On Corny Life Advice, Courtesy of The Internet

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Earlier today, I was looking online for some FYD-inspiration. Instead, I ended up trolling the big thought-piece websites (Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Jezebel, and the like) for a solid hour. After digesting the mass load of lists about what I should do in my 20’s, things I should tell my BFF like RN!!, who I should have sex with, and how I can learn to let go of an ex, I couldn’t help but take a step back and realize: we really do eat this shit up like candy. We read content (which, might I add, The FYD even contributes to) that is so empty yet so fulfilling. All right, maybe “empty” isn’t the right word. But it’s stuff we already know–it’s stuff we already feel. We love the internet because it puts into words what, often, we cannot.

My best friends and I are currently dispersed around the country. 50% of our communication is laced into the cutesy articles we Facebook message back and forth on a daily basis. Finding a new one that no one’s sent yet is like finding a puzzle piece or a love letter. These articles, posts, or whatever you’d like to call them, help us confirm and communicate what we’re feelin’. Guess what? Now, we don’t even have to hide behind our iPhone screens to send a passive-aggressive iMessage. We can just send a “20 things” list! If you’re feeling risqué, you can even send an open letter.

Though I can’t really imagine myself ever being passive-aggressive, I love this internet phenomenon almost as much as I love a good pair of overalls. If you don’t feel like joining the movement, I’ll sum up the best of the best for you. Here’s a round up of everything you really need to know about love, dating, sex, and being 20-something as told to you by millennials who write the stuff that always comes up on your Facebook newsfeed:

  1. Only your true best friend knows when you’re pooping, and how good, bad, or average it was.
  2. Loneliness makes us make some pretty bad decisions.
  3. Not every person you’re with has to be someone you want to be with forever.
  4. Sometimes, binge eating is necessary and ok. But when you binge, there is always an underlying reason for it, and that usually means something’s not ok.
  5. Everything happens for a reason.
  6. For some people, eating 4 slices of cake is something you should definitely do. For other people, it isn’t. Just do what makes you happy.
  7. Pay attention in class.
  8. We are born alone, and we die alone, so it’s ok to be alone sometimes. Actually, it’s really good.
  9. Finding “the one” only matters if you find him or her at the right time.
  10. It’s hard, but often necessary, to unlove someone.
  11. You know you’re really close with someone if you can sit in silence together.
  12. Nobody cares when you subtly complain about how little you ate.
  13. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
  14. You also really don’t have to wear so much makeup.
  15. When women are alone, they do not wear pants.
  16. When a friend asks you about her outfit, be honest.
  17. And even though the internet is throwing all of this advice at you, telling you how you should feel about being alive, remember that you have a gut (regardless of whether or not you ate the four pieces of cake) and first and foremost, you should always go with that.

Flavor of the Week: Valentine’s Day

mean girls valentine

A week ago, I wasn’t sure if my “Valentine” knew about Valentine’s. He kept referring to February 14th as “February 14th” and not as “Valentine’s Day.” It could have been intentional, sure. But it also could have been because he lives under a rock. I assumed it was the latter. I also devised a devious plan.

I figured I wouldn’t bring it up. I’d wait it out and see if the V-word would ever make its way into our vocabulary. If I were to write about Valentine’s Day before I saw him on February 14th, he would have seen it, and my plan to make him figure it out on his own–or else–would have been tragically ruined. I was creating a loophole, expecting–or maybe even hoping–that February 14th would come and I would be able to say, “Happy Valentine’s Day to you too, Babe.” The “babe” would obviously be in a very rude and sarcastic tone, and he would owe me everything for a lifetime because of it.

Girls are completely evil. In what sick, twisted world would anyone want her Valentine to forget Valentine’s Day? Apparently, this one.

Eventually, I found out that he knows Valentine’s Day is this Friday. I’ll miss my evil plan, but it was time to part ways. I feel terrible for boys who have to deal with girls like me every February 14th–or, for that matter, boys who have to deal with any girls at all. Valentine’s Day is full of glitter, hearts, chocolate, and contradiction.

Girls who say they hate Valentine’s Day really don’t. These are the girls who, though they’d never admit it, actually care about Valentine’s Day more than anyone else. If they really hated it and if they really didn’t care, they’d have no opinion at all. Now, the girls who hate Valentine’s Day are reading this and saying, “But I really actually don’t give a shit.” Honey, please. How can you not?

These are the girls who have the highest expectations for Valentine’s Day, and they assume their expectations will not be met months before February even rolls around. They’re disappointed before they’re given the opportunity to be pleased. Being anti-Valentine’s doesn’t make you independent or rebellious, either. In my fattest and most awkward stages throughout life, I’ve always managed to love Valentine’s Day. Having my mom and my grandma was plenty for me.

