The Perfect Mom

You know that mom you see at school drop-off every morning? The mom whose hair is perfectly coiffed, her makeup is always done, her clothes are stylish and expensive, she may or may not work outside the home, her children are always perfectly dressed and perfectly behaved, and she volunteers at every school function? She never shows up to school drop-off in her sweats, messy bun, yesterday’s makeup, the baby’s spit-up on her stretched-out and holey t-shirt, while slugging down as much coffee as her system can take. Nope, not the Perfect Mom. Her life seems perfect and she makes it seem so effortless, and you wonder why you’re not that mom.

I’m not that mom either. I don’t even think that mom is that mom.

Parenting is hard. Full stop. End of sentence. It’s hard. I often think of the slogan that the Peace Corps © uses about how they are the toughest job you’ll ever love and it relates to how I feel about parenting. It’s so hard, and overwhelming, and exhausting, and taken me to the limit of all my extremes, and yet I fiercely love all of my children so much that I would die for them.

Perfect mom

I’ve been there in the trenches with my kids fighting to ensure them the best future possible. I’ve been there at 2:00 a.m. when they were sick and throwing up on me and sleep was an elusive fantasy. I’ve been there when my child struggled to read and I had to fight for her to get all the educational help she was entitled to. I was in the trenches when my kids were bullied by the neighbor kid whose parents took no responsibility nor tried to correct their child’s behavior. I’ve been in the trenches when my kids struggled with school assignments, friendships, Scouting, sports, music lessons, growing pains, sibling rivalry, on and on, ad infinitum.

Sometimes I’ve fought those battles with a dirty t-shirt, underwear I’ve worn for days, and stained sweatpants on. Sometimes I’ve fought those battles in a pantsuit and power heels. And sometimes I’ve fought them with a sweatshirt with the school’s mascot and a simple pair of jeans on.

The point is, as a mother I was willing to fight those battles for and with my kids no matter how I looked, felt, or was perceived by the other parents at school.

That mom who we think is so perfect and must have a problem-free life, is fighting those battles for and with her kids too.

We can never know the inner workings of anyone else’s life. I do know that everyone else that I see on the street, in the grocery store, in line at the Post Office, and at school drop off has a life that is as vivid as mine. They all have people they love deeply, worries that weigh on their heart, and hurts so deep it’s amazing they got out of bed and participated in life that day. Their lives are just as real and important as mine.

So when I see the Perfect Mom with her perfect hair, makeup, clothes, children, and life at school drop-off I try to remember that her life is just as hard as mine. Maybe some things in her life are easier for her than they are in mine. And maybe in some ways my life is easier than hers. I’ll never know. We’ll never know.

So in the meantime I’m cutting my fellow moms, wearing a power suit or a pair of sweatpants, some well-deserved slack. Including myself.

Thank God my husband is too compassionate and egalitarian to criticize this “Day Without a Woman” strike – AKA another day where Matt Walsh is woefully wrong

[A response to this.]

Yesterday was the “Day Without A Woman” strike. The idea was that women were supposed to abandon their jobs, their families and their household duties for the day in order to protest how we elected a man to President who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and how even in 2017 women are still unequal in this country.

As was the case with the Women’s March in January, most of the people involved in this demonstration are VERY sure why they’re involved. They saw their country elect a man who said he could grab their genitals and get away with that, and it makes them feel unsafe, unrepresented, and just plain mad as hell. From my conversations with my fellow feminists who either supported or participated in this strike/boycott/it seems most of them KNOW that they’re speaking out against very real and lived INEQUALITY.  When asked how they’re unequal, they are able to articulate very compelling reasons from their lived experiences of all the little ways every day in which they are marginalized, oppressed, ignored, abused, misrepresented, and devalued by modern society. So for once men have to pick up the slack for women instead of the other way around.

The organizers of this protest had concise, consistent, and articulate messages about what they aimed to accomplish yesterday and their goals for the future. Those goals are very connected to women’s issue’s because women’s rights are human rights.

The official unity principals, which serve as the foundation for yesterday’s strike, include a women’s right to access reproductive health care and have her and her doctor make decisions, not conservative asshats with a blog, LGBTQIA rights, immigrant and refugee rights, and environmental health. It’s clear why these issues were included in the Day Without Women platform because women are affected by every single one of these issues every.single.day.

