I am not a morning person.

I’ve spent the last few months trying to eviscerate bad habits from my daily routine in exchange for healthier ones. One habit I have tried to adopt with little success is becoming more of a so-called morning person. I am exceptionally envious of people who are “morning people” – those individuals who look like doves dressed them in the morning amid a ray of immaculate sunlight. I, on the other hand, look and feel like I have been attacked by a flock of pigeons in a desolate alley.

I consider myself to be a fairly empathetic person, but I have never understood the mindset of an “early bird”. A former roommate of mine – a self-professed morning person – once described to me her typical morning disposition. Her alarm clock would go off at the same time each day. Without question, she would get up immediately and enact all the tasks of a functional human being in the morning – iron clothing, make hot coffee and breakfast, wash her face, not curse the sun in rage, straighten her hair, sit for a few minutes to think about the day before her. As she described this to me, I mustered all my willpower to stop me from exclaiming, You’re a god damn liar! It’s impossible to feel this way in the morning! Impossible!

A morning scene:

The sound of your alarm pierces through your dreams, lurching you to consciousness. It’s cold and you feel like frozen inertia, save for the mild warmth of an impending caffeine headache. “Arm, move,” you say, but the arm is tucked under 2 blankets, a pillow, and a stuffed otter. Any movement would expose extremities to the bitter chill of the room. Better to not expend any of that arm energy, you think.

You attempt to stretch your eyes open, but your eyelids rise only halfway. It’s as if the frigid, dense air is weighing down on your eyes, taunting you to close them again. Your surroundings are blurry – the colors, the room, the time all blends together. The sun is obscenely bright, but the cold is impenetrable. The spot of blanket that you haven’t touched in roughly 8 hours is cold. The edge of the bed is undoubtedly cold. You wince at the thought of touching the floor below you, which, inevitably, is cold. You squeeze the warm life out of the stuffed otter, debilitated by the thought of any other movement into the cold. Your partner cries, “Stop moving, you’re letting all the cold air in blankets!” She’s not a morning person either.

You stare, bleary eyed at your cell phone because it is 2017 and machines that operate as lone, single-function objects – like clocks – no longer exist. When you were 7, you used to set the clock ahead by 20 minutes to trick yourself to get up earlier. But, after a few days, you would wake up, subtract the minutes from the time, and head back to bed. It’s one the few times in your childhood when you enjoyed doing math.

Now, in your thirties, you reset your phone alarm the moment it goes off so that you can hold on to these last minutes of toasty bedside warmth. Days later, you’ll look at your phone again and wonder why you have pre-set alarm settings of 7:13, 7:27, and 7:38 AM.

Only a few minutes, you tell yourself. It’s a lie and you know it. You’ve played this scenario out before, but you lie to yourself because the thought of standing in the shower to rushing, cold-water makes you shiver. Even the toothpaste you will scrape on your teeth in a dazed state will be cold.

Suddenly, 2 minutes have elapsed, which becomes 10 minutes, which becomes 15 and FUCK, you’ve got to get out of bed and HOLY HELL traffic just picked up 10-fold and FUCK, FUCK, FUCK.

And that’s how it feels to wake up in the morning if you’re not a morning person.

My aversion to being morning person is not from the lack of trying. As a kid, my parents used to wake me up at 6 in the morning since their jobs necessitated that we be out the door at 6:30. The morning gene was supposed to be in my DNA, but I never acclimated to the early wake up calls. I simply watched Bananas in Pajamas with burning resentment.

Both of my parents are morning people. My father, a former member of the South Vietnamese Air Force, still stringently follows a military-like routine starting with a rise at dawn. He once told me the story of how he escaped Vietnam in one of the last single engine planes to fly out of Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat Airport, which lifted off at 10:00 AM on April 29, 1975 – one day before Saigon fell. As soon as the plane landed in Thailand, his crew had learned that Tan Son Nhat had been burned to the ground. It was a strategic move to eliminate the main travel artery in and out of the city before it crumbled to the communists. If he had arrived late or woke up later, he would shared the same fate as my grandfather – dead in a re-education camp.

I, on the other hand, have held up a plane twice because the flight was too early in the morning.

I’ve tried everything to become more of a morning person: giving up coffee, going to bed at a similar time each night, strongly considered A-Ha’s Take On Me as my alarm ringtone, moving my exercise routine to the morning, moving to California where everyone is late and no one is a morning person. Internetlandia – what else is there to do?


I am not sure you’re on your man period.

A year ago, I heard the term “man period” used for the first time. I was disappointed to find out that this particular man was not experiencing the scorching self-immolation of his uterine tissue, induced by an excess of estrogen hormones. Nor was this specific dude flushed with a hormonal influx, causing him to experience excessive fatigue or to feel incredibly anxious and emotional while watching Blue Planet.

The guy was just in a bad mood – a bad mood he could control.

My hope was that this was an individual expression and not a widely used colloquialism. However, the term “man period” has its own entry in the indisputable, verifiable source, Urban Dictionary.

