I had to warn my mother that I was entitling this “My Rash”


Yesterday, I did a Google Image search for “shingles” – and trust me, Internet, that is not something that you want to do.

I am not a hypochondriac, I promise. But I think I might have shingles. Yes, shingles: a form of HERPES. Julie, the soon-to-be nurse, checked out the small patch of – I don’t know, what should I call them? blisters? scabs? rash bumps? – and consulted a physiology textbook for reference. No conclusive evidence was found…

But I am calling it shingles.

Maybe it’s eczema. Maybe it’s psoriasis. Maybe it’s just… random shaving nicks that landed far from anywhere I use a razor? But I think it’s shingles. It might be an allergic reaction to high heels and elevator Muzak. It could be stress related – or punishment for an unconfessed sin – or perhaps my body’s way of saying, “Stop eating brie for dinner every single night.” But I think it’s shingles.

(Oddly enough, this is not the first time that shingles have been mentioned on this blog.)

As one without health insurance, I am combating this ailment with an old cure-all: baking soda. Seriously, is there anything that baking soda doesn’t do? It takes the stench out of a fridge. It cleans teeth. It erupts 5th grade science project volcanoes. And yes, it mixes with water to form a healing paste.

I sound like such a hippy. Who needs Mary Kay when you have castor oil? Who needs shampoo when you have egg whites? Who needs antibiotics when you have Arm & Hammer?

But… (ready for the segue?)… I spend enough money on my jeans to make up for my thrifty health and beauty habits. And yesterday on my lunch break, having a gift card from Christmas and a big need for some new fancy pants, I went shopping.

So, there I was in the dressing room, pulling on what seemed to be the perfect pair: long enough, dark enough, fit in all the right places. From the front, they seemed to get the job done, if you know what I’m saying. But then I did that awkward twisty-turn in the mirror to see my backside, and y’all:

They were smooth butt jeans.

You know the type – no back pockets whatsoever.

I’m sorry, but I don’t do smooth butt jeans. I am not in a rodeo. I need back pockets. Where else would I put my Benjamins when I club-hop? Where else would I stash all of the phone numbers on cocktail napkins? Where else would a boyfriend put his hands as we slowly and awkwardly waddle through the mall?

That is, if I haven’t completely blown my dating life by mentioning the fact that I HAVE SHINGLES.*

– – – – – – – –

*It’s probably not shingles.


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  1. David Murphy on January 8, 2009 at 8:46 AM

    “Where else would a boyfriend put his hands as we slowly and awkwardly waddle through the mall?” I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. Great post! I hope you don’t have shingles.

  2. MB on January 8, 2009 at 9:02 AM

    Ha! I needed this today – and not because I have a mysterious rash. Thanks Annie!

  3. Hush and Such on January 8, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    Another commonality…I was convinced that I had shingles last summer after Web MD’ing what was an irregularly shaped red bump on my tummy. Turned out to be an allergic reaction to some poisonous spider that is only indigenous to the south…another reason why Seattle rocks. So I doubt you have shingles, an obsession with self diagnosis, perhaps. Welcome to the club.

  4. Anonymous on January 8, 2009 at 9:31 AM

    Of course! It’s probably poisonous
    bug bites from creatures lurking in your new place! I think shingles comes with muscle and joint pain that makes you wish you were dead. Excema? Jock rash? You ARE a jock now, you know!

  5. Anonymous on January 8, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    The things I learn from you, Annie!

  6. hootenannie on January 8, 2009 at 9:35 AM


    Jock rash? aggggggggghhhhh. I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds so gross.

  7. erin on January 8, 2009 at 9:55 AM

    oooh Moms has an excellent point. Could it be where your sports bra rubs your cold (and if it’s anything like mine) dry wintry skin whilst running? of course, it could be kidney stones. just sayin.

  8. bec on January 8, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    i vow to never wear bare bottom jeans or whatever. (wait, let me go back and check what you called them) – oh, smooth butt jeans.

    i guess smooth butt jeans would probably be a safer bet for me than bare bottom jeans.

    have you sat in a hot tub lately? i broke out in red bumps all over my body from that once. could it be a heat rash? you also have some of the most sensitive skin in our family. so it could basically be anything.

  9. Marijke on January 8, 2009 at 10:49 AM

    I vote for eczema.

  10. Deborah Barnett on January 8, 2009 at 10:54 AM


    use Windex on it.

  11. Laura on January 8, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Don’t be shy, post a picture of the Shingles so we can all weigh in on the issue!!!

  12. Mary on January 8, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    You literally kill me.
    I cannot WAIT to see you so soon!

    btw, there is a time and a place for smooth butt jeans. I own one pair…

    actually HELLO, you, of all people, should buy a pair, what with your freshly sculpted runner’s butt.

  13. Jodie on January 8, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    An allergic reaction to Muzak?!! Really, that’s just delightful writing. I like your brain. :)

    Oh, and no back pockets–who is that flattering on? No one. Not a single one. Why do they even make ’em like that. That’s just bad business–and very unfortunate for you since they “had it goin’ on” from the front. Unfortunate indeed.

  14. Tad on January 8, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    Now you must yell out “UNCLEAN!!” whenever another person comes by.

    I’m with you on the jeans. As a guy, I must say that jeans with no back pockets look really dumb. Almost as dumb as Capris.

    Your mom’s right about the muscle pain. My little brother got Shingles last summer,and it hurt really bad.

  15. breepick on January 8, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    HA!! My room mate teases me all the time about my continual WebMD diagnostic process. Truly, it only ends up being right about 60% of the time. Which, one might argue, is a pretty decent percentage. So long as you don’t have the pain with the bumps, it’s probably not “The Shingles”. You should live. tee hee…

  16. Julia on January 8, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox–that just sounds better than saying it’s the herpes virus (and technically it’s a different virus than the other kinds of herpes)

    ~julia (friend of EC)

  17. Sarah Kate on January 8, 2009 at 10:08 PM

    Again…Laughed so hard.
    I guess I’ll have to take your “perfect pair of smooth-butt jeans” wedding gift back. Darn!

  18. Sarah Kate on January 8, 2009 at 10:11 PM

    Oh, and Becca, I think they sell those “bare bottom” jeans at the “Adult” clothing store near my office.

  19. LT on January 9, 2009 at 12:41 AM

    hahaha! that is hilarious. And I completely agree about the back pockets. I sort of feel the same way about side pockets. Some jeans don’t have pockets on the sides either, and, well, even though i don’t really normally put my hands in my pockets, i feel very awkward not having them there in case i needed them for some sort of emergency. eek!

  20. Julia on January 9, 2009 at 3:29 PM

    I also enjoyed Tad’s comment about yelling “unclean”

  21. Greta on January 10, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    Fact: I’m still checking your blog. Even though we have been together almost every moment since you’ve been in Seattle. Because I just wonder if maybe there’s a new one. Somehow. Someway.

    I feel as though this may indicate I have a problem

  22. Annie Peterson on January 12, 2009 at 12:11 PM

    I agree with you on jeans sans-pockets! I never find them flattering…

  23. Allie, Dearest on January 12, 2009 at 4:09 PM

    I like what Tad said, that you must yell out “UNCLEAN!” wherever you go!!

    Poor girl.

    FYI: I gave you blog love on my site. Because you’re wonderful, as you well know.

  24. Michelle Ferguson on January 19, 2009 at 1:49 AM

    This post was hysterical :) Nicely done. And THANK YOU for speaking out against jeans with no back pockets! It is one of the harshest realities to face within the isolated confines of a dressing room.

    You are so brave.

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