On Modern Love (A Personal Essay)

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, there lived a prince and a princess. They were in love. But the princess watched too many sappy movies and read too many Nicholas Sparks novels, which melded her ideas about true love into a strict list of rules and expectations that would never be forgotten over time. With each heartbreak she experienced, the list only got longer and her hope and belief only got shorter.

This princess was me–is me–and she is probably every other teenaged girl who wasn’t born “chill,” who wasn’t always one to just “go with the flow,” and who believed in true love so much that “love at first sight” and “happily ever after” were just things she expected would happen in life. “Hook up” was a foreign term. Why should you even kiss someone else if you don’t like them? Why should you have no self-respect for your body and your feelings? Obviously, these middle school-thoughts have worn out as I’ve come to accept the harsh realities of imperfect screwing around that the average high school and college-aged kid experiences. In the back of my mind, I miss this mentality. I miss ideality.

There are, however, a few issues I still have with roller coaster-loving. And they mainly revolve around one thing and one thing only: blurry lines. When there’s no love, there’s no boundaries. We can pretend this is OK until someone gets hurt, and whether you want to admit to it or not, someone always does. If we are, as many sources have said, the “Hook Up Generation,” then does cheating even exist anymore?

Technology is obviously at fault for everything, and although technology itself is like my near and dear Jewish sorority sister, I have to blame it for this as well. You see a picture of your guy dancing with another girl (but wait, she’s just a friend I promise!!!!!!!), he’s done. You can talk to someone else for hours and hours when you know your signif. other wouldn’t like it, but then delete the conversation in less than a millisecond. No one will ever know. It’s like our new media-ocre society is pushing for this constant contact–having the eternal opportunity to check someone’s muploads and to create the wrong thoughts about the wrong person that you wish you didn’t have, but you do. It’s creating a cloud of paranoia that is about to pour down in an acidic rain it burns more than that vodka-tonic someone that ISN’T your “hook up” of the month just bought you at a bar. It tears two people apart. Trust me, I would know.

The hypocrisy and idiocrisy have been risen to a new level. Now, everything is everyone’s business. We are all intertwined by our feelings for each other and our overlapping friends and our iMessage group chats. So, I give up. I am done. And for those of you that watch Girls: I am waiting for HBO to publish Charlie’s app Forbid because I could really fricking use it right now.

And even moreso, the reverse psychology involved in the game of “Who Hates the Other Person More” is ridiculous. There is too much time spent trying to convince the other person that you don’t care, like thinking too much about trying not to text and call each other when it shouldn’t require a thought at all, or spending hours venting to a good friend instead of spending one minute saying “I love you” to your best friend. In actuality, I wouldn’t say that modern love has done me well, but I wouldn’t say it’s done me so bad either. I’ve lost five pounds in the last four days… totally great for the diet.

Ultimately, my life has evolved into a Bruno Mars medley. I’ve unfortunately come to the conclusion that not everything is a sign–not every song, not every baby I see, not everything yellow. It’s probably just a stupid coincidence that makes you get all teary again, which doesn’t help with the pink eye I you just had, and that, at the end of the day, really sucks in general. I’ve realized that timing is everything, and now isn’t the right time. I can convince myself that it is, but I know that it’s not. And Demi Lovato and Katy Perry are legit saving my life right now.

Before I close, I just want it to be known that this princess, however, happened to be a very feminist child and insisted she was “knighted” rather than “crowned” so she kneeled in front of her Great Aunt Brenda who, indeed, knighted her with a grapefruit spoon as a scepter. Maybe that’s why I feel this way about love… because I was never really anybody’s princess at all.


