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“Protest this dick, bitch!” In which what happened before and after the Women’s March demonstrates why we have to have a Women’s March.

January 21, 2018


Yesterday was the 2018 Women’s March, which happened in cities all over the country, including here in New York.  Last year, we showed up to the Women’s March early in the morning to get a spot near the main stage in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on 48th St between 2nd and 3rd.  Third Avenue was so packed with marchers stretching uptown literally as far as the eye could see, it took us a couple of hours to make it to the end of the block and turn left onto Third.  It took several more hours to make it the six blocks down 3rd to 42nd Street, and at least another hour to get to Grand Central, where we decided our aching feet had had enough and hopped a train back home.

This year, we decided to take a different approach.  We waited to join the march in the early afternoon, after the speakers would be finished and the marchers in motion.  The B/D line that runs under Central Park West wasn’t making local stops going uptown, so we so we had to ride all the way up to 125th St and hop a train going back downtown to join the march at 72nd St.

When we got on the downtown train at 125th, it was pretty full.  There was a guy sitting in the middle of one of the three-seat sections, chin on his chest, fast asleep.  His legs were spread apart, blocking the seats on either side of him, which is such a common problem with men on the subway that it has its own name.  But I had a sore knee, and I knew I was about to spend the majority of my day standing and marching on pavement, which meant there was an aching knee and probably also an aching back and some aching feet in my future. I wanted to sit and give my knee a break while I still had the chance.  I said “Excuse me,” but no response.  So I sat down next to him, and as I sat down, my leg unavoidably pushed his leg back into its own territory.  This woke him up from what I did not realize was a state of drunken slumber.

He turned toward me, looked me up and down, and, loading his voice and his body language with as much pickin’-up-chicks swagger as he could muster under the circumstances, he asked if it would be okay if he emailed me.  As he spoke, a cloud of booze breath hit me in the face.  On top of being a manspreader and a guy who makes unwelcome advances to random women in the subway, he’s also apparently a day drinker.  Just my luck.  His mother must be so proud.  I pointed to my partner and said, “Why don’t you ask him if it’s okay if you email me.” I hoped he’d get the hint and back off, but instead he started giving me a hard time because I had dared not to give him what he wanted.  As men so commonly do, especially the drunk ones, he went from I’m going to be charming because I want something from you to I’m going to verbally abuse you for not giving me what I want in a matter of seconds.  On top of that, even though the seat to his right was still completely empty, he moved his body even closer to  me, pressing the entire length of his body against me from shoulder to ankle.  Unmistakably, an act of aggression.

To be clear, I’m a big person, and if I sit right next to you, we’re going to be touching.  Subway seats are small, and people far thinner than I am will have thigh-and-elbow contact when they sit next to each other.  That’s just how it goes on the subway.  But in my experience, when somebody bigger-than-average sits next to a person and the seat on the other side is empty, that person will almost always scoot over so both people can have some personal space.  It’s the courteous thing to do, and there’s just no reason not to do it.  If a third person comes and sits in the middle, well, no more personal space for anybody.  The three of you are going to live without personal space until one of you gets off the train.  But until that happens, it is an exceedingly common and courteous thing just to slide on over.  And if it doesn’t happen automatically, sometimes I’ll ask the person if they’d mind scooting over a little so we can both be more comfortable.  In more than a decade of riding the subway every day, I have never, ever had anybody refuse.

But instead of doing that, this guy pressed himself even harder against me, along the entire length of my body.  I asked him to move over and give me some space, and he went from merely unpleasant to out-of-control angry, yelling at me that I had no right to ask him to move since he was already there when I sat down, and if I didn’t like it, I should get up.  I told him he had no right to take up three seats.  While mere moments ago he had been coming on to me and trying to get my contact information, now, because he had not gotten what he wanted, he started screaming that I was a bitch.  Not just a bitch, but a fat, ugly, retarded bitch.  I guess he didn’t stop to think what it says about him that even the ugly, fat women don’t want him.

