Dear Housewives,

What an amazingly productive week it has been! I sewed myself a maxi dress (in the final stages I mangled it in the serger and had to throw it out), repainted our front door (didn’t prime it correctly and still have to scrape all the paint that’s now peeling off), and rearranged our indoor plants so that our condo looks like it belongs in Dwell (mission accomplished). Kit and I also caught the premiere episode of ABC Family’s The Fosters.

If you haven’t heard already, The Fosters is about a married lesbian couple raising biological, adopted, and foster children in Southern California. To add to the mix, theirs is also a multi-racial family. As part of ABC’s Family dramas, they really do go beyond tokenism. Race and sexuality and blended family aren’t going to be one-offs: they are the foundations for the series and integral to character identities. Think of the ABC Family series Switched at Birth and how race/ethnicity and Deaf culture permeate. That said, there is something off about The Fosters.

One mom, Lena, played by Sherri Saum, is a vice-principal at a charter school, and the other mom, Stef, played by Teri Polo, is a cop. Both of these incredibly beautiful women fit very clear queer occupational stereotypes, but neither of them reads as queer femme or queer butch. Mind you, the hot “femme” vice-principal and  hot “butch” cop who both come off feminine — not femme or butch— made sense when the show was originally pitched to Spike TV as MILF². While Spike TV audiences generally love a good dose of the queer politics that are inevitably talked about in queer families, ABC Family evacuated those for the first episode. Will they appear later? Every gay person in California says, “Yes, they will.” One can only hope that in future episodes that one’s gaydar pings, rather than reading two heterosexual women who happen to be married, kiss, and call each other honey. As all housewives know, being queer isn’t simply about who you’re married to.

The elaborate backstory regarding how two women raising three kids manage to have an impeccably decorated home was also ditched by ABC producers. In the unaired pilot, Lena and Stef’s luxury furnishings were acquired after winning a contest at West Elm. Most scenes in the Foster home still feature at least one $400 floor pouf.

So what’s next?

Here are Portman Doe’s hallucinogenic predictions (*some minor spoilers from the first episode*):

1. Brandon and Callie are going to hook up at some point. Sitting together on the bus to San Ysidro, the outside of their thighs were glued to each other. I’ve been to high school. I know what this means. BONER! Their secret across-the-hall love affair is going to cause havoc once Moms find out, but in the end it’s okay since Callie realizes that she’s a lesbian.

2. Either Jude comes out as trans (in 3 or 4 years) or they never mention him trying on a dress again. (If, instead, Jude is just gay and that’s supposedly why he put a dress on, then I will burn shit down.)

3. Brandon’s dad Mike turns out to be a dickbag. (Oh wait, that already happened. Brandon is involved in a very dangerous situation involving a gun, so Mike tells his son he’s going to kill him. Also, everything Mike ever says to anyone. Ever. So far.)

4. There are more completely obvious metaphors. (Brandon says there’s something missing in his musical composition about his family. Maybe what he needs to complete his original piece is another brother and sister!)

5.  Bill is the social worker and friend of the family who we never get to meet in the first episode. Turns out he’s a social worker by day and a drag queen by night. John Larroquette rocks the role, especially when he plays Yum-Yum in an all drag performance of The Mikado, which is hosted in the charter school’s crazy beautiful auditorium.

Despite the fact that Kit and I don’t usually watch teen dramas, we are definitely going to keep watching The Fosters. It is the only television show on that has two gay women as the leads, and the basic plot is pretty damn compelling.

Portman Doe

P.S. I didn’t make any predictions regarding the twins, Jesus and Mariana. I honestly don’t know where these characters are headed, except Mariana could make a mint selling ADHD meds at a charter school full of rich kids and Jesus and Mariana are going to have a lot more to say about living in a multicultural family.

Portman Doe goes to a conference

Dear Housewives,

I know I’ve been remiss in writing. Things have been busy. I’ve neglected you. My bad. Here’s hoping this post makes it up to you.

Last week, Kit was away in Toronto doing businesslady things, and I was left to my own devices. Luckily for me, the 2013 Feminists in Games conference was being held in town. I was pretty stoked to attend. After all, the conference was featuring talks by Brenda LaurelAnita Sarkeesian, and TL Taylor.

