The Bitch Slap: Please Don’t Talk to Me Like That

bitch slap don't talk to me that wayOn Sunday morning, I woke up excited to go to brunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. I got dressed, headed to the gym, and when I got home, I made some coffee and dug into the interwebz to see what was what on a Sunday morning.

Not 15 minutes later, I was sitting on my sofa with tears rolling down my cheeks.

My readers only have access to the parts of my life I choose to share while certain people in my life have access to me. And that’s because (to be quite frank about it) many of you haven’t earned it. But it’s the same for me – I haven’t earned the right or privilege to sit at your family’s table and share in your news and memories.

But today, you’re going to get a straight-up shot (not a glimpse) of The Girl behind RedheadWriting. And that’s because I’m growing a pair and finally saying something I should have long ago:

Stop talking to me that way.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

Facebook. It’s the place where I stay connected with family and friends, new friends and old. It’s where my audience shares in my life (what I reveal) and I can keep up with what the people in my life are up to – and choose to share.

On Saturday, this is what I chose to share:

Innocuous. And not that it’s any of your fucking business, but I’d spent the day hiking. With my dogs. I love to go hiking and loaded up Beatrice Olivia the Mini Cooper with Big Dog, Small Dog, and a Camelbak and headed out for 3 hours in the hills of Boulder, Colorado. The weather was perfect. The dogs were soooo great, especially considering their off-leash adventures have been limited, and I got to spend a few hours with me – someone I’ve been missing (a lot) over the past year. I always seem to find her outside.

And Then It Goes Left at Albuquerque

The comments on the thread start rolling in. And suddenly – people who are supposed to be my friends just fuck it up. Some of the comments were deleted after I posted my response (which you’ll find below).

And Here is Where I Cry

You can think I’m a big ol’ pussy all you want, but when I came home from the gym and looked at all of this again, I just started to cry. The last comment in the thread got me thinking about “being dressed that way” and being a bawdy femme. Do I invite this? Do I grant permission? Am I telling people it’s okay to talk to me that way? So I sat there on my sofa wondering, as this wasn’t the first time it’s happened. So what did I do?

I grew the pair that I tell all of you that you should be growing on a regular basis.

So Don’t Fucking Talk to Me That Way

Do you know why I make jokes about my tits? So you won’t. Why does a woman say she has a big ass? So you won’t say it first. I fully own the fact that I am a foul-mouthed, no-holds-barred writer along with every ounce of whatever that comes out of my mouth. I own it. And even if I walked around dressed like a hooker, it doesn’t give the people in my life the right to talk to me that way. I sat on my couch on Sunday morning and cried. I was late to brunch because I had to pull my shit together and de-swell my tear-stung face because people who were supposed to be my friends thought it was okay to talk to me like that.

Well, It’s Not

I think poop jokes are funny and I can never get enough of Archer. I have been known to use the word “fuck” as a comma, adverb, and noun – and all in the same sentence. But given that information, it does not give you the right to shit on my life. And in return, it doesn’t give ME the right to shit on anyone else’s, either. It’s all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out – and I got mine poked out on Saturday and Sunday.

I think the world was possibly a better place when men wore hats and people danced – where there was a certain amount of decorum and respect that ruled (at least) our public-facing lives. While I can’t speak to the other social norms of those days and fully admit that, from a woman’s perspective, they were less than diverse or ideal, there’s a certain amount of validation in a woman being able to haul off and issue a gloved-hand slap to someone who’s disrespected her. And it all goes back to the perceived level of permission granted in the online space…and who you think you know versus who people really are.

Permission: What You See and Who I Am

I created RedheadWriting. She’s a persona. She’s a lippy broad and that’s why people love her – or hate her. She says what many wish they had the balls to say and riles-up others when certain topics arise. She takes a great professional photo and welcomes any opinion to be shared on her blog and Facebook page (so long as you identify yourself – there are no anonymous comments welcome). She swears enough to make a sailor blush and has an inexplicable affinity for hedgehogs (in the non-Ron Jeremy sense).

But do most of you know who I am? Apparently I have to share this information with you so you realize that there’s a person behind this persona the next time you feel entitled to haul off and make a comment on my life:

  • I put up my first Christmas tree in over 9 years this past weekend. It’s lovely.
  • I love kids and hope to have some of my own someday soon – and you can go fuck yourself if you want to chime in about me being a certain age and how I should write that shit off. I wrote a book about it. Holler. And last week when I included a linkbait headline alluding to being pregnant (in jest), thanks to all of you who sent me emails through my contact form expressing relief when you found out it wasn’t true. Because apparently, the idea of me becoming a mother at some point is terrifying to you. Whether you meant it or not, that hurt, too.
  • I slipped and fell in love in late 2010. His name was Jason. He died unexpectedly from surgical complications on October 31, 2010. And I miss him. But my life is better for him having been in it and there’s not a day that goes by that the thought of him doesn’t make me smile.
  • The last time I tried to date, the guy showed up drunk at my house with a gun. I don’t really know if you know the terror of hearing a round being chambered or chamber being cleared behind you. But I do. And maybe you don’t know what it feels like to have someone digitally stalk you for a month, calling you every name in the book for breaking up with them. But I do. And y’know what? There’s a certain humor to the entire situation. A certain bone-chilling terror as well to know that all of that crazy relationship shit you read about ? Yeah – you’re not immune to it. And no – I don’t hate him.
  • I miss my brother. We were best friends growing up – geeks in unison. He’s on his own path right now and chooses to not connect with our family much. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in life is respect that it’s his path to follow. Even though I miss him.
  • I have a niece and nephew. My niece is the spitting personification of me (my entire family says that by all rights, she should have been MY daughter so I’d have to raise her 🙂 ) and my nephew is autistic. He’s amazing and autistic and my sister is the biggest hero in my life for doing all she’s done to ensure he has a path equipped with tools he can use – and in his own way.
  • I love getting dressed up, and not because I get to wear a push-up bra. Because I love dresses and skirts and the way I feel in them. I’m not so much a jeans or shorts girl. You’ll find me in a sundress before shorts and a dress before slacks. Every time.
  • I struggle with my business and chosen career every day, not unlike many of you. I love what I do and am damn lucky I get to do it. It’s just an ongoing struggle to separate the “easy” path from the one you know you really should be taking.

I’m human – just like you – and while I might have a pair of balls, it doesn’t mean I’m immune when people are less than respectful of me and the person that’s behind this site that you keep coming back to time and time again (for which I thank you).

So, Who Are You To Talk To Me That Way?

When it comes to my blog and my Facebook page, they’re all about persona. Really – have at it. If I initiate the blue streak, you’re welcome to join in. But when it comes to my personal life, do the same as you’ve had done to you: don’t hijack someone’s life for your own amusement.

Because it hurts.

And I’m telling you – you don’t have the right to talk to me that way. I don’t have the right to talk to anyone that way, either.

I even asked someone I was with last night if this is something that men encounter, to which he responded no – not really. I’d love to hear from the men who read my blog (as there are many of you) on how you set the guidelines for speaking to the women in your life. I certainly hope I don’t talk to the men in my life in such a manner. Mostly because doing so would send the wrong message. Which leaves me wondering about the message of permission that I send. Madonna/Whore complex is a brilliant explanation when it comes to psychoanalysis, but why am I left always wondering if I’m seen as one or the other…when neither is optimal?

And Please Don’t Give Me the “Dressed in Such a Manner” Argument…

It won’t hold up in a court of law and it won’t hold up here.

What sucks is when you’re placed in a position – by the people in your life, no less – to consider the type of people who are in your life.

And it’s something I’m doing a lot of thinking about right now. Because I’ve let people talk to me like this for…well, ages. Something told me that it had to be okay, even though it made me feel sick to my stomach sometimes. I realized it was time to take the advice I’d recently given to a friend’s daughter when she was made extremely uncomfortable while visiting a local business (who shall remain nameless) by what the proprietor assumed (incorrectly) were some innocuous remarks about her chest-region gifts (WTF – who SAYS things like this to a female patron?).

It doesn’t matter how you’re dressed, honey. You still deserve respect. It’s our obligation, however, to think about what we say so as to not invite conversations we don’t want to have. But sometimes, it doesn’t matter if we invite people or not. They’re going to have the conversation that they want to have. And that doesn’t mean it’s okay or you have to put up with it.

We won’t go into the phone call I made to the local proprietor. I will say, however, that I handled it professionally.

Game On or Move On?

So the next time you want to say something off-color or twist someone’s line of conversation, understand that there’s a person behind that digital persona. A keyboard and a screen doesn’t lessen the impact of words thrown around in what you perceive as “fun.” And regardless of whether you perceive someone’s words as being “dressed in such a manner” as to invite a bawdy return, maybe think twice. Permission once doesn’t mean an open-ended line of consent. And now, not that you’ve earned it, you know a little bit more about me. What’s private. What wasn’t yours to know in the first place. But what else is going to let you know that I’m human – that I have feelings – and they’re not yours to twist into some fucked-up bendy straw variety of amusement?

So please don’t talk to me that way – and whether you believe it or not, I am a goddamned lady and should never have to ask to be treated like one. And the only reason you’ve been slapped today is because you slapped me.

And it hurt. Fuck, did it.

Your ball, my friends. I’ll be over here holding the two I just re-discovered.

222 replies
  1. Rita
    Rita says:

    Wow!  WOW!  Way to go Erika!  WAY TO FUCKING GO!!  Thank you for saying all the words I’ve not known how to say.  Thank you for speaking for (likely) thousands of us who just can’t find the words.  I recently ended a 22 year relationship with someone for this very reason.  I finally grew a pair and said ENOUGH.  I am proud of myself, and although the pair I grew aren’t always comfortable, and it can get a bit messy, I am not going back.  So thank you.  Thank you for growing a pair, but more than that, thank you for showing us your human awesomeness.  I didn’t need the reminder because I know of what you speak, but it’s always good to see it in print.  Fucking A erika.  FUCKING – A. 

  2. Kathy1x
    Kathy1x says:

    Good for you.  This behavior continues because so few of us pipe up and say it’s not ok to behave this way.  That’s how sexual harassment happens too – so when you are offended, say so, and say stop NOW – you just did in a very nice way.  Draw the line, and it stops here.  Don’t draw it, and it will stretch further and further and further.  I also think that ladies are more sensitive to stuff like this than guys are – we tend to check ourselves better, too, I think.  It takes the slap to show some guys where that line is.  Well done.

  3. Greg Davies/cGt2099
    Greg Davies/cGt2099 says:

    I don’t know you on a close personal level, but on a (social media) professional level I’m proud to say we crossed paths online and hung out on the Social Blend podcast.  Because of this, I believe my experiences are enriched due to both the professional chats we’ve had and also the off-the-wall hilarity. 

    So, I, at least, am one person who gets positive vibes from your posts – here and otherwise – either from an enriching professional experience, or quite simply from the warm fuzzies in just enjoying what you have to say. 

    You are very valued.  But there are folks online that want to bring you down…  it’s nothing that you’ve done; they’re just douchebags. 

    When it comes to this stuff, do what you’ve done here: lift the middle finger, tell them they can go fuck a goat, and move forward with the knowledge that there are people like myself and others who appreciate you for who you are.

    You don’t need to justify yourself to anyone but yourself. 

    Much respect, Red.  Come by the podcast again some time – we luvs ya 🙂

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Completely and utterly filed under “things that shouldn’t ever have to be said”. Other than that, I can’t really come up with words. 

  5. MissedCongeniality
    MissedCongeniality says:

    Wow. You’re right. You should never have to ask to be treated decently. I hope the offenders from the thread read it, apologize for behaving inexcusably and admit to their douchedom just as publicly as they posted it.
    Anything less is, well…just douchy. Time to Own Your Sh*t, folks!

    Lurrrrv to Erika!

