college, Essay, Halloween

NO PICTURES

As I was on a (what would turn out to be over four hours in the rain and two iterations of Taylor Swift’s 1989) drive back from my Boston Halloweekend, I realized – mid-eating a Chicken McNugget – that I hadn’t gotten a picture for Instagram the entire weekend. “Fuck!” I said, mouth muffled by “meat.”

And over the next few hours, as I caught up on all the social media I had missed – all the Halloween Instagrams of people in their various costumes, all the posed Snap stories and (let’s be realistic) Instagram stories – I felt more and more annoyed. I had let a prime social media weekend slip through my fingers like sand, or silk, or (most realistically) me dribbling a basketball.

It was the second time I was in Boston in October, and I had – on both occasions – made a plan to take a cute Instagram with my friends and completely forgotten. It’s a sober truth, I’ve realized, that when you’re a freelance writer-journalist (slash full-time inspiration and model), your chances for taking cutely candid Instagrams are severely limited. Either I’m working, writing, sleeping, eating, watching Netflix or doing some combination of the aforementioned. And unless my followers want endless versions of my dog with the exact same photo filtering (I do an opaque shadow, get used to it), there’s a limit to the content I’m naturally coming into contact with.

Getting an Instagram is more than an exercise in vanity. This might be dumb – do you know me? – but social media is as much a cultivation of personal branding as it is to remember moments. I want to work in media, and understanding various social media platforms, and being active on those platforms, is important to me. And in a post-grad world where I’m a very small fish in…the ocean? A galaxy? It helps me feel connected to the larger world. And yes, I use those photos for Tinder. Sue me.

Before I came up to Boston in the beginning of October, I texted my best friend. “We have to take a photo together.” She agreed (she loves photos of me). But with the time constraints of balancing family and friends, we forgot. I spent my hours with her, and my other friends, drinking at our favorite bar, hanging out at home, getting brunch. I drank up their presence like a sunflower; it had been so long since I had seen them in person. And I just missed them. And I didn’t want to miss any of them by separating myself through a screen.

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celebrity, pop culture, social media

ROB KARDASHIAN MIGHT’VE BROKEN CALIFORNIA’S REVENGE PORN LAWS

On Wednesday, Rob Kardashian took to social media to blast his former fiancée, Blac Chyna, for allegedly “cheating on him.”

He posted a video of Chyna kissing another man, purporting that she had sent the video to him, a video of Chyna going into what Kardashian alleged was weight-loss surgery, as well as several screenshots of conversations (between Kardashian and Chyna, and between Kardashian and the alleged other man). After accusing Chyna of essentially swindling him for $1 million, given to her in gifts and rent, Kardashian posted three nude pictures of Chyna before his account was disabled.

While this isn’t the first time that Rob has posted sensitive contact information (he posted the phone number of the “other” man and he has posted his sister Kylie’s phone number, forcing her to change it), this is the first time he’s posted nude images of someone else. And, under California state law, it’s possible that he could face charges for revenge porn.

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Humor

HOW TO BE A NARCISSIST AND GET AWAY WITH IT

Alternate titles: “How To Disguise Your Flagrant Narcissism as Genuine Confidence” or “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.”

First, I’d like to just say right off the bat that if you’re funny, you could essentially get away with whatever you want. Actually wait, that’s not entirely true; if you’re hot, you can actually get away with whatever you want. And I’m not even limiting that to getting away with narcissism. If you’re hot, you can do anything. Like Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP. Do you think Gwyneth is qualified to recommend organic lube? Of course not.

So, if you’re above an 8 (the scale varies re your location), please disregard this blog post. You’re already set for life. Actually, you could give me some advice. If you have a high level of skill in getting people to like you (being blindingly funny, or a natural blonde), then this post can serve as more of light entertainment. But if, like me and rest of the plebeian majority, your flagrant narcissism is unequal to the level of your attractiveness and/or wit (just kidding, no one can be both hot and funny), this article is your savior.

THE NARCISSYSTEM—soon to be trademarked, but it’s not done yet so don’t steal it, you guys. I’m serious.

