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June 25, 2009

You Had To Be There... (at Skidmore)

Finally. The second installment of our Skidmore recap! We already went on (and on and on) about all of the great workshops we took during our week at Skidmore for the IWWG conference. You might be expecting a long, detailed play-by-play account of our trip, like we did after WAM!, but the truth is we're way too busy reading Guild member's books and trying to tackle the massive to-do list that we've suddenly acquired.

We had such a good time at Skidmore and have more hilarious memories than we could ever fit in one blog... but here are just a few of the highlights that come to mind. A lot of it probably falls under that whole "you had to be there" type of humor, but fuck it, we were there. (All the more reason for you to come to the IWWG's 2010 summer conference!) And at least maybe Dollface and ceirdwenfc will laugh.

The laughs started in Penn Station when we first met up with the Guild ladies and Heather Cariou yelled out "Evil Slutopia!" for all of the Amtrak to hear. Perfect way to start the week, right? While on the train, some asshole guy loudly asked if there was an "old person's convention". We quickly informed him that it was a writing conference, but wished him luck with the Douchebag Convention he was obviously on his way to.

Later on the train, we dealt with a woman whom we now refer to as "Grandma Shushy" because all she did the entire ride was shush people and/or stare at anyone who dared to speak in her presence. (Advice to Grandma Shushy - ride in the "quiet car" next time). Oh and of course, she also felt the need to spray perfume all over herself in a small enclosed space, because talking at a normal volume is rude but stinking up an entire train car apparently isn't. Cough cough. Luckily she didn't continue on to Skidmore with us, phew.

When we arrived at Skidmore, we headed to the Case Center to check in and get terrible photos taken for our ID cards. While waiting to get our room assignments, we watched the young man behind the desk flirt with a woman on line in front of us. He didn't even bat an eye at us though. Clearly, he's into cougars.

There was only one guy living on our floor of the dorm...the R.A., of course! (As far as we know none of the Guild ladies had any need for his advising services during the week.) We didn't see him until the very end of the trip, so we only knew he was a guy from his name on the door. And actually it's kinda surprising that we didn't see him sooner since we spent so much time in front of his door looking at all of the random pictures of TV characters that were stuck to it - he had everyone from Mr. Belding (Saved By the Bell) to Uncle Phil (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Our favorite picture was of the cast of Gossip Girl, because someone had taken a Sharpie and circled Chace Crawford's face and drawn an arrow back to the sign with the R.A.'s name on it, leading us to conclude that he must be a big manwhore like Chace's character and to refer to him as "Nate Archibald, R.A." for the entire week.

Our dorm room was shockingly disgusting. Whoever lived there had a serious gum-chewing addiction. There was gum everywhere. On the carpet. On the walls. Inside the drawers. Even on the sheets! Ew!!! We were totally grossed out. Also... there were bunkbeds. Really. It was like being at grown-up camp! Since I hadn't been in a top bunk for over 15 years, I actually thought about sleeping on the top but was a little worried about how to get down in the middle of the night (I needed Jezebel to spot me just so I could climb up there in the first place!)
"You can just text me when you need to get down."

"But... you'll be in the next bed. Couldn't I just tell you? Or just hit you with my pillow?"

"I just felt like the situation called for a more complicated plan."
Of course, I quickly dismissed the idea of sleeping in the top bunk for fear of crashing to my death. While up there I noticed that the bunk beds were broken. Yep. I could see only two possible scenarios: crashing to my death or sleeping on the bottom and being crushed to death. Fun! So we called maintenance to fix it:
"Our bunkbeds are broken..."


"Yes, the headboards are separating... and... and... the... what are those things called... the dowels... you know what I mean... the dowels are sticking out... and... and... it's going to fall apart... and... crush me... and... I FEAR FOR MY LIFE!"
Two guys came and took the beds apart. (They were just going to fix the bed, until we started hearing them say stuff like "wow, that piece is totally missing" and "who the hell put this bed together?" No way either of us was sleeping on the top or bottom after that.) We thanked them for saving our lives and then we debated pushing the beds together to make a Queen, in case we felt like cuddling.

The first evening we accosted Melody Cryns - in the ladies room - about what her workshop on the Internet and Computers would cover. (We're always looking for ways to shamelessly promote ourselves, including our consulting services). Apparently this started a trend... because we ended up talking to Melody in bathrooms throughout the campus all week long. Luckily she was a good sport about it (or at least is really good at pretending to be).