  6. MichelleGillies
    MichelleGillies says:

    Thank you for setting such a good example for all of us to follow. No one should be treated with such disrespect. For the record I know that the majority of your followers/friends/readers have nothing but respect for you and will back you up in a second. You are brave & many times say things that I only wish I had the balls to say. Something I have to work on …growing a pair…and you set a great example!

  7. Jim Brochowski
    Jim Brochowski says:

    I hope that you’re standing, or sitting there with a HUGE SMILE on your face. Good for you sticking up for yourself and teaching all of us a lesson in the process!

  8. Stacey Hood
    Stacey Hood says:

    As I was one of the ones commenting, I sincerely apologize to you Erika. I was trying to be silly, as I usually am and the intent was lost. I’m not one to say, but, “you” and deflect what I said to you or anyone else. I’m to blame for my comments, no one else. It will not happen again. Again, my apologies.

  9. Rich Bonn
    Rich Bonn says:

    Its a shame that so many people have no problem saying things when hiding behind a keyboard.  Its like the screen of a computer protects them from any blowback that their words may create.  Yesterday, I got into a discussion regarding weight-an issue that I continue to fight- and people were making comments that they wished that the government would regulate it so that they “would not have to see bulge while they were shopping.”  I sincerely doubt that any of these people would have made these comments to my face, but they felt impunity since they were hidden behind their screens, half a continent away.
    Its not right that someones words hurt you, and I know that its tough, but like I did this morning, you may wish to consider whether these people are really the people that you should be empowering with your emotions.  I decided that those making the comments were really fairly shallow people, and that their opinions were not really that germane to my happiness.  Just my 2 cents

  10. Lisa_diane
    Lisa_diane says:

    Bravo! Made me think about what I sometimes say “in fun” and what I allow to be said to me. Thank you for not just food for thought, but rather a buffet:)

  11. Allison Duncan
    Allison Duncan says:

    The most amazing thing about being a Pro Blogger is knowing that it doesn’t matter where you draw the line between your online persona and your ‘you’ persona, someone is going to waltz across the barrier like a grizzly on cracked ice.

    Applause for your taking a stand. I’ll admit that after the tears I would probably have acted completely unprofessionally and used most of my SEO/internet know-how for evil. A practice that I’ve seen a lot of Pro’s turn to in such cases.

    It is always amazing to me that people who KNOW we know our shit online are willing to cross that barrier and risk the wrath of an internet maven.

    But maybe your restraint just shows you have a lot more professionalism than some others. Or it could be you just haven’t walked the dark side enough 😉

    Good luck, lady.

  12. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I wish I could give you triple thumbs up on this. I have the same issue because I am a girl that loves sports, runs my own company and has a trash mouth that will give you a run for your money any day.  In short, I experience the same thing you do, especially when I am in *girl* mode because people just don’t take that part of me seriously.  Love that you had the balls to put everyone in their place.  Sometimes, things just need to be said. 

  13. John Lutter
    John Lutter says:

    You’ve created a public persona that is so complete that people actually think they know you.  Kudos to you. That’s something to be proud of.  

    But there is a very real line between your public and personal, and your friends should know that. If they can’t recognize the differences, then they don’t know you very well, and I wouldn’t consider them true “friends”.

  14. Mike Masin
    Mike Masin says:

    Reading this made me feel so bad that I felt it physically.  What an incredibly, shitty way to treat somebody and, of all people, you don’t deserve it. People that can’t differentiate between Erika and RedHead Writing don’t deserve to interact with either of you.

    To the folks that hurt you without intent, now you know, don’t do it again!  To the ones that hurt intentionally there isn’t anything to say that will change it, so f*ck ’em.

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Just when I thought I couldn’t adore you more, you go and write something like this…

    Sending you mad respect and half-on-purpose-missed-contact high fives.  You are truly one of my favorite voices on the internet.  Thanks for keepin’ it real.

  16. Joe Fowler III
    Joe Fowler III says:

     Sometimes people forget things, like “There is actually someone else on the other end of the PC”. I personally hold you in the highest respects.
     I wish sometimes people would think before they post. Whoever made the posts need to rethink what they are saying.
     Here’s the issue I see.
     1. You are a strong woman.
     2. Whoever wrote these comments are threatened by that fact.
     3. On the internet sometimes people forget to be polite and respectful.
     4. Some people need filters between their brain, mouths and keyboards.

     You’re an awesome, funny, amazing, woman. Maybe sometimes people should remember you ARE a woman and that chivalry and respect are not dead!
     Keep kickin ass!
     Love ya girl! And BTW Greg has never slapped me with a fish….

  17. Lisa DeValentino
    Lisa DeValentino says:

    go get em chick! People are mean spirited sometimes , and another thing most of them mistake rudeness as humor when in fact, it is lame ignorant crap from a weak mind. Dont let the d bags get you down! keep on doing what you do!

  18. Bryce Alan Katz
    Bryce Alan Katz says:

    It’s not just women who run into this. I’ve spent many hours consoling the women in my life because some insensitive asshole decided to take liberties with a situation. Sometimes that asshole was me. Sometimes, though, *I* was the person who just HAD. ENOUGH … and wasn’t sure how to deal with it properly.

    Thanks, as always, for your words and insight.

  19. John Falchetto
    John Falchetto says:

    This sucks on so many levels. I live in  small village here and from time to time I sit with the old folks on a bench watching life go by. The youngest one is 89, they bring me perspective and taught me a great saying it’s in French but roughly translates to
    “the spit of the toads doesn’t reach the stars”

    Keep shining

  20. Joshua
    Joshua says:

    Hey Erika,

    Today was my first introduction to you and your blog. I think you’re a beautiful woman. Don’t let anyone treat you like you aren’t. Keep doing your thing. And I hope you do become a mother one day if that is what you want! 


  21. Sonia Rumzi
    Sonia Rumzi says:

    I am so sorry you got talked to that way. I am sorry people do not understand limitations.  My daughter had the same experience with close friends and she shut down her Facebook and she is not glamorous like you and in the limelight. She was hurt beyond repair to return.

    Please know that you have my utmost respect and admiration. Brushing off the tears. Ignore them! Un-friend them! Get them out of your life! Big hugs and love.

  22. kara rane
    kara rane says:

    dear Erika~
    thank You for reminding others that we all need to be treated with Respect.  I appreciate you sharing these words, you speak for many who are unable to do so.  much kindness to you and all your beautiful dreams~~

  23. Texastyme2008
    Texastyme2008 says:

    Just found your site and read your post.  As they said in the 70’s (or 80’s or…) “right on, sista!”  I’m sharing this one with my niece and her brothers.

  24. Amhipps
    Amhipps says:

    Erika, I’m so proud of you for standing up for yourself. When I read that post Saturday, it made me smile because I knew it meant you had had a great day. Also, maybe because I have four dogs, I associated the “wiggles” with your pups. Nothing more. My pups wiggle when they’re happy. Anyone who read more than that or interpreted it any other way is a little off – IMHO.

    Again. I’m proud of you. You are definitely a lady and should be treated as such professionally and personally. Just because some of us ladies use colorful language from time to time doesn’t mean we’re not ladies. Sometimes it means we have to talk the language of some of our male colleagues (who are not criticized for it) to be heard.

  25. Jim Mitchem
    Jim Mitchem says:

    I’m pretty private – despite what others might think. Fucking people. I swear I don’t get most of them. I barely get myself. And that’s why i’m guardedly private. For most things. 

  26. Lou Moran
    Lou Moran says:

    I’m confused by 1 aspect of this rant.  Are there 2 Facebook pages?  Redhead Writing & a “real” Ericka Napolitano” page?

    I feel like there are.  

    So in theory the people on the Ericka page actually know you and should probably know the difference between a “Lippy Broad” post and a genuine “I had a great day” post… I mean, that seems correct.

    It is a difficult line.  My page is a sewer and I love that it’s a sewer and if I choose to post something personal it will get hammered immediately.  It’s a risk I take.

    So I guess what I’m saying here is not that you deserve it, or you should be used to it BUT you should know there are inherent risks.  Since you’ve smartly created two persona, one “real” and one “lippy” perhaps the only thing you can do to mitigate the risks are control the audiences that get to see the real you.  Block is a wonderful tool.

      • Lou Moran
        Lou Moran says:

        Yeah I get it.  Your “friends” should have known the difference.  I go through the same thing sometimes, but ultimately I (like you have) reconcile with the “friends” and we move on.

        I have been managing IT folks for about ~20 years.  I have had to tell several of them, “You’re going to say the same thing you say to Jane every day, but one day she’s going to flip out on you.  One day her boyfriend will have dumped her, or her cat wil have died and you won’t know but I will because I’ll be in the Human Resources office trying to keep you from being fired.”
        I can’t help but wonder what made the comments to that post as offensive, and hurtful as they were to you at that moment.  I’m not asking you, in any way to tell me, I’m telling you I’m wondering.

        • Steph
          Steph says:

          I don’t think its “flipping out” to get upset when people you consider your real friends piss on your perfect day. Basically that is what they did with the presumptions and immature innuendos.  They stole a little of the joy.  I have had it happen with my friends who are just being smart assess and it has made me less likely to share my great moments via facebook. 

  27. Bonnie
    Bonnie says:

    Oh Erika! Thank you for TURNING UP THE VOLUME ON YOUR TRUTH. I love your spirit, and you keep on keepin on sister. You’ve got all my respect, and the safe fun way you deal ‘life’ in your writing, is creating and giving permission to more women to do it.  This is the good life. xoB

  28. MegCarpen
    MegCarpen says:

    I recently found myself wondering what exactly about Facebook brings out the white-trash in some people. Is it the semi-anonymity? Is it the fact that we rarely actually see each other? What is it?
    I’ve had somewhat similar experiences, with people automatically thinking that my stating I had a great day had to be in reference to my sex life. I’m casual and funny in my online persona, and pretty similar in my private persona. However, my sex life has always been between me and the other person in it. It’s never been public in any way, shape, or form. So I completely understand the hurt you felt reading replies to your post. It’s horrible that people make assumptions like that about you. I agree with John Lutter, if they don’t know the difference between your persona and your real self, maybe they need to hit the bricks.

  29. Janine
    Janine says:

    I don’t know how to fix this problem. Maybe there is no way–some people are fucked up/socially inept/clueless/evil. Some of them will stumble across your sites and feel the need to comment. The rest of us will be appalled, then ignore them and move on. You will continue to inspire and amaze.

    How about delete, delete, delete?

  30. SL Clark
    SL Clark says:

    Damn straight woman!

    My girlfriend, now darling wife was seen hiking up Yosemite’s Mist Trail in a pair of necessary hiking boots, a flowing dress and refined Sunday hat. Ohhh, the looks she got, men ooogling, women incredulous, no avatars needed.

    Despite 800 million Likes, people aren’t “social” and R-E-S-P-E-C-T is a long lost 60’s tune. Douchedom caused our daughter to delete her Facebook account; I’m not surprised this crap landed on your doorstep too. Arianna wrote a book about 3rd World America and I thank you for this perfect shareable nipple-twist version; God men will hate me for holding this mirror to their face.

    These days, I work my ass off to meet goddamned ladies, you know, the kind that read and even sometimes write books. ;-)With a tip of the cap to Aphra Behn, a box of tissues and a fountain pen baseball bat,-Steve

  31. Laura Keeney
    Laura Keeney says:

    Welcome to the Catch-22 of my life, glad to have
    you along
    for the ride. Unfortunately, when you’re a strong, smart, ballsy babe
    not afraid of the f-bomb or putting yourself out there 110%, it’s easy
    for others to think there are no sacred boundaries.
    (Lucky duck you gets this a million-fold since you’re in the public
    eye.) And, while
    I’m not trying to generalize our dude friends here, it’s not out of the
    question to assume many of them talk about us ladies differently when
    we’re not around …
    and perhaps they’re not all the time focusing on our brains and poise,
    instead on our *ahem* other qualities. So, all that said, if we’re seen
    as just “one of the
    guys,” it’s not that they think there’s no need to treat us like ladies
    … it’s just not even a thought. Add to that a culture obsessed
    with tits, ass, Kardashians and reality TV, and many have forgotten what
    like to be couth and respectful.


