Celebrity Sunday, pop culture

OH JE(YE)EZ

An in-depth dissection of what went down on Wednesday.

I triaged to the triad of the Kanye West-Wiz Khalifa-Amber Rose mess (suck my ass, Shelby)—

Side bar: I don’t actually know the real meaning of “triage” but that’s not gonna stop me from triaging—

And I’m not going to do a full rundown of the entire history of the triangle, because Sam Stryker from BuzzFeed already did that and he probably did it better than me, so I’m just going to highlight the best moments.

Okay, so if you were living under a rock—or under The Rock, amiright ladies—then you might not know what went down on Wednesday. But mama’s here to tell you. I’m mama, for reference.

First, for references:

Kanye dated Amber Rose before marrying Kim Kardashian, and Amber Rose has a child with Wiz Khalifa. Amber’s former friend is Kim Kardashian, and her current best friend is Blac Chyna, who has a child with Tyga who is currently dating Kylie Jenner, and Blac Chyna has recently begun a relationship with Rob Kardashian. Khloe Kardashian has had major beef with Blac Chyna over Kylie Jenner, and recently tweeted some shady things about “not going against the fambily (Caroline Manzo voice)” that could be interpreted about Rob and Chyna’s new relationship. Okay, are we all good?

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 5.04.10 PM

Source: @kanyewest

On Tuesday, Ye—‘Ye* (?)—announced that he was changing the name of his album to WAVES. First of all, I enjoy it. But then Wiz tweeted at him basically saying that he didn’t like the name change and that Kanye should “hit this kk” and get back to his roots. Apparently “kk” is code for that sweet dank kush—marijuana—as well as me when I’m trying to be salty over text, but Kanye took it as a slight dig at his wifey, Kim Kardashian West.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 5.06.12 PM

Source: @wizkhalifa

That, clearly, didn’t go over well. Over a series of more than seventeen tweets, Kanye proceeded to wreck all over Wiz, insulting his music, his pants (?), his slim frame, and—and this is important—Amber Rose, Wiz’s ex. And since it wouldn’t be Kanye if Kanye wasn’t promoting Kanye, Kanye also made the tweets a backdoor brag for himself, claiming that though he wasn’t “tall and skinny” he was still the greatest artist that ever lived and is the pinnacle of music creation. Maybe that’s not so much of a backdoor brag as it is a full-out BRAAAAAAAAG.

So the fourth tweet is where things get interesting. Kanye says, “You let a stripper trap you.” The “stripper” in question is Amber Rose, a mutual ex of both Kanye and Wiz. Kanye dated Amber first, and then when they broke up, Amber and Wiz got together, eventually having a son, Sebastian Taylor Thomaz (which is straight up such a cute name). Kanye went on to marry Kim, and have two children: North and Saint.

Kanye has disparaged Amber in the past, claiming that he had to take “thirty showers” after being with Amber before he could be with Kim, and has taunted Wiz saying that Amber “trapped” Wiz for 18 years with their son, and that he basically “owned” Wiz and Amber’s son and made him happen.

Ouch. And ew.

Now, we all know that Kanye is a complete egomaniac and has said on multiple occasions that the biggest crime of human history is that he will never get to see himself live. I disagree, but let’s not split hairs. But his comments on Twitter—which he has since deleted—contain such a heavy misogyny and double-standard that it’s painful.

Amber Rose seems to be shaded by past men in her life, to the point where they’re practically obsessed with her. Her past as a stripper and her outspoken sexuality are demonized by Wiz and Kanye, but she refuses to bend, appearing at the 2015 VMAs with Blac Chyna wearing dresses covered in misogynistic slurs, and hosting the Slut Walk soon after. So, she’s basically amazing and refers to herself as “Muva” in the third person on Twitter.

Amber hit back against Kanye by saying that she was hurt by his words and wouldn’t ever attack him like he’s attacked her, because regardless of where they are now, they were once in love. She’s so dope. But she’s also not taking shit, so she entered the dialogue with this iconic tweet:

“Awww @kanyewest are u mad I’m not around to play in ur asshole anymore? #FingersInTheBootyAssBitch (pointer finger emoji).”

AND THE WORLD JUST STOPPED.

AMBER ALERT. She’s throwing down.

tumblr_n1exb5jc7a1tq4of6o1_500

Source: Wifflegif

And later on the Allegedly podcast, Amber said that she would never talk shit about Kanye’s kids because A) she’s classy, and B) they’re kids. She’s disgusted that Kanye would talk about her son, but she’s not surprised. And are any of us surprised?

It was Tyler Oakley who said that if you hate someone, then why would you give them promo? And Kanye West has been essentially giving promo to Amber for years. He calls her a slut and a stripper and tries to demolish her, but they dated for over two years. They went around the world together. His anger towards her is curious and interesting, and it goes beyond just a nasty break-up.

