Birth Control Matters, Even to Me

Let’s talk about something that’s annoying me right now, and that’s always annoyed me, frankly. The apparent “debate” about birth control.

For a little context for those of you who don’t pay as much attention to the constant barrage of horrible news, a few days ago, the Trump administration decided to roll back the part of the Affordable Care Act (you remember, that thing that Obama got done and Trump hates because Obama got it done) that mandates that employers provide their employees with insurance coverage that includes coverage for birth control. Is the administration physically ripping birth control out of women’s hands? No, but they’re basically saying, “Hey companies who hate their employees, think sex is a sin, and want to save money, go ahead and deny birth control to them! There’s definitely a few bucks there.”

Now a few things. One, now that I live in red state, at-will employment, we-hate-unions Idaho, I’m going to make darn sure anyone I work for has health care coverage for birth control in their employer-provided insurance plans. (I’m confident enough that I’ll be able to find a different job where they don’t hate their female/all employees.) Two, this is the dumbest possible thing. It will mean that people have to pay more to not get pregnant. We all know conservatives love so much when women get pregnant and they have to pay for some fraction of maternity leave, so this makes total sense. (Not.)

But here’s the biggest thing that I’m going to clear up right now. “Danielle,” I can hear a few of you having a total brain fart saying, “you’re gay. Why do you care about birth control?”

People who know me know not to ask terrible questions, but for those of you who don’t, the answer is that birth control is BASIC HEALTH CARE. It’s not a benefit that only slutty girls need, or just “women’s health care,” or whatever other stupid crap you’ve heard from various right-wing idiots. It is BASIC HEALTH CARE. It affects everyone. (And by the way, the people who are trying to get out of providing it to their employees don’t like folks like me. Though it would be interesting if somehow, only gay people wound up working at places that didn’t want to pay for contraceptives in their health insurance plans.) Objectors are trying to control women’s sexuality, which is a critical part of women’s lives. And men’s too, by the way. If they can deny insurance coverage for this basic health service, what other basic things can they deny?

If only women who have sex with men are the ones talking about this, we’ve got big problems.

Guys, we need you saying something, because women are generally the ones who pay for birth control. Until we have an effective male contraceptive that men are happy using (since apparently no one likes condoms and they’re less effective than the pill in any case), if men want to have sex with women, they want women to get birth control in their insurance plans. It’s not an extra goodie. It is BASIC HEALTH CARE. Most women use some method of it, and preventing pregnancy is a public good.

Employers should be obliged to provide their employees with health plans that take care of their employees’ health. That is literally the point of health care and should not be up for debate. And if you think birth control–and abortion, because of course they also hate abortions, no matter how life- or health-saving–is the only thing the religious right is coming after, think again. Although mostly they’re just coming after the gays.


Mob Hits for the New Millennium

The other day I was walking the dog with my partner, chitchatting and wrangling the poodle during her twice-daily leash freakout. Somehow the topic of my (only) ex came up. I joked about her family definitely being in the mob.

“I mean, they owned a garbage disposal company in Connecticut. Could it be any more cliche?” I said.

“How come she didn’t put a hit on you?” responded my spouse.

“Maybe she did and I didn’t know it.” Continue reading

Watching Sports with Your Ears

LA Kings

Courtesy of the LA Kings

I am a sports fan. This should come as no surprise to those of you who have been following this blog, since about three and a half months ago I expounded on the full extent of my sports obsession while lamenting my inability to watch the Olympics. Well, that sad time ended, and for awhile I forgot that sports existed at home. Then the Stanley Cup Finals came, and my wife’s team began its dramatic quest to win the cup. We still couldn’t watch, so we did the next best thing, the only thing we could do: we listened.
Continue reading

Mini-Post: 25 Meters of Dental Floss!?


It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the dentist, and it will be awhile yet before I can go. So for this trip, I have been very religious about brushing and flossing my teeth. We took a lot of dental floss with us when we left California, but the little plastic dispensers never give you much to work with, so we had to buy it as soon as New Zealand. We purchased 25 meters of dental floss at a big box store, thinking that it was such a large quantity because we were in the Costco of NZ. Then we got to Thailand and were able to purchase the same amount at a normal convenience store. What gives? Why can we only buy like 10 feet at a time in the US? Am I wrong, or is the rest of the world hoarding all the reasonably-packaged dental floss? How much dental floss do you typically buy? Please let me know in the comments.

Mini-Post: Taking the Stairs? Good for You!

We have noticed that if there an opportunity to avoid physical exercise, most humans, Asian and white alike, will seize it. Rebecca and I typically take the other road, rather enjoying opportunities to stretch our legs, particularly while in transit. This usually surprises people. Here’s our adorable exchange from today’s visit to Bangkok airport as we approached the stairs next to the escalator:

Airline employee: *Audible gasp.* “Are you walking??”
Us, laughing: “…Yes…”
Airline employee, smiling: “Ex-er-cise!!!” *moves hands to simulate walking*

Mini-Post: How Does She Know I Have Baggage??

There have been many phrases that we have heard over the past few months that have made us giggle as non-English speakers try to communicate with us. Naturally, their English is better than our (insert language here), so I don’t judge, but sometimes, you just have to laugh. The best one from today was the following:

Flight Attendant: “Passengers with lots of baggage can claim it at baggage claim 4.”

Oh, idioms. Lots of baggage? Talk to a therapist about it, and frankly, just leave it behind. No need to pick it back up.

Mini-Post: Hi! You are very tall!

Here’s a fun short post for you all, from the library of “Things that will never happen to Danielle.” Today, we visited Hue, a lovely Vietnamese city that was the imperial capital of Vietnam, the capital for the Nguyen emperors. In 1945, the Communists came to power and declared Hanoi to be the capital, so now Hue is just a nice place to visit and get a glimpse of what imperial life was like. On the way back, over one of Hue’s narrow bridges, we were stopped by a young Vietnamese man walking with his girlfriend. This happened:

Vietnamese guy, enthusiastically: “Hi!” (not hello for a change)
Rebecca, almost as enthusiastically: “Hi!”
Vietnamese guy: “You are very tall!”
Rebecca, surprised and amused: “Thank you…? Hahaha.”

Did I mention that Rebecca sticks out a lot in Asia? Exhibit A.

Simple Pleasures

Now, for something completely different, a poem.

Ode to the Western Bed
Oh Western Bed, you are so soft.
You cradle me and my sweet dreams aloft.
With gentle springs and a pillow top,
So quickly to sleep, my worries you stop.

In the Far, Far East, I miss you quite a lot,
As I lay half the night wishing that I were not
With my back to a board, under me just a sheet,
Praying this experience I’ll ne’er repeat.

So the next time we meet as I travel around,
I’ll be sure to delight in the treasure I’ve found,
Because nothing’s more precious, nothing can best
The pleasure derived from a comfy night’s rest.

A Sports Fan’s Lament

I love the Olympics. The pure athleticism, the gorgeous bodies, the sweet outfits, the national pride, the usually hilarious opening ceremonies… I just can’t get enough. And since the US has tons of athletes competing in both the Winter and the Summer Olympics, I get a chance to watch them on television every two years. I was really looking forward to watching the Winter Olympics this year, a year where I didn’t have to worry about work getting in the way of my Olympic Obsession. So imagine my disappointment when I discovered I would not be able to watch them at all. If you are unable to imagine the full extent of my disappointment, I invite you to continue reading to explore the origin of my interest in all sports and to learn why Vietnam is now on my bad list. Continue reading