Post image for Ellen Willis rocked. Read why in the new anthology of her music writing.

I’m still riding high from last week’s awesome, inspiring conference about the writings of Ellen Willis, co-organized by her daughter, Nona Willis Aronowitz. Nona has put together an anthology of Ellen’s rock criticism, which comes out this month and is a must-read for music lovers and cultural critics (I still can’t get over the brilliance of her Janis Joplin essay, reprinted here by Salon.com). I wrote a short review of Out of the Vinyl Deeps for the May issue of Elle, which just happens to be the music issue.

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For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to “just know,” how is a person to decide if he or she wants to have a child?

Over at The Rumpus, a 41-year-old baby-ambivalent man asks the burning question, and receives a really touching and thoughtful answer. The advice columnist’s response echoes a lot of what I heard from psychologists when I was researching baby lust for Elle, but in a more lyrical and heartfelt way. This part really struck me:

You wrote to me because you want clarity about which course to take, but perhaps you should let that go…there will likely be no clarity, at least at the outset; there will only be the choice you make and the sure knowledge that either one will contain some loss.

I suppose it comes down to the acceptance and prioritization of different types of loss…a very daunting concept.

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New research finds that measurements of a man’s nether regions really does correlate to his ability to get a woman pregnant, Time reports. The area of interest is located slightly south of where you’re probably thinking: it’s actually the distance between the anus to underneath the scrotum, known as anogenital distance, or AGD. According to a study published in this month’s Environmental Health Perspectives, AGD is associated with semen volume and sperm count. As Time reports:

The median AGD length is about 2 inches; men with a shorter measurement stand a seven-times greater risk of having fertility problems as opposed to men with a longer AGD. They are more likely to be sub-fertile, which generally indicates a sperm count of less than 20 million per milliliter. Men with sperm counts in this range are only half as likely to succeed in getting a partner pregnant as men with more typical sperm counts in the range of 50 to 60 million sperm per milliliter.

The study authors believe the AGD could be a “reliable marker” of potential infertility, especially when combined with additional tests like sperm count analysis.

This information presents yet another good reason why baby-lusting single ladies should invest in their own tool kits.
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This month, as we honor influential women of the past and present, we say goodbye to two unique talents: Hazel Rowley, the brilliant biographer of charismatic, complex people and their complicated relationships; and Elizabeth Taylor, the dynamic actress whose complicated relationships were the subject of at least three biographies.

These two women may not have much in common, but they are responsible for two of my favorite cultural works about relationships. In Tête-à-Tête: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Rowley chronicles one of the messiest and most passionate relationships of all time; and in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Taylor brought to fiery life one half of the fiercest, most intense couples we’ve ever seen onscreen. Both women seemed fascinated by the push-pull effect of passion, of its irresistible allure and its terrible destructive power.

Tonight, I’m going to break some wine bottles in their honor.

 

 

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Help Japanese women and children in the wake of the tsunami.

March 19, 2011
Thumbnail image for Help Japanese women and children in the wake of the tsunami.

(My friend Alex Zolbert took this photograph of the destruction wrought by the tsunami in Sendai, Japan. More incredible images are at AlexZolbert.com) A tsunami like the one that hit the coast of eastern Japan last week wreaks havoc on the lives of everyone in the area, but presents unique challenges for women and girls. [...]

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Will Tina Fey’s New Yorker essay help working moms?

February 21, 2011

Everyone loved Tina Fey’s essay for the New Yorker about juggling work and kids, and trying to decide whether she should have a second baby. And there was a lot to love! Fey was her typical hilarious, irreverent, incisive, awesome self. Take these bon mots: “‘How do you juggle it all?’ people constantly ask me, [...]

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Guy Friend: The Other Kind of Boyfriend

February 14, 2011
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This one’s for the (other) men in my life! I wrote a fun feature for the March 2011 issue of Women’s Health magazine about the joys of having guys as friends.

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Have you ever experienced baby lust?

February 9, 2011

My article about baby lust (and how women know when it’s time to have baby) is up at Elle.com. At the very end of the article, there’s a place where readers can share stories of their own experiences with baby lust. I’m really curious to hear what people have to say. Some might wonder why [...]

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Clock Watcher: my article in February ELLE

January 18, 2011
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Is there a biological explanation behind sudden-onset baby lust? How do we know when it’s time to get pregnant? We’ve heard so much about the biological clock, but not much about the alarm mechanism that’s supposed to let us know this thing is working. Concerned about my ambivalent feelings about babies and motherhood, I decided to further explore baby lust. I wrote about my findings in an article for ELLE called “Clock Watcher” (February 2011).

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Marry or Burn by Valerie Trueblood

November 3, 2010
Thumbnail image for Marry or Burn by Valerie Trueblood

In her outstanding new collection of short stories, Marry or Burn, Valerie Trueblood uses the threads of familiar topics—love, marriage, separation, general angst—to spin affecting, utterly unexpected yarns.

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