Kanye West employs a dangerous double-standard, lauding his wife Kim and demonizing his ex Amber. But how can you do that? How can you do that? How can you have a wife and a daughter whom you praise and cherish and completely trash on someone else’s mother, someone else’s daughter? You can’t. You shouldn’t.

How can you slut-shame when you have seen firsthand people do the same to your wife and watched her go through that? How can you witness that and then turn around and completely shame another woman?

Kanye’s misogyny is dangerous, because it employs the stereotype that owning your sexuality makes you a slut, and being married makes you virtuous. I love Kim and the entire Kardashian clan, but how different are they from Amber? All are strong, independent, capable women who own their sexuality. But Amber is slut-shamed and shunned whereas we applaud Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, and Kylie.

You don’t have to love everyone, but you should always respect them. And Kanye’s treatment of Amber shows that to him, respect for women is circumstantial. That if you’re on his bad side, you’re a whore and a bitch and a slut. But if you’re on his good side, you are virtuous and noteworthy. But how easy is it to slip from side to side? Answer: very easy.

Kanye is teaching the world that however much he loves and honors the women in his life, he is still a misogynist because he relies on sexist, misogynistic and derogatory language to tear down a woman for her sexuality and her independence. His rhetoric is damaging for his listeners, his daughter, and his family, because he is perpetuating slut-shaming. Like bro, can we not? Can we absolutely abstain from slut-shaming?

Muva Amber doesn’t need my help in defending herself, so I won’t go into all of her amazing attributes. But I will say this. She is strong, and she defends herself. And she refuses to be ashamed or stoop to low levels. She has respect for Kanye when he doesn’t have respect for her, and that is such a hard thing to remain on the high road when some asshole is slinging mud at you from below.

So now you’re all caught up, and, frankly, you’re welcome. It was exhausting. I suppose what we’re supposed to do now is just watch and wait and see what happens. Either way, I don’t really anticipate anything beyond Amber owning it and Kanye just digging himself into a hole with a gold-plated shovel. Über-chic, but still tragic.

Advertisements
Standard
Life, Rambles

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH STRESS?

The title isn’t rhetorical or one of those self-help ads. I don’t have an answer, and I would really like someone to give me one. But I feel like it’s one of those annoying things where I have to “discover” my “answer” for myself. Just once I wish the hard questions in life, the ones that actually mattered, were the ones that I could copy someone’s answer. We live in a cruel world where I can cheat on a test—which I’ve only done once when I didn’t know the last kind of “volcano” in seventh grade—but no one can tell me how to find inner peace.

large

I feel like I could laugh from how tightly wound I am. There must be something animalistic about it, the desire to let out some sort of loud howl—disguised as a laugh—when everything seems like a big ole bag of shit.

I also wish that I were stressed with big things. But instead it’s like a sandstorm; small, separately inconsequential nuisances that together can bury a car under a dune, or, more importantly, get in your mouth and you can’t really get rid of it. But it’s just been little things: I sent a paper to the wrong printer, and ended up late for a class that I’m always late for, and it’s beginning to get less charming when I walk in after the start. My buzzcut has stopped being G.I. Jane and started being G.I. Plain—nothing good rhymes with “Joe” so we all make sacrifices. I had to buy a domain. And then I had to cancel it. And then I had to buy another one. And cancel that one. And then buy a third one, and finally that stuck.

lunch

And then just a bunch of other little things that, added together, make me want to do that charming and cute thing of punching a wall. Also the hallway outside of my apartment smells like cheese. And not in a good way. Or in a Gouda way. Am I right??

Maybe I’ll start meditation. I always try to say that I’ll start meditation, and then I do two minutes and think of something funny on YouTube, or I’ll get a text, or I’ll want to Tweet about meditating and all of a sudden my focus is broken and it’s twenty minutes of blue screens.

And I don’t like being stressed. I know that’s a total duh but for me it’s particularly negative. I find it so hard to write and be creative and focus when I’m stressed, and since that’s, like, ninety percent of what I do as a student and a writer and since I’m God’s gift to the world—very Kanye West of me (speaking of which, have you been following the Kanye-Wiz-Amber feud? So fascinating. I’m on Amber’s side.)—when my work suffers, the entire world suffers.

anigif_enhanced-31449-1444338153-9

And since I live alone, I don’t really have anyone to vent to at the moment when I’m feeling super stressed, and stressed-out Danny tends to be withdrawn Danny, or “tries to trip others” Danny, and that’s gonna land me in a whole heap of trouble on top of everything else.

So I guess what I’m saying is…any tips? Stress is hard, and I feel like it’s one of those things that we dismiss or try to minimize, like it’s such a little problem to have that we almost feel guilty admitting that we have it. But it’s big and weighty and it affects how you act and treat people.

