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I recently attended a D.C. Women Journalists happy hour. Even though I’m still clinging to my 20s, I was easily the matron of the bunch. I ended up sitting next to a congressional reporter who was telling a story about an annoying saleslady. “She was older,” my unknowing colleague said, “like 30.” Ugh. Once I got over being wounded about my age, I realized I was sitting at a table full of whip-smart women. And sadly, no grand dames of our craft were in attendance. We don’t have the kind of club the boys have in this town.
Later at home—-and I know this may be trite—-I pulled out the old Dorothy Parker as a substitute. I had a hankering for some of her dialogue-clogged stories, especially the proto-snarky bits where she reduces both sexes to their preening, self-centered selves. You read her and think, Damn, we’re so much smarter and better than the rest of these bitches. But then I opened the book randomly and came across two examples of Dorothy indulging in a little wounded hating on the cool kids and some very girly self-loathing. It made me like her even more. The first was a poem about, basically, hipsters. One line from the poem “Bohemia” reads, “Playwrights and poets and such horses’ necks/Start off from anywhere, end up at sex.”
The next was an entire short story about how she wished a guy would call her, and she knew he liked her less because she had called him earlier that day, but she didn’t care and still spent the night staring at the phone. Not that I’ve ever done that.