Teen Boy Excited About Facial Hair, Now Distraught


For high school junior Zachary Clemons, life is fraught with the same struggles as any American high school male: braces, acne, nearsightedness, weak upper body, poorly timed wood…

But until now, facial hair has not graced that list. “You don’t understand,” whines Zach, as he launches into a coughing fit to mask his cracking voice. “It was just starting to get thick, you know? I have dozens, hundreds! of facial hairstyles I was dying to try out on Pinterest. And now- this.”

“This” refers to Fort Worth ISD’s newly-released guidelines that direct school faculty and staff “to acknowledge the gender identity that each student consistently and uniformly asserts,” thus allowing students to use restroom facilities that align with his or her identity.

“My first thought was, ‘You mean all I have to do to get in the girls’ bathroom is tell everyone I want to be a girl now and get free entry?! Uhhhh… yes please!!!

No more looking left, then right, then a quick left again to see if anyone’s coming!

No more tip-toeing into the stall, locking the door, and standing on the toilet seat!

No more holding my breath while I snap pics of girls going #2 over the stall!

Nope, I’ve got an easier way. All I have to do is grab a wig, watch some makeup tutorials on YouTube, have a deep, serious convo with my counselor, change my name to Kathy, tell all my friends, keep this up “consistently and uniformly”… whatever that means… and POOF! Free access to the ladies’ room, suckas!!! Got my camera ready ’cause I’m gonna watch you ALL pee.'” ***

But his excitement faded that very first morning, after Zach Kathy wiggled into his her Spanx, selected a sensible, yet subtly slutty, outfit from his her new Wet Seal wardrobe, and headed to the bathroom to try out a new makeup tutorial called “Beyonce’s Diva Look,” when he she glanced in the mirror and noticed those sparse, fine, telling whiskers.

“I realized then and there that it was either my dream of a Fu Manchu or 20,000 followers on SnapChat (@zachattacksthegirlsroom, holla!). Kathy’d never step foot in school with with that shiz on her upper lip. I’d never let that happen to her.”

When asked what he was going to do next, Zach (it’s still Zach, right?) shrugged his shoulders in resignation, “I guess I’ll just have to go back to sneaking into the girls’ bathrooms like I always did.”

*** Upon pointing out that these guidelines do not give anyone the right to watch other people pee, he just stared back at me, a look of incomprehension in his face, then proceeded to rattle on about all the things he was going to do in the bathroom. I believe he was too committed at that point.

If you are interested in this heated debate, I highly encourage you to read the guidelines that were released by the FWISD and come to your own conclusion.

What I Learned from a Week on Tinder

Originally published in January, 2013 on mommyhasapottymouth.tumblr.com, the mouthful that is my former blog.

Author’s Note: I was introduced to Tinder by a male friend a couple weeks ago after a long night of drinking, and we spent a good half hour swiping, judging, and laughing at this obvious train wreck of a dating app. Being a married woman, I was fascinated by the absurd, attention seeking photos that some of these girls were posting. I was equally fascinated by the reactions and thought processes of my guy friends on the other end of it all. I thought, “THIS is perfect material for a quick blog post. This shit pretty much writes itself.” I created an account and planned to stay on just long enough to make some humorous observations and provide some witty tips. I titled my post, “What I learned in 30 minutes on Tinder” and started writing. But then I found that MY experience… the process, the story, and the people behind those Tinder profile pictures… was equally as entertaining, if not more so, than the casual observations that got me here in the first place. Who is using this thing? Why? What are their expectations, or do they have any? What happens when a married woman jumps in the mix? The answers to these questions and more may or may not surprise you, but I hope they at least serve to entertain you. This is Part 1 of the Tinder Saga: What I Learned from a Week on Tinder.

Send me a Candy Crush or Farmville invite, and I will defriend you. Wear clothing featuring an Angry Bird character, and I will assume that you’re the byproduct of a romance between your father and his second cousin. But show me this crazy game all the cool kids are playing called “Tinder” on a Saturday night after a few drinks, and I will be hooked.