Lastly, I don’t think I can stick behind Kocktails with Khloe any longer. I’ve made it through fifteen minutes of episode two, and it’s so painful that I’m jabbing fingers into my eyes because even that’s less awful.

giphy2

Maybe I should start snapping pencils as a way of release. Somehow that seems like the most depressing option, even more than binge-eating Oreos, which is what I’m on the road to doing.

Standard
Essay, Inspirational

WHY POP CULTURE MATTERS

A large part of why I am often hesitant to label myself a “journalist” is due to the lack of representation that anything other than “hard news” gets in journalism classes. Professors act on the assumption that we all want to be helicoptering into Iraq, or walking the streets of a broken-down city to get a story of a struggling kid with a heart of gold. They act on the assumption that those kinds of stories, hard news and gritty, are the only of substance.

And while there is literally nothing wrong with that kind of reporting—we obviously need it—I’m tired of that being the primary. I was in a journalism class where the professor was discussing the skills we’ll need if we want to succeed. But those skills were only really marketable if I’m going to be pursuing a career as a Woodward and Bernstein “on the case” reporter. He demerited the importance of “first person narrative” and how it has no place as the first mode of storytelling.

But the kind of journalism I want to do—pop culture—relies on my voice and my narrative and the ability of an audience to trust me to be funny and knowledgeable and real. And I couldn’t maintain a straight face because, three years into it, I was tired. I was tired of feeling like I was dumb for wanting to talk about pop or that my career wouldn’t have as much value as if I was to follow a more traditional career path.

Not every journalist wants to write for the New York Times. Not every reporter wants to be going undercover, tailing a lead or spending hours into the night poring over ancient tomes. And that’s okay.

I love pop culture. I love dissecting it and discussing it and thinking about it. Because pop culture, of which celebrity culture and the “Stars: They’re Just Like Us” is only a very small part, is the representation of what people are thinking. And that’s as important as knowing what’s going on. I love people—from celebrity to politics to local news—and I love studying them. I love seeing what makes them passionate or angry or happy. I’m a pop cultural anthropologist.

And here’s why pop culture matters: because we can take individual celebrity instances and stretch them into a wider scope. Nicki Minaj calling out Miley Cyrus publicly at the 2015 VMAs pointed to the complex way that the media portrays black women. The world buys into the “Angry Black Woman” model and it plays out over and over, with Nicki, or with Amandla Stenberg. And the portrayal of Caitlyn Jenner as the leader of the trans community because of her white, priviledged, and cisnormative conventional beauty is a reflection of our desire to keep the status quo. Because trans people aren’t making her their leader. Cisgender people are looking to her because she is palatable.

Pop culture brings conversations of cultural appropriation, transgender politics, and gender equality into the public dialogue. And that’s important. And it’s important how we laud women like Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer for being “real” while simultaneously shaming women by putting a size 10 model—below the national average for women’s sizing—on the forefront of the Calvin Klein “Plus Size Range.” And even the fact that we use language like “plus” to alienate woman and other them is mind-blowing.

Pop culture simultaneously shows how far we’ve come and how far we have still to go. It can be both serious and silly, stimulating and mindless. And that’s why it’s amazing. Because it is what we are talking about, what we think about. And if the day-to-day journalism of pop culture is as prevalent in our lives as hard-hitting news, why is it not represented in my journalism classes?

I just want to feel like my interest is valid. I want to be in a classroom where I can stand next to someone who wants to write about Middle Eastern conflict and I can say that I would rather discuss the career trajectory of Hollywood It-Girls or the media empire of the Kardashians. Like, wouldn’t that be so cool?

And on a large scale, wouldn’t it be so cool if we could all feel accepted and lauded for our career interests?

If you have an interest and a driving passion and it’s not hurting anybody and you want to pursue it, I want you to. I want to write about pop culture and write books about myself and review TV shows and live-tweet the red carpet of the Golden Globes. And that’s dope that I want to. Like, I’m not cooking cocaine in my kitchen. I just want to be weird and funny and make people laugh and think. I want to be someone’s “having a bad day so I’m gonna read this.” I want to be someone’s security blanket. I want to uplift and take our collective minds off the bad things and just, if even for a moment, laugh and cringe and be happy.

giphy.gif

And that’s as important and as valuable as being a New York Times reporter. Cue the Hailee Steinfeld “Love Myself” emotional collage.

Standard
Review, Things I Like

REVIEW: KOCKTAILS WITH KHLOE

Grade: B-

I made a conscious effort to enjoy Kocktails With Khloe and even by repeating, “You like the Kardashians, you like the Kardashians,” I still kept checking the time left on the episode because it’s kind of a trainwreck.

khloe-kardashian-amen

Kocktails doesn’t have a traditional camera set-up. It’s more of a hidden-in-the-walls, rigged to the ceiling situation, which feels about as intimate as watching someone in the locker room. Not that I’ve ever done that.

