celebrity, Love & Romance

why can’t I stop thinking about Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande?

Source: BBC


In today’s social media climate, the few weeks that Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande have been dating and engaged feels like a lifetime. Not really because of them, more because of the political hellscape that we’re struggling to survive, but it also serves the dual purpose of blurring our sense of time. Mid-May? What even is that?

Don’t quote me, but I believe that the “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of thousands of immigrant children from their parents began roughly around the same time that Pete and Ariana began dating. And bizarrely, those are two things that seem to have had equal play in the media (albeit in different spheres).

And I think that it’s precisely because these two events are concurrent that we find ourselves so obsessed with the new relationship.

In the beginning of the year, The Cut (the fashion offshoot of NYMag) published a piece about the rise of skincare. There was a connection drawn between the stress of the media and the sudden deep desire to self-soothe and self-care, particularly when it comes to something as neutral and inoffensive as skincare. I really believe that there is a reasoning behind the obsession with the benign, and the relationship between a popstar and a comedian is about as benign as it can get. And their relationship is getting so much play in the media that my best friend, who does not care about most pop culture, even brought it up in a phone call.

My theory, I posited, is that Ariana Grande will be one of the long-lasting greats in our pop cultural textbook. And a lot of the greats have had multiple significant relationships. She’s 24, so it’s high time that she’s had her first engagement. Multiple engagements is kind of chic. By the way, if this sounds cynical, that’s not how I mean it. If Pete and Ariana end up getting married and stay together forever, a la Dolly Parton and Carl Dean, that would also be kind of chic. And if they got married, stayed together for five or ten years, then that wouldn’t be the worst thing either.

In the grand scheme of things, Pete and Ariana are in a pretty good position to take their relationship fast. They’re great in their respective fields (which do not overlap but occupy tangential spaces); they’re young; they’re rich; they’re hot; they’re well-liked. Apparently there are people saying that Pete is “beneath” Ariana; first of all, yeah but only because Ariana is…Ariana.

But I think the real appeal is that there’s no real risk of people getting hurt. These are not people for whom money is a real limitation; if they drop a hot thous on a ring, who cares? If they move into a luxury apartment too quickly, will anyone really be worse for the wear? They’re adults, but they’re young, and they’re in control and it’s fun and flirty and a little stupid. I love it.

Now, that being said, it could get dark quickly. If they do get married and divorced quickly, that’s dark. If someone cheats on the other, that’s dark. If there are drugs, that’s dark. But for right now, there’s none of that, so I’m having all of it.

But it’s such a welcome balm to think about Pete and Ariana rather than parse out the meaning (if there is any) behind a snide message scrawled on the back of the FLOTUS’s coat, or pull my hair out over Trump’s horrific press rally, or wonder what exactly that Stephen Miller audio sounded like.

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2018, college, Humor, Life, Millennials

One year on from graduation: EAT, GAY, LOVE

It’s officially been one year since I graduated from college, and I weirdly felt fine about it. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I was working that day – nothing distracts you like an endless array of customers screaming about groceries – but it also could probably be attributed to the fact that I spent literal months stressing and freaking out about the fact that I was graduated that I think I exhausted it out of my body.

But the official end of the first year, even without the heart palpitations, made me take stock of what I’ve accomplished since then. Lol! !!

🙂 EAT 🙂

Part of the unspoken (but passive-aggressive) rule of moving back home was that I was going to responsible for cooking dinner. This wouldn’t be a problem (I’d been cooking for myself for over two years !) except for the fact that my family is both rude and not shy about criticizing my cooking.

So I really tried to be better about cooking (i.e. not burning things and calling it “intentional” or “crispy”), and I’m excited to bring that with me in my next iteration: as a gay monster and University of Southern California Annenberg graduate student. My mom keeps saying, “Your roommate will be so impressed!” which for some reason, like, does not inspire confidence. “My mom thinks I’m a good cook!!” doesn’t roll off the mature tongue.