While technically a dating app, Tinder truly feels more like a game… an addictive, soul-crushing game. The speed at which you can scroll through potential candidates, assigning “yay” or “nay” based solely on looks, seems more like Hot or Not than eHarmony. That spike of dopamine you get when your frantic judging is briefly interrupted as “It’s a Match” takes over your screen is the same, addition-causing spike that occurs when you see that little, red Facebook notification pop up on your phone. And the fact that you’re quickly able to slip into a mind numbing, time wasting, comatose state sure feels more like playing Candy Crush than dating.

And though the company has never specifically claimed to be a dating app, the choice of the word Tinder would suggest they intended otherwise. Images of “sparks flying,” “fire starting,” and “kindling” are the same used to describe the beginnings of hot, romantic flings. It primes the user to feel optimistic about his or her chances of experiencing some special chemistry with an attractive match. But given the obscene amount of narcissism, hedonism, and instant gratification that accompany this “game,” I feel that the “easily combustible,” “blazing inferno,” and “up in flames” qualities of tinder could easily apply, as well.

So to test out this match-making, people-meeting, disaster-waiting-to-happen game, I did what any normal, married woman would do… I created an account and fully submerged myself in the world of Tinder.


Step 1- Set this Bitch Up

Now, despite how horrendously awful Apple searches are, the correct Tinder app came up as the first suggestion. The other app recommendations that pop up when you search for Tinder were surprisingly accurate, as well. Vanity, mindless addition, narcissism, juvenility. Yep, that pretty much sums up the entire Tinder experience.


To set up your Tinder account, all you do is log in via Facebook and give them access to all your information, your tooth fairy money, and naming rights of your next born child. NBD.


Step 2- Glimpse, Judge, Swipe, Repeat

Seriously?!!! Okay this is just ridiculous and depressing. Out of the first ten or so pictures to pop up, at least 80% were under the age of 30, half were dumb enough to post pictures of themselves with other girls, and one guy was photographed with his boyfriend. And they call it Tinder? I’m starting to think that Fire Extinguisher, Wet Towel, Airtanker, or Thoughts of Grandma in Her Lingerie would be more appropriate names for this blatant waste of my time. <think of baseball, think of baseball, think of baseball…>


Oh. Wait. I can change the settings. Phew! I was starting to feel like a pedophile, and let me tell you, it is not all it’s cracked up to be. I set the minimum age to 30, remove my kid’s names, and explicitly state that I am married.

Game on, Garth!!! Ok this is way better. I don’t have any set criteria for “right swiping,” per se, but I like to positively reinforce those who have a decent profile pic. A picture of yourself (solo) flashing a good smile will automatically get you through. Pics with half-naked girls, your mom, your biceps, or (sorry, single dads) your kids, will automatically get you “left swiped.” I’m sure you’re all lovely people, but it’s not my fault. My finger is the one doing the swiping, and my finger thinks your picture is awkward for a dating app.

Then your screen fades to black, and you barely make out the words “It’s a Match!” because your heart starts beating 1,000 times per minute and your dopamine levels spike as if you’ve just freebased a bowl of pure Blue Sky. I don’t care if you’re married, single, gay, straight, Elven, canine, whatever. That shit just makes you feel good.

Wait. There’s another one. And then another.


Can we pause for just one fucking second? What the hell is going on here?!!! Seriously. That’s three out of three. Did they completely ignore the fact that I’m photographed with another man? Or not read the tagline that explicitly says that I’m married? Or do they not care? Ok this just got extremely interesting. Now I need answers…

My phone dies, and I don’t have the right charger with me. Fuck you, Apple, for changing the dock connector. Will resume later.

Step 3- Start Completely Fucking with Tinder

Tinder, you have my attention. If I was able to get matches with pictures of my husband, what would happen if I posted a picture of myself solo? OMFG what if I posted a picture from my wedding day?!!! Hahahaha!!! Done and done.