The guests come in through the front door—Kym Whitley, Brandi Glanville, and Aisha Tyler. And there’s a hot bartender who’s making custom drinks and his name is Sharone which is confusing to me but I’m not gonna pursue it.

Since the set is a “house” and the guests come through the front door, I have a few questions. Do they have coats? Where does the front door go to? Do they have to wipe their feet?

giphy54

The conversation is a little stilted and uncomfortable, and it’s mostly just Kym hitting on Sharone—who is married with kids—and Brandi Glanville refuses to talk about her ex-husband’s wife Leann Rimes. Brandi Glanville also makes me uncomfortable because she has total shark-eyes and I think she’s unpredictable, like she’s going to reach through the screen and grab my throat. Also later on she admitted to a threesome, so why can’t you give me the gossip about you and Leann?? Also they never even talk about how Brandi fell off a hoverboard. Literally stop avoiding all the things I care about.

Aisha Tyler is hands-down awesome—even when casually promoting her new range of alcohol (how koincidental)—and after a while, the awkwardness begins to dissipate. They do a lot of moving around—kitchen counter to couch to round table—so I want to go on the show just to get a major workout. And they play a lot of physical games—hop on one foot if you’ve ever…xyz or Brandi dancing like a ballerina as she admits to a threesome—and play “Would Or Wouldn’t Bang” which is only slightly more uncomfortable than watching a couple fight in the grocery store.

tumblr_n5iwp7ybb71rfduvxo1_500

 

It also feels a little bit forced in the “girl talk” sections when Khloe is forcibly cackling when talking about wanting to bang Michael Fassbender. Like I wanna bang him too, but ladeez please.

Also omg Kendall Jenner was there. I had literally forgotten that until just now because she looked so uncomfortable. I mean, her outfit was amazing, but you could tell that Khloe pulled some sort of IOU to get her there.

Snoop Dogg shows up, because…I’m not sure why. The only thing I knew is that he doesn’t smoke pot while he coaches boys’ baseball and that he had no idea he was in Straight Outta Compton until he was in the theater watching the movie and saw someone playing him.

Also I learned that when Khloe gets to drinking, she becomes Khlomoney. Which is uncomfortable.

giphy1

Some of the conversations are totally amazing—like Khloe talking about the double-standard of dating while separated, and Aisha and Kym talking about black women being represented in the media.

I think that the format leaves a lot to be desired, but that can always be reworked. Like, because it’s a talk show and it’s discussion-based, sometimes it can feel like it drags on. And I don’t think FYI wants me to be eighteen minutes in and feeling like it’s been forty minutes. With a little more structure—even though they “breaking the mold by changing up the late night format”—I think that Kocktails could actually be funny. Khloe is the most outspoken and doesn’t do that whole “whisper-talk” thing, so I think that she could really have a career out of interviewing people.

Standard
Humor, Rambles

HOW DARE YOU CALL ME “RELATABLE”

For an hour, I’ve been sat, on my floor, wrapped in a sweatshirt—hood up, like a drug dealer or a celebrity buying Pepto Bismol at the pharmacy—watching late night talk show clips on YouTube and lazily throwing my dog his toy and pretending that I’m about to start writing a blog post.

tumblr_nko483jtts1rwuk64o1_400

Yesterday I didn’t write a post because I was packing/in a bad mood, and I almost didn’t write one today because I was packing/watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills/feeling like I need to put out a quality blog post. I try not to let the “how many people read this post” numbers—omg is the word “statistics?” I couldn’t figure out the word but it’s statistics, isn’t it, and why don’t I just backspace this entire tangent and take out “how many people read this post” numbers and put in the actual word? I won’t. I would never. Never disrupt the process—and when I do really well stats-wise—there, I used it—I feel like the critic in Birdman who hates Michael Keaton and talks about how gritty and raw her writing is. And when I don’t do well stats-wise, I feel like the critic in Birdman who hates Michael Keaton when Michael Keaton tells her that her writing is shit and she just lives to take a crap on other people’s art.

tumblr_nf74vwar9t1spgk1lo1_500

For no real reason, I will be using Lisa Vanderpump gifs exclusively for this blog post. You’re welcome in advance.

So I’m constantly fighting between putting out content that’s rambling and funny and might not have the catchy titles like “My Anus Has Prolapsed” or “Ten Reasons Why Russia Needs To Take Back Alaska”—both potential articles that I am now considering writing—but having that content be consistent or wait until I have—what I think is—a really good idea (a medium idea for most people) and getting in those dope skrilla views.

So obviously to combat that I decided to write a post about writing posts with quality but this post will have no quality.

In my binge of watching late night show YouTube clips of Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer, I have decided that when I become famous—either for being a writer/comedian/talk show host, or—what I fear is most likely—being on an episode of My Strange Addiction—there is one thing that I will not stand for. Ever.

I never, ever, want anyone to call me “relatable.”

Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer are prized for their abilities to remain “relatable” and “in-touch” while balancing their insanely famous lives. And while I feel like there is a subtle amount of sexism in play—men are almost never asked to be “relatable”; no one cares if George Clooney or Eddie Redmayne can host a barbeque before the Emmys, so why is it so important that female celebrities are required to remain humble and down-to-earth—I won’t go into that much more. But, regardless of personal feelings, I still watch interviews of J-Law and A-Schu.

tumblr_niwo0q07f91spgk1lo1_500

They’re funny and cool and just the “next door neighbor who rules the world” and that is never something that I want to be when I am famous.

I want to be so unrelatable, so completely alien to the regular Joe Schmoes that they think I’m either some sort of alien doing a passable job at pretending to be human or a sex doll who has come to life via a misguided hex, a la Life Size. I want to drip diamonds, drape myself in rare mink furs, and be carried around on a hoverboard so that I don’t have to step on the “ground” in between my Rolls Royce and the La Scala restaurant.

I want my family and friends comment in the E! True Hollywood Stories episode about my life how much I’ve changed since I “hit it big.” I want to have a Katy Perry-style green room list where I demand that the couches be re-upholstered in clouded leopard-skin and then put into a room that I have also demanded be just for my dogs to pee in.

lisa-3

I want to show people pictures—just kidding I would never touch a physical photograph, I would give out individual mini-iPads—of vacations from islands so elite that afterwards I either get to give them a lobotomy or put them on some sort of Scientology-style kill list.

I also read an article that when Adele was about to go to some huge award show—that she later completely swept—she went back to her old nail salon in her London childhood neighborhood to get all did. Like, excuse me? Fuck that. If I ever go to a big award show, you won’t see me slumming it at the Central Avenue Supercuts. I will have a team of stylists whose names I will never learn but whom I will identify by their most defining characteristics and who will make me look completely unrecognizable for my appearance at the 2038 Grammys, where I will host alongside Saint West, and we will honor Kim Kardashian West and Kris Jenner, who—thanks to modern science—will look roughly the same age.

And so these are the things that I think about while watching Amy Schumer tell a story on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon about prank-sexting Katie Couric’s husband. I think about when I’m famous enough to throw a glass at someone and have it be “a personality trait” and not “a felony.”

tumblr_m55g3ex49m1rxjqeqo1_500

What kind of celebrity do you think you would be?

Oh, I should clarify—when I say these questions, they’re rhetorical and just for me. I’m not expecting/anticipating any of you peasants become a celebrity. So just ignore the above question. Here, I’ll write a question just for you guys:

What age do you think you’ll be when you lose all your teeth due to excessive Mountain Dew drinking?

Between eating, watching YouTube clips, and watching The People’s Couch, this took me like four hours to write. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be a “serious” writer unless I also gain the ability to freeze time, or go back in time like Hermione Granger in The Prisoner of Azkaban.

gallery_big_lisa_vanderpump_checkmate_gif1

Standard
Essay, Humor, Life

I WANT THEM AND THEY WANT ME TO LEAVE THEM ALONE: RUSHING A FRAT

Alternately titled “But All of the Boys And All of the Girls Are Begging To…Get Me Off Their Property.”

I have bad luck with guys. I think, by now, that’s probably a well-established fact. There was the guy who never texted back. The guy I asked out three separate times. The guy who skipped a threesome for a date with me—and probably regretted it.

But even for me, there has only been one instance where I was collectively rejected by an entire group of men. I once rushed a fraternity.

It was the beginning of sophomore year of college and, in the midst of serious depression and anxiety, I attempted anything to distract me. I did multiple different newspapers; I became a hardcore Christian; I did backstage work for a play. But the most out of character for me was rushing a fraternity.

The idea sparked inside of me when the formal rushing season for males began in the early months of the semester. I had eschewed Greek life as vapid, shallow, and heavily hierarchical. I was both disappointed and relieved that it wasn’t anything like the show GREEK, which, if you’re looking into Greek life, is not a good indicator. But I saw myself as a Rusty Cartwright, but gay and hotter—a social outcast of the Greek world who would eventually rise up to the highest echelons of red-cup culture.

I was kind of desperate to break into an already established group of friends, and figured that I could fit the role of “funny, quirky out-of-the-norm frat bro” and maybe convince some of my brothers to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race with me.

With some friends, I went to the massive fair of all the frats and sororities. Decked out in J.Crew blazers and Lilly Pulitzer prints, everyone is somehow more coiffed and polished than I could ever hope to be. I had dressed as “heterosexually” as I knew how, so I was in a sweater and a beanie. Actually, that’s how I always dress. I’m breaking down stereotypes and defying your expectations.