The best way to go about Valentine’s Day is understatedly. It’s one of the few holidays where I truly believe less is more. I always thought that receiving jewelry as a gift was incredibly awkward. When a boy gives me jewelry, I always feel like I owe him something in return. I feel guilty taking it. It’s fancy. I’m not. (Then again, that isn’t to say I won’t accept it. I mean, let’s face it, I’m poor and I’ll take whatever I can get.)

The problem with Valentine’s Day for both guys and girls is the ridiculous amount of pressure that people manage to shove onto a calendar date. For some reason, humans feel the need to prove how much they love each other on one day. I love Valentine’s Day–I always have–so I’m not saying I’m against it. I am, however, against the awkward pressure between two people who both can’t help wondering how much the other is satisfied. Satisfy me 365 days a year, and I’ll feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Buy me a low key dinner on February 14th, and I’ll still just as much feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Hey, at least you remembered what February 14th is.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again–girls are evil. Sure, I bet I’m selling myself as the coolest Valentine there is. I don’t need gifts! I don’t need lovin’! But of course, if I were to get nada, I’d be temperamental as feck. We say we hate Valentine’s Day, but that’s really because we love it. We say we love Valentine’s Day, and then make boys feel like they need to buy us Blue Ivy or North West or earrings or something. This is what Valentine’s Day does to us. The insanity is painstaking, but for some reason, it remains one of my favorite days of the year–in my fat, awkward stages, and in my well groomed ones.

Valentine’s is a day about love; not about boys and not about gifts. If you want to give someone the best Valentine’s Day there is, then remember that. Besides, save your whining and disappointment for New Years’. If you want to talk about depressing holidays, I’ll give ya that.

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A Bar Mating Dance

douche de leche

“Douche de Leche” is a segment featuring pieces for girls to gape at and guys to laugh at, written by some of my closest male friends and (almost completely) uncensored. This post was written by someone who chooses to remain anonymous, though he claims the following:

douche

Enjoy Anon’s piece about how men are basically animals. 

Underneath the round, chest-height table there are no more barstools. I stand and look around for an open seat. The table to my left is crowded with a group of girls draped in variations of each other’s outfits. Just beyond them, a pack of boys stake their claim around another table. One popped-collar Polo-wearing member shifts his gaze from the table of girls, to the bartender, then the bouncer at the door, and, finally, back to the table. His friends seem hyper-aware of their postures, keen to keep their chests puffed out at least six inches from the tips of their chins at all times. But Polo Shirt didn’t get the memo. Hunched over, he’s occupied himself by scratching a key across the brown glazed tabletop. I test the surface with my fingernail.

Immediately, resin builds up under my nail. I can’t help but wonder how much damage he could cause with his metal utensil. He looks up again and this time I swear his nose scrunches as if there’s a threat to be smelled. While the bloodhound marks his territory, his friends have begun to engage in their own animal behaviors.

A smaller but more confident member of the boys’ group stands up from his casual lean atop the stool. He’s short and not particularly well built. I wonder how much his hair gel contributes to his total body weight. He smoothes a left paw through the bristly fur atop his head but it pops up like astroturf. His shirt, striped and untucked, doesn’t distinguish him much from the two others who stand and follow him. Together, they migrate over the the girls’ group.

“We go to Brown,” states the boy at the back of their triangular formation. He had leaned forward onto his toes as he spoke, and now rocks back with a smirk as if to punctuate the declaration. The girls put on their best looks of feigned admiration before one breaks the synchronized sarcasm.

She says dryly, “So do we.”

It’s even awkward from where I’m standing, ten feet away. The boy at the back turns his shoulders, ready to flee the scene, but catches himself in his moment of pussy-ness when his friends stand their ground. The smaller boy–with his shirt now partially tucked in–has set his sights on a brunette at the near edge of the girls’ table. He makes eye contact, distracting her–perhaps himself, too–from the embarrassment of his friend’s failed icebreaker. the other two boys try to salvage the situation with the larger group. Striped Shirt now seems removed from his friends.

His target–the brunette–leans in the slightest amount. He mirrors her action. She looks down at her boots and giggles, a restrained mimic of the full-throated chucked he lets out with his head cocked back. Only now does he notice that his friends, tending to their wounded pride, have moved back to more familiar territory. Stripe Shirt places his hand on the girl’s hip and whispers something in her ear. She looks back at her friends before standing and following the boy across the room. I see him smooth his hair once more before they disappear around a corner.