Not a single man on that train did or said anything.  This is what we women mean when we say the only reason men get away with this behavior is because other men allow it.  If all men were raised by their fathers to speak with one voice and shut this kind of behavior down when they see it, no man would dare act this way, drunk or not.  But men just stand by and let other men do what they do.  In contrast, several different women spoke up and offered to give me their seats.  This was the day of the march, after all, and there were lots of women on that train who are fed up to the teeth with the world of men that women are forced to endure.  I thanked them and told them I would be fine.  One woman who was standing nearby actually called out the other men on the train, demanding to know why they were all sitting there silently instead of calling this man out for his abusive behavior.  No man responded, but one man loudly announced this was all my own fault, and if I didn’t want to sit next to this guy, I shouldn’t have sat down.  As if it is up to men to take up as many seats as they feel like, and it is the lot of women to stay standing or risk verbal and physical abuse.

At this point, my partner, Allan, spoke up and asked the guy to be cool and give me some space.  The guy stood up, got in his face, and threatened him.  Still, no man on the train said a word.  In contrast, as soon as he vacated his seat, the woman who had called out the other men for doing absolutely nothing sat right down in his seat next to me to keep him from coming back.  My partner tried to calm him down, but the man persisted.  A third man finally got involved and tried to put some physical space between them.  Realizing things could get very bad very quickly, I took out my phone and started recording video so there would be evidence if the man actually assaulted either of them.  Here is the video that I shot:


After this point, he continued to verbally abuse me and just generally make a spectacle of himself for several minutes.  Just as many men do when women don’t act as directed, he used body-shaming as his weapon of choice.

When we got to 72nd street, we got off the train and joined the Women’s March.  As important as I thought the march was when I left my house that morning, now it was a thousand times more important.  That women are forced to share the world with men like this is all the more reason why we NEED to get out in the streets and demand a better world.  This worthless, day-drinking loser gave me new motivation to stand shoulder to shoulder with other women who have had enough of this shit.  It’s no coincidence that most of the people in yellow vests staffing the march were women about ten years older than me.  By the time women get to that age, they must be so fed up with men who don’t act right, and other men who stand by and watch when they ought to say something, that organizing a mass demonstration of women who are mad as hell is the only sensible way to respond.  As shaken up as I was by what happened in the subway, as soon as we were surrounded by marchers, I started to feel better.

Incidentally, this is not the first time in recent history I’ve been subjected to the “hit on woman, get rejected by woman, punish woman” playbook.  A little less than two years ago, on my way home from new student orientation for the second master’s degree I’m currently working on, a drunk guy approached me on Roosevelt Avenue and started hitting on me as I walked down the street.  I told him to go away.  Instead of going away, he put his face right near my face, started waving his arms around, and demanded to know why he couldn’t just talk to me.  I never stopped walking, so he’s literally hopping sideways down the street doing this.  I finally stopped, turned to face him, and told him in no uncertain terms to get away from me because I do not speak with drunken strangers on the street.  I started walking again, and for about a minute I didn’t see him.  Then all of a sudden, I was in pain and almost fell down.  He had run up behind me and punched me in the back of my leg.  He ran to the other side of the street and marched back and forth, taunting me, while I called 911.  He stuck around until the police arrived, taunting me from across the street, then he slowly walked away.  One old man stayed with me until the police came to serve as a witness.  Not a single other person on a street as busy as Roosevelt Avenue said or did anything whatsoever.  The NYPD had ever excuse in the world why they couldn’t just go get him, since he was still within sight of us and I was clearly pointing him out.  He got away.  Nothing ever happened to him.

It’s important to realize that this didn’t happen to me because I was some hot little number in a short skirt.  Then, as now, I was a fat, middle-aged woman in modest clothes.  It doesn’t make a bit of difference.  Women are targets every day, no matter what they look like, no matter what they wear.

Anyway, back to the March.

The march went down Central Park West, then turned onto Central Park South, then turned again onto 6th Ave.  At 44th St, the march ended, and we turned onto 44th toward Times Square.  A street vendor was selling buttons, three for ten dollars.  I picked up a couple of political buttons and looked around for a third one.  Whoever made these buttons understands something about the lives women live in a world dominated by men, because there was a button that said “Don’t Fucking Touch Me.”  I wouldn’t normally buy a button with the F-bomb on it, because where could I wear it?  But after my experience on the train earlier in the day, that button spoke to me.  I had to have it.