I must say that the fashion did not disappoint. Second-wave feminists arrived in their t-shirts and blazers, others in their now-on-trend late 80’s fashion. One thing’s for sure: synthetic fabrics made in 1987 retain their sheen and will never ever biodegrade. It is enviable that these woman can still fit their vintage pieces some twenty years later. No doubt healthy eating, exercise and a two-pack a day habit help maintain their figures. A lesson for us all.

Young hetero(?) ladies attending this as their first conference tended towards monochromatic suit jackets with skirts. With fresh makeup and sleek hair, clean lines were the choice for these young ingenues.

Male feminist allies in attendance rose to the fashion challenge, several wearing button-down shirts and others with suit jackets. Some sported unique taste in facial hair.

The queer femmes and the genderqueer set (or at least those that I would problematically identify as queer) were the most on trend. I spotted a modern twist on a Chanel-inspired suit paired with a blouse featuring a draped neckline. Always a pleasure to see: the perfect pair of slim jeans paired with a rodeo shirt and finished with a fauxhawk. There were pencil skirts and pussy bows seated next to vests and bow-ties. The queers brought the most flawless fashion sense to the scene.

Those with more daring fashion tastes donned a sleeveless jacket made from dead Ewoks or stole a frock from Mrs. Roper’s closet. These forays provided contrast to the t-shirt contingent. Admittedly, I am disappointed not to see more conference attendees pairing stilettos with their t-shirts in order to add a level of chicness to their otherwise Atari-themed look.

All in all, FiG2013 did not disappoint in the area of fashion flair. I can’t wait to see what fashion is in store for next year’s conference.

Portman Doe


Eating Pidgin

Dear Housewives,

It’s early in our relationship, and I need to make a confession: I am a liar.

It’s true, as housewife to my beloved Kit, I do all the cooking. Ever so often I post pics and status updates about what’s for dinner, just like many of my Facebook friends do. For instance, I’ll post a picture of the roast beef and Yorkshire puddings I made and link to where I found the recipe. Or perhaps I post a pic of the delicious devilled eggs I prepared for my friends’ going away party (recipe from Femme Fraiche).

But there are some people, (you know who they are), who post pictures of every single thing that they eat. They feel the need to share every single bite they take, whether it’s out at a restaurant or, very rarely, from their kitchen. Are they posting for praise of their ability to go to a restaurant and order something? Do they think that that pile of steaming green puree looks like anything other than baby shit?

All of these people who post food for praise, whether they make it or order it, annoy me. Their status updates practically beg people to compliment their food choices. Sick. The only reason to post food pictures is to make other people jealous. Which is why I do it.

Then the lying began. Annoyed at others for posting photos of food they did not cook themselves, I began by sprinkling my occasional cooking Facebook status updates with meals I did not prepare.  Sure, I’d post that I made migas with tomato-chipotle coulis, but we really ate a rotisserie chicken that was on sale at the grocery store.

With fake meals tucked between legitimate dinners, it was easy to fool people. It was so easy I started stealing menu items from a local restaurant that’s been in the news lately. I would post my faux exploits of tackling parisienne gnocchi with radishes and sorrel. Mushrooms and sugar snap peas, served with soy and yuzu infused brown butter. Aww, it was nothing to whip up! My Facebook friends did not disappoint and proclaimed their jealousy. That’s when the trouble started.

Searching for something obviously ridiculous, I posted that I made geoduck ceviche. I knew nothing about geoduck other than it looks like a penis, but who cares? It was just a fake post. Let them eat cock! Turns out people did care. Impressed by the geoduck, they posted more comments than for any of my other meals. Everyone wanted to come ’round for dinner.

A couple nights later it hit me: the following afternoon, friends were throwing me and Kit a very large engagement party. I just knew someone would ask me about the geoduck.

Kit fast asleep, I stayed up past my bedtime. Adrenaline-fuelled and slightly manic, I learned all I could about geoduck. I now know how to dig a geoduckclean a geoduck, and cook a geoduck. I even learned about sustainable harvesting in Washington and Canada’s Underwater Harvesters Association. My cover was secure. I had this.