I straighten up and realize that I’ve been staring. I feel like a less talented, less interesting version of a Planet Earth photographer; he sits in a camouflaged tent for hours to capture footage of a Bird of Paradise performing its mating dance. It unfurls its feathers and bounces around a potential female partner. If the mate is disinterested, a fact that’s even harder to read on the expressionless faces of birds, the preened and radiantly feathered male will simply move on. The boy with the striped shirt has succeeded tonight. His friends, now members of a slightly smaller group, ruffle their feathers and turn their heads towards a new group of girls sitting closer to the bar.


Flavor of the Week: The Real Biggest Losers

The Biggest Loser

I’ve never watched a full episode of The Biggest Loser. I only have one friend who’s really into it (though I don’t believe she even watched this season), and the only other person I know who liked it was my grandma (who is now deceased). Regardless, it seems like a pretty inspirational show. People change their lives for the better, have happily ever afters, etc. etc. etc. The concept is really great. But in a society where we teeter back and forth between being too thin and too fat, does The Biggest Loser prompt people to feel like… big losers?

Rachel Frederickson was just crowned this season’s winner, dropping from 260 to 105 pounds. Before I read the first of many articles I would eventually read about her, I saw her “after” photo. She looked good–toned, fit, thin. I assumed she was in her early-mid 30s. It turns out that Rachel’s only 24. That was the first unsettling fact to me.

Then, I learned that she now weighs only 105 pounds. Then, I learned that Rachel is 5’4”. I’m 5’4”. I’m not nearly 105 pounds. Yes, bodies come in every shape and size, and weight is just a number. Body fat is proportioned differently depending on the person, and no one should feel the need to conform to a number on an outdated BMI index. But there is an undeniable fact that everyone is aware of, and it is that being 105 pounds and 5’4” usually means you’re too thin.

Obviously, controversy sparked from every corner of the body-centric world. Two very valid arguments arise: the first, that The Biggest Loser is a weight loss show and Rachel accomplished (very well) exactly what she went on the show to do. This side argues Rachel shouldn’t be penalized and she didn’t take things too far. The second argument pleads the opposite: that Rachel clearly has a problem; one drilled into her head by a show that monitors contestants as if it was the NSA for fat people.

Those of you who blame The Biggest Loser for turning an obese young woman into a petite someone who other women will envy–you are wrong. You cannot blame a television production based on helping unhealthy people lead healthy lifestyles for a contestant’s weight loss. At the same time, you can’t say that Rachel’s weight loss is okay just because you “wouldn’t call her skeletal,” as Betches Love This likes to put it. “Have you ever seen an actual anorexic person or like, a Holocaust survivor?” The “Betches” continue, “That is fucking skeletal.” They also say that Rachel “is the size of a mother of three who spends a lot of time at Soul Cycle or like, Kate Middleton,” and therefore we shouldn’t be concerned.

No, no, no, no, no. We can be funny all we want–we can make fun of ourselves, of the pettiness of young women, of the ridiculous obsessions we have with things like social media and men, but we cannot make jokes about body image. Just because someone doesn’t “look” like they have an eating disorder–like they aren’t “skeletal”–doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering mentally.

Last week, I called my mom in hysterics because I felt comparable to a very large whale. Moms are used to the complaints of their daughters, many of whom are perfectly fine and healthy but suffer from a paranoia and awareness of the body that is unnecessarily overwhelming. My mom, however, could sense the extreme level of shittiness I was feeling. When I told her that it pained me to look in the mirror and to have more than one sit-down meal a day–that the thought of giving in to a plateful of food rather than the Chobani and then the apple and then the Fiber One bar snacking regimen I had perfected to a tee–she knew I was falling into a trap.

My mom asked me why I hadn’t spoken to anyone about this–my friends, a therapist, etc. I told her something I consider to be one of the most wretched mindsets of our image-infatuated generation: I just didn’t look like I had a problem. I’m not “thin,” I’m curvy with a butt and boobs and legs, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been like that since the fourth grade. What are the odds that someone takes me seriously when I walk up to her and tell her I’m having trouble eating? You can claim someone would listen to me, and if it was a real problem, someone would be able to tell. But unfortunately, I can fill you in from experience–that isn’t the case. It seems like you can’t have a problem unless you look like you do.

Okay, so if I lose 30 pounds, will you believe me then?

Luckily, I swung out of my funk and adjusted back to a normal, healthy routine. But there are thousands upon thousands of girls that won’t. Did Rachel Frederickson’s drastic weight loss pose a bad influence on self-conscious teens? I didn’t watch The Biggest Loser, but I’m assuming they only showed her losing weight healthily. They probably didn’t showcase her anorexia, or her bulimia, or any other eating disorder she might have. As I said before, her size doesn’t have to correlate to her mental state, and her mental state doesn’t have to correlate to her size.