Before this year, I don’t think I knew what “dredging” was, and now it’s literally my favorite thing to do to chicken and white fish. Also, I never cooked white fish before!! Now I love a good sole!! A year ago, I was microwaving potatoes, and now I’m literally so obsessed with finding the perfect method for making sweet potato fries that I’m going to write a blog post about it.

😉 GAY 😉

The second, and skinniest, thing I accomplished is mah body. I feel weird talking about my body for like 8000 reasons, but one is that I’m thin. I’ve generally always been thin, and – thanks to future medicine and the plastic surgery I plan on getting – I’ll probably stay thin. But to combat depression and a freelance lifestyle, I recommitted myself to the gym and lost 20-ish pounds this year.

I knew going into this body journey that it could be a dangerous path: when I was at my most depressed, the gym was a salve that gradually became a crutch. I was obsessed with going, because when I was there I could zone out and forget everything else.

I think I went into this year of fitness a different way, and I set weight goals, yes, but I also set goals outside of weight loss. I’ve written about this before, but I became obsessed with doing unassisted pull-ups. Upper body strength was never a huge part of my workout-life; in high school, I was a long- and mid-distance runner, where the emphasis was put on stamina and pacing (shorter distances place a higher premium on upper body strength). So I never really thought about pull-ups, and kind of dreaded them.

But as I started working out more – and probably aided by losing a few pounds – I began feeling the unassisted pull-up coming into my grasp. Currently, I can do 4×4 unassisted pull-ups (with 12 lbs dumbbells clamped between my thighs) and 4×4 unassisted chin-ups. My new goal is to do 3×8 pull-ups (I’m currently able to do one set of eight, and can maybe do two sets on a good day).

Setting these goals that existed outside of any weight loss put the emphasis not on cutting calories or excessive cardio, but building up my strength. I began feeling like I was training to be some sort of gay, chic spy. I’ve leaned out more, and I can see the whisper of those 11 abs that lady yoga instructors have sometimes. Goals. Also I’d like to hit (however briefly) 169 pounds for the hilarious joke. It will not be funny to anybody but me.

😀 LOVE 😀

Despite the fact that I’ve gone back – officially – on dating apps, this section is not about my quest for a man. I know that my future husband, wherever he is, is probably in his last year of medical school, and has to gather a net worth of a couple mill before we even meet. And I love that for me, and he loves that for me.

I’m talking about self love. I went back into therapy this year, after a tumultuous few months away from it. and while it has not been easy – it’s actively been very hard – and I don’t think I’m nearly there yet, I feel like the work I’ve done, and the realizations I’ve made, have been very positive and very important for me. A lot of therapy is recognizing patterns you’ve engaged in, how they relate to larger behaviors, and what those behaviors mean in the grand scheme of your psyche. It sounds kinda simple, but lol it is tiring y’all.

🙂  😉  😀

I’ll be honest, I’m sure I would feel very differently about this year being up if I didn’t have my next step planned out. I’m excited to go onto my next step, and I can breathe a little easier on this anniversary knowing that I’ve got at least one thing in the future planned.

It also matters very much to other people. It’s socially acceptable, in what I’ve witnessed, to have something coming down the pike. People like knowing that you’ve got some sort of plan that fits into what they think you should be doing.

I had a customer the other day lean over and say, eyes kind and completely unaware of how condescending her question was, “Do you know what you want to do with your life?” In her eyes, working at Trader Joe’s was not good enough; it had to be a transitional station and not a destination. So I can’t pretend that part of my chillness about being a year out from graduation is the fact that my plan lines up with societal expectations on me.

This took a turn, but it’s all connected in my mind. This year out of school has been emotionally trying; facing professional uncertainty, rejection and trials have really made me think about what I want to pursue. And while I’m currently so excited and happy about where I’m going, it’s important for me to acknowledge that this year was not just about passing time or waiting for the next thing to come along. This year, in its entirety, was meant for me – it was meant for me to grow and to challenge myself and to experience new, sometimes uncomfortable, things.

I’ve included this because it’s a bop and it’s what i’m listening to as i’m editing this. 

