Hip Slope Mama couldn't make it over to the "Edgy Mom Reading" last month at the Montauk Club. Of course, I was very bummed about that. Fortunately, I asked Louise Sloan, one of my favorite "Edgy Mom" readers from that evening, to give us a wrap-up of the event. Louise Sloan is a longtime Journalist, Magazine Writer, Editor and Park Slope mom. Louise wrote the book, Knock Yourself Up - A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom, which you can learn more about at www.knockyourselfup.com. She also does some blogging for Huffington Post. Her blog posts can be found at www.huffingtonpost.com/louise-sloan. What follows is Louise's short recap of the inspiring, radical and hilarious reading:
“No,” said Claire, co-owner of Babeland and a fellow single mom by choice. “Well...I do sell dildos.”
“If that doesn’t qualify you as edgy, what’s a gal gotta do?” Sally demanded.
“No, you don’t understand,” says Claire, whose son is 2. “I go home every night and watch 30 Rock. My best friend bought me the whole first season on DVD.”
I can relate to Claire’s feeling that the “edgy” label just doesn’t fit. I was one of the so-called Edgy Moms reading that night. Here’s my edgy life: I feed my kid breakfast. I go to work. I come home. I feed my kid dinner, bathe him, read him a story and put him to bed. Then I return a few emails and go to bed myself. On weekends we attend birthday parties or go to the zoo. Oooh, razor-sharp. Seriously, can you get any more traditional?
OK, so I’m a lesbian-identified bisexual single mom by choice who recently wrote a book called Knock Yourself Up. Still–-edgy? Me?
Some of the other reader/moms were laughing about it, too. There’s not much that’s edgy about raising a kid.
So what is an edgy mom? Based on the reading last month, I’d have to say it’s a mom who questions authority and group-think, and who tells the truth, even if it’s shocking. Also, judging from the night’s readers, edgy moms are funny!
Christen Clifford kicked the evening into gear with a no-holds-barred essay on trying to reconnect with her sexuality postpartum, which featured the time she was trying to masturbate with a vibrator while breastfeeding (an experience her edgy mommy friends said was awesome) and got interrupted by FedEx and managed to lock herself out of her apartment, vibrator in one hand and infant in the other. The piece was hilarious, though when she got to a graphic list of the various instruments she planned to use to reawaken her libido, post-FedEx fiasco, the lone preteen audience member fled in embarrassment.
Michele Madigan Somerville, an amazing reader (everyone was!) read an X-rated piece about Elmo and Cookie Monster that could uncurl Miss Piggy’s tail. And I read the opening essay to my book, complete with the part about almost accidentally getting another girl pregnant. But it wasn’t all sex, by a long shot (though it must be noted that the door prizes from allegedly non-edgy mom Claire’s store, Babeland, contained two different kinds of vibrators, lube and a candle meant for dripping hot wax on your lover).
Though sharp and sexy, edgy moms are well-rounded, too, it seems. Somerville read a clever, religion-infused piece about Mommy guilt and Amy Benfer read a touching piece about why keeping her baby as a 16-year-old single mom was a good idea after all. Another heartwarming tear-jerker was Louise Crawford’s essay on how some kids, like mushrooms, grow better if left alone. And my piece, despite being full of exploding semen vials and crazy self-insemination capers, is, after all, about having such a strong desire to have a child that I ended up having one in a way that was, in all respects, exactly the opposite of my dream. But that was, in the end, as with Benfer’s teen-mom experience, just right.
The readers delved into broader cultural issues, as well. Amy Sohn read a funny essay about her hipster self and her artist husband getting caught up in yuppie preschool competitiveness, and the class and identity issues attached to that. Lenore Skenazy treated us to the inspiring, controversial New York Sun essay about letting her 9-year-old son ride the subway that turned her into a national figure for a couple of days. And Sophia Romero read a hilarious piece about being the Filipino shiksa marring into a Jewish family.
Eight readers, people—count ’em, 8! That was perhaps the most amazing part of the evening. You’d think the reading would have been a long and painful struggle with fanny fatigue. But the audience was wonderfully engaged, swinging between laughter and tears the entire time. Could we say they were on the EDGE of their seats?
So maybe we finally have a definition: Maybe edgy mommies are those sharp-witted enough to both put their kids to sleep—and keep other adults awake. Now, edgy dads, your turn!