From Dear Girls, Ali Wong imparts invaluable wisdom for her daughters’ futures.
‘Dear Girls,’ begins comedian Ali Wong’s collection of letters to her daughters, appropriately named Dear Girls. ‘I have a secret that I never wanted anyone to know. And no, it’s not that I once slept with a homeless man (everybody already knows about that). Let me explain…’
What follows are a series of intimate tales, untold secrets and life tips as only Wong could tell them. Although she was at first daunted by the task of writing a book, when she framed each chapter as advice for her daughters the writing flowed. ‘I’m your mother,’ she writes. ‘I don’t write fancy. I don’t use words like “facetious” or “effusive”. I use words like “doo doo”, “caca” and “punani.” Once I embraced that, these letters were an absolute pleasure to write.’
Among the topics covered are practical tips on making a career in comedy (‘You can be whatever you want to be, but I’d be worried if you wanted to do stand-up’), advice on how to ‘trap’ men and useful guides to restaurant dining (‘If you see groups of old Asian women there, that’s a very, very good sign’). In the passage below are some selected pointers on navigating childbirth.
Here are a few quick tips on the hospital stay, when and if you give birth:
Bring Depends for yourself. It made all the difference the second time around. You don’t want to be stuck with that hospital mega-pad that is constantly slipping and sliding in that mesh underwear. What you want is a nice flesh-tone adult diaper, with a pad built in to the underwear. No adhesive needed! Like one of those awesome push-up bras where the chicken cutlets are just sewn into the bra!
Don’t get tricked into paying for the bigger birthing suite that’s three hundred dollars more per night. I liked being in a small room, where the bed was close to the bathroom. After you give birth you’re very constipated so they put you on milk of magnesia and stool softeners that make you have wild diarrhea, and you want to be as close to the bathroom as possible so you don’t shit your pants. The downside is that when you have visitors and need to blow it up in the bathroom, they’ll hear you blowing it up in the bathroom. But you shouldn’t be inviting people to meet the new baby right away if you’re not comfortable with them seeing your boobs or listening to your volcanic asshole.
Bring a nice blanket, something soft and cozy that feels like the inside of an Ugg boot or a Care Bear’s vagina. Hospital bedding does not spark joy. The sheets have a thread count of three and there’s always some sort of plastic lining underneath to protect the mattress from all the new moms leaking juice everywhere. It made me feel like a patient in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. If you haven’t seen that movie, turn off the phone in your eyeball (or whatever technology you have now) and watch it. It’s way stressful but amazing!
Get a bunch of the gel nipple Soothies that are free. Those are the most expensive free item at the hospital. They’re the hospital equivalent of the big turkey from Supermarket Sweep. In fact, just steal everything from the hospital. I filled my bag with those tiny formula bottles even though I was pumping like a cow. I thought they’d come in handy for Daddy in case I happened to die from the pain and suffering of breastfeeding.
Require all visitors to bring food from your favorite places that don’t deliver. Eat sushi and deli meat, you deserve it after having been deprived of it for so long. Hell, eat food out of the trash, if you want! You are finally free to get an out-of-control listeria infection!
Bring zip-up or Velcro swaddles to the hospital. Fuck learning how to swaddle by folding and tucking a blanket. It’s not the Middle Ages. You don’t need to be doing origami in the hospital.
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