Also.Also.Also: A Queer from North Carolina Gets Real With You and Other Stories for Your Weekend

featured image via shutterstock

Hey so I need to talk to y’all about something! I have this weird phobia of direct eye contact with large predatory animals, and I’m wondering if any one of you might, too. I’ve done lazy google searches to see if this is even a thing, but haven’t found anything close. It’s not just a fear of large cats or sharks or eagles (?!?) in a general sense — I absolutely love all of these beasts, it’s just the eye contact, and super bonus points if their mouths are open. If I see a photo where a lion is looking directly into the camera lens, I actually fear for my life, for some reason? I hide my face and have to think of turtles or clouds. There’s a scene in the new Jungle Book preview that involves a panther staring at the camera and I CANNOT. Even cartoon animals! I totally 100% believe they’re about to maim me.

Friends, what is this?

I can’t turn it off or even sit uncomfortably through it — I’ll get lightheaded and scream — I have to cover my eyes as soon as possible. It’s really special.

Let’s talk about your weird-ass phobias! Or normcore phobias! Do you have any? Do you know the name for mine?

Hopefully this will cleanse our spirits and usher us gracefully into our glorious spring weekends!

You Should Go or Do or Give

+ The Suicide Kale World Premiere is This Weekend in Houston! We’ve lapped ‘excited’ and sprinted on into ‘elated’ or even ‘breathlessly anticipatory’ at this point. You have to go!

Queer as in F*ck You

+ What It Feels Like For a Queer North Carolinian.

+ Both LGBT Seniors And Young Adults Will Live In This New Hollywood Housing Complex.

+ 10 (Un)documented Black and LGBTQIA Activists You Need to Know.

+ The Emerging Queer Hip Hop Movement.

+ I’m sorry in advance for how real this is: Things I Have Mistaken for a Personality Trait Over the Years by one Ms. Mallory Ortberg.

+ A Woman Mapped Out North Carolina Bathrooms That Welcome Trans People.

+ Laura Jane Grace on the title of her memoir.

+ The Digital Transgender Archive is Putting Trans History Online.

Doll Parts

+ Hello excuse me I’d like to swan dive into this lake and backstroke until the next sunrise: Why Are We So Scared of Teenage Girls?

+ Women’s Soccer Stars Demand Equal Pay in Federal Discrimination Complaint.

+ Siri Now Capable of Discussing Sexual Assault. I know this is progress and I’m genuinely glad but also I want to throw rocks through windows re: the fact that we even needed to bring this to Apple’s attention AND ALSO that we even need it at all! Wheeee! Thinking about clouds and turtlessssss.

+ Endometriosis or Modern Hysteria? Guts Magazine, baby.

+ Confessions of a Radical Doula: Why is the delivery room the one place where a woman doesn’t have control over what happens to her body? Preach preach say the words yes.

Leah walks us through basic hospital regulation: induction, triage, rotating nurses, hospital gowns, nothing to eat or drink, timed labor. How to outwit them? How to avoid interference, sneak in some crackers or juice or soup, get out of bed and move around, indulge all the healthy, normal impulses of the body? Decent birth under regulatory control would seem to call for a combination of espionage and luck. Don’t get on the nurses’ bad side, Leah advises. Make friends with the nurses.

Two trainees realize they had the same OB at the same Manhattan hospital, and giggle about how she’s known for marching into the room literally swinging her forceps.

Oh, and what about Dr. R—? He comes in and stands there while you’re pushing and goes, “Don’t make me cut you.”

I would have liked to have given birth at home, another says, but my husband wasn’t okay with it. Others nod: Of course your husband has final say.

I get a sinking feeling. This is not my beautiful roomful of furious radicals.

+ ‘She Who Tells a Story’ Highlights Contemporary Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World

+ The Golden Child is a beautiful photo set. Get lost in it.

the golden child rookie march 2016

Photo by MARS

+ I Am The Best Damn Mother on the Planet.

