Posts Filed Under Stop acting like an asshat and I’ll stop judging you.

On the Occasion of Somebody Flipping Off my Daughter

by Janelle Hanchett


So as you know, my daughter Ava recently went to a ten-year-old’s birthday party. They rented a limousine for this birthday party (um, yes they did) and piled eight 4th-grade girls in it to drive around town and go to pizza. Needless to say, they were stoked.

And like any respectable limousine passenger, the girls rolled the windows down and squealed and waved at passers-by (so I’m told, I wasn’t there).

I guess at one point my daughter stuck her head out the window and waved to a woman and man walking on the sidewalk in a town near us, which I won’t mention directly, but I will tell you it starts with a D and ends with an S and has a V in it.

In response to her wave the woman in question flipped her off.


Flipped off a 10-year-old girl.

Flipped off a 10-year-old girl in front of seven other 10-year-old girls.

Flipped her off without a word.

Ava is still talking about it. How she was shocked and shrunk into her seat, humiliated. Understandably, having just been told “fuck you” in response to an act of friendliness.

And by an adult . A grown-up, a member of the group my daughter still trusts, innocently thinking adults are pretty solid and reliable (having never (thank god) learned otherwise).

But she’s starting to see. Because how am I to respond to that? When she told me about it, after the shock wore off, I just looked at her and said “Ava, some people are miserable, horrible creatures. Just mean. There’s no excuse for them. They are just assholes.”

Yes, I used that word. There is no other word that would have worked in that situation.

Now I’m not that sensitive.  (Okay I’m pretty sensitive. But I cover it up well, so I can say I’m not sensitive on my blog.) But really I don’t get worked up about too many things. Some people are frantic about protecting their kids from the reality of life and I am not that way. Shit. We take them to Further shows – there’s a lot of reality there, lemme tell ya.

But this one has got me disturbed.

Because seriously: WHO flips off a little girl? WHO?

What sort of closet was she locked in?

What sort of dog food did her parents feed her instead of breakfast?

How hot is the secretary her boyfriend is boning?

What the hell happened to that chick to turn her into such a hateful ball of rage that she would abuse a kid like that, slash her little heart in random and meaningless violence? Who would somebody return evil for the innocent antics of a small girl?

If I knew who she was I would kick her in the face.

No really, I would.

If I had been there I would have stopped the limo, gotten out, walked over to her and kicked her teeth in. Without a word.

Yeah. I get that hate matching hate doesn’t solve anything. Whatever.

But I’m not Ghandi and I’m not Martin Luther King, Jr. and I’m not Mother Theresa, and so, when some worthless scrap of humanity brutalizes my child I want to render them senseless with my bare fists.


That is all.

Ladies. Get my back. Wouldn’t you destroy this woman if she did that to your kid?

Where my girls at?


Idiot Surfing, Volume II

by Janelle Hanchett

So that didn’t take long. We already have material for a new volume of Idiot Surfing.

Today we’re featuring a Facebook post that asked people to complete the sentence “I suspected I was a crunchy parent when…” And as you can imagine, there are some real winners.

Please note: I have nothing against crunchy parenting. In fact, on paper, I’m pretty damn granola myself. But doesn’t it seem that the crunchies are by far the most judgmental parents? Maybe I’m wrong, but it appears that there’s an air of pretension surrounding the attachment-parenting thing – which seems weird, doesn’t it? Hypocritical? Since we”re supposed to be the “enlightened,” “accepting” ones? Ah, the complexities.

Whatever. Who gives a shit. Let’s make fun of ‘em. Here we go. I suspected I was a crunchy parent when…

“…my daughter looked in horror when she a woman feeding her child “poison” in a bottle!” – Really, lady? Really? Poison? Effing POISON? Could you just try for one single moment to enter the realm of the reasonable? POISON? Rat killer is poison. Chemicals are poison. Napalm is poison. Formula (you self-important small-minded jackass) is NOT poison. What if that woman can’t breastfeed? What if the baby can’t breastfeed? What if the baby was adopted? ARGH. It’s people like you that make me a closeted crunchy mother.

“…I cried at the mere mention of giving my baby formula.” – Yes. It’s one of the great tragedies of the world. War, child abuse, cancer, and formula feeding.

“…I didn’t want to pass my baby around and let others hold him.” – Hey dumbshit. That makes you paranoid and possessive, not crunchy. The crunchies aren’t afraid of germs. They love germs. Germs are organic. Duh.

