Mar 31, 2012

My European Bathroom Curse

Posted by Tonia at Saturday, March 31, 2012 1 comments
Estrofests is excited to host guest blogger, Grace Ballard. Grace is a social worker and a lover of hilarity and fun. She is an inspiration in her field and we are thankful for her contribution to women's parties at Estrofests!

by Grace Ballard
I call it my “European bathroom curse.” Classy, don’t you think?

It all began in Aviano, Italy. I was eight years old and at a party with my parents. A very inebriated lady had spilled her entire mug of beer on my skirt and my mother told me to go clean up in the restroom. (Children reeking of beer rarely make a good impression.)

I was intrigued by the beautiful old story book lock in the bathroom door. It had a large keyhole with an old antique key. I immediately forgot about my drunken skirt, enraptured by the fairytale key. I closed the door, turned the magical key, and pulled it out of the lock. BUT, instead of being transported to Cinderella Land, I entered Trapped-Inside-Bathroom-Hell. I couldn’t get the key back into the lock. It was a single room restroom with no crack under the door to crawl under. I banged on the door, the walls, the sink, anything to get somebody’s attention. Two hours passed before the owner of the restaurant finally heard me and let me out. He kept saying, “Gelato for the bambino. Gelato—no charge.”  He was my hero. He had freed me from bathroom prison. And the gelato was more than worth the incarceration.

BATHROOM MISHAPS.  Definitely women’s domain. Because our urethras are literally three times shorter than men’s, we have to pee more and, consequently, we hang out in restrooms more frequently. We understand automated toilets. You know – the kind that require you to jump up and down like a lunatic to make them work. Or the other kind that flush every 3 seconds and splash water all over your ass. This all happens whether you’re done or not. Hey, I want to be able to decide when I’m done.

My story continues.

When I was nineteen my brother and I flew to Germany to see my father. For the 13 hour plane ride I was in the middle seat between my brother and an unknown man. I remember the long lines at restroom - consisting of mostly women, of course. Near the middle of the flight I had to pee pretty badly. I had procrastinated going because there was a lot of turbulence, but the turbulence only added to my urgency.  I glanced back – no line! I rushed into the little stall, dropped my pants and began to experience that glorious relief of urination when swoosh - the door flung open due to the turbulence. Now, directly in front of me, was the male passenger who had been sitting next to me for the past 6.5 hours – and who would continue to sit next to me for the NEXT 6.5 hours. Couldn’t. Have. Been. Someone. Else. Had to be him.

On that same trip we traveled to Paris and, while in a lovely Parisian restaurant, nature called. But I was confident I could manage those cute little fairytale locks. Everything went well until I tried to unlock the door. And. Nothing. Happened. The walls began to close in on me. I started to panic. I began thrashing myself around the room. I threw myself against the door, and as I did, it flung open with a crash. Trying to look cool and walk away with some dignity, my father and brother were hysterical.  If other customers had not heard the door crash open, they certainly heard my unruly family members. My brother taunted me, “No gelato this time!”

Flash forward 11 years to a doctor’s office where I’m supposed to give a urine specimen. As a connoisseur of restrooms I admire the futuristic George Jetson design. But the lock is very modern with no discernible LOCKED position. I turn something and assume it’s secure. Midstream with legs spread and cup in hand, the door flies open. A middle aged man is standing there. He immediately shuts the door - but he knows and I know. Is that the end of the story? Of course not! A few days later this same man came to my workplace for a therapy appointment with me! During the intake he kept saying, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?  You look incredibly familiar.” Is bathroom familiarity a conflict of interest?

So turn bathroom chagrin into grins by having a few of your girlfriends over for a Bathroom Party! Here are drink and games suggestions:

Buy several specimen cups from your nearest pharmacy. Have each party participant write her full name on her cup’s label with a Sharpie marker. Then fill each with the following:

1 part Brandy
2 parts apple cider, chilled
2 parts Champagne

Toilet Paper Fashion Show
Split your girlfriends into groups of three. Hand each group one roll of toilet paper. Ask each group to pick a model and then have the groups design an outfit using only toilet paper. It can be timed 15-20 minutes. Then have a fashion show.

Pick Your Paper
Pass around a roll of toilet paper and ask each participant to take the usual number of sheets from the roll that they would use in the restroom. Don’t tell them why. After everyone has taken their sheets of  toilet paper, have each person to tell as many embarrassing/humorous true stories as the number of sheets they took.

Grace Ballard has a Masters Degree in Social Work and is working on her clinical social work license as well as her drug and alcohol counselor license. She currently works as a mental health therapist with children and families. She is a true believer in the power of humor as a way to cope with life on life's terms. She also believes in the power of cocktails, games, and girlfriends! 

Mar 21, 2012

HERstory - Not HIStory

Posted by Tonia at Wednesday, March 21, 2012 3 comments
By Tonia
"Well-behaved women rarely make history." - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I’m not a man-hater. (Really. I appreciate men naked in my bed as discussion partners.) But it is true that they still dominate – in the family, in law, in politics, in business, in government .... and in history. Women’s history month (March) is our opportunity to recognize women in history and to celebrate smart, gutsy and out-spoken women from the past.

When history is only told by the testosteronely-maranated half of the human race, the other side of the story is lost and the record is skewed. For example, Joan of Arc was not burned at the stake for heresy; she was burned because she wore men’s clothing. And Florence Nightengale was not known as the Lady with the Lamp; she was known as the Lady with the Hammer because she broke into supply rooms for medicines for her patients. And did you know that the owner of the Round Table was not Arthur but Guenevere? Duh. If Arthur had furnished the table he would have sat at the head and it would have been held together with duct tape.