    Of course, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.


    Bottom line, whether you’re wearing a hot dress or
    sweatpants, you have every right to wear be treated with respect, dignity and
    total celebration of all the awesomesauce that flows through your veins. We all
    do. Fact is, most of the people who commented on your FB like fuckwit
    doucheknuckles most likely did so not out of ill will, but instead out of
    complete ignorance. Thus, communication like this, where we can all come to the
    table and discuss this situation, will only help to combat that ignorance and
    help us all be more tolerant and respectful of each other.

    I’m glad you had an awesome hike, your Christmas
    tree is gorgeous, and you wiggle on with your bad self, momma. You’ve
    earned it.


  32. Laura Keeney
    Laura Keeney says:

    Welcome to the Catch-22 of my life, glad to have you along for the ride. Unfortunately, when you’re a strong, smart, ballsy babe who’s not afraid of the f-bomb or putting yourself out there 110%, it’s easy for others to think there are no sacred boundaries. (Lucky duck you gets this a million-fold since you’re in the public eye.) And, while I’m not trying to generalize our dude friends here, it’s not out of the question to assume many of them talk about us ladies differently when we’re not around … and perhaps they’re not all the time focusing on our brains and poise,
    and instead on our *ahem* other qualities. So, all that said, if we’re seen as just “one of the
    guys,” it’s not that they think there’s no need to treat us like ladies … it’s just not even a thought. Add to that a culture obsessed with tits, ass, Kardashians and reality TV, and many have forgotten what it’s like to be couth and respectful.

    Of course, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.

    Bottom line, whether you’re wearing a hot dress or sweatpants, you have every right to wear be treated with respect, dignity and total celebration of all the awesomesauce that flows through your veins. We all do. Fact is, most of the people who commented on your FB like fuckwit
    doucheknuckles most likely did so not out of ill will, but instead out of complete ignorance. Thus, communication like this, where we can all come to the table and discuss this situation, will only help to combat that ignorance and help us all be more tolerant and respectful of each other.

    I’m glad you had an awesome hike, your Christmas tree is gorgeous, and you wiggle on with your bad self, momma. You’ve earned it.


  33. Stacy Lukasavitz
    Stacy Lukasavitz says:

    A-frickin’-men, Erika. I’ve dealt with the same issues — ooh, look — outspoken redhead online (and in person) != permission to harass the fuck out of her. Is my personality, whether online or off, sometimes lewd, sarcastic, and inappropriate? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a human being. 

    I try to leave my personal/dating life as offline as possible, but oddly enough, the last guy I dated actually showed up not drunk and with a gun, but high as a kite and with more baggage than Southwest Air. The guy a couple guys before him — I WISH he only digitally stalked me for a month. It’s been two years now and I still have to watch my back both online and IRL. I don’t hate these guys as much as I feel sorry for them, and it makes me think about my track record and wonder why I’m such a freak magnet. Regardless, we all have lines/boundaries, and I sometimes wonder, as you indicate you have before as well, whether I “invite” it or whether I’m personally not good at indicating boundaries, and where lines are crossed. Silly me for assuming people knew and would abide by the golden rule, even when there’s an internet between us. 

    The past couple years I’ve made a conscious choice to disassociate myself from those people I know both online and off who’ve chosen to talk to me (or about me, I’ve found out) in disrespectful manners such as your example(s) above. I could rip them a new one in person (and I have) or online (and I have), but after a while, I realized while it’s flattering that someone would choose to expend their time and energy on me like that, they’re really not worth MY time and energy anymore. If the cliché “you’re only as good as the company you keep” is true, then I’d rather be as good as nobody than a-holes like them. 

    But we can’t always or easily “unfriend” or otherwise disassociate ourselves with people and behavior like that. So as someone who’s had to deal with the same kind of crap, I thank you sincerely for writing this. 


  34. HeatherO
    HeatherO says:

    Great post [as always]! I almost had to laugh because it reminded me of conversations w/my mom which usually go something like “don’t take this personally, but I’m your mom and I should be able to say this…” to which I recently replied “which means you should be able to say whatever you want whether it is nice, or hurtful or not…says who?” 🙂
    She looked stunned.
    I would agree that perhaps relatives such as moms have more of a ‘right’ to say certain things, but all too often people just need to shut up and recognize that people are people and just because we aren’t ‘like them’ doesn’t make us wrong, or worse or anything other than different.
    The world would be pretty damn boring if we were all the same 🙂

  35. Mechellem
    Mechellem says:

    Fantastic post!  I shared it on my FB page.  I think you have hit the nail on the head – people feel that they can type anything they want and not have to think about how it may affect the person they are talking to or commenting on.  I have said for years that the digital age – although great – needs some serious schooling in the field of etiquette.  (wanna write a book about this topic together?)  I think it’s high time people understand that if it isn’t appropriate to say to someone’s face – don’t think it’s okay to say it online.  (otherwise they should expect to be bitch slapped)

  36. Darien Skullgrrl Goldman-Baysi
    Darien Skullgrrl Goldman-Baysi says:

    Ever considered dating women? LOL from what I understand they are shy and sweet and NEVER say things that can be construed as untowards. 
    I can’t even keep a straight face at the keyboard for saying that. Having been a professional Domme for 7 years, I get ridiculously indignant when put in a situation that makes me uncomfortable, but that rarely happens since I learned to turn around what makes me uncomfortable into what makes the original commenter feel very very small. You have that gift, for all your boldness, and should feel perfectly justified in using it.
    Despite being the one who usually causes it, I don’t take shit from anyone 🙂

    We are SO going out for sushi after the holidays.

  37. Sherree W.
    Sherree W. says:

    Wow. I can’t believe this needed to be said. Just stunned at the crassness of people…that should know better.  You are totally amazing for even writing this. Thank you.

  38. AmyVernon
    AmyVernon says:

    Preach it, sista!

    Seriously, I love that you are no holds barred and write so fearlessly. And I love even more that you are mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. <3 I need to remember this next time I'm in this situation.

  39. Colleen Lindsay
    Colleen Lindsay says:

    Everything you just said x 1000.  Seriously. It’s why I purged about 300 people from Facebook last year.  When I was an agent, I got a fifteen Facebook requests a day from people  I had never met, nor corresponded with, nor worked with in any capacity. And I used to think “Who the hell are you people and what makes you think I should share any part of my non-work life with you?” So good for you for stating your boundaries. And fuck the ones who can’t respect them.



  40. Janice
    Janice says:

    You are so freaking awesome! I consider you a role model. Some people just don’t have any respect for people and boundaries and think it’s perfectly okay to post whatever they’re thinking, no matter how it makes the other person feel.

  41. Karyn
    Karyn says:

    …loves the Redhead and misses Erika! …. it’s been so long since Vegas Baby!  I think you should pack up the puppies and come to San Diego for an Indian Summer hikers weekend (balls are optional and always welcome!).  We wear dresses 365 days a year!….  some of the men even do it 😉 Love all of your posts… especially this one.  Thanks for being brave enough to put yourself out there to set the whole respect issue straight.  You rock (pun intended!)…. lots of great cracks in SoCal calling our name 🙂

  42. Amber Carter
    Amber Carter says:

    Love, love, love – and thank you. I’ve struggled with this more than a few times when it comes to my social media persona. Because I use a lot of perverse humor in my writing, there’s been a couple of situations where male readers have felt that it’s okay directing *their* perverse humor towards *me*. And it’s not. At first, I found myself shrugging and rationalizing that because the boundaries of what I was writing were pretty loose – because I wasn’t prim and proper, etc – how could they know that that would make me uncomfortable? But it did, and what I realized was this:  If they didn’t know, then it was my job to tell ’em. So now they do.  Thanks for speaking up for yourself. It makes it a lot easier for others to do, when they have someone to hold as an example.

  43. Bryan Packebush
    Bryan Packebush says:

    Red, (Erika)
    I have been raised to always treat someone with respect and courtesy…. whether I know them or not.
    You treat people with respect until they grant you the responsibility to enter their lives. Not to get all religious but the Golden Rule certainly would apply in most cases. Although the dipstick that made that comment probably gets off when people talk to him like that.
    Great post! You gotta let people (Men) know when they have crossed the line! Always stand up for yourself! It is really unfortunate that people don’t know the difference though in persona and real.
    I will end this schizophrenic reply for now.
    Have a nice day. (BTW…. just read the first couple of lines! anything else will give you a headache.)

  44. Bobbi Butterfield
    Bobbi Butterfield says:

    The lack of social grace is appalling and inexcusable, and as you discovered, sometimes very hurtful. However, you have again proven to us–your adoring and devoted–that education comes in many forms, including adversity. You have taken the offending posters to the woodshed and we LOVE it!!! I’m a huge fan of “growing a pair” and have a feeling there are pairs popping out all over after your kick ass post. Bravo!!!!!

  45. Xenia's Place
    Xenia's Place says:

    great post.. its irritating at times how people assume that because one is a strong woman who speaks her mind that they can talk to you how they like – and it obviously won’t hurt you at all, even though if you said the same things to them, they would be gutted.  For the record (not that you know me that well or I you) had you actually been pregnant I’d have been chuffed for you, coz a new baby is wonderful for anyone.  Thanks again for a great post.

  46. SL Clark
    SL Clark says:


    I don’t have your address to send one of these:
    However,  the related is something that made me cry today:
    A rainbow in the darkness,

  47. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    You are right of course.  It’s all about context isn’t it.  IMHO, you’ve got a lot to be proud of and deserve that respect.    Hell, we all have aspects of ourselves that we show at various times.  It’s one thing to be flirty on occasion but those were some seriously creepster style comments.  Sorry about that, you don’t deserve that bs.  That said, fuck em if they can’t take a joke, and don’t let them ruin your day or modify your behavior.

    On a side note, it took a long time for this to pop in my feed even though i refresh every 30 minutes or so.

  48. Sandi Pearce
    Sandi Pearce says:

    Okay. I rarely comment because I’m lazy, but this one needed a comment. 

     I’ve done the “delete comment” thing when people (mostly men) post inappropriate things on my wall to perfectly innocuous messages I’ve posted. I will now no longer do that. They deserve to be called out on it instead. I need to grow a pair, too. I’ve been sexually and verbally harassed both on and offline. It’s never okay to cross that line. Brava to you for standing up for yourself so publicly and reminding us that decorum should not be dead. Just because a lady uses the word fuck, doesn’t mean she isn’t a lady. I’m not sure how we got to this point where people think that says something different about us. 

    I alway smile when your column comes in because I know it will make me think or cry or laugh.

    Thank you for being real, Erika. Rock on, girl. 

    Douchedom reigns supreme. We need to collectively bring it down!

  49. Isalys of Book Soulmates
    Isalys of Book Soulmates says:

    This is my first visit to your blog and I really admire the cojones that it took for you to write this!  I often joke that I was born in the wrong time and it’s for this very reason that I say that.  I long for a society where people don’t have to ASK to be respected! 

    It’s funny how much social media has dehumanized us!  We use a variety of sites to “connect” with others yet it’s these very sites that make us forget there is a real person with real feelings on the other side of that computer screen.  We all wear our internet armor so we think it’s okay to say whatever we damn well please without consequence.