Saturday night we staked out a high-traffic spot next to Heather Cariou to sell books. We ended up buying more than we sold! (Always). In addition to nabbing a copy of Sixtyfive Roses and Married Women Who Love Women (reviews coming soon... or okay, maybe not SOON, but coming eventually) we also bought a handy travel/packing guide - you know we need that this year especially - and Mingmei Yip's Peach Blossom Pavillion, a novel about the last Chinese geisha.
"You'll like my book. It's about geishas. Okay, they're prostitutes. But high class. High class. But really, you should read it. It's about evil sluts!"
We also bought a copy of Amy Goodman's newest book Standing Up to the Madness (we had her sign it to the Evil Slut Clique - she was a little confused but she humored us). Amy, of Democracy Now! was the keynote speaker for the evening and let's just say WOW. Seriously, at a loss for words... which anyone who knows us is really rare.

We got to meet the beautiful and talented actress Robin Riker. I recognized her immediately but couldn't place her out of context (we "recognize" lots of people that we don't know when we're at Skidmore). It wasn't until she mentioned in a workshop that she was in the entertainment industry that it clicked who she was.
"Oh! I knew that I knew you! You killed your husband!"

"Many times."
We also made friends with a lovely woman named Babs Freed who invited us to her house for lunch when we get back home. She also told us to bring our bathing suits. Pool Party at Babs' House! Babs told us that her husband comes up to Saratoga Springs with her each year so that she can attend the conference. He drops her off in the morning and then goes off and does his own thing until it's time to pick her up. She said that he's met a bunch of local guys that he goes fishing with and stuff like that, which led us to the brilliant idea that there should really be a group for all of the significant others who get abandoned for the week while their partners attend the conference. You know, something like Guild Guys (and Gals).

We really enjoyed being at Skidmore this summer. While there's a huge range of ages, we were sort of on the younger side of the spectrum. We're never completely sure how the older generation is going to accept a group that calls themselves the Evil Slut Clique, but everyone seemed to love it. In fact, most of the "older" ladies talked about sex and stuff more than we did! (We had a long talk with our friend's roommate about wet dreams and erections. She was 80, by the way). We also got a kick out of the woman who, when we saw her walking back to the dorms alone late at night - something Campus Safety told us never to do - we caught up with her so we'd all be walking together. I joked with her "follow the rules!" and she said "eh, what's going to happen? Who's going to rape me?" (Funny, odd little backstory: here).

And of course, there's something very special about hearing women in their 70s and 80s say "evil sluts" and "suck it". Which reminds us... during our Legal workshop we learned that it might technically be possible for Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly to sue us for our Suck It series. (More on that later maybe.)
"What does your shirt say!? Rush Limbaugh what!?"

"Rush Limbaugh Can Suck It"

"Oh thank god. I saw something about Rush Limbaugh and got upset. This is much better."
Not all of our new friends were from the Guild. In the computer lab one day, we met a very...unique guy who worked on campus and was happy to share with us some of his many profound theories on many random topics. For example, he told us about how he knows that he's cool:
"I know that I'm cool because I know that the things that I like are cool. Even if nobody else knows they're cool, I know they're cool, so I know that I must be cool." (Don't worry, he thought that we were cool too.)
He also expressed some reservations about the name of our blog, because he explained to us that feminism shouldn't be about anger, and "the only successful feminism will come from love", and also that it's important to protect women's modesty. So we've decided to change our name to The Happy Loving Modest Clique. But not really.

At one point, he asked us if we had heard of the Riot Grrrl movement, and when we said yes he informed us that he had been a Riot Boy. I knew right away what was coming next.
"So you know who Kathleen Hanna is, right?"


"And you know that she used to..."

"Yes, I know."

"And there are pictures of her where she..."

"Yeah, I've seen them."

"That's awesome, you get a high five for that." (I got a high five for that.)
One day, Dollface came to have lunch with us, so she was able to meet our new friend too. She also got to hear a long monologue from him about Sarah Conner from Terminator and how awesome and cool and strong and badass she is (which turned out to be his way of telling me that he liked my boots. Yeah, we don't know either.) We told him that Dollface was a blogger too.
"Oh, what's yours called, the Angry Vagina Blog or something?"

"Yes! It's angryvaginablog.com, I can't believe you guessed it right on the first try!"
Okay, back to Guild stuff... we almost forgot the most important part of the laughs! The booze!!! At the end of every evening's events (open readings, etc.) someone would inevitably say "...to the Spa!!" The Spa was a little "cafe" (I use the term loosely) that sells sodas and snacks to the students year round, but during the summer carries wine and beer for the conference attendees. Some of the best laughs we had at Skidmore were at the Spa. This is most likely due to the fact that we were drinking beer and wine.