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Humor, Love & Romance, Millennials

THE ONE WHERE I GO ON HINGE AND TRY TO FIND LOVE

“Do you want to date?” my psychiatrist asks.
“Ugh, no,” I scoff.
Ten minutes later. “I just really want to date!” I whine.
“You said you didn’t want to,” she points out, rightfully.
“I know I said that, but I lied,” I answer. I’m petulant, and she’s beginning to learn that.
“It’s kind of hard for you to be open to dating when you say, explicitly, that you don’t want to date.”

# # #

She also points out that dating is work, and requires effort. These are two things that I am unaccustomed to, but I begrudgingly admit that she’s right. Almost to spite her (healthy?), and prove to her that I can date if I want to, I download Hinge, a dating app that purports to set you up with people within your Facebook friends-of-friends network.

Of course, I do this the week that Facebook is in the news for allowing Cambridge Analytica to siphon off private user information. With my luck, Facebook will shut down and I’ll die alone.

I picked Hinge for a few reasons – Tinder is essentially the new Grindr and Bumble won’t let me use a photo of me giving the camera the middle finger. If I can’t show my personality, then I won’t find love.

I also picked Hinge because that’s how Phillip Picardi, the digital editorial director of Teen Vogue and Allure, met his totally-crazy-hot boyfriend. And if there’s one thing you can say about me, it’s that I can operate with a near-lethal amount of optimism.

So I made my profile. I put in a few funny quips, but I tried not to overwhelm it with humor. Surprise, I use humor as a defense mechanism. I tried to be honest (and cute) and earnest (and cute) and actually give myself a fighting chance.

Yes, the photos I chose showcase me doing essentially the same pose over and over (I know my angles) and I will almost never do a smile that shows my teeth (I have good teeth, I just don’t feel like showing them off) but the photos are all recent, and g-damn I look good in all of them! I’m in a very – well, not right now because I made the decision early on today to wear a hat and, honey, it’s one I’m regretting – good place about my body and my face.

So I made the profile, and I’ve been trying to – without sounding like American Pyscho – lower my standards. Okay, yeah that sounds awful.

But here’s what I mean. I love quitting while I’m behind. Frankly, I love quitting. I love a good self-sabotage. I set impossible standards for the men I look to date – they must be funny, but not funnier than me; they must be tall; they must be mean, but not nasty; cute, but not hot; smart, but not intimidating; not annoying, not rude; not clingy, not antisocial – usually this pares the group of eligible men available to a party of one, and I can’t date myself. Not again.

I also fall into the dangerous pattern of finding men whose flaws I forgive, because they’re so unattainable – straight, or in a relationship, or dead – that I’ll never have to worry about coming into contact with those flaws. I can safely yearn from 500 yards away (not a restraining order thing, I just wear glasses now and I don’t need to be that close) and never get hurt.

I’m trying to quell the inner saboteur, that messy, clumsy-fingered little goblin, and try to find one thing to “like” about each profile I see. Surprisingly, it’s easy. The questions are designed to yield answers, and damn some of y’all are cute! I’ve been liking more than I’ve been disliking, and it’s led to some interesting conversations. Not amazing conversations, and certainly not any love connections yet, but still: progress.

However, since I’m admitting to be a greedy little goblin, let’s be hateful for one paragraph. Loving brunch is not original. Loving SoulCycle is not original. Be the hottest one in a group photo, or just do a solo. Stop posting photos from vineyards; frankly, stop going to vineyards. Stop talking about Antoni from Queer Eye (I am a “he cannot cook” truther to the grave).

There are certain things I am willing to forgive, but hawking avocado/being 20/loving Antoni are things that I simply, for my own health, cannot abide.

Okay, done being hateful.

My most recent foray into “getting out there” is coming to the realization that I’d like to date somebody. I denied this for a long time because I hate being vulnerable, and damn that’s lame to say that you wanna date. But I do, and so I’m gonna say so. I dated a decent bit in college, but that was easier because I was surrounded by people constantly. This is harder, and we all know I love things that require little-to-no effort.

Snow White found love, and all she had to do was sleep. Lucky.

