If you've ever been on a date with me and have been worried about what I'm think about you LOL
get. outta. here!
Turns out (and get this!) ... I'm actually a narcissist!
That's right! I literally don't care about you at all.
Worried about what you wore? Don't be!
I just got new Helmut Lang boots, and I'm much more concerned about whether you'll think they make me look like a lesbian or just a cool adult version of Angela Chase (or if we're super drunk (dead) Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider) than I am about your dumb sweater-over-dress shirt thing.
I had a sweater once.
Also, I have, like, a lot of shirts. Like, so many.
See how I quite literally can absolutely not think about you for more than a quarter of a millisecond. It's so funny and horrible, right?
Other things that are on my mind that have almost nothing to do with you:
• Whether the fact that I lost my voice at a Gavin DeGraw concert last night makes me sound like that raspy girl in high school who was always really tomboyishly pretty
• If you can tell that I only shaved my calves and not my thighs b/c tbh I'm v good at hiding this
• If my "I'm listening" face looks as contorted as I feel it does. It feels very contorted. Contorted. Contorted. What a weird word..
• When I cross my legs towards you, do you consciously read my body language as being "into you" like that girl on Kathie Lee and Hoda said you would?
• If I get hot and decide to put my hair up into a ponytail is this going to be a weird sexual moment or can I just like sweep my hair up into a ponytail without you getting all strange about my neck skin real talk here b/c I think I'm experiencing perimenopausal symptoms
• When I just said the word "bagel" did it sound like I'm from New York? Because when I first moved here, it sounded like I was from Wisconsin, but I've worked very hard to make it sound like I'm from New York.
• Can you tell my ear cuff is fake and that I bought it from Forever21 because I'm too scared to pierce my cartiledge my sister said it hurts when you sleep for like a year and I am not about that right now.
• I wore 2 inch heels b/c your profile said you're 6' and I'm 5'8" and I feel like that's a safe space to leave for the requisite amount of socially acceptable height difference but also I'm feeling very big and bumbling tonight and could have done with 2 less inches of myself, and I did bring flats which are in my bag so I wonder if you'll notice if I switch out of them in the bathroom when I go for the 4th time tonight to recoup and check in with myself about what the fuck I'm doing on my 3rd Tinder date this week.
• I feel like you can probably tell I didn't shave my thighs. I think I'm probably not as good at hiding this as I thought.
• I read this list one time that explained how you could tell if a guy was into you on a date. I'm pretty sure one of the signs was that his head would be tilted towards you. I can't tell if you're just sort lopsided on the neck front or very very into me.
• Shit I definitely left the greek yogurt out of the fridge.
• Also I need to remind myself to order those Swiffer WetJet pads on Amazon. I cannot find them, like, anywhere in the city. Do people only use the dry Swiffers here? If so, that's incredibly ineffective. You might as well just buy a role of paper towels and put them on your feet and dance to Swan Lake around your kitchen.
• Also totally forgot to Venmo Sam for that wine the other night. But honestly, she drank like 4/5ths of the bottle and ended up asking that weird guy out who's always at the bar downstairs and from whom I had to pry her away at 2am which was, in my opinion, more than enough of repayment for the 1/5th of a bottle I drank so I'm officially scratching this off of my to-do list.
• Fuck it. I'm putting my hair up in a ponytail.
quick list of things I do when trying to avoid texting a boy
when I sent the last text in the conversation:
when I sent the last text in the conversation:
1. Check to make sure my air conditioning turns on.
2. Check to make sure my air conditioning turns off.
3. All good. Thank god. Window units are not cheap.
4. Look at the bag of popcorn in my pantry to see if I've eaten enough of the family-sized bag in one day for it to be considered binge eating.
5. Decide that yes I have and put it back.
6. Plug in a mouse to my laptop to remind myself what it feels like to use a mouse.
7. Unplug it because that feels like a lot of physical movement and I'm not down for that right now.
8. Take the bag of popcorn back out and just pretend that I ate the first half of it yesterday.
9. Refresh Instagram in a rhythm that matches the beat of the song 500 Miles while counting how many updates load between beats. Think about how much I love that scene in the movie Benny & Joon.
10. Check Seamless to see what household items are available to purchase.
11. Order contact lens solution, dryer sheets, and 3 rolls of toilet paper. I don't use dryer sheets but this feels luxurious.
12. Count how many full pairs of earrings I have left. Realize that this number is almost zero and think for a while about where all of those earrings could be right now. Realize this could make for a good short story. Open up Notes and write "adventures of the solo earrings" on a blank page. Realize it's probably a dumb idea and start a new Note in case someone opens my phone and sees it and realizes I'm an idiot.