In truth, the people who tend to be sensitive to the appearances of people in the media will be affected by Rachel’s weight loss just as they would the body of any other celebrity. The less sensitive people won’t. The job of The Biggest Loser is to help its contestants become healthier. The job of me–and of every other young lady, and even the job of every young man–is to make sure that I am healthy, that my friends are healthy, and that my family is healthy. Rachel’s weight loss was startling to me, too. But can we please get over the battle of too thin versus thin enough and realize the bigger picture?

Please?

Image via


On The Super Bowl (And The Boy’s Girl)

Am I a boy's girl yet?

Am I a boy’s girl yet?

My 10th grade history teacher tried to convince my class that football was a modern day version of gladiator fighting. Internally, I somewhat agreed. He was a smart man and made his case well–gladiators fought as a means of entertainment, flooding arenas with fans who wanted to see a man (though it didn’t matter which one) die. Football’s not far off. For some reason, people love seeing bodies hurled at each other. While we don’t watch football players literally fight to the death, we live vicariously through their injuries, wondering if we, too, will make that same, painful expression one day during childbirth.

The Super Bowl is a staple of American culture. Most people genuinely enjoy it, but in the way you enjoy Break-Fast on Yom Kippur. It’s not because you like repenting for your sins, but because the holiday just sends out a festive vibe or whatever. In my book, the Super Bowl isn’t real football. But it’s pretty close, so every girl pretends she really gives a shit about the football part of it when truthfully, she probably doesn’t. Besides, the odds that a team you are actually a fan of year-round playing in the Super Bowl aren’t in your favor. So if you don’t love football and your team isn’t playing, how much do you really care who wins?

There’s a certain stigma attached to the boy’s girl: the girl that likes beer, isn’t afraid of anything, and understands football. She’s attractive, thin–but not too skinny–and dresses simply enough to look good–but not fashionable–and attractive all the same. This girl yells at the television screen on Super Bowl Sunday, gambling away her old babysitting money on bets she swears she’ll win. She probably will win, because that’s just the way the boy’s girl works–not only does she put herself out there, but she gets away with it, too.

Guys say it’s impossible to be “just friends” with a girl. If he’s “friends” with her, he wants to sleep with her. If he’s not, then he has no interest in her at all. This is how I feel about the boy’s girl–it’s impossible for her to actually be a perfect boy’s girl. The relationship between a boy’s girl and herself is too good to be true.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a fucking feminist, I’m not a sexist, and I’ve been nurtured via the milk of liberal arts college to believe that gender is a spectrum. The masculine female and the feminine male wholeheartedly exist. I’m not saying a female can’t thoroughly enjoy football, because I’m sure she can. I don’t not enjoy football myself. But the boy’s girl is different than just a girl who likes football, and she’s too good to be true. It isn’t that she falls in love with football, but she falls in love with the idea of falling in love with football. She falls in love with herself; she’s in love with the version of herself she’s capable of becoming with just a little push–if she were to be just slightly more masculine. If she’s pretty enough/chill enough to have the boy’s girl persona become attainable, then she will grab it with both hands and step into it like it’s a Cinderella costume.

Every girl who isn’t a boy’s girl has a soft spot for girls that are. As frustrating or as fake as boy’s girls may seem, everyone wants to be one. I’m not willing to give up colored tights and dresses and my tendency to remain callously uptight in order to evolve into a boy’s girl. I think I’d rather just be me. But it would be nice, dontchya think?

The truth of the matter is that at the end of the day, girls want the same things that guys do. A girl wants a boy’s attention in the subtlest and sneakiest way possible. So, she transforms into a boy’s girl. Boys don’t think that they can be friends with girls? Well, girls think that they can be friends with boys. And that’s exactly where things get dangerous. The main difference between boys and girls is that eventually, we (girls) can coerce you (boys) into telling us how pretty you think we are, or how badly you want to “get” with us. But we’ll never give you the satisfaction that you’re willing to give us. Instead, we’ll ask you to pass the guac and the pizza and crack us open a cold one during the big game.

A boy’s girl gets away with being a boy’s girl pretty well. But don’t forget: inside, she’s still a girl.


On Facebook Stalking

facebook stalking

I’ve gotten so used to the shame that comes with Facebook stalking, I subconsciously avoid directly addressing it in posts.

Well, people, it’s time.