While I am pale (and tall enough that I’m constantly surrounded by aggro little short men), I’m no Snow White. Me sleeping just leads to morning breath and unfortunate hair situations.

So I, awake, am going to put myself out there. If you know someone in his twenties, with a job, who is good-looking enough that people wouldn’t describe him as “having a great personality” but does have a great personality, send him my way. He can have a weird face; that’s fine by me, but then he has to have good hair. I will not bend on this.

I’m sure my 900-word diatribe about Hinge will not frighten him off in the least.

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Essay, LGBTQ, Life, Love & Romance, Millennials, Movies, Thinkpiece

CALL ME BY YOUR SAME

I watched Call Me By Your Name on a flight back from Amsterdam recently (brag!). And whether it was the combination of airplane red wine and altitude, or perhaps a human, beating heart, I was so deeply affected by the viewing that I’ve floated in a fog the last few days, one that I’ve characterized as a “gay funk.”

A gay funk is a peculiar and particular kind of funk for me – and trust, I’ve got plenty of funk genres. It comes from a place of mixed happiness and sadness – the font of queerdom, the well of homosexuality.

I’m not going to get into it here – for a multitude of reasons, including that you are not paying me, sis, and also I doubt my psychiatrist would recommend that I do it – but I’ve spent the last few months coming to terms with the fact that a lot of my high school experience was fucked-up, and painful, and distinctly not okay. It’s hard in a lot of ways, to recharacterize something after the fact, but I’ve felt lighter for it.

So the idea of watching a movie that essentially splays out the past traumas I’ve been dealing with – youth and queerness and masculinity and love – sent red flares in my vision and, if I’m being honest, I actively avoided seeing the movie. But with the stretch of eight hours ahead of me and nothing to do but sit, I finally relented.

It also comes from a very legitimate place of cynicism. Queer men, particularly gay, white men, are luckier than others in our community in the fact that we have had more and varied representation in the media. But still, the idea of a movie that depicted my experience made me wary and scared. We get so few chances, and I didn’t want one to be squandered. I wanted to remain unseen.

But in a similar way to Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name truthfully and honestly depicted shades of my life in ways that felt like a tribute, rather than an exploitation.

It was painful to watch, Call Me By Your Name, but it was a curious pain because I felt it lancing me softly and beautifully. I felt parts of me uncoil, spirals of sadness that have been clamped up for so long. I was sad watching the movie, and jealous in ways, and unjealous in others.

Surprise, surprise, but I did not have a love story like Elio and Oliver’s in my high school experience. I had one, very intense and unrequited love – in the way that only seventeen-year-old closeted kids can love – but I related to the breathless, heartsick trill of their relationship. And honestly, I can’t ignore the fact that Armie Hammer is of the same mold as my high school crush: blonde and strappingly all-American.

So much of the romance in my life has been wrapped up with shame, longing, sadness and guilt, and that what I felt the movie portrayed so honestly. How love is propelled by a desire to satiate your own loneliness, quell the turmoil and the self-sabotaging desire to jump. Despite growing up in a world that was growing more and more tolerant of being gay, I don’t recall any positive representation of queer love in my childhood. I had no interactions with gay people, had no inkling that they could be thriving adults.

Watching Call Me By Your Name invoked a sadness similar to the first time I read Giovanni’s Room, sadness that our experience of love is so often colored by pain. I know that this can be a universal experience, but it feels particularly like the nexus of queerness. It’s sad, but it’s also comforting; that we’re a part of a lineage and history that extends beyond your singular, mortal self, despite that mantle being so wrought with pain.

Hence the gay funk: so many of the queer people I know didn’t get to have clean, cut-and-dry first experiences. They were tainted by who we were, and how the world treated us. So watching Call Me By Your Name made me viciously jealous of a tenet of teenhood that I missed out on. The movie made me sad for the kid that I was. The kid who was robbed of so many things, so many experiences. For all the love that I did have, there was so much love spilled on the ground, wastefully draining away. I’m sad for what he had to go through, for what he didn’t realize he was going through, and for what he would be going through.