Step 4- Say a Sweet Farewell to Your Dignity

I found myself starting to talk to a couple of these matches, most (if not all) of which had read my tagline and were fully aware that I was married. I already had all the material I needed to write about my experience- observations, snarky comments, tips- but I stumbled upon something completely unexpected. These guys were actually talking to me. I came up with some questions on the fly and took these opportunities to collect qualitative data. They shared their impetus for joining Tinder, their love stories, their own observations… and they did it all without being creepy or weird. Of course, there were a few sweethearts who gave me their phone numbers (unsolicited) just in case “I’d like to fuck” or “explore findings and make inferences together.” What was supposed to be a 30-minute trial run of a hedonistic, shallow dating app ended up turning into a week-long exploration into the psyche of the Tinderizing male.


1. People come here for a variety of reasons, not just to hook up. I read somewhere (Wikipedia, duh) that 1 in 5 people actually meet up with their Tinder matches. This is far lower than 66% of other mobile dating users, suggesting that either Tinder users have really horrible closing skills or that it truly is more than just a dating app.


2. Guys don’t give a shit if you’re married. To be more specific, there is a distinct subset of Tinderizing males who don’t give a shit if you’re married and will explicitly tell you as much. This may or may not come as a surprise to many of you. The one exception seems to be if you post a picture of yourself from your actual wedding day. I assumed this was because it was too blatant and “in your face,” but one of my new Tinder friends thinks it’s because I was giving off the vibe that I am “freshly, happily married” and that guys may “interpret that as an open threesome invitation.” Well, if that’s so, then no one on here seemed to want to have a threesome with my husband and me. Rude!


3. As with any game, there are strategies. In hindsight, my “strategy” was to right swipe based solely on a good (i.e., not effing awkward photo), sense of humor, or potential for an interesting conversation. It seems that the males on Tinder take a slightly different approach.


4. I HATE Ke$ha. I was a little ambivalent about her before, but slight annoyance has turned into pure, unadulterated hatred. As if developing Tinderitis wasn’t enough, I literally couldn’t fall asleep the first night because, “It’s going down. I’m yelling TINDER!” was stuck in my head on repeat. On repeat. I don’t know any other fucking lyrics. And I’m fairly certain that it is now stuck in your head. All I can say is that I’m really, really sorry. Shit. Sorry.

5. I now look at every male between the age of 18-50 when I’m out in public and wonder to myself, “Did he see me on Tinder? Oh, fuck. Are we matched on Tinder?!!!” You know that feeling when you trip and fall on your face in public but can’t tell if anyone has noticed? And it’s just awkward and awful? Well, I now have that feeling approximately 50% of my day, every day. So if you’re reading this, and you see me somewhere, please make it less awkward for me and just call me out on it. I would literally prefer for you to point and laugh at me than knowingly say nothing.


Despite the obvious debauchery and hedonism that accompany the use of a dating game such as Tinder, I still managed to find some real humanity buried in there somewhere. I discovered guys who on there simply to sit back and witness the shit show, grown men who aren’t above having a real conversation with a stranger, and sweet souls who are actually looking to find someone special (in the wrong place, of course)… even the ones who were blatantly horrible people still managed to provide some head-shaking entertainment.

But when all is said and done, I will be deleting this app for good. I am surprised to find that it will actually be hard to let it go. Meeting new people- kind people, interesting people, weird people, horrible people, all of them- has always been a fascination of mine. And if Tinder does one thing really well, it is giving you access to these crazy people all in one accessible, low-commitment, highly entertaining mobile app.

Minuteman Tells Madison and Mason “Thanks but No Thanks” in Open Letter Response to the Second Amendment

January 15, 1792

Dear Sirs,

I trust you both are doing well. I am writing in response to the recent ratification of the Bill of Rights, for which I congratulate you both. This robust and powerful document could not have been brought to completion without your enthusiastic exertion and potent stamina. I must say it is a splendid time in the history of mankind to be a landowning white male in these United States of America.

Notwithstanding, I have a significant bone to pick with you regarding the second of the ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which reads:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

At first, I must admit I read this as “the right to bare arms,” and in a fit of excitement ripped the sleeves off my nightshirt, relieved that my finest assets would be concealed from the world no more. I now realize my mistake, as I sit drafting this letter from my outhouse (in which I do my best thinking), colder than a polar bear’s pecker. So I apologize, sirs, if you find this correspondence difficult to read, as I cannot stop myself from shivering.