Flavor of the Week: “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

“Ohio” is a mega-#throwbackthursday (technically #waybackwednesday) because it was written and recorded in 1970 by the famous band everyone’s daddy loves, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Although it kills me that this band does not use an Oxford Comma in its title, like come on, I still give these guys serious props for writing a Vietnam War protest song about a chic college student that sacrificed life for peace.

kent state

For those of you unaware, on May 4, 1970, students at Kent State in Ohio were protesting Richard Nixon and the Cambodian Campaign. Eventually, the protest got so buckwild that the Ohio National Guard was called in. 67 rounds were fired, 9 students were wounded, and 4 died. John Filo, who is not currently a hipster even though I really expected him to be, took a phenomenal photograph of Mary Anne Vecchio, a 14-year-old runaway, kneeling and sobbing over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller, a shot student. Mr. Filo won a Pulitzer Prize for this photograph. He also won a FYD Award because when I was in fourth grade, I decided I was going to be obsessed with both this photograph and the song “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young (yes, I did insert that Oxford Comma).

I first heard “Ohio” while sitting in the backseat of my uncle’s car when I was eight. He told me that it was about a protest and I was really into protests and hippies at the time. Consequently, I decided that I just had to write my next school paper on this song, “Ohio,” and its deep emotional and cultural significance. Disclaimer: I swear on sleepaway camp that this is 100% a true story. I, a mere fourth grader with a taste for orange corduroy pants, Harvey Milk, and rainbow peace signs, decided to write my “Social Studies” report on the Kent State Massacre and a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. This historical happening became my sheer infatuation. I was literally, like, really literally obsessed with it. My essay may or may not have caused my father to cry tears of joy and pride. My teacher, who was likely on a lot of laxatives at the time (or so we thought) was shocked at my paper topic. I genuinely wonder: will my uniquely-named children be writing papers on Ke$ha, making their elementary school teachers in awe of how hipster they are? I can only hope.

Listen to “Ohio” here:


On Cramping My Style

If there was a TLC show about people that just hoarded clothing, I would probably be cast as the lead role. There would be at least a five-hour special that cut into Honey Boo-Boo’s airing time (hell yeah, bitch) on me, my clothes, and how my closet looks like a monster broke into the Free People store, was PMSing, ate everything in there, and then vomited it all back up.

When I was in eighth grade I wore royal blue tights with a salmon and mint-colored plaid skirt to school. And since no one ever said anything to me about this outfit, nor any of my others, I kept doing what I was doing. When I started high school, I felt the need to tone things down a bit. I still could not go more than five days straight without wearing a dress or a skirt and begged my mother to get me floral Doc Martens four years before they were cool. My style was my pride. I imagined that it always was and it always would be.

I am a teen mom to this Doc Marten baby.

I am a teen mom to this Doc Marten baby.

For some reason, however, I feel like I am slowly but surely losing it. My wardrobe is the same, but I physically and mentally cannot put together the same outfits that I used to. I recognize good taste in an issue of Vogue or while Facebook stalking my friend’s cousin’s campfriend’s homefriend’s sister’s friend. But I cannot seem to find it in myself. Sadly, over the last year I’ve come to realize that my sense in fashion has faded.

I cried over this matter while texting my boyfriend savagely at 2 a.m., expressing my woes and finding comfort in a jar of Kosher pickles. I was curious to figure it out. Why had I changed?

Why do any of us change if we like the way we are, for that matter? I was perfectly happy wearing adult-sized overalls and as much tulle as possible, all of the time. Maybe I had gotten lazy. I didn’t have time to dress well, and I didn’t feel like creating the energy to dress well. But I knew that wasn’t it.  Then the scariest thought of all glazed my mind–conformity.

Conformity, especially at a young adult age, is one of the most overwhelming ideas we will ever encounter if we think about it too hard. You need to learn to be a trendsetter by standing out, but only when you’re confident others would be willing to follow. You need to not be too many steps ahead nor too many steps behind. Although change is a human tendency, it is difficult to do so because subconsciously, we have to make sure that we are changing not alone, but with everyone else. Typically, this answer would be satisfying to me. But in the case of Hannah And The Missing Fashion Taste, it wasn’t. It was like biting into a slutty brownie and realizing that damn, you didn’t get a piece of the oreo.

Did I change myself, or did society change me? Will we ever really know? Probably not. So I gave myself a few words of advice for… myself. Be calm. Be brave. Eat salad. And dress how you feel like it.


Flavor of the Week: Fifty Shades of Grey

Yes, I’m going there.

