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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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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Millennials, social media

I AM A MILLENNIAL AND I WILL DESTROY EVERYTHING YOU LOVE

I loom over you on a mountain of discarded participation trophies.


I was born in 1995, so the lines are a little rough but essentially I am (by and large) on the tail end of the millennial generation. But given my voracious and insatiable need for validation, my living at home with my parents, and my eternal neck pain from craning downwards to look at my phone, I’d say that I am.

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Source: Twitter // Ha…ha…

We’ve all heard that, right? Young people are being bombarded by articles. This blog was inspired by a Twitter Moment: “A Thinkpiece Generator for Attacking Millennials” that encouraged people to go to Google and type in “Millennials are killing…” and see what autofills. When I did it, I received the following results.

And because I’m so dedicated to eradicating my narcissicism, I’m going to crop out how many favorites that tweet got…

(four)

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Essay, Life

“ONE—TWO—THREE!”

Neon-green teeth against deep, dark violet skin. A ceiling fan broken from too many hands flinging into the air. Too many bodies crammed into too little square footage, forcing the heat to climb upwards until your white shirt has turned filmy as it clings wetly to your skin.

We see the host, and I grab the drink out of his hand to take a sip of artificial margarita. We set up residence against one wall, some girl’s long strands of hair whipping against the small of my back as she dances with someone else.

Talking becomes a post-lingual experiment. The mouth forms words that will never reach someone else’s ears, instead swirling out and upward into the collective cacophony. You communicate by mouthing simple words, by pointing, by the arching of eyebrows.

That’s a college party. Sound so big it forces you into the corner, heat so high everyone loses water weight against their will, and a Babel tower of red Solo cups.

It’s the kind of thing that could only occur in college. Only occur when there’s an uneven distribution of wealth. Top-shelf liquors mixed with liters of lukewarm Sprite, the kind that our teachers brought in for class parties. J.Crew button-downs with beaten-down Converse splashed with various liquids. You bypass the club with their $10-covers and instead cram in with sixty of your Facebook friends-of-friends and sweat it out to Childish Gambino.

It’s the kind of thing that could only occur when you’re on the razor’s edge between childhood and adulthood.

Before, we stood in her bathroom, me balancing a water bottle of Patron and two shot glasses on the ceramic lid of the toilet tank. I poured the Patron into the glasses, alternately labeled in ridged letters “Don’t Mess with Texas” and “Malibu”. I took care to make sure they were level with each other before handing one off. In between her putting black eyeliner on, we licked the bony tops of our thumbs and dumped salt on the damp.

“One—two—three,” I said as we clicked the shots together.

Lick the salt. Suck down the Patron. Hold the two in your mouth for a second before gulping. We didn’t have limes so I grabbed a bottle of lemonade. The sickly-sweet-sour taste of the lemonade, from concentrate, cuts through the tequila as I made a hasty gulp before passing it on to her. We stagger the second round of shots so that we can have equal access to the chaser.

Lick. Suck. Gulp.

I perch behind her as she tries to balance out her eyeliner. I pull thick swathes of auburn hair into place. We preen, and something warms in the outline of my ribs.

Later it was a bottle of red wine that we passed back and forth. We had to clench our teeth to avoid consuming the coils of foil from the twist-top that had fallen to the bottom of the deep dark red. Afterward, we would have to comb our tongues free of the aluminum scraps.

We went to a birthday pre-game first, one we drastically overestimated the punctuality of its occupants. By the time we strolled in at 9:45, they were already platonically grinding to Top 40, and That One Girl was yelling at people to start requesting their Ubers.

“FIVE MINUTES PEOPLE, CALL YOUR UBERS,” she waded through the clusters of drunk people. “FIVE MINUTES.” This was not a Lyft crowd.

We had enough time to say hi to Birthday Girl & Co and mooch some Smirnoff Raspberry into thrown-together cocktails. But they were annoyingly punctual, and by 10 p.m. we were the last ones to swirl out of the apartment, shoving potato chips into our pockets for snacking on the sidewalk.

At the second party, the purple light burned through the window even as we were approaching from outside. Inside, sweat mixed with liquor mixed with burnt weed. Hawaiian shirts glowed hotly against dark violet skin. Synthetic leis lit up the undersides of chins and matched eerily with the neon whites of people’s eyes.

