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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

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Valeri and Nastia Liukin.
Valeri and Nastia Liukin.

Kissing kids on the lips: Endearing or disturbing?

The Olympics came and went, but I continue to ponder the relationship between U.S. gymnast Nastia Liukin and her father.

Liukin, the individual all-around gold medalist, kissed her dad on the lips multiple times during television coverage of the Olympics. Her father, Valeri Liukin, was a gold medalist and is also her coach.

The on-air father / daughter smooching evoked a lot of commentary. Some viewers found it inappropriate and said their lip kissing is borderline incestuous. Others said it was acceptable because of their European roots. (Liukin was born in Moscow, but moved the the U.S. when she was a child.)

Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with it as long as it's a peck on the lips. Obviously, anything sloppy or lingering is sad and gross.

I kiss my kids on the lips, but they are little guys. Will I still plant one on their kisser when they're 10? What about 15? I probably would give them a quick peck, but it will depend on how they feel about it, I guess.

Forever 21 offers cheap clothing and spiritual guidance.
Forever 21 offers cheap clothing and spiritual guidance.

Forever 21 gave me a bag of Jesus

After months of not spending a nickel on my wardrobe, I broke down and bought a few things for fall at Bayshore Town Center. My first stop was Forever 21, where I bought a pair of jeans, some cute undergarments and a few pair of big, crazy earrings.

When I got home, I started to unpack my goods, and noticed a Bible quote printed on the bottom of the Forever 21 bag. I found this peculiar, so I Googled it.

I discovered that the company, which started in California in 1984, is owned by a Korean-American couple which chose the verse -- John 3:16 -- to reflect its Christian faith.

I find it humorous and ironic that my thong underpants rubbed up against a bag embossed with a Bible quote. That's all I'm sayin'.

There you have it: the pierced nose.
There you have it: the pierced nose.

What's the cut-off age for facial piercings?

Every couple of years, I wonder if it's time to take out my nose ring. I have had it for 18 years, about half my life, but as a person in my mid-30s, I wonder if it's time for that baby to fly.

Most of the time, I believe a person can wear whatever they want at any age, as long as you wear it with confidence. But even for me, there's a faint line between the do's and don't's of fashion at a certain age and I certainly don't want to cross it.

Nobody likes it when Grandma rocks her thong bikini.

The thing is, I've had this little silver ring lodged center face for so long, I forget it's even there. No one ever mentions it, I work in a field where it's not an issue and because of its small size, it's not that noticeable.

It's not even a problem when I have a cold. ("Do boogers ever get caught in it?" people have asked. Nope.)

But, sometimes I think it's time for a naked nose, just for a change, if nothing else. And perhaps nose piercings are a little '90s.

Then again, I'm not exactly sure how I would remove it. Metal snips, anyone?

"Stifler's mom" (Jennifer Coolidge) gets the "MILF" tag in "American Pie."
"Stifler's mom" (Jennifer Coolidge) gets the "MILF" tag in "American Pie."

First "cougar," now "MILF"

Last week, I posted an article about "cougars," which is a term for older women who date much younger men. I struggled while writing that piece, because part of me finds the label to be sexist and unfair. But, in the end, I was satisfied with the outcome of the piece.

I spent so much thinking about the term "cougar," that I started contemplating another pop culture descriptor that mushroomed over the past few years: MILF. (Either you know what this is an acronym for, or you're going to have to Google it on your own.)

"MILF" is used in multiple porn Web sites, but last spring the acronym made its way onto network television when an episode of "30 Rock" was centered on a fictitious reality television show called "MILF Island."

I really didn't dig the word at first. Like "cougar," I found it to be somewhat derogatory. I mean, I see the humor in it, especially when it was used in "American Pie," but it's not a term I would use.

And then last week, I got "MILF'd."

Here's what happened: I was riding my bike with my son on a trailer bike connected to mine. We were a few blocks from my house, tooling down a street with a few 20-year-old guys playing Frisbee in the street. They stepped aside to let us whiz by, and once we passed, I heard one of them say, "MILF."

Without skipping a beat, I dinged my bell -- twice! -- and started chuckling, fully expecting to hear my kid ask, "Mom, what does 'MILF' mean?" (Luckily, he didn't.)

But I thought about the comment the rest of the night, and realized, a little shamefully, that I was flattered by it.

Maybe it's because, in my mom life, I rarely feel sexy. Sure, I can still bust out the clothes at the back of the closet and pull it off for a night, but when I'm in mama mode, mostly I feel like a human snot rag that vaguely resembles a sleepy 30-something in last season's jeans.

So, despite its negative connotations, "MILF" at least acknowledges a mom as a sexual person, which is somethin…

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