An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

In the running towards becoming

Now that I have picked myself up off the floor…

Yesterday I spent several hours at Canoe Studios on 26th street in Manhattan for a photo shoot that will appear in the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It was straight out of a movie or television show, exactly what you’d think a bright New York loft studio would look and feel like, everyone running around with Very Important Things To Do. And then I walked into the room, no make-up on, no product in my frizzy hair as instructed by the stylist, and was like HEY, Y’ALL! Anybody got some pork rinds?!

Which reminds me. WARNING: TANGENT FORTHCOMING. So Marlo chipped her tooth, right? And she’s constantly crawling around mumbling, “Bobo. Bobo. Bobo.” At first we thought she picked that word up at my sister’s house because her Beagle’s name is Bo. But then Jon and I were going through a list of words with her — mama, dada, deeda, cuck, shithead — and when we got to Marlo she’d say, “BOBO!” My chipped-tooth baby calls herself Bobo.

It’s time to prop up a tire-less pick-up truck on cinder blocks in her bedroom. And over her crib we’ll hang a poster of Chuck Norris in a denim shirt with the sleeves ripped off.

Mornin’, Bobo!

I got to spend the first part of the day getting to know the editors and stylists and make-up artists while the the photographer shot the woman who will be featured in their November issue. And during that time I tried on the clothes I’d be wearing, eventually ending up in a giant white bathrobe and fluffy white slippers to wear until it was time for my shoot. And that was exactly what I was wearing when one of the editors came running in to tell me that Gwyneth Paltrow was filming something next door, that she was at the other side of the building about to come down the hall. We had just been talking about her, about how I had been featured in a newsletter about postpartum depression on her website, about the fact that Chris Martin is at the top of my list, followed very closely by Brad Pitt and David Beckham if he promised not to open his mouth and say anything.

Some people have very strong opinions about Gwyneth Paltrow, and you may think she is snooty and totally out of touch, but I couldn’t disagree with you more. I’ve been an admirer of her for years and probably have too much of my brain space occupied by facts about her life, her children, the loss of her father, and the fact that she openly admitted to feeling lost and confused after the birth of her son. For a celebrity of her magnitude, that’s huge. And so generous to women considering her platform.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. That’s what went through my head as I ran out of the studio in my robe and slippers. I waited at the end of the hall for her to come around the corner, a jillion incoherent syllables jumping around in my brain, and when she appeared, when the blinding light from her blonde hair and towering frame came into view, I saw the terrified look on her face. Like: OH MY GOD. I AM ABOUT TO BE ASSAULTED BY PETER PAN IN A BATHROBE.

I must have looked like a complete idiot, like some crazed stalker with skinned rabbits on her feet. Can you even imagine what she was thinking? Because she was totally avoiding eye contact with me. I would have avoided eye contact with me. I’d have been like, Peter? Here, you can have my wallet! Here’s my watch! Just please don’t try to pick me up and fly out the window!

To stem any further awkward seconds of our life I quickly approached her and said, “I hate to inconvenience you, but I wanted you to know that I am the woman whose website you featured a couple of weeks ago in your newsletter, the one about postpartum depression.”

And it was like I had just doused a fire with a giant bucket of water. Her shoulders relaxed and she smiled like she does in the movies.

“You’re that woman?!” she asked excitedly. I wanted to tell her that if I had a dime for every time someone has asked me that exact question…

Then she asked if she could hug me.

Um, yeah.



Let’s just say that this hug made the act of teaching Kourtney Kardashian how to change a diaper seem very much like the act of teaching Kourtney Kardashian how to change a diaper.

And then we talked for a few minutes more about postpartum depression, how so much more needs to be done about it, how I successfully went on to have Marlo. And then we both thanked each other as we walked back to our respective studios. That’s when she said, “Life is kind of strange, isn’t it? That we’d both end up here on the same day? So good to meet you.”

I walked back into the studio where everyone was waiting to hear what had happened, and immediately my legs wobbled and I hit the floor: was she nice? Did you guys talk? Did she smell good? Did you tell her how you feel about Chris?