“… I decided to breastfeed … co-bathe…child-led parent.” – What the hell is “co-bathing?” Are you telling me that each and every night at 7pm you strip down and get in the bath with your baby? You have too much time on your hands, that’s all. And “child-led parenting”? Holy hell, that’s a good idea. Here’s what “child-led” parenting would look like in my house:

Me, to my 5-year-old son: “Hey Rocket, what are you doing?”

Rocket: “I’m putting my penis in a funnel.”

Me: “But you’re supposed to be eating dinner.”

Rocket: “This is more fun. I’m doing this instead.”

Me, being a “child-led parent:” “Well okay, then. Does it fit?”

[2 hours pass]

Rocket: “Mama, I’m hungry!”

Me: “Okay, go eat the dinner you didn’t eat 2 hours ago. By the way, what are you doing with the cat?”

Rocket: “Oh, I tied her paws together with pipe cleaners and stuck her in this pillow case and now I’m going to tow her around behind my dump truck. She likes it.”

Me, being a “child-led parent”: “Very nice, honey! Excellent creativity. I support you in your ideas and free-play, so have fun and, if possible my sweet bundle of lovely, try not to kill our kitty, mmmmkay?”

(Okay so I have no idea what “child-led” parenting is for real, but it sounds bad. I mean shit, if kids could parent themselves, why would they need parents?)

“… our favorite music is the sound of the wind in the trees.” – Yeah, hate to break it to you, but the sound of wind in the trees is not music. It’s the sound of the wind, in.the.trees. That is all.

“…I can’t travel because I don’t have my refrigerator and pantry with all organic fresh foods.” – Oh sweet Jesus where do I begin? You’re just an idiot. Just an idiot. There is nothing else to say. No way to expand. Except I should mention that your kids are undoubtedly going to hate you, partly for sheltering them from the world because it couldn’t provide “organic fresh foods,” but mainly just because you’re an idiot.

The end.


While waiting for the next edition of Idiot Surfing, perhaps you could donate 2 clicks to a super worthy cause. There are only four more days. And then, since I’ll probably never be nominated for anything again, I’ll leave you alone forever. Well, on this particular topic.


The End of all things cool

by Janelle Hanchett


A few months ago I was in Marshall’s. And while standing at the check-out line, I saw one of the strangest things my eyes have ever beheld.

It wasn’t the near-toothless twitchy check-out lady who appeared REALLY INTO her job.

It wasn’t the baby in the car seat with a bottle of brown liquid (looking oddly like soda), propped up in her mouth, as if her parent’s only mission in life was to encourage her early tooth decay.

It wasn’t even the mother towing three half-naked screaming toddlers while she yelled at her (obviously unfaithful) significant other.

It was… just sitting there…quietly…lurking on the counter…

…wait for it…

Ed Hardy hand sanitizer.

I stared in disbelief.

“Is it SO?”

I looked away. Then back again. (You know, kinda like the way you stare at a car wreck or bar fight –  the weird sick fascination with the terrifying and gruesome?)

“Is it real?”

I looked again. Looked closely.  Squinted a little. Yep. ED HARDY HAND SANITIZER. For sale. At a store, where people go.

AND THERE WERE SOME MISSING, which means, lest my keen deductive reasoning skills deceive me…that people in fact purchase this item. Real humans pay real money for this real item.

Somebody actually says to herself “Well look at this! Ed Hardy hand sanitizer! Cool! I’m going to spend my money on THAT! Now I can sanitize my hands and look like a fucking moron all at once!”

Okay maybe I added that last part.

But let me just say this directly: I think Ed Hardy is hands-down the most idiotic, disturbing, offensive (in its stupidity) brand EVER TO EXIST ON THIS PLANET. Now I know there’s a fatal flaw in that argument, namely because I don’t know every brand that’s ever existed on this planet. But I’m stickin’ with it, because I’m willing to put money on the validity of the assertion that there is nothing more lame than Ed Hardy.


You either feel me on this one or you don’t.

But let’s talk about it for a moment. Let’s talk about why Ed Hardy is horrifying and may actually symbolize the end of all things cool in America – because it’s really not about aesthetics here. While I would never choose Ed Hardy for myself , that’s not my beef with it. I can forgive people for thinking Japanese tattoo images mixed with fake diamonds is cool. I guess. And it’s from L.A.; L.A. is weird. Plus, I walk around looking like a wannabe granola-eater lazy ass, choosing my clothes based on comfort and which items make me look less fat than others, so I’d rather not talk fashion.

And I could be wrong, but I don’t think Ed Hardy was quite as lame when it first came out. For example, they didn’t make hand sanitizer.