That night, we had tickets to see Michigan State play Minnesota on the ice at the Garden.  We had about three hours to kill.  We grabbed some dinner, then grabbed some after-dinner beverages at Starbucks to help the time go by.  At Starbucks, an elderly woman at the next table chatted us up and shared with us her view that poor Donald Trump is the innocent victim of gold-digging whores.  “Women do that,” she told us.

We got to the Garden around 7:40 and got on line for the metal detectors.  I had the two Trump buttons on my sweater, but I had the “Don’t Fucking Touch Me” button in my pocket because I hadn’t wanted to wear it in the restaurant where we ate dinner for fear that little kids would see it.  I put all three buttons in the little plastic bin next to the metal detector, along with my phone and my house keys.  I walked through the detector and turned to collect my belongings from the bin.

The security guard told me I could not have my pin back because it contained obscenity.  I told him I didn’t plan to wear it while I was in the Garden, and in fact I hadn’t even been wearing it when I arrived.  I assured him I’d keep it in my pocket the entire night, but he was unmoved.  He spread out all three buttons on the table and called over a supervisor.

The supervisor explained to me that they did not allow anything with obscenities on it into the Garden.  He told me I could not have my button back.  Figuring he probably thought I’d brought them to the Garden on purpose because I planned to wear them during the game, I decided to tell him what had happened to me that day and why i had bought the buttons.  I figured if he understood that the “Don’t Fucking Touch Me” button had resonated with me because of the experience I’d had on the subway, he would realize it would be cruel to take it away and that I could be trusted to keep it in my pocket and not to flash it in front of the cameras at a Big Ten hockey game.  I gave him the Readers Digest version of what had happened on the train this morning.  I told him that I wouldn’t normally buy a button like that, and that I only bought it because of what had happened on the train.

As soon as I finished my sentence, I heard from behind me, loudly, and in the nastiest, most patronizing, most sarcastic tone of voice,


It was the security guard who had been the first to tell me I couldn’t keep my button.  He was standing behind me at this point, so I couldn’t see him roll his eyes, but I could hear it in his voice.

I was stunned.  Dude, really?  A woman just told you she was the victim of verbal abuse and unwanted physical contact, and this is how you react? Right in front of your supervisor?  What the hell is wrong with you?  I thought all of that, but I couldn’t say a word.

The supervisor was unmoved.  He told me again that he would not allow the button in the Garden because they have a rule about obscenities.  He asked me if I wanted to bring the button back to my car.  I replied, “I just got done telling you, I took the subway today.”  I walked away.

Although he didn’t respond to the guard while I was still standing there, he must have realized after I left how out of line the guard’s comment had been.  To his credit, he found another supervisor– a woman– and sent her to after me as I walked up toward the concourse.  She asked me what happened, and I told her.  She was stunned that one of her guards would make such a hurtful comment and apologized profusely.  I thought, once again, here’s a woman cleaning up a man’s mess.  She asked us where we were sitting and told me she’d come see us during the game.  After the first period ended, she showed up at our seats.  She told me she had spoken to the guard about his behavior, apologized again for his comments, and gave me the business card of a manager and told me he would be contacting me next week.  She offered to find us better seats and to provide us with complimentary drinks and food, but we already had drinks and our seats were pretty good, so we thanked her and declined.  She apologized again and departed.

So to sum up my day:  Day-drinking loser hits on me on the subway and then punishes me for not being receptive.  March.  Old woman in Starbucks blames the shortcomings of our misogynist president on evil, gold-digging whores.  Security guard at Madison Square Garden demonstrates no interest in whether women actually feel secure and belittles me for no reason.

Put another way, an amazing event about demanding respect and dignity for women, bookended by people who lack the wherewithal to treat women with dignity and respect.

So… congratulations to those people, because as committed as I was before to marching and voting and all of the other tools at my disposal to bring about change in this world that treats women like shit, I’m a thousand times more committed now.





