I've Still Got It...I Just Can't Remember Where I Put It: Awkwardly True Tales from the Far Side of Forty, page 1
I’ve Still Got It . . .
“Jenna McCarthy’s I’ve Still Got It . . . is everything you could want in a book or a best friend—blunt, truthful, and dead-on hilarious. Her unflinching look at the vagaries of middle age is witty and astute and will give you comfort in knowing that you’re not the only person whose arms are suddenly too short to read the menu. Granted, you’ll still have your laugh lines after reading this, but at least you’ll have earned them. More than ever, Jenna McCarthy proves that ‘she’s still got it’ in this hysterical collection!”
—Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author of Bitter Is the New Black and The Tao of Martha
“Hilarious and spot-on! Jenna McCarthy’s I’ve Still Got It . . . made me howl. Her comic timing and quirky wisdom have never been better!”
—Celia Rivenbark, New York Times bestselling author of Rude Bitches Make Me Tired
“Jenna McCarthy is Lena Dunham if she had kids and shopped at Costco, or Howard Stern if he had prettier hair and a thing for happy hour. In I’ve Still Got It . . . , she spins wildly entertaining essays from the simplest themes, from domestic clutter to the realities of aging and her (increasingly) sagging body parts. With whip-smart humor, older-sister warmth, and wickedly sharp insight, Jenna proves she’s been there, done that . . . and bought all the sparkly things at Target because they were on sale, damn it! I loved every word of this delightful, relatable book and I think you will, too.”
—Anna Goldfarb, author of Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through
“Take Jerry Seinfeld, put him in Spanx, and pump him full of perspiration-producing hormones . . . then set him in front of a computer and tell him to write, and you’ve got Jenna McCarthy’s hilarious I’ve Still Got It . . . McCarthy has an uncanny knack for taking the most mundane of events—in this case, the agonies of middle age—and putting her unique and always sidesplitting spin on them. Grab your reading glasses and a cocktail and get ready to laugh.”
—Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Time of My Life
“One part acerbic humor, another self-effacing charm, Jenna McCarthy’s I’ve Still Got It . . . is the middle-aged woman’s bible. If you can’t recall where you left your car keys, refuse to dress your age, and drink more in one week than you did throughout your entire college career, McCarthy will have you snorting out loud while you guzzle your sixth glass of Chardonnay. Kudos to McCarthy for seizing the Zeitgeist of her generation by the balls and detailing every nitty-gritty truth.”
—Emily Liebert, bestselling author of You Knew Me When
“Aging isn’t funny; it’s tragic and unavoidable and depressing as hell. Aging through Jenna McCarthy’s eyes, however, is a laugh-out-loud ride. In fact, after reading I’ve Still Got It . . . , I can’t wait to be as old as Jenna!”
—Jill Smokler, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)
“Jenna McCarthy is smart, freakishly honest, and always funny. I’ve read books from so-called ‘hilarious’ authors and never laughed once, but I laughed so hard at this book it caused me severe bodily distress. I probably should sue her, but instead I will just continue to read anything she writes, because, honestly, it’s worth the pain.”
—Cathryn Michon, writer/director, Muffin Top: A Love Story
“Jenna McCarthy isn’t just funny, she’s an amazingly gifted chronicler of modern life, the person who can tickle the comedy out of situations that aren’t, on their own, amusing. Many times I’ll ask myself, ‘Hey, why am I laughing? This stuff is true!’ Do yourself a favor and read this book. We all need more humor in our lives.”
—W. Bruce Cameron, New York Times bestselling author of A Dog’s Purpose
“Jenna McCarthy is one of a handful of writers who can make me laugh until I wheeze and my eyes tear up. I actually took screenshots of pages to send to my sister. You don’t want to miss this book.”
—Robin O’Bryant, New York Times bestselling author of Ketchup Is a Vegetable & Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves
If It Was Easy, They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon
“If Chelsea Handler and Dr. Phil had a love child, it would be Jenna McCarthy, whose fabulous If It Was Easy, They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon is at once profane, irreverent, warm, and wise. This is the best kind of relationship advice book, one written by someone who is smart enough to follow and smart-ass enough to make you savor the journey. Brilliant!”
“Hilarious, smart, and utterly addicting. Watch out, Nora Ephron.”
—Valerie Frankel, author of It’s Hard Not to Hate You
“Every relationship is like being fit, healthy, and happy—you have to work at it. Jenna reminds us of this with wit, insight, and self-deprecating humor. At the end of the day, you’ll recognize yourself in these pages and applaud her honesty.”
—Lucy Danziger, editor-in-chief of Self magazine and coauthor of The Nine Rooms of Happiness
“An uproariously funny, deliciously satisfying, and completely accurate take on wedded bliss.”
