APW Book Tour: Washington, D.C.

The Amazing Wonderful Fabulous & Kind Team—Photographers: Hart & Sol West * Event Coordinator: Elaine from One More Page BooksDessert: Made by Rachel! * Extra thanks: to Rachel & Jenny for making this event possible! *

And then, just two days after the blowout Brooklyn APW book event, the DC event happened. I was hoping no one would notice how totally exhausted I was, but long time reader Ellie said to me afterwards on Twitter, “Truthfully, you totally looked like a politician who’s in the last stages of the campaign—exhilarated but exhausted.” Which sort of nailed it.

If you can believe it, the bookstore was just as packed as the Brooklyn event. Or, really, more packed. Because, you see, it turns out that the big bookstores in DC proper only like to take events for political books. And as much as I adore politics, that’s not the book I wrote… so… we ended up getting totally lucky. One More Page Books in Arlington, VA agreed to take us in, and they were profoundly kind and a great store (with wine!). They were the only bookstore of the whole tour, who believed us when we told them what turnout would be like, and they PREPARED for the oncoming storm. And what a lovely lady storm it was. We literally packed the bookstore so full that the people by the door were smashed in New York City subway style, and not another person could fit inside.

And then we chatted. It was my first event with no microphone, so as you can see, I made up for it with huge hand gestures. I’ve said that each talk has a different tone from the last, and that fact continues to amaze me. The D.C. talk had a sort of long emotional essay form style. We talked about personal and emotional stuff: why you fight during wedding planning, where we culturally lost the plot on what being a wife means, and where modern feminism is and where it should be. And then at the end, someone’s mother stood up, and said the one thing that always needs to be said. She talked about how her generation (my mom’s generation) had fought really hard for all of us to be able to make choices. They’d fought for us to have the option to work or stay home, to change our names or not. And that she wanted to see our generation using those choices without guilt. That feminism wasn’t stopping you from staying home with your kids, that in fact they’d fought and sacrificed to give us those choices. So, she hoped we used them well, and created the lives and marriages we needed. Amen to that.

Afterwards, I asked who didn’t consider themselves a feminist, and it was dead silent. I think sometimes we all need that reminder. No make good choices, empowered choices, with no guilt. Now go forth, and do.

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  • Yes! That is what I always try to tell people modern feminism is – not “man hating”, not anti-marriage or anti-family. And I realized it in high school when I watched the movie Mona Lisa Smile, which is a movie so many people think is terrible but I’ll be forever grateful to because it was probably my earliest inspiration in realizing what feminism was and that I was a feminist!

    I’m sort of sad that I live in a small city in Canada, nowhere even remotely near any of the book tour stops!

    • meg

      Feminist point of order: NO kind of feminism is about man hating, or is anti-marriage or anti-family. Feminism is about equal rights, which is something past generations sacrificed for us to have (and we still don’t totally have yet).

      • Yes, absolutely. I think my “modern” was misplaced.

    • That’s one of the things I loved about that movie too. I have my choice. And I’m free to make it.


    Yay! That’s me with my book-fan! Sad I missed the talk, but very happy to get to meet you finally and see a few of the DC ladies.

    • I’m sad I still haven’t met you!

      • MARBELLA

        I know, what’s going on?! I think I saw you when I first came in (late) but when I looked around again you were gone. I was 2nd last in line.

  • Awwww MEG! You and that lady in your penultimate paragraph are gonna make me cry. Awesome stuff. It needs to be said and it’s gives me chills. Now I just need to know one more thing. After you recover from this tour, when are you coming to the UK!? :P

    • I seriously got chills and almost teared up when that woman said “Feminism fought for choice!” and other wise things, as Meg described.

  • Sharon

    To my surprise, a book tour entry made me tear up. It’s happened before with other posts, but somehow the profound words from someone’s mother, and your last sentence “now go forth, and do” made me feel all kinds of sentimental. The fact that we have choices, choices that my mother didn’t have, is something to savor with gratitude. This entry provided me with a brief moment to step back and acknowledge that. Thank you.