First I should point out that I’m butchering “narcissism” in the same way that Khloe Kardashian has a video series on her app called “Khlo-C-D.” I know that I’m not referring to clinical narcissisim. Don’t send me your letters. I’m referring to the casual narcissism, the millennial narcissism.

Our generation has been bred for casual narcissism in the same way that pugs and other brachycephalics were bred to look like E.T. It’s almost not our fault, it’s the fault of others…Which is something that a casual narcissist would say to avoid taking the blame for their actions. Moving on. I don’t think that someone could be around so many front-facing cameras and not be a little bit of a narcissist. There are Instagram models, people—open your eyes. It’s completely out of our hands now.

However, it’s a complete double-edged sword. We’re all narcissists, but you can’t be too openly narcissistic, because people don’t like seeing the physical manifestations of their souls. It’s too creepy (similar to the “Uncanny Valley”). It’s a mixture of the joy of having someone to hate—thus redirecting some of that self-hate that every millennial has—and the pure rage of someone having the balls to say what we’re all thinking. But on the other hand, you can’t be too modest. People hate modesty more than they hate ostentation because modesty means you don’t know/accept how good you have it, and people cannot handle that. It’s the Anne Hathaway Syndrome: don’t be too modest or people will want to skin you alive.

Like everything else in the world—it makes no fucking sense. The very act of maintaining social media presence implies some inherent narcissism: you think that what you’re putting out is funny or pretty or palatable enough to be worthy of consumption en masse. Even the Internet troll exhibits some base form of narcissism (mutated, though; in the same way that an actual turtle is tangentially like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles); they believe their vitriol is good enough to be coattailed onto creative content. And if you don’t have any social media presence, it’s assumed that either A) you’re Amish or B) you think you’re too good/authentic/uninhibited for social media.

So if you’re stuck between too open and too modest, finding the right balance requires a mixture of humor, timeliness, bold disregard for social norms, and a pinch of spunk.

If you’re deeply self-involved, but also critically insecure, here’s a great way to both get compliments and sympathy. I, as a gay 6 and a Boston 7, will say things like, “It’s hard because I’m so hot,” or “I wonder if I could get away with some of the things I say if I were ugly.”

Then wait, staring silently at your friends/personal assistants and wait for them to laugh or say nothing. If they laugh, it’s because they know that you’re ugly and you’re talking like an 8+, and if they’re silent, either they agree or they’re letting you have this. In either case for the second option, you win. The practice revolves on being hilarious, which is an excellent mask for the fact that you think that you’re actually that hot. Like I think I’m actually hot enough to get away with the things I say. Modern science, as well as my checkered dating history, provides a pretty strong counterpoint to that, however.

Here is where two roads diverge in the woods. Which path you takes depends on whether you’re hot or funny. We have established previously that you can only be either hot or funny, so I don’t have to worry about making up some third, weird combo path. Two paths. Accept it.

If you’re hot, take the Instagram. With a great enough following (or simply a like-happy following) you can bask in the social acceptance of your flagrant displays of narcissism. Outside of early Facebook-late MySpace, taking selfies has never been so publicly accepted. However, if you chose to Instagram, mingle your selfies with landscape shots, shots of dogs bounding freely, and/or simple, white aesthetic shots of food or furniture. Invest in a proper editing app, such as Afterlight or VSCO. Have a wide breadth of edited shots to upload at a moment’s notice (as long as that moment’s notice lies within the bracket of heavy traffic times). I edit my photos in the bathroom so when I’m out and about, I don’t have to edit at a moment’s notice.

If you’re funny (or ugly), go via Twitter. I, shockingly for a L.A. 5 and Milwaukee 8, use Twitter. Twitter allows me to be the most viciously funny, sloppy version of myself. It’s the social media equivalent of being so deep into a long-term relationship you exclusively wear sweatpants. Twitter has seen me at my worst and accepts me for it. In fact, it encourages my worst. I have never been dumber, funnier, ruder or sharper than I am in my best moments on Twitter. At my funeral, I’m going to have a flat-screen above my casket that plays a slideshow of my greatest Tweets.