A few thoughts on today:

1. Serious, productive women have to put up with inequality every day even though they don’t have time for that nonsense

Women do most of the unpaid work in this country, whether that’s raising families or caring for their aging Baby Boomer parents, and are expected to do that work with very little support from their male partners WHILE ALSO WORKING A FULL-TIME JOB.  Because men have the option to opt-out of this work because they know the women in their lives will pick up the slack, ensuring their lives will continue on basically as normal for the most part. When you get the feminist mom demographic to go on strike, you really are grinding the social engine to a halt because feminist moms are raising their children, participating in activism, carrying the loads for their families, and working outside of the home, and boy howdy, do they know how to organize and get shit done.

Days like yesterday make me even more thankful for my husband, who grew up in a generation and religion steeped in patriarchal control and he still rejected gender roles and has chosen to be an egalitarian partner and committed father with great enthusiasm. My husband can’t even say the word “feminist” without feeling so grateful that he has was raised by a strong woman, was taught how to respect women by his father, is the brother to some strong-ass women, is married to a tough-as-nails woman, is raising two daughters to be strong women, and raising two sons to reject patriarchal control and respect the hell out of women.

When I asked him what he was doing to commemorate “A Day Without Women,” he told me he was going to wear red to work, support the women in his office who would like to participate in the action, and donate to causes that directly impact the lives of women. He’s far too much of a grown, mature, adult man, to denigrate women, to mock their protests for more rights, and not support every woman’s effort to gain more equality. And thank God for that.

My recommendation to any young woman discerning marriage: ask your prospective husband how he feels about modern feminism. If he laughs, RUN FOR THE HILLS. The last thing you want is to be married to a misogynist who expects you do all the emotional labor in your family, raise your children with little to no support, while he reaps all the benefits of your hard work and never has to lift a finger. Praise Jesus.

2. This once again benefits the women it’s supposed to help.

Fortunately in the education system, mature feminist Baby Boomers make up a significant percentage of the staff at many public schools, particularly on the east coast. That’s why some of the biggest school systems in America shut down yesterday to accommodate the hundreds of feminists who value their equality and know that fighting for their rights means they are fighting for the rights of their students as well. Again, women’s rights are human rights.

Unfortunately because of lazy and sexist men and their harmful, non-family oriented policies, thousands of working mothers, many of them low income, will be forced to call out of work or shell out money for childcare. The women who would have liked to participate in yesterday’s events and who couldn’t afford to take part in them, will be the ones who pay the price, because men sure as hell won’t. The Patriarchy will keep humming along as normal, oppressing our nation’s women by enacting laws that take away women’s reproductive rights, marginalizing the already oppressed, taking away the rights of trans women to use the bathroom, paying women of color even less than they pay white women, refusing asylum to refugee women, failing to protect women who are currently experiencing domestic or sexual violence, manspreading and mansplaining, while misogynist, conservative men sit in their Ivory towers looking down at women complaining for not using their inside voices like the nice ladies to. As usual.

3. The men married to women need to step up.

Many articles have been written over the past week explaining what men can do to support yesterday’s strike. As it turns out there was and is a lot they could/can do. They can pick up the slack with childcare. They can support  the women in their office if management tries to punish them for their participation. They can march with them and provide security against the men who wish to enact violence to them. If they’re attorneys, they can provide their legal services for free to those women who were arrested for protesting. They can teach their sons and daughters about consent. They can not grab the genitals of other women just because president trump bragged about it. They can speak out whenever a sexist joke or story is told. They can listen to their wives when they tell them about their experiences with inequality AND BELIEVE THEM even if they have never experienced it themselves. These can and should be doing these things today and every day. Sadly, a depressingly low number of men will not do any of these things even though patriarchy hurts them as well. Even sadder, is when women denigrate the work of other women by criticizing their tone or tactics, etc. because women are the gatekeepers of patriarchy and the only real way to have power as a women is through soft power.

