I recently read You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein and just ate the book up in a few days. I had heard it was good and funny, and I agree. I really enjoyed her conversational writing style.
I’m going to share a few of my favorite nuggets from the book and some thoughts, so if you were on the fence about buying it, let these bits inspire your purchase. The title above the excerpts is the chapter it is from just to give you a little context. Excerpts from the book are italicized, my thoughts are not italicized. Treat it like a digital book club — tell me your thoughts in the comments!
Bar Method and the Secrets of Beautiful Women
I know Gwyneth Paltrow has said her butt is her least favorite body part also, but I think we all know she is impossibly full of shit, even though I have both of her cookbooks and buy every magazine she’s on the cover of and think of her all the time and sometimes think of her right before I go to sleep.
I think I laughed out loud when I read this. I think almost everyone feels this way about Gwyneth — they hate her but they love her. But as much as we hate Gwyneth because she’s beautiful, rich, and famous and has all the time in the world to work on her body and beautifulness — it also seems obvious to me that she has to work for it, ya know. I think I have a whole post in me just about Gwyneth…
Despite having been surrounded by New York’s population of beautiful women for most of my life, it had never occurred to me how incredibly FUCKING hard these women are working to look the way they do. No one ever told me. It’s not just about going to the gym and doing the elliptical for forty minutes. It’s about taking a class where you are in horrible pain and hate your life and might lose your lunch at any moment.
This is funny. And true.
[Jessi’s friend Tracy is telling her this:]
“Men rise to the standards you hold them up to,” she explained. “Their behavior will always be at the exact bar you allow it to be.”
I think this is absolutely true!
Not responding to the texts of a man who has wronged you is truly one of the sweetest pleasures in life.
Even though I’ve been married for 11+ years, this statement is hilarious and I totally get it.
The Wedding Dress
The poofiness, the taffeta-ness, the overall Cinderella-ness—none of it ever interested me. I’ve attended many weddings where I’ve watched a friend, someone I thought I knew well, walk down the aisle in an ensemble that rendered her essence somehow unrecognizable, like seeing your beloved pet Chihuahua in a neon Speedo. It’s as if these dresses are designed to erase your individuality, leveling you into a universal symbol of femaleness, like that faceless woman wearing a triangle dress on the door of every ladies’ restroom in America.
I thought this was an interesting observation. How it’s such a big deal when a bride wears something OTHER than a white/light pink/blush dress (for the record, I got married at 22 and my dress was an off-white, strapless, mermaid dress and it looked fucking amazing). As much as I love it when people do something unique at the same time, I love the tradition — it seems like there isn’t much tradition left in the world these days, so the ones that last are also interesting to me.
Ma’am is yet another horrible-sounding word in the lexicon of words that women are stuck with to describe various aspects of their body/life/mental state/hair. Vagina. Moist. Fallopian tubes. Yeast infection. Clitoris. Frizz. These are all terrible words, and yet they are our assigned descriptors. Who made up these words? Women certainly didn’t. If, at the beginning of time, right after making vaginas, God had asked me, “What would you like your most intimate and enjoyable part of yourself be called?,” I most certainly wouldn’t have said, “Vagina.” No woman would, because vagina sounds like a First World War term that was invented to describe a trench that has been mostly blown apart but is still in use. Even off the very top of my head I feel like I could have come up with something better, like for instance the word papoose, which actually as I’m typing it feels like an incredibly brilliant word for vagina.
But ma’am fits right into this pattern. Ma’am is the onomatopoeia of drowning in a lake-size bowl of borscht. Ma’am sounds like a species of frog that just watches reality television all day. Ma’am sounds like a women whose body is mostly cheese whiz.
I mean if that doesn’t make you laugh, agree, and want to read this book — I don’t know if we can be friends.
Get the Epidural
…or some doula is pressuring you to give birth at home in a tub filled with quinoa…
Not only do I recommend getting an epidural while you’re giving birth, I’d say get one beforehand. I’m sitting here writing, and I would get an epidural right now if I could.
It’s interesting that no one cares very much about women doing anything “naturally” until it involves them being in excruciating pain.
No one ever asks a man if he’s having a “natural root canal.” No one ever asks if a man is having a “natural vasectomy.”