There were the Delta Iota Kappas (DIKs), the macho, ‘roided out typical fratguys. There were the Gamma Epsilon Epsilon Kappas (GEEKs), where I was pretty sure I could get into because I was probably the coolest person they’ve ever known. There were the Douches, who I’m not even going to give a punny name to, who were the unofficial leaders of the Greek world and had the hottest trust-fund babies and future corrupt Senators.

I was too skinny for the DIKs, too social for the GEEKs, and was too recently emigrated—only four generations—to America to fit in with the blueblood Douches. Then, I stumbled upon the Sigma Mu Deltas, the SMDs.

They were smart but not too alienating; social without being fratty; and ambitious without being too “Congressionally Nepotistic.” The lead guy at the table was a hot redhead—one of my personal vices—and had already volunteered on a campaign. A cute ginger with political aspirations and—I’m assuming—a hefty inheritance? Sign me up/marry me right now.

tumblr_nsb4707mQb1usj5qho1_500.gif

I have no idea what this is from but it is crucial I find out.

I signed up for their mixing events and quickly made acquaintances with the only other homosexual I had seen in the vicinity of the fair. We clung to each other and bolstered each other up. I was better at breaking the ice, but he was better at not having excessively sweaty palms. Together, we made one complete human.

The first rush event I went to was held at a local fast-food burger place—not McDonald’s, but I wish. Dressed in a non-confrontational plaid button-down, I walked into the meeting spot and immediately started sweating.

Unfortunately for my glands, rushing involves a lot of hand-shaking, and since this was a fraternity, handshaking is roughly the barometer for judging someone’s manhood. It’s the acceptable equivalent of a glorified pissing contest. I have a relatively strong, solid handshake, but combined with my genetic anxious pore-crying—sweating—the result for the recipient is getting a sensation similar to a lamprey. Not enticing unless you are a lamprey looking for a mate.

“So how long have you been involved with SMD?” I asked a senior.

“Actually, since it reformed a few years ago. It was disbanded but we brought it back to campus and I was one of the first in the new class.”

“Wow!” I say “Wow!” a lot when I don’t know what else to say. It’s meant to be disarming and meaningless. But even if I had given this guy a $20 bill, nothing would distract from the intense discomfort of what I would say next:

“So you’re like the Founding Fathers of your frat! Except, unlike the actual Founding Fathers, you probably didn’t also own slaves!”

He looked at me, head at an angle as if I hadn’t just cavalierly brought up one of the darkest memories of the collective American historical memory.

“Hahahahaha,” my rush-wingman loudly cackled, drawing attention away from me and onto more PC topics. From there, the event was more or less the way you would imagine. I spent ten minutes talking to a guy about “biology.” Trying to have conversations with these guys was like pulling teeth. Not just because they were big sports-fans and were really into “engineering”—unclear—but also because I thrive when there are no expectations put upon me and we have a common ground. Our common ground was the fact that I was desperately trying to bind us together in institutionalized brotherhood and they were very desperately trying to make that not happen.

When I’m forced to perform, I—like any other serious actor—freeze up completely. Instead of acting like myself, I get a starring role in Awkward: A Play, in the part of Unconvincing Totem Pole Dogs in Trench Coat Pretending To Be Human. I get awkward and weird and standoffish, (but I win a Golden Globe). And my quietness and razor-wit are mistaken for a misanthropic sarcasm and possible devil worship.

nl0gtbl

Most people rush as freshmen, and I was one of the very few sophomores attempted to breach the club. These were fresh-off-the-boat former football heroes and lacrosse princes. You know how white racists say that other races all look like each other? White people, PSA, we all look alike. And these dudes all looked strikingly similar: square jaws, Patagonias, pert butts in khaki pants, and thick Senator-parted hair. I was slim, twiggy, in a slouchy cardigan and artfully styled auburn hair to hid the pimple on my forehead. I stuck out more than a minority on The Bachelor.

(Hey, that’s a problem with mainstream broadcasting.)

It was so clear that genetics had blessed these boys with fraternal acclimation abilities, whereas I was skittering across conversation topics with the grace of a deer on a frozen sidewalk.

parks-and-rec-michelle-obama-leslie-high-five.gif

For the last hour of the burger boys’ night—not the name they chose for the event, but what a missed opportunity—I was talking to two SMD brothers who were sophomores too. I nudged into their circle and attempted to strengthen a connection. They weren’t bad, but one of them had a wispy, douchey mustache that immediately told his entire history and future. Private school, fraternity, business school, Wall Street, brunette wife, two sons. It’s disconcerting to see someone’s entire life wrapped around a vaguely pubescent piece of facial hair, but it was there and I saw it and I hated it.

Also he was kind of a homophobe, but it was the mustache that really made me alarmed.

I was glad when I was able to slip away from the forced friendship-making and began to walk home. I was replaying how I had acted, seeing me in my mind’s eye and watching Frat Danny—Franny—lose the colorful characteristics I had so lovingly cherished and become a bland, palatable fraternity lackey.