Yes, yes, yes, and are you out of your mind? Now that I’ve met Gwyneth I have to take Chris off of my list! THOSE ARE THE RULES. Brad moves to the top spot, now leaving room for Zac Efron in the top five. (He’s legal. I checked.)

The photo shoot? Let’s just say THANK GOD I haven’t ever missed an episode of America’s Next Top Model. I was smizing! I was fierce! I was remembering my neck! I was living a little girl’s dream standing there in designer clothes, a photographer shouting, “GOOD! GREAT! LOVE IT!” Never before have I had so much fun pretend-laughing over my shoulder!

This is going to get me in so much trouble, but the photographer David, he was incredible, had really great energy, treated me so kindly, and because of him I now have a new favorite joke: what do you call a lesbian dinosaur?


(Sorry, Dad!)

  • Camels and Chocolate

    This is one of your best chance encounters yet! I, too, also adore Gwyneth, and Chris has long been at the top of my list since I saw him in concert in Germany six years ago.

    But since I’ve yet to meet her, he can stay put. HA! I win.

  • yomisswoodaddy

    Congratulations to you! What a wonderful experience, and BTW, he’s on my list too. And my four-year-old is currently dancing to Viva La Vida.

  • WebSavyMom

    –>She has always been one of my favorite celebrities because she’s smart, beautiful and still seems real. Congrats on the magazine feature too.

    I’m sure BoBo/MarCo and Leta were happy for you to return home.

  • wordsbecomeone

    I am shocked that you did not mention that GP actually has slept with BOTH of your top two. Shouldn’t Brad Pitt be disqualified from your list since he’s her ex? We should check the rule book. You don’t want her sloppy seconds.

    PS – my jealousy is off the charts ridiculous. I actually subscribe to the GOOP newsletter. I love her!!!

  • Utahcouple

    Wow – dooce and goop are at the top of my bookmarks. So jealous that you got to meet Gwyneth! I love seeing these amazing nuggets of Heather’s life every week. Oh, and all of the lesbians I know have a sense of humor so I’m sure you will get minimal hate mail on your joke, er, David’s joke.

  • scatterbox

    The part where she asked YOU for a hug? Teared up. Would have even without the PMS. a) Meeting someone you admire so much, and 2) having them be excited to meet you in return? Friggamazing. I would have just babbled mixed-up words, as is my M.O.

    I was also slightly scarred when I first heard Beckham speak, so I think that puts his cap at the number 2 spot.

  • craftyashley

    I love GP! She exudes awesomeness. And while I have absolutely zero self control to even begin to follow her nutrition ideas, I still think she’s amazing.

    As for redneck nicknames. I have you trumped. A family member that is more closely related to me than I’d care to admit called her baby boy “Bubba” Hell, she still does! The poor kid is, like, eight! Ugh. Hello, white trash family.

  • dfunkmcgunk

    I love that Marlo calls herself Bobo, but what I love even more than that is that she calls Leta, “DEEDA”. I got a real chuckle out of that because that’s what my sister, Caitlyn, would call me because she couldn’t pronounce, “DANA”. To this day, people in my family still call me Deeda. My dad actually calls me Deeda Marida, because instead of wanting to be called Bobo I picked the name Marida. No one knows where I got it from.

    I can’t wait to find out what my soon-to-be-born baby boy calls himself one day!

  • one-in-three

    I would have died. You hugged GP!?!?! Yep, would have died.

  • Brookin82

    I bet it was easy to smize for the photoshoot after that! Amazing!

    I thought I was lucky being in the same Whole Foods as Juliet Lewis last night…but I think running into GP is way cooler.

  • Wombat Central

    I hope you had your iPhone in your bathrobe pocket to capture that moment!

  • Truthful Mommy

    Awesome. See, I know how you felt. It’s the exact same way I will feel if I run into You at BlogHer 11, next year.Of course, my composure would be slightly less than yours was. Gwyneth sounds like the awesomeness I knew she would be.Hooray for you!Chris is pretty hot but have you seen Alexandar Skarsgard? OMG, I would totally hit the floor and DIE if I ran into him…bathrobe or not.Can’t wait to see your issue!Happy Mothering!