SD #19: Even I Cannot Live On Guac Alone

March 9, 2013

Now that we’re trying to get back in the swing of Serial Dining Woodside, our quest to eat at all of Woodside’s many restaurants in alphabetical order, I think I remember why our adventure stalled out a while ago:  La Cabanita.  This is the restaurant that opened up at 6406 Roosevelt Ave after the closing of El Paso, which was the next retaurant on the list after El Nuevo Izalco.  Sometimes I think I’m the worst food blogger ever, because I love almost everything we’ve tried, so my posts are all like, “This was awesome!”  Not so La Cabanita.  It’s small, and because they have the jukebox, the radio, and at least one television going the whole time we were there, there was a constant, pointless, totally off-putting cacophony of noise that only the most idiotic of restaurant owners would create.  The service was slow despite the dining room being almost entirely empty.  We were alone almost the entire time we were there.  Finally, somebody else came in, but it turned out he just wanted to use the bathroom.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a guacamole fiend.  My guacamole consumption habits are officially sanctioned by my doctor and by my former food nazi, both of whom felt I needed more heart-healthy fats and magnesium in my life.  These are the little sacrifices we must make in life.  Some people have to eat more broccoli.  I have to eat more guac.  It sucks, you know?  Anyway, every single time I go to a Mexican restaurant, I try the guac.  La Cabanita was no exception, and in fact, their guac was really good.  I don’t remember what we ordered after the guac, but both Allan and I remember it being very slow to arrive, and not worth waiting for once it did.  In fact, we didn’t even save the pictures.

That visit was some time in December of 2012, and that was the last of our Serial Dining adventures.  I think the experience of coming across bad Mexican food in Woodside was just too much of a shock.  I’m pretty sure they’ve already gone out of business.

More than a year has transpired, and we’re ready to get back in the groove.  There are hidden gems in Woodside yet to explore, and we mean to find them out!  Stay tuned for further Serial Dining Woodside adventures!

Won’t Somebody Think of the Potatoes?

November 9, 2011

Priorities, people. Repeat after me: Make the school lunches healthy, and then do whatever you must to pay for it. I don’t even have kids, and this principle is perfectly obvious to me. But apparently when it cuts into the profits of the food-industrial complex, it’s not so cut and dried. Behold, the cluster-f-bomb:

I must give the USDA snaps for trying to encourage healthier diets in kids.  I still can’t get over how they actually help dairy farmers sell more full-fat dairy products by hiring marketing experts to design and advertise even-more-cheese-laden fast food items to sell us.  And of course, these are the people that brought you corn subsidies.  This time, they’re not the villain.  But their efforts to reform school lunches and reduce the amount of starch and sodium kids consume with their school lunch have been met with resistance from legislators and the industries who own them.  Apparently it’s not a good idea to put the kibosh on the school lunch potato parade, because that hurts potato farmers.  You’ve heard this song before.  It’s the same one the corn farmers sing when they’re afraid somebody might turn off the corn subsidy gravy train.

Even school officials in urban areas are fighting against the changes, because they don’t think they can afford the $0.14 per lunch extra it will cost to serve more non-starchy vegetables in place of so many potatoes.  How sad is the state of affairs when the very people charged with looking out for the most vulnerable are basically forced to say, “Please let us continue feeding crap to our kids.”

I feel the same way about the potato farmes as I do about the corn farmers and the dairy farmers who complained when Americans started buying fewer full-fat dairy products:  If your profits are based upon selling more of your products than is healthy for your customers to eat, I have no sympathy for you.

SD #16: The Best Cheeseburger in New York

October 26, 2011

On August 5, we had a visit from Allan’s good friend Brian, who was in town for work.  When lunchtime rolled around on Saturday afternoon, Brian was in the mood for a cheeseburger.  This being Woodside, our mission was clear:  Take Brian to Donovan’s Pub for The Best Cheeseburger In New York.  As luck would have it, Donovan’s was next on the serial dining list, so when we left the apartment, I took the camera along.

