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Laura's Midlife Pages
VITRIOLIC LIFE-HATING BITCH
The changing face of an acronym

Why would a reasonably good-natured person call herself a vitriolic life-hating bitch? Sheer cussedness.

In the spring of 1997, a "paid spokesman" for the Life Extension Foundation began posting to the newsgroup alt.support.menopause. He was looking to sign up new members (for a fee) and sell Life Extension's "alternative healthcare" supplements. Some of us smelled scam, and said so. He countered that we were anti-life and called us "a group of vitriolic life-hating bitches."

Coming from him, it was a compliment. A group of us was so pleased with it that we created an acronym from it, VLHB, and made it part of our e-mail addresses.

Unfortunately, it turns out that what he really called us was "vociferous, destructive, life-hating bitches," and one of us (which one? modesty forbids...) immediately and persistently misquoted it. But what the heck, I'm used to "vitriolic" now, so "vitriolic" it stays. It's got more of a bite than "vociferous," anyhow.

The first to adopt the acronym as part of her address continues to post as vl-hb001. I was next, as vlhb002@aol.com. Others used number 003 through 005 informally and infrequently. Amazingly, no one ever claimed the usually highly-coveted #007.

Postscript: A lighthearted discussion of the vlhb genesis and number ownership turned into a source of much unhappiness for me in February 1999, and the acronym began to take on an association with a collection of attitudes that I found I did not share. So, I retired my vlhb002 moniker and returned to my original AOL e-mail address of lblanch000@aol.com until closing the account in the summer of 2002. But it was funny in an in-your-face kind of a way for a good long time.

--Laura Blanchard
June 2002


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