1. Are you a fat, sexless, bitter, femi-nazi that lives in a bunker writing missives against cheating men?
2. Okay, how about bitter? You’re bitter, aren’t you?
Actually I think I taste rather crunchy and sweet, like granola.
But bitter, as in angry, pinched and mean? No. I’ve moved on after infidelity, I’m happily remarried, and a pretty jolly sort. But I do write in strong terms about infidelity. I think cheating is about power and greed. It’s about maintaining an unfair advantage over a faithful partner, and so I have some choice words to say about that. Chump Lady is written for chumps, the underdog, the people who have been cheated on.
Anger is part of that, and from anger comes a lot of humor, really. If you can laugh at some of the absurdity and pomposity of cheating, you can take some of your power back.
The “bitter” thing always surprises me, because I did not start this blog in the throes of infidelity discovery. I began it many years out (my DDay was in 2006), from the vantage point of arriving on the happier side of a new life. It’s precisely because I’m further away from it, that I think I can write about it with some perspective. I created Chump Lady to be the sort of place I wish had existed when I found out I’d been cheated on. I wanted some hope that I’d get out of this thing sane. I write to let people know that yes, you’ll get out — and it’s possible (IMO probable) that you will have a much better, happier, saner life without a cheating spouse.
3. Is that your real hair?
Do you think I would choose this hair if I wasn’t born with it? Yes, this is my real hair (if you’ve seen me on HuffPo Live). It’s naturally curly and I’ve come to peace with it. I’m not (as some have suggested) hiding behind my overgrown mop. It actually looks even more ridiculous short.
4. Who draws the cartoons?
I draw the cartoons, and write the blog. I’ve been a published cartoonist, my work has appeared in Brain, Child magazine and I once sat on the velvet sofas on the 20th floor of the Conde Nast building and showed my portfolio to Bob Mankoff of the New Yorker. (My one brush with cartoon greatness.)
They start as pen and ink sketches and I scan them into Photoshop and add color.
5. Do you think all men are baddies and they just cheat on women? Why do you hate men?
I try very hard to make Chump Lady a site that is gender and orientation neutral. I’m absolutely flummoxed when people comment on HuffPo that I pick on men, or think all men are cheaters, and all that garbage. OF COURSE infidelity affects men! Unless men are cheating with other men (that happens) or with goats (I suppose that happens too), they cheat with WOMEN. So yes, women cheat. And yes women cheating is every bit as vile as men cheating.
I find the whole which-gender-has-the-shorter-end-of-the-infidelity-stick debate really tedious.
I also get annoyed when people try and categorize Chump Lady as a women’s site. This happened to me at a blog conference this summer. Some young guys were critiquing my site (I’d asked them to, that was the point of the panel), and one said “Oh, this is for chicks.” I explained that no, it was for chumps. He replied, “whatever.” And the other one said “Don’t be afraid of your base. Men would never read this.”
Well, men do read it and my first letter came from a guy. (A straight guy, although gay men have written to me as well, off site.) So a pox on the haters!
6. Who are you really?
Is this an existential question? My name is Tracy Schorn. In my other life I’m a journalist and write mostly these days about organic farming, and have recently trained to be an organic inspector. I live outside Austin, Texas in a small town with my husband and my son, two ill-behaved dogs, and an aloof cat.
7. You’re not over your ex. If you were over your ex, you wouldn’t write this bitter blog.
I am over my ex, thanks for asking. If you were mugged, and then went on to teach self defense, would you say you were hung up on your mugger? If you had cancer and did public service campaigns about screenings for early detection, would you say you had a cancer obsession?
The point of Chump Lady is to help other people navigate the trauma of infidelity. Insomuch as I talk about my ex, it’s to relate my own experience to that of others. My ex is a stranger to me (frankly, he was probably always a stranger to me). I feel “meh” about him and truly feel sad and scared for any women that get tangled up with him, as he’s a first rate mindfuck.
I am over my ex. I cannot honestly say if I am over the experience of infidelity. It did forever change me, and I don’t think that’s all bad. It’s made me stronger, less naive, and more appreciative of the good people I have in my life. It’s also given me a great education on personality disorders and manipulative characters, which is invaluable. I think the greatest lesson I learned from infidelity is that I have blind spots. I assume that others perceive the world in the same way I do. That what I wish to believe can bias me from what is.
After infidelity, I try not to let my heart trip up my head as much. I’m all about the evidence now, and not the potential.
8. Judgmental much?
Yeah, I’ll cop to judgmental. Frankly, it makes for better reading. I have opinions. Foremost of which is that infidelity is not about sex or unhappiness or muffin tops or WTFever — it’s about greed and advantage. If people are unhappy being monogamous, they should be open about that and let their partner make an informed decision. If people are unhappy about their marriages, they should get therapists or divorce lawyers. I don’t tend to buy excuses and I have a sharp tongue. (I come from a long line of women with tongues far more vicious than mine. “Judgmental” is my birthright.)
9. How come you get to write for Huffington Post?
They asked me to. I started commenting, was asked to participate in some HuffPo panels, and then was kindly asked to submit a blog. From there, I got put in the roster. I am not paid, except in exposure to this site and the nebulous recompense that is “building your brand.” But I am very grateful to the producers of HuffPo for the soapbox they have given me.