When you think of a "women's" version of a product, what comes to mind? Pink, purple, flowers, butterflies — stuff like that? It's kind of (very) ridiculous and, honestly, usually pretty pointless. Do we need pens for women? Or razors? Or the host of other lady-specific products? Most of the time, they're completely unnecessary. Like, why do earplugs need to be gendered anyway?

Musician and all-around badass Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, recently helped design a guitar better fit for women's bodies. And no, it doesn't come in pink.

Now, if you're not familiar with her music, there are two things you should know: 1. It's suuuuuuuper catchy, and 2. She knows how to absolutely shred on the guitar.


She teamed up with the folks over at Ernie Ball to create a custom signature guitar that people have been describing as "made for the female body."


Here's Clark during a 2014 show in Sydney, Australia. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images.

This guitar is different than other unnecessarily gendered items because it serves a function and solves a problem.

As someone who spends months at a time on the road, playing guitar for hours at a time, night after night after night, Clark learned that she simply couldn't play some of the classic guitars she'd grown to love.

"For me a guitar that is not too heavy is really important because I’m not a very big person," she told Guitar World in December. "I can’t even play a Sixties Strat or Seventies Les Paul. I would need to travel with a chiropractor on tour in order to play those guitars. It’s not that those aren’t great guitars, but they render themselves impractical and unfunctional for a person like me because of their weight."


Clark with the new Ernie Ball St. Vincent signature model guitar, coming out next month. Photo by Ernie Ball/YouTube.

Neither Ernie Ball nor Clark refer to the guitar they designed as a "women's guitar," and ... that's kind of the point.

The new guitar is lightweight and shaped in a way that makes room for, as she put it in a recent Instagram post, "a breast. Or two," and is made with smaller-handed players in mind. Does this seem a bit more geared towards women than men? Sure. Does that mean it's only for women? Nah.

Gender can be complicated, and Clark's even written a song about it. "Prince Johnny," a track off her self-titled 2014 album, deals with society's hang-ups with what it means to be a real girl or a real boy.

"We get handed down these ideas of gender and sexuality," she told Rolling Stone in 2014. "You're supposed to be this or that. What happens if you float around the cracks and don't fit into these narrowly prescribed things?"


Clark sits down with a team from Ernie Ball during the design stage of the guitar's creation. Photo by Ernie Ball/YouTube.

So maybe that's the best way to think about her guitar. It's a new shape, a new design, and a new set of solutions for guitar players who'd been previously ignored by the industry. It doesn't need to come in pink to be a women's guitar, and it doesn't need to take classic shape to be a men's instrument.

It just is, and that's pretty cool. Maybe that's what the world needs more of.

Check out this short video about the making of the St. Vincent signature guitar below.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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