Lastly, pretend that you’re in on the joke. If people knew that you were actually being serious, they would abandon you on an iceberg. But if they think you’re being funny, skewering our narcissistic society with your acute view and biting wit, then they’ll be into it. Here are some ways to coat your self-centeredness in “humor.” A). Amp up your narcissism ever so slightly, in the vein of shows like Candidly Nicole and Inside Amy Schumer (specifically the skit where she uses Tig Notaro’s breast cancer diagnosis to get people to be nice to her). B). Write a humorous article, maybe entitled “How To Be A Narcissist and Get Away With It” on your excellent, but not widely appreciated (because your humor goes over everyone’s heads), blog called the Blunderkindof and make it seem as if you’re emulating the vapid pleasure-society that we all inhabit. No one will catch on that you yourself are a wildly spiraling tornado of narcissism. It’s foolproof.

If everything else fails—fake your death and subsequent “resurrection.” This one guy did it 2000 years ago and he got a book deal out of it. So extra.

***

I hope you liked this snunny (snarky + funny + nihilism) post! I had an absolute blast writing it, and usually the only thing I enjoy is inflicting pain upon the masses! What a departure! But seriously, I actually loved writing this insane, silly, rude post and I hope that you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Or if that’s too tall an order, I hope that you had a modicum of the pleasure I had while writing it. I’d like to thank Nina for bouncing ideas off (even though she thinks I’m not pulling off being a functioning narcissist).

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Celebrity Sunday, Life, pop culture, Rambles

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING: KYLIE JENNER HAS HER GRIP ON THE THROAT OF POP CULTURE AND NO ONE CAN DO ANYTHING TO STOP IT

Did you miss these? You didn’t care? That’s fine. I didn’t care either. I didn’t even THINK ABOUT IT, DEREK. Just kidding, I thought of you all the time. I wrote you every day for a year. That’s from The Notebook, right? That seems like a lot of work. Also, did you not get the hint when a year went by without a response? Take a hint: either she’s dead, illiterate, or over you.

I ate like complete garbage this weekend, and my body is sorely paying me back for the abuse I’ve put it through. I’ll try to be better, body. Although the other day, I woke up, looked in the mirror, and just thought that my body looked snatched. In a good way; not in a “snatched as in Taken” kind of way.

Anyway, anyway—let’s dive into some good, old-fashioned, Wunderkindof-prime, grade A beef.

WHAT’S HAPPENING RN:

1). Kylie Jenner released her new line of glosses: If you didn’t get that tidbit from her gloss-release video, that’s fine. That video was more confusing than watching an old Italian movie sans subtitles. It basically involves Kylie lounging in a Rolls Royce while three girls—the embodiment of her glosses “Like,” “Literally,” and “So Cute”—serve us some Breaking BadNikita realness.

It’s smart of Kylie to branch out into something other than the Lip Kit, and the release of the glosses prove me right when I predicted that the change of her Instagram name from “lipkitbykylie” to “kyliecosmetics” means that she’s going to be a make-up mogul. If she releases a line of jungle-themed cosmetics, then she might be a make-up Mowgli. Ah? Ah? No? That’s fine.

The addition of “Like,” “Literally,” and “So Cute” up her lipcare products to eleven, and cement her dainty, Cartier Love bracelet grip on the throat of pop culture.

2). Beyoncé released a clothing line called Ivy Park: Everyone is jumping on this athleisure train and Beyoncé is leading as conductor, which would actually be a fitting sequel to “Telephone.” It’s a lot of black and gray and white, with “IVY PARK” branded everywhere—which is…chic, let’s be honest. But is it weird that I’m a tiny bit over it already? Maybe it’s the fact that everywhere we look we have celebrity products—let us all take a moment for Yeezy Season Threezy—but I want to be wowed. I’ll be wowed by the Formation album, but let me know when Beyoncé drops a line of affordable menswear capes.

3). Trump stuck in his foot in his mouth and somehow this time managed to screw up: Donald Trump said, when pushed by MSBNC town hall host Chris Matthews, that women who receive abortions should be punished. This then set off a whirling dervish of statements, reversals, and redactions, which proves that Trump neither has no idea what he’s saying and really doesn’t actually care. I’m glad that people are starting to hold him accountable, and force him to take a stance, rather than allow him to hide behind bluffing, waffling, and running out the clock. I wrote an entire article about it for The Odyssey Online, which I’ll link here when it comes out, because I don’t feel like repeating myself.