13. Buzz the Seamless delivery man up. Refuse to acknowledge his judgment. Which feels a bit misdirected but my psychoanalysis skills are admittedly not what they never were.
14. Pick up my phone and type two "quippy" lines in a draft text to myself in case I accidentally press send. Consider whether they sound effortless or desperate. Consensus: Desperate. Turn phone on airplane mode.
15. Turn plane off airplane mode.
16. Turn plane on airplane mode.
17. Turn phone off.
18. Go sit on fire escape without phone.
19. Go grab phone and set it next to me on fire escape. (Still off).
20. Think about how this is nice and very New York of me. Think about how it would also be nice to write a song out here by candlelight.
21. Dig around for matches/a lighter to light said candle.
22. Find nothing. Consider why I have all these candles and no lighters? If I had more men over, I would have lighters. That sounds like something people who have lots of men over would be very good at.
23. Think about walking to corner bodega for lighter.
24. Think about how that seems like a lot of walking and turn off lights and sit in the dark for a similar effect.
25. Open laptop to begin writing lyrics. Realize all I want to write about is the feeling of not being texted back. Acknowledge desperate sensation of neediness and hate myself. Curse modern society and social norms. Fuck men. Amy Schumer would definitely not care about this. I am a strong independent self-assured woman with little to no (an enormous) need for external approval. Turn phone back on. Re-type afore-drafted "quippy" texts into proper window. Press send.
26. Become debilitatingly overwhelmed by the self-doubt and anxiety surrounding the potential of unrequited interest.
27. Block his number.
28. Delete his number.
29. Convince myself that I've definitely won this interaction.
30. Debate whether dying alone with a dog is as bad as dying alone with a cat.
Let me preface this post by saying that the contents here have little to do with fashion and even less to do with looking sharp in the traditional sense of the colloquialism, but I think the overall gravity of this subject warrants a write-up regardless.
To begin, let's acknowledge one common fact:
everyone has their movie.
That one movie to which he or she can turn at the drop of a hat (or a bad relationship) (or a dead end job) (or their 26th birthday on which they're feeling very much in fact like their life might be over) and feel overwhelmingly at "home" — in the truest sense of the word.
For me (as anyone who has ever met me knows) that 'one' movie has always been three.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy has consumed me since a random Sunday in 7th grade when my dad brought The Fellowship of the Ring home and I told him he was stupid and that the movie was lame and then proceeded to stay up 'til 1:00am to finish the film and then made him drive me to the nearest theater (3 cities over) that was still playing The Two Towers to catch it on screen the next night and then followed that viewing with a deep obsession (including but not limited to the act of seeing The Return of the King six times in theaters which I should leave out to save some sort of face but also not leave out because I feel I need to emphasize the sheer severity of this infatuation) that would last until my mid-twenties AKA today and teach me never again question my parents' cultural decisions (until of course my mom made me watch Flashdance and I realized this trust can only extend so far).
Then, in February, after realizing that I was sort of losing my identity in the insanity that is NYC and beginning to question who I am as a human while enduring a whole slew of other millennial-esque life crises like rejection and loss and a general disconcerting (yet probably/definitely melodramatic) sense of malaise, I decided that it was as good a time as ever to run away.
Sure, I made it back. And sure, it's not really running away when you book hotels and request special in-flight meals like vegetarian-only breakfasts, but it sounds so much cooler than "take a pre-planned vacation" or "use up some soon-to-expire vacation days that I've been too OCD to take" and so I'm sticking to it.
And that's how I wound up in the middle of New Zealand by myself living out my childhood fantasy.
I would have stayed a year, if I could have stayed a year, but within the course of a week (note aforementioned allotment of vacation days), I managed to fulfill some long-held fantasies (not tied at all to the Tinder dates interspersed within the trip) which mainly consisted of me roaming through nature alone while listening to Howard Shore-scored soundtracks and just generally being the living embodiment of a first class nerd.
I feel this is an appropriate time to throw in the hashtag #stillsingle.
And so, without further ado, here's how it went down:
To kick things off, I pretended I was a hobbit.
I don't need to get into the intricacies of why Hobbiton still exists (BUT BELIEVE ME I SO COULD), but it does, and on some of the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. Set on the Alexander Farm in Matamata, NZ, "Hobbiton" is actually a fully functional farm run by two brothers with over 13,000 sheep. But not the sheep you see in the movies. PJ flew those sheep in, because he wanted ones that were darker. The real ones were too "white". The tree above Bag End is also fake. The natural leaves were too dark, so he made fake ones. GUYS I HAVE SO MANY NERD FACTS.