This chapter was hilarious to me. I mean the tub filled with quinoa line had me laughing out loud! I’m from the Midwest and I’m in my 30s — so basically everyone I know either has kids, wants to have kids, is trying to have kids, is pregnant, kids kids kids kids. I don’t want kids but I feel like I know A LOT about it (which is maybe why I don’t want them…I know how much work it is!).
I have friends on opposite sides of the giving-birth spectrum — ones that are like hell yes give me that epidural, and others who completely change their diets to be super strict and had water or natural births and wanted to feel it or whatever, and some who did natural births because because it was $10,000 cheaper for them. Everyone should do it how they want to and what’s best for them and their baby. People get so opinionated about this shit, and I think it’s a personal decision that is really no one else’s business and shouldn’t be judged. I do think it’s good to write about it and discuss just so people can be educated about different experiences. I recently saw on Facebook that a friend of mine from childhood had a serious spinal injury with her most recent epidural (she has several kids) so it definitely made me think about it more. She said what happened to her is very rare, but still possible so it’s always something to think about.
Did you have a good/bad experience with an epidural? Did you do a natural birth? Tell me in the comments!
Shortly before my son was born, I spoke to a friend on the phone about how guilty I felt that we were planning to hire a night nurse for a few weeks. Shouldn’t I be the one to take care of him all the time? He was my peanut that I had created. Wouldn’t I be shirking my maternal responsibilities if I didn’t stay up around the clock I worried that I was already a failure.
At which point my friend said, “What are you trying to win?
What was I trying to win? I thought about it and realized—nothing. There’s nothing to win.
There is so much pressure on women around birth and labor and mothering to do it one way or another. It’s so easy to believe the notion that having a baby demand complete and total sacrifice, and anything short of that is not enough. That if you’re not in pain, you’re selfish.
When people talk to me in depth about not wanting to have kids my true colors come out. I know that I don’t even want to consider having kids until I know I could easily afford the help I’d want to raise them (I don’t live near family). I know there’s no way I could be a stay-at-home mom (hardest job ever!), I would want to keep my business running and not work while trying to simultaneously watch my kid and then not really be doing a good job at either. I mean, being with my dog all day every day drives me a little nuts, so a kid would be like a million times more intense. So when people hire nannies, au pairs, night nurses, etc., I’m all for it! I love that it allows the parents to be themselves — whether that’s work, go on a date, or whatever they choose to do — it’s also giving someone a job!
I think people should never feel guilty about hiring help. I have friends that live abroad and when I asked them if they wanted to move back to the states they tell me, heck no! They have a nanny (or two), a maid, a cook — they love having all the help at such an affordable price and how it’s just a part of the culture. I thought this was interesting. Also when I was in Rwanda last November some of the expats there were talking about how it was hard to get used to their apartment coming with a maid/help. It wasn’t really something that was negotiable — it’s just how it is. But again, it’s employing someone! I look at it like this — professional cleaners can clean WAY better than me. So if I can afford to hire them, why wouldn’t I? Then I can spend my time doing something I love instead of something I don’t want to do and it will get done faster and better by them than by me. And it’s not that I wouldn’t want to raise my kids, but I’d want help so I could also still run my business. Again, it’s one of those things that people should do whatever they want and what is best for them and it’s a personal decision! I just don’t think people should feel guilty about it if they do hire help. There’s nothing wrong with that!
If you could easily afford to hire help with your children or household tasks would you? What would you do with the extra time you have back?
The Infertility Chapters
I was scared of how everything would change once we had a kid. I thought maybe we could at least wait till the summer. I kept thinking to myself, This is the last year of my life. I repeated the phrase in my head—last year of my life, last year of my life.
This resonated with me so much. A year or so ago I thought I was pregnant for two hours. I was hyperventilating and just repeating to myself — my life is over, my life is over. And that’s when I really knew that I didn’t want kids (at least anytime soon). I mean if that was my natural reaction to possibly being pregnant, I think it’s obvious. I say all this knowing that there is a chance my “switch could flip” but I think there’s a good possibility that it won’t. We shall see…
So have you read the book? Do you want to now?
See more books I’ve read here!
Photo by Meg Biram