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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ladies Who Punch

(Continuing the short story series, "The Dish")


I ALWAYS like things to happen organically. And this morning, they rather did. 

Over a Thai lunch will Sally Sfarnas, I was basically telling her my life story--well, the start of my New York life, 'cause that's the only one that matters--and she was like, You should write that for Hey Ma'am! (Sally had previously interned there and may harbor ill feelings for the magazine since 1. She was fired 2. They used her ideas for a Valentine's Day social which they later hosted.)

More than a year had passed before I got down to penning any sort of piece for Hey Ma'am (the time finally seemed right--rather organically); I put my thoughts down to paper and had my roommate, Amanda look them over. I was forced to submit the piece through an overly complicated online submission portal which included formatting it to The Chicago Manual of Style to the best of my ability. (Yea--I'm not going to do that.) At the end of the process, there was a disclaimer noting: "As of May 2012, Hey Ma'am will no longer provide official rejection letters to denied submissions." Well, thank goodness for that (sarc).

I had to wait weeks, into months, before I'd have any idea whether Hey Ma'am was going to use my piece in their Fall 2014 issue or not. One guideline for submitting to Hey Ma'am was that the submission could not be one that previously had been published online or otherwise. So I had to wait and watch the ticking of my calendar, and leave my story sitting untouched (although there was an underlying temptation to throw copies of it from the tops of midtown, hoping some editor would catch it and insist on publishing it the very next day).

This morning, in-between tapping "snooze" on my iPhone, I saw that Milly Rosenberg (editor at Grip) had a piece on She-Volve about her end of summer habits. My mental list of Publications Which I Should Pitch To took note as I navigated to She-Volve's website, vertically, while still lying in bed. On their home page, not only did they plainly state that they do accept submissions, but there was also a drop-down menu with a link for "stories." Clearly, the first order of the day would be to find out whether or not my short story was going to run in issue 8 of Hey Ma'am.


Post the debacle with Gourmand stealing my idea for their newest "Around Town" column, Shari Crest, editor of what's now called Hurry Up!, hosted a birthday dinner for our in-house gossip columnist, Feruschia Sahlt. Halfway through the dinner, Shari announced--holding up the then latest copy of Journey Fair--that the issue in hand was going to be the last issue. My martini just about fell into my lap. "What?!," I exclaimed aloud.

"Oh, I didn't tell you?" Shari went on to explain that she was launching a new magazine which would be called Hurry Up!--the same name of the smartphone app which she was then developing. As she modeled her demonstration of the Hurry Up! app to eager eyes, nervously clutching their drinks (and their jobs), she navigated to "editorial," then to my column, "The Dishy Missy." And there I was, on the screen of her iPhone, in full pink-and-pearls glory....

Toward the end of the dinner, Now Magazine columnist, Mary Havenshaw showed up, too cool to arrive with any sort of companion in tow. Always a fumbling idiot around her (I once told her that I always say things twice when I'm drunk... then said it again two sentences later), I was trying to recall the name of a particular singer, but all I could manage to spill out was, "A Latina entertainer," while she blankly waited for a moment of fruition. At least this time I smartly decided my outing 'a wrap' and said breakneck good-byes before fleeing the scene--being mindful not to tilt the gin tonic which I was meticulously holding upright in my Journey Fair tote.


To be continued.
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