Donovan’s doesn’t look like much from the outside, but on the inside it’s absolutely gorgeous.  It’s like a a warm, dark, cozy retreat from the world, decorated with lots of dark wood and stained glass.  It’s not necessarily a quiet one, though.  The guys at the bar can get boisterous, especially if one of the local sports teams is on.  To me, it all just adds to the authenticity and charm.  Here’s what Donovan’s looks like on the outside.  Note the banner proclaiming them the best burger in New York:

Donovan's Pub

But here’s what it looks like on the inside:

The bar at Donovan's Pub

Donovan’s is widely reviewed and widely enjoyed.  You can read about it at New York Magazine online, Time Out New York, BurgerBeast, CitySearch, Yelp, Urban Spoon, and on the Outer Boroughs board at Chowhound.  You’ll see one or two complaints about rude or slow service, but generally people enjoy Donovan’s for the same reasons we do, and they worship.  The.  Burgers.

Early in the summer, Donovan’s had to close for a week or so due to a health code violation, but if rumors are to be believed, there was some skullduggery there involving a local competitor.  In any case, they addressed the problems and had the place open again very quickly, and we’ve never noticed any unclean conditions before or after.

The wait staff at Donovan’s have always been genuinely warm and friendly when we’ve been there, and many of them are the genuine Irish article, which adds to the ambience.  It’s not an Irish-themed pub staffed with college students wearing shamrock buttons on their green shirts.  It’s the real thing.  They do have menu items that aren’t traditional Irish or Irish-American dishes, especially on the list of daily specials.  But for classics like fish and chips or shepard’s pie, this is a great place to go.  And, of course, for their top-rated burgers.  That rating is from several years ago now, but the burgers are still the best in Woodside if you ask me.  Virtually everything I’ve ever had there has been spectacular– the burgers, the fish and chips, the soups (they do a killer French onion), and especially their Thanksgiving dinner.  The only thing we’ve had there that wasn’t all that impressive is the jalapeno poppers, which basically tasted like they came out of a box in the freezer section at Costco.  But hey, how high can the expectations really be for a jalapeno popper?

For this visit, I had the fish sandwich, and both Allan and Brian ordered cheeseburgers.  Unfortunately, the lighting inside Donovan’s is so low the food pictures didn’t turn out, with or without the flash.  Don’t get me wrong– I love, love, love the low lights in Donovan’s.  It’s my camera that doesn’t.  But trust me– the food looked as good as it tasted, and it tasted gooooooood.

I can’t recall exactly how much we spent there for lunch that day.  I want to say maybe about $45 for three lunches and three beers.  Don’t quote me on that.  Whatever it was, we paid it in cash, because Donovan’s is a cash-only operation.  Keep that in mind if you go.
Donovan's Pub on Urbanspoon

SD #13: Squash Blossoms & Corn Smut, y’all!

June 26, 2011

I love this time of year.  I have Fridays off, which means I have a chance to have a nice, leisurely lunch with Allan– the perfect opportunity for serial dining!  Last week’s Friday lunch was at Masala, which was really spectacular.  How to top that?  Fortunately, the next restaurant on our serial dining list was De Mole, 4502 48th Ave on the far western edge of Woodside.  We’ve been there many times before and we love it.  It’s my go-to place for enchiladas verdes con pollo.  The restaurant is cute and clean, with friendly staff and good service.  We’ve never, ever had a bad time there.  And today, the forces of alphabetical order decreed that we must go there for lunch.  Here’s what it looks like from the outside:

De Mole

De Mole

I included two shots of the exterior because I want you to see the intricate brickwork on the outside of the building.  This has nothing to do with food, but I must give a shout-out to all the Italian-American bricklayers who built so many of the gorgeous brick buildings in Queens and the other boroughs of the city.  Obviously I don’t know for sure that my fellow Italian-Americans built this exact building, but truly beautiful, lasting brick edifices are one of the many fruits of the labor of Italian immigrants, and once in a while I like to point that out.  But I digress.

