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On On Subcultures

I have always wanted to get into LARPing. It's just playing pretend, right? With other grownups who also like to play pretend? The other day I got out a book on Nordic LARPing, which is like regular LARPing except that you pretend things like, "It's World War II and there are Jews in our midst and some of us want to root them out while others protect them," or "It's a nuclear war and we are all trapped here in this damp dark shelter fighting with each other as our food supplies dwindle," or "We are inexplicably trapped in this prison for reasons we don't understand while guards interrogate us about our childhoods." And it was all pretty fascinating except that it became obvious that the guy who wrote the book, and who was a major figure in the Nordic LARPing scene was a total racist douchenozzle who kept droning on and on about how there was a major split in the Nordic LARPing scene following the publication of the Blah Blah Blah Manifesto (written by him) which was a far superior methodology for LARPing and all the other LARPers were unserious and corrupt, and also there was some garbage about how an Asian woman asked if she could play one of the major (implicitly white) historical characters instead of the stupid stereotypical ones she was always assigned, and the limits of everyone's imagination were IMMEDIATELY reached and so she ruined the LARP for everyone.

And then I realized that ultimately, Nordic LARP or Phish or whatever, it's not the thing you're doing, it's the people you're doing it with. My friends' "subculture" of sitting around watching 90s movies ironically while talking boringly about the applications of literary theory to YA novels is probably just as alienating as anything the LARPers do, but my friends aren't racist douchenozzles, so that's the subculture I've chosen.

Posted on April 29, 2013 at 11:33 am 10

On April 16

@vunder Yes, also from that article - she was $200,000 dollars in debt from a doctoral program? WHAT????

I cannot even imagine what has to happen for someone to get tangled up in that amount of debt for a PhD program: lots of programs are free! Even if she'd graduated, she would never have paid that back on an assistant professor's salary! I almost suspect something criminal here. What the heck is going on?

Posted on April 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm 0

On Interview With a Virgin: Bette

Nicole! Remember on your tumblr when you asked people why they read the Hairpin, or if they don't, why not? I feel like there has been a slight shift in the type/style of posts lately towards more link-bloggy, snarky, unserious things, but articles like -this- are the beating heart of the Hairpin.

If you're looking for someone to replace Jane Marie, instead of finding a beauty editor who will inevitably not be as good as Jane, why don't you ask Jia? She could be the interviews editor, and the "theme" of her job could be to serve as a bridge between the official bloggers and the Hairpin commentariat/readers, who are one of the site's greatest strengths.

Posted on April 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm 54

On Friends' Relationships, Sex, and the Ones Who Get Halfway Away

Posted on April 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm 0

On 500 Days Alone In: The World

If you have no student debt, don't have a car, live with roommates, had parents who pushed you over the entry barrier by co-signing your loans or fronting your first & last (so you're not carrying credit card debt), and aren't saving for retirement (because you assume that at some point you'll 'level-up' into a real job, so the future isn't really a concern), a $30,000 job leaves you more than comfortable in every city other than possibly NY and San Fran.

It's one of those things where privilege isn't as immediately visible as "My parents bought me an apartment or send me a check every month," but it's part of that "middle-class trust fund" that I was reading about somewhere (here?) recently. It's part of the invisibility of class that can make people really depressed and confused, because often it's the answer to the question: "We both have these same entry-level jobs, why am I struggling to keep my head above water while this guy's taking a trip around the world?"

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm 20

On A Big Book-y Post

@Nicole Cliffe
1. Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooh.

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm 0

On A Big Book-y Post

Hooray, a book post! I want to read every single one of these, except the Night Circus, because of weird personal reasons.

Maybe this is a stupid question and I missed a major Hairpin thing, but Jennifer Banash, do I know you? Are you a commenter that I admire all the time and you have also secretly written a book? That is super exciting. Sometimes I daydream that I am going to write a book, and then I tell the Hairpin about it and then everyone is super excited for me and I get really famous and they give me my own column where I can write every week about what it's like to write a book, from like getting an agent to going through revisions to going on a book tour. This is premature (and possibly an overshare) since I haven't taken the major step of Writing a Book yet so I am as yet unqualified to write that column.

This comment is getting weird and rambly since I weirdly decided only to eat hard boiled eggs for lunch, so here is are two concrete contributions:

1. Didn't Amy Sohn write an article that got bashed all the way to hell on The Awl a while back?
2. The book I am most excited about, of all of these, is "How to Create the Perfect Wife."

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm 1

On Image Serving No Purpose Other Than to Let Us Stare at That Sweet Face All Day

@sandwiches There's so much I don't know about your situation, and eight years is twice as long as I've been in a relationship, but...

A few years ago, after I'd been dating my boyfriend for a while, I got the intense, intense urge to break up with him. I couldn't justify it, none of my friends thought it was a good idea, the thought of it tore me to pieces, my brain said it was stupid, but my heart said, go. You probably think you know where this is going.

I wrote about it on the internet, and most people said, 'If you want to break up with him, do it; 'wanting to leave is enought.' One person said, 'If you're that devastated at the thought of breaking up with him...maybe don't break up with him?'

I broke up with him. I regretted it more than I can say.

We're back together now. We live together. We are happy. Still, every once in a while, I still get an intense urge to get the fuck out. I imagine all the fantastic ways my life would be different if we weren't together, how fun and different and exciting it would all be. I imagine all these different lives. But then...I think about how my heart tells me, sometimes, to drop out of grad school, to get on a bus to ride to LA with no job, to tell off everyone I know in uncertain terms, to refuse to get out of bed, to sleep with strangers, to adopt a foster kid, to dye my hair platinum blond, get a fake name, and see if I could start a new life from scratch.

Yes, the impulse is there, but your heart doesn't know everything. It has to work in conjunction with your brain. Your heart is flipping out, but your brain can say: there are lots of changes on the horizon, you're under a lot of pressure at school, you're super anxious and exhausted for a million reasons: pause, breathe. Wait and see. You can stay together and not move in together, stay together and not get married, or just put one foot in front of the other and see where you end up. Some day, both your brain and your heart might tell you to end it, but right now, this person on the internet is saying: if it seems that devastating to you to break up, don't break up with him, at least not yet.

I hope you feel better soon.

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 10:28 am 12

On On Fear as the Mind-Killer

@garli @ The Angels Have the Phonebox No, it absolutely does help, thank you! In addition to the shared misery, I think I need to start exploring the possibility that since I'm obviously not the first person this has happened to, there are probably lots of resources out there, and lots of help, if I can just nut up and take advantage of it. I think I'm really guilty of taking a sort of defeatist attitude with this, like whelp, 'this happened and I am totally at the mercy of it, guess there's nothing else to do but just go it alone.'

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm 0

On On Fear as the Mind-Killer

@parallel-lines Hot vinyasa yoga got me through the first year after my injury! I was going almost every day and I loved the way it made me feel, in part because I was so bad at it to start that my progress was really palpable. That said, it was also a way to tell myself I was exercising without doing any cardio, which resulted in my getting really, really out of shape in that way, and then (because I was leaning on it so hard) I ended up injuring my shoulder and it hasn't really gotten better.

So yeah, I feel you. Especially the way that gaining weight can actually make you feel more fragile, not less. It's hard. I should definitely try to get back to PT.

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm 0