Despite the skeevies from Meat Meetup: The Boys of SMD Welcome You To Babble and Burgers—not the name, but come on people, I wish—I decided I would do another rush event. I mean, I skipped one of them because I was busy (read: lazy), but the next event (the last event) was at a Mexican restaurant. How could I pass up tortilla chips?

Dressed in my best Relaxed Business—the same cardigan and button-down from my previous two interactions with SMD—and black skinny pants instead of brown skinny pants (read: classy) I soon discovered that this was a more formal “informal get to know you” session, and that everyone else had apparently gotten the Brooks Brothers memo. I also learned that I would have to choose between eating and talking. Never, if you want me to be productive, force me to choose between food and people-interactions.

tumblr_mfwxycjZp11rmj52to10_r1_250.gif

Placed in a precarious position, I just held onto a plate of chips while making awkward conversation with a guy with superb eyebrows about his future career. I was learning that, for the SMD guys, you needed to know not only what you wanted to do after graduation but what path you would be taking to Congress and which seat you were taking. Safe to say that these guys weren’t grabbing Democrat seats. Is that how Congress works? Idk, clearly I’m not in SMD.

After failing at trying get Eyebrows to disclose his grooming regimen—not in the manscaping region, just his eyebrows, you pervs—I moved on to someone who talked to me. About sports. I know nothing about sports, except that the Mets are in New York and a guy was kicked out of a Dolphins game for wearing a speedo. I couldn’t even tell you what sport the Dolphins play.

He was boring and talked about a sports internship and I made witty comments about hockey—probably? Frankly, I blocked this out from my memory—but given the fact that I hadn’t had a chance to shine with any previous interactions, I was going to make this frat bro my frat babe. And by “frat babe” I mean “best friend” and I was going to ride his coattails into SMD.

I scrounged together my minimal knowledge of sports and cobbled together a conversation. It wasn’t hard; he loved talking about himself so essentially all I had to do was be his combination Hype/Yes man. It’s a very easy job; I think I could do it professionally. After literally an hour of nodding in a platonic, heterosexual manner, the mixer came to a close and it came time to say goodbye.

I had wiped my hand against my cardigan precisely for this moment and gave Sports a firm handshake, looking him in the eye and, in the style of Wiccans and followers of The Secret, said, “See you soon.”

stanley2

I didn’t see him soon. Spoiler alert, I had come across weird and yes-man-y and too interested in Eyebrow’s eyebrows to be a friendly frat bro. The next step in the process was to receive a personal invitation to be interviewed one-on-one by the brothers. I waited the obligatory week before getting my hopes sky-high and then waited another week before crushing my hopes beneath my heel.

A few weeks later, I saw the chief pledge, the Optimus Prime of Square-Jaw Football Senator boys, leading a merry gang of future Congressmen on some sort of soft fraternity hazing adventure. I had not made it into the exclusive club. I had been, frankly, stood up.

After the sting went away, I realized I was grateful that I had been rejected. It was one of the less painful rejections I had ever gone through, despite it being collectively from upwards of forty guys at once who decided that I was “a total grenade.” And I was glad that they had preemptively prevented me from quitting. Because, you better fucking believe, I would’ve quit when the euphoria had faded and I realized that I was knee-deep in straights watching football.

I know now that I was not made for a fraternity. I am made for small groups of people who look at me like an alpha. I am not made for interviewing, which means that I will be impossible to hire but impossible to fire, and I’ll eventually either become my own boss or die on the streets.

I like being weird and sweaty and wearing flannels and skinny jeans. I don’t like wearing blazers or talking about football. It makes me think I’m back in high school, and that deathtrap has seen the last of me.

But rushing SMD taught me a very valuable lesson. No amount of built-in support system is worth me not being myself. Or me paying dues, because frankly that money could be going towards flannels. Frats, and Greek life in general, are really excellent for a certain type of person. But I’m not that type of person. And once I had finished contorting myself into a palatable pretzel shape for the boys of SMD, I realized that it wasn’t worth it, and that my foot had fallen asleep. And I think if I had gotten into the frat, I would have realized that I would need to act like Franny—bland, amiable Franny—all the time, and that’s way too much. I only act unlike myself on two occasions: when I’m talking to a cute boy, and always.

tumblr_lr11hd7low1r2x98io1_500

Standard
Things I Like

PODCASTS THAT YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO

There is something that I do consistently throughout the day. I do it in the car. I do it in my bedroom. I do it in my bathroom. Sometimes, I even do it at the gym. Some might say it’s a naughty little habit, but I’m addicted, and I can’t give it up.

Oh. No, no. It’s anything bad, like doing the cocaine or rolling marijuana cigarettes or chronic masturbation. Did it seem like that? On the count of three, let’s both say what we think it is.

One…two…three! 

You: Murder!

Me: Murder! I mean—err—podcasts.