    None of us are one-dimensional.  We are all complicated!  I, myself, use different social media sites to connect with different groups of people or reveal certain facets of myself. For example, I might cuss on some and not on others.  The beauty of it all is that it’s for ME to decide how I use those sites and NO ONE has any right to disrespect me on any of them.  Of course, the same goes for you!  We should be happy to get to know you on YOUR terms 🙂

    I send you a *virtual high five* for this 😀

    Isalys of Book Soulmates

  50. Tom Redwine
    Tom Redwine says:


    ByranP. said it better, but I’m southern (so I know that skews my worldview), so I just can’t help but repeat… where I come from, men don’t talk to ladies that way.  For one thing, men must assume every woman is a lady – that’s a given. Another given is that if you were to speak that way to a lady, you are not a man.

    I’m with Sonia & Janine on the unfriending/deleting of the offenders. Life’s too short to have mean people poop in your feeds.

    I’ve not read every single word you’ve put out on the interwebitubes, but from what I have read, you are most definitely a lady, m’dear. Keep on rockin’. And writing. ‘Cause there’s lots of us who are readin’ & agreein’. We vote with our clicks.

  51. Aileen Vang
    Aileen Vang says:

    Erika, I’m sure that you are getting lots of kudos from your readers. I would like to add my voice to the echoes. This is a beautiful, cogent piece of writing. Thanks for saying it so beautifully! Everyone deserves decency and respect all the days of their lives. Shame on the ones who have forgotten. less sucking of the energy and more giving back please!

  52. Win
    Win says:

    Wow. Scary shit.

    No one has the right to disrespect another human like that. Gender of either side of that conversation is irrelevant. Depth of relationship (friends versus online “acquaintances”) of the two sides of that conversation is also irrelevant.

    Kudos to you for asserting your very HUMAN rights.

  53. Julie Jones Huffines
    Julie Jones Huffines says:

    I’m glad I didn’t see any of that – I’m so sorry it happened to you but reading your blog made my two grow just a little – Thank you! Please keep doing exactly what you do – you give us all a welcome voice!  Julie

  54. Corco66
    Corco66 says:

    Thank you Erika! As a gal who is fairly well endowed in the “chestal region” I often find myself on the end of off color comments about my appearance and I’m not going to take it any more.  Thank you for sharing your experience and if you don’t mind I’m gonna use “don’t talk to me that way – and whether you believe it or not, I am a goddamned lady and should never have to ask to be treated like one.” If this doesn’t shut them up then all that is left is to administer a nice junk punch and walk away! BRAVA Red BRAVA!

  55. Leon Noone
    Leon Noone says:

    G’Day Erika,
    I’m one of the blokes who read your blog…by choice. My youngest  child is a single 38 year old woman. And she too is outspoken and opinionated.

    Be yourself Erika. Ignore the silly buggers who feel they can insult you whenever they feel like it. And cry if you feel like it too. 

    This Aussie curmudgeon will continue to stick his head above the parapet to read the Redhead blog and, if necessary, have his bitch slapped……if he can ever find it!

    “Hold out your bitch so I can slap it.” Thereya; I’ve given you a topic for a blog post. Gees those Aussie curmudgeons are a strange lot. But generous to a fault.

    Now; off ya bloody go: go and have some fun.


    Go on…..don’t just sit there. Go and have some bloody fun…..Go……Go..Do what you’re bloody told for once. But be yourself. 

  56. Kellie J. Walker
    Kellie J. Walker says:

    Wow, Red. I’m so sorry you were treated so poorly by those who claimed to be your friends.

    I distinctly remember reading that particular FB post (sans comments) on Saturday. My first and only thought was, ‘Good. Glad to hear it. Red’s due for some ‘win’ in her personal life.’ It saddens me to know people twisted it up and turned it ugly.

    As always, this slap was well-delivered and well-deserved by the offenders.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t care how you ‘dress’, you’ll always be a lady in my book. And, a damn fine one at that.



  57. Paul Corsi
    Paul Corsi says:

    Red – You’re amazing. One can sense the honesty and truthfulness in all you write. I can understand how some can misconstrue that as an invitation you’re open game. Hopefully that is a small percentage of your following.  You’re an absolute delight to me and I look forward to all your rantings.

  58. Killian
    Killian says:

    Erika (can I call you Erika?),

    I haven’t had the privilege of meeting you, although I freely admit that I’d like to.  You’ve actually shown us bits of who you are on numerous occasions, and you seem like a really amazing individual.  What you choose to show is your own, much like we choose in our own online personas.

    For me, I value the people in my life, and I expect them to value me in return.  If that aspect changes for either of us, the relationship is over.  Yes, just like that, pure and simple.  You’re worth more than the shit you’ve been taking, and you’re worth more than the people who gave it to you.  Regardless of what you do for a living, or what  the image of “Redhead Writing” entails, you deserve the respect and decency that everyone else does.  Do not tolerate anything less, especially from those who claim to love you in some capacity.

    Thank you for what you’ve shared.  I hope some day I do actually get to buy you that dirty chai.  I think we might actually hit it off pretty well.


  59. Chris Smith
    Chris Smith says:

    Having known you for 3 years now, I was glad that you posted this response in your own Redhead way.  I am sorry you had to go through what you did.  As a celebrity in the spotlight (which you are!!), people may think some level of entitlement to comment willy-nilly on all aspects of your life. If they aren’t worthy (i.e. don’t know the difference between Erika the human being and “The Redhead”, cut ’em off!!! 

  60. Kate West
    Kate West says:

    Strictly based on reading this, I think you are a beautiful, strong woman and I can not wait to read what else you have to say!  I can totally relate to being talked down to like that and I’m so glad that you were able to say what I never could.  Thank you for giving me the courage to stand up to those that have been making me feel less than wonderful.


  61. SkyddsDrake
    SkyddsDrake says:

    Thank you.  Not only for this post, but for all your other posts, tweets, and other various communications.  You’re absolutely right in pointing out that the vast majority of your audience didn’t earn the right to the information you shared here.  I think it’s a damn shame you were driven to do so in order to make a point that should have been a given.  I’m one of the ones that hasn’t earned that knowledge, but I thank you for it wholeheartedly.  Your friend’s daughter got some very sound advice.  I wish more individuals got such advice and chose to heed it.

  62. Ari Herzog
    Ari Herzog says:

    A group of words come together to form a sentence.

    When you hear the sentence spoken by a person, you hear emotion and inflection and personality.

    When you read the sentence on a screen or in a book, it is your onus to create that emotion and decide which words to stress with this tone or that syllable.

    It is unfortunate but very real that written communication is one-dimensional. Sometimes people hide behind their words, and other times their intention is lost because of that one-dimensionality.

    You are a real person, Erika. We first met on your blog two years ago when we commented on each other’s blogs. You wrote about being Google’s bitch one day, for instance, and I sparked you to write a follow-up on being WordPress’ whore. I joked with you and you joked with me. Our words were always understood. It helped when we met in the flesh at a Denver bar, when you organized a tweetup and brought people together.

    I’m sorry that some people write not what they’d say in person. I, however, do. I try my best to write specific words that are no different than what I’d say in the flesh. Let this be a lesson to other people.

  63. Jeff Harbert
    Jeff Harbert says:

    Jeez, really? Sigh.

    I guess I’m used to separating a person from a persona. There are things I might say to Red that I’d never say to Erika, and vice-versa. When I saw your FB post with your comment about your day, I didn’t need to know details in order to be happy for you. Being cryptic is harmless, especially as infrequently as you do it. That it involved something with batteries never crossed my mind. More, I know you well enough to know you’re not so shallow as to rate an *entire day* as ‘good’ just because you spent some time with (being discrete) fresh batteries, and anyone who does think that about you needs to learn how to separate Erika from Red.

  64. Connie Northrop
    Connie Northrop says:

    I read the ‘dressed like’ comment and immediately remembered a nurse in a hospital, who saw she was wearing bikini underwear, telling my mom that if anything happened to her dressed like that she asked for it. 

    This may be a different situation but the lack of intelligent logic is the same. No one has the right to treat you like they did. I’ve been there with supposed friends, some simply didn’t think, others meant it.  Your job doesn’t define you.  We all have a right to be treated with respect.  I for one enjoy reading your stuff.

  65. J.T. Evans
    J.T. Evans says:

    You go woman. I feel for ya, I’m sure in your line of work it’s easy for people to latch onto what/who they think is really you and kinda go with it. Maybe after awhile they lose sight of the real person. The old “in love with bein’ in love thing”. It’s no excuse though. Fun can be a lot of things in a lot of ways, but mean is just one thing and it’s no good.
    I was just thinking on the way home tonight about the little things like, oh, respect, courtesy, honesty – small things like opening doors for people. things that have seemingly fallen by the wayside in the day of “have-to-know-everything-all-the-time-right-now”.  Next time you’re south of the city, swing by the shop – I know about a bitchin’ cake shop close. I owe ya. 

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Are you kidding me, JT? You “owe” me? You keep Scarlet lookin’ her best and simply hooked me up with the best paint job Southern Colorado’s seen in…oh, I dunno. EVER? 🙂 I owe YOU! And I’ll holler next time I’m ’round your way – you bet 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today.

  66. Jessica Williams
    Jessica Williams says:

    Erika, I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through this and were hurt by this but Hooray for you for nipping that situation in the bud. You are an inspiration to us all, and me especially to grow a pair and stand up for myself. Cheers to you!

  67. Suzanne Vara
    Suzanne Vara says:


    I have met you and at the time (was there even a twitter??) and while it was at a dinner party for I have no idea for what, that short time made you memorable (and there were no f-bombs). Fast forward to now …

    1. I am sorry that I did not see it and chime in but I was engaging in a cry fest over the hurtful words that people have for those that are unemployed and opted to stare at the tv in a Millionaire Matchmaker marathon. I will never sit here and say that I know you but I read your posts, your updates and tweets and you NEVER would post something pertaining to yourself in a personal “I got me some” way. TBH, when I read the update above, I thought you went on a marathon bike ride and got a bit jealous.

    2. I joke certainly but those posts seemed like a cue in the beavis and butthead laugh heh heh. She is wiggling so she got her game on. rolls eyes

    It is not my place to judge anyone who spoke out of turn on your FB but at the same time there was not one person that championed you on having a great bike ride, a run, a big fat breathe air in that damn altitude (sorry but makes me dizzy). Did anyone think about how you were down with the broken ankle? Did anyone remember when there was a mention of Jason? Hell I knew and while there was snowmagetton in NJ on that weekend  and taking my son outside for his first time into snow at 6, yeah I thought of you. I was seeing a lil boy being so happy in snow and having his first ever day of off school but thought as I always do …

    At the end of the day, so many want to walk in your shoes for the success. Hell I would take the sock with the hole in the big toe b/c that is strength (that I envy) and no matter what the Red Head is and while she is fab, Erika is Erika.

    Thank you for giving me the platform to respond. You teach me and so many in every post.


  68. snafu
    snafu says:

    yo red. just read the blog. kudos for putting it out there that your not someones bitch. i feel you are your own person, that you deserve respect. i have ,on occasion , posted a bawdy comment upon your blog/fb page. it was never intended to hurt nor disrespect you. i hope that i [in your eyes ] haven’t crossed the disrespect lines. i look  forward to again sharing a rope with you in the vertical arena, and hey if you want to climb in a flowery sundress, i’ll lead.

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      You da man, Snafu – and also my friend. I’ll be the first to tell ya when you cross the line. I think it usually sounds like, “Goddammit, Mueller!” 🙂 Climb on! Wait…not like that…oh hell.

  69. Becky B
    Becky B says:

    Yes. Yes yes yes and more yes. In the face of such an experience, you fought your way through to the core of what needed to be said, said it exactly the way it should be said, and ended up helping us all. Lately I’ve been feeling myself shifting from being the one who always gives others the benefit of the doubt to actually listening to what I’m feeling on the inside when douchebaggery plumps itself down beside me. Instincts don’t lie no matter how good we get at ignoring them. I sure as hell don’t need to jack up my inner well-being just because I’ve always defaulted to “nice.” I don’t like the perpetual “But what were you wearing?” mindset whenever someone dares to speak up about a bad experience, and your post is one essential badass booted step in the right direction. In short: Thank you.