Before I get back to De Mole, I want to include this shot of China One Taco across the street, for people who live in the suburbs and don’t see this type of place.  China.  Tacos.  You just don’t expect it, you know?  But it happens a lot in New York.  The street between De Mole and China One is, I believe, the dividing line between the Woodside and Sunnyside zip codes.  So we won’t cover China One in our serial dining adventure, but it’s fun to look at, so here it is:

China One Taco House

So.  Back to De Mole.  They serve Mexican food, including a lot of southern dishes in the Pueblan style.  There are lots of reviews of De Mole online if you’re interested, mostly raving about the food and its authenticity.  In fact, when I Googled before we went, I was surprised by how many times it’s been reviewed– far more than any place we’ve been to so far.  You can read about De Mole at Yelp, Urban Spoon, Chowhound, the Eating in Queens blog, Shauna Eats Sunnyside, New York Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and even Zagat and Michelin, which often overlook a lot of outer-burrough restaurants.  I can’t post links to those last two because they require paid subscriptions, but if you subscribe, go read– I bet they’ll tell you De Mole is fantastic.

The menu had some staples you see in any Mexican restaurant in the city like burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, plus a variety of more unusual items.  The chef is from the state of Puebla in southern Mexico, so if you’re used to northern Mexican food, you’ll notice some interesting surprises.  There are also vegetarian-friendly dishes; I noted many favorable comments from vegetarians and vegans among the comments around the web.  Here’s the interior of the restaurant:

De Mole from the inside!

Also, check out their super-colorful menus:

As I said, this is my go-to place for enchiladas, and I also love their guac, which is fresh and chunky.  However, this being our official serial dining visit, I decided to try something new.  For a starter, we ordered the Ceviche Vera Cruz.  They make it with either fish or scallops.  We chose the fish.  It was fresh and tangy with a variety of finely chopped vegetables to go with the fish.  They serve it in a little tortilla bowl, and you can eat it either alone or on the tortilla chips that come with the complimentary salsa.  We added a bit of salt to it to bring out the flavors.  Overall, I liked the Ecuadorian-style ceviche at Braulio y Familia better, but I definitely enjoyed this dish.

For a main dish, I chose quesadillas and Allan chose a carne asada burrito.  Our server could tell from our discussion that we both intended to taste both dishes, so he helpfully cut the burrito in half and brought it out on two plates.  Like I said, the people are nice and the service is good.  There are two types of quesadillas at De Mole:  tradicionales, which are made with corn tortillas, and sincronizadas, which are larger and made with flour tortillas.  Tradicionales come in four varieties:  corn mushroom, shredded Pueblan-style brisket, squash blossom, and Oaxaca cheese.  They’re not huge, so we decided to try all four.  If you’ve never had this type of quesadilla before, I highly recommend this strategy– you’ll taste some amazing new things.

The burrito was great.  One of the better ones I’ve had.  However, the quesadillas tradicionales were mind-blowing.  First of all, I’m accustomed to quesadillas that are basically two flour tortillas stuck together with melted cheese, with or without chicken or some other type of filling.  These are not that.  They actually look more like tacos– corn tortillas folded in half, with shredded lettuce and other fillings, always including cheese.

“Corn mushroom” is a euphemism for a corn fungus called huitlacoche in Mexico and “corn smut” here in the U.S.  I had never even heard of it before, much less tasted it, but I found this neat article from the Huffington Post explaining it, complete with a smutty photo.  All I can say is, whoever was the first person to taste a smutty ear of corn was either desperately hungry, very brave, or both.  However, I’m glad they did, because the stuff tastes good, and according to the Huff Post, it’s extremely nutritious and economically advantageous to grow, because you can charge more for the smut than the corn it grew on.  How cool is that?

The brisket quesadilla had a nice smokey flavor and just enough saltiness.  Oaxaca cheese is basically Mexican mozzarella, and it goes perfectly with a corn tortilla.  However, the squash blossom quesadilla was the real standout.

Here’s my squash blossom story:  My father’s people are Italian.  When they immigrated to New York from Naples in the early years of the 20th century, if they had a a house or apartment with access to a patch of dirt, in addition to tomatoes and figs, they had a grape arbor and let the vines grow up over everything including the house.  You still see grape arbors here and there in the city, and a handful of families still make their own wine.