Which brings me to my intention in drafting this letter. While the “right to keep and bear arms” is certainly a step in the right direction, it does little to support the Militia in securing a “free state,” as you call it.

Don’t Tread on Me

Yes, this amendment allows me to protect myself from a bear attack whilst cooped up in my writing quarters. Yes, I am locked and loaded in the event that the Redcoats come knocking on my door again.* And yes, I can single-handedly thwart a slave revolt with the stockpile of weaponry I keep in my Red Room (not to be confused with my Redcoat room, which, unfortunately, contains far fewer guns).

But the fact of the matter is that this amendment simply does not go far enough to meet the needs of a well-strapped, I mean well-regulated, militia. Allow me to elucidate this concern by telling you a little bit about my local militia, the North Arlington Musket Blasting Liberty Association.

The North Arlington Musket Blasting Liberty Association (or NAMBLA), is a group of the finest, brawniest, most freedom-loving young men residing in the state of Virginia today. I can state this with full confidence, as we have exceedingly strict standards for enlistment. Not only must each applicant submit his measurements and self-portrait for consideration, he must also endure a strenuous interview process, at which time we measure the length, width, and girth of his weaponry. (Although I must say it is quite easy to identify the ones who do not meet our qualification standards, as they tend to be the most boastful and don the fanciest hats.)

North Arlington Musket Blasting Liberty Association
North Arlington Musket Blasting Liberty Association

To ensure that NAMBLA is ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, we congregate for weekly training meetings at Ezekiel’s house, as he has the most land… and privacy. The willingness of these men to take time away from their wives and strenuous jobs (like herding goats, plowing fields, and pushing wheelbarrows) perfectly illustrates their dedication to the cause.** Allow me to highlight a few of our training activities:

  • Field exercises: We begin each meeting by marching deep into Ezekiel’s fields and deploying our weapons on scarecrows fashioned as Redcoats. Most of our members have remarkable aim, with the exception of Richard, who has a reputation for unloading his rifle prematurely, often before the exercise has even begun. Talk about a Minuteman!
  • War games: These are simulation exercises during which half of our members dress up as the town women, and the other half practice defending them. I continue to be amazed by these men’s commitment to their roles, not only dressing in women’s clothing, but also applying makeup and donning heeled shoes to make the simulations as realistic as possible.
  • Weapon maintenance: We conclude each meeting by taking care of our most precious assets: our guns. After years of practice, we have found that the most pleasurable way to conduct an otherwise mundane task is to sit in a circle and polish each others’ barrels. And we never forget to mind the balls- the cannon balls- as they need to be cleaned, too. We do this by pouring hot tea over them and letting them steam in a flour sac, a process known as “teabagging.”

This brings me back to the intention of this correspondence: the Second Amendment, as written, does not equip NAMBLA with what it needs to ensure that our militia is both mentally and physically able to secure the liberty of the free state.

Which Way to the Gun Show?
Which Way to the Gun Show?

Firstly, NAMBLA is really gaining momentum, and we are having a hard time ensuring that we have enough arms for our growing members to keep and bare- I mean bear. Our only option for acquiring guns is to ride our horse and buggies into town for the gun show, taking us up to a week round trip. This is putting an undue burden on our soldiers, as they are unable to attend the necessary training activities whilst on the road. We request that you insert some stipulation into the Second Amendment that provides for the expedient delivery of arms to our doorstep at a moment’s notice. My fellow Minuteman, Al, has invented a series of tubes to do just that, and I implore you both to further investigate this option.

Secondly, the weapons currently available to our citizens are so outdated that they effectively make us defenseless. During field training, for example, we shoot our load once then have to pause all the fun while we reload. How are we expected to defend our fellow man with all this priming and pumping and jamming of fresh wads? Pardon me for speaking frankly, sirs, but these old-fashioned guns are becoming a real pain in my ass. To that effect, we request that you consider a provision in the Second Amendment that allows us access to more advanced weaponry so that we can spray an entire load all over the field without having to pause every few seconds.

