Trump Judicial Nominee Neomi Rao’s Thoughts On Rape Are Sparking Controversy

When Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed and sworn in to the Supreme Court in October, his seat on the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was left vacant. In November Donald Trump nominated Neomi Rao, who now serves as administrator in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an agency within the White House Office of Management and Budget, to fill the seat. “She’s going to be fantastic—great person,” he said at the time.

While it’s no surprise that Trump tapped a nominee whose views are conservative, a new Buzzfeed News report cites pieces that Rao wrote that suggest extreme (and horrific) opinions on women and rape. Buzzfeed discovered a 1994 article from the Yale Herald in which then-undergraduate Rao wrote that though a drunk man who raped women should be prosecuted, “a good way to avoid a potential date rape is to stay reasonably sober.” While as many as 50 percent of campus sexual assault cases involve alcohol, Reo, in those writings, put the blame squarely on victims’ shoulders: “And if she drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice,” she wrote. “Implying that a drunk woman has no control of her actions, but that a drunk man does strips women of all moral responsibility.”

It’s classic victim blaming and while the article is old, it doesn’t do much to calm the fears of those who’ve expressed concern about how Trump nominees might rule when it comes to sexual assault. On social media, the new revelations are sounding off warning bells. “What Rao is saying here is that getting drunk means a woman kinda-sorta chose to get raped. Cool defense,” tweeted writer Jill Filipovic.

In a statement to Glamour, End Rape on Campus Executive Director Jess Davidson added that Rao’s comments “are disqualifying for a judicial nominee or anyone interested in holding public office. Her comments condone victim blaming and perpetuate the rape culture in our schools and society that are dangerous to all individuals. Survivors are not ‘responsible’ for the violence they experience, and I am disturbed by Rao’s suggestion otherwise.”

Other writing from Rao uncovered by Buzzfeed News shows equally concerning viewpoints regarding race and LGBTQ+ issues. (In a 1994 column published in the Yale Herald about LGBTQ+ associations on campus, Rao wrote that “[t]rendy political movements have only recently added sexuality to the standard checklist of traits requiring politics.”) Nan Aron, president of the liberal advocacy group Alliance for Justice, told Buzzfeed that Rao’s columns are “consistent with the administration’s support of candidates who make racially insensitive statements and comments hostile to sexual assault survivors.”

“She shouldn’t be awarded a seat on what many view as the second highest court in the country, which is often a stepping stone to the Supreme Court,” Aron said.

Neither Rao nor the White House has commented on this latest development.

Coach Sale: Best Boots, Bags and Coats

January is a month for new beginnings, which happens to coincide with the annual Winter Outfit Slump—when, suddenly, the temperature drops and everything in your closet feels inadequate. Brands know this, and time some of their most epic deals of the year to this moment. And if you’re looking to update those key cold-weather pieces—the boots, the warm jackets, the leather bags—look no further than Coach’s 50 percent off sale.

The American brand has gotten a major high-fashion boost over the past few year, signing on Selena Gomez as a collaborator and expanding its signature patterns beyond the double-c monograms you know and love from middle school to arty leopard prints and vintage-inspired florals. (Though, to be clear, the iconic logo is alive and well, and looking mighty chic.) Coach’s ready-to-wear, meanwhile, makes the case for dressing like an extra in a Western, with oversized shearling coats, square-toed boots, and collared blouses embroidered with stars. And now, with a winter sale offering 50 percent off, your 2019 aesthetic can be one step closer to Gomez’s.

Shop all of the best bags, wallets, accessories and ready-to-wear from Coach’s epic sale below.

AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs in Skin Care, Explained

If applying something caustic-sounding to your face gives you a little pause, know this: skin care acids are some of the most versatile and hardworking ingredients in the complexion playbook. They have the power to zap zits, blast away brown spots, Magic-Eraser-away fine lines, plus deliver intense hydration and/or a healthy glow—almost instantaneously. By whisking away dead cells from your skin’s surface, acids also clear the way for active ingredients to do their thing; essentially, they help other products perform better. Here, a primer on alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), and hyaluronic acid (HA)—plus, our favorites of each to shop now.