  • “So, she hoped we used them well, and created the lives and marriages we needed.” Wow, that’s a really potent reminder. Love.

  • Am loving the book tour posts. I wish wish wish you were coming to Minneapolis! Next book tour, perhaps?
    Thanks, also, for the tidbits about guilt. We all need ’em.

  • Emily

    Meg and Team Practical, I can’t thank you all enough for stopping by DC!! Monday was magical for me. I’ve never considered myself a feminist and now I know why… I never knew WHAT a feminist really was. After hearing the mother speak at the end of the event, by God if I haven’t been one all along, I don’t know what I’ve been! Damn straight, ladycakes. Women have fought for years so that I can have the choice to be the woman I want to be. And if I want to be a ball-busting, kickass, super nicely dressed and well put together businesswoman? Well, watch me rock it.

    I’m glad we got to talk about my “My Sister’s Wedding” syndrom. It’s similar to blog-wedding-envy, but it’s so much more tangible and intimate because it’s about your family. My sister’s wedding was gorgeous, but she had double the budget my parents could afford because her husband’s family contributed quite a bit and she had been saving for a long time. I’m preengaged and our lifestyle is fundamentally different than my sisters, so I know I’ll have to fiercely build and protect my future baby family. Actually, I’m more worried about having to fight with my sister than my mother, but at least there is an entire Team DC Practical community behind me, whenever that time might come.

    And for God’s sake, hell YES I’ll take the Belgian lace dress if it’s an option!!!

    • Amanda

      I want to hear more about this “My Sister’s Wedding” syndrome you speak of…

      • Emily

        For me, it’s figuring out how to navigate my (hopefully) future wedding after my older sister (who was also the first grandchild to get married) had “the perfect wedding” – complete with fancy invitations, a sit down meal, the family lace mantilla, homemade strawberry jam, etc. Her wedding was lovely and I had the best time ever. We talked about it for a year after it happened and watched the video at Christmas. Now, I worry about having to measure up to her level of wedding success. And I know, I’m worrying before there is any need at all (it’s my MO!), but my boyfriend and I have gone ring shopping and are finally in the same city after 4 years of a long distance relationship, so it’s been on my mind.

        I’ve actually thought multiple times about writing a post about it (or about my realizations of preengagement while being long distance), but wasn’t sure anyone would relate or that maybe it was too close to what we talk about with wedding blog envy. Glad to know you were curious!

  • I am literally more excited to see the picture of my cake pops than the one with my face! haha.

    Such a great event, thanks again for coming!! One More Page is now pretty much my favorite place in Arlington. Going back this weekend to buy all their chocolate, to start with.

    • Emily

      Um, they were AMAZING and I was so blown away that there were gluten free varieties. Made. My. Night! :) Thank you so much!

    • liz

      i’m certifiably more excited about your cake pops than my face.

      • meg

        FAIL LIZ. I’m more excited about your face than any cake pop.

    • Buy the Theo Bread & Butter chocolate. You’ll thank me later. Unless you have a gluten allergy.

    • Jenn’s Mom

      The cake pops were delicious by the way!

    • Sarah H.

      Those cake pops were super good!! I was standing by them for awhile and recommending them to anyone who even glanced at them. :-)

      Any chance I could get the recipe?

  • Reading this blog really helped me PROUDLY identify as a feminist. Before it was a quiet thing, because I don’t really know anyone else who does, and the culture I grew up in tended to treat it as a dirty word. I was always, “Well, yeah, I guess I believe the same things as other people who call themselves feminists, but…” Now? Now I’m all, “FUCK YEAH, I’M A FEMINIST! Why aren’t you?!” So, thanks. Thanks for a lot of things, Meg. I’ve got a long thank you note to you rambling around my mind, but for now I’ll say: Thanks for helping me find my feminist voice.