But the movie made me happy in a lot of ways, because that pain was clarifying for me – it crystallized, for good and bad, the person that I am. It made me a fighter and empathetic and clumsy, complex and ruthless and fragile. It made me question who I was – it made me fight for myself. It grounded me in my own soil. It also reminded me that, in spite of it all, I loved being a teenager. I loved feeling all the nuances and complexity of emotions – first best friends, first break-up, first disappointment, first triumph. Like Mike Phelps was built for swimming, I was built for feeling things deeply. A lot of that (lol) was depression, but I think that even without being depressed, my body would be carved for intensity of feeling.

And it’s funny, because if I saw that kid – seventeen-year-old me – I would think that he was beautiful. I would admire his grit, his humor, his broken attempts at concealing how deeply and tumultuously he cared. I would’ve found him brave, and witty, and endearing, even as he attempted to be as spiky as possible. It’s the lasting echo I’ve carried with me since watching the movie: deep, bursting love for the kid that I was, despite everything, despite all the pain. And that’s what the end of the movie was about. Closing yourself off from grief is another kind of trauma. Feeling things deeply is not a curse, it’s part of the experience.

So much of life is love tempered with pain. One doesn’t exist without the other.

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Love & Romance

VALENTINE’S DAY 2017: LOVE YOU, MEAN IT

It’s Valentine’s Day! This isn’t me reminding you because it’s impossible that you went almost the entire day before realizing this fact. As was pointed out to me this morning, Valentine’s Day is not recognized with any sort of bank holiday—ergo it basically doesn’t exist. Actually it for sure doesn’t exist. However, I still kind of enjoy it—it reminds me of cheap little candies taped to paper cards given out in grade school. Also I dig the color pink.

Things that have happened to me today precisely because it is Valentine’s Day.

1). Kissed my friend to get a free meal at Qdoba.

2). Read the OUT100 “Most Eligible Bachelors” 2017 list.

3). Was stuck walking behind a “cute” couple who had linked arms and blocked me in.

4). Listened to someone in my Columns class read a piece about power-eating pasta carbonara on a Valentine’s date and got misty-eyed.

Things that have happened to me today in addition to its being Valentine’s Day.

1). Stress-ate a burrito from Qdoba after having a particularly gruesome career advisement meeting.

2). Watched last night’s episode of The Bachelor.

3). Went to Trader Joe’s.

4). Made a grilled cheese (that hasn’t happened yet but I have a good feeling).

Things that I hope will happen to me on a future Valentine’s Day.

1). Someone buys me a burrito and I don’t have to go back in the closet for it.

2). Get on the OUT100 Most Eligible Bachelors list.

3). Horse-kick linked-arm couples in the back of the knees.

4). My husband makes me a grilled cheese with at least “eight dollars of Jarlsberg” in it.

*****

Today is pretty and cutesy and annoying because greeting card companies told us that it should be. But that also doesn’t mean that we can’t make it pretty and cutesy and annoying. Millennials have the power to make anything annoying. I like the idea, despite its obvious commercial overtones, that there’s a day to be romantic and icky and loving. A day to wear pink and buy yourself chocolate and pretend to be in love with your platonic female friend to get a free burrito bowl.

Anyway, I’ve got to go finish The Bachelor and make myself grilled cheese. AND I bought myself Ben & Jerry’s yesterday and I didn’t sad-eat all of that last night so mama’s got a treat for later. What’s the saddest thing about this post? Is it that last sentence or are there too many things to pick just one?

LOVE YOU, MEAN IT.

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Article, college, Humor, Love & Romance

CUFFING SEASON, BUT DON’T WORRY YOU’LL STILL DIE ALONE

A few weeks ago, I briefly mentioned that I had noticed a lot of people getting together as the weather took a turn for the colder. I made a hilarious joke about Noah’s Ark and biblical floods (very well-received, don’t you worry). I put it out of my brain until a friend/fan of mine, Emily Rizzo (her life is so glam I want to reside in her pocket and just observe) brought it up again when we were getting coffee/I hijacked her and her other friend getting coffee.