Inside, everyone is a stranger, even the people I know. The darkness coats everything, so that familiarity becomes a moot point until they’re in your face. I run into people from class, old half-forgotten acquaintances, and former besties. In a party, old frictions are limned over in the alcohol haze.

She and I stand by the bar counter, a square hole in the wall between the living room and the kitchen. Separated by a narrow line of strangers are friends from my collegiate nascence. Friends whom I knew when I hardly knew myself. That clogging nostalgia rises from my chest and coils behind my tongue. The sense is that identity is a series of rolling hills.

You climb one with some cluster of people, crest over the top and skid to the bottom. Then you begin again. And suddenly people begin to drop off. After one hill without them, they become a little blurred. After two and three, you have lost sight of them entirely. But they’re on their own hills, cresting and skidding endlessly over and over. Run up, hover, run down.

And eventually you realize that if you keep looking back, as the hummocks replicate, you’ll trip. So you force yourself to look forward, cresting with new people, ending at the bottom of the hill with new people.

Sucking the foil from my tongue, I lean down to say something to her and come face-to-face with a yelling landlord. Party’s over, he says. The purple light weakens as yellow-bulbed rooms are opened up, the crowd thins, but the music thumps on, as loud as before. It blankets over the scurrying people, grabbing coats, appearing from cracks in the walls and hidden spots like cockroaches.

As I wrestle our coats from the pile, she spills a cup of something over me, her and the floor. Margarita, probably, or Sprite. Something sticky and sweet that dots my jeans like rain.

As we leave the purple light party, our laughter trailing behind us at this long-ago failure of a night, we cut through back alleys to our familiar place. Two identical beers and nearly identical burgers—fries to split between two people.

Our hills have neatly aligned, I realize as we tuck into burgers, the kick of spicy secret sauce hitting the ridged roof of my mouth. Bite of burger, snap of fry, sip of beer. Sloppily sopping up that secret sauce, too drunk to care about appearing proper.

Balancing between childhood and adulthood is like that. It’s the razor’s edge, the series of hills. The ravenous eating of two dollar burgers after wine and tequila and beer. Patron in plastic and curls of foil on tongues. Too many metaphors because I haven’t learned yet that one will do. It’s the here now and the not there yet.

We stand at the bottom of the hill and I reach my hand out towards hers. She clasps it, sweat against sweat. Chipped baby-blue nail polish.

“One—two—three.”

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college, Things Happening RN

TWEENS TERRIFY ME: PLEASE TROYE AGAIN LATER

Written after posting a stupid fucking Instagram, but I’ve been posting a toxic amount of photos of myself lately, so I did a photo of my Starbucks. But it’s cool cuz it’s iced tea. And I did a Kanye West lyric as a caption because I’m trying that formula of “dumb photo + wholly unrelated rap lyric = tons of likes” because it’s worked for every insufferable fake-hipster I go to school with. Is that tea piping hot? Can’t be my tea, cuz mine is iced. BOOM.

On Saturday, I worked a concert. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say what it is, so I’ll just make up a name. It was a Schroye Tevan concert. You’ll never be able to decode that.

Aside from a handful of older gays (older=older than me=65+ because I’m 60; just kidding I’m 12), the audience was basically teenagers. Everyone was glittery and gay, even when they weren’t, and it was a balm to my sore heart after a rough week. It was, however, trying to be in the same room as 6,000 hormonal tweenagers because they have ABSOLUTELY no chill. Like, I have very little chill, but these kids need to be frozen Walt Disney-style. They need major chill.

After the opener—Schua Dipa, who was awesome—I was doing rotating slowly in a circle to keep from being too bored and these two teenaged girls came down from their seats to where I was standing.

“You seem like you’re have so much fun, so we had to join,” they said/squealed.

I did my platonic smile, “Oh yeah, I’m having a blast.”

They were from upstate New York—five hours away from where I live/civilization—and were seniors in high school. Either they thought I was really fucking cool—reminder, I’m a 21-year-old working a Schroye Tevan concert on a Saturday night—or they were desperate, but they did that thing that all teenagers do when they’re talking to anyone older. They tried to act cool.