The Only Money Hacks You Need to Save Big in 2019

I’ll be the first to admit it, 2018 wasn’t my best year when it came to saving money. Every time Trump tweeted, or I got an alarming CNN alert, I found myself thinking, “the world is a trash fire, so why can’t I treat myself and buy that sweater dress, or take an Uber home instead of the subway?” And while I personally don’t have any regrets, my credit card statement tells a different tale. My “self-care” indulgences like daily Arnold Palmers, splurging on that bottle of Rose from Provence instead of Napa, and my propensity for accent shoes left me with more debt in 2018 than I care to admit.

But it’s a new year. A time for a fresh start. To do it all right. And while I have no real intention of giving up my black iced tea with lemonade habit (they’re addicting!), I realize that I need to find a way to better balance my budget and cut out some other costs. So I spoke to financial experts, female founders, and writers about their tips and tricks for splurging while saving. So come Marie Kondo your spending with me, and try some of their hacks for getting your finances in check.

Think About Your Money In Terms of Buckets

We all have a hierarchy of spending. We need to use some of our money to pay our rent or mortgage each month, our insurance, cell phone bill, etc. We want to take some of the pie and put it towards our Netflix subscription, a new Marvel movie, and so on. Alexa Von Tobel, founder of LearnVest.com, believes that being conscious of these different forms of spending is the first step to being smarter with your money. She calls this her “50/20/30 method” where you split your take-home pay into three categories: 50 percent for essential costs, 20 percent towards financial goals, and 30 percent for lifestyle costs. “Essential costs are things like rent, mortgage payments, utilities, car payments, public transportation or groceries—anything that covers your basics,” she says. “Financial goals is the part of your budget that is really about helping you secure your financial foundation. This goes toward emergency savings, retirement, home down payment fund, etc.” Whereas lifestyle costs include eating out, concert tickets, and those fabulous new shoes you’ve had your eye on.”

If the 50/20/30 method sounds like too many numbers for you, Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, author of The 30-Day Money Cleanse, suggests a bullet journaling, approach: like Put pen to paper when thinking about your money buckets. “Keeping a money journal where you write down everything you spend or look at a recent bank statement,” she says. “Next, take this beautiful list you’ve created and put each expense into one of three buckets: (1) needs, (2) frivolous and (3) not sure. Let go of all spending in the frivolous bucket for seven days and see what you actually miss.”

Detox Yourself From Spending

How many times have you read an article suggesting that you should try a cleanse? You know, take a few days to subside on nothing but water with lemon and cayenne, or celery juice. This year, instead of depriving yourself of food (because it’s delicious and necessary for survival), consider a spending detox. Shannon McLay, CEO and Founder of The Financial Gym recommends, “scheduling ‘no spend days.’ Just like you’d schedule a workout class, plan two to three no spend days where you will not use any cash or credit for the entire day.” Make your meals out of what you already have in the fridge, try to just use the gas you already have in your car or carpool, and say no to that Starbucks. Your bank account will thank you for the break.

Trick Yourself Into Saving More

Whenever I get my paycheck I have such a hard time hitting the button that transfers even the tiniest amount from my checking account to my savings. I mean, I busted my butt all month for this cash—I deserve to spend it! The key is to not get the full thing in the first place. Eurie Kim, general partner at Forerunner Ventures, has a trick for this: Set up automatic transfers. “I select a specified amount of money—whether it’s $20, $50, $100, etc. and have it go into an entirely different bank account. It feels like you never had that money to spend in the first place, so you get used budgeting off the smaller amount, and saving as a result,” she says. You can set up your automatic deposit from your company to go to two or more accounts (checking and savings, for example). Or, like everything else in life, there’s an app that can help. Charlotte Cowles, who writes the “With Interest” newsletter for the business section of the New York Times loves Digit. “The app hooks up to your checking account and pulls out small amounts of money automatically, like a little savings elf,” she says. “You can set it to be more or less aggressive if you want, and its algorithm tracks your spending patterns so it won’t pull out too much. Since that money is out of sight, out of mind, its always a pleasant surprise when I see what Digit has squirreled away while I wasn’t paying attention.” Consider it your money fairy godmother.