+ German Railway Company Plans to Introduce ‘Women Only’ Train Cars and I rejoice.

+ The Case for Teaching Girls to Masturbate in Sex Ed.

+ Walking the Length of the River: Spiritual journey calls attention to contamination of the Minnesota River.

+ So here’s your must-read: Heather by Melissa Gira Grant.

Last summer, Neal Falls tried to murder Heather Saul — and police suspect she wasn’t the first escort he targeted. After killing him in self-defense, she was hailed as a vigilante hero, flooded with support, and turned into a symbol of the perils of sex work, but she wasn’t ready for any of it.

+ The Shocking Sexualization of Female Politicians in Porn, which I realize might not immediately sound like something you’re interested in or even shocked by, frankly, but get in there.

+ ABORTION STUFF: Medication Abortion is Now More Accessible Than Ever! But then again, Anti-Choice Activists are Tricking Teens Into Signing Away Their Abortion Rights.

+ Why don’t you listen to Tacocats? Gillian Anderson and mansplaining are involved. You will like it. Just do it.

Saw This, Thought of You

+ Low Income Americans Can No Longer Afford Rent, Food and Transportation.

+ Vice Talked to Whoopi Goldberg About Her New Weed-Infused Edibles. Related and also very relevant to your interests: Americans are buying tons of legal pot, like, so fucking much.

+ Oh my god this Innerspace-ish shirt is the coolest thing ever forever: Peek Inside Your Body With an Augmented Reality T-Shirt.

+ What to Eat When You’re Drinking, so your hangover won’t be so terrible! Look at you, thinking ahead.

+ Ugg: The Look that Refused to Die.

+ 13 Facts About Raffi because I love you and also Raffi.

+ Murder House For Sale!

+ Homeschooling Without God, as you do.

+ A top politician is very cool with saying that Australia was “invaded” by the British, versus “discovered,” and by golly if some people are just super pissed off about this.

+ Who Can Change American Universities? re: campus racism.

And Finally

SKIING CAT. VIDEO. NatGeo profile. Cat that skis. SKI CAT. Immediate follow.

Outside playing ??

A photo posted by Jesperpus\A.Stormo (@jesperpusen) on

Can no longer speak.

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lnj has written 310 articles for us.


  1. I have been silently (because I am watching students take exams all day long)screaming about the USWNT case for about 24 hours now. I am so fucking proud of them!

    And I’m proud of myself for resisting the urge to engage with twitter trolls and mansplainers. Though after 300000 RTs of related articles/tweets my only remaining followers are probably all bots. Whatever.

    This is momentous for women’s sports and I love them so much. This has seriously given me so much life right when I needed it.

    • something great is how tone-deaf landon donovan’s response to this was. “i have a sister so of course i’m not sexist but all i’m saying is they could negotiate better if they want more money.”

      • Tim Howard also made it sound like they could have just negotiated a better deal if only they were feisty like his 8yo daughter.

        They can both STFU.

    • Ha, I felt the same. Unfortunately, my urge to engage became too great when I read arguments about how this is all bullshit because female soccer players are inferior and thus rightfully get less money. When asked about an explanation the most ridiculous answer I got was “They loose against 15 year old boys.” After challenging this statement I was accused of being only interested in the politics and that I didn’t even watch soccer.
      The best thing with these trolls always is that after you make a valid point, they just don’t respond. I count that as a victory.

      • It’s like they have a shared notebook full of the same crappy arguments. The Matildas even got flack from the same kind of idiots for going on strike last year just simply trying to get the equivalent of a decent wage comparable to the time they were expected to put in to play for Australia (and hence not able to earn money to support themselves), still not anywhere near what the Australian men’s team get. Thankfully they were successful – and with just a tiny bit of investment they keep giving back, shot up to 5th in the FIFA rankings following Olympic qualifiers.