  70. Beverly Bambury
    Beverly Bambury says:

    Well said. Mostly I am creeped out by the ether rags guy. Too much, too far. I am glad I missed the batteries in the flashlight thing.

    This is what the entire “thing” about the way some guys talk to women on the internet has been about. I am sorry it’s touched you,  too. I am very glad you’ve said what’s on your mind and set some boundaries. Don’t be afraid to let those boundaries be removing people from that friends
    list, either.

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      You know, ether guy isn’t a bad guy at all…he and I have talked and he’s here in the comments thread. But it’s less for me about gender and more about general respect, y’know? A big issue, no matter how you look at it.

  71. Beverly Bambury
    Beverly Bambury says:

    Well said. Mostly I am creeped out by the ether rags guy. Too much, too far. I am glad I missed the batteries in the flashlight thing.

    This is what the entire “thing” about the way some guys talk to women on the internet has been about. I am sorry it’s touched you,  too. I am very glad you’ve said what’s on your mind and set some boundaries. Don’t be afraid to let those boundaries be removing people from that friends
    list, either.

  72. Sydney Owen
    Sydney Owen says:

    Fun fact: I’m a skydiver. I work at a dropzone (in addition to having my own clients), doing all these amazing things as event coordinator, for what, historically, has been a boy’s club. 

    Fun fact: The reason I fell in love with this sport is the fact that these people don’t judge me. I fit in. Sailor mouth welcome. I’ve always been more comfortable as “one of the guys” and I don’t like getting all gussied up and I couldn’t give two shits about things that, historically, most females give two shits about. 

    But you know what stings? When people think that you’re “cool enough” to take the “jokes” – like how every year, at every dropzone, there is a bicycle (a chick who sleeps with the entire dropzone). Last year, before I was an employee and I was still a skydiving student and a paying customer, I was told by the man that owns the video concession at the skydiving school where I learned how to hurl myself out of an airplane, that “this year, you’re the bicycle.”

    I hadn’t slept with anyone. I had shared rides to the dropzone from the city with two different men. Apparently that’s the same as putting a penis in my mouth, or other orifice. Funny, not the case in my world. 

    Fun fact: I was hired by that same dropzone at the end of last season. They were my first client. There were people who didn’t have the balls to chase their dreams and encourage the owner to create a position custom-tailored to the talents they offer. This ruffled many-a-feather with people I used to call friends. One man in particular said so many things to the owner (who did nothing for at least three encounters) about how I was horrible at my job, that nobody liked me, and all peppered with some choice words and nicknames, that finally (after more than three encounters) the owner asked him to not return to the property. 

    Fun fact: The owner told me I need to get thicker skin. I said “if he said something like that about your wife, would you tell her to get thicker skin as well?”

    Fun fact: I don’t work there anymore. I put up with it for seven months and bolted at the end of the season. 

    I reposted this on my Facebook page today. I want to write a post like this right now and publish it. But I don’t want to piggyback off of what you’ve so masterfully said. But know that I appreciate every single ounce of this, and every ounce of what comes out of your mouth. You are a motherfucking inspiration, not only in business and blogging and being the real deal, but life. And I don’t even see that much of your life. 


  73. Sydney Owen
    Sydney Owen says:

    Fun fact: I’m a skydiver. I work at a dropzone (in addition to having my own clients), doing all these amazing things as event coordinator, for what, historically, has been a boy’s club. 

    Fun fact: The reason I fell in love with this sport is the fact that these people don’t judge me. I fit in. Sailor mouth welcome. I’ve always been more comfortable as “one of the guys” and I don’t like getting all gussied up and I couldn’t give two shits about things that, historically, most females give two shits about. 

    But you know what stings? When people think that you’re “cool enough” to take the “jokes” – like how every year, at every dropzone, there is a bicycle (a chick who sleeps with the entire dropzone). Last year, before I was an employee and I was still a skydiving student and a paying customer, I was told by the man that owns the video concession at the skydiving school where I learned how to hurl myself out of an airplane, that “this year, you’re the bicycle.”

    I hadn’t slept with anyone. I had shared rides to the dropzone from the city with two different men. Apparently that’s the same as putting a penis in my mouth, or other orifice. Funny, not the case in my world. 

    Fun fact: I was hired by that same dropzone at the end of last season. They were my first client. There were people who didn’t have the balls to chase their dreams and encourage the owner to create a position custom-tailored to the talents they offer. This ruffled many-a-feather with people I used to call friends. One man in particular said so many things to the owner (who did nothing for at least three encounters) about how I was horrible at my job, that nobody liked me, and all peppered with some choice words and nicknames, that finally (after more than three encounters) the owner asked him to not return to the property. 

    Fun fact: The owner told me I need to get thicker skin. I said “if he said something like that about your wife, would you tell her to get thicker skin as well?”

    Fun fact: I don’t work there anymore. I put up with it for seven months and bolted at the end of the season. 

    I reposted this on my Facebook page today. I want to write a post like this right now and publish it. But I don’t want to piggyback off of what you’ve so masterfully said. But know that I appreciate every single ounce of this, and every ounce of what comes out of your mouth. You are a motherfucking inspiration, not only in business and blogging and being the real deal, but life. And I don’t even see that much of your life. 


  74. Derek Scruggs
    Derek Scruggs says:

    You call this and many other posts “the bitch slap” but get angry at others when life gives you a bitch slap? You get back what you put out into the world. Karma.

  75. Drew
    Drew says:

    I’ve been quietly following you from afar as a fellow writer, and generally I’m entertained by your musings. But you missed here. You can’t have it both ways. You just can’t. 

    You can’t create a character and offer it to the world, reap the benefits of it’s perceived sincerity, but be offended when it’s inconvenient for you or has “gone too far”. Sorry, but that’s having your cake and eating it too.

    You created this monster. And for 90% of your professional life, it’s probably behooved you. You don’t pull the “sike, just kidding” card with the people that write you checks, so you shouldn’t do it with everyone else that’s bought into whatever this thing is you’ve created. In fact, I can’t think of anything more insincere. 

    I’ll you what I tell every young women that looks up to me: If you’d like to be treated like a lady, act like one. 

    Otherwise, keep cashing your checks and just deal with it. 

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Drew: here’s the news flash that you apparently don’t get. This was my *personal* page – not my Brand persona where this happened.

      And I’m sorry this is how you feel. People deserve to be treated with respect and I didn’t do anything to no longer deserve respect from these people who were (and are) suposed to be my friends.

      There was no “sike – kidding” card played. Those who are my friends – NOT “fans” – can speak to my character and I feel no need whatsoever to defend it. And well, I’m pretty sure the miss is on your part, not mine. I ask my FRIENDS to treat me with respect. I’m confident you demand the same from yours, no? And there’s no monster here. To say there is is going back to the “if she’s dressed that way, she’s asking for it” argument…which is just vulgar.

      Thanks for reading and lurking and being “generally entertained.” But if you’re the type of person who thinks that anyone who shares a bit of joy in their life with their friends – as is exactly what I did here and what prompted the less-than-respectful responses – deserves to be treated poorly for it and with anything less than respect, maybe you want to find another place to hang out because this community (and the people in it – especially ME) aren’t for you.

      • drew
        drew says:

        No, no. Not so fast. If you’d like me to point out the, oh, I dunno, millions of examples on your BRAND page where you openly offer PERSONAL information I’d be glad to do it. Trust me, it won’t take long. You’ve muddied the waters (and I suspect intentionally).

        The answer here is simple, do a better job at defining exactly who you consider to be a “friend” – online or otherwise. Perhaps – and this is purely conjecture – in your attempt to add to whatever following you have, you accepted the “friendship” of people you probably don’t know all that well. That’s your fault. Use more discretion before allowing people access to your personal life. 

        As for “If she’s dressed that way, she’s asking for it”, well, I call bullshit. There are so many holes in the logic, I don’t really know where to start….but I’ll try anyway:

        1) The way you dress and the way you speak (act) are not analogous. In fact, I consider it preferable to treated based solely on the way I act. I’m pretty sure there was entire civil rights movement founded on that principle. And the internet, more than anywhere else, your words are your actions. 

        2) No one broke the law when they disrespected you. You’re comparing the law to common decency, and the two have no place together. 

        You want people to recognize a line of distinction that you blur (intentionally or otherwise). It’s not fair to expect that of people. If you allow creeps access to your personal page, don’t be surprised when they act creepy. 

        Listen, you seem rationale enough. And I while I agree that it was wildly disrespectful to say those things to you – you’re the one that allowed them access. You have a role in this. And you can “trust me” that I speak from experience. I wrote a humor column at Ohio State years ago that earned me abuse I can’t even begin to describe – abuse that makes this look like a flick in the ear. But I dealt with it. Because I wrote those words, put my name next to them, and cashed the check it earned me. 

        Im sorry, but as a writer, Im a little offended by your reaction. 

        • The Redhead
          The Redhead says:

          Oy vey. You do have a certain way of twisting words in to the argument you want to have, don’t you? I’ll go back to:

          1) My Facebook wall, my rules
          2) It’s about respect, and no one should be disrespected by their friends,
          and 3) I have every right, just as does anyone else, to explain to friends where the boundaries are.

          And if you’re saying that I had a role in posting an expression of joy that my friends summarily chose to shit on? You’re right. I thought a great day was something worth sharing. And as someone who’s made the mistake previously of overstepping bounds, I knew it wouldn’t stop unless I said something. So I did.

          If you’re still offended, I’ll simply offer (again) that perhaps this isn’t the place for you. Your call – always. As is your right to call me a hypocrite, someone who was “asking for it,” or anything else you want to conjure up. Oh – and for the record? No one pays me to write this blog. I can’t speak to your choice to continuing to accept payment for writing a column where you were made to feel less than respected, but I can say this:

          I’ll take the gratis blog and free Facebook wall where I can say “You – go fuck yourself” any day over the the decision to accept payment in exchange for a lesser sense of self worth. Respect? It’s only up for negotiation when you’ve done something to warrant its removal. And even then, it’s a matter of how you choose to remove it.

          That’s all I’ve got 🙂 Cheers~

          • drew
            drew says:

            Your general condescension doesn’t go unnoticed. And I’ll assume it’s your natural reaction to being challenged. But please, consider this: Maybe I’ve every bit as smart as you are. 

          • Drew
            Drew says:

            Yeah, I know but I couldn’t resist. Had you accepted I would have roundly chastised you and claimed intellectual victory. You dodged that land mine.

            Anyhow, I don’t get the sense your the type that enjoys being challenged so I’m throwing the parachute.

            The next time I want to intellectually spar with someone, I’ll make sure my opponent doesn’t have home field advantage – and isn’t, frankly, so condescending.

            I’ll leave you with this: I’ve never grown more than when I reconsidered my own actions and beliefs.

            Enjoy the sheep. They’re great for the ego.

          • Greg Davies/cGt2099
            Greg Davies/cGt2099 says:

            He’s clearly after writing lessons to improve his spelling and grammar.  Also, do you think that Drew-Is-A-Know-It-All seriously has any friends at all?  Come on, he’s desperate here O_O

          • Drew
            Drew says:

            Excuse me, Greg? You don’t know me from a fucking hole in the wall. And as far as my spelling and grammar are concerned, until you sign my contractor’s agreement, you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t proof my work. 

            Let’s get some shit straight since you’ve decided to change the tenor of this conversation. I’ve done nothing more than challenge Redhead’s position because I don’t agree with it. At all. I didn’t realize disagreeing with the blog’s author was such a heinous crime. I missed the note where only glowingly positive and supportive comments would be tolerated here.