They told me how they bought their outfits—T.J. Maxx, which I’m not dissing because I’m a Maxxinista—and how they went to this “cool pizza place” near MIT. Okay, there are no “cool pizza places.” Pizza is just pizza, unless it’s a calzone and then it’s not pizza. They were telling me how they kept getting hit on by older dudes—I was snarky enough to use my “disgusted” face and have it look like a “oh no you didn’t girlfriend” face—who gave them their food.

This I find hard to believe because they’re bragging that older, married men gave them their leftover pizza? How? And more importantly why? And most importantly ew?

They asked me what I like to do in Boston, which is like asking someone how their year was—like where do I start? Why do you even care?—and I just said that I like to chill and blah blah blah. They started talking about drinking—I did say at one point, “You guys are literally seventeen”—and when I commented on them talking about margaritas, they had this to say.

ME: the place across the street has good margs.
MAXXINISTA #1: Omg I love margaritas.
MAXXINISTA #2: I’m more of a prosecco person.
ME: (no words, just stares at MAXX. #2)
ME: (internal monologue) You having prosecco once last New Year’s Eve with your parents is not you being “a prosecco person”.

Then Maxxinista #1 told me that her grandmother is 91 but is dating a 65-year-old and recently went to an orgy. This was in response to Maxxinista #2 telling me, WITHOUT PROMPT, that she has two lesbian grandmothers who run a farm—duh. This was in response to me saying, “Oh look, a pride flag.”

I LOVE TEENAGERS.

During the encore, my little friends came down again and tried to get me to dance. I didn’t, because omg I did not want anyone seeing me dance with them!!!1! Omg so embarrassing!! Like what if Tiffany saw me! She would tease me so bad in Chem II!!!!! NO WAY!!!!1!

The girls then asked me my name—wearing a nametag and we’ve been talking for twenty minutes—before going ‘OMG UR NAME TAG.’ Then they told me that I didn’t look like a Danny. They said I looked like a Seth.

“Seth?!” I screeched.

“Yes!!! Such a good name!” they screeched back. Maxxinista #2 then told me that the college she’s applying to allows cats, and she wants a cat and wants to name him Seth. So, in their defense, “Seth” might’ve been the only name they know. Or I look like a giant pussy.

The rest of the concert was pretty uneventful. I spent forty minutes staring at the high school gay in my section who had somehow planned a full 90-minute interpretive dance to the concert, while his lady friend just stood there watching him—that’s a lie; about fifty minutes in, she sat down and stared up at him from the floor.

Teenagers are, like, the worst about technology. I know that people my age are boning their phones, but teenagers are worse thrice times over. I saw at least five different instances of people SnapChatting their way into the concert floor, when nothing was happening and the overhead lights were glaring. They would put their flashlights on for every other song, and didn’t understand the “sexy casual drifting sway of the light” motion. Instead, they “windshield wiper”-ed for half the concert. I mean, I was an asshole at 16, but I was an asshole with a Samsung Alias 2.

Additionally, all teenagers look as old at 17 as I do right now. And they’re all gorgeous. It’s so unfair. I only recently—like “two Wednesdays ago” recently—got hot, but I kept seeing all these beautifully dressed beautiful gays and had to keep thinking, “they’re in high school; you’re not Woody Allen; they’re in high school.” They might’ve been in college, but seriously who can take a risk like that?

There were beautiful moments though. At one point, during “Heaven” (name?), everyone pulled out sheets of paper they had been given before. Each section was a different color, and they put their flashlights on behind the paper, turning the entire arena into one huge rainbow. One person near me had an iPhone 4, so she fucked up, but other than that, it was stunning.

It was nice to see young people, younger than me, who were as passionate about politics and queer rights. They didn’t/couldn’t even vote in the election (some of them are too young for driving permits) but they were still deeply invested in our country. And I think, weirdly enough, that’s what I needed to see. That a bunch of vapid, hormonal, angsty teens in Adidas Superstars and tube tops (that was just the boys, btw) could be as passionate and wordly and educated and righteously angry and wonderfully committed to our world.

Was anyone expecting an article that used the word “Maxxinista” so much to end up on an uplifting note? I certainly wasn’t.

P.S./Side bar: dont’ you love how everyone who’s like “Ugh i love the ’90s!!!!” was born in 2002. Chill the fuck out, dude.

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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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