I drank a stout at the Green Dragon.
And posed for the most unflattering photo of my life.
Worst travel blogger ever.
I journeyed through Rohan.
At one point, I just fully left the marked path and unintentionally (so I'm claiming) meandered past the "DO NOT ENTER / PRIVATE LAND" sign on top of Queenstown hill into the unknown (or, you know, the private).
It was epic — in all the originally-intended meanings of the word. I was convinced I saw the spot where Aragorn "took a little tumble off the cliff" and fully expected to look up and see a Warg perched atop on of the hundreds of hills and stone cliffs around me. In fact, at one point, once I was able to mentally (though tentatively) quell that fear, I actually fell asleep just under a little outcrop of rock, and basically decided right then and there that I would have been much better as a fantasy character than I'll ever be as a real human which is a logical thought to have for a 26-year-old adult (?) woman, right?
I horseback rode through Middle Earth
Glenorchy is a town situated 20km from a slightly hidden (and nearly impossible-to-get-to) town called (literally) Paradise (I repeat, literally). Though I wasn't able to make it to Paradise (did I mention that this is literally its name), where they shot a majority of the films, I did manage to hop on horseback and ride through what seemed to me to be heaven.
At one point, we crossed a stream so similar to that which Arwen crossed while being chased by the Nazgul that I may or may not have looked behind me to see if one of the Nine were following.
I didn't, though, because that would be so lame.
I roamed aimlessly through verdant fields, hilly landscapes and, in true hobbit fashion, private property.
Also I JUMPED OUT OF A PLANE.
I ate 2-3 breakfasts out of my backpack, even stopped to steal fruit off of others' property, and just generally pretended I was in the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring making my way towards The Prancing Pony and Rivendell quoting lines about how this is the furthest I've ever been from home and feeling quite proud of myself for my trespassing acumen and general aversion to all marked trails and sanctioned forms of transportation.
It was, as one might imagine, incomparable to anything I've done in life thus far.
Sure, I went on Tinder outings and wrote a spoofy article about the experience, but in truth, I spent most of the trip alone roaming through fields and mountains and living out the strange fantasy that is my wish for reality.
Then I came back to NYC and my crappy east village apartment and street that smells like garbage and resident homeless person and thought yep yeah I have no idea what I'm doing with my life.
Because it wouldn't be a vacation if it didn't result in a good ol' fashion identity crisis now would it.
This week, the NYT's Modern Love section struck a chord.
To be fair, as a hormonal twenty-something with a millennial-skewed take on the world, most Modern Love essays strike a chord.
But this one was different.
The article was called 'The End of Small Talk". It was written by a fellow named Tim Boomer.
Tim's an actuary.
That's mostly irrelevant.
I just like to point out that he's not a sex & relationships writer, because I feel that it somehow makes the story less sensational or prone to backlash from those who think our generation's a little too geared towards "talking about our feelings" (basically my full time job, so sore point)
According to LinkedIn, and as a result of my propensity for stalking, this is Tim:
|(If I'm wrong, so help me Tim)|
ANYHOW. Long (like 3 page?) story short, after a random deep conversation with a stranger, Tim decides to adopt a no-small-talk conversation policy. Things go well. He avoids mindless chatter, he hears cool stories, he learns new perspectives on the world, he breaks down barriers, etc, etc.
I am Tim. Tim is me. You see — this is a standard by which I've been operating since I moved to New York.
The key difference being that my personal goal is to take it one step further and put a moratorium on medium talk.
See, for me, it all began when I read an article about suggesting that instead of asking people "what they do" you should ask them "what they like to do". This sparked a conscious game I started to play wherein I saw how long I could go in a conversation without asking someone about their job.
This very quickly became my M.O., re: new acquaintances, and I soon discovered just how interesting and not annoying people are when they're not talking about work (hint: very interesting / not nearly as annoying).
|Seems I'm an introvert|
Or a turtle.
Appropriate though it may be, if small talk is "polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters", "medium" talk is "interview questions under the guise of polite conversation about easy-to-judge matters allowing little to no additional context".
It's supposed to be conducive to heightening the comfort levels of the parties involved, but actually just ends up making everyone feel judged, formulaic, and unfairly reduced to a few key "checklist" items about which they in fact probably care very little.
Steadily progressing career trajectory? "Check." *
Semi-important list of name-droppable connections? "Check." **
Gag reflex? Check.