My beef with Ed Hardy is that it represents the obscene over-commercialization and sickening materialism in our culture. It is trying so hard to BE COOL that it absolutely misses the boat on coolness. Coolness is authenticity. Uniqueness. Doing your own damn thing.

Ed Hardy represents jumping on the bandwagon (or inkwagon, in this case) because tattooing is now cool.

It’s about the unending ego-driven pursuit of crap because it has a certain label or I think it’s going to say something about me – “I’m cool” or “I’m hip” or “I have money” or “I’m a fucking jackass.”

[I always blow it in the end.]

But my run-in with that hand sanitizer drilled something spectacular and appalling into my brain: apparently with some people, the yearning for labels extends into the realm of hygiene products. Notice they are “travel size”– so they can be put in a purse and pulled out strategically so everybody knows that this girl has COOL HAND SANTIZER. (Okay I actually just laughed out loud writing that. That shit is funny.)

It just seems ridiculous to me.

Have we become such slaves to marketing propaganda that we actually believe it matters what our hand sanitizer looks like?

Oddly, Ed Hardy himself used to be cool, at least on paper. Back in the day, he apprenticed under Sailor Jerry – THE Sailor Jerry – who was this traveling whisky-drinking outcast sailor who made his living tattooing people and singing songs about liberals and how they’re ruining America. Ed Hardy turned down a Yale scholarship to study tattooing. What happened to you, dude? Sell out much?

Whatever. I’d probably do the same damn thing, had I the opportunity.

I mean how the hell else am I going to get my ass to Borneo, where I can sit around criticizing people for their taste in clothing and $3.00 hand-cleansing products?

Anyway, here’s a photo so you know I’m not making this shit up.

And then, we moved to Borneo.

by Janelle Hanchett


Houston, we have a problem.

Janelle is out of shit to say.

NOOOOOOO!!!!! (voice fades off into the distance…)

There’s no way.

OR, she has so much to say she doesn’t know where to begin.

Enough with the third person.

Ever feel like your life is one giant holding pattern? Only you don’t know what it is exactly you’re waiting for?

For things to settle down, maybe. Get stable. Easier.

For more money to come around. For the real career to begin. For the kids to get bigger.

(Even though you nearly cried when your boy showed you his first loose tooth yesterday.)

For life to start fulfilling you all the time, for the vision to become reality. For the image you held of adulthood to become what IS.

Yes, please.

I’ll take some of that.

And I know what y’all enlightened people will say… “Live in the moment, Janelle. Wake up! Be present! Be conscious! Don’t waste your life!”

But none of that self-talk changes the fact that this shit is really hard. And sometimes it appears REALLY QUITE MEANINGLESS.

I mean check it out. We get up. We go to work. We drive around. We do shit. We eat. We sleep. We have fun occasionally. We work and work and work again. My husband works and works and works, pretty much 7 days a week.


So we have a house and a car and food and some “savings” and retirement money and an occasional vacation somewhere, so my kids have an opportunity to misbehave in a new environment.

And my kids go to school so they can become good working Americans.

And we go to work so my kids can go to school to become good working Americans.

But what about living?

When do we do THAT? When do we get to just BE? When do we get to stop struggling for the bigger house and bigger car and better clothes…For the time and date when we look around at our lives and say “Sweet. We have ARRIVED.”

I lived in Barcelona for a year (studied abroad in college), and my Spanish friend told me an expression they use over there: “Spaniards work to live. Americans live to work.”


That’s true.

I’ve never forgotten that. And I saw it when I was there. I thought those Spaniards just didn’t have any drive – I thought they lacked ambition, the way they just kinda hung out and worked as little as they could, spending much more time in cafes and bars with friends…not really concerned with getting ahead or getting rich…leaving work at 3pm in the summer cause it’s just too damn hot, taking 2 months of vacation a year…closing their businesses for the afternoon siesta…every day.

But even then, I had to admit: those people seemed HAPPY.

I’m not trying to stereotype an entire nation. Those were just my general observations, of a culture I was living in for the first time.

But I think they have a few things figured out. I think their priorities make sense: do what you have to do to enjoy your damn life. Then, enjoy your damn life.

Because this is it, folks. This is the only chance we get.


Am I going to give a shit how big my house is when I’m 80 and dying? How nice my cars were? How much money my kids make?

Probably not.

I will, however, probably feel it deeply if I wasted my life in the ego-driven pursuit of STUFF, buying into the well-established fallacy of the American Dream, at the cost of my contentment, my time, my joy.

My life.

