Harry Potter
Harry James Potter

I wish I didn’t remember his middle name
but I do

The thing is, I remember
lots from the Harry Potter books

Mimbulus mimbletonia
Neville Longbottom
Madam Rosmerta
Wingardium Leviosa

And it’s not my fault
because those are funny spiky names
designed to be memorable
it’s hard not to remember
a magical sweetshop
or a pet dragon
or being a kid and feeling very strongly
that you’ve got no-one at all in your corner

There seemed to be so much happening in those books
but really it was only two things
somebody trying to kill Harry…

Change of Residence (Changement de Residence), by Paul Gauguin

“What about exercise?”

She looked up. “I hadn’t considered it.”

“We have to get exercise. We’d go mad otherwise.”

The lockdown had been announced only the day before, and they had had no time to prepare. The Prime Minister had explained sorrowfully (he had a trick of sounding very sorrowful about punishments, as if he were your own disappointed father) the necessity of the measure. No time, he said, for people to stock up on anything — no time for people to go home across state borders. The entire nation would be in quarantine for twenty-one days.

“Okay.” She nodded…

Photo by Polly Alexandra on Unsplash

Dear Big Vibrator,

We get it. You love to make tiny vibrator attachments to stick on the end of regular vibrators for things like “clitoris stimulation” and“G-spot stimulation” and “adding texture to our orgasms.” (What do you mean by texture? Like…grainy?)

But could you please take into consideration that some of us have more pressing needs? Here’s a list of vibrator attachments that women everywhere would actually benefit from:

  1. An attachment that actually disguises what it is, for relatives
    I’m just saying that the discreet ‘massager’ packaging doesn’t fool anyone, on account of my super-Christian aunt found it that one time…

It was something we used to make fun of together, this need
for people to believe that their love was tremendous
that they were somehow better lovers
than all the other (millions and millions of) lovers that had existed
since the world was fire-new.

We never thought so.

We never made people stop and gape in the street. We didn’t spend
hours in IKEA, dizzy, picking out curtains
for some stupid apartment we didn’t own.
Your mother didn’t tell me in a conspiratorial whisper
that she’d never seen you so happy. Our steps
weren’t evenly matched and…


He seemed nice. In reality, he was very different.

A photo of three white face masks (the marble kind, not the skincare kind).
A photo of three white face masks (the marble kind, not the skincare kind).
Photo: letty17/Getty Images

He’d seemed nice.

Zoe had noticed him — not for himself, but she’d noticed him noticing her. He was with a guy she knew, and she’d seen him looking. Not ogling a specific body part, which would have been creepy (who wants to be ogled?) but just looking, taking her all in, in a way that made it clear he admired her.

In a minute, he came over with their mutual friend.

“Hi,” said the friend. “This is Nathan. I don’t think you’ve met before.”

They’d chatted for a few minutes that night, which was enough time for her to…

Discarded Roses, Renoir

It’s less than a month to Valentine’s Day. I don’t really think a lot about Valentine’s Day — either positively or negatively. There’s that terrible ensemble movie, Valentine’s Day, in which Jessica Biel cries and stuffs chocolate into her mouth as she bemoans her undesirability/singlehood. (Jessica Biel!) I find the idea that “single women hate Valentine’s Day” both boring and insulting — and yet I am thinking about it this year. Specifically, I am thinking about the many Valentine’s Days I have had. My brain plays them over and over, in a painful highlight reel.

This time a year ago…

  1. ½ (but only 1/2) of The Holiday

Watch when: you feel too cranky to be loved

Half of The Holiday is a perfect, delightful, peppermint-bark dipped movie. The Cameron Diaz/Jude Law half.

What’s not to love about Cameron playing the (stereotypically male) role of the Woman Who Cannot Feel Anything? Cameron fucking RUNS shit, as evinced by her enormous LA house and her razor-perf blonde bob. Cameron is far too busy with her Important Trailer-Cutting Business to waste time on such plebeian, girly things as crying and making hot chocolates. …

A poem about men and women

Illustration: Fernando Alvarez Charro via Invisible Nature/iStock/Getty Images Plus


Sometimes, I think of men like a particularly long stampede
in the grass. They are not cruel, not any more than animals
have a right to be. They heard something alarming, and they followed

The call. It was your bad luck, wasn’t it
that you happened to be there, caught underfoot—eyes wide, back thoroughly broken
Face flung up—something they did not know they were running over—


Simba’s father died in a stampede.
I confess it is difficult to watch even now, aware as I am of the ridiculous—
of being moved by pathetic shapes. …


A story about dating someone who scares you

A photo of a man walking on the beach. The sky is dark with red clouds.
A photo of a man walking on the beach. The sky is dark with red clouds.
Photo: EdgarJa via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0


He told you he was crazy.

He told you from the beginning. He said it in a funny singsong voice: “I don’t mean crazy in the way that men say their ex was ‘crazy,’ baby I mean car-razy!”

Actually, he didn’t have to tell you. Admit it. You thought it to yourself, didn’t you, when you met him? He looked it: He had a strange, jaunty energy about him that you had never seen before. At least — you had seen it on animals at the zoo. The big cats. Even when they were motionless, looking like puddles of silk…


A story about that guy who’s never wrong

Image: Sunday by Edward Hopper

He wasn’t very good with women.

Not that, you know, he had a problem. No. It was nothing like that.

Sometimes he would read articles about the kind of men who formed misogynist groups—men who had terrible body odor or perhaps a club foot, things like that — and feel a profound sense of thankfulness that he was different. No, he was a regular man, well-formed enough, just a little nervous in his interactions with women.

His first real crush was on a girl in high school — gray eyes, he remembered, and a body all the seniors talked about—and…


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