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This week’s flavor is your one and only Fifty Shades because I said so. It’s the thing we all love to hate. And while we think it’s fricking weird that our moms read it before we did, we will still pack it like a illegal stow-away, Charlotte Doyle/Benito Cereno -esque, in our travel totes and make it look so incognito that the fat guy sitting next to us on the airplane will think we’re getting all hot and bothered from the cabin pressure and maybe like a good hardcover edition of Anne Frank’s diary. Fifty Shades is comparable to the puberty video I was forced to watch on a jumbo projection screen in fifth grade. I would never admit to the fact that yeah, I had been waiting to see it since kindergarten.

I decided to read Fifty Shades of Grey last summer while I was living with a Muslim family in central Turkey. The eternal fear that my older “brother,” “father,” or “cousin” would find this goldmine of all things un-Muslim kept me up at night. Did I hide Fifty in the perfect location? Did they know what it was? Was it legal to have that in my possession in Turkey? Ohmigod I’m going to get arrested and then probably stoned, or maybe stoned and then arrested, and then my mom is going to be really mad at me for not coming back to America and returning her copy of the book. As you can tell, it was a very stressful experience.

One day in front of these really nice Turkish construction workers my American friend asked me what I was reading. I decided to be like “Uhh… it doesn’t matter really…………” and then he goes “What? It’s not like you’re reading Fifty Shades of Grey or something.” Then I basically decided that my life is a joke.

Here’s to Fifty Shades of Grey, for still being relevant and morbidly embarrassing even though it was published 10 million years ago.


On The Pros and Cons of Facebook (as a Middle Aged Person)

I am not a middle aged person. I am not even a quarter life person yet. But because my mother kvetches more than a solid combination of Mrs. George/Amy Poehler circa Mean Girls and Jamie Lee Curtis, your go-to know-it-all on probiotic Activia yogurt, circa Freaky Friday, I feel as though in my adolescence I’ve grown to appreciate the taunt of a PMSing mother, the rage ensued after I use the emergency credit card to pay for a shirt on sale at Urban Outfitters, and the relief I feel when Mom has moved from her office–the kitchen table–to the stove with a spatula in one hand and a loaf of organic tofu in the other.

Super mom with a super digestive system.

Super mom with a super digestive system.

I remember when my mom decided to get a Facebook, which, might I add, happened before I created mine. For her first few weeks, she sat in the same chair at the dining room table, eyes glued to the screen until a small red notification would blink as a beacon of light in the corner of her screen. My mom grew up as an acquaintance of Constantine Maroulis, the Jesus-looking quasi-famous contestant from season four of American Idol, also from the original Broadway cast of Rock of Ages. Mom wrote and then proceeded to sing a short song about his acceptance of her friend request, because obviously.

Today, my mom has stepped slightly away from Facebook and indulged herself in the digital realm of Words With Friends and Family Feud, all fueled by her acquisition of an iPad one or two years ago. Although my mom makes it seem like the internet world is a heaven on earth, I feel like Facebook would be pretty startling and stressful to be introduced to as an adult.

Here are what I consider to be the pros and cons of Facebook as a middle aged person:

Pro: My mom’s high school sweetheart can now more readily stalk her.

Con: My mom’s high school sweetheart can now more readily stalk her.

Pro: It is much more easier to defriend your annoying PTA co-pres over Facebook than it would be to actually do so in real life.

Con: You sometimes have to reinstill those friendships you didn’t necessarily still want to keep.

Pro: No one actually knows how to use technology at this level, so all bitchy moves (friend deletion, denial of friend requests, tagging of fugly photos, etc.) are excused by “I don’t remember doing that at all! I must have pressed a wrong button!”

glad-show-family-ecard-someecards

Con: No excuses anymore, because now you have to basically say happy birthday to every person that ever existed ever.

Pro: The opportunity to make everyone who hasn’t seen you recently believe you look a lot younger/better than you actually do.

Pro: My dad muploads more than I do. Actually, that might be a con.

Con: It’s another way to see those things you don’t want to see on your kid’s timeline.

