When I was about 7 years old, my mother and I were shopping at the market near our weekend house in Harbert, Mich., a small town about an hour and a half from Chicago. I was wholly uninterested in helping her pick out groceries, so I was up front nosing through the old wooden magazine rack.
While picking out my usual favorites -- the latest Mad Magazine and a handful of PennyPress variety puzzles -- my gaze landed on a magazine I hadn't seen before. A glamorous, completely nude woman was sprawled across the cover, her lady bits covered by one carefully angled thigh and two strategically placed arms.
When my mother walked over to check out, I held up the magazine.
"What's Playboy?" I asked.
"Well ..." she replied, no doubt mortified beyond belief. "It's a magazine for men, with, um ... pictures of naked women."
I looked back at the magazine rack, searching, and turned back to her, "Why isn't there a Playgirl?"
Of course, there was -- and still is -- a Playgirl magazine. They just didn't have it at the market, a fact I found incredibly unjust even though I had no real interest in what filled its pages.
Even at 7, I was keenly aware when it seemed the guys were having all the fun.
A few decades later, and I'm once again feeling left out, once again wondering where the Playgirl is. Figuratively, of course.
For years, I've been reading sports blogs all over the Internet. I'm a sports reporter with an improv background who grew up wanting to host "Talk Soup" and write the captions for "Pop Up Video," so I've always felt at home in the places where comedy and sports meet.
The problem is, once I've found those places I've too often felt like an outsider; like I've snuck onto my boyfriend's computer and stumbled upon password-locked stories meant for his eyes only. Mixed in with the sports and pop culture are anecdotes about those awful moments in life when women want to be included in "guy stuff," such as fantasy football leagues or Vegas vacations.
I'm not naive enough to expect that these written-by-mostly-men, read-by-mostly-men sites will change anytime soon. And to be honest, I'm willing to put up with a few sentences about Julianne Hough's butt to get to the bit about how the cast of the "Footloose" remake mirrors the starting five of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Truth is, I've always hoped for a little haven of sarcasm and snark and sports that speaks to me, not to my brother or my dad or my boyfriend. There are plenty of fantastic women sports writers, but so far I've yet to find one with a weekly column devoted to sports as entertainment.
And it's that void that brings us here, to the introduction of my weekly column, "That's What She Said." Here's what you can expect.
• Write about the week's biggest sports and pop culture issues.
• Share stories about the people I meet and places I go as a writer, radio anchor and host.
• Answer reader questions (if I get 'em!) and take suggestions for topics to cover.
• Reveal and revisit my obsessions, including but not limited to: Michael Jordan, costume parties, pictures of other people's puppies, the city of Chicago and its teams, sensitive singer-songwriters, flip-flops and Converse All Stars, cupcake-scented candles, hockey players with Canadian accents, baseball players who rock old-school high socks, bad reality television, '80s movies and a good buttery chardonnay.
• Pay any mind to those who ask how I've managed to write a column on a stove, nor to those who insist I should be attending to a sink full of dirty dishes.
• Listen to any claims that the phrase "That's What She Said" and the show "The Office" have both jumped the shark. Still an immense fan of both.
I'm not exactly sure where TWSS will take me each week, but I hope you're along for the ride. It's about time we girls had a little fun, right?