  • tracy

    Well who would have thought I’d have something in common with Gwyneth: we’ve both asked if we could hug you.

    But since I don’t really follow celeb stories, I have to know. What’s everyone’s obsession with how Gwyneth smells? What am I missing, people? Is it really THAT good? Do I need to add “smell gwyneth Paltrow” to my life list?

  • Gulliver1

    Lickalotapuss. I cannot stop laughing!

  • lori.ann.mcvay

    LOL! Oh, Dooce! How would I ever get through my dissertation without you and your bizarrely fantastic encounters?

  • Leball

    Ha ha ha! That is awesome. So jealous and so happy for you! I love GP and read Goop all the time. I can’t wait to see you in that magazine!

  • sweetpotatopie

    I’m another Gwyneth lover. Wow that didn’t sound right. But honestly, I think people are intimidated by her because she is well educated and articulate and has style and grace. Which is increasingly rare in Hollywood, sadly.

    Love that you two met and that you got so giddy about it. The funny thing is that that is exactly how all of us would feel if we had a chance encounter with YOU.

    Bobo = cutest thing EVER.

  • Just Jill

    I literally LOL’d at your ANTM line. I admit that damn show is one of my few guilty pleasures. Someday I hope to be in a photo shoot so I get the chance to show off my fierce mad modeling skills learned from Tyra!

    Congratulations on an awesome week – you deserve it!

  • ibis

    I am SICK with jealousy right now.

  • kwhitlock

    What do you call a gay dinosaur?


  • mommyoffour

    I love you, Heather. You are awesome.

  • Brookelyn Bridge

    Bobo is the sweetest nickname in the world! That’s the same nickname as my son’s.
    (I love tangents)

  • RyantheGirl

    I have been having a really shitty day and this post almost made me spit coffee on my computer screen from laughing so hard. Awesome. Um, so, can I be the new Tyrant? Pretttty pretty puh-lease with a cherry on top?

  • Stass

    Awesome! I am with you on that Zac Effron, how can so many teens be into that Bieber twerp when Zac is right there? One day they’ll see.
    Can’t wait for your issue!

  • kristanhoffman

    This story? Makes you the valedictorian of my day. Thank you!

  • Anu

    hahaha very funny. Am so glad you got to meet GP and it’s even more wonderful that you were featured on her blog. Good for you!

  • kcbelles

    HA! Lickalotapuss! I love it – can’t wait to get home to tell my partner; she’s gonna love it, too!

  • Tara Newhole

    WORD! I love Gwyneth. She is HAWT.

    Oh, and here’s another classic les-bun joke for you. My personal fave:

    What do you call 10,000 lesbians with machine guns?
    Militia Etheridge.


  • raddit

    Dude, my favorite aunt (who yes, just happens to live in Alabama, where I’m from) is named Bobo. Well, okay, technically it’s her nickname, but to everyone in our family, she IS Bobo. I love Bobo. But she has no chipped teeth.

  • The Prima Momma

    Mmm hmmm – we have very similar lists!

    What a fun story! As awesome as meeting GP would be, my favorite part is still the fact that sweet Marlo calls herself Bobo. Too cute.

  • Amber

    there is only one word (and three punctuation marks) for this post and the events covered therein:


  • Brea

    I have a male cousin who everyone still calls Momo. The guy is in his late 30’s.

    This was the same cousin who was give Kool-Aid in a baby bottle. After the mention of cinder blocks in the bedroom, maybe Heather and I are actually related.

  • The Fabulous Mrs. Chevy

    I am absolutely impressed that you were able to form a coherent statement. Last year I met David Sedaris, my all-time literary hero. I stood in line for over two hours after his reading to get my fave book signed and spent this entire time trying to think of something intelligent and witty to say. What did I end up with? He drew a bunny in my front cover (it was close to Easter) and he asked if bunnies had whiskers. I replied, “Yes, bunnies have whiskers.” He finished the picture, signed his name, and we walked away. THAT WAS IT. I kicked myself for about 4 blocks while my husband made fun of me (he still does).