For more recent immigrants from Latin America, apparently squash vines are the new grape arbor.  Last summer I was fascinated to watch a family just north of the 69th St stop on the 7 subway grow squash vines in their tiny yard and let them grow up the side of the house onto the roof.  I wondered what would happen when the squash themselves got big; wouldn’t they roll off the roof?  Well, I never had a chance to find that out, because apparently the squash weren’t the objective in the first place.  The blossoms were.  Once the flowers bloomed on the vine, they were quickly harvested, and the vines eventually withered away.  I thought that was weird– wouldn’t it be better to have the squash?  After today’s lunch, I get what the big deal is.  I actually took pictures of the flowering vines from the subway platform, but this was more than a year ago and I seem to have deleted them at some point.  I mean, how could I know those pics would actually come in handy someday for a blog post on squash blossom quesadillas?

Anyway, here’s our food:

Complimentary chips & salsa

Ceviche Vera Cruz

Steak burrito

Quesadillas tradicionales: Oaxaca cheese, squash blossom, brisket, corn mushroom

Obviously, after all that food we skipped dessert.  However, I have to make a plug for the flan at De Mole.  We’ve had the coconut flan and the orange flan, and both are absolutely amazing.  If you go, as difficult as this will be, try to save room for flan.

Total price for all of this delicious food plus a Coke for me and a banana licuada for Allan:  $34.57 plus tip.

De Mole on Urbanspoon

Lap Band approved for the just barely fat.

February 17, 2011

Not too long ago I wrote this about Allergan’s push to get the FDA to approve the lap band for people with a BMI as low as 30.  If you missed that post, go read it because it contains links to actual photographs of people with a BMI of 30 so you can see who we’re talking about.

A group of bariatric physicians wrote a letter urging the FDA not to approve the band due to lack of long-term studies that show it is safe and effective.  Again, these were bariatric physicians, not bariatric surgeons– in other words, people who are experts in treating fat patients but who don’t stand to be rolling in money from letting just about everybody with a fat roll get a lap band.  But money talks, and true concern for the lives and health of fat people walks.  The FDA has approved the expansion of eligibility for the band.

There are health-based criteria for who can get a lap band at such a low BMI, but I can’t help but feel like this is a camel’s nose under the tent that will eventually lead to widespread implantation of hardware into people’s bodies for vanity.  There’s a Long Island surgical practice that does lapbands, and their subway ads don’t show people’s dramatically improved AIC or cholesterol levels.  They show a woman in a bikini and another woman raving about how she doesn’t have to shop in plus size stores anymore and how, as soon as she lost the weight, a husband magically appeared.  I wish she could have seen the Adipositivity Project’s Valentine’s Day Special series (warning: NSWF) before she concluded that she needed the fat surgery in order to find love (or at least before allowing herself to be marketed that way by her surgeons), but I digress.  She does also mention that her diabetes is in remission, but that hardly seems the main thrust of the ad.

I guess the only way to get long term data on safety and effectiveness is to have subjects to study.  You can’t claim safety if you don’t have data, but you can’t get data if you don’t have subjects.  I get it.  But then the message you need to be sending in the meantime is “Hey, we’re basically experimenting on you,” not, “Woo hoo, shop off the rack at the skinny chick stores and snag yourself a husband to boot!”






Coupon Code for Navabi! Knock yourselves out!

November 3, 2010

In case you missed this, posted as a comment under my post about lagenlook-style clothes:

Maryam Says:
November 3, 2010 at 9:35 AM | Reply edit


this is the Managing Director of navabi. I read your post and would like to give you and your readers a coupon code . If you are interested id be glad to get in touch. Just write me an email to

Looking forward to hear from you.



Go for it, ladies! I just bought my first two items from Navabi last week, and I am THRILLED with them!  If you click the link to Navabi on the original post, you ‘ll see that it now points to a message telling that the item in question is no longer available.  That’s because I bought the last two in stock– two gorgeous, long, loose, 100% Merino wool sweaters by Barbara Speer.  But there are lots of other great items there, so go browse around, save up your pennies, and buy something!