            The only mistake that I’ve made is coming into her domain to challenge her in front of her loyal followers.

            I may have been strong in my position, but so has she. Something you should respect since you clearly subscribe to her dogma. I’ve been respectful, courteous, and even condemned the guilty parties. What do you want me to do?

            So please, continue to attack me about how many “friends” I have. By doing so you engage in the same type of personal, vitriolic and generally unnecessary rhetoric that this very blog denounces.  

            Maybe it makes you feel tough to stand up for a damsel in distress. Maybe she’ll like you for it. I dunno what the hell you’re trying to do. But a day when healthy debate is frowned upon is a day I don’t want to live.

            And by the way, attacking someone for their grammar on blog is the playground equivalent of calling someone a poopyhead. It’s ad hominem, tawdry, and the last grasp at a straw when you don’t have any valuable position or idea of your own.


        • Greg Davies/cGt2099
          Greg Davies/cGt2099 says:

          You would think, that as a writer, you would have noticed that there’s a missing apostrophe in your last sentence. 

          That aside, your perception of life, conduct, and the “blurring” lines between personal and professional, is simply yours alone.  Others may share similar viewpoints, but that in no way means that anyone else here sees it that way. 

          Oh, also, Mr. Writer: rational is not spelled with an e on the end of it. 

          • Jmkboyer
            Jmkboyer says:

            Late to the party, I know, but seriously, Drew… “And the internet, more than anywhere else, your words are your actions.”  So for the love of God, proofread your damn comments and get your punctuation correct.  Because if your words really are your actions, they you’re acting like a middle school kid.

  76. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I’m confused, but I hear you loud and clear. Anything I’ve replied that might have been a little off color was in jest using the assumption if you can dish it I can give it back. However, I would never be disrespectful and in real life would never comment on somebody’s anatomy. 

    I was just wading in under the assumption you had some spunk to you and could stir it up with the best of them. I thought it was all in jest but if I need to behave I certainly will.

    I like your style and the fact you have some energy and life to you. This is your place however, and if you need to air it out, this is certainly the forum to do so. 

    Social is very fickle, but I’m sure you know that as well as anybody; unfortunately, sometimes it rears it ugly head and just leaves a bad taste.

    Sorry it was such a bad experience for you. 

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Bill – you always stir it up with the best of ’em, as do most people here! As I said at the end of the post – “When it comes to my blog and my Facebook page, they’re all about persona. Really – have at it. If I initiate the blue streak, you’re welcome to join in. But when it comes to my personal life, do the same as you’ve had done to you: don’t hijack someone’s life for your own amusement.”

      You’re good – and no, you don’t have to “behave.” 🙂

  77. Pamela J
    Pamela J says:

    As a woman who struggles with these issues and as a mother of a daughter (now 19) and a son (9)…THANK YOU for putting this out there! Id like to think that I’ve raised my daughter to have enough confidence & self respect to “grow some” when she needs to (so far so good) but I worry every day about making sure my son has the same message when it comes to women. Lord knows I don’t want him to be some woman’s doormat…but I want him to be able to “grow some” when he needs them as well…not only in order to stand up for himself but for others who can’t…woman, child, man…and you can be SURE I’ll “haul off and issue a gloved-hand slap” to his face if he disrespects me!! 

  78. Vicki Casal
    Vicki Casal says:

    Wow is right.  Thank you for standing up for yourself. Thank you for not letting the cute fuzzy bunnies of the world get you down. Thank you for sharing some of who you are.  Thank you for being able to say some of the things that I can’t.

  79. drew
    drew says:

    I’ve already pissed away enough time on this, but to be frank, your position on this is a little offensive to me. So to save you from exposure to the less-than-couth among us, I think you should see how you contributed to this mess:

    1) Regarding Facebook: “It’s where my audience shares in my life…” – You allowed access total strangers. Really?. 

    2)  “Do I invite this? Do I grant permission? Am I telling people it’s okay to talk to me that way?” – Yes. Yes. And Yes. And I can’t believe you don’t see how. You hit the “confirm friendship” button, then publicly offered the kind of strong language and opinions that permits others to do the same. They’re doing what YOU DO.

    3) “When it comes to my blog and my Facebook page, they’re all about persona.” – So don’t be surprised when people on FB actually BELIEVE your persona. Furthermore, that description is in stark contrast to how you describe your FB page in the fifth paragraph of the blog. You clearly haven’t defined what you want your FB page to be. If you don’t know what it’s for, how can others?

    4) “Id love to hear from the men who read my blog on how you set the guidelines for speaking to the women in your life” – Easy answer: With the respect they’ve earned. Just like everyone else on the planet. Am I blue, or vulgar with some of women in my life. Very much so. But that’s because I know they will join in, or find it amusing. What exactly do you think people with think of you from what you’ve offered us?

    This is my bottom line and WHAT REALLY GETS UNDER MY FUCKING SKIN ABOUT THIS: You want respect based solely on your womanhood – your place as a self-proclaimed “lady”. You’d like everyone to disregard everything you’ve offered to us in this space, and treat you politely because you said so. Nope. You’ll get judged based on your words and actions just like the rest of us. 

    Look at it this way – Im quite sure that in your general, everyday experiences people you treat with respect and courtesy. That’s because you don’t walk into coffee shops and banks cursing like a sailor. But you do online – so that’s how you get treated here. 

    Im sorry that I’m not one of these people patting you on the back here – but I genuinely believe you have a large role in this issue. 



  80. Guest
    Guest says:

    I have never heard of you before, so here’s an outside opinion.

    I read this whole post and I don’t get it. I can see that the first mention of ether was easily in poor taste depending on your existing rapport with that person , but the second mention of it seemed like they were taking it back (saying they were putting it all away since they were being too creepy)
    The rest just seems like commentary on you getting annoyed about it. Fodder for debate, sure. But I just can’t see what makes it upsetting.

    “Do you know why I make jokes about my tits? So you won’t. Why does a woman say she has a big ass? So you won’t say it first.” 

    It doesn’t work that way. If you don’t want tits jokes in the conversation then don’t introduce them into conversations. If you’ve already lowered the bar for respect then why would others not play along?

    “I fully own the fact that I am a foul-mouthed, no-holds-barred writer along with every ounce of whatever that comes out of my mouth. I own it.”

    If that’s a true description of you then you don’t seem to own it. You’ve attracted others like you. Foul mouthed, no-holds-barred friends. If you were “owning it” you would celebrate the fact that they like you and appreciate who you are, and take moments like these with grace and humor, rather than tears and judgement.

  81. James Johnson
    James Johnson says:

    What is it that Chris Rock said – People need to understand there’s you, and then there’s your representative.

    The Redhead writer whose words we all love to read is a tough, ballsy, no-nonsense, Sucker Punch-style, ass-kickin’ chick who we think is kinda cool 😉 Erika may be just as cool, but clearly has a softer side.

    It does suck when friends misread you or catch you on one of those days where the representative has been locked up for a few hours and you’re reveling in being you.

    Still, no matter what persona you adopt, what clothes you wear, etc. you should always be treated as a lady with dignity and respect.

    To quote the India Arie song, “Talk To Her”, “when you talk to you woman, you should to talk to her like you would want someone to talk to your momma, don’t get smart with her, have a heart-to-heart with her just like you would with your daughter….she’s somebody’s baby, she’s somebody’s sister, she’s somebody’s momma.”

    And for anyone who tells you that you’re of a “certain age” where you should give up on the idea of having children–fuck them! You’re still hangin’ in your 30s…I just thought of 5 women off the top of my head that I personally know who had children in their 40s and 50s.

    This is the 21st century, girl. Go do your thing in your own time. If anyone gives you grief, just tell them to kiss your ass! And not just a cheek, but the ENTIRE ass!

    Peace and respect for the redheaded bitch-slappin queen.

  82. Legally Delish
    Legally Delish says:

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog (a friend posted it on my FB page), and I just want to say kudos to you.  I’m a new-ish blogger with a fear of putting too much out there for precisely this reason (and, you know, because my dad reads it) so I reign my writing back sometimes.  This is encouraging and inspiring and I adore you for posting it.  You certainly have a reader in me!

  83. Rachel Moore
    Rachel Moore says:

    Good on you.  I am consistently amazed at the liberties people take whilst hiding behind a $20 keyboard when you know damn good and well they wouldn’t have the cajones to say the same thing to your face.  It’s like mob mentality – all human decency or restraint goes out the window in deference to the dog pile.

  84. Meg Fowler
    Meg Fowler says:

    I get this from guys on Twitter and other spots on occasion, where they’ll take something innocent and send back the most bizarrely suggestive comment out of nowhere, or decide that it’s okay to fling some innuendo in my direction. I’m not above a sassy comment (and while sexual comments are still not really cool in those cases, at least the genesis is a bit more easy to figure out), but this usually happens in response to something really joyful or something I’m excited about. Some of them even do it in response to tweets at my (very new) husband, which brings new meaning to “what??”

    It doesn’t happen much to me on Facebook (other than the usual non-suggestive comment stream derailers that everyone knows and has and are often related to…) but I could do without it anywhere.

    The act of being a female online isn’t an invitation or welcome to gross or fawning comments. Maybe I would dig them if I was Bibi Jones and posting pinup Twitpics, but I’m a short, round 37 year old writer in a cardigan listening to Christmas music. Know your audience, gents.

    • Joe Fowler III
      Joe Fowler III says:

      Readers of these comments please keep in mind I am not Meg’s husband or related to her in any way. With that disclaimer out of the way, Meg, guys who do that type of thing remind me of Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory. Guys that are uncomfortable and think that those kind of jokes are cute or might make them stand out more. In all honesty it usually makes them look like an ass.

  85. Amelia
    Amelia says:

    Way to go girl! I tried to post this yesterday from my iPhone, but apparently it didn’t make it.

    I’m very proud of you for growing a pair. When I read your post on Saturday, I smiled because I knew it meant that you had had a great day – with you. Maybe it’s because I have four dogs, but I knew what the “wiggle” referred to because my dogs all wiggle when they’re happy. Anyone who read more into that post that what it meant, well, let me just say they could benefit from the unconditional love a four-legged animal gives.

    And regarding the use the of colorful language, it always amazes me how when men use it, very little is said about it being inappropriate. Why is it when women use it, we are labeled as less than a lady? Couldn’t the same be said of men, and the use of it makes them less than a gentleman? Don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that – even in the Deep South where I’ve lived and worked my entire life.

    You go, Erika. Continue to blaze new trails using your unique voice and point of view on life and work. Those of us who read you are better for it – because even if we may disagree, you make us think and examine our lives. And that is something we all need to be doing more of these days.

  86. Lindsey Donner
    Lindsey Donner says:

    The hogwash that what you (as a woman) do, say, wear, think, look like, brand yourself as, et. al. is a reasonable justification for hateful/objectifying/hurtful/batshit-crazy remarks is just that, hogwash. People have been using variations on this line for years so that women are always, somehow, complicit in their own degradation.

    I’ve dealt with this all my life and I can attest to just how upsetting it can be. And Sydney, I feel you. Some of my most  memorable experiences happened at work. No wonder I struck out on my own.

    I’m clapping right now, even though you can’t hear it.

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      I’ve met @SydneyOwen:disqus – SXSW last year. She’s an amazing lady and just like everyone else on this site, worthy of every ounce of respect from anyone she meets 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today, Lindsey!

    • Drew
      Drew says:

      Im sorry, but I need someone to explain this to me. It’s downright confounding.

      Im quite sure that if I stand up in public and curse, scream or otherwise act without general decency around people I’ve never met, I’ll be treated without much regard to my feelings as a result. And, frankly, I would have deserved it.