Be Kind to Yourself

A full 81.5 percent of millennials are in debt. And experts say taking a cold hard look at your finances can lead to feelings of guilt or shame, about your spending habits, financial decisions, employment status and more—so some people avoid doing so at all. Sounds hard to believe, I know. But Iva Pawling, CEO and co-founder of Richer Poorer recommends a step-by-step approach rather than an all-at-once overhaul. Start by being realistic with your budgeting. “Everyone would love to spend less,” she says, but slash your budge too much and you set yourself up for failure every month. “That just feels terrible. So instead of trying to fix all of my finances I zero in on the areas where I have a tendency to overspend. I only really pay attention to those few categories, and check in on those a few times each month to see if I’m on track.” Hone in on the areas that matter to you (my 2019 goal is to waste less money on takeout), and work on those goals.

It’s kind of like all the diet and exercise advice we hear: Go too extreme and you’ll just crash and burn. Practice moderation, and you’ll stick with it. And making lasting changes is what’s important to your health. That’s especially true with money, since time can be one of your greatest assets, allowing you to ride out the ups and downs of the markets and benefit from compounding interest and market growth. I know I’m not going to suddenly save three quarters of my paycheck, but I can pull out a small amount each month, as Pawling recommends. Slow and steady wins the race.

Demi Lovato Was a Bridesmaid in Her Former Babysitter’s Wedding This Weekend

There’s one way to prove to the world that you’re really friends with a celebrity: Convince them to put on a bridesmaids’ dress and look on as you say your wedding vows. Over the weekend, Demi Lovato did just that for a close friend—and her Instagram stories told us everything we needed to know about her appearance in the ceremony. TL;DR: Like several other celebrity bridesmaid cameos we’ve seen over the years, she really enjoyed it.

Lovato shared with her followers that she participated in a close friend’s, Jenna Schubart’s, nuptials with two selfies of her wedding ceremony look. “I was a bridesmaid yesterday for my sister/ former babysitter/friend of 23 years…,” she wrote on her Instagram with the photos. ” I love you @jennaschubart. 🖤 What a perfect wedding for a perfect couple!!”

How did Demi Lovato approach bridesmaid dressing? It didn’t take long to find out. Her close-up selfie showed off a navy blue dress with a scalloped neckline and lace sleeves, perfect for an outdoor wedding.

A fan account quickly tracked down the dress that Lovato wore—and as far as bridesmaid’s dresses go, it’s pretty affordable. For $86, you can pick up Lovato’s “Awaken My Love” dress at Lulu’s. Celebrities: They want affordable bridesmaid dresses, just like us.

PHOTO: Lulu’s

Lulu’s Awaken My Love Long Sleeve Lace Maxi Dress, $86, Lulu’s

A shoppable bridesmaid dress wasn’t all that was worth noting about the evening (though brides-to-be should bookmark the affordable dress). Lovato’s Instagram stories were full of candid moments from inside the wedding, including a picture with another bridesmaid and a look at the newlyweds’ first dance. The glimpses she shared also revealed that her mother joined her for the intimate ceremony.

PHOTO: Instagram: @ddlovato

PHOTO: Instagram: @ddlovato

Lovato’s wedding-day dispatch was her first post on her Instagram feed this year. In recent weeks, she’s been relatively quiet on social media, as she’s mostly posted on Twitter and Instagram stories to call-out body shaming and tabloid rumors. It’s refreshing to see Demi logging on to support her friend—and having a blast while doing it.

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As Government Shutdown Continues, Domestic Violence Shelters Struggle to Survive

Estes Valley Crisis Advocates hasn’t taken a direct hit from the government shutdown—yet. But it’s just a matter of time.

“We’re very aware of where we’re at and when that’ll run out,” says Diana David Brown. Brown is the executive director at the domestic violence shelter, which also provides emergency response services in Estes Park, Colorado. “There is a point where we would have to start looking at cutbacks in hours and layoffs. That’s probably the end of this month.”

