The Playboy Effect

The Playboy Effect: Does Youth Equal Beauty?

Back before the Internet, Playboy Magazine was a head rush for the imagination of curious little boys. Finding a Playboy somewhere was like a high that lasted for lustful days, depending on your imagination and usage. Needless to say, it was the gateway drug for things to come in our sexual futures.

But of course Playboy Magazine offered a very top-heavy, warped version of attainable beauty and theoretical romance. Yes, those beautiful women existed–you could see they were real in the pictures (this was before Photoshop). But some of us got stuck there with the Playboy bunny as the ideal female. Rarely was there a woman in our sphere (much less interested in us) who could fulfill our reinforced fantasy of a sexy woman.

Jump-cut to today, and the concerns that free access to pornography is corrupting young boys’ minds and their expectations of sexual fulfillment. Often the pornography is sublimating the actual pursuit of a real “flesh and blood” relationship. As in the movie Don Juan, how can Scarlett Johannsen even come close to the raw punch of 19-year-olds ready for action?

As an adult I know my early experience with Playboy Magazine–and seeing an unrealistic body type that was accompanied by “breast-waist-hip” measurement–has had a lingering effect on my sexual preferences.

And the current mainstream media obsession with rail-thin 19-year-olds is similarly unrealistic. Even my 11-year-old daughter is considering dieting because of the images she sees in pre-teen magazines. It’s gross, what we’ve done to objectify women’s bodies, and how far we’ve distorted those images.

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Too Much Stuff

Too Much Stuff

It occurred to me that if I charge the rates of a public storage facility, my adult children might come and remove their stuff. Brilliant!

Then I realized how hard it would be to get them to pay that bill. Darn it.

Empty house, full of stuff. Memories. Family. Love. A lifetime.

Photo credit: Hobvias Sudoneighm

The Perfect Anniversary Gift

The Perfect Anniversary Gift

What do you get the woman you love to celebrate 16 years of marriage? In my case, I knew the answer. There’s only one thing my wife wants more than anything else, and that’s a healthy future for our son.

Along with being a bright, energetic, playful kid with a quirky sense of humor, our son

The Worst Day of Her Life

The Worst Day of Her Life

“This is the worst day of my entire life,” my daughter sobs. Her eyes are red and tears are dripping down her cheeks.

Today someone adopted the last puppy we have been fostering for the animal shelter. Today the big beautiful tree that shaded our front yard was taken down. My daughter mourned the birds’ nests

Zombie Grandma

Photo by ankakay (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ankakay/)


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a time (second grade) when kids like to talk about death. A lot. My son, whose school that teaches a peace curriculum, enjoys pretending to spray friends with machine-gun fire. He grabs imaginary arrows from the quiver on his back and

Let’s Play Babies!

Let's Play Babies!

Ava: “Mommy, want to play babies? You and Jack are the babies and I’m the Mommy?”

Me: “Yes, please!”

Ava: “Okay babies, time to clean up the Barbies. Mommy didn’t make this mess!”

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Mads Boedker

Century Old Mama

year in review clock

One of the weirder mom quotes: We were reading a story when out of the blue my six year old asked me, “Mommy have you lived for a century?”

I replied “No, that’s 100 years.” “Are you sure?” he said. “Yep, I’m sure butterbean.” (Though sometimes it feels like it.)

Tot Etiquette

Cute very young little boy or maybe a girl with curly hair attem

In the early years we spend plenty of time and energy teaching manners and etiquette to our little squirts.

Wash your hands–but sing the entire alphabet while doing so. What is this message we send? Don’t you ever wonder what our kids think of these signals we send? And why is it that “we” don’t sing

Yes, I’m Not Ashamed to Admit It


I was standing at the kitchen counter with a glass of red wine in one hand and a Krispy Kreme doughnut with Key Lime filling in the other. My husband was laughing at me. I didn’t care.

I started a new job that was full-time in the office instead of part-time at home. I was working really

Best Moment of the Year

mom and daughter

After successfully completing another big conference for moms, MomCom–this one national (whoot whoot!)–this mom finally got some free time to unwind and reconnect with her patient daughter. This is how the moment went:

My daughter as she’s putting her feet between my legs while we’re reading in bed: I’m not cold. I just haven’t seen you

I’ll Never Call Them Flip Flops Again

flip flops

My daughter was looking for some other shoes when it was warm out. I told her she could look in her closet for flip flops. “What are those?” she said. I described them. “Oh, vagina shoes,” she said.

Because, of course.

Photo by: Rudolf Vlček

Fiction from a Four Year Old

it all makes sense

My four year old eagerly absorbs myths and stories, and all of them hold equal weight. The other night she created a fiction mix that combined all the recent tales she’s taken in. It went like this:

The wicked witch took Dorothy’s dog Toto away and then the big storm came and she

Give Them the Holiday Bird

Baby's Holiday Bird

A few years ago we had an interesting experience at a major chain portrait studio where we took our first holiday pictures as a family. The photographer made a grammatical error on our holiday cards, but the biggest surprise came when we were looking at the pictures. The only picture of my

Losing My Mind


I was at Starbucks treating myself to a Latte. I managed to order above the chatter of my pack of children, then I made a fatal mistake: I added a newspaper. After getting my credit card back, I gathered the gang and walked out of the store with the paper under my

Love Makes Us Rich



Me: I feel really happy right now. I just wanted to tell you that.
Six-year-old son: Why are you so happy?
Me: Well, we have a safe and beautiful home, reliable cars, enough to eat and all the love we can handle. I feel like the richest woman in the world.
Son: Love is what

Who dunnit?

Dental Health Toothpaste

This morning after finally getting all three kiddos off to school, I lumbered into the bathroom to take out my contacts. I unscrewed the left-side lid, popped out the lens and put the lid back on. Next I unscrewed the right-side lid. Instead of a bath of sterile solution, I discovered that

Apples to Apples

two boys playing card game

Once upon a time, when we still needed babysitters, my niece offered to watch the kids while we went out with my brother and sister-in-law. Her only payment was that the kids had to play the card game of comparisons “Apples to Apples” with her. No problem. The kids were more than

Sweet Talk

girl with candy

I recently realized that I had been bribing my four year old a bit too much with goodies. In response to my, “I’m so proud of you,” this is what she had to say: “There’s no use in being proud. Just give me a treat.”

Definitely Not Cut from the Same Cloth

twin girls

People sometimes mix up my twin girls because they look alike. But once you get to know them, you’ll never confuse them again. For example:

Twin A is in bed snuggling with me. “You’re the greatest girl,” she tells me out of the blue. “No, you’re the greatest girl,” I say. “No, you

Bad Influence


My son came back from a playdate at a new friend’s house. “Their house is SO much cleaner than ours,” he said.

I told him not to see that friend again; that family’s a bad influence.

Where’s That Baby?

boy looking upl

While talking with a pregnant friend, I explained to my two-and-a-half-year-old son that Aunt Cricket has a baby boy in her tummy. He knelt down and tried to look up her dress to see him.