4). I started watching The Real O’Neals and Difficult People and both made me only mildly uncomfortable: Because I spent most of this weekend trying to lure people to my apartment—friends, not lovers or strangers—I ended up watching a lot of Hulu. I used to hate Hulu because it’s kind of the fucking worst, but it has some good shows on it. I found The Real O’Neals which is both unrealistic on a Catholic level and on a homosexual level, but it makes me feel slightly better about being a gay from a private Catholic school background, and also slightly worse because why can my skin have been that flawless while I was in high school? Then Difficult People makes me feel both slightly better about being mean to people and infinitely worse about wanting to make people laugh at/like me a profession.

giphy

Source: Giphy

5). Will I ever not read into cute boys following me on Instagram?: Survey says…probably not.

6). I dressed in blacks and grays today, and did a Mary-Kate Olsen mouth: Which is neither a cry for help nor a victory, but somehow both and neither. This weekend I actively tried to be lazy. I succeeded, and somehow that didn’t make me feel better. It didn’t make me feel worse though, so I guess that’s a success.

7). Can I rant for a second: So I was sitting at Pavement, a coffeehouse on campus because sometimes I can’t help but be insufferably stereotypical—I also stare out of windows when it’s raining, so get those stones ready—and my laptop was dying because it’s old and the free Internet was about to run out. I stand up, start putting my stuff into my bag and before I could say “Beetlejuice” three times, someone was already standing right next to me.

“Are you leaving?” she asked. “Oh, yeah, I am,” I said, brightly. Then she starts dumping her stuff onto the table, nearly crushing my new J.Crew sunglasses. Now, I can hover with the best of them when it comes to securing coffeehouse tables, but there are rules, as typical to any civilized society. One: don’t move in before I’m ready. Two: don’t mess with my stuff. Three: back off, bitch, you’ll get your table.

I wanted to pinch her so hard, but I needed coffee more, and even though I was in a coffee shop, I walked four minutes away to the nearest Starbucks because my mom gave me a gift card and I’m skint.

8). What is the acceptable amount of time to absent-mindedly stare at someone before it gets weird: I was on the street the other day, and I read a text from a friend who had seen me walking on the street, commented on my outfit, leading me to absently stare around, looking for him. I then realize, when a person started walking toward me, that I had been staring accidentally at an acquaintance and she thought I was non-absently looking at her.

It wasn’t a horrible interaction, but I keep getting caught doing things like this—staring at people accidentally, or smiling at them when I don’t mean to but that small desire to be liked wins out. I thought I had an unlikable face—in fact, I was kind of banking on it—but the world refuses to acknowledge that, and everyone thinks that I want to be their best friend. Truth update: I have one best friend, and her name is Ina Garten and she doesn’t know I exist. There’s no other room in my world for extraneous people. Cue the mantra: “Don’t be extra-nice to extraneous.” In my head, that kind of worked.

*****

I only got mildly misanthropic in this blog post, so it’s a win. But then again, I managed to turn a “what’s happening in the world” post into a “what’s currently wrong in the seventh-grade science fair experiment that is my life” so let’s call today an Even-Stevens.

On a side note, I can’t wait to be 37 and bitter. Being 20 and bitter is exhausting, and—frankly—not great for my skin.

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Humor, Life

A MILLENNIAL’S GUIDE TO FRIENDSHIP IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Growing up as a millennial can be a unique experience. You have the constant fear of someone bringing up a bad photo of you from seventh grade, or your mom trying to friend you—my mom does not because she “doesn’t want to see what’s on my page”—or your crush reading a message you sent but not responding.

There’s a lot of articles online about dating in the digital age, or doing your taxes in the digital age, or applying for jobs in the digital age. But there’s really nothing dedicated to being friends with someone in the digital age. And not capital-f Friends. We’re not talking Facebook friends—the idea of Facebook friends overlapping with your actual friends is basically an urban myth.

So since I have to guide you into the light—not in an angel-y way, but in a cool way—on other issues—race, gender, what to order at McDonald’s—then it’s only fitting that I guide you through this process. So are you ready? Are you ready? Let’s go!