Mothers should be supported in self-care and filling up their own well so that they can continue to care for their families. This is called maternal feminism. If that means leaving their family for a whole day as a political statement, what a wonderful role model she is to her children in standing up for her rights.  Workers usually go on strike because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that their employer is oppressing them. If you’re going on strike from your family, is that because your children and husband are oppressing you? PROBABLY. Why isn’t your husband supporting you more? Why are your children expecting you to do everything for  them? Why isn’t every member of your household responsible for the upkeep of that household? Why isn’t your partner being a better parent to your shared children?

I’m so glad that my  husband isn’t a Matt Walsh type. It makes me feel pangs of by-proxy-embarrassment for his wife for allowing their children and herself to be disrespected in this way.

What can a husband do for a wife who wants to go on strike from the family? PICK UP THE FREAKING SLACK. He can show that he is committed to being a better partner by being a leader in changing his actions to be more respectful, accommodating, and supportive of his wife.  He can be a man, in other words.

4. YOU AREN’T EQUAL. DON’T EVER STOP UNTIL YOU ARE.

Women need to absolutely and 100% protest for equal rights because they still do not have equal rights.

  • The Equal Rights Amendment still hasn’t been passed after 40+ years.
  • Women still make remarkably less on a dollar than the men, and even less if they’re a woman of color.
  • Only 3% of rapes are ever prosecuted and just last year rapists like Kobe Bryant were lauded as heroes because they can put a ball in a basket good.
  • Women cannot hold positions of ministry in many churches.
  • Rapists can sue their victims for custody in most states.
  • About 4,000 women die each year due to domestic violence, and 75% of the victims were killed as they attempted to leave the relationship.
  • The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war.
  • Women pay more for common household items than men to. Just ask your shampoo bottle, shaving cream, BIC pen.
  • Women are underrepresented in government. Only 20% of Congress is comprised of women.
  • Women are in the minority in business, accounting for only 17% of board members and 15% C-suit executives, and 5% of CEOS at Fortune 500 companies.
  • Women are the minority in news media.
  • Women still shoulder more of the household burden, much like Matt Walsh’s poor wife. Working moms are more likely to be saddled with childcare duties than working fathers, even if both spouse work equal hours. And they’re also more likely to bear the burden of doing chores around the house.
  • Female soldiers face alarming rates of rape and harassment.
  • Young women experience inequality in high school sports.
  • Retired women are twice as likely as retired men to live in poverty.
  • Women of all age are more likely than men to live below the poverty line especially single mothers with deadbeat ex-spouses who don’t pay child support.
  • In STEM fields, women make up less than 30% of employees.
  • Human trafficking is a crime that vastly affects women.
  • Women suffer the worst when poor water quality and sanitation is jeopardized because of menstruation.
  • There is a luxury tax on tampons, which if you didn’t know, are a necessity not a luxury.
  • 1 in 5 women in the United States have been victims of sexual assault in their lifetime compared to 1 in 71 men.
  • 1 in 7 women have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime compared to 1 in 18 men.
  • 1 in 4 college women are being sexually assaulted before they graduate, forcing them to delay their education or drop out of school, while schools participate in cover ups. We have an epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses.
  • Women face rampant discrimination and harassment in the workforce, like being kept out of leadership roles or certain fields entirely, not being properly accommodated or supported while pregnant or after giving birth, and sexual harassment is a major issue is non-female dominated fields.
  • Feel free to add to the list in the comments section.

[Statistics sources here, here, here, and here]

Feminism is the only thing that has ever offered help. This, perhaps more than any other reason, is why everyone should take feminism seriously. Especially today and every day thereafter until there is gender equality for every woman and girl.

Feminist are out there fighting for everyone’s equality. Please join us.

Thoughts on Winter

I have a love/hate relationship with winter.

I love looking out my windows to the snowcapped mountains in the distance, especially when the sun is rising over the ones in the east and casting pink streaks of light across the snow. And when the sun is setting over the mountains on Antelope Island over the Great Salt Lake and the orange/hot pink bursts of light make the whole lake look like it is made of fire. I’m lucky enough to get a beautiful view of both where I live.

I love that in winter nature takes a break from creating to rest. I love the stillness of winter. Everything in nature hibernates for a while, and winter is just mother nature’s slumber. I love the peace I feel in the winter especially while just sitting at a window watching the snow fall.