        Looking at our local league, Melbourne City (backed by Manchester City) swept the league unbeaten, largely because they simply spent all of the money in their salary cap (which other teams don’t) and were more professional than any other team. I’m hoping other teams follow suit because even just this minimal investment can show immediately in better quality the players are able to put forward.

  2. I thought the cat would be on ski, but I realize now that that was an unrealistic expectation. So I’m not disappointed. That would be silly.

  3. the endometriosis article is a nightmare lol.

    where do you stand on alligators, laneia? like at some points ALL you can see is their eyes which feels especially cruel for you, or maybe it has the opposite effect. my friend has a deep phobia of exposed undersides of wrists, as in other people’s, and she’s a teacher where people are constantly handing her things so, could be worse?!!?

    • Is it true you can run away from crocodiles in a zig zag and they won’t be able to catch you? A guy told me that once.

    • Exposed wrists tho

      I’m not phobic but reading that made me curl my arms in protectively

      • I live in southeastern Louisiana and have a terrible alligator phobia. People down here like to make fun of me. My own mother makes fun of me!

        Can I stand by you?

  4. I’m not afraid of making eye contact with all predatory animals. But I am uncomfortable making eye contact with birds or monkeys if they’re close to me. I just feel like they could tear my eyes out at any moment. I don’t know why it’s just birds and monkeys, but it is.

    Brains are weird.

    • As a parrot owner I can give u a 100% assurance that your fear of getting pecked in the eye by a bird is totally reasonable

      The cool thing tho at least with Parrots is, once you know how to read their body language, it’s actually p easy to avoid this fate. They are tiny, fluffy, emotional open books

    • In regards to monkeys, I’ve always had this weird fear of looking male baboons in the eyes. Also for apes, male gorillas intimidate me. I have no problem looking any other animal in the eye, but male baboons and gorillas scare me.

      • That is healthy totally not weird fear cause baboon society is a prime example of toxic masculinity and those giant canines are not just for threat displays.

        Gorillas are vegetarians that sometimes eat bugs, but male gorillas are supposed to be intimidating. They are tanks that protect the troupe.

        • I say it’s weird because at the same time I’m an animal lover and I have a respect for baboons due to their intelligence and lack of fear toward humans (also due to my nerdy obsession with DBZ, the aggression and long canines have an appeal to me). Most baboons actually have a dominance hierarchy based on the matriline, but Hamadryas specifically are definitely a prime example of toxic masculinity. As much as I love the other species of baboons, I’m not too big a fan of Hamadryas.

          • It’s not weird to love, and respect a wild animal, a bacterium, a ranged weapon and have fear at the same time.
            I like sharks and find them graceful. It’s endlessly impressive how an animal as clumsy looking as a great white flies like ballerina to obtain food but that is a terrible comparison. Sharks being aquatic apex predators and humans being mysteries that get taste tested or something other things.

            But yes a wild animal is a wild animal feeling any fear in most capacities is not weird not matter how much you respect or love them.

            I took like a biological anthropology survey only Hamadryas got covered boo.
            They are (literally ha) like the butt monkeys of all monkeys.

            But isn’t it just wonderfully interesting that while some primates do not actively teach their young how use tools they’ll still learn by observing and experimenting on their own?

    • Weird?
      I think you mean smart because many primates are as fucked up as humans are in the “wanton violence” department and birds are mini-dinosaurs.
      They could totally tear your eyes out or face off at any moment.