—Tracy Beckerman, syndicated humor columnist and author of Lost in Suburbia
“When Jenna McCarthy turns her wicked wit to the, ahem, challenges of modern-day marriage, hilarity ensues. Anyone still in love with the oaf they married will find a lot to love here.”
—Julie Tilsner, author of 29 and Counting: A Chick’s Guide to Turning 30
“This should be required reading for all brides. No, make that required reading for any woman who has been snookered into believing that finding and marrying the right person will somehow catapult her into a fairy tale—complete with a snorting horse, castle, and prince. With humor and insight, Jenna takes us on an enlightening tour of the true realities of marriage, and she amazingly pulls off the impossible: She helps us to fall in love with our farting, nose-picking, burping, sex-obsessed doofus husbands all over again.”
—Alisa Bowman, New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Skinny
Berkley titles by Jenna McCarthy
IF IT WAS EASY, THEY’D CALL THE WHOLE DAMN THING A HONEYMOON
I’VE STILL GOT IT . . . I JUST CAN’T REMEMBER WHERE I PUT IT
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
USA • Canada • UK • Ireland • Australia • New Zealand • India • South Africa • China
A Penguin Random House Company
This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
Copyright © 2014 by Jenna McCarthy.
Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.
BERKLEY® is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
The “B” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
I’ve still got it, I just can’t remember where I put it : awkwardly true tales from the far side of forty / Jenna McCarthy—Berkley trade paperback edition.
1. Middle age—Humor. 2. Middle-aged women—Humor. I. Title.
PN6231. M47 M365 2014
Berkley trade paperback edition / July 2014
Cover photograph by Getty Images / Cultura.
Cover design by George Long.
Penguin is committed to publishing works of quality and integrity. In that spirit, we are proud to offer this book to our readers; however, the story, the experiences, and the words are the author’s alone.
For Sophie and Sasha.
Even though you give me gray hair and ask me what it was like being alive in the 1900s and tell me that you’ve figured out why my butt is so flat (“Because you sit on it all day!”), you make me laugh, and that keeps me young. I love you with every fiber in my wrinkled being.
I wasn’t going to write this page at all.
For one thing, you may have heard some grumbling recently about a few authors going a teensy bit overboard in their acknowledgments (“I’d like to thank Vladimir Putin for helping me pick out the exquisite, supple, ridiculously overpriced lambskin leather chair I sat on each day whilst Skypeing with the Dalai Lama and channeling this book . . . ”), and I certainly wouldn’t want to be one of them.
And also, even though I’m supported by an impossibly amazing team of people in both my personal and professional lives, I pretty much wrote what you’re about to read all by myself.
[Pats self on the back. “Thanks for not quitting halfway through, self. Without you, this book would really suck.”]
That said, if I’m going to thank anybody, I would have to start with my ass-kicking agent, Laurie Abkemeier, for believing in me and my potty mouth from the get-go and also consistently helping me put food on my table. My kids are really whiny when they’re hungry, so it would be hard to overstate my gratitude here.
I also humbly bow to my too-lovely-to-be-true Berkley editor, Denise Silvestro, who tells me she’s easy on me because I’m “just a pro,” even though I secretly think it’s because she’s afraid of me. Writing for you is like sucking down that first mango margarita on Cinco de Mayo: pure, unadulterated joy.
To the badass writers whose names are shamelessly plastered on this book in the hopes that someone, somewhere might see one of them and go, “Holy shit! If s/he likes it I’m buying thirteen copies!!!” I hope (for your sake, of course) one day I am so goddamned famous that you’re shocked that I have the time and grace to return the favor. Which I totally will. Swear.
Finally, to every pair of hands I’ve never even had the pleasure of shaking that designed, proofread, copyedited, scanned this book for liabilities or otherwise kept me from getting sued or looking like an ass: If you’re ever in Santa Barbara, look me up. Mango margaritas are on me!
Oh, fine. And to my inner circle of family and friends (you know who you are, and if you’re going “I might be?” then you’re not) for being totally batshit crazy. I’m told that if you weren’t, I wouldn’t be funny. So please don’t ever change. I have a lot more books to write.
RAVES FOR TITLES BY JENNA MCCARTHY
BERKLEY TITLES BY JENNA MCCARTHY
May Contain Nuts
You’re Only as Old as Your Vagina
Aging Gracefully and Other Things I Know Nothing About
I Feel Bad about My Knees
Hair Is a Full-Time Job
Where Did All of This Shit Come From?