    I am going to another reading in October and am starting to prepare myself now.

  • sgigs

    Love it!!! Thank you for bringing back some of your old stylings- classic dooce. It’s been missed.

  • K.a.t.h.e.r.i.n.e.

    Oh, Bobo! This is totally what you get for calling her Lil Donette and posing for cig/donut pictures during your pregnancy.

    Looking forward to her room redecorating pics on Design Happens!

  • christine1127

    I couldn’t wait to come over here and celebrate the overturning of Prop 8 in California!!! I met you guys and talked with you about this when you were in LA for a meet and greet during the elections. I’m SO happy today. Now the lesbian dinosaur can get married here in CA!

    Cool that you met Gwyneth. I got butterflies when I read your tweet. Is your heart still pounding?

  • mommymae

    you are 2 degrees from coldplay now! holy awesome! which means i’m 3 degrees from coldplay since i follow you on twitter. double awesome!

    tangent – i tried to comment on the post about bobo’s chipped tooth, but it was wack-a-doo, so i’ll briefly say that my daughter broke off her entire front adult tooth in february & we have been to hell and back with it since. she is in the final stages of getting it fixed after seeing one bajillion specialist and having 3 separate root canals. i hope you guys have a much easier time with bobo.

    also? my kids are watching “hook” right now. i thought that was keen, peter.

  • soph

    You’re funny.

  • Sarah McDougall

    JEAL-OUS! (America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12)

  • Naperville Now

    Heather: you crack me up. Thanks for stalking Gwyneth for us. And hugging her.

  • WindyLou


  • LifesBeenGood

    As one of your Resident Dykes, I have to say I surely would have thought that as worldly and well traveled as you are that you would have heard that joke eons ago… lol!

    Love you!

    And about BoBo’s tooth… As my mother says, “She’ll be better before’s she’s married.”

    Keep up the great work!

  • d3 voiceworks

    yeah, what she said, above. SO OLD! happy you now know that joke!

    just wondering how the hell you find the time to know what gwyneth is posting, watch top models, do all the stuff you do … with the 2 young ‘uns? i left the house at 730 tonight to get some work done.

  • dragonfish

    totally, totally unrelated but I was kind of thinking this might need to hang in your house somewhere. not quite a hippo or chicken, but….

    it might have to hang in my house as well, actually.

  • mrswilson


    I’m a fan of Gwyneth as well, and think it’s awesome when anyone with any sort of platform sheds light on postpartum depression. Woo!

  • loysturner

    This is great! I actually cam across Goop last week and recommended it to several friends, only to see a few days later that you were in the most recent newsletter! YAY! I’m also a huge Coldplay groupie and Chris Martin really does it for me. Thanks for the joke! My husband is always known as the comic around our abode so I will be pleased to one-up him with this one.

  • vtsoar

    I was just reading her PPD info on goop! My kids’ first day of school was today and I was like ,”Wait!one-more-minute!Wait!”

    Man, Heather really made the best of a chance encounter! What a lovely thing to have happen. I’m so glad the day was uplifting, the Armstrong’s deserve it.

  • georgiagirl

    Congrats on meeting GP! So excited for you!

    Now for the real reason I’m commenting. We call my son Bobo. My niece, who we call Booboo, and is 6 months younger than my son, started calling him Bobo as soon as she was able to form words. We thought it was so cute it kinda stuck. He is 10 now and is starting to think he’s too old to be called that, but we all refuse to stop, so he might as well embrace it, I told him.

    Anyway, I was gonna post a picture of him here just to prove that back-woods people, we are not. But then I couldn’t figure out how to post it.

    And now your thinking, ‘yeah. And she calls her son Bobo and her niece Booboo.’

    Um…yeah. Love you, Heather! And your sweet Bobo. 🙂

  • JillyMack06

    You’ve lived out my exact celebrity fantasy…except that maybe Gwen and I become best friends and Moses and my daughter get married…That’s just so awesome!

  • TexasKatie

    This is my favorite post of yours in a while! SO cool that you got to meet Apple’s mommy!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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