  • COLORS! Magical, wonderful colors!

  • Yay DC! It was such a lovely evening and so great to meet you! I’ll be getting on that post you asked for soon!

  • Meg, you’re adorable. As is D-Day. I so wish I lived in DC!! (Never really thought I’d say that…)

  • Sara Koz

    I was there!!! Yet reading that piece about the mother that stood up just made my eyes well up with tears. I nodded emphatically in person when she said it and today it made me weep with pride all over again. (*ahem* maybe it’s also because thanks to that choice that our mothers fought for, today I happily gave planned parenthood some extra love in the form of sweet american dollars. The idea of standing up for what we believe in and honoring others’ fights … whether it’s our freedom to make our own healthcare decisions or to reclaim wife, this blog and each of you has restored my faith in feminism). Meg, thank you for all you do!

    another sidenote: I brought my beloved along with me (woohoooo) and we’re both totals inspired to take an Amtrak trip now. We also met our soon-to-be-booked wedding photographer (hi Amber Lupin Wilkie APW sponsor!) and OMG WE’RE SO EXCITED! I’ve got a lot of joy, sorry. Ha!

    ~ S

  • Audrey

    I had the best time at the DC Book Talk. And a total revelation about feminist values.

    When I was an undergrad I took a Women’s Studies course that left a really bad taste in my mouth. Enough of a bad taste in my mouth that I had a really hard time connecting myself with feminism. I realized I had choices, and that I like being girly (at times), but I hadn’t really come to grips with the fact that I was, in fact a feminist, until Meg asked who didn’t consider themselves a feminist. It was SO freeing (and made me hate that course I took just a touch more). Thanks Meg!

  • Can I ask why everyone is raising their hand in one of the pictures?

    • Emily

      I believe that’s when Meg polled the audience for who was married, engaged, or other…

    • Meg asked who in the room was married vs engaged vs neither. I think that’s the engaged group. =)

  • Ah Meg, count me in age-appropriate line with that feminist Mom-lady in the audience. Hell, yeah, we fought and made All That Noise so you-all can do what the f**k you want and define yourself any which way you want, as a Woman. So, you go and Just Do It All.

    You’re welcome ;-) Carry on, you’re all doing great.

    Oh and Meg? Listen to mom and get some sleep, okay?!!

    • meg

      Sniffle. I slept all morning today, thank you.

  • MDBethann

    I was there and it was awesome Meg – thank you again. I’ve been reading your book on my commute home all week and I have been talking about your talk, the book, and the blog to several of the gals at work this week who’ve asked me about wedding stuff. I have been planning my wedding and making choices that worked for us before I was introduced to APW, but it is so refreshing and empowering to have this community in which no one tells you what a wedding *should* look like. Thank you for starting this community and helping it grow.

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  • JEM

    You know what [one of] my favorite part[s] was? When we were transitioning from talk to book-signing and they made an announcement to move the chairs so we could form a line and *everyone* just scurried and helped and just Got It Done. So indicitive of the Team APW-type!

    • I misjudged the traffic and got there 2 hours early (yet was only the 2nd one there) so I helped set up the chairs and I was thinking “OMG I’m Doing It Together just like a real APWer!” Hahahaha.

      • JEM

        A lady after my own heart, I am always early. :)

        And yes to DIT!

        • I’m actually always, always late but I didn’t want to screw up seeing Meg! So I guess I overcompensated.

  • clampers

    What?! Where is the photo of Meg with her shoes off? You’re throwing me off here.


    • MDBethann

      She had kick-ass boots on for the DC stop.

    • meg

      More are coming. But taking off boots is hard.

    • Cassandra

      I totally noticed this too, but figured those pretty boots were more comfortable and harder to remove on the sly, with no podium in front ;)

    • haha I thought the exact same thing!