Part of me wants to fuck this whole deal, move elsewhere (Borneo, perhaps?), run some goofy dive shop or café and just live. Let my kids run around. Let my mind run around. Stop seeking earning running.

Sit in cafes with friends. Make enough money to get by.

Work to live.

Clearly it’s too hot. I’m losing my damn mind.

Or, I’m ready for a change. I think I’m on the brink of change.

I just don’t quite know what it is yet…

what it is exactly I’m waiting for.


Because her mom thinks she’s fat.

by Janelle Hanchett

The other day, while enjoying a cookie, Ava says “Mama, wanna hear something sad?”

And I’m always up for a little sadness, so of course I respond “Yes.”

And she says (and names have been changed to protect the innocent) “Jessica doesn’t eat sweets. She isn’t allowed to because her mom thinks she’s fat. Today at school she wouldn’t have a cookie and when I asked her why, she told me that.”

Oh boy.

A “fat” nine-year-old girl.

And one of those women.

I want to cry a little, rage a little, break a couple faces.

Because first of all, I know this girl, and she isn’t fat. She’s isn’t a rail, she’s not one of those super scrawny kids, and perhaps she’s holding on to a bit of that baby chub, but SHE IS IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM FAT. I’ve seen obese kids. She ain’t one of them. She’s healthy, normal. The non-rail shape of her body is clearly, um, just that, the shape of her body.

In a word, she’s adorable. She’s lovely. And perfect – as most kids are, when fed decent food and allowed exercise and access to the outside.

And I’ve seen her mother. Her mother is a rail. Her mother wears tight jeans, small tops and heels pretty much always. Her mother is gorgeous; she turns heads. Very sexy. Very into her appearance. Lots of make-up, always put together – the type of mom I look at and compare myself to, thinking “Damn. I remember 10 years ago when I was hot like that. Wish I still was.”  And I feel not quite good enough, which of course is my own issue and another blog post.

And obviously, her daughter just isn’t quite good enough.

She isn’t the vision her mother expected. She isn’t the dashing beauty her mother had hoped for. She isn’t the stunner her mother is. And she’s disappointed.

So she begins her attempt to mold. To create. To construct. To form her into…what…what was it? Oh right…her idea of beautiful. Of sexy. Of hot.

Forget the child’s soul. Forget her spirit. Forget her value as something other than a body, a dude magnet, a little hottie.

Forget all that. Teach her that what matters is her appearance. Her sexual prowess – her outsides –the way the world views her attractiveness, rates her, judges her.

Teach her to rely on her sexiness and good looks, teach her to define herself completely through something that will ultimately abandon her, fade, whither, leaving her wondering “wait. I’m not the hot girl anymore. I’m a mother with a bit of a pooch…I’m an older woman with saggy boobs…WHO AM I NOW? WHAT AM I GOOD FOR NOW?”

Now don’t misunderstand me. Avoiding a lot of fat and sugar and junk food is (obviously) an excellent and critical habit to teach a child  – but because it’s HEALTHY. Because it’s good to have an active, thriving body, energy and stamina, and a clear, alert mind.  Clearly our bodies should be nourished and treated well and respected. But telling your young daughter that she can’t eat a particular something because she’s FAT will never end in good.

The take away for the child is singular: my mom thinks I’m ugly. Not good enough. Defective.

I’m pretty sure that the mother’s emphasis on her daughter’s weight will result in the exact outcome she’s trying to avoid: emotional eating, dependence on food for something other than nourishment…and obesity. Or anorexia. Or bulimia.

It will result in self-hatred.

Because right now that little girl is still trying to please her mother. When all the other kids are eating a cookie in celebration of a birthday, Jessica denies herself, because her mom thinks she’s fat. But one day in the not too distant future, Jessica’s going to take a look at her mother and say to herself “Who the fuck are YOU to tell me I’m fat? Who the hell are YOU to judge me?” AND SHE’LL EAT EVERY DAMN COOKIE IN A 5 MILE RADIUS, just to prove a point.

But that message will remain, deep, deep inside: I’m ugly. Not good enough. Defective.

Might as well just keep on eating. Or starving. Or binging.

Because I wasn’t good enough for the ONE PERSON WHO MATTERED MOST.

How could I ever be good enough for me?


….Oh, man, let me tread lightly with my little girls – help them see the light burning within them. Untouched, undiminished, unchanged by the passing of time, by the sagging of boobs, by the stretch marks, by the belly that pooches a little…falls over our jeans in all its unsexiness, though it falls in the shape of a cradle, of the womb that once held her in sweet whole embrace. my own chubby, perfect daughter.