Now as you all know, we have a long lasting relationship with Corona. At one point, the unthinkable happened. We went back into the Spa to get another round of drinks, and... there was only one Corona left. After some calm and reasoned and thoughtful consideration, a decision was reached. (I'd like to take this time to ask for a moment of silence so that we all can contemplate the strength and courage and heart and determination of Lilith, who switched to wine so that I could have the last Corona. Yeah, whatever, I'm still mad).

Being with another feminist blogger, of course we had to do a little gossiping about favorite and least favorite blogs, craziest comment threads, best troll comments, and that sort of thing. One night we were talking about a commenter on one of the big feminist blogs who used the term "speciesist" in a conversation about animal rights. It got us thinking about all the discrimination other groups face... like inanimate objects."That's so tableist". Of course, that, got us thinking about objectum sexuals. Don't you love our drunken thought process? We decided that a good porn title for the woman who married the Eiffle Tower would be One Night in Paris.

Other random things we discussed were how to correctly use the sponge contraception - "you know, you don't just wipe up with it afterwards" - which of course, led us to come up with an awesome new invention: The Sperm Swiffer/patent pending. (Now that I think about it, it would probably be more like a Sperm Shamwow, but I'm going to stop thinking about that because it's kinda gross.)

We also subjected everyone to Kathy Griffin's Oprah-impressions: "Gaaaaaayle, fix the biblioteeeeeeeeeeeeeca!" (Yes, it's true, we do impressions of other people doing impressions, it's a lost art form).

I don't know how Carren Strock can claim to still like us after the drunken conversation we had one night at the spa. Not only did we go on about the title of her book Married Women Who Love Women, coming up with titles for sequels like Married Men Who Love Men and Unmarried Women who Love Married Women Who Love Women and the Women Who Love Them (clearly that one still needs a little work) - and admitted to doing dramatic readings of excerpts from the book in the dormroom whenever we got bored - but I also raved about BearForce1 and spent a good minute trying to open a bottle that was already opened. (I was twisting the invisible top - I suck at life).

On the last night, our keycards were mysteriously disconnected at midnight. (We didn't realize this until 2:00 am when I got up to go to the bathroom and found myself locked out of the room. Fun!) In the morning we went to Campus Safety to get back into the room. The woman on call gave us a hard time...
"That's not supposed to happen. That's really not okay".

"I agree with you completely on that one."
Later we spent a good 20 minutes in the Case Center having our cards reactivated, only to get back to the dorms and find that we were still locked out. Since we really only had time for lunch before going to catch our train ride home, we didn't bother with Case again and just had Campus Safety let us in. Again. They were totally thrilled to see us again [/sarcasm]. We attempted to pack, but realized that we were going home with way more stuff than we had come with.

Completely sleep deprived, starving, and delirious... my suitcase just would. not. close. I was really worried that I might break the zipper and end up carrying my clothes home on the Amtrak in giant trash bags. As I sat on the suitcase, slowly zipping inch-by-inch I invoked every deity and higher power that I could think of... "Please let me close my suitcase... please God... Goddess... Jesus... Buddha... Tara... Krishna... Kwan Yin... Spider Woman... St. Francis... Zita Christian..." (It worked, thank you!)

After finally packing up and eating a disgusting lunch, we dragged Dollface to the Case Center to watch Bearforce1 videos. Hope Player (HOPE PLAYAAAAAAAR!) accidentally got sucked into the bear fest too. My love for Yuri is strong. Then we sat at Saratoga station for an hour, because - shocker - the Amtrak was delayed, until we could head home... talking loudly and obnoxiously the whole time, annoying everyone around us.

We still have a big stack of business cards, etc. to go through... the longer we wait the harder it will be for us to remember which faces and stories go with which cards. So we'd love it all of the IWWG ladies reading this would get in touch with us - if you need blog/web advice, if you have comments about the blog, if you have recommendations of books for us to read/review, if you have corrections of any IWWG-member sites we've linked to incorrectly, if you have any suggestions for who we should tell to suck it next, or if you just want to say hi - we're happy to hear from you!


Dollface said...

Awesome write-up!!! :)

ceirdwenfc said...

I just need to step in and say that in case anyone is wondering if this is in any way embellished or exaggerated, it is NOT. I was there for most of this (I would guess about 90%) and it happened exactly as described.

In reading this, I was again laughing until I cried, and I can't wait to return next year (possibly with a video camera).

But of course, I'll need signed releases!


Actually, we left out about 50% of the laughs... some of them just didn't translate out of context. Maybe next year we really will just do a week-long video documentary of our idiocy. ;-)

Hope Playaaaaa said...

Oh, this is great! I missed most of the REAL fun! Next year for sure!