The organization is the only crisis domestic violence shelter in the area, run by four full-time employees, two part-time employees, and volunteers. “It’s full all the time,” Brown says. Estes Park is a tourist town, at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park, so the center comes to the aid of the thousands of visitors who flock to the area every year, for everything from responding to tourist fights that involve domestic violence to counseling services for unexpected deaths. But its budget relies heavily on federal grants; just a small share of its funding comes from private donations, given the small year-round community in which it exists.

The shelter is already feeling some effects of the shutdown. It recently got approval to use grant money to get new equipment to Skype with legal experts in the closest cities (which are about 40 miles away). And its heating system is outdated and old, at risk of breaking down and forcing the organization to relocate shelter residents to hotels, but the application it put in for grant money to update it is from a fund that’s frozen while the government remains shuttered. They’ve put all these plans on hold until the shutdown comes to an end.

“I just don’t know how long programs can hold on at this point.”

Nationwide, programs like the ones that Estes Valley Crisis Advocates operates are desperately waiting for reimbursements to come through—money that was set aside for them last year but hasn’t arrived yet, explains Cindy Southworth, executive vice president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “This is money that shouldn’t be locked up,” she says. But because the employees who work at the Department of Justice who release the funds were furloughed, the checks couldn’t go out. The DOJ was able to bring some employees back to work to process the payments on January 7, but that is a bandaid at best. The department has told providers that it only has enough money carried over from prior years to flow funds through January 17. It’s also not clear whether enough DOJ employees are back on the job to process all of the frantic requests for reimbursements.

“We’re literally days away from them running out of federal funds,” Southworth says. Unlike federal employees who can be made to work without pay if they’re deemed to be essential, many states have laws that won’t allow shelter staff to work or even volunteer their services without pay. “It may mean shelters closing down, hotlines going dark,” she says. “Local organizations are terrified. They’re crunching the numbers, they’re watching. They’re seeing exactly how long can we hang in there and at what point do we have to start shutting down.”

Such an outcome is almost sure to have devastating consequences. When Southworth was new in her career and staffing a hotline, she picked up a call one day from a little boy whose mother had sent him to a neighbor’s house to supposedly get some flowers. He told Southworth that his stepfather was holding his mother hostage and had said that if police showed up at the house, “He’ll kill the police and kill himself and the whole family,” she recalls. Southworth was able to contact the mother and come up with a plan: because the mother had a medical condition, she was able to convince her partner to take her to the hospital. Southworth reached out to the police, who went to the hospital disguised as doctors. They were able to get her and her children away from the abuser, and that evening they booked the family into their shelter.

“It was an incredible, incredible day,” she says. But it was only possible because the organization was fully staffed with paid employees, all of whom pitched in to help get the family to safety. “There’s no way that could have been done with a volunteer on the hotline,” she notes. “Volunteers are fantastic, but they have to be backed up by paid staff…who know the ins and outs, know the legal system.”

Once programs can’t cover their expenses, victims will start to feel the effects immediately, sources say. “I just don’t know how long programs can hold on at this point with all of their staff,” says Joyce Grover, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. “There may be a reduction in staffing for outreach offices, people may have to get an appointment in order to see someone.” Victims may face delays in assistance for getting protection orders, talking to law enforcement, getting examined at a hospital, or even going into shelter. “Somebody who needs help with a protection order will either have to wait by the phone or be delayed in getting one,” she says, “and we know that’s just not safe.”

Without the staff available to pull such heroics off, “lives are on the line,” Southworth says. “If the life-saving domestic violence frontline advocates are laid off and our hotlines go dark, lives are on the line.”

In the event that the shutdown continues past the end of the month and federal money dries up, Brown and her program director Cato Kraft at Estes Valley Crisis Advocates have discussed deferring their own pay and cutting other people’s hours, knowing full well what the ramifications could be. “We just can’t have people work and not get paid,” Brown says. “Nobody’s in this work for the money, but they have to have the money to do this work.” Having fewer staff on hand couldn’t come at a worse time. As the shutdown creates stress in people’s lives, particularly for the federal employees who work for Rocky Mountain National Park and low-income residents who rely on government services, the need for help will rise.