      Explain to me why this is different? Im serious. I want to understand this resounding support

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      Yeah this always pisses me off.  You cannot blame someone for just existing.  Or for being a specific gender or race.  While someone may do something to put themselves in a bad position that has nothing to do with being a woman, or wearing some slinky dress, or using “colorful” language.

      And the men and women who don’t get that just boggle my mind.  If someone does something to another human being it is not the victim who bears the guilt of the action.  If one a personal page someone makes a comment it is not an open invitation to twist it and use it for some other purpose then go “oops, kidding!” or “be tougher.” 

      I know that, as a man, I cannot fully understand what it is like to be judged and viewed in that manner.  But I’ve always tried to be aware of the implications.  

  87. Sinner Ella
    Sinner Ella says:

    Now, I have to admit that I’ve been a little bit of a slack ass in the blog reading, but you know full well that I am good at the FB and Twitter stalking when it comes to your posts. I blame part on my A.D.D and the other part on my amphetamines for said A.D.D. not allowing me to sit still, though the concentration on a subject is amazing.
    I first would like to say that if your “friends” spoke to you that way in a face to face conversation, I would be sorely disappointed not to see you high-5 them in the face with a cinder block. Next, I would be forced to ask why “friends” would be friends if they had the thought, let alone follow through, to put you in such a state.
    I think that the internet and FB is a mixed bag when it comes to it’s blessings and curses. It does grant us all with a certain amount of anonymity, but it also grants us a lack of accountability on the other side of that coin. People tend to forget that though their words aren’t spoken, they do carry much weight when read. That sticks and stones bullshit from pre-school was a lie. We all know that. So, for anyone who tells you to just brush it off and ignore it, must have never been in a situation to have been assaulted verbally. (or typic-cally?) And if they had been, maybe they have thicker skin. (moisturizer, anyone)
    No matter how we react to each other, strangers or not, we need to remember that there IS a real person on the other side reading what we type and it’s going to have some effect, no matter how big or small. Are you willing to own up to it, should you meet that person in a grocery store? (Or, my favorite, a dark alley?)
    If not, keep your #DirtyCockPocket shut and find someone else to piss off, cause this Red Headed Barbie has quite the Conga Line and we’ll dig out our pitchforks and burning torches and hunt your #DirtyVaginaMouth down!
    Thank you! And good night!

  88. Ashley Couture
    Ashley Couture says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article and I can completely relate.  How dare a woman be confident and content in her mind and body.  Thanks for sharing your moxie with us all 🙂

  89. Joe Fowler III
    Joe Fowler III says:

     A true friend would never  make abusive comments to another on their Facebook wall for all to see. So the main point of this is, Ericka was hurt by someone she thought was a friend. Maybe she might want to choose them more carefully, but again she is a big girl and can make her own decisions, but it did hurt her.
     Drew, let’s be honest, Ericka is still a lady and female of our species, which in all honesty are more emotional. A man should know how to talk to a lady PERIOD. Making snide comments to them is not the best way to keep their friendship, or earn their respect. Her personal Facebook page is filled with people she considers, or in this case had considered, friends. Not random people pulled out of hats.
     If Ericka doesn’t want to be talked to like that she has every right to say so.

    • Drew
      Drew says:

      Joe. Thanks for making a good point without being an asshole. 

      I disagree with you. But I understand where you’re coming from. 

  90. Greg Davies/cGt2099
    Greg Davies/cGt2099 says:

    I walk not only into coffee shops, but my place of employment too, cussing like a sailor.  I am treated with respect and courtesy.  How is that possible?  Well, it’s because I treat people with respect and courtesy as well – swearing has nothing to do with it. 

    The ability to accept people for who they are goes a long way in developing firm relationships (personal or professional). 

  91. Greg Davies/cGt2099
    Greg Davies/cGt2099 says:

    Hello, Guest.  I see you have no name.  Do you also have one of those cool V-for-Vendetta masks all the hipster kids are wearing now? 

    That aside, from my perspective, the whole purpose of Erika’s post here is to point out that you, her, and other readers, don’t have to take this kind of conduct from anyone.  You, like me, can stand up against it… 

    But more importantly, if someone comes up to you with a shovel full of horse shit, you don’t have to take it. 

  92. Merredith
    Merredith says:


    Here’s the thing.  

    I happen to agree with a few things in your post — mostly that  context has a place and that she shouldn’t be treated “like a lady” — because, what does that even mean anymore?  But she *should* be treated with respect, like a person.  I don’t think her expressing happiness as *wiggle* should necessarily be license to make jokes about someone putting her out with ether and raping her — or at least, she doesn’t have to think it’s funny.  

    She didn’t disagree with your thought process, she disagreed with your attacking. 

    But — on another note?  If a guy were to cross the street and get hit by a car, someone just using bad judgment, no one would comment or joke about whether he enjoyed the car hitting him, or whether he secretly wanted the car to hit him, or whether his use of bad language encouraged the car to hit him.  Erika has about as much control over people showing up on this page and taking what she says completely out of context, using bad judgment as over, well, being hit by a car.  It’s public. People are occasionally stupid.  But that doesn’t make it her fault.

  93. redwild
    redwild says:

    Just one thing – there is no “lowering of the bar” for respect – that is the point!!!  Perhaps you do not understand the description completely – there is a line to grace and humor, and we do not always want it shoved backwards into our lives each day — just because we have mouthed something at a point in time it does not leave all future comments to be interpreted in the same manner!!!  Assumptions are something that should not be used in communication!!!

    IF I want to make a joke about my tits or ass, that does NOT mean that I want to hear your mouth back – nor does it mean that I have placed the “bar of respect” at a level that allows you to just decide to mouth away about them!!!  It is one thing for someone to play along – it is another for someone to take off with the conversation on their own path and define it out in the woods somewhere!!!!!

  94. Dytzywytch
    Dytzywytch says:

    I don’t know you personally – but I so wish I did! *smile*  I’ll just say I’m proud of you for saying every word of this – and I certainly hope your friends were listening!!!

  95. Dragon*Jillian
    Dragon*Jillian says:

    A rowdy applause to this. 

    When a person draws the boundary of what they accept — that’s the boundary. Whether you think that fits with YOUR picture of their boundaries or not, you’ve received a clear indication that what you’re saying is NOT acceptable. 

    What this post is getting at, I was thinking about during my morning routine: why do people take the liberty of setting OTHER PEOPLE’S boundaries? Socially, we fall back on our peer pressure skills as we tell people “if what I said hurt your little feelings, you need to get better feelings – i’m not wrong, you’re weak.”

    And what your post says today strikes a real chord with me: “YOU DON’T GET TO TELL ME WHAT MY BOUNDARIES SHOULD BE. respect my boundaries, period.”

  96. Liz Dommer
    Liz Dommer says:

    I’ve never visited this blog before (sincere thanks to my dear friend Melinda who linked this on her FB wall…), but I have to say that I am a devoted follower now :). Thank you, thank you, thank you Erika! Oh my goodness this is how I feel all the damn time! You rock my socks 🙂

  97. Jo Guerra
    Jo Guerra says:

    Red Head Erika,
    If it makes any difference, I always use you as an example of being authentic and being yourself. Something I think I am just coming to my own in my life and following my dream. Your story and writing always touches me. What you reveal about yourself is amazing and how you write is every writer’s dream. Keep being you.

  98. Andra Zeppelin
    Andra Zeppelin says:

    You have a special way of getting my skin full of goosebumps and my eyes full of tears. Seriously. I know exactly how it feels. For some odd reason, if you are ‘strong,’ somehow you are insensitive; if you are tough, somehow you don’t hurt; if you are independent, you don’t need support. And we do- we all do. Thank you for saying it- I am still growing the balls to do the same. 

  99. Andra Zeppelin
    Andra Zeppelin says:

    Drew- there is at least one fatal flaw in your argument- Facebook personal pages are different from business/blog pages. RedHeadWriting page = fair game. Erika Napoletano page = not fair game. RedHeadWriting page = anyone can ‘like.’ Erika Napoletano personal page = needs confirmation of friendship. The beef in this blog was about friends, actual friends that she knows, likes, likely cares about who got a little carried away, confused and treated her personal page as her writing persona. It isn’t complicated or unusual. And she does deserve respect just based on the fact that she is a human being, like you and I. That’s all. 

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Huh? If that’s what this blog was about, I’d have deleted contrary comments from the beginning, friend.

      So, regardless of what you might think and feel, it’s welcome here, so long as it’s shared respectfully and through a verifiable profile. Keep on keepin’ on…

  100. Alison Hicks
    Alison Hicks says:

    Thank you for explaining — I’m sorry you had to, but it really helped me, at least.  I just found your site today and have already Shared it on Facebook. I wonder if some readers and friends mistake your awesome and animated writing for an attempt to get the party started, joking and jabbing, like when everybody first meets up at the bar on a Friday night after work and nobody is saying much yet.   But to compare, for whatever it’s worth, here’s the type of Facebook feedback that has reduced me to tears.  When I write on my Facebook page about standing up for justice in any of a zillion ways — from rescuing some neighbor kid from an attack of bullies on the street to Occupying Wall Street — I get responses from Facebook Friends advising me to stop being so angry, just let it go, and forgive — and it will set me free.  OMFG.  I know for a fact my purpose on this earth is to stand up for justice in day-to-day life.  I’ve always been this way.  I don’t want my ardor tamped down by belonging to a lukewarm group of freedom fighters.  I don’t require a label for my crusade to leave the world a more just place than I found it.  It seems obvious to me that this is what we all would want to do as often as possible — bring more justice into the world.  That we all have my secret desire to help every single downtrodden person as often as I can.  But most of the time I do this alone.  Fine.  But it’s the quizzical looks, the occasional slowly shaking head, and the advice to forgive and forget that hurt.   Fine if they don’t want to participate in promoting justice, but why don’t they get it?  Isn’t it a fundamental thing?  So it hurts my feelings so much to hear this pablum of bullshit from people who don’t know ME very well, but who should KNOW better.   And after all my efforts, they just don’t get the point?  I share with them how it’s done, saying to them, “See?  You too can do this, in your own way, whenever you want to.”Plus they are adding insult to injury — they make my crusade harder by choosing to be on the wrong side.  They aren’t backing the comic book character who helps the little guy. They speak out on the side of the guys in the black hats.  Who does that!So, yeah, my bottom line is that THEY should be saving kids from bullies, too, and also expecting and insisting on a healthier food supply for us all.  And more honest politicians.  And more lenient voting laws, not restrictive ones.  You get my point.  This is me.  This is what I care about.  They can take it or leave it, but blaming it on anger or some need to forgive-and-forget diminishes our human need for justice.  They don’t get it, and that makes me cry.  

  101. Bee
    Bee says:

    I’m brand-new to your blog, and after reading your post about Facebook message notifications, this was the next one I read.  And I can tell you right now that any blog post ending with the utterly priceless line “I am a goddamned lady” is one I’ll be subscribing to immediately.

    (Also, my heartfelt congratulations to you for writing a letter to the local proprietor instead of punching him in the eye, which would have been my first, second, and third impulse.)

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      HAH! Well, it was a phone call to the local proprietor, during which I mentioned he *probably* would rather have the current conversation with me on the phone than have me show up in his shop at…oh…say, noon on a Saturday? 🙂

      Welcome – you’ll love the folks here. I’m lucky – they’re a great bunch!

  102. Lexi
    Lexi says:

    You didn’t discover balls. You discovered a pair of child-bearing hips! (Much stronger and sturdier than balls! Absolutely preferable to balls, which are kind of weak and can’t take much of a beating at all, when you think about it.)