My new reluctance for standard conversational fare opened the doors to some of the best conversations I've had in my life thus far. I've met seemingly straight-forward people with fascinating dreams, intriguing quirks and eye-opening world views — simply by refusing to ask them lame questions and by continuing to keep an open mind (i.e. not to make overarching assumptions about people based on one sliver of information).
Honestly, I've learned that there are in truth no "straight-forward" people.
Sure. It may be easier to rehearse confident questions and equally as confident answers about what you do and who you know, but wouldn't we all be a bit more tolerant, understanding, and accepting — not only of others, but of ourselves — if we spent more time asking about how people really felt about life/love/the world — instead of necessitating that they provide pre-scripted answers crafted to avoid judgement?
If there's one way to make someone feel uncomfortable, it's to ask them to walk through their resume with you in a city where everyone already feels under-accomplished.
So, here are some things you can ask instead:
1. What did you want to be when you were little?
2. What personality trait would most people not assume you had after meeting you for the first time?
3. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
4. Do you use dating apps? (I promise, this is never not appropriate)
5. Who would you consider your best friend?
6. What's one song you could listen to 1000 times and never get sick of?
7. What activity never feels like work?
(two glasses of wine / custom cocktails in)
8. When are you the happiest?
9. Have you ever been in love?
10. What character trait are you most ashamed of?
11. What scares you the most?
12. Who is the most mysterious person you've ever met?
13. Do you want tacos?
So try it out. Or don't. You know, your prerogative.
If you do, though, I hope you make friends in unexpected places and get as inspired by peoples' seemingly unerring ability to upset faulty assumptions as I have.
* This "Check" is in quotes because everyone is a liar
My poor mother can attest.
But in truth, there are few things that have thrown me for a loop more than the sudden preponderance of the alien emoji.
This is my story.
At a time not long ago (like, 6 weeks ago, maybe?) during an age (I mean now — but I'm establishing relevance here — so bear with me) when a person's survival was solely based on his/her ability to recognize, regurgitate and respond to seemingly mindless technological social cues — I discovered that I'd made a strange mistake.
In my futile earnestness to stay perpetually abreast of all social movements, I'd misinterpreted the sudden preponderance of the alien emoji — or the alien-in-a-box emoji, I should say — as a social trend, rather than what it was:
a goofy technological coping mechanism put in place by the masterminds at Apple to prospectively (though I argue, definitely) confuse the shit out of anyone whose over 3,000 stored photos of breakfast eggs, NYC skylines, and fitting room selfies precluded them from having the memory available to update their outdated operating system.
You can find articles about the glitch online, but essentially, the alien emoji served as a stand-in for the new operating system's updated set of emojis on anyone's phone who had yet failed to upgrade.
This means that the emoji was not, as it turned out, a surreptitious social movement towards the excessive overuse of a seemingly mindless hieroglyphic.
And yet. . .
This is where my confusion began.
There exists a wonderful The Week article chronicling the still somewhat undiscussed phenomenon that proceeded to occur quite well, but as a narcissist with a propensity for self reflection, it's only natural that I should be driven to relay my own experience.
See — though there was no recognizable reason behind why my closest friends were suddenly texting me copious amounts of aliens in boxes in random scenarios, I suddenly assumed that everyone except me was in on a new social insider reference. An inside joke, of sorts, similar to the epidemic of misspelling "tho". One more social media trend that held little to no personal weight but that I craved to fully understand.
The title of The Week article explains it perfectly:
And it did. I couldn't understand the meaning behind the alien, so I invented one.
Maybe, I thought, it represented the fact that the average smiley no longer felt eclectic or varied enough to capture our eccentric, "complicated", millennial mindsets. Maybe, I projected, we all were beginning to feel more in common with a bug-eyed alien than with a socially-normalized smiling yellow face. OR, I thought, perhaps the alien-in-a-box was a way to relay that, no matter the circumstance (even if you're just texting me to pick up a bottle of wine before our platonic NF&C sesh) we're always feeling a bit spacey — a little off-kilter — sort of outside of ourselves — a meaning I'd attributed to this simple little image.
I even remember tweeting (prophetically) that I wanted to write a think piece about it — seeking meaning where there was none.
Then — I started to use it.
Not the alien in a box (Because that was a tech glitch and unavailable), but the little alien that was within my emoji repertoire.
I began to insert it into daily conversations with perceived weight. With assumed added significance.
Long story (sort of) short — I Googled "what does the alien emoji mean" (because I'm an impatient and rewards-oriented millennial), I realized my error, and instead of laughing, actually found myself uncomfortable.
