Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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The most intimate part of the self

My best friend is back in New York. On Monday, we took our lunch to the park together and talked loudly and enthusiastically about everything, but mostly about her business and my work. “I love it when you say exactly what you think,” she said to me. “You should be more like that in your writing.”

It is easy for me to be direct with her. In fact, it is the only way I know how to be around her: to tell her directly what I think she is brilliant at, when I think she is messing up, which of our wide circle of shared acquaintances I think are wonderful and which I think are ghastly users. Our friendship is sufficiently secure – and free of any pretence that we are the same person in different skins – that we are able to disagree, sometimes passionately, without it threatening our connection.

And she is probably right that if I threw unfiltered opinions and bon mots at the internet with the same ease that I fling them during my conversations with her, I would have twice as many Twitter followers; that my articles would get more shares.

But you know what? I’m cool with that. That is to say, I am cool with not sharing that part of myself with the world. Because in the same way that some people believe that sex should not be sold because it is too intimate, the body too much a window into the soul inside, I believe that (some of) my thoughts are private; best saved for trusted friends. Or at least, that they are more comfortably shared in spontaneous conversation (even on stage!) than carved forever into the WWW.

And on an internet where so many people are invested in looking like the Coolest, Nicest, Most Funnest Girl Ever (or the Fiercest, Most Opinionated, Doesn’t Give A Shit About Anyone Girl Ever), I think there is something delicious about the surprise of being more fierce and more fun in person than in text.

(Besides, as a reader, I prefer writing that is searching and philosophical anyway. Which is why that’s what I try to do in my work. Bon mots are more fun in a rapid fire conversation.)

I'm 17 but would be absolutely delighted to help out with the Cosmo columns re. Sexting and/or Abortion? Let me know if I should email you. Thanks!

Asked by

Sure, drop me a line :)

Upcoming Cosmo columns

As you may recall, for the last month or so I’ve been writing’s Sex Talk Realness column. Each week, I interview 2-4 people on their experiences with difference topics related to sex, gender, and relationships - you can find some of my previous stories here, here, here, and here.
Over the next month, I’ll be covering sexting (I would love people who are under 25 for this one, as I’ve already got a couple of over-25s signed up), threesomes, anorgasmia (people who have trouble reaching orgasm), abortion, and trans* issues
Can you help with any of these? Email me at rachel dot hills at gmail dot com.
Women and men, straight and queer people all welcome. Age-wise, I’d prefer you were in the general “Cosmo” demographic of 18-35 years old. And all interview subjects are completely anonymous. You will be known only as Woman A, Man B, Person C, etc.

The best of the rest of the internet

Weekend reading a la me.

I wouldn’t mind being in here right now. (Katrin Korfmann)

"By the time I was 27, I was pretty successful, but I didn’t feel like I was doing work that was meaningful." I loved this interview with Molly Crabapple. (The Great Discontent)

This first struck me as an almost hysterical overreach, but I came to see it as something else: Christian conservatives acknowledging feminism’s revolutionary potential, taking it far more seriously than did mainstream society.” Kathryn Joyce in Medium’s Backlash Book Club. (Medium) 

This is the best and most complete resource I’ve ever found on book publishing, including the (many, many) things that happen after you get the book contract. (Ian Irvine)

I’ll be your mirror: a cautionary tale of a former dream girl. (Rookie)

Okay, I’ll admit it: the last time I caught a medium-haul flight, I was quietly incensed when the person in front of me put their seat back, meaning I had to either A) crick my neck for the rest of the flight, or B) put my seat back, and similarly inconvenience the person in front of me. (I chose option A.) I considered it an act of selfishness; or prioritizing your comfort at the expense of others. But it turns out that other people consider it equally selfish to be incensed by people putting their seats back, and that these two tribes of people are not-at-all-quietly getting into fights on planes. What to make of it? I could write a whole post on this very First World Problem (and will, if people want me to), but for now I will just direct you to this post on Jezebel. The comments are fascinating. (Jezebel)

The Nation has put together a “state of the nation” on the new wave of racial justice organizing on the United States. (The Nation)

In a way [Orange Is The New Black's] Morello is like the mirror image of the Santa Barbara shooter, Elliot Rodger: the same but opposite. Rodger took his anger at his lack of attention from women—spurred on by porn and men’s rights forums—out on the female population in general in the most violent way, whereas Morello continues her stereotypically feminine obsession with romance and fixates on one man, dangerously crafting an alternate life with him.” (The Scarlett Woman)

"With Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century still on best-seller lists and New York City’s new spate of mixed-income housing developments, it is becoming harder for the fashionable rich to deny their disproportionate wealth.” Elissa Strauss on how income inequality is shaping high fashion. (The Week)

And a couple of stories from me over the past couple of weeks that you might have missed: I wrote about the rise of the #bossbabe and #girlboss (the hashtag is vital) for The Daily Beast, and interviewed two women about asexuality for Cosmopolitan.

It seems to me a lot of sex secrets are about shame, or at least embarrassment.

Asked by

I totally agree. A lot of what my book is about is interrogating why sex is such a source of shame, whether that shame is connected to the sex we do have or the sex we don’t have.