• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Faces Come Out of the Rain


Next door to my office is a hair dresser called Rapunzel. They change the message on a sign outside their door every day. Today, it read: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR HAIR. I had to face the truth: I had given up on my hair. I went inside. Long story short, I was weeping in the elevator on the way up. Nothing every fuckin’ changes with me. Two steps forward, throw myself down the stairs. Yes, friends, a blow dry took me down today.

What have you given up on?


17 Responses

  1. That I will long enough to…

  2. “What have you given up on?”

    The concept of hope. All that remains is a certain stubbornness — or inertia, if you will.

    I’ve also given up on various ideas for stories or books. I’m stubborn, but I’m not

    what am I not?

    I’ve given up on everything and everyone I could possibly have given up on, without giving up on life itself.

    There. That sounds about right.

  3. What have you given up on? The drama. It will not/never go away.

    Also, my own hair. More bad days than good. I can’t seem to tell my hairdresser what I want, – me, a writer. Maybe it’s because I don’t know the words for the styles – but I’m trying for a more modern, less cookie cutter look, something kind of funky/upbeat, and I still come away with what I call “church lady hair.” God, help me.

    Look. I got so detailed on this last appointment, she laughed and said, “Do you want to hold it while I cut?”

    • I’m with you. My cats’ fur grows in a particular orientation, and so does mine. No sense wishing otherwise. Same basic haircut for thirty years, after an ill-advised five dollar beauty-school perm.

      • Oh, but I have the perm story too. Used one of those salons in J.C. Penny “back in the day.” I came away with a horrible, poison ivy like rash that lasted for days/ I used to be so brave about my hair – perms, color, cuts. Now I coddle it – likely b/c I’ve screwed it up so much in the past.

  4. Fuck giving up.

    Cancer killed my brother, but he never gave up. He….we… never gave up, even when reality and death filled the room.

    I have given up on looking or sounding young, but damned if I’ll act like an old man. I’m still a sailor, and when we give up, we drown.

  5. That the poor will ever successfully rise up against the rich. It’s easier to capitulate; the Exalted White Supremist in Chief delivers a speech full of promises and lies, dripping with false sincerity – compliments of Steve Bannon – and all of a sudden nearly everyone starts declaring the asshole sounds presidential. Then the Russians stop by for another visit and yet still only half the country questions all these deceptions.
    I, by the way, sport a chrome dome.
    And to put your hair style into perspective, picture that odd nest woven by a deranged bird upon old # 45’s head.

  6. I’ve given up a bunch of things.

    In my early teens, I gave up on my family. A lonely, drunken father never home, a lonely mother in and out of mental wards, and a lonely child in the basement listening to Top 40 radio. Tom Andrews of WTRU was my first crush.

    In my 20s, I gave up the dream of becoming a professional bowler. I made it to kind of the equivalent of AA baseball, and knew I’d never get closer. Stopped cold turkey (so to speak) in the space of two weeks.

    In my 40s, I gave up on myself. A decade on the academic job market, a succession of professional jobs all around the country that accomplished nothing but decent money, and a marriage in the tank. And all of it, all of it, my fault. Whose else could it ever have been?

    Now, I’ve kind of given up on ever “being happy.” I have happy moments, and plenty of them. But I’ve given up on the notion that the universe is fair or that any of us deserve anything. All I can do is be kind to people, and listen to my characters as they struggle into life.

  7. Betsy, this post made me laugh – accepting my kinky-curly-nappy hair was my first step towards a less regimented life. I regret, now, spending money on products and electricity in an attempt to achieve a look that wasn’t me. It has also been an interesting exposure to the world of profiling: while driving my late-model car, I have been stopped by police many times for reasons that fail the smell test. When I mentioned these incidents to one of my African-American contractors, he told me “welcome to the tribe.”

  8. Dear Betsy,
    I have given up on the past.
    Please don’t worry about your hair. It only matters as much as you let it.
    It would be better if you did not let advertising tell you what your priorities are.

  9. Me, myself, and I. And a few other people. But I will never give up on possibility. Or will I? Time, arch enemy, will tell. I will never ever give up on my kids. They ARE possibility. As far as my writing is concerned, well, that’s up to me.

  10. I don’t keep track anymore. In fact, I’m not sure what I was giving up wasn’t just something someone gave to me that I didn’t want in the first place. Jettison thy life old man, and other tales of angst. But you have made my day, Betsy. Two steps forward and throw yourself down the stairs. You are my hero. “People say I’m crazy…”

  11. I haven’t, I live in denial. My favourite quote is from Quentin Crisp: ” It’s no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying, ‘Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.’ By then, pigs will be your style.” I’m not ready to admit I’m a pig farmer.

  12. I gave up coloring my hair ten years ago. I wish every other decision was as comfortable.

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