      Large predatory animals have to decide whether or not it’s worth the spending calories to go after you. S

    • Wanting to avoid eye contact with animals that could, if they wanted to, thrash our tiny, clawless, fangless, and generally defenseless human bodies doesn’t sound weird to me at all!
      Basically, our best defense (if we’re too close for running away) is seeming like we’re not food, and not a threat. So, when I go to feed the bald eagles when I’m at work, for instance… I try not to look at them. I’m too big to be food, but if I look them right in the eye, I’m possibly telling them that I’m this bigshot threatening thing in their territory and *what are they going to do about it, huh?*
      That’s a question I don’t want them to answer, especially not with their beaks or talons (fun nerdy fact!: eagle talon grip strength = 400 psi or more). And thus I am simply their humble servant, bringing fish and looking at the beautiful rocks on the ground…

  5. Did you know that when a cat makes eye contact with you and repeatedly blinks it is a sign of affection?

    Naturally I tested this theory on my cats and apparently only one of them likes me.

  6. I’m super afraid of heights which I don’t mind generally except I get really pissy when my girlfriend forgets and is like “stand near the edge of this thing while I lean on you” and I surprised when I’m like ” No no no no no no no”

    My therapist has these shoes that are basically butch uggs and it’s never been a good time for me to be like “I like you a bunch but lol really what’s that about”.

    • My therapist also has weird/horrible shoes! Does everyone notice their therapists shoes?

      • i think yes, because that’s where you look when you’re Getting Real and feel too vulnerable for eye contact (and/or when you are Avoiding Getting Real and feel too cagey for eye contact)

      • My therapist sits on her feet in the chair. So I never see her shoes, unless I look at her feet while she’s walking. Her plant, however, thinks I’m flirting b/c I stare at it so much when I’m Getting Real…

  7. I curious to see how trans(and non-binary) friendly that German train car will be? Like will stone butch(think Lea Delaria in a suite), non-passing trans women, and non-binary people be allowed?

    • i was curious, too and wrote the company an email. i´ll report back when i get an answer. i have to say though, that linked article is full of mistakes. cologne and leipzig/chemnitz are nowhere near each other and linking this new offer to the refugee crisis and the sexual assaults in cologne seems nonsense to me.
      btw. i´m impressed by the outcry this received (in the article, but also in german media) – everybody seems to be super offended. it´s especially funny, because it´s not like it would affect a lot of people – it´s a small regional railway company – you get from leipzig to chemnitz in 1h – and they introduced it because customers where asking for it.

  8. Even just the first paragraph of the teenage girls article is perfection.

    And that housing complex warms my heart!

  9. A good example of moronic logic and rationality, a comment posted on Think Progress about USWNT’s law suit:

    The reasons why this person is a moron:

    – USWNT is not suing FIFA, but the U.S. Soccer Federation.

    – taking away money from men because men’s sports are more popular? Sorry, but we’re talking about women’s fútbol, which is by far more popular than men’s fútbol in the US.

    – I know that American men have a need to consider any of his teams like a “worldwide super-power”, but sorry, dude, in fútbol your men’s team is a minor league player, just a little spit in the ocean. And that’s the big difference with the USWNT.

    – Women bring more money, viewers and titles in the US than that mediocre crap you called USMNT. So, comparing the USWNT with the USMNT, using worldwide numbers to do that, is the work of a moron.

  10. I spent so much time in my teen years trying to distance myself from the stereotypes surrounding teen girls and it was lame and it made teen me The Worst re: I’m not like OTHER GIRLS

    And then I spent so much time getting so mad about it

    And then I grew up and a worried Dad at the grocery store saw my self harm scars and asked me:

    What is happening to my 13 year old?

    Will she be OK?

    Is it just for attention??

    Is It Because Of Our Divorce???

    Like I had the answers, somehow.

  11. Oh wait! I know my phobia

    Nose Bleeds

    Guys I’m not afraid of blood, but if it comes out of my nose, I almost faint, and I have no idea why.

    I just really bothers me for some reason idk

  12. Laneia. You were so right. “Things I Have Mistaken for a Personality Trait…” was just. So. Real. ughhhh.

  13. Also, how totally fitting is it that Ugg = ughh and vice versa + or – additional ghhhhh’s

  14. Laneia, I always love your round-ups. I usually forget to comment because I’ve opened too many tabs to keep track. But today, thank you.

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