Movies That Cockblock For You*

We’ve all been on bad dates, amirite, ladiiiies?? Here’s a story from my (Kate’s) younger days: a guy (who I really was not interested in) asked me out, and I was way too shy to say no. He invited me over to his dorm to watch a movie (pre-Netflix & chill, although the sentiment has surely existed since the dawn of media). I was in charge of picking the movie, so I pondered the decision long and hard: what movie could I pick that would effectively communicate “hey dude, I’m super not into you”? Ultimately I settled on Pineapple Express: a total bro and stoner movie that’s not in the least bit sexy. The movie, plus my deliberate avoidance of any physical contact, worked like a charm! I did, however, forget to consider that Pineapple Express is like TWO FUCKING HOURS LONG (thanks a LOT, David Gordon Green!), and was forced to sit on this dude’s sweaty futon for the entirety.

Anyway, this anecdote made us all consider: what movies are the perfect cockblocks? The three of us came up with our own list of movies to totally kill the mood, so check them out below! If you choose to employ them in your own pursuits of telling undesirable dudes to take a hike, please shoot us an email and tell us how that went.

  • Schindler’s List (or Sophie’s Choice, or anything tragic)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • The One Direction documentary
  • All Quiet on the Western Front, or any war movie (not the sexy ones though)
  • Teeth
  • Grizzly Man
  • The Polar Express, because nothing is unsexier than the Uncanny Valley
  • The Human Centipede
  • Any film adaptation of a video game
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost
  • The Greasy Strangler (based on the title and the trailer alone)
  • Manchester by the Sea, unless sobbing turns you on
  • Any Bachelor finale

*Amy would like to forever call this genre of movies “cockbusters”. We support it.

On PPD & a PhD

Lady Academics is thrilled to publish our first essay from a guest poster, Carly Lesoski! We hope you enjoy it. As always, please feel free to submit pieces to us at theladyacademics [at] gmail.com!


Sitting my therapist’s waiting room, I fidget with my shaking hands, thoughts racing. My therapist appears in the doorway, smiling pleasantly as always. She asks me what I want to drink. Water, I answer, as always. I settle down on her fluffy new couch, while she gets her coffee and my water. My heart pounds, and I feel the shame starting to well up in my stomach and spill over into my chest. I try to shake the feeling, but it just won’t go away.

She asks how I’m doing. I answer that I’m alright, but it’s been a tough couple of days. Tough? I continue fidgeting, averting her gaze. I’d been visiting her for over a year. She knows so much about me, so it seems ridiculous to be this nervous, but there’s a voice in my head. What if they take Phineas away? I can’t let them take him from me. I know rationally that this won’t happen, but the voice nags at me. She stares knowingly at me, patiently waiting for me to talk. I inhale deeply, the pressure of anxiety pressing the air out of my lungs.

I tell her how Phineas was really upset all weekend. How he’s teething and hasn’t been sleeping well. Neither have I. No, it’s not always because of him. I wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats, gasping. My husband jumps up asking if I’m ok. I angrily tell him to go back to sleep, embarrassed. When I do sleep, I have strange anxiety-ridden nightmares. She tells me that the appearance of my ex in my dreams is likely just a personification of my anxiety, as is my persistent panicky fear of spiders. This anxiety comes down to my fear of not being able to care for and protect Phineas. She reassures me that he is fine, that I’m doing a good job. Smiling, I show her my latest Instagram video of him.

Anything else? Yeah. I debate whether or not I should answer her. What if they take him? My husband would never forgive me. I tell her that my pervasive thoughts are back. She asks me to explain. I begin to tell her everything. How he cried and cried for hours. How I rocked him, sobbing with him, fearing that I wasn’t good enough. With a deep and painful pang of fear, I admit that I have flashes of thoughts of hurting myself, of hurting him, of hurting my husband. I tell her of the instant disgust I feel toward myself. What kind of mother thinks these kinds of things? I had planned what I would need to pack so that I could sneak away, but only after Corey was back from his night class, so Phineas would be safe and cared for. I wasn’t going to run away because I don’t love Phineas; on the contrary, I wanted to run away because I love him so much. He is so amazing and perfect, and I’m not good enough to be his mom.

My therapist smiles kindly. She reassures me that I am a good mom, and that what I’m feeling is typical for postpartum depression. That these are all just thoughts and that my sudden disgust about these thoughts is a sign that I’m not a danger to my son. These thoughts are not me. She urges me to call my doctor to adjust the dose of my antidepressant. Even after months with the diagnosis, I still cringe at the thought of being medicated. I had gone to therapy for so long, and that had been enough, but my son’s birth changed literally everything.

