Mom Says I'm a Whore

An Ask E. Jean Classic

Dear E. Jean: 

I moved away from my small hometown in my 20's and was promiscuous and accepted money from men three times. When I moved back home—and in—with my parents at age 26 (I was broke), it bore down on my conscience a great deal, and I told them.

Then my parents told everyone I was "a whore."

That was five years ago. Today I waved at a young single man in our church and he didn't acknowledge me. His friend asked him why he didn't wave at me. He replied, "She's a whore."

I resent this! There is more to me than what I did in my twenties! I've gone back to college and have made straight A's. I donate money to Debbie the Elephant at Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. I volunteer for the Clean Air Foundation. I am an excellent cook. I knit sweaters and sell them. There is so much more to me, you see?

I have been going to this church for five years, yet everyone there still regards me as "a whore." What can I do to live this down? People are so close-minded! I feel very lonely. I can't afford to live alone again. What should I do? —Drowning Woman

Get 20% off for 1 year


Drowning, My Darling:

Please! You could personally manufacture enough clean air to blanket the Southern Hemisphere and knit a sweater for every man, woman and chihuahua on God's planet, and, honey, those odious half-wits in your church would still make you as unhappy as possible.

You—a knitter! Reading your letter, I was seized with the desire to pack up my number 8 knitting needles, drive to your town and poke them into the orifices of the elders, deacons, dickwads and anybody else who tries to keep a rambunctious woman in her place by calling her a “whore.”

The guy? That “single man” not waving back to you? Nobody else is going to say this to you—everybody else is gonna say, “Awww, that bastard!”—but I’m telling you the man not waving is the best thing that could have happened. It shows you that you do not belong in that pew. You do not belong in that church. You do not belong in that town. You do not belong with your parents. Simple as that.

If Debbie the Elephant could get so fed-up being forced to perform in a circus that she ran away and jumped through a Sears & and Roebuck window, you can say ADIOS, gather up your knitting patterns, and call quits on your five-year-voluntary surrender.

He didn’t wave? GREAT! EXCELLENT! FANTASTIC! Check your college roommate service, woman! With the pandemic lifting, lots of people are looking for roommates. Or, as I’ve suggested before, make a witty announcement on Instagram, search the roommate apps (along with Bumble), because you'll never be as alone as you are right now in that awful place. Get the hell out of Dodge, Drowning!

Like Debbie, you need to pack your trunk.

Good Luck! And let us know how you’re doing!

Get 20% off for 1 year

P.S.

I have a feeling that the Pep Squad of Brilliance Knitting Circle will be sending you their compliments, their respects, their love and their support, Ms. Drowning!

P.P.S.

I want you to work on the Art of Not Looking Back. Not looking back is one of the great skills a woman can master. My supreme talent at not looking back has kept me zippy through all my Trump lawsuit trials.

P.P.P.S.

And speaking of that man. Jessica Leeds was one of the first women to come forward and accuse Donald Trump of sexual assault. I wrote about her in The Atlantic.

Here’s a photo Jessica around the time she says Trump attacked her

Jessica and I are the same age and BOY! did we let down what’s left of our hair in our interviews. She described Trump’s attacking her on an airplane in 1979/1980.

Two years later, she ran into him at a Humane Society Gala, where she was helping to raise money. She was wearing an absolutely terrific Mary McFadden dress in taxi-cab yellow, and when Trump arrived, she stepped up to give him his table assignment. Here’s what happened:

Share

Get 20% off for 1 year

Because I know that I don’t know everything, and because readers rule around here, and cuz commenters gotta comment, here’s the Conflab:

What They Really Mean When They Say “Whore.”

The Conflab is where we hash over the questions sent to Ask E. Jean—and where our boisterous community saves mankind. Today we are advising Ms. Drowning, who has been put in her place. And that place? It’s the place where the world puts women to degrade them.

“Calling a woman a whore is a way of keeping troubling individuals grouped in their marginalized place and to insist that the place is a vulgar, degraded one from which they can never escape.”

That’s a quote by Kay Stanton, a Shakespeare specialist at California State University, Fullerton who found that Shakespeare wielded the word “whore” (whoreish, whoring, whored, bewhored) 59 times in his plays.

It’s the word that set off three days of raging yet respectful argument in the Conflab this weekend when Ms. Witty referred to the Cam Girl (the woman who broke up Ms. Witty’s marriage) as a “Romanian whore,” then quickly and sincerely apologized—and, well, hold on. Let me check if the discussion is still— yeeeeeee gods! it’s flaring again as I write.

So I want to drop in a new element: Ms. Drowning’s letter. Cam Girl’s reputation is enhanced and, possibly, made more dazzling by being called a whore. It is her business. Her bread. Her art. But Ms. Drowning’s life has been crushed by the word.

Of course, there is no such thing as a whore. A “whore” is a concept. A verbal ax that both men and women use to control women.

I included the Jessica Leeds interview to show how Trump used the word “cunt” to try and put Jessica in her place.

What is your advice for Ms. Drowning?

And do you have the superb talent of Not-Looking-Back? If so, do tell...

Leave a comment


If you are one of the 382.2 million people in America without a subscription to Ask E. Jean, click the link below:

Get 20% off for 1 year

You can get me on Twitter, or send me your questions by using the Voice Memo on your phone (I may run the recording on Ask E. Jean), or shoot a video question (again—I may put it on Ask E. Jean), or write to me about what’s driving you crazy—your career, your wardrobe, your love affairs, your lusts, your languishing, your finances—to AskEeeeJean@gmail.com.

And drop me photos of your pets! I will post them!

Solving snafus since 1993, “Ask E. Jean” is now the top-ranked Health Substack in the United States.

Here’s the latest update on Carroll v Trump

Photos of Debbie and Ronnie: Taken from the The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee Website

Photo of girl in the shower: Gary John Norman, Getty images. Photo of Joshua Matz, E. Jean, and Robbie Kaplan walking into Federal Court: Jefferson Siegle for The New York Times.