are you an apple or a pear?

My butt, back when jeans fit like jeans instead of like hell.

THERE’S A NEW TREND IN JEAN SIZING that has women running, not walking, away from the stores. I believe the fashion concept started with a brand that shall remain respectfully unnamed, but it if you re-arrange the letters, it spells EVIL.

A number of clothing companies recently started offering jeans based on body type. Now, we girls know how different our shapes are from each other, so this concept sounds promising. Before you buy body-type jeans, you can take a Curve Quiz or get measured by a teenage girl who almost seems to care. The names of the styles, such as Ultra Curvy, are sweet and innocent. The photographs on store websites show flattering, slimming fits on smiling young models. But the mirror in the dressing room reveals that the true nature of these denim confines is to humiliate the average woman.

I imagine a group of stylish New York City elite sitting around a board room table at a major advertising company. They are wearing power suits, not waist-pinching jeans, and snickering while they poo-poo potential lost revenue for the company due to negative customer reaction to body-conforming jeans. Tears of laughter roll down their faces as they hold their stomachs and shout out sugar-coated names for torturous jean styles – Hint of Hips! Vivacious Hourglass! Kinda Tiny!

We all know the real true names for the three women’s body shapes: Apples, Pears, and Bananas. For centuries, these three fruits have bravely represented our mother’s shapes and their mothers before them. A little honesty in the jean names could quell confusion and offer a sense of relief: who would try to squish an Apple into a pair of Bananas?

If the fruit comparison is too blunt, then the jean companies could at least get more accurate and re-name Ultra Curvy to Big Butt. They also could develop a much-needed style called Reduced Muffin Top, and dub the tiny straight-legged demons You Need To Eat Some Pasta, Kid. Then we would all be saved the angst of trying on yet another pair of jeans that we can’t button or pull up past our knees. A sign should also be placed on all ultra low-rise and skinny jeans racks that reads, Danger: Do Not Wear These If You Are Over Age 40, including an arrow pointing This Way to Long Frumpy Skirts.

Men are lucky. They don’t have to deal with the ever-changing availability of frequently ill-fitting jeans. They can always pull on a pair of reliable Levis 501 Blues, around since – no fooling – the year 1890. I can’t imagine men being sucked into buying styles named to reflect their body shapes: Prosperous Midriff (Beer Belly), Spacious Finale (Saggy Behind), or Manly Low-Rise (Plumber Butt).

I don’t want to get sucked in either. But I wore the only good pair of jeans I own on a blackberry picking excursion earlier this summer, and now they look like I took a tumble with a stressed-out porcupine. So it’s off to the mall, preferably with a girlfriend so we can go out for a martini afterwards to soothe our dressing room anxiety.

And as long as I can avoid elastic-waist jeans (Midlife Comfort) for one more year, we’ll call it a success.

-Amelia Sauter

and the winner is….

A LOT OF GREAT CAPTIONS for the Death cartoon were submitted last week:  20 on the Ithaca Post, and an additional four here at  Picking a winner was both entertaining and challenging. So challenging, in fact, that we have two winners, one from each website.  Check out the two captions below the cartoon, and you’ll see why we chose them both and not just one:

"I'm so tired of playing dead. Can't we play catch? Please?" -AND- "Ugh, I'm too tired to play fetch. How about we just play dead?"


Congratulations to Emily and Colleen!  Emily, send me your snail mail address.  Colleen, I know where you live.

Though not chosen as the winners, some of the other Ithaca Post staff favorites included:

“Bargaining won’t work; I’m a cat person.”

“I know it’s not much, Bowzer, but I can bring home more once business picks up again.”

“Don’t give me that look; my femur is not a toy!”

“I like your initiative, Spike, but the basic idea here is to collect the bones while they’re still attached.”

Thank you to everyone for participating, and let’s do it again soon.

-Amelia Sauter

caption contest

- your caption here -

WRITE YOUR OWN CAPTION! You’ve always wanted the opportunity to laugh in the presence of Death; here’s your chance. The winner will receive a limited edition A Year Full of Death Calendar 2011 filled with cartoons made by me, Amelia Sauter. I know, I know, there’s only five months left in 2011 but it’s the only merchandise I’ve created so far. And since only 20 calendars were printed, someday it could be worth a lot of money on eBay.

All captions should be submitted via comments on this blog post or the blog post at by midnight on Sunday, July 31. Please, don’t be too funny or you’ll make me look bad.


IN THEIR RECENT INTRODUCTION OF VIDEO CHAT, Facebook developers are barking up the wrong technology. They seem to be operating on the assumption that I want to chat with people. What they don’t realize is that Facebook, contrary to its name, is actually about avoiding people.

The whole point of Facebook is that we don’t have to talk to anyone. An awkward guy and his awkward friend created this interface so they could stare at people without having to speak to them. Of my 592 Facebook friends, only three have my phone number. I don’t know what I’d say if that girl from high school whose last name I don’t remember wanted to video chat. We used to have a lot of fun drawing cartoons in Miss Leister’s class, and we shared a mutual distaste for high school chemistry, but I doubt we have anything in common now. Using brief status updates and the ‘like’ button, I can collect and share basic facts with hazy apparitions from my past while avoiding time-consuming formalities such as, “How are you?” and “How many kids have you popped out?” and “Is your brother still robbing mini-marts?”

And what about those people whose status updates I’ve hidden because they drive me crazy? I’m guessing their chats would consist entirely of sharing news links, discussing Farmville, and reciting cut-out lines like, “If you appreciate your husband, copy and paste this as your status.” I imagine these people are as one-dimensional as their one-liners: “I have so much mucous in my nose today,” or, “I totally hate traffic jams!” A video chat with one of them might be short, but it will definitely be awkward.

Chatting on command is annoying enough. But video chatting? Hang on, I have to put on a bra so I don’t get in trouble for indecent Facebook content, change my stained shirt, brush my hair, and dab some cover-up on those dark circles under my eyes. Geez. I might as well leave the house if I have to do the full grooming it requires for people to see me.

The developers brag that while you video chat, you can multi-task and use other Facebook features simultaneously. Personally, I don’t want people to know what else I’m doing while I peruse Facebook. I eat potato chips, get out of my seat every thirty seconds, yell at the cat, and roll my eyes at things I’m reading. I also slouch, a habit I’ve worked hard at keeping out of the public eye. Even more unattractive is the sumo ponytail I pull on to the top of my head when I’m at my desk.

I suppose Facebook video chat is geared toward a younger generation, those whose eyes aren’t puffy in the morning and who like to call their best friends to discuss what outfit to wear to the mall. If Facebook really wanted to be useful to my generation, video chat would have an integrated auto-makeover so the image projected to friends smoothed wrinkles and shed pounds.

Or better yet, instead of video chat, Facebook could develop a multi-tasking feature that cleans my house, mows the lawn, and picks up the dog poop. That would buy me more time to sit on my butt in front of the computer, eating junk food and stealthily reading the banal status updates of the awkward people I haven’t seen in twenty years.

-Amelia Sauter