“We’re all hoping that this freeze doesn’t last,” Brown says. “Everyday we’re hoping that something’s going to change. But it’s all a little scary.”

Larger, urban and suburban providers and shelters may be able to weather the lack of federal money longer since they are more likely to have a base of donors and local funding in their budgets that they can fall back on. But smaller, rural programs are less likely to have that kind of unrestricted money to plug the holes. “Programs that are already operating on a shoestring budget with a federal grant or a couple of federal grants—those programs are most at risk,” Southworth says. The same is likely true for more specific programs such as tribal ones that serve Native Americans or those that serve the elderly.

All providers that Glamour spoke to stress they will do whatever they can to keep their core services running. But options may be limited. Providers may choose not to pay rent or other utilities to at least make sure their staff gets paid. But there’s no doubt, as Southworth points out, that “the biggest part of their budget is payroll.” Even if an organization forgoes other bills, it won’t be long before it can’t issue paychecks.

“We’re getting people calling and saying, ‘How much longer are you going to be open?’ People think they’re not going to get services.”

The uncertainty and confusion has almost certainly trickled down to those who are dealing with and trying to escape violence. Many may see the news of the shutdown and assume that providers and shelters have had to close, even though none have taken that step.

“We’re getting people calling and saying, ‘How much longer are you going to be open?’” says Beth Hassett, executive director of WEAVE, a services provider for domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento, California. “People think they’re not going to get services.” The confusion may make people who are considering leaving an abusive relationship or getting counseling hesitate. “It certainly has a chilling effect on people who are debating what their future holds,” Hassett says. If the government is shutting down, she adds, people may wonder if services will be there to help them move forward. That could mean some stay in dangerous situations because they assume there will be no one to help them if they reach out.

Staff feel the impact, too. It’s already a difficult job. Employees are underpaid, overworked, Southworth says: “We know that the toll this work takes on these heroic advocates is challenging.” Now they are also grappling with not knowing if they’re going to get a paycheck to cover their rent and bills, or whether they will soon have no job at all. If people get furloughed or let go, once the government reopens, Grover says, you have to convince staff to come back. “If this talk of uncertainty continues on federally and you’ve been able to find another position, you’re probably not going to want to come back.”

The irony, of course, is that Trump has repeatedly stressed that he has to keep the government shutdown to extract funding for his border wall in the name of safety and security. But the shutdown, if it continues, will threaten women’s safety and security as services and shelters go dark.

“About 1,300 to 1,500 women are killed every single year by their intimate partner,” Southworth says. “That is domestic terrorism. If we have the audacity to shut down those life saving services in the alleged name of security and safety, that’s appalling. It’s unconscionable.”

*Bryce Covert is an independent journalist writing about the economy. She is a contributing op-ed writer at the New York Times and a contributing writer at The Nation. *

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Left the House Today and Weren’t Shy About PDA

Big news, fam: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry rubbed each other’s backs today.

This act of royal rebellion happened at the couple’s first official engagement of 2019 on Monday (January 14) in Birkenhead, England. As Markle and Prince Harry waved at well-wishers, paparazzi snapped photos of them courageously touching each other. The bravery! The fearlessness!

Things kicked off when Prince Harry threw caution to the wind and placed a hand on Markle’s back.

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit Birkenhead

PHOTO: Getty Images

Then, she reciprocated by touching his back. The royal protocol book is on fire, people. Fire! (Just kidding: There is no book.)

Royal visit to Birkenhead

PHOTO: Getty Images

But wait! There’s more! Markle and Prince Harry later touched each other’s backs at the same time, and the Earth literally stopped spinning.

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit Birkenhead

PHOTO: Getty Images

Of course, there was hand-holding.

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit Birkenhead

PHOTO: Getty Images

Lots and lots of hand-holding.

Royal visit to Birkenhead

PHOTO: Getty Images

Can you believe their strength? I’m so moved.

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit Birkenhead

PHOTO: Getty Images

In all seriousness, there’s no official royal protocol that prohibits royal couples from showing a little PDA. Kate Middleton and Prince William shy away from it for their own reasons, which is why people do cartwheels whenever Markle and Prince Harry show even the slightest bit of affection.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s touchy-feeliness dates back to May 2018, when the Internet first caught wind of their penchant for back-rubbing. Remember this moment from Prince Charles’ 70th birthday patronage celebration?