I love watching people playing in the snow and making snowpeople. Especially since it inspired Bill Watterson’s best strips for Calvin & Hobbes.

I love winter because I have a lot of beautiful sweaters and cute boots and this appeals to the fashionista in me.

I hate commuting during snowstorms. I hate being cold. I hate that my asthma is cold weather induced and it’s harder to breathe. I hate that I have to find everyone’s coats, scarves, gloves and boots just to leave the house when in summer I can throw on a pair of flip flops and run out of the door. I hate plowing through my driveway and scraping off my car.

But however much I hate certain aspects of winter, I am grateful for this time of rest, of slumber, to let nature be quiet for a while. In two months growing things will wake up and sprout new life. I’m willing to wait for it.

Echo Chamber?

Recently I was accused of living in a liberal, social justice warrior, feminist bubble – an echo chamber surrounded by only people who agree with me.

Cool story, bro?

Let me tell you a little bit about my echo chamber.

womens-voices

Little girls who grow up in Mormon-dominated Utah in a part-member Mormon family where the only parent who is LDS (mom) does not attend church until she is 14, don’t live in echo chambers.

Little girls who attend their LDS ward alone growing up, with just her siblings, without parents but with their support, and were subjected to lessons about how every other child was born in the covenant, therefore more blessed, and members of eternal families, whereas she was not, through no fault of her own, don’t live in echo chambers.

Little girls who have kids in the neighborhood tell them they’re not allowed to play with them because her aforementioned parents don’t go to church and will probably make them drink beer (my parents rarely, if ever, drank alcohol) and watch R-rated movies, don’t live in echo chambers.

Little girls who are made fun of for having a father who did “un-masculine” household chores like laundry and didn’t go hunting or own guns because he’s a pacifist, don’t live in echo chambers.

Little girls who are raised by strong female role models and who are taught from birth they need to grow up to support themselves, despite being a member of a patriarchal religion where she was taught her only goal should be motherhood, and career and education “just in case,” don’t live in echo chambers.

Teenage girls who try to start a Young Democrats club in their High School in Republican dominated Utah, who had her posters ripped down and not a single teacher would agree to sponsor the club, letting it die before it began, don’t live in echo chambers.

Teenage girls who are told by the Student Body President their sophomore year of high school that they should be excommunicated from their shared church and humiliated in front of their entire Human Biology class, don’t live in echo chambers.

Teenage girls who are made fun of in front of an almost entire classroom full of boys in her AP American History class for being a feminist and bringing up the point that the foremothers of our state of Utah were suffragists, don’t live in echo chambers.

Teenage girls who excitedly register to vote during their senior year of High School only to have the woman registering her give a disgusted grunt when she asked if she would like to register for a party and she proudly proclaims, “yes! Democrat!”, don’t live in echo chambers.

Young college co-eds who attend one of the most liberal Universities in her state only to attend a Young Democrats meeting with 4 attendees on a campus of over 20,000 students, don’t live in echo chambers.

Young married females who are shamed for hyphenating their married last names (17+ years and counting), don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who have their gynecologist tell them that the very real physical negative side affects of their birth control are all in their head, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who are pressured by their church leaders to have a testimony of a President and a war they don’t support, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who have news articles written about the good work they’re doing in their career and are met with comments about how awful it is that a mother would dare to work, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who are shunned from being in the cool mommy group in the neighborhood for not being a stay-at-home-mother, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who have to constantly fight the culture of sexism and misogyny that permeates modern day America so she can raise her daughters in strength and sons with respect for all of humanity, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who are told by their supervisor that the quarter inch of cleavage that shows when they fold their arms at work, even though they are dressed perfectly modestly and their garments are covered, might entice a clinical male client to rape someone, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who are censored at work for having a feminist voice and threatened with the loss of job and income, not to mention their covenants since they work for their church, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who vote their conscience and then are shamed for not voting for members of their faith and told they are being deceived by Satan, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who are glared at for wearing pants to church by so-called loving members of their religion, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who are asked  by their church leaders to gain a testimony of exclusion of LGBTQIA members, their children from baby blessings and baptism, when it goes against everything she knows is right and Christ-like, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who want more authority in their church than their 12-year-old son who can perform one of the most sacred rituals, passing the sacrament, and she can’t despite being an adult and temple recommend holder, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who break their own hearts and walk out of the church that informed their entire spirituality and into a church where they feel peace and no cognitive dissonance and aren’t asked to compromise their values and conscience, and can just worship the Christ that they love found in the New Testament, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who have half of their neighborhood no longer talk or wave to her or unfriend her on Facebook because of her changing and evolving religious convictions, don’t live in echo chambers.