For the rest of the day I’m so anxious and upset that I can’t get anything done. I schedule an appointment, but it is during my graduate colloquium. My mind races. I have to email the director of graduate studies, the one who runs the colloquium, to tell her that I won’t attend an event that was my idea, as if I don’t have enough anxiety surrounding sending emails. What if she gets angry? What if she feels like I’m not doing enough? What if she knows that I’m not making the progress I want to be? What if these prompt her to notice that I’m not publishing like I should be? What if she finally realizes that I’m not actually good enough to get a PhD?

I hate email. I avoid emails like the plague, even if they’re simple and easy to answer. With shaking hands, I write her an apologetic, yet detailed email. Within the hour she answers me, assuring me that it is not a problem, and not to apologize for this. She tells me that my mental health is important, and that she hopes I’m doing better. I miss my baby, so I visit him before my appointment. His smiling face makes me feel a little better. I have to do this for him.

My PA tells me repeatedly that she’s glad I came in. I tell her about the thoughts I’d had, and that my therapist told me I had to come back in. We devise a strategy to get me feeling more ‘normal’, whatever that means in the wake of having a child and preparing for my comprehensive exams. I ask her what kind of mother has thoughts like these. All mothers do, she says, every single one. I just need a little help controlling them, that’s all. I decide to pick my son up from daycare early. I need his cuddles. When I arrive, he smiles his huge, dimpled smile and throws his arms up toward me, as if to say ‘you’re here! Pick me up!’ This is all that matters. Everything else can wait.


Carly Lesoski is a PhD Candidate in German Studies at Michigan State University. Other than being a wife and mom, she likes edtech, bad puns, and is obsessed with Twitter, Hamilton, and Reese’s Sticks. She is available for autographs, photoshoots, books deals, or conversation on Twitter @motheroftheses or via email at lesoskic [at] msu.edu.

Lady Academics Meet a Bachelorette Contestant

Today, Amy, Marianne and I met Luke Pell (of Bachelorette fame) at Starbucks. Well, Amy and Marianne met him…..I’d met him before, at the same Starbucks, about five months prior. Anyway, this picture was taken at the moment Amy said “fuck the patriarchy”.


Luke, if you want to be interviewed by three delightful ladies, please be in touch. We’re easy to find.

More Tips for Watching The Bachelor (from Two Ladies Who Have)

Marianne and Kate are the Lady Academics’ “veteran” Bachelor franchise viewers/apologists: Kate has been watching since Kaitlyn’s season, and Marianne since JoJo’s.

nick-viall-the-bachelor-promo-1479222497-compressed

Marianne: Suspend your disbelief, and your third-wave feminism. Also, treat the contestants like characters in a fable!

Kate: Know your tropes, however reductive (villain! slut! crazy girl! keeper – that’s you, Vanessa!). Watch UnREAL for help with this. Appreciate the work that the producers do to make this happen!

Marianne: Treat this as a veeeery specific breed of travel documentary. These peeps get to visit beautiful, exotic destinations (or sometimes they get stuck with Milwaukee). Make mental notes about which Mexican beaches are sexiest for ur next sprang break. Also, I enjoy carefully observing all of the minor instances of PDA to try to determine whose chemistry is natural and whose is forced. Watch the hands! You can apply your new sleuthing abilities to judge relationships out in the real world, helping you distinguish between creeps and soulm8s 😉

Kate: Believe that this is real love, or at least, that the people on the show are feeling real love! The Bachelor is an intense and alcohol-fueled environment that produces these feelings. And not just love! I do think that the show inspires real friendships among some of the women. It’s just like study abroad! You might not have been friends with or have had feelings for these people otherwise, but these things happen when you’re stuck together.

Both ladies: Let yourself fall in love with Nick, because it makes it more fun. He’s cut (says Marianne) and an amazing skater (says Kate). His beard is good. He’s a fox. (Nick, call us.)

Welcome to Lady Academics

Hello. We are ladies, and we are academics. This is a blog by and for ladies in academia.

What will we write about? Whatever we want: movie reviews, the imposter syndrome, makeup, not wearing makeup, going to conferences, publishing articles, being a cat lady, relationships in grad school, The Bachelor, great and terrible experiences teaching, Donald Trump, panic attacks, panic attacks about Donald Trump. And much, much more.

What can you write about? Whatever you want! If you are a woman in academia, we would love to publish your short pieces (non-academic pieces – this is no peer-reviewed journal!) on any aspect of life in and around the academy.

All too often – in the academy and outside of it – female voices are interrupted by, talked over, and drowned out by those of our male colleagues. This blog aims to champion women’s voices, whether loud or soft, by collecting and publishing work by as diverse an array of female academics as possible. We hope that you will enjoy taking part in this discourse.

-Amy, Kate, and Marianne, editors of Lady Academics