Or how about this moment from September? And more back-rubbing action from October? These two can’t be stopped!

Markle and Prince Harry are currently expecting their first child, due in spring. They’re opting not to learn the child’s sex until Markle gives birth, which is on par with royal tradition. How much back-rubbing do you think will happen from now until then? The limit does not exist.

Related Stories:

Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Waiting to Find Out the Sex of Their Baby

Did Meghan Markle Just Reveal Her Due Date?

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How to Figure Out Your Curly Hair Type and Why It Actually Helps

Remember when mousse was the only option for curly hair? Or the eighties? We’ve come a long way since then, thankfully, with a bountiful explosion of products for every hair type and texture. But when it comes time to face the aisle of gels, creams, gel-creams, and custards, it’s a lot. There are smoothing creams, but will that create smooth curls or leave them flat? Texturizers, but are those for handling what you have or just straight hair looking to liven up? The questions are endless. There are answers though, and hairstylists say they lie in figuring out your curl type.

While it can seem intimidating at first (what doesn’t in the curly world, #diffusers), resources like Naturally Curly have pioneered an easy, widely agreed-upon classification system. The number refers to curl families, while the letter, from “a” to “c,” points to how tightly wound your curls are within that. Curl type 1 is pretty much the absence of curl—in other words, straight. Type 2 means waves, while 3s are spiraled curls, and 4s are kinks and coils.

Graphic by Maureen Dougherty.

Why Knowing Your Curl Type Matters

While your curl pattern is usually pretty clear just from looking in the mirror, listening to it makes a big difference, says hairstylist Shai Amiel (“The Curl Doctor” on Instagram). Curl types are a good blueprint for figuring out your routine. So if you have major curls, you can avoid wasting time with too-weak products and go for the heavy-hitting curl creams (SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie has rave reviews from curly girls). Or vice versa, if you’ve got fine waves, you can focus on the stuff that won’t weigh them down (try DevaCurl’s Wavemaker).

Also, because most products aren’t classified by the numerical system, knowing your type helps you home in on buzzwords when you’re wandering the hair care aisle, says celebrity curly-hair stylist Vernon Francois. “Everyone is constantly faced with what their hair texture is and how to enhance it, and this simplifies it,” he says. “Then you can investigate from there according to your needs.”

A leave-in product (we love this one from DevaCurl) and a curl definer (like Ouidad’s Featherlight Styling Cream) make up the standard routine, but both Amiel and Francois agree there are more factors to finding your best curl. The system thought up by the curly community works pretty well—but as with everything, the better you can know your hair, the easier it will be to pick the best products for your curl pattern.

3 Factors That’ll Help You Determine the Best Products for Your Curl Type

Porosity

OK, so “porosity” isn’t the sexiest-sounding word when it comes to talking about hair, but it is an important factor in narrowing down the products that’ll bring out your curls’ shape. The term refers to how easily your hair sucks up liquids, i.e., why your hair can take forever to dry (a question morning showerers know well). If you have no idea where you stand in the porosity scales, Francois says an easy test can clear things up. Dunk some hair in a cup of water (or take a bath, any excuse), and see if your hair floats, sinks, or stays somewhere in the middle. Boom, you know your porosity Salem witch-style.

If your hair floats, it’s nonporous and doesn’t easily absorb product, so you should reach for heavier creams that’ll fight the good fight and get the job done, like Curl Smith’s Curl Conditioning Oil-In-Cream. If it sinks, your hair takes in liquids easily. Look for lighter, water-based products, Francois says. (We love his line’s PURE~FRO Moisture Spray and Amika’s Curl Corps Enhancing Gel.)

Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Waiting to Find Out the Sex of Their Baby

Meghan Markle received so much love today (January 14) about her baby on-the-way during her visit to Birkenhead, England—so much love that she spilled some tea to well-wishers. We reported this morning the Duchess of Sussex revealed exactly when her and Prince Harry’s first child is expected to arrive (end of April, early May). Now, she’s talking about the baby’s sex.

