Friday, August 22, 2014
There's a tiny island town in Brazil called Morro do Sao Paolo where the idea of "the honeymoon" was born. It takes a winding cab ride through the jungle and two boat rides to get there, but once you do, you’re hit by sweeping ocean views and the smell of passion fruit that mysteriously wafts through the air at all times. This is a place where cars aren’t allowed. Where beautiful Argentinean girls with tan legs and ankle bracelets invite you to parties on the beach. Where you dance to the Brazilian pop song of the moment in the rain at 3 am, while guzzling down drinks made of Cachaça and pure glee.
Lovers come to this place to entangle in hammocks (and then make babies), which is why it was a particularly awkward destination for my platonic friend Dustin and I, who were both smack dab in the middle of quarter life crises. We met in New York, but as two kids hailing from the West, a couple of years in the city left us burnt out and confused. He had been in South America for the past couple of months living off insurance money from a bad car accident (and recovering from a heartbreak). I was blowing savings I should have actually been saving before starting grad school in California (and lovesick for a boy back in Brooklyn). READ MORE
The slow, sudden, beautiful, gross process of becoming a sexual human being is different for every person – as are the songs the sing us into womanhood (or whatever). Hearing the music that defined this heady time in our lives can throw a person right back into that hormonal flush. From Usher to Bikini Kill to the Counting Crows, Rachel Vorona Cote, Kirsten Schofield, Sarah Seltzer, and Lindsay King-Miller have gathered to reflect, celebrate and discuss the tracks that made them realize that sex was like, you know, a THING. READ MORE
As Yeats himself once said, "Although we've come to the end of the road/Still I can't let go/It's unnatural/You belong to me/I belong to you." Meredith and I feel beyond honored to fill in as your guest editors this week.
Let's remember this week! We learned all the different types of Ghosting. Then we took a look back at all the different types of controversy surrounding NIPPLES. We went to the Vatican drunk, then talked business. We talked feelings about catcalls, then attended Rom Com Club about My Best Friend's Wedding.
We asked our friends to leave their boyfriends at home, then analyzed dude texts, then watched the greatest TV show, then talked body hair. We read letters from confused straight men,then we overheard a conversation between Nicki Minaj and Drake. We ranked best friends in romcoms, we tried to leave the past behind,then we went right back to subtweeting. We Asked A Queer Chick some questions, we talked female crime stoppers, then found a grandmother's trashed book and brought it to life. We talked curly hair, visited psychics, thought of new challenges involving buckets, ranked boyband members, got bad advice from our moms, and rode the Staten Island Ferry. We topped it off by reading Us Weekly and remembering Rilo Kiley.
Have a great weekend, you guys!
I bought Rilo Kiley's More Adventurous ten years ago this week because every attractive person on Myspace was suddenly listing it in their favorite music, and I needed to know what was going on. I worked in a record store at the time, but we didn't have it in stock, so I made the sacrilege move of driving to a neighboring town and buying it at a Tower records. This was before YouTube or Google or anything that would've really enabled my vetting the band before buying their record, so I didn't know they were female-fronted, and I didn't know what they were gonna sound like.
This was also at a time when I was very firmly in a high school zone of only listening to music written and performed by dudes. Often they were dudes I was also weaving elaborate, tragic crushes on (Elliott Smith! Let me heal u!), but across the board they were white dudes with guitars from America or England or Australia singing about boning and drugs and the towns they lived in. I remember realizing this was the case and thinking to myself, "I just relate to guys more. I'm a guys' girl."
So when I peeled the cellophane and stickers off More Adventurous in the Tower parking lot and popped the CD into the player of my '93 Camry, I immediately regretted the purchase. Those opening chords of "It's A Hit" kicked in and it was Jenny (a woman!) singing about a monkey (okay?!) and using the word pair "opposable thumbs" (some Dane Cook-level comedian used those words first in a joke I stole from Limewire because he's a genius and this is probably plagiarism!) — so about ten seconds in I hit "next." The song must've been an exception to the rule. The people on Myspace know what they're talking about. But track after track I hit next. Next. Next.
The CD didn’t get any play after that. I chalked it up to $9.99 experimentally-spent and didn’t think of the band again until an iPod entered my life and I started moving all of my CDs into iTunes. Trying to up that gig-count and diversify my library, everything I owned went onto the iPod whether I actually liked it or not — More Adventurous included. It made using the “Shuffle” feature a living hell, but it also made me feel very worldly and chic when someone would casually scroll through my shit and be like, “omg Flaming Lips AND Wu-Tang?”