  • Tennymo

    Thanks so much for making it down, giving your all when your energy was flagging, and for taking a chance on a random girl tweeting at you. :) it was a fabulous talk. I took my fiancé as well as my roommates, a lesbian couple who are getting married a few months after us, and another engaged friend and I think I have converted them all into huge fans and new readers in the span of an evening.

    • I think we sat next to you guys at Cafe Soleil. You guys are awesome!

  • Damn, these posts make me wish I could’ve gone to ALL THE CITIES, if only to hear the different tenor of all the discussions.

    • Yep. We should have been the groupies that followed Meg around the country.

  • kellilu


    “She talked about how her generation (my mom’s generation) had fought really hard for all of us to be able to make choices. They’d fought for us to have the option to work or stay home, to change our names or not. And that she wanted to see our generation using those choices without guilt.”

    This. This idea of making choices, even if it isn’t the one popularly known as “feminist” – this is truly liberating. I’m tearing up a little right now as a little more of the guilt of wanting to have babies and stay home with them for a while lifts away…

    Thank you, to all the women who fought for this, and to the women who remind us of the gift of options.

    • meg

      I donno. It”s what was always known as feminist around my house. My mom was also an active hard fighting feminist, and she stayed home with us. Because she fucking wanted to, and that’s what she’d fought for. The end. That’s what feminism IS. Being able to make those choices. And it’s only in the last few generations that we’ve been able to make those choices on our own, not have them made for us. I think we do all those women who fought so hard for what we have by giving up now, and not calling ourselves feminists… by allowing that word to be reclaimed by hate-mongers and people who want to take our choices (and our ability to disagree with each other and discuss!) away.

      • At Home/Work…… it’s really all the same.

        Sometimes women “of my generation” who pushed so hard and fought and Spoke Up find it incredibly HARD to listen to 20- and 30-somethings who say they’re not “feminists” and that it’s different now and they can choose their lives and that the glass ceiling is a myth. Sometimes we can be bitter that what we fought so hard for is taken for grated. BUT, that’s exactly what we were fighting for, duh! You-all have choices. We helped. It feels invisible, the fight feels invisible, but if you look (and you are looking, right?!) you’ll see where your choices come from.

        All we ask, all we should be asking of you, is that you continue to choose your own way and fight and defy any bits of bias you encounter — do it for your sons (yup) and your daughters.

        *gets off soapbox* (but will not shut up — nor should you)

        • Thanks for not shutting up.

          I wasn’t at the talk but am enjoying this conversation. It’s making me think about the ways we as feminists have of passing down information, history and “permission” for living our life choices.

          How do we learn stuff, when so much of our history is not necessarily written down or documented in traditional forms? I’ve read some feminist theory/history books, but most are not mainstream or readily available, etc.

        • Suzy

          I’m one of the 20-somethings who used to take my choices for granted, and thought that we didn’t really *need* feminism or feminists anymore….. but then I hear things in the news like this recent uproar in the Catholic church about being “forced” to pay for contraception in their employees’ insurance policies under the new health care law. As an employee of a Catholic university, this will impact me directly and so…. I realized that heck yeah, I should have control over my body and when I choose to make babies with it! It was surprising (maybe it shouldn’t have been) to realize this is something our generation still has to fight to preserve.

          And also together with that – thank you to APW for basically doing “consciousness-raising” in this new, open-minded way….

  • kayakgirl73

    It was a great evening. Wonderful talk and wonderful crowd. I also found a new bookstore that I didn’t know existed. Yay.

    Meg made so many good points as she always does online, but there was just something about being there in person to hear her speak

    I really loved the mom’s point at the end, about her generation fighting for choices. We need to continue the fight to allow choices and to also not condemn others who make different choices. One example that comes to my mind is the “mommy wars”. They need to stop. Why should women beat each other up for different choices?

  • We had so much fun at the talk and the after party! I’m so glad you could come out!

  • 30/67 = pretty much the greatest photo ever.

