Monday, February 22, 2010


I have a strange history with some southern ladies I've never met.

Don't worry, I intend to clarify.

In high school, I was very involved (understatement) in forensics. "What?" you ask, wondering what high schooler occupies herself with the examination of crime scenes.

Ohhh... not that kind of forensics. Forensics is the inexplicable moniker that's replaced "speech and debate" since "speech and debate" became "speech (3 or 4 different forms), debate (at least two forms), mock congress, and--get this, artistes--Competitive Acting." Speech and Debate just doesn't suffice.

Anyway, I did the Competitive Acting bit. Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous(ly bad) Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Prose and Poetry. In each, the student would take a book, play or screenplay and cut and paste it into a (hopefully) coherent and (when lucky) interesting 10 minute performance. My speech coach stumbled onto a dusty book called Sidetracked Home Executives. Prone to a dangerous mix of irony and nostalgia, our coach thought we should put together a mildly satirical, ultimately heartfelt DUO based on the authors: classic old-school housewives and their systems and processes to run their homes in a time when a new bundt pan could really rock your socks.

Now, at the time, I had no idea how brainwashed I was being by "progressive feminism and democracy." ...hold on, lemme just pull out the soapbox. Ok, got it....

I was raised believing that women and men were equal. That women could (and should) have the same careers and, basically, lives as men. We should approach relationships the same way (ick), work the same way (ouch), have the same interests and hold marriage and family at the same very low level as (most) men. It didn't occur to me until midway through college that this isn't actually practical. And, more upsetting, many women who were caught up in the early feminism craze have come forward stating that they feel robbed of the opportunity to have a real family.

What did feminism--the way most people understood it--do? It took all the glory out of being a woman. To say that women should work like men is to say that the way women have worked throughout history isn't noble or downright incredible. Well, it is. And now, thank Gd, most feminists are catching on that the whole POINT is to give women the CHOICE.* No, you don't HAVE to be just like a man to be fulfilled. In fact, it's pretty awesome to be a woman. And it's nice to live in a time where jobs are open and women are more respected in the workplace, but really, are men respected in the house? Have we perhaps stumbled upon a bit of a double standard here?

Househusbands of the world unite!

Ok, back to my southern friends....

So, a few years after I am performing Sidetracked Home Executives to teeny tiny audiences on the Forensics circuit, I've landed at NYU's Tisch school and I'm in on a monologue workshop with the amazing Karen Kohlhaas. She's giving her schpiel on Why Actors Need Flylady (definitely worth a read if you haven't heard this!) and so I decide to check out this website. She explains it's a home/life management "system" (sort of) mainly geared towards stay-at-home-moms but particularly crucial for the working actor. So I sign up for her emails and I've been getting them for years now.

It wasn't until a few years in that I realized (you've probably guessed by now) that Flylady IS THE SIDETRACKED HOME EXECUTIVE!!! I've become a devotee of the very woman whose entire life view I thought had gone out with avocado refrigerators! Go figure!

So, hats off to you, Flylady. The "hotspots" are getting cleaned, my "DH" is happy to be no-shirt-for-work-panic free in the mornings, and I introduced the timer to my fifth grade class.

Cheers (you know, Purim's coming!),

* My teacher, Devorah Kigel, gives an amazing series of classes for married and engaged women in which she pointed out the relatively recent story of a female politician who stepped down from her role to spend more time with her family. She was slammed by the feminists, totally denying her her privilege to choose how to prioritize her time!

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