I went to a benefit for the Women's Prison Association honoring "Orange is the New Black" executive producer and "Weeds" creator Jenji Kohan this week, and I immediately felt all Walter White -- "I did it for me...I was alive" (and stop it, Norm MacDonald, IT WAS NOT AN IMAGINED SEQUENCE IN WALTER WHITE'S HEAD -- deus ex machina, damnit! deus ex machina!) about the whole thing.
So what was my immediate thought from attending?
Why can't I be a lesbian in women's prison?
Although, wait, now that I type the word "lesbian," I realize I'm being reductive about one of the things the show has been so acclaimed for being pioneering about which is making use of the Kinsey scale and being knowledgeable about the nuances of human sexuality. My bad, progress.
Every single person I met at the benefit -- either a real-life beneficiary of the WPA's amazing support or the cast members from the show -- made me feel like I'm the most boring person on the planet. Some middle-aged white divorcee whose street nickname could be "Privilege" or probably more likely, "Big Momma Privilege" because I am quite tall as every single person I meet IRL or at a party helpfully points out to me.
But I realize this is as stupid of a reaction as the one I had when I was a teenager to one of my favorite shows then. Which was that I seriously wanted to become an undercover cop because I was so in love with Johnny Depp ("down on Jump Street...jump!/ You gotta learn something when we meet you after school. I said jump, down on..." where was I?).
So instead I suppose I will embrace the person that I actually am: a decent writer who overwhelmingly prefers penis, not being incarcerated and getting to meet some of the most fascinating, strong, inspiring, magnetic real-life individuals who inspired the series and who play these individuals on the show.
Because that's pretty cool, right? Also, how gorgeous does everyone in these pics look? Natasha Lyonne in particular took my breath away. But they all did, really.
Oh and one last reason to love "OITNB," they have trans actress Laverne Cox playing Sophia Burset, an ex-firefighter who now heads up the prison's salon. Because this show is breaking hella barriers in every episode they do.
Are you watching? Did you watch? Plan to watch? Read the book? What do you think?
For more Mandy, check out: http://xojane.com/author/mandy