You may have seen it, you may not have, but Joe Jonas spilled all of his dirty little secrets in a killer essay published in New York Magazine. With all of the hubbub surrounding Mr. Jonas and his artsy choice of facial hair, I thought it would be nice to throw it back to the Jonas Brothers. At one point or another, you loved them.
They had such an interesting family dynamic. You had Nick, who was the cutest and the youngest. He seemed like a wise, old soul who was inevitably the brains behind the operation. There was Joe, who was absolutely gorgeous but lacked a certain depth I was really seeking out in a teenaged male pop star to fall in love with. Then there was Kevin. Ah, Kevin. He smiled with his mouth closed a lot, nodded his head often, and wasn’t… well… hot. And I respected him for that. I’m not going to say he was my favorite Jonas just because that would be the alternative thing to do, because he wasn’t. But he seemed like a genuinely nice guy.
I was never obsessed with the Jonas Brothers nor was I ever obsessed with any boy band. I think that ability to obsesses is either something you have in your system, or you something you don’t. Every girl I know that was obsessed with the Jonas Brothers had also been obsessed with a million other Disney stars at some point in her life. And when I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. I try to understand how someone else’s life can be that interesting. Why is it that we attach ourselves to people we’ll never really know? There are the obvious excuses–we’re bored, we don’t like ourselves, we don’t like the lives we choose to lead, etc. I feel like there must be something bigger than that, though. Human fascination with other humans is just as troubling as human fascination with crazy things like aliens and killer whales… and the Jonas Brothers.
When the JoBros broke up, they had already fizzled out. While it was sad to the die-hards in my generation, it didn’t mean much to society. They had their peak, they did their thing. And let me tell you, Joe Jonas went out as gracefully as ever. Though his piece is long, it’s worth reading every word. He’s brutally honest in a way that sort-of shattered my view of the Disney star and sort-of was exactly what I needed to hear. As I submerged myself in his words about losing his virginity (but what about the promise rings?????!!!!!) and smoking weed with Miley (every current teenager’s dream come true), I realized that along with Joe Jonas, a chapter of my life had also closed. He’s growing up, and we are too. Farewell, JoBros.
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Yet again, I start the long weekend eating a stuffed turkey and end it feeling like one. I’ll just rely on two of my all-time favorite mottos: “Whatever” and “The diet starts tomorrow.” Though it would be easy to write about Thanksgiving food, I also find that somewhat nauseating. So instead, I’m going to write about tradition.
Tradition is something that we, as humans, admittedly celebrate but underratedly infatuate ourselves with. When I hear the word, I think of family. For the majority of my life, my family has prided itself in tradition, as I’m sure everyone else’s has, too. I always felt like the nature of our traditions was better than everyone else’s. In the most obnoxious way, I’ve always assumed that our traditions were more, well, traditional.
Once upon a time, I wrote a piece for @JewBoyProblem’s blog, Found at Bubbe’s, about the importance of a nicely set table to my family. In it, I spoke of my grandma’s need to use her fine china as often as possible. It shaped me into a dining snob. If I go elsewhere for a holiday/special meal, and we’re eating on plastic… forget about it. This example of FYD-fam tradition, along with dozens of others, gave me a feeling that my family was special. We have other traditions that weren’t as fancy, don’t get me wrong. But, then again, we really love our china.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to take notice of little ways tradition intertwines itself into our lives that aren’t as obvious as those displayed at a Thanksgiving meal. I finally understand that different traditions—like the generations-old one in my family where you must put butter on your nose on your birthday—do not have to be annoying and/or acne inducing. They don’t have to be weird or embarrassing, either. Tradition has become a feeling that we subconsciously cling to.
Recently, I was having a conversation with someone about the Greek life scene at different schools. “You know,” she said to me, “it’s for people who like that whole tradition-y atmosphere.” For some reason, that struck me as incredibly interesting. I had never before thought about a sorority or a fraternity as being “tradition-y.” If anything, it seems like more mupload-y. You know, like who can mupload the most amount of photos from the most unique and flattering angles of all the food your big got you? Or who can capture us dancing on eleven different elevated surfaces? To be fair, I thought of Greek life as “campy” because your sorority sisters are the closest to your camp friends you’ll ever get. I went to sleepaway camp for seven summers and basked in its traditions. My camp was all-girls, uniform, and incredibly strict. Because of these traditions, I became a better person. Camp was something my mom had done (we actually went to the same camp) and my grandma had done. My family had camp in its traditions, and my camp was traditional. Therefore, camp = tradition of all sorts.
So if Greek life is campy, and campy is tradition-y, then I guess Greek life is tradition-y. I never thought I’d be saying this, but I suppose I am because traditions evolve. Whether sisterhood blossoms by wearing bathing caps and one-pieces in a freezing lake (like it did for me) or by dedicating yourself to a group of girls for four years of your life, it sticks. This is the magic of tradition.
My only hesitancy to modern tradition—tradition that leaks out of decorated paddles and camp songs—is that it doesn’t seem as special as china set on the dining room table. It also seems to lack the individualism that I usually seek. The hardest part about tradition is deciding when it’s time to change… when it’s time to start having Thursday dinner at a Mexican restaurant rather than an Italian one or when you’ve gotta choose between having your Thanksgiving meal with Mom’s side of the fam or with Dad’s. I think we have to realize that ending a tradition to do your own thing isn’t bad. It’s just, well, different.