On The Best Time I Was a Teenage Ayn Rand Worshipper

I totally had a brief Rand obsession. My parents rolled their eyes and refused to address it other than to say "you'll grow out of it." As much as it's meant to be an allegory about capitalism, I think it speaks very neatly to the adolescent feeling of alienation--that weird sense of superiority so many teenagers have, that the world infuriatingly refuses to recognize. Considering two generations of American kids have grown up making the journey to Oz and only a precious few have grown up to be adults lobbying for a return to the gold standard, I don't think we as a society have much to worry about from the Fountainhead, so I say let a phase be a phase.

I distinctly remember losing interest in the Objectivist cult when I found myself skimming long sections of Atlas Shrugged to find the sex scenes. At that point I realized the literary merits of the series were perhaps a bit overblown, and that perhaps (objectively speaking) I should go try to make out with some boys. That worked, btw.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm 0

On The Best Time I Passed a Note to an Attractive Stranger

@sp8ce "Weenie" is precisely how I feel about anyone who asks me out for a coffee date. Alcohol or GTFO, what society do you think we're living in?

BUT it is definitely weenie-ish to say "I don't drink coffee, let's have tea" to someone who asks you out for coffee. I have definitely said "I don't drink coffee, let's have wine" before, but if you insist on coffee everywhere that has coffee also has tea and I just order that. You don't need to make a big stink about it, it's not like tea houses are common.

Posted on August 25, 2014 at 10:13 am 0

On Bloodfeast: “My Uterus Is Listening to the Cramps” Mac and Cheese

@be-bop-a-lu-la They think it prevents the pasta pieces from sticking to each other. They are wrong.

Posted on August 5, 2014 at 2:48 pm 1

On Bloodfeast: “My Uterus Is Listening to the Cramps” Mac and Cheese

NEVER put oil in your pasta water. Are you crazy, woman? When you drain it, the oil gets on the pasta, which prevents sauce and cheese from adhering to it, which is the ENTIRE POINT of mac & cheese in the first place. All you need to prevent pasta from sticking together is adequate water in a large-enough pot. Try it. Only good things will happen.

Oh, and if you habitually oil but don't salt your pasta water, don't even tell me. There is enough salt in cheesy pastas bakes like this that you don't have to here, but for anything else YOU ARE DOING IT SO WRONG IT HURTS ME PHYSICALLY.

Posted on August 5, 2014 at 2:46 pm 3

On What Happened When We Gave Our Daughter My Last Name

Your kids friends are the FIRST people who are going to be okay with this, because they won't have preconceived notions of how things are done or why. They won't be teased for it. I've been so surprised at the number of my friends who as they've had kids have ended up changing their names or their kids names or everyone's names just because "how else will the kids know who their family is?!" Kids know. I asked my mother why she had a different last name than me several times as a child, but I had no confusion at any point about whether or not she was really my mother.

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm 1

On A Bold Notion for Baby Showers

@stonefruit I worked at a sexist, horrible British company where only female employees planned and attended office baby showers. The men sort of hovered around outside to hug the mom-to-be and scrounge cake afterwards. Aside from that, the only office showers have been at essentially all-female offices (I work in magazines) so it wasn't really any issue, I never actually thought about it. But I think it would be weird at most companies to exclude employees on that basis.

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 8:22 am 0

On What I've Learned From Three Years Without Shampoo

@ComradeQuestion I'm a brunette, so I've never experienced the green thing in years of swimming, but vinegar actually helps remove chlorine so I would imagine not. And basically, shampoo+chlorine=double damage to your hair. Removing the lathering chemicals (at the very LEAST, switch to a sulfate-free shampoo) will be great for your hair health overall.

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 10:25 pm 0

On What I've Learned From Three Years Without Shampoo

@yossariangirl I use Devachan's No-Poo products. I don't have to use very much, so even though they're expensive, they last a long time (I buy maybe 3-4 bottles a year, and I work out/use their product to wash my hair every day) and frankly, I'm doing this to look pretty, not because I'm a hippie. I spend no money on products (because my hair looks great), styling tools (because my hair looks great), or color (you get the idea) so I feel I can justify the cost of 6 bottles of products and a great cut twice a year. And *gets on high horse* unlike everyone who appears to be writing about this on the internet NOW, I have been doing this for 15 years, since I was 13 years old. I grew up in New York and have used nothing but their products and their cuts for basically my entire life, and literally have only distant memories of bad hair days. The only thing that ruins my hair now is if I have a date at night and I get nervous and scrunch my hair too enthusiastically in the morning and squish the curls in an effort to make them really stay.

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm 1

On The Best Time I Learned My Last Name Means Blow Job

@elephony I worked with a guy whose name was Richard Blow. I don't think he ever went by Dick, and also he later changed his last name to something else, but I am pretty sure plenty of other people thought to call him that regardless.

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 6:39 pm 1

On Seven Months Alone in South America

I read these stories now, after recently ending a relationship with a 32-year-old man who is still paralyzed with indecision about what he wants to do with his life SIX YEARS after an epic backpacking trip like this, and I genuinely wonder if it's a good idea for some people. It feels to me like traveling for too long really skews your perception of normality in a way that is pretty unsustainable for most people, and there's never anyone there telling 20-somethings that the things they want right now may not be the things they want in their 40s...and those things they want in their 40s may not be available to them if they make certain choices now. He went through basically exactly the same cycle...a 3 month trip turned into nearly a year, a brief stint back at home to earn money, another four months out with no plans to return, and then he was called home by a family emergency, and hasn't been able to make it back out since, mainly because he refuses to lower himself to do the kind of mundane office work he ran away from in the first place after having his epiphany while traveling. This means that he has no regular income, and thus no ability to travel anywhere OR start a real life at home. He totally believes himself when he says that he wants to have a family in his mid-30s, but with years of earning power forfeited, it's simply not going to be possible for him to have the kind of life he's envisioning, which is the one he was raised with, funded by two very hard-working doctor parents.

Basically, I used to think this was something I wanted to do. But after seeing what it's done to almost everyone I know who's done it (not just this guy, who's the worst-case scenario) I no longer think it's a great idea for everyone, and I think the people who insist it is are justifying their own choices in a big way. I worked as a travel writer for three years, traveling about two weeks out of every month, so believe me, I understand wanderlust, but I'm living proof that there's a way to indulge wanderlust and keep your life's momentum at the same time. I'm not saying don't go, but I'm saying if you do, spend some of the time you're not having sex with strangers and petting baby llamas thinking about what you DO want out of a career and a life, not just what you DON'T want. Even jobs and paths that are what you want will have aspects of the things you don't want--that doesn't make them the wrong choice.

Posted on January 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm 0