Women who are feminist liberals living, working, and raising their children every day in Utah, don’t live in echo chambers.

So, please consider the reason why you’re having a strong, negative reaction to my opinions is perhaps because you live in an echo chamber? You’ve grown up and lived in a conservative state, surrounded by conservative people, and a conservative religion, where the people in your life (friends, family, and neighbors) all share your conservative opinions. I might be the first person who has ever disagreed with you and offered a different perspective. Perhaps I do it in an assertive and strong voice, which makes you uncomfortable because you’re used to women deferring to men, backing down from confrontation, speaking to you in dulcet tones, and when they do disagree, keeping it to themselves.

Well, that ain’t me. I’m not a shrinking violet, I’m a damn iron daisy, and if you condescend to me, cast aspersion on my character, shame me, insult my intelligence, or question my spirituality, you will hear from me and it WON’T be in my Relief Society voice, but the strong, clear, voice of the strong, independent, proud woman my parents raised me to be.

I’m not a night owl anymore

I used to be a night owl. There wasn’t a morning that I didn’t want to sleep through.

Since I was a child I delighted in the dark, calm, still hours of the night. In high school and college I would stay up late reading into the wee hours. In the  morning, 10:00 am was too early for me and there was nothing I loved more than sleeping in. Frankly, there was nothing I loved more than sleeping as I would usually also require an afternoon nap after morning classes.

As a young mother I was blessed to have babies that started sleeping through the night at about 2 months old. I think the universe knew that I couldn’t handle the sleep deprivation that most parents are forced to endure. Even if my young children woke me up at an early hour, I remember half sleeping on the couch while they would watch “Sesame Street.” By 10:00 am I would be able to function, but I definitely napped when they napped.

Then something changed.

Now, there is not a sunrise over the Wasatch Mountains that I want to miss.

I witnessed years of gorgeous hot pink and orange sunsets over the Great Salt Lake.

Now I also get to bear witness to the audacious morning breaking almost every day.

A little over two years ago I accepted a job that required me to start work every week day at 8:00 am. With a half-hour commute and having to drop off my youngest at her beloved babysitter’s, I have to leave my house about the same time I used to wake up to get my kids off to school (and then promptly went back to bed).

It took me a while, but I began to appreciate the beauty of an early morning.

Then after numerous attempts to get back into an exercise routine, six months after I started my new job I resigned myself to the fact the only time I had to work-out was when the gym first opens at 4:30 am to give myself enough time to get ready for work, and my children ready for school. The thought of waking up at 4:00 am was obscene to me, but I did it.

And I noticed a swift transformation in me.

No longer a night owl.

I emerged as a morning person.

I’ve made fun of morning people my whole life. How can anyone be that happy at ungodly hours? I remember my mother getting ready for work in her bathroom while I was in Junior High and High School, singing and dancing to the oldies station, with a curling iron in her hair. She would chatter away at me all morning while I scowled over my cereal and wondered how I ever emerged from this woman’s womb. She didn’t even drink coffee.

And now, I’m that annoying person in the office who is so happy in the morning I even get on my own nerves. While most of my coworkers won’t even speak to me until they’ve had at least one cup of coffee, by the time I get to work I’ve already been up for four hours and I’m ready to engage and talk, while they scowl at me over their steaming mugs.

My favorite time of day now is when I leave the gym in the summer. I look to the East as the sun creeps over the purple mountains in the distance. I have a great view of Weber Canyon and the tilt of the earth at that time of year is just such that the sun shines through the break in the mountains.