I went to bed exhausted and was still tired when we arrived at our engagement party. However, I was ready to tackle any geoduck questions.

No one asked a thing.

Portman Doe

Be sure to fill your box!

Lady Boxes

Dear Housewives,

Are you currently filling up your box? I am.

Last Christmas, Kate Trgovac, the social media maven of Vancouver, took part in the Shoebox Project. The Shoebox Project is simple: People fill a shoebox with around $50 worth of Christmas goodies to be given to one of the many women in Canada living in a shelter or taking part in an outreach program. This gift is a small thing. It certainly doesn’t take the place of trying to make changes in our communities and cultures, but still, this gift is fucking important. For many women, this will be their only gift of the season. So let’s delight the ladies!

Kate has already posted about getting started for this year’s Shoebox Project. Instead of purchasing everything at Christmastime when the stores are packed and there’s a ton on one’s list, Kate suggests starting earlier in the year. Grab small items when you happen by them.

I love the idea of shopping early.  If there’s one thing about Christmas that I hate, it’s waiting in line; finishing my shopping by sneaking things out of other shoppers’ carts is exhausting. Lessons learned:  1.) Just for Men hair dye will fit in a stocking, 2.) Kit will continue to bring it up for years, and 3.) Buying early for the Shoebox Project is just plain smart.

So far, I’ve got some toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a very nice organic face lotion. I’m planning on getting some lip balm, a pretty pair of warm mittens, some transit tickets, and Christmas chocolates, too. I think you, housewives, should follow suit. Fill your box, and fill it frequently.

Portman Doe

Attack of the Flying Vulvas

Dear Housewives,

Today, we hit upon a delicate intersection of subject areas: vulvas, science fiction, and Jenny Schecter. As is my practice, I’ll begin with vulvas.

There are many things that resemble the vulva. For instance:

Dirty dirty clam

certain shellfish,

Lady's fancy labia hat

a lady’s fancy hat,

Scientific Vagina

and, indeed, my collection of scientific drawings of vulvas, etc.


Given the multitude of arenas in which vulvas appear, I suppose I should not have been surprised that in the first ten seconds of the new TV series Defiance, the Earth’s orbit was teeming with flying vulvas, replete with bright red clits.

Defiance Vagina

The pilot for the new SyFy series premiered the other night, and I happen to be on the lookout for a new scifi show. Don’t get me wrong, I am still watching this season of Doctor Who, but a queer housewife can’t live on camp scifi alone. (Continuum‘s second season starts on Sunday, thank goodness.)

Without revealing too much (Warning: Some very minor spoilers), Defiance takes place on an alien-terraformed future Earth, 33 years after a variety of aliens have landed, fought and now live amongst humans. Alien Nation and District 9 aside, the show’s creators seem to have handpicked elements from other scifi series as well.

There’s the diversity amongst characters, in terms of both human race/ethnicity and its metaphors in alien race, with interspecies romance. Defiance spouts about “freedom,” perhaps a superficial gleaning from the more encompassing democratic ideals and practices set forth so famously in Star Trek. Humans use an alien swear word that sounds like the word “shit.” (Battlestar Galactica’s “frak,” anyone?) Even in the first episode, they seem to have given away much of the mystery surrounding both the main story arc and characters’ motivations, just like the failed series Terra Nova. The town of Defiance, where the series is based, has a Wild West theme to it, including a brothel named in pseudo-NewSpeak. The brothel is called the NeedWant and has a star madam/prostitute. Enter Jenny Schecter.

That’s right, Jenny Schecter. When I heard that Mia Kirshner was going to be in this series, I thought, “Hey, this is when I am going to be able to separate my hatred of Jenny Schecter from the actress who portrayed her. Jenny Schecter is not Mia Kirshner. Jenny Schecter is not Mia Kirshner.” Housewives, if you don’t know that Jenny Schecter is a character from The L Word , well, I don’t know if you can really call yourself a true housewife. I am totally excited at the opportunity to hate her again.