Before you get too excited: No, Markle didn’t confirm if she’s having a boy or girl. Rather, she told a fan that she and Prince Harry are opting to keep the baby’s sex a surprise until she gives birth.

This fan, a 9-year-old girl from Rock Ferry, told People magazine, “Meghan came up to me and asked me how old I was and where I went to school. I could see her bump and I asked if she was having a boy or a girl and she said, ‘We don’t know whether it’s a boy or girl, we are keeping it as a surprise.’”

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit Birkenhead

PHOTO: Getty Images

Markle and Prince Harry choosing to stay in the dark about this actually follows royal protocol. “Traditionally, the royal couple does not learn the sex of the baby until the birth,” Myka Meier, founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette, tells Glamour. “Beside the people in the delivery room, it’s tradition that the queen is first to be told of the new arrival via phone call. While there are many royal baby traditions that have been broken in recent generations—such as Princess Diana being the first to birth a royal baby outside of a palace and, instead, in a hospital—saving sex reveal for the day of birth is likely one that will stay for generations to come.”

Looks like we’ll all have to wait a few months to learn anything definitive about Markle’s royal baby.

Related Stories:

Did Meghan Markle Just Reveal Her Due Date?

Meghan Markle’s Best Maternity Fashion Moments

Meghan Markle’s Royal Patronages Have Been Announced, and Two Come From the Queen Herself

How Much Fighting Is Too Much in a Relationship?

When you’re in a relationship, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’re going to fight with your partner at some point—that’s just life. But when you find yourself bickering more than usual, it’s natural to wonder, “How much fighting is too much?” and “Are we totally screwed?”

Before you freak out and think your relationship is doomed because you had two fights last week, know this: it’s completely normal to have arguments and disagreements with your partner, says Joseph Cilona, Psy.D., a Manhattan-based licensed clinical psychologist. Some couples argue more than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re doomed. “There is no one correct formula when it comes to frequency of conflict, and there is no one correct way to navigate conflict that’s right for all couples,” Cilona says.

The occasional argument is actually a good thing, says Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and author of Should I Stay or Should I Go?. “Fighting means you care about the relationship,” she says. “When fighting goes away completely, sometimes one or both people have checked out.”

To figure out if your fights are healthy (or if they’re raising red flags in your relationship) ask yourself these questions.

1. Do you fight fair?

Rather than tallying up all of your arguments, pay more attention to how you fight. If you can argue in a respectful way—by using phrases like “I feel really angry” or “I feel like I’m not being heard” and avoiding character assaults—you’re in a good place, Durvasula says. But if your arguments often devolve into personal attacks (think: name-calling, criticizing the core of who someone is or how they look), it’s not healthy for your relationship. “Don’t let arguments scare you,” Durvasula says. “Just pay attention to the quality of them.”

2. Do you finish your fights?

How well you and your partner make up is also important. In other words, are you able to resolve fights or do you have lingering issues that you shelve each time to keep the peace? “Couples who are able to go through conflict into harmony end up having productive fights, which leads to greater intimacy,” says David Klow, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Chicago. If you’re constantly rehashing old arguments (healthy arguments focus on the current issue, Cilona says), fighting over the same things over and over with no resolution or compromise, or feeling upset about the fact that you’re fighting all the time, that can be problematic. “If even one member of a couple has feelings of upset, dissatisfaction, discomfort, fear, or any other significant negative feelings related to the nature, frequency, or intensity of the conflict itself, it’s something that should be addressed,” Cilona says.

3. Do you ever feel threatened?

If a fight with your partner has ever made you feel physically, emotionally, or psychologically unsafe, that’s a major red flag, according to the experts. Fighting is healthy only as long as it stays fair and safe. If you find that you’re arguing a lot, it’s bothering you, and the two of you can’t seem to get it right, it may be time to see a professional for help. “Often a clean pair of eyes can help you see where your communication patterns are going wrong,” Durvasula says. And if you feel like things have crossed a line, talk to a therapist or someone you trust ASAP.