Our current male version of prehistory gives credit to men for providing food to the tribe since they were the hunters. Hunting may have been a fun way to hang out with the guys but it was not efficient. Meat from a hunt came irregularly and could not be stored. It was women’s gathering (not men’s hunting) that sustained the tribe.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Estrofests celebrates women in history – especially the unruly, unmanageable ones - the ones who claimed their own bodies and who could not be silenced. Here are a few of our favs:

Princess Khutulun was described by Marco Polo as the greatest warrior in Kubla Khan's army. She announced that she would marry any man who could beat her at wrestling. However, if they lost they would have to give her 100 horses. She died unmarried with 10,000 horses.
Lady Godiva appealed to her husband, Earl Leofric of Mercia, over and over again to reduce his oppressive taxes on the people of Coventry. Weary of her nagging, he agreed - if she would ride naked through the streets (perv). When she did indeed ride naked, he removed all oppressive taxes.

Mae West, actress, playwright, producer, director, and sex goddess, never allowed her critics or her censors to sway her from being herself and maintaining strong artistic control over her work. When her apartment manager refused to let her African-American boyfriend enter her apartment, Mae simply bought the entire building.

So get your girlfriends together, dress up as unruly women in history, and inspire one another with the stories of smart, gutsy and out-spoken heroines! And to further inspire you, click HERE for a music video paying homage to Alice Paul and the generations of courageous women who fought to pass the 19th Amendment, women's right to vote. And tell us which women YOU admire from HERstory!

Mar 20, 2012

Bad Girls Badminton

Posted by Tonia at Tuesday, March 20, 2012 1 comments
by Tonia

“It’s the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have the time.” – Tallulah Bankhead

I'm not much of a cook. In fact, I wanted to turn my kitchen into an extra bedroom until someone reminded me that I needed a refrigerator for martinis. So why I was in charge of making the Cherries Jubilee for Bad Girls’ Badminton is still a mystery. And why I didn’t go look up a recipe is .... well .... probably because I was more interested in creating my Lisa Novak* costume than cooking. I knew, of course, that I needed cherries and alcohol. What could be easier? So, on the evening of the party, I threw a couple cans of cherries and a bottle of rum in a pan and lit it. It burned … and it burned …. and it burned …. and it burned. Everyone was smiling and waiting …. and waiting. Someone commented on what a great fire it was and suggested we roast marshmallows. Bitch. Finally smothered the flames with a lid and served the blackened cherries with ice cream and LOTS of warm rum still left in the pan.

So what IS a Bad Girls’ Badminton party? It is a fabulous girlfriends get-together that encourages  releasing your inner Bad Girl - you know the one - she’s in there cursing, getting laid, breaking a few rules. At the party we dress up as various Bad Girls and spend an evening whacking cocks….I mean, SHUTTLEcocks. OK, OK, you can call them BIRDIES.

But an important rule in our version of badminton is whenever someone misses hitting the shuttlecock (and this will happen FREQUENTLY) she has to curse with an original curse word – nothing that anyone has heard before. Each new curse word is then written down by the Curse Word Keeper. When the matches are over, the Curse Word Keeper selects her top 10 favorite curse words and the group votes to determine the #1 winning curse. Some of our winners have been “douch fart” and “syphilis stick.” Would love to hear yours!

*Lisa Novak, as you may remember, was the astronaut that drove from Houston to Orlando to confront her rival. She wore a diaper so she would not have to stop on the way. She was charged with attempted vehicle burglary, battery, and destruction of evidence.

Mar 13, 2012

Mommies Gone Wild

Posted by Tonia at Tuesday, March 13, 2012 1 comments
by Rachel
I am so outdated on piercings, I’m like a school marm from the 1950s. I have one hole in my left earlobe and one hole in my right earlobe. Talk about no imagination! So a few nights ago four girlfriends and I decided to get our belly buttons pierced. I know, I know, it wasn’t our nipples, but, hey, we wanted to be able to go public.
We piled into my friend’s minivan (nothing says cool like minivan) and went to a popular tattoo parlor - not to be confused with beauty parlor, ice cream parlor, or funeral parlor. We were greeted by a seedy looking building with bright neon lights, black tinted windows and pictures of dragons, skulls and swords. As we walked in, we heard a few snickers. OK, we might have looked a bit out of place with our mom jeans, striped sweaters and purses as big as diaper bags. Mr. I-Love-Pain-So-Cover-Me-In-500-Tattoos asked where the filming crew was for the “mommy’s gone wild” group. 
It was decided that I would go 2nd (the order being based on who was most likely to chicken out - I was voted the 2nd most likely to bolt). When it was my turn, I tried to do my Lamaze breathing and squeeze my friends’ hands but I couldn’t muffle the screams. The Inflictor rolled his eyes and muttered some rude comment under his breath. 
Got home and woke my husband to show him my piercing. He said I must be having an early mid-life crisis and asked if I was going to come home after every girls’ night out with a new piercing or tattoo.  Hmmmm…. Maybe an eyebrow or nose next? Nah, I will probably just stick with the ears and navel. 
But, if you and your girlfriends are considering a Girls' Night Out for tattoos or piercings, here is a little decision-making questionnaire for you:
-  Have I wanted this for more than five minutes?
-  Am I sober?
-  Do I miss the pain of childbirth or need to cry?
-  Have I taken my anti-psychotic medication today?
If you answered "Yes" to all of these, grab those girlfriends and some Liquid Courage (straight vodka is recommended) and go for it! And tell us about it!


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