Facebook stalking is something everyone does. Naturally, then, there’s no reason for it not to be addressed. It is as unavoidable as me getting my period for the first time in the middle of my hiking trip during sleepaway camp–in other words, it is unavoidable as f***. If we’re all Facebook stalking, then there must be a reason why. Though the practice is mindless in itself and only requires the clicking of a mouse every couple of seconds (next photo, next photo, next photo), its significance as a contributor to the millennial persona is wholeheartedly huge.

Apparently, Facebook is a “sharing” site, though we know that isn’t true. Is sharing really sharing if it’s a one-way kinda-sorta thing? We don’t really communicate via wall post (um, excuse me, I mean timeline post) as often as Zuckerberg wants us to. In fact, if you do post on someone’s timeline, you are hard core judged by everyone else who sees it. We all have iMessage–the greatest invention since whole wheat sliced bread–and if you really wanted to speak to someone quickly and efficiently, you would text her. Nothing pisses people off more than siblings or best friends who write to each other publicly on Facebook. Clearly you already have a texting convo going, so whatever you’re writing you clearly are just writing for the sake of publicity.

We have driven Facebook off it’s given beat and path. We mock those that use it for it’s original intention. So if you aren’t stalking someone, are you doing it wrong?

In theory, Facebook stalking makes sense. We’re drawn to seeing photos of other people–especially, of course, people we know. Pictures have always intrigued us. I obviously would not have liked Madeline nearly as much if she wasn’t wearing such a cute jumper all of the time. But when we look at photos of other people on Facebook, it’s in almost no context at all. There aren’t really words to this picture book. It’s just… well… pictures.

Everyone has a few people that they focus their energy into stalking, habitually typing a name into the search box. Then there are the people you forget about until they pop up on your news feed because they were tagged in your best camp friend’s best home friend’s photo. Come Sunday mornings, we sit on the edges of our seats, anxiously awaiting the mass mupload like it’s the fricking messiah.

However, we find ourselves in knee-deep contradiction. When those whom we do not desire the stalking rights to post solo shots of themselves or even a 50-photo collection of the previous weekend’s events, we give them shit. We get annoyed. We want some to use Facebook as a canvas, and we want others to sit quietly behind a screen (as some of us stalkers might) and join in the could-be thoughts of pretty, skinny girls sipping on cranberry colored cocktails.

So when you stalk someone, are you truly engaged in learning more about her? Are we just jealous of the identities these people have created for themselves on intangible social media? Are we so unsettled in our own lives that we yearn to live vicariously through other people (no matter how many hours we spend looking through the same album of muploads repeatedly)?

Facebook makes it so damn easy for people to judge you. But don’t you want to be stalked, and not a stalk-er? Don’t you want to be judged?

They say that any publicity is good publicity. In a world of being “Facebook famous,” I guess so.


Flavor of the Week: Losing Everything

mr. forgetful

As gleeful college biddies flock back north to the tundrous Great Lakes and to the non-stop pretty-people-party that is all southern schools, I can’t help but reminisce upon the terrible yet inevitable habit of losing everything.

When I was younger, I used to lose or leave something behind every time I left the house. My first few flip phones would go MIA for weeks at a time, only to show up again crushed at the bottom of a friend’s driveway or stowed away in the wings of the stage curtain by a boy who sang in the sixth grade chorus with me. Eventually, his mother told me of his intentions: he thought it would be funny to hijack my most prized possession and then heroically “find it” again. Of course, he forgot about the hijacking and the devious plan in its entirety and ceased to properly return the phone.

In seventh grade, I lost my childhood teddy bear in transit over a weekend in which I was attending three separate Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. There’s a price to pay that comes with being a 13 year old Jewish girl.

A night in which all you do is “win, win, win no matter what” can be awfully tainted by the loss of your Marc by Marc by Marc Jacobs by Jacobs Marc by Marc keychain. In college, girls lose a lot of things. Dignity, respect, iPhones, and wallets. While there rarely seems to be a bright side to losing any/all of the above, there still must be a reason why we lose so often–otherwise, we just wouldn’t. So here’s a few I came up with:

We lose stuff to get attention, because everyone loves putting together a search party for Daddy’s missing credit card.

We lose stuff to get new stuff, because, hey, wasn’t it time for that iPhone upgrade anyways?

We lose stuff to get our stuff returned, because you never know how attractive an honest man will be.

We lose stuff when we don’t really need or want what we lost, because who needs a jacket when you have a sick new crop-top with a major side boob exposé?

We lose stuff when we’re distracted, because we can’t help it that we’re so popular.

i can't help that i'm so popular

 

My mom used to yell at me for being so forgetful about my things, and I told her that it wasn’t something I could improve upon because it was an unavoidable character flaw. It’s part of being a girl. (It’s also part of being intoxicated.)

 

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