  103. mike
    mike says:

    2nd post I’v read.  Sorry for the shitty morning.  I hope the rest of Sunday was better.  Hiking is always awesome especially with unassuming devoted life long friends.  The proprietors comments to your niece were just ignorant and stupid.  Stop assuming the comments people gave were any less so, they can write what they want with impunity as there is a sense of annonimity. That stalker stuff and dates with guns (and personal experiences when my business got blown up with viruses). is a huge part of my reluctance to be as open as you are.  Those readers that were less than thrilled with the prospect of you being a parent don’t know what’s going on daily.  2 posts I think you would be awesome.

  104. Jennifer Baldillez
    Jennifer Baldillez says:

    I’m visiting your site for the first time and really like it from what I’ve read so far! Well, except for this post which makes me sad.

    It’s always sad when we are hurt by people we believe to be our friends. Sometimes it’s friends and family who say the most hurtful things unintentionally(hopefully) since they think it’s safe because you aren’t going to leave them.

    I’m so glad you stood up for yourself and said what needed to be said! And you said it very well!
    Good for you! 

    Your new fan,

  105. Erin J
    Erin J says:

    I just stumbled across your blog today and am already in love. Loves it! Everything about it. That’s one thing I had to learn the hard way: Don’t let anybody steal your joy. You tell ’em girl! 

  106. GW
    GW says:

    I just bumped into your site on facebook by “accident”, not even sure how, but when I did I shared it with friends before even exploring all of it.  Today I hit this particular post.  I was impressed by how you crossed the line and posted all of this personal background on your “persona” site.  More than that, I’m impressed that you shared this.  How someone can turn a phrase and twist it for generation of some post to generate added discourse, whether posted in jest or with smiley faces or whatever; is something I don’t get.  Much respect for standing up for your boundaries.  Clearly they were trampled in these messages on your private facebook by someone who must not have been thinking when they posted.

    But thanks for showing your humanity.  NO you shouldn’t have to call for respect.  And it isn’t a male or female thing.  But, even with that said, a gentleman should consider what he posts.  We should all expect some level of respect, even on the internet and even if we have a persona put forward.  I’m thinking of some pretty blue comedy people that would be very upset if you were to post them on facebook or in person with what they present on stage.

    All us guys have moms, sisters, girl friends, wives, and just female friends that we’d likely give a guy the furrowed brow look that says, “don’t say another word”, if we were present in some of the conversations described.  Funny thing, the internet always misses the eyebrows.

    I really like what I’ve read on your blog.  If you were nearby, I’d like to have a drink with you.  NO this isn’t me crossing a line to Creepsville,   I’m saying that generically.  It’s just me saying that you’re definitely interesting and would likely be much fun to have a conversation with.  I’ll just read the blog as I have time and enjoy the persona you show on your blog.  I doubt you’ll continue posting the deeper personal background on this site, but what you did shows you to be more than the persona of “Redhead Writing”.  All of us are more than what we show, we’ll most of us anyway.  🙂

    Congrats on growing some, and to all of those ladies who’ve been enlivened by your post to do the same.  All men aren’t jerks, although sometimes even the best of  us step in it once in a while.  I really liked this post and thank you for taking the time to write it.  Sorry for your tears, even though we’ve never met.  I really don’t see any reason to turn a simple post into a reason for hijacking the electronic conversation into a totally different direction.  Yes, you are a LADY.  🙂


  107. Manny Cortez
    Manny Cortez says:

    Ignore the Douchebags… and embrace the ones who love you.  Like me!  I love you even more now for teabagging those mofos 😉  (just trying to run with the whole “found a new pair” theme) 

  108. Heather Atton Cook
    Heather Atton Cook says:

    Wow. I really enjoyed not only this post but the comments as well. I have struggled with this type of identiy crisis (if it’s ok to call it that) where I seemed to allow people to treat me like crap. I’ve left situations where I had allowed it to go on so long that those around me could not change how they treated me … so just by leaving I respected myself where they could not.

    The interesting thing I found in the comments was how you reacted to Drew versus how others did. I thought you held yourself respectfully, balls in hand, and explained things.

    And then I found myself disappointed when others attacked him personally… because I think that somewhere in this post there was a point about treating others with respect, even when you think they might be inviting gutter commentary.

    You remain one of my favourite writers on ye olde interwebs.

  109. Brooks, James E., CIV, NAVWARC
    Brooks, James E., CIV, NAVWARC says:

    I’m one of those people who leave snarky comments on Facebook posts.  There have been a few I wish I didn’t post.  This blog gives me pause to reconsider before hitting the reply button.  I guess no one else has grown balls yet to put me in my place!

  110. Soness
    Soness says:

    Yes!  I just found your blog and love your statement. 

    I had to stand up for my name and character, again, this week.   I’ve spent 9 years touring Japan nationwide in a musical in which I often wear pink.  Don’t crack it, I love this group.  During the week I teach at an Ivy League university in Japan and facilitate seminars on creativity.  I’m fairly respectable as “Soness Sensei.” 

    But it happens.  The nicknames.  Abbreviations of your name in half, or maybe just the first syllable, with a cutesy ending.  In Japanese, giving someone a childish nickname shows endearment, but it also can show their higher perceived status.

    It has taken my whole life to learn to love my unique name.  Imagine trying to find pencils with Soness in the 1970s–now I can afford to buy customized if I choose. 

    I nicely asked my client who is also 37 years old to please not call me a nickname.  She agreed respectfully as she squeezed my cheeks. 

  111. Deanna Warren
    Deanna Warren says:

    This post has been out here a while, but I am just now reading it as I am a newer fan myself.  I have a persona that the majority of people see and only a very few, and I mean a VERY FEW, know the real person behind it.  Being disabled, housebound, and just pretty much in physical distress most days necessitates a public persona.  Publicly, I am a fun-loving, happy girl who can take a joke any day.  But inside, where they can’t see, sometimes those jokes hurt.  I understand where you are coming from on that aspect.  I have a real problem standing up for myself, and to read such a brilliant post makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside.  This is a poem I wrote on the date shown.  It was a time when I was made to feel like what you felt on that day when this all went down.  My fault most of the time, as I don’t let people past the public self, because the physical pain is NOTHING compared to the emotional pain that those who claim to love us can inflict.

    I’m short and cute, And crazy, to boot.They all love me, When I make them hoot.They call me devious, And, oh, so hilarious.But what happens, When I’m serious? My words don’t matter, They kinda splatter.They blow me off, To the winds I scatter.They take what I offer, From out of my coffer,But I’m too blunt, They want me softer. I must confess, I give them less,Because they think I’m quite worthless. 2/26/05

  112. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    I made a post on my own website about some harsh criticism I received about my business (and my life in general) and decided to browse other writer’s Blogs to see if they’d been in similar situations.  Your post was by far the most beautiful, vulnerable, and human post I saw.  I think it’s wonderful that you were able to express all of this and still keep it clear that you’re an authority in your field–so many Bloggers are afraid to show the “real” them because they’re afraid they’ll no longer be taken seriously.  I try to keep this kind of honesty in my own writing, but you definitely took it a step further.  Kudos to you!  And I hope your “friends” learned their lesson and are treating you better!

  113. Cheryl Hopper
    Cheryl Hopper says:

    AMEN!  Victim blaming pisses me off.  NO ONE deserves to be given crap or assaulted because they act/talk/dress in a certain way.  Ever.   Even more uncalled for is a response like the ether comments when the original remark was totally PG-rated.  That women are on more equal terms in the world now than we used to be is *not* an excuse for men to treat us with any less respect and politeness.

    Anyone with manners isn’t going to comment on the size of a woman’s breasts, butt, or any other body part unless they know they have her permission.  That we feel like we need to beat others to it should send up red flags that there is something very wrong with the way things are in our society.  If a woman remarked about the size of a man’s package, she’d be ridiculed and get all manner of remarks about how she’s oversexed and is acting like a slut.  There are some limits on what men can get away with, remarking on a woman’s appearance, but it’s still pretty much open season, especially if she’s dressed, or is perceived to be dressed, in a certain way.  Because if you wear something that’s low-cut, you’re clearly looking for attention, so if someone makes a lewd remark, you invited it so stop bitching.  *twitchtwitchtwitch*  Society needs to stop sending the message that the amount of respect a woman ‘deserves’ to be treated with is determined by how much skin she is showing.  It doesn’t matter if she’s buck naked or wearing a burqua (sp?), she should be treated with the same amount of respect and dignity regardless.

    You, my dear, do not have balls.  You have ovaries.  Solid brass ones, as do I.

  114. themadscientist
    themadscientist says:

    Just sent here by an acquaintance to check out the site and tripped over this, but  I’ll jump in.

    I don’t care how you dress. I agree that that that gives no one any special right to speak to you with disrespect.

    That being said, we are who we hang around with, like it or not. I would suggest that your “friends” who keep “fucking things up” are not living up to the title. This is clear to see yet you let them somewhat closer to you than complete and total strangers, close enough to hurt you. Why do you do that?

    It’s a rhetorical question for your benefit not mine, something to ponder.

    If you are going to put yourself out there, even a little bit you have to know you risk being harmed in some way and should manage your risks by choosing carefully who you let close to you even in cyberspace.

    Good luck with this thing you are doing here. I hope it brings more positivity in you life than negative. Now, I am off to yell at total strangers under a pseudonym. 

  115. MalcolmFranks
    MalcolmFranks says:

    I live in united state, Two years ago i married a lady called saline, we had two children together, we were very happy to be husband and wife, so when i travel on business trip to Brazil, i spent 1 years in Brazil due to my kind of business, i and my wife talked on phone all the time, we chat on the Internet, i never knew that my wife had started cheating on me by going out with her old school friend called mark, i never knew something was going wrong till i came back from my trip, then i and My wife started having problems, she goes out and come back late at night, she changed in a strange way that i could not endure, i tried to do everything to please her but it got worst, so one day she left the house and never came back, i tried reaching her but no way i could reach her, i never knew she traveled with her new lover which was mark, i wanted her so much because of the children she left for me and because i loved her so much too, because of the heart break she has put me into, i went into search of a real magic spell caster I was scammed twice by a spell caster, but I never relented in my search because I want a happy life with my wife, so one morning i saw testimony about a spell caster Esango Priest, so i contacted him and to my greatest surprise this made life manful for me again, my wife came back to me after 3 days of a love spell from this Esango Priest, i took her back and I am now settled with my wife by the magic power of Esango Priest .
    Malcolm franks’

  116. CatherineCook
    CatherineCook says:

    I noticed a sudden change when my husband started cheating on me.’For the worse,’he started treating me and our little kids as total strangers’.I knew once that something had gone wrong. I hired a private investigator that cost me a lot to help monitor his moves.
    Sadly,i was told he was seeing another woman. It turned out right to be what i was thinking. I couldn’t just believe it so i confronted him with the pictures,but he denied it bluntly. he said she was just a lady he had some working project with but foolishly i believed him.But on one faithful day, i caught them red handed and that moment my heart stopped pumping  for a while as i bust into tears. I have never seen in his eyes so much hatred before, to the extent that he would l have to cheat on me. I still remember his very words ” “KEEP THE HOUSE AND YOUR SICK KIDS! He stopped coming home from that day. I tried all i could to make him come back home but all my efforts proved abortive till i stumbled on an article online  about a spell caster: Dr Kareem how he castes love spell to reunite broken  relationships.But At first, I told myself it was  a scam because i never believed in such but as pressure from my husband’s lawyer increased i became desperate and gave it a chance.You never know until you break down the walls and give something a chance.Though i know it sounds too desperate but i love my husband and wanted him back.i contacted the love spell caster Dr Karreem via his website and his phone number.I followed all his instructions  and everything happened just as he said. My husband came back to me after 46 hours of preparing the love spell and we have been living for some years now without any problem. People call Doctor Kareem as nice man but i call him a God  sent!  Here is my phone number +15309038029 text me for any information. Do you need help for these areas:


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