What other instances in my life might be metaphoric alien emojis??
Where else have I anxiously assumed meaning where there was none?
What other social trends have a mindlessly adopted and re-appropriated without understanding their significance?
The fact that I was able to see through the baseless reason behind the prevalence of the alien emoji put me in a unique situation to question my adoption of other trends in a new way.
Boyfriend jeans, flatform shoes, oversized coats, side-slit sweaters — I never fully grasped their origins, but in truth, if I did, would their origins seem much more appealing to me than the alien's? Somehow, I doubt it.
Truth be told, I quite like the meaning I've assigned to the alien emoji. Just as much as I like my giant winter coat and 4 inch flatform booties — for reasons that of course incorporate social signals, but also involve filtering them through my own personal taste.
|& bc this started as a fashion blog, you can buy this gem here|
So how much of the person that I am today is based on a need to fit in, and how much is based on a curation and re-interpretation of cues/trends/stimuli, etc?
Is there a line?
Does it matter??
I've restarted this article 3 times.
I really wanted to write something novel about "ghosting" — but every time I tried to start the conversation, I ended up typing exactly what 10,000 other millennials had before.
Then it occurred to me — maybe that's the point.
If we're all experiencing the exact same thing, is this really a "phenomenon" or simply a common humanistic trait?
And furthermore — is our generation alone in this behavior, or is this something that's been going on for decades?
Naturally, like I do
every day when in need of sage wisdom,
I called my mom:
I called my mom:
Me: "Hey mom. I know I called you yesterday. And the day before. (and the day before that, but I didn't really feel the need to mention that because I promise she's fully aware of my co-dependency.) I actually have sort of a weird question for you.
[semi-awkward silence but probably just me projecting my own awkwardness onto another person because I'm good at that]
Me:"When you were young, did you or your friends ever have like — really great dates — where they thought everything was going really well and that they would see each other again, and then have the other person just totally stop responding?"
Mom: "Yeah. Maybe they had a good time, but they just weren't that into it. Or they had other things going on. I mean, I didn't really date that much – [editor's note: We're related!] – but it would definitely happen."
Me: "But how would you find out? How would it happen?"
Mom: "Mainly people would just sort of avoid each other. You would stop picking up your phone. If you didn't see them around, it was pretty easy. Or you'd tell your friends and they'd hear the rumor. Or sometimes you'd just eventually see them with someone else."
Me: "So people would just stop talking altogether?"
Mom: "People could disappear a lot easier then. Now you guys always know what everyone's doing all of the time. Then, after the 3rd time somebody didn't call you back, you'd get the hint."
Me: "How long was a normal amount of time to wait to talk between dates?"
Mom: "Usually about a week."
Me: YOU WOULDN'T TALK FOR A WEEK??????
(boys, don't you dare)
Mom: Yeah, about a week. (side note: Mom is clearly over the conversation and tries to ask me if I've put new sheets on my bed.)
(I have not.)
Me: "I can't believe you waited a week."
Mom: "Yeah, before you didn't know as quickly as you do now.
I think things might have dragged on a bit then."
Me: "So, there's this phenomenon now called 'ghosting' that everyone's really obsessed with."
Me: "Yeah. It's like — when we'll have a really good date, or even pseudo-relationship, and then all of a sudden the guy or girl just completely drops off the face of the planet. Stops following up. Stops responding.
People are really upset about it.
Do you think that's weird, or something that's unique to our generation?"
Mom: "No. I don't think anybody now is less courageous or more courageous now than they were in the past. It's not that different, it's just more immediate."
And maybe it's as simple as that.
Maybe, this good-date-followed-by-a-vanishing-act that leaves you questioning your sanity, your self worth, and — perhaps most scarring — your own self-awareness — is not a phenomenon at all, but simply a more immediately result of two instinctive, timeless, humanistic traits to
1. people please and
2. avoid confrontation.
Maybe, the painful mix of hurt, anger, disparagement, and shame, that have caused us to lash out through incessant articles and trending topics about how this revolutionary behavior is a sign of our generation's crumbling social antics is more a reaction to being denied our instant gratification than it is about any rejected romanticism.
Like when that guy you don't really like doesn't text you back right after that date you didn't really have any fun on, but suddenly you start craving his approval in a completely inane manner?
We want feedback and we want it now — and this immediacy breeds irrational intensity and a need for instantaneous approval or denial that perhaps a one-week waiting period would quell.
Or, you know, we can blame it on men and their inadequacy.
Because I'm always down for that too.