helped change his perspective on life.

Also on the episode was Dr. Y. Joel Wong, discussing the scientific backing for the power of gratitude to support your mental and physical health. Coincidentally, his summation of the research is exactly what I suggest in my book Feeling Better: A Field Guide to Liking Yourself: write it down (don't just think about it) and to keep it simple by committing to just noting three things a day, in point form.

In further gratitude-related prompting from the universe, my dad finally got to have an in-person visit with my grandma in her long-term care facility, where she has lived in near-total isolation for almost a year. He asked what she wanted to say to the family, and she said:

"Being thankful is the only thing."

She said we have to "touch it." (Again, this is from the woman who has been quite literally alone with her thoughts for the better part of 10 months.)

Over the past couple of years, my habit of gratitude journalling has wained--which is a nice way of saying I'm not doing it anymore, and whenever I've tried to start, I've had a really hard time re-introducing the habit.

Well, this is motivating me! I am going to get back at it, but! Since I obviously have struggled with making it happen, though, I need some extra accountability. Here it is: once a week I'll share a little roundup of the things that made me grateful that week.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Can We Stop Calling Men Women Just Because They Clean Something?

An animated gif video of a man vacuuming, dancing enthusiastically as he does so

Can we please stop with calling men "housewives" or "Mr. Mom" or even just "the wife" or "the mom" when they engage in domestic labour?

I'm sure it seems cute and funny and nice that the dude is comfortable enough with his masculinity to be like, "Yeah, I'm the mom, dig it!" but truly, all that does is reinforce the idea that the man is doing a woman's job! We are literally calling a man a woman because he is cleaning or taking care of his own children.

Here's an excellent gender-neutral replacement term for the partner who is taking care of household responsibilities: the house spouse!

It rhymes! It's cute and playful! It makes you think of an adorable little mouse dusting! It can be used by couples (or thruples!) made up of any combination of gender identities! And, most importantly, IT DOESN'T ASSUME ANY PARTICULAR GENDER'S DEFAULT RESPONSIBILITY FOR HOUSEWORK. 

(Credit to my friends Matt and Blythe for coming up with that one. They are a really wonderful pair of people who seem to naturally default to gender equity in their relationship and I thrill to see it.)

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Friends, Waffles, Work

A photo of two young men, one has his hand on the other one's shoulder and they are smiling

“Life will present you with unexpected opportunities, and you won't always know in advance which are the important moments. Above all, it's the quality of your relationships that will determine the quality of your life. Invest in your connections, even those that seem inconsequential.”
-Esther Perel

This has been my approach to life for a very long time. When asked what gives my life meaning, I would almost always answer my friends, my relationships, my community.

On one hand, it's totally true and I have some very meaningful relationships which one could say means I have a very meaningful life. (I would say so as well!)

On the other hand, it also led me to holding onto more relationships that a person can effectively maintain with any meaning. At some point, I had to actually decide which friendships I was really going to invest in, which may have involved some gut-wrenching priority-setting.

Also, on that other hand, I have often chosen friendship over pursuing work, which is usually the right decision, but perhaps not the right decision every single time.

Still, Mr. Perel's wisdom is where it's at.

Or, as Leslie Knope says, "We have to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work."

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

The Epitome of the Thing You Didn't Know Existed But You Desperately Needed All Along

Who DOESN'T need a snowman carrier??? (Perhaps people in warmer climates. Or maybe they need it most?)

A photo of a carrier designed specifically to carry a small snowman. It is a black hard-shell cooler bag shaped like a small snowman, open with a snowman inside of it.

This is the real deal. It's a cooler bag with a hard shell with a carrying pocket for your snowman's carrot nose and a removable tray to make it as easy as possible to take him in and out.

It is designed by Yuko Matsuzawa for the company Tsuchiya Kaban, which has a series of whimsical bags designed just for the fun of carrying very specific objects around.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Instead of Fighting Your Fear

An animated gif illustration. It shows a woman lying in bed, and over her head, as if an x-ray into her brain, there is a scribbly, wriggling line of anxiety.
Wayward Pencil

“It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert

I'm getting into this idea that, if we can just chill a little bit with our less-desirable feelings and accept their presence, they are then able to chill, too. Especially if they live in the realm of fear and anxiety, which is all about protecting us. If you fight back against something that's trying to protect you, of course it's going to keep freaking out. You're not listening! As far as it can tell, a giant freight truck with cut brakes is about to smash into you! If you're not going to run you should at least panic!!!

But if you let it exist and maybe even make it feel heard, then I don't know, maybe it will relax, knowing it's done its job.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

It's Just That It's Creepy

You know how sometimes you see a piece of art and think, "wow, that's gorgeous, I want to see more of that artist's stuff" so you go to their website or Instagram page and then you see that it's just a grown man painting beautiful women over and over and over again, sometimes with their boobs out, and it starts to feel a little... weird? (Weirder still: when it's essentially the same woman over and over again, maybe with slightly different hair or skin tone but also maybe she looks exactly the same from image to image.)

Seriously though, is this just me? I feel genuinely skeeved out when an artist's entire catalogue is just beautiful women with different outfits. It's the same kind of discomfort I feel when a 30+ year-old man says anything about the kinds of "girls" he likes in his online dating profile.

Do I need to dial down the feminism?

An image with the text "dial down the feminism" at the top and below a dial with "complicit in my own dehumanisation" at one end and "raging feminist" at the other
Alex Bertulis-Fernandes

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

Back to Work But at Least There's Bean Dad

An animated gif where a woman is sitting at her desk, feet up, reading a magazine. She sits up, puts down her magazine, and exaggeratedly pretends to start typing at her computer.

This is the first year in... I don't know how many years... that I had an actual, old school break over the holidays. Thanks to the pandemic, I genuinely just spent the last week hanging around and doing nothing and seeing no one.

Today is my first day of "back to normal" and it feels very weird. Being reintroduced to my alarm clock was not ideal. I am not sure whether my brain will work on schedule, but I guess we shall see. (I'm writing this as if I didn't spend the weekend working on a grant that's due today because of course a grant should be scheduled the first day after the holidays.)

Since I was writing a grant this weekend, I was obviously really focused on what was happening on Twitter, and OH WHAT A TIME FOR IT.

It was the latest "the internet is the weirdest schoolyard ever": an indie West Coast musician who makes print poetry books out of his own tweets and likes "shock-value" racism as "comedy" became famous for thinking he was being a good parent by refusing to help his daughter learn how to use a can opener for 6 hours and live-tweeting her attempts (also she wasn't allowed to eat until she did it). He is now Bean Dad, which is still trending, everyone hates him, and there are memes.

This one, using actual dialogue from the (obviously now deleted) tweet thread, made me laugh maniacally out loud to myself while sitting alone in a park. I still love it:

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!