Also, I have to give Navabi praise for their fast shipping.  They’re in Germany, and they ship via DHL.  The day I bought these sweaters, I also ordered two pairs of shoes from Footsmart and some items from Hanes, both of which are here in the U.S.  The Navabi order was the first one to get here.  The Hanes stuff showed up a few days later, and the shoes STILL aren’t here.  So two very enthusiastic thumbs up for the super-fast shipping from Navabi!  I am definitely a fan!




Inventor of the glycemic index diet dies at 66

August 30, 2010

Another one from the “you can do everything right and still die young” files:

Michel Montignac, who invented the concept of losing weight by choosing foods with a low glycemic index, has died at age 66.  You can read the New York Times obituary here.

So he follows in the path of Atkins, who also attempted to revolutionize the way we eat and help us all get thin and healthy, only to die an early death himself.  Not that I’m equating him with Atkins; I think his ideas hold a lot more merit than Atkins’ did.  Preventing huge rushes of insulin into the bloodstream does seem helpful on its face, and choosing less-processed foods over more-processed foods seems more likely to provide our bodies what they evolved to eat.  It just really catches my attention when a diet guru dies young.

Skinny alumna to women’s college: I’ll give you $1M if you stop being fat

August 24, 2010

This was on the “most emailed articles” list in the Chronicle of Higher Ed daily update today:

Donor Pledges Dollars if Stephens College Workers Lose Weight

Basically, there’s an 87-year-old Stephens alumna whose biggest accomplishment in life is apparently that she can still fit into her prom dress, and she doesn’t like it that there are fatties on the staph of her alma mater.  So she is dangling a cool million in front of the college if the president loses 25 pounds and the rest of the staff loses a collective 250, all by January.

Both the college and the potential donor claim this is all about getting healthy.  But the article notes that the staff are all planning to “start their diets this weekend.”  I guess somebody didn’t get the memo that diets are unhealthy and not an effective long-term strategy for weight loss.

I get that workplace weight loss programs are all the rage right now, misguided and ineffective though they may be.  And from some types of industries I wouldn’t expect much.  But from a college I expected better.  College and universities are in the business of thinking.  They’re where the knowledge is supposed to be coming from.  Research is done, new information is generated, new ideas are introduced, and old ideas are tested and, when found wanting, modified or discarded.  Shades of grey are explored and simplistic black-and-white arguments just aren’t good enough.  Students are taught to think critically and support their ideas and arguments with facts.  At least that’s what’s SUPPOSED to be happening.  So when a college jumps uncritically on the “all fatness is bad and all weight loss is good” bandwagon, it bugs me.  When it makes overly simplistic judgments based on stuff “everybody knows” rather than considering what the research tells us, it bugs me.  Because of an institution of higher learning can’t get the hell over all that, I have no confidence that any organization can.

Holy deliberately missing the point, Batman!

August 10, 2010

An old schoolmate of mine posted this to Facebook today:

Good Looks Hurt Women’s Employment Chances, Study Finds

Um, no.  That’s not what the study finds.

You can click through and read the whole article if you want, but let me sum it up for you:  Physically attractive women have an advantage in hiring for just about every type of job, and they make more money on average than women who are less attractive.  But in a small number of tradionally male-dominated fields, the hotties are less successful than the notties.  And Erin Donnelly of StyleList concludes from this information that “Good Looks Hurt Women’s Employment Chances.”

The photo illustration accompanying the article reminds me of nothing so much as the woman who claimed Citibank fired her because she was too hot.  Memo to the tragically hot:  Wearing suits that are a size too small for you in order to draw attention to yourself may turn some heads in Accounting in the short term but won’t get you taken seriously in the boardroom in the long term.  Thank you.  Drive through.

So.  Ms. Donnelly.  I don’t even know what to say.  Her conclusion is exactly the OPPOSITE of what the facts stated in her own post support.  If you have an advantage in every possible way except a tiny circumscribed few, then you have an advantage.  I’m gonna guess Ms. D either never learned analytical skills in college, or (even worse) she knows how to draw conclusions from facts but chooses not to, because a more sensationalistic title garners more clicks.  If you’re gonna be that irresponsible, please stop writing.

To be fair, this IS StyleList, and not, say,  But still.

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