  • I must confess that one of my favorite things about seeing all these photos is seeing what’s on the bookcase behind you when you are speaking.

  • This looked like a great night! (As have all the book tour events.) It’s fun to hear about each of them and see so many APW people coming together in person…

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  • That’s my mom!! So you are welcome that I brought her with me =). We had been on a marathon week of wedding planning (I flew back from Arizona to find a new venue when our existing venue fell through), touring 6 venues, meeting with 2 caterers, going to the bridal showcase, and discussing wedding planning non-stop. When she raised her hand I had no idea what she would say, I thought maybe she was going to tell a funny story about the ridiculous booths at the bridal showcase (teeth whitening, Zap-A-TAT, lipo, a man in a wedding dress with a tool belt doing home repairs…). I was so proud of my mom for what she actually said, since it was so fitting and resonated with so many APWers. Sometimes my mom (Melinda Bloom) just knows how to be the mom in the room and impart some wisdom. I am so glad to have her by my side in this wedding planning craziness.

    By the way, she loved the event and has been reading the book and the blog now and was really moved by the quote “The thing is that the experience of getting married is in some ways indescribable. It is as if you walk through this invisible door and something happens, but you can only see it by looking back through the door at where you were before” and the discussion of how it is hard on moms because they have been through that door and know what’s ahead.

    • meg

      Sniffle, the last paragraph makes me all sniffly.

  • Oh wow, I would have loved to have been there for that. Hooray, feminism!

    I love the hand gestures, btw!

    Also, you say ladystorm, but I’m blown away by how many dudes are in that audience too. I’m go glad to see our fellas jumping on board (even if it’s just in support of their partners)

    • meg

      There have been about that many fellas at EVERY event, and at every event one guy has asked a question.

  • Margi

    Meg – I am so happy that I got to meet you and hear you speak! I was so shy when I finally got to meet you that I just couldn’t think of anything to say to you and said nothing! But you are just as awesome as I expected you to be. You have a strong voice online that really comes out in your personality in-person.

    I am one of the ones who you called your “favorites” at the talk. You asked who was engaged, who was married, and who was, as you said, “happily neither.” I am going to start using that when people ask me about my relationship status with my boyfriend.

    One of my favorite questions was when one woman asked about your partner being your best friend. It is really reassuring to be reminded that your partner shouldn’t be your whole world and that it is ok – that putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea.

    The question about making your partner your new #1 in your life is also an issue I’ve been struggling with in my own life and relationship.

    And finally, thank you for creating such a community of women where I have found a place that I belong. I love my friends who are amazing women, but trying to have discussions on issues that are raised on APW with them is difficult. By finding this community with people who are not afraid to tackle the difficult issues – I’ve finally found a place that I belong and that my voice is being heard. I finally feel normal and not like I’ve been missing some important woman chip.

    SO, THANK YOU, Meg and thank you APW community!!!

  • Sarah H.

    So glad to finally meet some members of APW in real life! (I’m the patch of purple and blond hair that’s in the corner of some pictures of Meg talking. 15 pixels of fame!)

    That was such a fun event, and the after-party was great too. Go Team APW!

  • Isabel

    Meg- Will you or have you been to Chicago to talk about the book? I really would love to sit in!

  • Beth

    Thank you again, Meg, Maddie, and all the wonderful APWers. I have not found too many in central PA, so it was just awesome to connect with so many smart, funny, and warm women. I have descibed the experience to friends and family as this: “I never joined a sorrority or wanted to… but THIS GROUP would be my sorrority!!” Thanks for all the wisdom, humor, and strength to stay sane!!

  • April

    I *LOVE* the photos of Meg with her arms wide open chatting up the crowd, talking with her hands and being expressive. *LOVE!* And I literally cannot wait to attend one of these tour sessions.

    Lastly: Meg – you have a great sense of style. Sassy outfit, lady!

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