I could discuss this topic at length, but alas, I must bid you both adieu. Today is Tuesday, and I am tasked with purchasing a bottle of lubrication for the weapon maintenance portion of tonight’s training. In sum, I thank you both again for your diligence in ensuring myself and my fellow NAMBLA members the right to bear arms, and I ask you please consider guaranteeing that these fine men have access to much more advanced weapons at a moment’s notice.


Obediah Jones

* I want to make a point to thank you for including the “without the consent of the Owner” phrase to the Third Amendment, which states, “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house.”

** After much deliberation, we settled on Tuesday evenings, as that is the time our wives are otherwise engaged in Bible study. They are currently studying Genesis 19.

Many thanks to these fine websites for unknowingly letting me borrow your images for the purpose of personal entertainment: here, here, here, and here.

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Habitat for Humanity House in Limbo, Waiting to be Instagrammed


After a series of devastating tornadoes ripped through Texas and Oklahoma in the spring of 2013, Habitat for Humanity stepped in to help rebuild and support the affected communities.

Kay Houston, a 79-year-old resident of Moore since childhood, has praised the efforts of local volunteers, stating, “They have been working day and night since the storm. I have back problems. I couldn’t even bend down to start sifting through the rubble. They moved bricks, dug out memories from my childhood, and kept me company. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for these strangers. They’re my angels.”

And over the next two years, these “angels” cleaned up the mess, raised funds so that Kay could live comfortably despite having nowhere to go, and even started building her a new home. “Last I heard, they finished construction in December. But I’m still waiting for the go-ahead to move in,” she said, a glint of disappointment in her eyes.

We caught up with Jenny Platten, head of the local Habitat office, who revealed that the permitting process has been completed. “All we’re waiting on now is for the house to be Instagrammed.” She continues, “We had a team of volunteers from the local college help with the painting, planting, and finishing touches. A sweet little blonde girl wearing a Habitat for Humanity t-shirt and carrying a really expensive handbag asked me to take a picture of her, but she hasn’t posted it on Instagram. Until that happens, there’s not much we can do for Ms. Houston.”

But Kay Houston claims that she will not be discouraged. “They have done so much for me already, I cannot be anything but grateful. These things take time, and I can wait.

Patten says she has seen this happen again and again in recent years. “Choosing the right filter can be very stressful, resulting in indecision and avoidance behaviors. And if her eyelashes didn’t appear long enough, or there was a funny wrinkle in her t-shirt, that’s an entirely separate round of edits that need to be made. She concludes, “We just need to have faith that the girl will take credit for her community service. Until then, it’s a waiting game.”


Note: This is a work of fiction and in no way represents the opinions of Habitat for Humanity. They are a badass organization that does amazing things for those in need. To find your local Habitat and see how you can contribute, click here.



Word of the Week: Agápe

“To love is to will the good of another.” – St. Thomas Aquinas

Not to be confused with the adjective used to describe my husband’s jaw when he sees me in something other than yoga pants, the Greek word agápe means love. (On second thought, maybe it is the same thing.)

In fact, the ancient Greeks had at least four words to define what we in English lump together as loveÉros is the form of love meaning sexual passion. (Nevermind, this one better describes the feeling when I’m wearing real clothes. Maybe we should start calling a dropped jaw éros instead of agape?) Philia is the affectionate love of friends and family. (And this would be the one that describes the feeling when I am wearing yoga pants.) Storge is reserved for the natural love between parents and children.

And agápe? The selfless love of others.

In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis describes this love of others over self as the greatest love of all. “[Love] is a state not of feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we have naturally about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people.” It is a love of inclusion, not discrimination. It is a love of giving, not receiving. It is a love of humans, not personal agenda.

When Christian leaders denounce marriage equality under the guise of love, it is not agápe. When politicians use scare tactics to turn their backs on those in need, it is not agápe. In fact, I could not find a single Greek word that meant “the love used to justify discrimination and idleness.” Mother Teresa described it best when she said, “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for.”

Agápe is Mother Teresa washing the wounds of lepers.

Agápe is New York City firefighters rushing into burning buildings on 9/11.

Agápe is the plight of Martin Luther King, Jr. to free an entire people from the binds of inequality and injustice.

Agápe is not “separate but equal.” Agápe is everything.