It should go without saying that I spent my teen years locked in that adolescent rigor mortis of trying to appear cool at all times while secretly working out what I actually liked behind closed doors in a basement lab in my brain. Mentally noting, “Oh, I don’t understand what the fuck would ever compel someone to live their life to this song,” and then downloading the band’s entire discography and hoarding it anyway. READ MORE
I don’t consciously remember signing up for Us Weekly’s Daily Emails, I think they just knew that I needed them.
At first, they really came just once a day. Just one daily email that I would look forward to all morning, with all the important celebrity news I needed about Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie and other people we cared about years but don’t so much care about anymore.
But, as celebrity news got more and more important, updates and exclusives started coming in, and the good people at Us Weekly were forced to send out urgent alerts and updated newsletters, sometimes ten a week. They had to admit that the flow of information was too forceful to just leak out once a day. They couldn’t parcel out this precious information like prison rations; the people need well-rounded meals! Today, the minimum daily count in my inbox is up to three; breakfast, lunch and dinner, with breaking news still dotting the week.
So now, at least three times a day my phone pings to let me know that a B-lister’s marriage is on the rocks, someone from an ABC /Disney property has done something inane, diet news and that women have legs. All the news that’s fit to print and then some other news, why not, there’s space!
Here are some of the highlights from this week.
Riding the Staten Island Ferry for the Sake of Riding of the Staten Island Ferry on a Wednesday Afternoon
I’m unemployed. If you’ve never tried it, I can’t say I particularly recommend it. I was laid off in early July, and since then, I’ve discovered that unemployment has a lot in common with the aimless, unstructured summers of elementary school, but with at least twice the malaise and three times the existential dread.
It doesn’t take long before you realize you must Do Things to fill the void once occupied by steady paychecks, dental insurance, and free bagel Fridays. Of course, the most common Thing to Do is apply for jobs. Make sure you’re on top of that one. But there are only so many jobs. Sometimes, your daily Thing takes the form of going for a run. Other times, the Thing requires you to get dressed to go for a run, then watch four episodes of Frasier on Netflix (you doze off, still in your sneakers, a few minutes into the fifth).
On Wednesday morning, I was determined to find a new Thing, preferably one that involved neither physical exertion nor Kelsey Grammer. On the suggestion of a friend who’d recently done the same, I decided to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. This, I thought, would be a perfect vacation from my non-vacation. There’s water involved, a boat, and a place that has “Island” right in its name — not to mention that it’s free, which works well for my budget. READ MORE
So my sister had a baby yesterday, and I discovered one of the most intense places on Earth: peering into the nursery window in the maternity ward of a hospital.
Everyone is looking through the glass watching their baby get measured and cleaned up and sleep and get to experience being alive for the first few hours. Every person you stand next to you is in the midst of one of the joyful moments in their whole life and everyone says "Congratulations" to each other instead of "hi." It is like a real life airport scene from Love Actually, which I know not everyone loves (Emma Thompson, I'm looking at you), but I mean, come on. That ending and that Beach Boys song. Ok, this is my last Aunt post of the day, unless someone wants to make this happen.
[Suburbs, kitchen table, sometime before 8am.]
My Mom: Good morning! What are you going to write about today? I have a lot of ideas!!!
Me: Oh god. I'm going to need coffee first.
My Mom: No problem! I have great coffee. Which do you prefer – Entenmann's chocolate donut flavored coffee or this new stuff I got at the mall, decaf cinnamon hazelnut mocha cherry coffee?
Me: [defeated and knows the answer] We don't have any regular coffee??
My Mom: Once you try these flavors, you'll never want to go back to your regular coffee! Trust me. Anyway, I have ideas of what you should blog about today! Can I tell you or do you need to catch up on the news first? [hands me the USA Today] READ MORE
From The Cut:
Put another way: We will stop Dong Watch once there’s a female president, zero wage gap, and Swedish-level paid parental leave; once tampons, birth control, and abortions are all available free and on-demand.
HEAR HEAR! Wednesday, The Daily Beast responded to the ostensible hypocrisy in Jezebel's epically illustrated Disney Dude Dicks, and now The Cut's Kat Stoeffel has smacked that complaint down handily.
We're just going to throw in our pro-shirtless thickneck two cents, and if that can double as a reminder that "hey, gender relationships in this country are still unequal as hell!" then that's some good work for a Friday morning.
Wait, you guys have never heard the term hairography before? So you're telling me you don't incorporate whipping your hair back and forth into your SoulCycle routine? Weird. Luckily Well+Good has a piece on the latest trend in SoulCycle culture. Let's get into it:
Hairography—AKA tossing your hair purposefully with your moves on the bike—is a growing fitness world phenomenon and a skill that gives a steamy workout room music video transcendence.