On Defiance, Mia Kirshner plays Kenya Rosewater, the dark-haired, straight-talkin’, presumably-straight-identifyin’prostitute who runs the town brothel. Her blonde-haired sister Amanda Rosewater, played by former Dexter star Julie Benz, is the town mayor. Both these women interact a lot with the show’s focal character, Nolan. (Nolan is played by Grant Bowler, known for True Blood and Ugly Betty.) Nolan calls Amanda “sweetheart,” despite her protests, and he pays for sex with Kenya. This sex part is the creepiest. The creepiest.

While in many ways Firefly dealt rather deftly with the complexities of Inara’s occupation, so far Defiance has made prostitution the funnest and least problematic money-earner ever. Kenya loves having sex with Nolan, and their romp is so hot that afterward Kenya says to him, “That was so fantastic I kind of hate to charge you for it.” Nolan replies, “I kind of hate to pay for it.” Later on, she offers him a half-off discount. Yeah, I always thought that that’s how prostitution works. At this rate, by the season finale she’ll be paying him.

Meanwhile, the whole time I kept forgetting that Mia Kirshner was playing Kenya Rosewater and not Jenny Schecter. I could have sworn it was Jenny on screen most of the time. I was certain that at any moment she was going to adopt a dog specifically to have him put down by the veterinarian girlfriend of a lesbian she despises.

Will I continue to watch Defiance? I’ll give it one more episode to see if things improve, if they add any more complexity to the characters, or make Nolan less of a dickbag.

One thing’s for sure: I hate Kenya Rosewater.

Portman Doe



Update: By episode 4, Kenya Rosewater refuses to take payment from Nolan. Uh-hunh.

Revenge of the Trampoline Gusset

1022159Dear Housewives,

Yesterday, while walking down the street, my underpants fell off.

The day had started off pleasant enough. The weather was a bit gloomy, but it hadn’t started to rain yet. I decided to partake of some fresh air and walk to the grocery store. I was planning to make shepherd’s pie for dinner. It’s Kit’s favorite and terribly easy to throw together as long as you have meat and potatoes in the house. I didn’t.

I changed out of my at-home-only yoga pants, threw on a dress, and grabbed a pair of tights. Oh. Tights. They are, according to the size chart, my size. However, this particular brand of tights has an EPIC rise. I can easily pull the waist up to my armpits. Usually, I just pull it up to the bottom of my bra band. Even pulled up that high, I am left with what I call a “trampoline gusset.”

Tram·po·line gus·set
The platform of pantyhose or tights that is suspended between one’s thighs and inches below one’s crotch when it really should be huggin’ your hoo-ha.

In order to remedy the trampoline gusset, I donned a pair of underpants over my tights. All housewives know this trick. The mistake I made was choosing underpants with a low spandex content. Therefore, the following happened:

La la la. Walking down the sidewalk. Hmm. Is that… is that a trampoline gusset starting to edge its way down my thighs? Hmm. I think it’s okay; the waistband is still up to my boobs. I’ll just keep walking. Hmm. That gusset is getting really low really fast. Crap. It feels like it’s only a few inches above my knees.

And that’s when my underpants hit the ground.

Portman Doe


Dear Housewives,Lamp

We’ve all been there, online in the wee hours, compulsively pinning images to our Pinterest boards. Repinning others’ treasured finds. Perusing West Elm and Crate and Barrel for the perfect terrarium and pinning one’s furniture hopes and decor dreams to the appropriate board.

For a while now I’ve been carefully cultivating a certain Pinterest board. As a housewife, you know that home decor is never done. Rather than repinning existing content, I’ve been pinning from obscure websites as I search for pieces and inspiration to add to this particular Pinterest board. I’ve literally spent hours looking for amazing content.

Since I’ve started this project, one particular friend of mine repeatedly pins my obscure content, but rather than repinning my find, she goes to the original site and creates a pin of her own. Making it seem like she has gone out and found these objects. Making her seem way cooler than she is. Making her a thief. She knows her way around social media and Pinterest, and it’s quite evident that she knows she’s pinterfeiting. As we all know, this is not appropriate Pinterest etiquette. So last week, when I was visiting her house, I stole one of her lamps.

Portman Doe