It’s those times they I say a silent prayer of gratitude. That every day I was able to witness a sunrise and a sunset. To put myself in the way of beauty, as Cheryl Strayed says.

sunrise-over-the-wastach
“Wasatch Sunrise” by Chad Dutson

An Open Letter to President Trump (Hamilton parody)

An open letter to the fat, arrogant, anti-charismatic, national embarrassment known as President Donald Trump
Shit!

The man’s irrational. He claims that everyone is in league
With his enemies in some vast international intrigue
Trick, please!
You dont even know what you’re doin’
You’re always goin’ berserk
But you never show up to work
Give my regards to Russian hookers
Next time you tweet about John Lewis’s lack of moral compass
At least he does his job up in this rumpus

Ooh…

The line is behind you, you crossed it again
And the president has lost it again
Aw, such a rough life
Better run, tell your wife
“Yo, my boss is in New York again”
Let me ask you a question. Who sits
At your desk when you’re in Manhattan?
They were calling you a dick back in ’86
And you really haven’t done anything new since
You nuisance with no sense
You would die of irrelevance
Go ahead, you aspire to Obama’s level
You aspire to malevolence
Say hi to the Putins!
And the spies all around you
Maybe they can confirm
You don’t care if you kill your career with your tweets.
I’m confining you to one term
Sit down, Don, you fat motherf***er!

trump-putin-570

Based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s An Open Letter to President John Adams

The ultimate Tom Cruise rankings

It’s obvious that there are only five movies of Tom Cruise’s that really matter. They are (in no particular order):

1. Top Gun
2. Jerry Maguire
3. Interview with the Vampire
4. Risky Business
5. Rain Man

Honorable mention goes to Days of Thunder, A Few Good Men, Born on the Fourth of July, and The Firm. I only mention them because I’ve heard they’re good, but never seen them, and have no desire to do so, so I cannot critically analyze them. So, you are left really with the top 5 movies of Tom Cruise’s career that I’ve seen.

tom_cruise_going_clear
Tom Cruise winning the “Teacher’s Pet” award for L. Ron Hubbard’s “How to act like an Asshole” classes at the Scientology Celebrity Center

Top Gun

This is Cruise’s role that made him a star and household name. I think it was because he started taking Xenu classes at the local Scientology Celebrity Center and all the L. Ron Hubbard learnin’ really helped him hone his fine skills of acting like an asshole. Let’s be honest, this movie is just a homage to masculinity or homoerotic love (why can’t it be both?). You have a bunch of well-muscled bad ass dudebros, like Val Kilmer and Rick Rossovich, flexing the shit out of them in naked locker room and sand volleyball scenes. Then you have Anthony Edwards and you’re like, “hey Goose, who the hell let you in here?” But Goose has a wife who wants his D on the reg, so it’s obvious he’s a dynamo in bed. Spoiler alert, Goose dies because reasons and that’s supposed to make you cry but really you’re like, “is this necessary? Killing off the only comic relief in the movie?” This might be the best Cruise movie if it wasn’t for the complete lack of chemistry between him and Kelly McGillis. I mean, just thinking of their tongues touching in the “Take My Breath Away” love scene gives me the willies. It’s no surprise that years later McGillis came out as a lesbian. I think a Kelly McGillis/Meg Ryan love scene would have 100% more believable and palatable. 5 Cruise points.

Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire is a movie about guy named Jerry Maguire at his full Jerry Maguireness. He’s a sports agent who gets a sudden attack of conscience (so unrealistic) when he realizes that dun, dun, dun sports is all about making money no matter what! Wow, Jer, that’s super insightful. Glad they made a whole movie about this. Jerry writes a 100 page manifesto in the middle of the night during which can only be described as a manic breakdown. I was worried about old Jerry and I’m sure he could have benefitted from a few milligrams of depakote at that point. Jerry is delusional enough to think his quirky little spiral bound manifesto will CHANGE THE WHOLE SPORTS INDUSTRY BECAUSE OF INTEGRITY! Instead he gets fired and a single mother named Dorothy agrees to follow him to his new agency because she was so inspired by his writing. (Let’s be honest, Dorothy was after the Jerry Maguire D for a while and she knew this is how she could get it). Blah blah blah, Jerry loses all his clients but one. This client is a small football player from Arizona who steals the whole movie from Jerry with his charisma. Jerry sleeps with and then marries Dorothy, like ya do with your employees just because you like their kid. And like every sports movie, small footplayer overcomes to WIN THE BIG GAME and gets his BIG CONTRACT and then everyone wants the Jerry Maguire D! Something something, you complete me, end scene. This movie does get extra points because Kelly Preston is a stone cold bitch, which makes me love her (probably also took the L. Ron Hubbard total asshole classes) and Regina King is almost the best thing about this movie. She and her husband majored in Marketing and they came to play, baby! 10 Cruise points.