I Don’t Have Time for a Crisis (But I’ll Have Another Drink)
On Miniskirts and Mom Jeans
Damn You, Middle-Age Spread
At Least I’ve Got My Health, Mostly
It’s Just a Car (Except That It’s Not)
You Can Trim Your Own Damned Nose Hairs
Screw the Rainy Day: I Just Want Enough Money to Pay for My Funeral
My Boss Is a Bitch: A Self-Employment Story
Complaining about How Tired I Am Is Exhausting
Please Don’t Make Me Run with Bulls
Newsflash: Steve Miller Isn’t Cool Anymore
Wait, Why Did I Come in Here Again?
Abject Poverty, Bunny Boilers, and Other Reasons I Will Never Have an Affair
But I Lived in the Moment Yesterday
I Liked My Kids Better before They Told Me My Ass Jiggles
When Did Construction Workers Become So Civilized?
The Big Chill Was Bullshit
Are We Happy Yet?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
May Contain Nuts
Having written several books before this one, let’s just say this is not my first rodeo. Thanks to passionate reader feedback I now know that some people are offended by profanity, vanity, whining, wealth, dog bashing, truth telling, and anything resembling a heteronormative (I had to look it up the first time, too) perspective. They get mad when you admit that you grew up financially comfortable or you fail to include the LGBTQ point of view on a subject or you bitch about your husband—in a marriage book, for the love of all that is sacred. And some people get so mightily, huffily upset when they encounter these things in your book that they dash to their computers and call you an asshat on Amazon or write you a scathing email informing you that your very foul mouth is appalling. (In my defense, that was in reference to a book I wrote and put a swear word right in the title, so you’d think this angry lady might have had some idea what she was getting into before she cracked the spine. But apparently no.) So I just wanted to let you know up front that the book you are holding has all of the above and probably many, many more potentially offensive elements, including but not limited to an entire bit about my vagina. If you’re like me, that just sealed your decision to buy or read it. (Not my vagina in particular, but you know what I mean.) If you’re like the finger-wagger who called me and my trucker mouth unladylike—and by the way, name-calling is not a very ladylike thing to do, in my opinion—maybe you should get yourself a nice kitten calendar or Sudoku book instead.
You’re Only as Old as Your Vagina
I was at dinner with a group of girlfriends when the conversation turned, as it frequently does these days, to cosmetic surgery. But not the kind you’re thinking about. No, we weren’t discussing brow lifts or butt implants or big, bouncy new boobs or even a little subtle liposculpting. The topic—and you might want to brace yourself for this one—was vaginal rejuvenation. And not in the “hey doc, while you’re down there working your episiotomy magic, maybe you could throw in an extra stitch or two, wink, wink” sense, either. That actually would be considered reconstructive surgery, the mostly medically-necessary kind that’s designed to improve a body part’s particular function. Apparently there is something—a cosmetic procedure, an actual thing—that women are paying God knows how many thousands of dollars for so that their lady parts will look . . . prettier. And younger. And even, dare I say it? Fresher.
“But what . . . ? Why . . . ?” I was not contributing very effectively to the conversation. First of all, I was too embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t recently (or more accurately, ever) given my muffin anything resembling a thorough inspection, so I wasn’t even sure if it looked old and ugly. But
According to one practitioner’s website (because hell yeah, I Googled it), the cosmetic procedure in question—it’s called a labiaplasty, by the way—“changes the size or shape of the labia, typically making them smaller or correcting an asymmetry between them.” To be clear, I had absolutely no clue if my labia were oversized or lopsided, and I wasn’t about to start caring. All I could think when I read this was: Haven’t we raised the bar high enough already, people? Now our fucking vaginas have to look twenty-two forever, too? Where will it end?
I wondered about old women with youthful vaginas more than I should have. Were they porn stars or prostitutes or just lust-driven nymphomaniacs? Had some cruel lover given their beavers an unkind nickname that compelled these gals, in collective droves of despair, to long to be more beautiful . . . down there? Were they plastic surgery junkies who’d just about run out of body parts to perfect but then they caught a glimpse of their V-traps in a mirror and thought, Whoops, I almost forgot about that!? Because I’d have to be pretty damned pleased with every other inch of my body before it would even occur to me to mess with that particular part. “Let’s see, my neck doesn’t jiggle, my thighs are smooth and cellulite free, my rack is up around my neck . . . I’ll just get a little labia trim and then I’ll be good as new!”
I hadn’t even recovered from the vagina business when I found myself having a life-changing conversation with my sister Laurie. I was relating something my doctor had said that Laurie, as a health professional, found surprising.
“How old is he?” Laurie wanted to know.
“He’s young,” I told her. “You know, our age.”
Even though Laurie is an otherwise lovely person, she had the nerve to laugh at this.
“Jen, we are not young,” she said.
It was one thing to learn that my vagina might be getting a little long in the tooth; it was another to hear—from my older sister—that I was.