Example: Once, I baked a cake with my cousin. When we took it out of the pan, we discovered that it was a very moist cake. I proceeded to say, “Wow, it’s really moist down there!” which my cousin then set as my Facebook status. My grandma saw my status and called my aunt who called my mom who yelled at me for making an inappropriate Facebook status. This also reminds me of the time I shaved by legs in fourth grade and somehow my uncle found out which made me cry for a solid three hours, but that’s a story for another time. 

Pro: It’s like a more fun version of LinkedIn.

Pro: It’s an excuse for you to talk even more than you already do, cough cough Jewish mothers everywhere, cough cough my mom who writes at least 300 words per status comment.

Case in point: here is my mom’s most recent Facebook status. Note that every comment is liked… by my mom.

28 likes... way to go mammy

28 likes… way to go mammy

Social media for our aging parents who try to keep themselves young with things like Lulu Lemon stretch pants, fro-yo, and a ridiculous amount of gossip about none other than their children can be a very scary thing. Let me repeat myself: a very, very scary thing.

 


Flavor of the Week: Summer Hathaway from School of Rock

Because I am totally obsessed with too many obsure people, places, and things, I decided that it’s time I write more about them. Each Wednesday I’ll post a new segment, Flavor of the Week, that will consist of a rant in 300 words or less about a few of my favorite things (because no one likes the sound of my narrative voice better than me.)

So for my first Flavor, I’d like to discuss one of the best movie characters of all time, the ultimate babe, Summer Hathaway from your beloved fifth grade movie School of  Rock. That’s right, just when you thought this psycho-nerd fell off your radar, I put her back on. Why? Because Summer, played by a young, innocent Miranda Cosgrove, is amazing. She gets what she wants, when she wants it. Respect.

school-of-rock-dewey-summer

Beret-chic.

Summer was my inspiration to run for Class Mayor in elementary school. She helped me find my inner bossy bitch who gets more gold stars than anyone else in practically the entire world. She also taught me what the word “maggot” was, which became super useful once when I stubbed my toe and was looking for a really nasty word to yell at the wall. Because, obviously, I speak to inanimate objects all the time. Also, it needs to be acknowledged that Summer’s teacher/mentor was Jack Black… enough said.

Let us not forget how Summer basically invented the song “Memory,” which you probably always referred to as “memory all alone in the moonlight,” in her audution for the class band. Even though her singing voice was comparable to William Hung’s we still had it stuck in our heads for weeks. Also, Summer really rocks the lanky schoolgirl look in a twelve-year-old kind of way and I really appreciate the fact that she probably made a huge effort to eat a lot of kale to get there.


Flavor of the Week: Summer Hathaway from School of Rock

Because I am totally obsessed with too many obsure people, places, and things, I decided that it’s time I write more about them. Each Wednesday I’ll post a new segment, Flavor of the Week, that will consist of a rant in 300 words or less about a few of my favorite things (because no one likes the sound of my narrative voice better than me.)

So for my first Flavor, I’d like to discuss one of the best movie characters of all time, the ultimate babe, Summer Hathaway from your beloved fifth grade movie School of  Rock. That’s right, just when you thought this psycho-nerd fell off your radar, I put her back on. Why? Because Summer, played by a young, innocent Miranda Cosgrove, is amazing. She gets what she wants, when she wants it. Respect.

school-of-rock-dewey-summer

Beret-chic.

Summer was my inspiration to run for Class Mayor in elementary school. She helped me find my inner bossy bitch who gets more gold stars than anyone else in practically the entire world. She also taught me what the word “maggot” was, which became super useful once when I stubbed my toe and was looking for a really nasty word to yell at the wall. Because, obviously, I speak to inanimate objects all the time. Also, it needs to be acknowledged that Summer’s teacher/mentor was Jack Black… enough said.

Let us not forget how Summer basically invented the song “Memory,” which you probably always referred to as “memory all alone in the moonlight,” in her audution for the class band. Even though her singing voice was comparable to William Hung’s we still had it stuck in our heads for weeks. Also, Summer really rocks the lanky schoolgirl look in a twelve-year-old kind of way and I really appreciate the fact that she probably made a huge effort to eat a lot of kale to get there.