Is Watching Fifty Shades of Grey With Your Friends … Weird?

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I won’t be standing in line to see the premiere of the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey on Friday. Nor will I be queuing up to see it with a bunch of my best girlfriends on Saturday, Valentine’s Day. My husband isn’t taking me to a screening for a date night. But apparently a lot of other people are doing all of these things, since advance ticket sales for the movie have surpassed those for any other R-rated feature ever.

In New York City, Lyss Stern is going to the movie with 50 of her friends. This is about 10 times as many friends as I have, let alone friends I could corral into seeing Fifty Shades with me. I blush if I watch sex scenes in movies when I’m sitting in my own living room with my husband. I can’t fathom sitting in a darkened movie theater surrounded by besties while a woman willingly gets tied up and whipped on-screen.
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Would You Spend $200,000 on Your Child’s Bedroom?

So last week the Wall Street Journal filled me in on Dahlia Mahmood, an interior designer who created a lovely princess-themed bedroom for a Virginia client’s 2-year-old daughter a while back. The centerpiece of the $200,000 extravaganza is a bed shaped like a castle, complete with a walk-across parapet and turrets in which the toddler can store her dolls. It has its own elfin door, sized too small for adults but perfect for the girl, at least at the time it was built. (I assume there’s some other way for, say, the help to get in and change the linens.) The walls of the bathroom are painted by hand and adorned with Swarovski crystals. The … oh, hell, why don’t I just show you a photo? Here.

Ms. Mahmood’s work was just one exhibit in an article devoted to such grand excesses. Lindsay Dickhout, chief executive of the mobile spray-tanning company Million Dollar Tan, is building her girls, Stella, 4, and Presley, 2, a $70,000 princess playroom. It’s not going to be finished until next month, but it’s going to include a faux-gem-covered stage, a treehouse loft, and — oh, the wondrous whimsicality! — a miniature French café. “It’s going to be a pink explosion,” Dickhout told WJS, “with hearts and bows and crowns and tassels.” For now, Stella must make do with her $6,000 custom-made castle bed.

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The Worst Ways to Choose a Computer Password

My son Jake came home from college this weekend to watch the Super Bowl with us — I think because he likes my guacamole. The night before the big game, he and I and my husband got to talking about computer passwords. Jake’s a computer science major, and he announced that the best way to choose a password is to pick any three random words out of the dictionary and string them together. (He said this proved it, which it well might, if I understood it.) I announced that that was stupid, because how would you ever remember three random words?

I grew up in the days when you only had to remember two things in life: your street address and your seven-digit phone number (and the first two numbers of that were actually letters). There was no such thing as identity theft, except on The Fugitive. Now I’m expected to memorize — and keep straight — dozens of different passwords that online gatekeepers to my bank, my work email, my home email, my Twitter account, my Amazon one-click account, my primary-care physician’s health portal, etc., etc., etc., decree must be between seven and 10 characters, or must be at least 11 characters, or can be no more than five characters, or must contain at least two letters or can contain no letters or must be all lower-case or must include at least one upper-case letter and the name of one living ex-president. Read more »

All You Guys Shut Up About Tom Brady’s Balls Already

NFL: Divisional Round-Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

So, have you noticed that in the past week or so, there’s been a whole lot of talk about balls? (Well, a few people might have been talking snow bombs.) Everywhere you turn, some man is bringing up balls. The Atlantic wants to tell you how the New England Patriots treat their balls. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn’t want anybody rubbing his balls. Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he’s handled dozens of balls. That’s too much information, man! Read more »

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