Given that “man period” is officially a part of the American lexicon, I have developed this somewhat easy to follow flow chart to help our men find out if their symptoms match the ailments of menstruation:



Editor’s Note: Ladies, I’m going to take a moment to vouch for the Diva Cup, which I started using a year ago. The product made being on my period much, much easier. I don’t get endorsement or sponsorship money, but if representatives from Diva Cup are reading this – I don’t mind being compensated in 100 Diva Cups.


I am (not) down with bcc. Yeah, you (don’t) know me (and anyone else on this invite list).

There have been many agitating decisions made in the dawn of Trump’s presidency, but one of the most alarming developments is the triumphant return of the Blind Carbon Copy e-mail – simply known as the bcc. If you’re one of those individuals who unnecessarily turn nouns into verbs and gerunds, I speak of being “bcc’d” or “bccing you.”

The bcc practice has been around for quite some time, but my disdain for it goes back as far as February of 2012, when I started writing this tirade. The history of the Carbon Copy (cc) supposedly begins in an era when memos were still written by typewriters and on carbon paper. Though the Blind Carbon Copy (bcc) existed pre-e-mail, it has become an e-mail-era phenomenon. Please note that the aforementioned sources for the previous historical and etymological explanation are Yahoo! Answers, Quora, Wikipedia, and StackExchange, so it is, by today’s standards, impenetrably factual and if you disagree, I will crush your feelings.

Somehow, the e-mail bcc extended beyond the realm of passive aggressive workplace practices and seeped into the world of social invitations. You’ve experienced it before – an e-mail appears in your inbox that serves as an invitation to a gathering, a wedding, a séance, a lesbian dance party that begins at 12 PM and ends at 3 PM, or, most recently, a protest. The e-mail is sent from the sender to the sender with your e-mail as the sole entry in the bcc field leaving you to wonder, “Who the hell is getting this e-mail other than me?”

To be clear, I believe bccing is an acceptable practice in most circumstances, especially for events that require a vigilant eye on privacy. However, I detest the bcc practice for intimate social gatherings like a non-political house party (do those exist anymore?), a non-political birthday picnic (do those exist anymore?), or a non-political dinner with girlfriends (do those exist anymore?).

Since I recently turned 30, I often play the cost-benefit analysis game for social appearances that require my being out past my 10 PM bedtime. I’d like to know in advance if my weekend viewing of “Chill with Bob Ross” on Netflix is worth nixing for an interesting mix of people. After all, Bob Ross and his landscapes are wonderful all of the time, but I can’t say the same for some people. How am I supposed to choose between a painting premised on a Van Dyke Brown color palette or, similarly, a gathering of dykes of color, if I can’t see the invite list?

I’d also like to know in advance what kind of social game I should bring. Will I find a friend? Will I have to familiarize myself with the Marxist-Leninist policies of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez? Will I need to know Joss Whedon’s entire filmography because it supposedly extends beyond Firefly? As of late, I’d like to anticipate if this crowd of people is a La La Land, Moonlight, and/or Hidden Figures crowd.

Most of all, I’d like to know the associations you make when you start compiling a list of people in your e-mail’s “to:” field. That lump of names, sequenced in a somewhat conscious order, is a fun source of over analysis and overthinking. A guest list is a stream of consciousness wherein the writing of one person automatically necessitates thinking of another person. At times, I understand why I am juxtaposed next to certain people: I’m lumped with all the Vietnamese people, all of the people who are most likely to bring a carbonated beverage to a potluck rather than something substantial, etc. However, at least once, I have thought to myself, “Why did she think of me after that fucking weirdo? Am I a fucking weirdo too?”

Finally, I miss the days of contemplating my standing in a social hierarchy based on my placement in the Gmail “to:” list, which is undoubtedly tiered like this:

  • First third of names: Indisputably the most important people invited. A few of these individuals may be beneficiaries of your workplace benefits and/or life insurance should you die. If these individuals fail to show up to your gathering without explanation, they will no longer be the beneficiaries of your workplace benefits and/or life insurance should you die.
  • Second third of names: Fun acquaintances that bring a lot of non-embarrassing joy to your social circles. These individuals have not thrown up in your bathroom sink yet, which is great.
  • Last third of names: Miscellaneous mix of people who are invited for reasons included, but not limited to: ex-boyfriend or girlfriend who you are trying with much failure to “just be friends with”; people you once loved as friends and/or family, but have since voted for the opposite political party; and individuals who bring a lot of joy to your social circles, but who have already thrown up in your bathroom sink twice.

Thus, in this difficult time of poor public policy and the gradual decay of civic dialogue, I’d like to swing back in the direction of just saying no the Blind Carbon Copy. If you don’t want your guests to frenetically ruminate their place in your/the universe, I would suggest the following:

Find an obvious locomotive (first person) and caboose (last person) for your invite list. By obvious, I mean your partner, your mother, your self-proclaimed best friend, hdr29@hrcoffice.com, etc. Then, in the middle part of the e-mail train/chain, alphabetize everyone else. Odds are, all the Vietnamese people will still end up lumped together and all your attendees have the appropriate amount of information to assess how quickly this non-political gathering of people will transform, inevitably, into a political one.