“Have you heard of cuffing season?” she asked (ugh, she’s so good at asking questions, which is very important for a fan. It shows I’m not just a glamorous social media prop to her).

“No, what the fuck is that?” I answered, thinking it must refer to pant-lengths, which is a political issue I am very passionate about. However, she explained/I figured it out because I wasn’t listening that closely, cuffing season is exactly the phenomenon I had witnessed.

What’s the dealio, yo?

People who I knew as single were starting to drift into each other, and the amount of handholding went skyrocketing. But what’s behind this turn towards #love? Is it born (borne?) out of a desire to not pay for heating (body heat is, like, the best kind of heat)? Is it a reaction to the more dangerous fall weather (bears, black ice, and basic white girls)? Or is it the desire to not have your multitude of nosy aunts not breath down your neck during the holiday season (I wouldn’t know; all my family knows I’m gay so no one asks me any questions)?

“I could see how it could be a thing,” said Grace Pearson (a general beautiful person but also so nice; so unclear). “I could see how in Boston, where the weather gets so dreary, that it could be a thing.”

Pearson (but why is she so nice?? Pretty people don’t have to be nice) said that it’s not a phenomenon that she’s particularly observed, but one that she fully believes in (i.e. Santa Claus).

When I looked to the source (Urban Dictionary), I found a definitive definition (and a lot of misogyny—come on, you guys). The “top definition” defines “cuffing season” as thus:

“During the Fall and Winter months people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves along with the rest of the world desiring to be “Cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.”

The word seems to be, at least according to a Vogue article (Vogue, you guys), derived from “handcuffing” and holds the implication that whether or not either party wants to, social norms and a primal urge seem to have locked them in love-rigors until spring’s thaw.

However, when I talked to one Olivia Wiles (AMAZING skin, great voice—like scrubbed velvet on a chilled winter morn), she knew exactly what cuffing season was. When I asked her to “give me all the t,” she did not let me—and enterprising young journalists everywhere—down.

“I don’t know if it’s an active decision, like “oops it’s fall gotta get cozy”. But I think there is something evolutionary in us that when the leaves change and it gets colder we crave a companion,” she said.

The autumnal activities also provide a strong incentive for coupling up. “Fall is also just such a coupley season: apple-picking, pumpkin-carving, holidays,” continued Wiles.

“I think it is definitely more primal.”

Andrew Cavaluzzi, a boy I went to high school with who still won’t admit that we’re dating (it’s, like, stop playing hard to get, babe!!!), was as truthful about his thoughts on cuffing season as untruthful he is about the state of our relationship.

“I think it is definitely more primal,” said Cavaluzzi. “There was always this innate fear in humans that we might not make it through winter.” Cavaluzzi also made the interesting and important point of body-affirmation. “Winter leads to less confidence in oneself, leaving people slightly more glum and therefore [they] look for external approval, i.e. relationships.”

As the weather gets chillier, “the relationship statuses are poppin’ on Facebook and flames are igniting,” said Wiles.

Callie Ahlgrim, a young woman whose love for me is as deep as her dimples (great dimples, you guyz) feels that cuffing season is less Nature v. Nurture, and more “You’re afraid you’re gonna die alone.”

“It’s the same kind of idea where people get lonely around Valentine’s Day. You’re alone every other day of the year as well, you’re just freaking out over a made up phenomenon,” said Ahlgrim after I begged her to comment. I also begged her to tell me if I was pretty; she did not respond.

However, studies (I’m assuming) show that as the year shifts from winter to spring, relationships end as people get hotter/tanner. And in the cold drawn breath of the ultimate winter—death—we’re all going to be alone. HAPPY THURSDAY.

Ahlgrim offered some sage advice (and some sage, amiright) to cope with the impending doom of death via singledom. “I think that the lonelier you get and the more you feel like you need someone to be romantically involved in your life, the more you actually just need to focus on yourself and your own shit.” Beautiful words from someone who refuses to acknowledge my external beauty.

Do you like my new Thanksgiving-themed banner?!

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