Yes, that’s right. I f*cking love podcasts. Long ones, short ones; multiple hosts; single hosts. I think there is nothing better than having a long list of unlistened-to podcasts.

(Side bar: I have no clue how this happened, but I just ended up reading through the entirety of Roseanne Barr’s Wikipedia page; and she has lived.)

Anyway, literally what was I talking about?

I first became into podcasts when my family and I went to Ireland over the summer, and it was 10 days crammed into a single car with four psychopaths (love you guys!). I like listening to music and staring out of windows, but the idea of doing that constantly while we drove around the coastline of our ancestors (s/o to Ireland) was a little much, so I began downloading podcasts. And my personhood changed quicker than that time I went through puberty—still waiting to finish going through puberty, tbh.

anigif_enhanced-2589-1412878014-7.gif

Why the f*ck does this exist??

So here are the top podcasts that I’ve been loving and I’m going to require that you love too. Because if you don’t love them, then you don’t love me, and why are you even here, Marcus? Trying to ruin my life again? God. Things will never change with you.

This is in no particular order, so calm down:

1). Psychobabble

Hosts: Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl.

Okay, so if you know YouTube at all, then you probably know of Tyler Oakley, but don’t be alarmed. This isn’t a necessary requirement to like Psychobabble. It’s very pop-culture heavy, and has the same feeling of listening in on two besties in a coffeeshop. They’re very conversational and relaxed and mostly just talk.

Pros: Easy to get into; minimal knowledge of anything other than pop culture required. Feel-good.

Cons: Only 30 minutes. Contains no convicts.

tumblr_nhu3q1l0Tw1thwheuo1_400.gif

Truly my reaction to everything.

2). #girlboss

Host: Sophia Amoruso

One of my newest faves. Sophia Amoruso is the creator and CEO of Nastygal, a clothing brand, and wrote a book #GIRLBOSS. Her podcast is dedicated to interviewing interesting women who are killing it in their careers. What initially drew me to her was her interview with Sloane Crosley (who is one of my top three favorite writers/career role models) but I actually like her very peaceful dialogue and calm voice and good interview questions.

Pros: Awesome guests. Good banter.

Cons: New, so it hasn’t kicked into its vibe quite yet; has weird transitional music.

3). Straight Talk with Ross Mathews

Hosts: Ross Mathews, panel of co-hosts.

Ugh, I love this so much. It’s extremely well-organized and has the feel of an actual, legitimate radio show—it even has a show on Sirius XM once a week with live interactions with callers. It has Ross Mathews (Jay Leno, E News, RuPaul’s Drag Race and now Hollywood Today Live), who is funny and sweet and gives good advice. Sometimes they bash one of the cohosts, which is one of my absolute pet-peeves on a radio show when they have one person who is the punching bag, but I try to overlook it.

Pros: 2x a week. Segments include: Email of the Week, Snack Attack, game shows, and advice.

Cons: Sometimes can drag on. Sometimes the co-hosts annoy the shit out of me.

tumblr_mtlepxl1yg1qlgbzbo3_400.gif

Expect realness like this.

4). The Nerdist

Hosts: Chris Hardwick & other ppl idk

I’ve heard about this for a while, and I finally looked it up and listened to the interview with Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. It was a little “inside joke-y” but really funny and interesting and a good peek into the world of comedy writing.

Pros: Has funny people on it.

Cons: Is sometimes too much to handle.

5). Shane and Friends

Hosts: Shane Dawson and Jessie Buttafuoco

Okay, so this is another YouTuber, but he doesn’t do very YouTube-y things. Whereas some other YouTube podcasts only feature YouTube creators, Shane has gotten some cool/weird people, like Michelle Visage, Ross Mathews, Bo Burnham, Tara Reid, and f*cking Farrah Abraham. Also they’re obsessed with Farrah, and have a “Farrah Abraham Time” when they discuss what crazy thing she’s done recently. Caveat, I really liked Shane and his previous cohost, Lauren, and their banter, but Lauren left to pursue other projects. I like Jessie, but she’s very “Live ya life” and sometimes makes me want to crack my jaw on a rock.

Pros: Good banter; good pop culture.

Cons: Shane mentions that he was 400 pounds and lost 200 pounds at least once a podcast.

ron.gif

You listening to my great podcasts.

Okay, so like I could literally talk about podcasts for another 1000 days, so if you wanna hang out and chat and discuss, we can totally do that. And if you’re a cute boy, then we can DEFINITELY HANG OUT pls pls love me.

Check out those podcasts and let me know which you liked, which you hated, and which you would listen to. Also give me ideas for other podcasts to listen to. I’m about to start listening to Nicole Polizzi’s podcast (Snooki—it’s Snooki) so obviously the bar is very low and I will accept any recommendations. Jk, I f*cking love Nicole.

Love you 5ever!

Standard