Here’s rule number one, right off the bat. Group chats are literally Satan’s asshole, but they’re a necessary evil. Just, for the love of all things holy, put it in Facebook so I can at least mute the conversation. I’ve turned a deaf ear to at least half of the groups I’m in.

Rule number two: Do your civilian duty and take yourself off “private” in your social media. The very fact that you’re on social media implies, at least a little bit, that you’re a fame monster (Buy ARTPOP on iTunes). We live in the age of media-stalking, so just assume that someone wants to get a cute look at you.

In fact, the Golden Rule of Social Media: Do unto your social media as you would wish others to do unto theirs. I.e. if you’re stalking, you better open up the digital gates so people can return the favor.

Rule number three: Follow people back on Twitter and Instagram. The only time it is acceptable to not follow people back is if they’re strangers or if you’re a celebrity. If you’re not a celebrity, and I follow you, it’s because I know you. Don’t throw shade and not follow me back. That happened to me once. I met a really cool girl, had a good conversation with her, and then followed her on Twitter. She didn’t follow me back, and now she is on my List. You’re not Madonna. You can afford to alter your ratio. I’m stretching out an olive branch.

Rule number four: But conversely, don’t feel obliged to Favorite, Like, or Retweet everything I do. Sometimes I have an off day and my tweet is a little sloppily crafted. You don’t have to placate me with a flurry of Likes. Save those for when I’m really funny (which is 99 times out of 100).

Note: This does not apply to Instagram. Like my Instagram or I will hunt you down and gut you like a fish.

Rule number five: I will allow you to crop me out of photos if you look really good. I don’t anticipate it happening often, and be careful how you crop. If it’s a simple group chat, go nuts. But if we’re entwined in some sort of gymnastics, and you crop the living sh*t out of the photo to the point where if you click on the photo, it’s just a small square of your face surrounded by black, then we have a problem. I understand that good photos are like shooting stars—they happen only ever so often. But have some sense of decorum.

Rule number six: Landscape, never portrait. Don’t play with fire.

And because I need to preserve my sanity, rule number seven: keep conversations to one medium. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation with a friend in Facebook, and had a separate, distinct conversation with the same friend over text. Okay, it’s only happened twice. But still, it’s a thing.

Rule number eight: Ghost with integrity. If and when you decide to stop being friends with someone, it’s a little harder than just ducking or avoiding them on the street. No. Now that we’re living in an age where nothing ever dies online, you need to learn how to ghost with grace. Ghosting is basically—it’s a trend, and I’m hopping on the trend—when you slowly slip out of someone’s life. You take longer to answer texts. You can’t FaceTime anymore. You “forget” to tag them in your popular blog posts that everyone loves but is too afraid to say that they love, so they ask things like “What’s the Wunderkindof?” and “Oh, I didn’t know you blogged” and—oh, I’m projecting. It’s fine when you want to ditch people. We’ve all done it. Just be smart about it.

Rule number nine: Tag me, but don’t drag me. I look good from approximately two angles. So I can’t tell you how visceral the fear is when I see that little notification pop up in the “Photos of You” tab in Instagram. You can tag me in your photos—actually, please do—but realize that if it’s an unflattering angle or me doing something “hilarious,” that you are putting your life, the lives of your future children, and the life of your iPhone at risk.

Also side bar: No one ever looks good in “funny photos.”

And lastly, rule number ten: social media isn’t a substitute for quality time. Yes, I love tagging Jenny in funny Instagrams, or texting Shelby whenever something salacious happens in the celebrity world, or g-chatting (gay-chatting) with Marco, or sending ambiguous emojis to Mitchell. But that is just a complement to being with them. So rule number ten-b: don’t let social media rule your life. Let me rule your life. Through social media. I understand how confusing this might be. Just give me your Social Security number and everything will be okay.

Living in the digital age is hard; everything should be quicker and more immediate, but it often ends up lost in a haze of misinterpretation. Did he mean to send me that winky emoji? How long is too long for me to return someone’s text? What is “fam” and how is it being used in the vernacular? All of these things are questions that I know that I have.

Ew, bye.

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