Interview with a Vampire

This movie was highly anticipated because of the popularity of Anne Rice’s book of the same name. Ms. Rice was not happy with the casting of Mr. Cruise and Mr. Pitt as her much beloved vampires, Lestat and Louis. I don’t remember much about this movie except for a really weird makeout between Brad Pitt and a pre-pubescent Kirsten Dunst. What I really wanted was to see a makeout between Brad and Tom (Did this actually happen? I’m not sure. It’s been a long time since I saw the movie and I might have made this up during one of my late-night fantasies). Anyhoo, this movie loses points because I can’t really remember it well, therefore it didn’t make much of a Cruise-pression on me. 3 Cruise points. 

Risky Business

This movie is iconic for one thing and one thing only and it’s not the late night boinking scene between Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay on an L train around Chicago. No! It’s iconic because Tom Cruise dances around his parent’s living room in his tighty whities and button down white oxford while listening to “Old Time Rock n’ Roll.” What a card! This movie is totes realistic. I mean, what kid doesn’t think the best way to earn some cash while his ‘rents are out of town is by turning the family domicile into a brothel? My sibs and I always did that when my ‘rents took their yearly wedding anniversary trip up to Glacier National Park  (just kidding, dad. We mostly  just sat around watching TV and eating cheetos). AND OF COURSE you fall in love with the prostitute who is just a hooker with a heart of gold. I mean that trope isn’t tired or overplayed AT ALL. This movie gets extra points for starring Curtis Armstrong as one of Cruise’s friends, Miles Dalby, who is best known for his role in Revenge of the Nerds, which also starred Anthony Edwards of Goose fame.That’s known as coming full Cruise circle. 7 Cruise points.

Rain Man

This is definitely, definitely the best movie Tom Cruise every starred in that featured a Cruise. This movie really is a vehicle for Dustin Hoffman to show off his best acting chops by playing an autistic man named Raymond with an asshole of a brother named, Charlie. Charlie, played by Cruise, also went to the L. Ron Hubbard school of How to be an Asshole by Really Trying. Charlie is a selfish yuppie because it’s the 80s and it’s a requirement for anyone under 30 in a movie. Charlie and Raymond’s father left a fortune to Raymond (who has savant-like characteristics) and a pittance to Charlie because he obviously has the yuppy means of supporting himself, but this pisses of Charlie because, again, he’s a yuppie asshole. They travel cross-country together and eventually Charlie learns that Raymond is A HUMAN BEING TOO! Good for you, Charlie! Developing a soul was hard in the 80s. Honestly I get Dustin Hoffman’s “Raymond” and Sean Penn’s “Sam” from “I Am Sam” confused all the time, so I may not remember all the plot points, but I know it’s a brothers gotta bro movie and we’re supposed to have special feels about Charlie ACTING LIKE A DECENT HUMAN BEING IN THE END to Raymond, because in the 80s people with special needs were only props to teach us how to be nice instead of fully-realized human beings of their own right. I’m taking off points for the disability inspiration porn, but giving points for the actual porniness when Charlie yells at Raymond listening to him porking his road-piece. I mean, give a guy a break. He’s lived in an institution his whole life! I’m sure they didn’t show movies with the humpin’ and a pumpin’ at the Walbrook Institute. 1 Cruise point. 

In conclusion, upon further analysis and dissection of these movies, it’s obvious to see that the true Tom Cruise movie rankings are:

1 – Jerry Maguire
2 – Risky Business
3 – Top Gun
4 – Interview with a Vampire
5 – Rain Man

Fight me.