But wait, is there any chance taking one's hair out of a ponytail can instigate a form of change in the lives around you?
“Hair can change the vibe and energy in me and the room. There are times during rides when I wonder what it is that the class needs….and I will realize my hair is still up,” Heekin says. “When the hair comes down the room lightens up…people makes noise and it’s known the party has arrived.”
That's it. If people don't make noise the next time I take my hair out, I will be pissed. Well+Good]
Feeling especially altruistic because you just participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge? Hungry for more performative philanthropy? Consider some of these other viral ways to film yourself raising awareness:
Rice Bucket Challenge
Dump a bucket of cooked brown rice on yourself for the gluten intolerant.
Slice Bucket Challenge
Fill a bucket with pizza slices and eat the entire thing to show your support for struggling delivery guys everywhere.
Edelweiss Bucket Challenge
For people who literally cannot stop watching The Sound of Music.
VICE Bucket Challenge
Do a few lines off the bucket, then tell the camera how edgy and provocative you are. READ MORE
Herewith, an incomplete list of psychics I have been to; partially because these are the important ones, partially because I can't remember all of the psychics I have been to.
August 2000, Weirs Beach, NH
When I was 14 and summer vacations were everything, my cousin Laurie agreed to take me to the palm reader who'd set up shop on the boardwalk. I wanted to go to a psychic more than anything (my parents had always rightfully insisted they were a crazy waste of money), but I still struck a hard teen skeptic's posture. I was extremely excited to pretend I didn't take the whole thing seriously. Fourteen years later, I still remember without trying that she told me I would marry a police officer or a lawyer. "A police officer or a lawyer" is my Damon Bradley. READ MORE
If you want to scream whiteness, almost nothing beats rap-talk-singing—that half-monotone half-melodic vocal technique you may recognize from the likes of Beck’s "Loser" or many recent commercials. These days, rap-talk-singing is typically parody in the vein of Sir Mix-A-Lot's famous "Baby Got Back" intro. (You know: "Becky, look at her butt. It is sooooo big. She looks like one of those rap guys' girlfriends.") It is not always clear when white people rap-talk-sing self-deprecatingly. Perhaps this is what happened to Taylor Swift, whose most recent single, "Shake It Off," is somewhere between a great Gap ad and a bad pop song.
Although "Shake It Off" is aesthetically bad, even T-Swift knows that in most cases, if you are white, you must address your bad rap through irony, calling yourself out for your failure to achieve authentic blackness. Around 2:30, Taylor does just that by dressing up, first in a snapback with an oversized boombox (her black persona intro), then as a bouncy-haired cheerleader, icon of whiteness. She is going to rap-talk-sing her way to the Billboard Top 40: "My ex-man brought his new girlfriend, she's like oh my god..." You can hear the echoes of Sir Mix-A-Lot. This is different from her attempts at rap, which are also parodic, but have never jumped directly from thug-persona irony to the exaggerated strutting and lilt of a white cheerleader.
This is the only way to tame your wild mane.
1. Sleep on a pillow of cirrus clouds, though cumulus clouds will do if you don’t wish to travel so high up in the atmosphere. Regular pillows will cause an eruption of frizz from your volcano of hair.
2. You may only wash your curly hair once every 6.37 days. If you stray from this timeline, the many oils of your scalp will grossly overproduce and you will perpetually look like a wet dog.
3. Condition your hair with an entire bottle of newborn baby tears. The older the baby is, the less conditioning its tears become. Find one just out of the womb for best results.
4. As soon as you condition your hair, you must brush it 16 times with a fork made of pure gold. Brushes and combs are for peasants with straight hair.
5. Never touch your wet hair. If there is hair in your eyes you CAN NOT use your own hands to adjust it. The wind will blow it out of your way if it is meant to be.
6. After the drying process, you can use a stick of organic unsalted butter to smooth any frizzies or baby hairs on top of your head.
7. Throughout the day it is important to whisper into your curls that you love them and appreciate how decorative and festive they make your head look.
8. You never want your hair to feel neglected or lacking in purpose. Let her hold a pen or pencil for you, maybe even a packaged snack.
9. Never, and I mean never, style your hair in a fancy manner. No ponytails, no buns, no banana clips, no pigtails, no chignons, no chopsticks. Your hair will react by eating the ponytail holder and bobby pins and giving you a massive headache.
10. If you ever try to straighten your bouncing and bountiful curls that were a gift from the witchy haired goddesses before you, there is a 93.2% chance all of your hair will fall out.